Carl F. H. Henry – An Evangelical Giant

You may have not heard his name, but Carl F. H. Henry has dramatically and directly impacted YOU.Carl F. H. Henry  He may be one of the least known Christian thinker in modern Christianity, yet he wielded huge cultural influence in his time.  I would like to do my part to remedy this short-sightedness.

I am increasingly loving what I learn about this man.  He lived from 1913-2003 and was on the cutting edge of defining what it meant to be an Evangelical, in a time when you were either a Liberal or a Fundamentalist.

As Liberals were rejecting the Bible and Fundamentalists were retreating from society, Henry stood tall and proclaimed there is a way to be Biblically faithful and culturally relevant! Thus the birth of the Evangelical movement.

What Billy Graham was in the pubic eye, Carl Henry was in the Academic eye.  Henry put biblical Christianity back on the map of scholarly thinking.

At the urging of his friend Billy Graham, Henry was the founding editor of Christianity Today.  He was on the founding faculty of Fuller Theological Seminary.  He signed the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy along with James Montgomery Boice, J.I. Packer, Francis Schaeffer and R.C. Sproul, to mention a few.

Henry wrote some impactful books that shaped our understanding of church and life.  The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalismand his magnum opus, God, Revelation, and Authority are two major titles.

Today you can learn more about Carl F. H. Henry through several means:

It is my goal to get to know this great leader within the Evangelical heritage, and I encourage you to do the same!

 

Should Christians Engage Social Media? #3BCiamthird

In a blog resuscitation, I want to come back to life on a rising topic.  One that, I am proud to say, my church is meeting head on.

The use of social networks has made our world small.  We can communicate in ways unprecedented in human history.  Are christians using this to advance God’s Kingdom both locally and globally?  We should be.  In a quick google search I found several interesting links showing what others are saying.

How Christians Can Use Twitter

Should a Christian use Social Media

7 Reasons Christian’s should ‘Just say No’ to Social Networks (Not!)

My church, 3BC, is making intentional efforts to reach out to our digital world, both on the local and global level.  We have initiated a summer social media champaign called “I am Third”.  As our church spreads throughout our city and world we will stay connected through social media.  This mutual encouragement is helpful internally but also visible externally.  As we share life together we also shine light out.  Here is the #3BCiamthird informational video on Vimeo, as we are training our people to use the resources God has given us!

Check out these links to see how our congregation is staying connected and being a light through social media.

#3BCIAmThird , #3BCworship, #3BCgathering, 3BC Facebook3BC homepage.

3bciamthird

What Separates Christianity From the Rest?

The view of Biblical Christianity is under attack. What is it that draws such fire from our culture? It is not intolerance. It is not hypocrisy. It is not social action or inaction.

The primary reason Biblical Christianity is under attack in our day is its unrelenting focus on Jesus Christ. The bible refuses to allow us to smooth over or overlook the God-Man,  Jesus Christ. The bible points clearly to the fact that all of us are marred by sin and there is one hope: the substitutionally death of Jesus on our behalf.

Alvin Plantinga is a world renowned christian philosopher. He is the John A. O’Brien Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at the University of Notre Dame, where he taught for 28 years, and is the inaugural holder of the Jellema Chair in Philosophy at Calvin College, where he recently retired from in 2010.  He is a philosophical beast, to say the least.  Plantinga explains the classical components of christian belief and the uniqueness therein.

Classical Christian belief includes, in the first place, the belief that there is such a person as God. God is That person, that is, a being with intellect and will. A person has (or can have) knowledge and belief, but also affections, loves, and hates; a person, furthermore, also has or can have intentions, and can act so as to fulfill them. God has all of these qualities and has some (knowledge, power, and love, for example) to the maximal degree. God is thus all-knowing and all-powerful; he is also perfectly good and wholly loving. Still further, he has created the universe and constantly upholds and providentially guides it. This is the theistic component of Christian belief. But there is also the uniquely Christian component: that we human beings are somehow mired in rebellion and sin, that we consequently require deliverance and salvation, and that God has arranged for that deliverance through the sacrificial suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, who was both a man and also the second member of the Trinity, the uniquely divine son of God.   – Alvin Plantinga

Stay focused on Christ, friends.

alvin

Reformation Trust Publishing – A Treasure Trove of Free Resources

Fill your Kindle or iPad  with great theology for FREE. I stumbled upon this site after a recommendation from my pastor of a book that was being offered free. As I started clicking around I found many great topics that real people have real questions about. These are answered in free downloadable books.

