Talbot School of Theology

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Philosophical Challenges in the Doctrine of the Atonement

Fri, 05/27/2016 - 12:00

In a recent Q&A, you mentioned "a theory of the atonement involving as an essential aspect the satisfaction of God's justice faces stiff philosophical challenges, which I hope eventually to address". I suspect I am not alone in excitedly anticipating the completion of your research! In the meantime, would you be able to summarize these challenges? I am certain this would be of significant interest to all your readers, especially those of us who are engaged in Philosophical Theology.

Categories: Seminary Blog

Life Speed

Wed, 05/25/2016 - 12:00

... I’ve also concluded that, metaphorically speaking, 40 miles per hour is my best speed for living life. Of course, there are those times when I have to go fast to finish a project or keep up with a host of activities particular to a certain time of year (like the little league/soccer schedules of my grand children). We all have fast times, for sure.

But the life speed that will enable me to go the long haul, continue to be effective, enjoyable to live with, and strong enough to handle the load, is a cruising speed of 40. Perhaps I first started becoming comfortable with this pace as a boy on our family farm. Life came and went in seasons. Spring and Summer were frenetic at times, but Fall and Winter balanced everything out as the ice and snow forced me to slow down, look both ways, and proceed with caution ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Should Experience Trump Scripture?

Mon, 05/23/2016 - 12:00

In my recent book The Beauty of Intolerance, my father and I discuss how a new view of tolerance has crept its way into the church. One powerful way this is seen is how an increasing number of Christians approach Scripture.

For instance, in his book God and the Gay Christian, Matthew Vines begins by affirming the final authority of scripture on questions of morality and doctrine.[1] And yet when Vines discovered his own same-sex attraction, his perspective began to change based on his personal experience. Now he has become an outspoken advocate for LGBT rights within the church, and his goal is to lead a movement to convince Christians that they can affirm the full authority of scripture and also affirm committed, monogamous same-sex relationships ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

God’s Love and Justice in Contradiction?

Fri, 05/20/2016 - 12:00

Dr. Craig,

Your ministry has radically changed my life. As a direct result of your arguments and debates, I went from a nihilist to a staunch Christian. However, I have encountered a problem with the ontological argument.

Is there a contradiction between perfect justice and perfect mercy in a maximally great being? The way I have seen this objection posed is that the Christian God is just and merciful. Mercy is defined as the suspension of justice. Thus there is a contradiction. I have also seen the argument being put as perfect justice is giving everyone what they're due, and perfect mercy is giving some people less than what they're due.

Is this objection as crushing as its proponents make it out to be? ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Theological Anthropology

Wed, 05/18/2016 - 12:00

Christian anthropologies have been of vital importance throughout the history of the church because at each point in history there are cultural assumptions and philosophical perspectives about the nature of humanity that call the gospel into question, that question God’s Lordship, humanity’s servanthood, and their genuine fellowship in Jesus Christ. To maintain a biblical understanding of salvation, Christians have needed to emphasize humanity’s existence as embodied and as spiritual, as moved by intellect and by desire, as motivated by the will and as motivated by habitual acts that shape the will. These realities of human existence have been uncovered as theologians have thought through the logic of the gospel and its proclamation in their context ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

What is Theology?

Mon, 05/16/2016 - 12:00

The study of theology is considered by many to be dry, boring, irrelevant, and complicated. But for those who want to know God, the study of theology is indispensable.

The word “theology” comes from two Greek words, theos (“God”) and logos (“word”). The study of theology is an effort to make definitive statements about God and his implications in an accurate, coherent, relevant way, based on God’s self-revelations. Doctrine equips people to fulfill their primary purpose, which is to glorify and delight in God through a deep personal knowledge of him. Meaningful relationship with God is dependent on correct knowledge of him ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Problems with Paul

Fri, 05/13/2016 - 14:15

Question

I read your response to the person who responded to Jesus and disliked Paul. I too find myself in this position and was surprised that you found it difficult to figure out why somebody would object to Paul who is drawn to Christ. Jesus is filled with incredible love power mercy and grace and humility. Paul is full of well, Paul. He says he doesn't boast then boasts. I can't imagine Jesus approved of his rules for helping widows (or that any actual widow would make the cut and receive help.) Despite all of the efforts made to defend him he is obviously no fan of women and he worries far too much what other people think. So much so that he is willing to act like a phony to convert them. And whenever you go to church and meet a modern day Pharisees if you ask them a couple questions they always turn out to be really Paul focused. In fact the lack of Christ-like love in the American church and the eagerness to point out other people's sins seems to come from this guy because it's definitely not coming from Christ. I would love for you to finish answering your question and address the issues that most people have with Paul that it seems like you must be aware of. Thanks! ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

J.C. Ryle on Christ as Divine and Human

Thu, 05/12/2016 - 12:00

In his classic book on sanctification, Holiness, J.C. Ryle includes a poignant paragraph on the divine and human natures of Christ.

