Archive for April, 2012

April 26th, 2012

How to Argue and Disagree Amicably

by Max Andrews

This is an inevitable aspect of life: people will always disagree with you.  What’s very important is how we ought to respond to someone when we disagree.  Here are few points I’d like to share from experience:

  1. Don’t get angry. We love to use ad hominem attacks but remember you’re discussing an argument or position, not the person.  Getting upset is a natural reaction.  When you let your upset disrupt the friendly atmosphere or affect your arguments, STOP.
  2. Stick to the arguments (following 1). Be reasonable and calm.
  3. Go to the person with him you disagree with first.  This is simply Matthew 18.  Don’t write open letters with defamatory comments and unnecessary attacks (a la Norman Geisler).
  4. Do your best to really have a robust understanding of the other position.  You often heard that you should know the other position just as well as you know yours if you want to criticize it. Well, that’s not true and it’s completely infeasible.  It surely helps but here why that phrase is a problem.  To offer criticisms you just need to contrast it with what you believe to be true.  This is simply conversion, contrapositions, obversions, contraries, and contradictions put into play. If you can do that then you don’t need exhaustive knowledge.  If that phrase is true then everyone will be shutting their mouths all day long.
  5. Let the other person speak and don’t interrupt.
  6. Don’t respond if you’ve been emotionally compromised.  Respond when you’re thinking clearly and calm.
    read more »

April 26th, 2012

A Biblical Case for Divine Foreknowledge

by Max Andrews

Scripture explicitly teaches that God has foreknowledge of future events, employing a specialist vocabulary to refer to such knowledge.  The New Testament introduces a whole family of words associated with God’s knowledge of the future, such as “foreknow” (προγινώσκω), “foreknowledge” (πρόγνωσις), “foresee” (προοράω), “foreordain” (προορίζω), and “foretell” (προμαρτύρομαι).[1]  The first underlying affirmation is the witness behind biblical history.

I am God, and there is none like me,
declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, “My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose” (Isa. 46.9-10).[2]

God testifies to his control of history, which He brings about, not by unknown happenstance, but by His accomplishment.  God does not view the course of natural and human history and then make his plans accordingly.  Paul speaks of “the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things,” “a plan for the fullness of time” according to “the eternal purpose which He has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph. 3.9; 1.10; 3.11; cf. 2 Tim. 1.9-10).[3] 

April 26th, 2012

The Historical Challenge to Miracles

by Max Andrews

Sociologist Ernst Troelstsch’s objection to miracles:  the principle of historical analogy.  In essence this principle states the historian has no right to accept as historical fact the account of a past event for which he has no analogy in the present.  For example, if one were to read of a great battle in ancient times in which one army massacres another without suffering a single casualty itself, one would be suspect of its authenticity.  To quote Troelstsch, “God never does miracles today, at least I’ve never seen one.  Therefore, I have no reason to believe that he did them in the past.”

April 26th, 2012

Theology Thursday: Rudolph Bultmann

by Max Andrews

Theologian: Rudolph Bultmann (1884-1976)

General summary of his theology: Bultmann’s theology is quite faceted but for this Theology Thursday I’m just going to focus on his view on miracles. The early and mid 20th century theologian Rudolph Bultmann argued that “man’s knowledge and mastery of the world have advanced to such an extent through science and technology that it is no longer possible for anyone seriously to hold the New Testament view of the world… the modern conception of human nature as a self-subsistent unity immune from the interference of supernatural powers must take its place.” According to Bultmann God is the Wholly Other, there are no points of contact between us and him.  God is, but we cannot know him objectively.  God is hidden and thus neither God nor his actions are open to verification.  This world is a closed system of cause and effect; we can never find God by empirical processes. There are no breaks in the links of causation; thus, there are no miracles. No event can ever be ascribed to God; all are natural causes.  There is an infinite qualitative difference between God and the world, which makes it impossible for God to objectively act in the world.  Paradoxically, the hidden God reaches down to finite humanity and reaches himself (via the kerygma).  Miracles would be intrusions of God into the natural realm.

