Monday, September 27, 2010

Book Review: Revolutions in Worldview (2007)

Revolutions in Worldview: Understanding the Flow of Western Thought. W. Andrew Hoffecker, ed. New Jersey: P&R, 2007. 424 pp.

In the Preface to this collection of essays, W. Andrew Hoffecker defines worldview as a “one’s most basic beliefs and framework of understanding.” (xi) Worldview affects every aspect of human life, and affects all people (consciously or unconsciously). Worldview thinking is both inevitable (xii) and pervasive. Revolutions in Worldview pursues a fundamental thesis very clearly: “The thesis of this book is that Western thought has experienced a series of changes so profound they should be called revolutions.” (xiii) Accordingly, the book contains ten chapters, each one tracing the contours of a dominant worldview—ancient Greek, biblical Hebrew, New Testament Christian, early medieval Christianity, late medieval Christianity, the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, nineteenth-century skepticism, and rising postmodernism.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Music, Media, and Movies: The Quest for the Minds of America - Part I of IV

NOTE: The following are teaching notes from the first in a series of four Wednesday night studies at St. Stephen's Church in Louisville.

Music, Media & Movies: The Quest for the Minds of America
St. Stephen’s Church, Louisville KY

Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Part I. War of the World(view)s: The Cultural Battle for the American Mind

Mark 12:28-31 lays out the greatest commandment:

28One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?"
29"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' 31The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."

The Great Commandment is going to be our key text for the next four weeks. We are going to seek to love the Lord our God with our full heart, and soul, and mind, and strength. Our focus is going to be particularly upon loving God with all our minds – to grow in our intellectual love for God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Rabbi Blumenthal and the Resurrection of Jesus

Yesterday I received an email pointing me to an article arguing against the resurrection of Jesus Christ, posted by an orthodox (I think) Jewish Rabbi. His article is here:

What follows is the emailed response I sent - certainly not an exhaustive or comprehensive critique, but brief and to the point. ...

I will pick out just one point in Blumenthal's article to critique:

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Response to Common Sense Atheism's Response to 'Does God Exist?'

Five months ago, Apologetics 315 published a series of blog essays on the question, “Is Christianity True?” I submitted a brief essay on the existence of God (Does God Exist?) as a prelude to the series. After all, if there is no God, it is somewhat irrelevant to argue for the existence of God. The blog essays have also been released on iTunes and as an e-book (also available from There was considerable interaction and discussion following the publication of each essay – from Christians of various stripes as well as skeptics and atheists of various stripes. It was a wonderful exercise in apologetic dialogue. Apparently, the essay series also attracted Luke’s attention, from ‘commonsenseatheism’. He has just begun publishing blog essays promoted as ‘refutations’ of the original Apologetics 315 essays. On Saturday, he released the first essay, his response to my original essay. You can read his full response here -

I have no intention of entering into a lengthy call-and-response, but nonetheless I think it is worthwhile to respond to some of the points that Luke raises – several of them are insightful and worthy of deep consideration. I do not propose to give full answers to them (any more than I intended to give full versions of any of the arguments I provided in my original essay) – but hopefully enough food for thought.

Does God Exist? A Brief Blog Essay

NOTE: The following blog essay was originally published in April on Apologetics 315 as part of a series surrounding the question: "Is Christianity True?" Yesterday, the blog 'commonsenseatheism' began publishing a series of 'rebuttals' to the Apologetics 315 series. Since my essay was the first in that series, mine was also the first to receive a 'response'. My next post will contain my response to Luke's response to this brief essay. So I am putting this essay here to set the context for what will follow. Plus - I thought the essay was pretty darn good!


Friday, September 10, 2010

How to Get Apologetics Into Your Church

This spring, Brian Auten of Apologetics315 published a series of web essays - "Is Christianity True?" - from a consortium of 20-odd Christian apologists, teachers, and writers. Now, he is back at it - this time with a series of blog essays on the topic 'How to Get Apologetics Into Your Church'. The essay series is envisioned as a springboard for pastors, deacons, church leaders, Sunday school teachers, and laypeople to implement apologetics within their local church. It seeks to demonstrate not only the desperate NEED for apologetic ministry, but also the possibility for actually doing apologetics in the church.

The essay series was launched today, and included an outline of upcoming essays in the series. Two of my own contributions will be included in the series - one on Monday (Sep 13), entitled 'An Apologetic for Apologetics', and the second on Thursday October 7 entitled 'Preaching to the Choir? Intentionally Apologetic Sermons'.

I encourage you to check out Brian's superb apologetics site, and to follow the upcoming series. The link is below. [For what it's worth, I would rate Apologetics 315, without a doubt, the most helpful and exhaustive site for Christian apologetics on the web. Browse around and see for yourself.]

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Today's 'Pensee' - Diversion

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), mathematician and philosopher, left behind a series of 'fragments' which he had been compiling in preparation for a major work defending the Christian faith. Though his work was never completed, he has left behind much that is worth pondering. To that end, here are a couple of Pascal's 'Pensees' on the nature of man and his desire for diversions. In these two brief fragments, Pascal suggests that human beings seek after diversions to keep themselves from reflecting on their true nature and circumstances. If they reflected on their situation, humans would become 'miserable', and might just seek after the truth (Christianity, to Pascal, of course).

"Anyone who does not see the vanity of the world is very vain himself. So who does not see it, apart from young people whose lives are all noise, diversions, and thoughts for the future? But take away their diversion and you will see them bored to extinction. Then they feel their nullity without recognizing it, for nothing could be more wretched than to be intolerably depressed as soon as one is reduced to introspection with no means of diversion." (36)

"The only good thing for men is to be diverted from thinking of what they are, either by some occupation which takes their mind off it, or by some novel and agreeable passion which keeps them busy ..., in short what is called diversion." (137)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Cat is Out of the Bag - Stephen Hawking and Creation

For many years, Stephen Hawking has played coy regarding the possible role (or lack thereof) for a divine Creator.

His popular "A Brief History of Time" dropped heavy hints of his position. At one point, he insists that science has "uncovered a set of laws that, within the limits set by the uncertainty principle, tell us how the universe will develop with time, if we know its state at any one time. These laws may have originally been decreed by God, but it appears that he has since left the universe to evolve according to them and does not now intervene in it." (126) God is officially acknowledged as a possible initial Creator, but his role is vastly diminished from the common Christian role.