Thank you Reformation Trust Publishing (click for the link) for not being all about the money, but caring more about the dissemination of Truth.

My pastor noted that, John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, and Doxology is currently free. I don’t believe this is always free, but it is now so grab it. 

Also all of the “Crucial Questions Series” books are available totally free. There are many topics addresses that you may be interested in. Here is the tip of the iceberg of series titles:

  • Who is Jesus?
  • Does Prayer Change Things?
  • Can I Trust the Bible?
  • Does God Control Everything?
  • Can I be Sure I am Saved?
  • What is the Church, Baptism, the Lord’s Supper? (3 separate books)
  • What is the Trinity?
  • and many more…

Here is an Amazon Books link that shows, in order of price, downloads offered by this publisher. Also you can simply search for Reformation Trust in the Amazon search field and you will find these. Note: Amazon has a lot of their offerings, but not all of them. You will find more on their website and can download them (still free) there with a free account. I prefer amazon personally…

While all the books on this site are not free, (they still have to pay the bills too) I’m very happy to see many that are. So I wanted to make you aware of this resource if you have any of these questions rolling around in your mind. Allow these readings to push you not to knowing more theology, but to a relationship with the author of Truth himself, Jesus Christ.

 

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To Get You Thinking: 12 Great Quotes about Apologetics

Thank you Poached Egg for this compilation of inspiring quotes. See the original article at Pulling Back the Curtains: 12 Apologetics Quotes.

 

 

