Saturdays With C.S. Lewis: Christian Worldview

We all have a lens through which we see and interpret the world around us. Anyone who claims to be “neutral” or to simply “let the facts speak” has a misunderstanding about how reason functions. There must always be a framework, a worldview, through which we package and understand information. C.S. Lewis understood this.

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
― C.S. Lewis

He understood that through the reality of Christ we best understand everything else! No really…Everything: from God, spirituality, relationships, finances, self worth, work ethic, parenting, you name it and it is best understood in the light of Biblical Christianity.

The question is, what worldview framework are you working within?

-Adam

Saturdays With C.S. Lewis: A Moral Law Beyond Ourselves

If the Moral Law was one of our instincts, we ought to be able to point to some one impulse inside us which was always what we call ‘good,’ always in agreement with the rule of right behaviour. But you cannot. There is none of our impulses which the Moral Law may not sometimes tell us to suppress, and none which it may not sometimes tell us to encourage. It is a mistake to think that some of our impulses–say mother love or patriotism–are good, and others, like sex or the fighting instinct, are bad. All we mean is that the occasions on which the fighting instinct or the sexual desire need to be restrained are rather more frequent than those for restraining mother love or patriotism. But there are situations in which it is the duty of a married man to encourage his sexual impulse and of a soldier to encourage the fighting instinct. There are also occasions on which a mother’s love for her own children or a man’s love for his own country have to be suppressed or they will lead to unfairness towards other people’s children or countries. Strictly speaking, there are no such things as good and bad impulses. Think once again of a piano. It has not got two kinds of notes on it, the ‘right’ notes and the ‘wrong’ ones. Every single note is right at one time and wrong at another. The Moral Law is not any one instinct or set of instincts: it is something which makes a kind of tune (the tune we call goodness or right conduct) by directing the instincts.

~C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, Chapter 2 (1952)

Best Arguments Against Theism?

This is Greg Koukl. He is the founder of Stand to Reason, an organization committed to a clear articulation and defense of the Christian worldview. He is a crisp thinker and a good communicator.

Here is 5.5 minutes of informative video on what the best argument against theism may be. One great snippet from the video is that atheists don’t ague to much on this point because they “think” it is settled. They believe they are the majority position when in actuality 98% of the WORLD population is theistic. Less than 2% really holds that there is no God. Interesting. Check out the video and learn about defending your faith.

Thanks Greg for being a stand up guy. I’d like to shake your hand someday.

Beauty – A Compass Pointing to Something Bigger

In this flashmob organized in Sabadell, Spain an unsuspecting courtyard is bombarded with beauty as an orchestra slowly materializes out of thin air with a majestic rendition of Beethoven’s 9th symphony. It is moving and powerful. A crowd develops around the musicians realizing they are beholding something rare and beautiful. Children are dancing, adults are swaying, everyone is captivated by the beauty of the moment. Time stands still.

In the middle of busy schedules why did these people stop to listen? I believe it is rooted in our innate yearning for beauty. John Piper describes this desire that is in every person.

“I do believe that deeply rooted in every human heart is a longing for beauty. Why do we go to the Grand Canyon, the Boundary Waters, art exhibits, gardens? Why do we plant trees and flower beds? Why do we paint our inside walls? Why is it man and not the monkeys who decorated cave walls with pictures? Why is it that in every tribe of humans ever known there has always been some form of art and craftsmanship that goes beyond mere utility? Is it not because we long to behold and be a part of beauty? We crave to be moved by some rare glimpse of greatness. We yearn for a vision of glory.”

We long for something bigger than ourselves. Whether that is in the arts, nature, or daily life, when we catch a glimpse of it we stop in wonder. We realize there is more to this life than what we can see. We seek out beauty because we are created to have a relationship with the Author of beauty. Because of image of God imprinted in us, all humanity has a void in our souls that resonates with true beauty. This resonation of beauty lures us to its source. When we behold beauty it acts like a compass. It points us beyond the momentary glimpse of beauty to the source of all beauty. The compass does not show us our destination, it is just a guide. It keeps us grounded in reality, understanding where we are in this world. The sunset and the orchestra in themselves leave us wanting. They are not the destination. While they are beautiful for a moment, we desire more than these things can offer.

“And we can know that our desires are remnants of this urge for God because everything less than God leaves us unsatisfied. He alone is the All-Satisfying Object of Beauty. Only one vision will be sufficient for our insatiable hearts—the glory of God. For that we have been made. And it is for this we long, whether we know it or not.”    -John Piper: Jesus is Precious because We Yearn for Beauty. (both quotes)

When you and I encounter moments that take our breath away, whether a sunset or a work of Beethoven, let it remind us that, yes, there are amazingly beautiful things in this world, but they are mere shadows of the true beauty that is God Himself. How do we get to know God? Through His Son – Jesus Christ.

Your fellow worker in the field,  Adam

Saturdays with C.S. Lewis: Liar, Lunatic, or Lord?