April 25th, 2012

Email Subscriptions to the Blog

by Max Andrews

I’ve just found out that if you had once subscribed to the blog via email you may not be getting your emails anymore.  What happened was when I switched hosting platforms for the blog the emails didn’t carry over.  I lost nearly 800 subscribers because of this.  If this happened to you, or if you’d like to sign up for the first time, please enter your email into the field on the right hand column.  I’m sorry about this but hopefully you’ll still follow via email, Twitter, Facebook, RSS feed, or via any other means.  I’ve got many great posts scheduled to be released soon as well as the video of the VT debate. Cheers!

April 25th, 2012

Word of the Week Wednesday: Creatio de Novo

by Max Andrews

The Word of the Week is: Creatio de Novo

Definition:  Latin for creation [or created] afresh.

More about the term:  Progressive creationism sees the creative work of God as a combination of a series of de novo creative acts and an immanent or processive operation.  God at several points, rather widely separated in time, created de novo.  On these occasions he did not make use of previously existing life, simply modifying it.  While he might have brought into being something quite similar to an already existing creation, there were a number of changes and the product of his work was a completely new creature.  Notice that this is completely compatible with common descent evolution and intelligent design.  This isn’t Darwinism but it may be accurate to say that creatio de novo is a categorically acceptable position for theistic evolutionists.  God takes preexisting forms and adds information to that form to have a creation de novo.

For more on this please see Millard Erickson’s Christian Theology ed 2; Hugh Ross’ A Matter of Days; and Fuz Rana’s Who Was Adam?

April 25th, 2012

Be Careful What You Pray For

by Max Andrews

I follow a blog belonging to a good friend of mine and she has excellent, provoking, and challenging posts.  I read her most recent one and I thought I’d share it here.  I would encourage you to sign up and follow her via email or RSS feed.  Her blog is ALLISONJBRAUN. Can you guess what her name is?  Also, feel free to follow her on Twitter: @iateacandleonce

In my life I have seen God answer my prayers in very, very interesting ways.  He is always so Faithful though He may not always answer them the way “we” think or expect Him to.

I could tell a hundred stories of how God has miraculously answered my prayers (seriously, I have some crazy ones, ask me anytime).  Miraculous in good ways and bad.  But nonetheless, for His glory only.

I am here to tell you if you are serious about God and are serious about prayer- be prepared and be careful what you pray for.  Because He may actually answer them.

Recently, I have been praying that I would be more generous and loving.  Generous not just with my money, but with my time, possessions, words, or whatever it may be. And praying that I would learn and grow to truly love others with Christ’s love and see people with His eyes.

Yep, that might sound good and all in a prayer.  And I do mean it.  But of course I don’t know about how God will actually grant these wonderful requests to me… CONTINUE READING

April 24th, 2012

Mormonism 101

by Max Andrews

I was listening to James White’s ‘Dividing Line’ podcast today and he was on a roll discussing politics and Mormonism.  I’d consider White to be one of the leading apologists in the Mormon area.  He brought attention to this Mormonism 101 post.  What I find the most interesting aspect about Mormonism is that it’s the most polytheistic religion in the world.  Islam is closer to Christianity.  If you’re interested, check out the material.

Mormonism 101: Badly Needed in our Culture Today

Mormonism 101: The First Vision Continued

Mormonism 101: More on the LDS Scripture’s View of God

This is just a small section, please read the rest over at AOMIN.org.

April 24th, 2012

Liberty University and Mitt Romney

by Max Andrews

I’m sure most of you are aware of the controversy several students in the student body have raised concerning Liberty’s selection of Mitt Romney as the Commencement speaker this year. This controversy has even been picked up by the Religion blog at CNN.  (Previous notables like Ben Stein, Sean Hannity, Newt Gingrich, and Ted Kennedy have spoken on campus before and were not Evangelicals).  I’m not commenting on anything about the situation other than I simply don’t care if Romney speaks or not.  Jerry sent out an email to the student body today and here’s what it says:

April 24th, 2012

VT Debate Video Soon!

by Max Andrews

I’ve got an update about the debate video.  I just heard from our friends at Tech and they said they have the video ready to go.  The only problem is that the audio has poor quality.  I’m going to try to edit that but if any of you are in the local Lynchburg area and you’re able to edit these kind of things please let me know. I would appreciate your help.  This should be good to go within the next few days.