  1. Christian Apologetics QuotesBelief doesn’t create truth. Unbelief doesn’t destroy truth. Christian faith goes beyond reason but not against reason. —Paul E. Little (from, Know Why You Believe)
  2. Christian Apologetics QuotesAs humans, we are limited in our search for truth by our fallen nature, which can make truth difficult to accept and apply. Knowing truth is not just the product of the intellect but also of the will and the personality. Truth begins not with observation, but with a direction to look and a willingness to see.  —Mark Cosgrove  (from, Foundations of Christian Thought)
  3. Christian Apologetics QuotesThe Bible says we should “always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). Can you help someone work through the “Why does God allow suffering?” question? Can you help a university student see that science has not, will not and cannot disprove God? Do you know why it is logically impossible that all religions could lead to God? We need to be ready to answer these because the Bible commands us to do so. As Christians we have a tremendous heritage we have inherited from those who have taken 1 Peter 3:15 seriously.—Jon Morrison (from, 5 Reasons To Rethink Apologetics)
  4. Christian Apologetics QuotesIt is a hard thing to look at the truth when it runs contrary to what you’ve always believed. The experience is like pulling back the curtains in a dimly lit room and looking out the window to see what’s really outside. When your eyes are used to artificial light, the bright sunlight is almost blinding; your eyes may sting and even water at the brightness, and the temptation is to turn away to the more comfortable dimness. But consider: the electricity that powers artificial light is produced by fossil fuel, made from plants that long ago took in the light of the sun—or from windmills, powered by air currents moved by the sun’s heat—or from solar panels, absorbing the sun’s rays. We may think we are in control of the light when we can turn it on or off by a flick of a switch—but ultimately that tame, comfortable indoor light has its source in the wild heart of the sun. Just so with the truth. Whatever we know of what is right and good and true comes from God, the Author of all Truth—whether we know it or not. But His truth is so much greater than our little partial glimpses of the truth that it can be blinding. —Dr. Holly Ordway (from, Not God’s Type: A Rational Academic Finds a Radical Faith)
  5. Christian Apologetics QuotesAny and every other belief you hold, about anything whatsoever, if it is to be taken seriously, if it is to be of any value or worth anyone’s consideration, it must have in its favor more than your emotions, personal history or external circumstantial factors. It must have reasons—Clint Roberts (from the article, Believing for No Reason)
  6. Christian Apologetics QuotesI assert that nothing ever comes to pass without a cause. What is self-existent must be from eternity, and must unchangeable: but as to all things that begin to be, they are not self-existent, and therefore must have some foundation of their existence without themselves. – Jonathan Edwards
  7. Christian Apologetics QuotesAs parents, we are the folks who will have the most repeated contact with our children; we are the ones who can have the most impact (good or bad). This is the simple truth for all of us who are raising kids in the church. We have to become the best Christian Case Makers our kids know so we can respond quickly to their concerns and questions. As parents, we are still the first line of Christian defense. —J. Warner Wallace (from the article, Parents Are Still the First Line of Defense)
  8. Christian Apologetics QuotesI suggest you completely ban the phrase “leap of faith” from your vocabulary.  Biblical faith is based on knowledge, not wishing or blind leaps.  Knowledge builds confidence and confidence leads to trust.  The kind of faith God is interested in is not wishing.  It’s trust based on knowing, a sure confidence grounded in evidence. – Greg Koukl
  9. Christian Apologetics QuotesNaturalism requires one to believe humans are special for no reason at all, or else to deny that we are special at all. Either option is odd. Naturalism is a strange belief. It’s one thing to hold that it is possibly true (though that strains credulity beyond my personal reach). It’s another thing altogether — and one can only pause to contemplate what might be the reason for it — for anyone to think it’s definitely true, or almost certainly true.—Tom Gilson (from, Naturalism is a Strange Belief)
  10. Christian Apologetics QuotesSincerity does not trump truth. After all, one can be sincerely wrong. But sincerity is indispensable to any truth we wish others to believe. There is something winsome, even irresistible, about a life lived with conviction. I am reminded of the Scottish philosopher and skeptic, David Hume, who was recognized among a crowd of those listening to the preaching of George Whitefield, the famed evangelist of the First Great Awakening:  “I thought you didn’t believe in the Gospel,” someone asked.  “I do not,” Hume replied. Then, with a nod toward Whitefield, he added, “But he does.” —Larry Taunton (from, Listening to Young Atheists: Lessons for a Stronger Christianity)
  11. Christian Apologetics QuotesSkeptics must provide more than alternative theories to the Resurrection; they must provide first-century evidence for those theories. —Gary Habermas (quoted in, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist)
  12. Christian Apologetics QuotesThere’s a fine line, though, between being someone who questions and being someone who refuses to believe any answers-a true skeptic. In fact, I don’t think many skeptics actually question anything. They may phrase their challenges as questions, but their heart is set on rejection and disproving, not asking. To truly question something is to query it and to ask about it for the sake of greater and deeper understanding. This may lead to evidence that disproves or to propositions worthy of rejecting, but the heart behind it is to learn, to know. And in this sense, we ought to question everything. And I do mean everything… — Barnabas Piper (from, The unskeptical questioner)

 

4 Myths about Teaching Apologetics in Youth Ministry

I saw this article on youthministry360’s blog. Bam. Right on brother. I believe that apologetics needs to be in the regular diet of christian teens. Check out the full article through this link: 4 Myths About Teaching Apologetics in Youth Ministry

(I addressed the need for more curriculum options in a blog around a year ago. Here is the link if you want access to ton of resources and ideas for High School, Middle School, and Elementary School age Apologetics.  Check it out:  Age-Graded Apologetics Resources)

The 4 myths Benjer McVeigh deals with are accurately described. Thank you Mr. McVeigh for the insights!

Myth 1: I’m not smart enough to teach apologetics.