C.S. Lewis has a way with words that cut to the heart. He speaks plainly, but powerfully. In a concise bit of logic Lewis reminds us that the claims of Christ leave very limited options for us in our response. Who do you say Jesus is? Does that correspond to who He said he was? While this argument has been retold many times since Lewis set the stage, read his words anew and allow them to challenge you.

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

Your fellow worker in the field, Adam


Age-Graded Apologetics Resources!

Have you ever wondered where to find some age appropriate resources for apologetic training? Click the link, HERE, to see the full version of a very helpful list complied by Ratio Christi (A Student Apologetic Alliance). I have attached the high school, middle school, and elementary school recommendations. Browse and find some gems you can use in your ministry!

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High School

Middle School

  • ACSI Apologetics Curriculum: In this program designed especially for middle schoolers, ACSI’s objective is “(1) to prepare Christian middle school students to defend their faith by teaching them apologetics in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades and (2) to strengthen the individual faith of students by introducing them to answers to the toughest questions and oppositions facing Christianity”.
  • Summit Ministries’ Lightbearers: This series “is a one or two semester video-based curriculum for 8th grade designed to help students clearly understand the tenets of the Christian worldview, and how they compare to the tenets of the leading humanistic worldviews of our day.”
  • The Defense Never Rests: A Workbook for Budding Apologists: “A fill-in-the-blank workbook on Christian Apologetics based on the work of William Lane Craig. Topics include various arguments for God’s existence, the Trinity, incarnation, atoning death, and resurrection of Jesus.” It is reccommended you also get the teacher’s handbook.
  • Apologia Educational Ministries’ What We Believe Series: A great series to teach kids the essentials of the Christian faith.
  • Cornerstone Curriculum: A one year worldview biblical worldview curriculum.
  • Accessible Apologetics Curriculum: “Apologetics Guy” Mikel Del Rosario’s essential apologetics curriculum is a great resource for middle school aged kids who are new to apologetics, but can be taught to all ages. It comes highly reccommended by various apologists.
  • Wrecking Crew Apologetics Curriculum: “The Wrecking Crew Apologetics curriculum utilizes a variety of teaching methods to equip young people to defend their faith, including readings, lectures, note taking, Bible inquiry, internet lessons, games, group discussions, role playing, debates, and mock trials.”
  • Spiritual Formation 4 Youth: “This curriculum is designed to help Christian teachers and youth pastors train students to break through the noise, temptations and fears by focusing on the full life that God offers for them.”
  • FBI: Finding Biblical Intent: “The purpose of the Finding Biblical Intent curriculum is to help teachers teach students how to investigate and understand the Word of God.”
  • RZIM’s ASK Curriculum: An apologetics curriculum; one for Indian students and one for North American students. Great for all youth, high school and middle school.

Elementary School

  • Big Thoughts For Little Thinkers: The Trinity: Wonderful apologetics book by Joey Allen for little kids. “In simple and precise language, God-centered theology is promoted, giving children a firm foundation in God’s timeless truth.”
  • Resurrection iWitness: Apologetics children’s book by Doug Powell that “gives evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ by using the easy-to-understand Minimal Facts argument. That means it relies only on the historical facts that all biblical scholars (including atheistic, Jewish, and liberal) accept and shows how only the biblical story of the resurrection can account for all these agreed-upon facts.”
  • Fact or Fantasy? A Study in Christian Apologetics for Children: A great book on simple apologetics for children by David Walters.
  • The Awesome Book of Bible Answers for Kids: “Respected Christian apologist Josh McDowell encourages children to stand on the foundation of truth with this contemporary gathering of concise, welcoming answers for kids ages 8 to 12.”
  • If I Could Ask God for Anything: Awesome Bible Answers for Curious Kids: “A unique kid-friendly book jam-packed with clear, fresh answers to important questions about God, faith, prayer, and Christianity in language that children can understand” by Kathryn Slattery.

Saturdays with C.S. Lewis

The weekend is here. I hope you enjoy some rest and relaxation somewhere in your day. Today brings a new series I want to introduce to my readers.

Saturdays with C.S. Lewis

Each Saturday as you peruse your favorite blogs and Facebook interests you can stop in here for a look at one of the most eloquent laymen ever to speak and write about Christianity. C.S. Lewis was never a preacher or a pastor. He was never employed by a church or enrolled in theological education. In fact, Lewis described himself as the “most reluctant convert” to Christianity.

C.S. Lewis was an English professor at Oxford University. After converting to Christianity as a 33 year old, he thoughtfully began to apply his faith to real life. His craft was literature, therefore he began to use his craft for the glory of God. (Just as we all should bloom where we are planted and honor God with whatever talents He has given us.)

Lewis wrote fiction and non-fiction, and is well respected for both. He knew how to connect with real life and communicate with his readers as if they were old friends.

Why do I read and respect C.S. Lewis?

