Thursday, March 30, 2017

Timothy Keller, The Reason for God - Part I of III

Keller, Timothy.  The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism.  New York: Dutton, 2008. 293 pp.

I am, in many ways, an apologetics junkie.  I love the various aspects, topics, issues, styles, methods, approaches, insights, and personalities of Christian apologetics.  Like anyone, I have my favorite apologists.  The Apostle Paul is certainly one; St. Augustine another.  Thomas Aquinas is high up on my list, as is Thomas Sherlocke.  In the 20th century, James Warwick Montgomery, Josh McDowell, Lee Strobel, Gary Habermas, and William Lane Craig have been apologetic heroes.  But my absolute favorite 20th-century apologist is indubitably C. S. Lewis – not because I agree with him about everything, but because he is a masterful communicator, and because his basic approaches to apologetic questions is both sound and winsome.  Lewis was a genius at grasping complex theological truths and communicating them in terms that everyone could comprehend.  Lewis was a master wordsmith who took pride in the craft of creating beautiful prose, even in argumentative form.  Lewis also understood the mind and heart of the non-Christian, and engaged them in their terms on their turf – very effectively at that.
In all of those ways, I tend to hold up Timothy Keller as a 21st-century C. S. Lewis.  Like Lewis, Keller is a broad reader, with deep understanding of the theological truths of the faith as well as the mind of the non-Christian.  Like Lewis, Keller loves learning and language, and crafts lovely literature.  In this next series of blog posts, I intend to interact with two of Keller’s most prominent apologetic works: his 2008 The Reason for God, and his 2016 Making Sense of God.  I will have three blog posts on each book: this post covers the first half of the first half (yes, the repetition was deliberate) of The Reason for God.  

Monday, March 27, 2017

Postmodernism & Truth

Truth Considered & Applied: Examining Postmodernism, History, and Christian Faith. By Stewart E. Kelly. Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2011, 376 pp., $29.99 paper.

Stewart Kelly, professor of philosophy at Minot State University (North Dakota), has written a helpful treatise on historical knowledge and truth in a postmodern age.  Kelly divides Truth Considered & Applied into three parts, corresponding to three major questions.  (1) What is postmodernism?  (2) Given postmodernism, is genuine historical knowledge still possible?  (3) How should we think about truth?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Our Christian Worldview Textbook is Coming!!!!

Very exciting to see this come up on Amazon for the first time.  My co-authored textbook, with Michael Clark and David Naugle, An Introduction to Christian Worldview: Pursuing God's Perspective in a Pluralistic World, is now listed on Amazon and available for pre-order, with a release date of October 28, 2017 (just in time for my birthday!).

Amazon Worldview book page!

There's still lots of work to do to shepherd the book to the finish line, but it's pretty cool to know that our book, nearly 5 years in the making, is just about complete and published.  I'll be sharing more on An Introduction to Christian Worldview as the months move along.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

EPS Dialogue: Ehrman's Resurrection Historiography

So, this past weekend I was in Louisville, Kentucky for the Southeast Regional meeting of the Evangelical Philosophical Society.  Great conference!  I presented a paper I wrote, as a Socratic dialogue featuring Bart Ehrman and his interlocutor, Professor Dart Bearmahn, interrogating Ehrman's historical methodology concerning the post-mortem fate of Jesus of Nazareth.  One of my old professors, Dr. Mark Coppenger, honored me by reading the paper with me - and, I have to say, it was the most fun I have ever had presenting an academic paper!  A new friend, Keith Buhler (currently finishing his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Kentucky) was kind enough to take a bootleg copy of the presentation.  Below, I provide the abstract of the paper, and a link to Keith's Youtube video.  Hope you enjoy it!

Dart Bearmahn: “Why Leah Never Won the Lottery, The Red Sox Didn’t Win the 2004 World Series, Man is Not Descended from Apes, and Jesus Never Died on the Cross.”

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Need for Apologetics luncheon talk

Last week, I had the opportunity to spend my lunch hour with a business in Oklahoma City; they invited me to come and talk about the need for apologetics in our contemporary context.  The company recorded the talk, and I figured it would be worth posting up here.  Enjoy!

Jasco Apologetics Talk

Thank you once again to Jasco Products for their eagerness to have good conversation about important contemporary theological topics.

Friday, March 10, 2017

The End of Apologetics, Part II - Critical Analysis

Penner, Myron Bradley. The End of Apologetics: Christian Witness in a Postmodern Context. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013. 180 pp. $19.99.
In my last blog post, I summarized the primary arguments of Myron Penner’s The End of Apologetics, a polemic diatribe opposing the modern apologetic enterprise.  Penner’s overarching thesis is that in our postmodern context, apologetic endeavors mired in the concerns and paradigms of Enlightenment modernity are doomed to failure.  Having outlined the contours of his book, I would like, in this post, to engage in a spirited critique of his thought, method, and means.
The End of Apologetics is among the most challenging, perplexing, and frustrating books that I have read in recent memory.  While there are helpful elements to Penner’s treatise (e.g., the emphasis on person-relative sensitivity in apologetic conversation; the importance of how, not just what, we believe, share, and proclaim), the positives are greatly outweighed by the negatives. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The End of Apologetics, Part I - Summary

Penner, Myron Bradley. The End of Apologetics: Christian Witness in a Postmodern Context. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013. 180 pp. $19.99.
In this brief two-part series, I will interact extensively with Myron B. Penner’s The End of Apologetics, published in 2013 by Baker Academic.  The primary content of these blog posts has previously been published in Philosophia Christi 17.1 (2015): 241-47.  In this initial blog essay, I will summarize the primary thrust and arguments in Penner’s book, and in my follow-up I will engage in a spirited critique of his work.
Myron Penner earned his Bachelor and Master’s degrees at Liberty University before completing a Ph.D. at the University of Edinburgh.  He has served on faculty at Prairie Bible College (Three Hills, Alberta, Canada), and as an Anglican priest in my hometown, Edmonton, Alberta.  Penner currently is pastor of Trinity International Church in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia.  The End of Apologetics is Penner’s polemic diatribe opposing the modern apologetic enterprise, exemplified (for Penner) most clearly by William Lane Craig.  Penner’s overarching thesis is that in our postmodern context, apologetic endeavors mired in the concerns and paradigms of Enlightenment modernity are doomed to failure—indeed, they are a “curse,” and the one who utilizes them “is a second Judas who betrays the Christ.” (9)  To replace Craig’s modern apologetics, Penner advocates a post-modern Christian witness that edifies by adhering to an ethic of belief and witness.