Books on apologetics are intimidating, even before you open them up to start reading. The latest comprehensive tome on apologetics, Doug Groothuis’ Christian Apologetics, weighs in at an impressive (and heavy) 750 pages. Teaching apologetics may take a bit more work. But you don’t have to be an expert to teach apologetics. You only have to be willing to learn. (In addition, there are some great resources out there that let you learn right along with your students.)

Myth 2: Teenagers don’t care about or aren’t ready for apologetics.

Next time you’ve got a small group of teenagers together, simply ask a question such as, “How can we really know that God exists?” and you’ll likely be peppered with several follow-up questions. Teenagers discuss spiritual matters with their friends far more than we realize. They want to know whether what they’re learning at church is trustworthy. Teenagers are already thinking about apologetics, even if they haven’t ever used the word. And if they’re already asking the questions, they are ready for some solid answers, developmentally speaking.

Myth 3: Apologetics is too academic.

Yes, apologetics does involve a bit more brainpower than some youth minister and their students may be used to using. But it’s OK to make your students think. After all, God created us with brains. He designed us to use them in our pursuit to know Him and to make Him known. I understand the danger of having too much of a “heady” approach to one’s walk with Jesus. But your students can handle a few weeks out of the year dedicated to apologetics. You’ll probably be surprised at how many students end up wanting a whole lot more of it!

Myth 4: Faith means not questioning the Bible or asking whether Christianity is true.

If this is what you’re teaching your students, whether it’s said out loud or implied, please stop. Apologetics can’t answer every single question we have about God, faith, or life in general. And at the end of the day, we can only see and know in part (1 Corinthians 13:12). But there is plenty of evidence available that gives us confidence that what we believe is true. Apologetics not only removes intellectual barriers some people have before they decide to follow Jesus, but it also strengthens followers of Jesus in their faith, because they can have confidence that what they believe is true.

 

13 Lies Teenagers Believe

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  1. There is no truth.  John 14:6
  2. If I am good enough I will get to heaven.  Isaiah 64:6
  3. When I am on my own I can do what I want.  Romans 13:1
  4. The things I do now are not important.  I Cor 3:12-13
  5. My past determines my worth.  Philippians 3:13
  6. The easiest way is the best way.  Hebrews 12:4-6
  7. If it feels good do it.  Hebrews 11:25
  8. My friends and family will be with me forever.  II Cor 5:10
  9. I do not have to change friends to follow Christ.  I Cor 15:33
  10. What I listen and watch does not effect the way I think.   Philippians 4:8
  11. There is no consequence for my sins.  Romans 6:23
  12. Premarital sex has no effect on my life.  I Cor 6:15-18
  13. Serving God is boring.  Psalms 34:8

A World My Grandparents Would Not Recognize

changeChristianity is the underdog. Times have changed. My grandparents have all past away, but if they were here to see our current state, I believe they would be shocked. How quickly the tides can turn. Biblical Christianity is the minority, yet that does not change our convictions. It just makes it harder to stand up for them. These are the times where individuals, churches, denominations will all be tested in their convictions. Below are some thoughts on Atheism today and the changing definition of Marriage, concluding with a video addressing the key need.

In our day Atheism has a new face. It is the normal face. This is what an Atheist looks like today. The Atlantic published an article where they interviewed college age unbelievers to get an understanding of the new mindset soon to be the primary influencers in our generation. Listening to Young Atheists is a revealing article. Check it out in full at the link but here is a summery.