Because every time I pick up one of his books 1.) he makes me think. But not just to think about the topic at hand, he trains me to think. My christian worldview is honed and sharpened whether I am traveling the battlefields of Narnia or debating the issues in Mere Christianity. Next, 2.) he makes me deal with today. Even though he wrote in a day with no blogs, Facebook or Twitter (I’d love to hear Screwtape’s take on social media) his keen eye for the heart of the issue cuts through the cultural differences and speaks to universal principles that transcend time and space. The truths of Christianity are just as true in 1941 with WWII raging as they are in 2012 with all of our current issues. Lewis reminds me to speak to our day in a way that is articulate, thoughtful, and respectful. And lastly, 3.) he is simply a joy to read. His style and flow are the work of an artist. He connects with the child as easily as the scholar. On this point I will note that while his style is intoxicating, not all is theologically correct.

I even believe he is downright wrong on some issues. This drives home the fact that we cannot be blind followers of any man. We are to follow the Lord Jesus alone. While I think Lewis has so much to offer this new generation of believers, we filter everything through the lens of scripture. When Lewis doesn’t jive with God’s Word, we see that for what it is and choose to bring every thought captive to Christ. For example, Lewis, in the final Narnia series book, The Last Battle, leaves the door open to the possibility of people entering into heaven through other faiths. I understand this to be totally wrong. Recognizing this flaw I do not discard the entire Chronicles of Narnia, but am reminded that our theology informs our fiction and not the other way around. God’s Word alone is authoritative in describing entrance into His family.

Each Saturday we will enjoy snippets from C.S. Lewis together. Through his quotes, imagery, and arguments we will see that Lewis is spiritually profitable for this generation as much as he was for his own. I look forward to hearing your comments as we open the treasure trove of the life and works of C.S. Lewis.

Your fellow worker in the field,  Adam

Top 10 Questions Teenagers MUST Be Ready To Answer About Their Faith

In an article posted on christianity.com (linked HERE) written by Josh McDowell and Bob Hostetler, ten great questions are brought to the table and discussed from a youth perspective. Teenagers NEED to be able to answer these tough questions in our day of skepticism and peusdo-spiritual moralism. Can you tackle these hardball questions for yourself? If you can’t, its time to brush up on them because these are typical questions for the rising generation.

  1. How can you know anything is true for sure?
  2. Is God a human invention?
  3. Doesn’t the Big Bang disprove Creation?
  4. How can an intelligent person not believe in evolution?
  5. How can you trust the Bible when it has been changed and corrupted so much through the centuries?
  6. Hasn’t modern science pretty much disproved the Bible?
  7. Who even knows if Jesus ever really existed?
  8. Don’t you think Jesus could have been just a good teacher who didn’t intend to be worshiped as a god?
  9. Do you really believe that Jesus literally rose from the dead?
  10. How can YOU believe in that stuff?

If you want to sharpen your skill for answering tough questions like these, do your homework! It is not an accident that some christians are well prepared to give a reason for the hope that they have.

That is exactly what 1 Peter 3:15 is pushing us toward when it says, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”

Are you prepared to answer the questions of our day? Are we preparing teenagers to be able to speak articulately about their faith? Check out this article and know what you believe!

God is NOT Dead! [and resources to back it up!]

William Lane Craig expertly writes how current Christian philosophers argue for God’s existence in this Christianity Today article titled, God is Not Dead Yet.

AlbertMohler.com (the highly respected president of my alma mater, Southern Seminary) interacts with the controversial TIME article on this subject, titled Looking Back: TIME Asks, “Is God Dead?”.

AnswersInGenesis.com tackles the question of the reality of God in this article, Is There Really a God?

At the blog, GotQuestions.org, the article Is God Dead? articulates 5 points of logically progression people will fall into when holding this idea.

Offered at Amazon.com, the book, “God Is Not Dead” is described as “a fascinating guided tour of quantum physics, consciousness, and the existence and experience of God. University of Oregon physics professor Amit Goswami shows readers that God’s existence can be found in clues that the science of quantum physics reveals.” (I personally have not read this book to know the theological stance of the author, just FYI)

A book I do FULLY recommend is “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist”  by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek. Here they argue that Christianity is not only more reasonable than all other belief systems, but is indeed more rational than unbelief itself. This volume will be an interesting read for those skeptical about Christianity, as well as a helpful resource for Christians seeking to articulate a more sophisticated defense of their faith.

On the Poached Egg Apologetics Blog I found an article titled “What is really behind all the skepticism” dealing with questions and doubts concerning the existence of God.

And last on my brief conglomeration of “God is Not Dead” resources, one of the best renditions of David Crowder’s song, rereleased by Newsboys, God’s Not Dead.

What other resources do you know on this hot-topic phrase?  Leave some comments below to share the wealth!

A Daily Apologetics Resource!

If you want to stay current on today’s issues from a conservative, apologetically minded blog, check out:

The Poached Egg Network 

The Poached Egg Network is where Christian apologetics, history, philosophy, science, theology, and pop culture collide. Our goal is to help guide believers, seekers, and skeptics alike to the Ultimate Source of Truth and a better understanding of the Christian worldview.

I’ll be checking them out regularly and you should too!