  1. They had attended church. Most of our participants had not chosen their worldview from ideologically neutral positions at all, but in reaction to Christianity. Not Islam. Not Buddhism. Christianity.
  2. The mission and message of their churches was vague. These students heard plenty of messages encouraging “social justice,” community involvement, and “being good,” but they seldom saw the relationship between that message, Jesus Christ, and the Bible.
  3. They felt their churches offered superficial answers to life’s difficult questions. When our participants were asked what they found unconvincing about the Christian faith, they spoke of evolution vs. creation, sexuality, the reliability of the biblical text, Jesus as the only way, etc. … Serious-minded, they often concluded that church services were largely shallow, harmless, and ultimately irrelevant.
  4. They expressed their respect for those ministers who took the Bible seriously. “I really can’t consider a Christian a good, moral person if he isn’t trying to convert me.” As surprising as it may seem, this sentiment is not as unusual as you might think. It finds resonance in the well-publicized comments of Penn Jillette, the atheist illusionist and comedian: “I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize. I don’t respect that at all. If you believe that there’s a heaven and hell and people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life or whatever, and you think that it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward…. How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?” Comments like these should cause every Christian to examine his conscience to see if he truly believes that Jesus is, as he claimed, “the way, the truth, and the life.”
  5. Ages 14-17 were decisive. One participant told us that she considered herself to be an atheist by the age of eight while another said that it was during his sophomore year of college that he de-converted, but these were the outliers. For most, the high school years were the time when they embraced unbelief.
  6. The decision to embrace unbelief was often an emotional one. With few exceptions, students would begin by telling us that they had become atheists for exclusively rational reasons. But as we listened it became clear that, for most, this was usually connected to a deeply emotional transition as well.
  7. The internet factored heavily into their conversion to atheism. When our participants were asked to cite key influences in their conversion to atheism–people, books, seminars, etc.—we expected to hear frequent references to the names of the “New Atheists.” We did not. Not once. Instead, we heard vague references to videos they had watched on YouTube or website forums.

While belief is under attack, the institution of marriage that has been upheld for thousands of years is being redefined. The recent Supreme Court decision will have ramifications beyond what we can foresee.

Trevin Wax writes a article titled Why Gay Marriage is Good (and bad) for the Church. He shows clearly that things will never be the same, the question is how will the church respond and what foundations do we really have that will guide us in these changing times.

Al Mohler addressed the hypocrisy of the supreme court, and particularly Justice Kennedy, for striking down DOMA with accusations of making “moral judgments”, all the while making an equally moral judgment, just with the opposite conclusion. Read his thoughts in Waiting for the Other Shoe – The Supreme Court Rules on Same Sex Marriage.

Here is an interesting take on the subject. If Jesus were to be interviewed, what might He say about Same-Sex marriage? Joe Dallas takes this imaginative response in this clever article. Check it out – Jesus and Same Sex Marriage.

Above all, the linchpin for how we decide what to do about all these issues, and issues we haven’t even seen yet, are dependent on one thing. Has God Spoken?  If He has, we must heed his words and adjust our lives. If He has not, we live as we wand do the best we can without any real consequences or meaning.  Has God Really Spoken?

This is an interview between three brilliant minds and godly men: Don Carson, John Piper, and Tim Keller. They are addressing the issue of Biblical Authority in an Age of Uncertainty. How will we respond to God’s Word when our culture rejects it?

We live in a world my Grandparents would not recognize. Yet fortunately I believe there is a God who has spoken to us for this day. He has made a plan and given us hope. Above all He has given us Jesus. So no matter what the winds of change bring, there is one who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Jesus Christ.

Looking to Him,

-Adam

Discussion Flow Chart

Have you ever had a discussion with someone who refused to listen to logic? Maybe they were so intrenched in their own way of thinking they could not see anything outside of their own opinion. This happens often in religious discussions, true, but it is also true of those debating against religious truths.

What if the religious explanation is actually the most logical? What if a presupposition that regards ANY spiritual input as false is actually the illogical, non-rational viewpoint.

Here is a light-hearted flowchart to determine when you are actually in a “discussion”, where there can be dialogue, verses a lecture or something worse. Just trying to get you thinking, -Adam

Flowchart-to-determine-if-youre-having-a-rational-discussion-e1300206446831-634x882

ESPN Analyst Chris Broussard articulates a RATIONAL Definition of Tolerance and is getting Maligned for it!

chris-broussardESPN analyst Chris Broussard has come under fire for articulating his personal opinion concerning homosexuality. This conversation took place on the sports talk show “Outside the Lines” concerning the recent announcement by NBA free-agent, Jason Collins, of his sexual orientation. This is news worthy because he is the first professional athlete to “come out” while still professionally active.

The interesting part of this controversy is the way Broussard is being attacked and maligned for articulating a RATIONAL and PROPER definition of tolerance.  Broussard never degrades Collins or any homosexual, but coherently states that it is HIS belief that the practice is sinful. And if he can tolerate a homosexual in the NBA without disrespecting anyone, he should receive equal tolerance from those who believe he is wrong without being disrespected on account of his lifestyle choice. Seems to make sense to me. Yet he is being attacked for the very act of suggesting that homosexuality is not perfectly normal.

Here is a quoted section of their conversation:

[Appearing with ESPN senior writer LZ Granderson, who is openly gay, Broussard was asked by the host], “How ready is the NBA and the locker rooms for having an openly gay teammate?”

Broussard answered, “The climate in society is very set for this thing to happen …. A lot of people feel like if you come out and say you don’t agree with homosexuality, you are viewed as a bigot, you are viewed as intolerant. So I think the climate is right for somebody to come out and say they are gay. I’ve been texting with players, GMs, coaches, agents throughout the day … and it’s been overwhelmingly supportive of Jason, from former teammates to guys who have played against him.”

[Later in the conversation, Granderson said], “If we really want to move toward progress and toward full acceptance, we have to have this conversation and this process.”  [Broussard then seconded that motion, and gave an example of that conversation and how it could be productive:] “I’d like to second what LZ said. “I’m a Christian. I don’t agree with homosexuality. I think it’s a sin, as I think all sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman is. [ESPN’s] L.Z. [Granderson] knows that. He and I have played on basketball teams together for several years. We’ve gone out, had lunch together, we’ve had good conversations, good laughs together. He knows where I stand and I know where he stands. I don’t criticize him, he doesn’t criticize me, and call me a bigot, call me ignorant, call me intolerant.”

“In talking to some people around the league, there’s a lot Christians in the NBA and just because they disagree with that lifestyle, they don’t want to be called bigoted and intolerant and things like that. That’s what LZ was getting at. Just like I may tolerate someone whose lifestyle I disagree with, he can tolerate my beliefs. He disagrees with my beliefs and my lifestyle but true tolerance and acceptance is being able to handle that as mature adults and not criticize each other and call each other names…”

“Personally, I don’t believe that you can live an openly homosexual lifestyle or an openly premarital sex between heterosexuals, if you’re openly living that type of lifestyle, then the Bible says you know them by their fruits, it says that’s a sin. If you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality, adultery, fornication, premarital sex between heterosexuals, whatever it may be, I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ. I would not characterize that person as a Christian because I do not think the Bible would characterize them as a Christian.”

From this 45 seconds of conversation Broussard’s career now hangs in the balance. Much debate has raged over this outward display of one person’s beliefs, that happen to contradict the new social norm.

How the tables have turned in our culture. The liberal media seems to be saying  – “We need to be tolerance of every person’s beliefs and lifestyle, and if you don’t agree with us, we will blacklist you and destroy your career! ”

Does anyone else see the self-contridiction here! They are changing the definition of tolerance to be accepting what they believe to be correct and nothing else! That is the opposite of tolerance!

Here are some interesting links to follow up on this issue! Check them out.

Albert Mohler’s Podcast on 4/30/13  – “The media has an unqualified celebration over NBA player declaring homosexual lifestyle. Meanwhile, those who refuse to celebrate full normalization of homosexuality are cancelled from events, protested, and ridiculed.”  – listen for free.

Bubba Watson thanks Chris Broussard through twitter for his words.

And excellent commentary on the events by Ben Shapiro – “When it comes to tyranny and tolerance, the case of Chris Broussard is far more telling than that of Jason Collins.”

Hang in there Chris. This is an uphill battle.

– Adam