Categories: Seminary Blog

5 Tips for Young Apologists

Wed, 05/11/2016 - 12:00

It seems strange to be writing a blog with advice for young apologists. After all, I still think of myself as young! There are many “seasoned” apologists I turn to for advice and direction that are much older and more experienced than me (don’t worry, dad, I won’t mention any names!). But since I’m turning 40 this May, I do have some insights for younger apologists that I have learned along the way ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Counter-Cultural Research

Tue, 05/10/2016 - 12:00

At a recent luncheon, the Talbot faculty were reminded about the culture of academia, a culture that permeates Christian universities as well. The typical academic conducts research by herself or himself alone. Any paper or book that results may be reviewed by colleagues, but still the research is the product of one mind alone. Sometimes there are books that contain contributions by various researchers, but each article typically has also a single author. There are exceptions to the rule—books or articles that are co-authored. They are still exceptions, though, and not the rule ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

What Does It Mean to Be a Disciple and to Disciple Others?

Mon, 05/09/2016 - 12:00

I have been studying discipleship lately so that I can become more intentional in “finishing my course,” to use the words of Paul. There is much written about it, but I am offering my own definition so that it might help you in your own journey of being faithful. First, I want to begin by simply showing you the different aspects of my definition, presented in an organized flow ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

¡Gracias Mamá!

Sat, 05/07/2016 - 12:00

Ser mamá es uno de los más grandes privilegios, honores y responsabilidades en esta vida. El amor de una madre por sus hijos trasciende el entendimiento y supera cualquier otra expresión de cariño. Por todos es conocida la figura de una “madre abnegada” que da todo por sus hijos sin esperar nada a cambio. A pesar de su amor desinteresado es triste que como hijos y como sociedad en general tomemos este amor por sentado y no lo apreciemos como deberíamos. Qué bueno que podemos celebrar el día de las madres para honrar su servicio y legado en nuestras vidas. Lo malo es que no tengamos la tendencia a reconocer su esfuerzo durante todo el año y celebremos también sus vidas como mujeres que tienen sueños y dones más allá de su labor como madres ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Resurrection Appearances in the Longer Ending of Mark

Fri, 05/06/2016 - 12:00

Dr. Craig,

I am Brazilian and doing research on the historical Jesus found some articles written by you. I confess that I was surprised with the gift that God gave you to explain and argue about Christ. The reason of writing it is in respect of a doubt that is messing with my faith and Jesus Christ. I am a servant of our Lord Jesus as a child, but for some time, many questions have taken my mind, which meant I started researching the Bible and the gospel writers. With this research, I found that the Bible contains several flaws, but nothing that came to shake my faith ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

What Does a Swastika Mean to Me?

Thu, 05/05/2016 - 20:00

In light of Holocaust Remembrance Week and Holocaust Remembrance Day on May 5, professor Rick Langer shares what a swastika means to him.

... Likewise, the swastika, the twisted cross, is a distillation of all of Nazism. It proclaims “racial purity” and narratives of “supermen” and “lives unworthy of living.” Its jagged arms encompass a thousand crimes both large and small, and circumscribe many million corpses, named and unnamed, which lie in graves across the continent of Europe.

But the swastika has also etched a personal meaning into countless souls. Some of these souls whisper stories from their graves, but others still walk among us. And for some, myself included, the stories of our fathers and mothers have been etched into our souls as well ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

How Do We Truly Help Those in Need?

Thu, 05/05/2016 - 12:00

As the Gospels proclaim, the poor will always be with us (Mt. 26:11) and we are called to help those in need (Mt. 25:31-46). The problem is—how do we do that without causing more harm than good? Anyone who has served in charities in a long-term capacity can recognize a common pattern that author Bob Lupton points out in Toxic Charity ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

La Envidia / Envy

Wed, 05/04/2016 - 12:00

En los Estados Unidos la frase “el jardín del vecino siempre está más verde” es muy común porque ejemplifica correctamente la percepción que la mayoría de la gente tiene de la realidad. No importa lo que uno haga siempre habrá otro que lo haga mejor; no importa lo que uno compre, siempre habrá otro que tenga algo mejor; no importa lo mucho que uno se esfuerce, siempre habrá alguien mejor en alguna área. Esta situación produce algo tan común como destructivo en nosotros, la envidia ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Reflections on Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, Part Two: The Long Defeat and the Old Testament of Middle-Earth

Tue, 05/03/2016 - 12:00

This post continues the study of the long defeat of Tolkien by looking at the foundational work for the Lord of the Rings, the Silmarillion. As noted in the previous post, the long defeat was Tolkien’s phrase for the idea that no matter how many times one defeated evil, it continued to (apparently effortlessly) return to full strength. The motif is connected with the elves primarily, who are immortal and experience the long defeat over the long millennia of their lives. Since we are talking about the long defeat, it is good to slow down and look at more history!

Categories: Seminary Blog

The Worldview Behind "The Jungle Book" Movie

Mon, 05/02/2016 - 15:30

My entire family went to see The Jungle Book this past weekend. From my 3 ½-year old son, to my mother-in-law, we all thoroughly enjoyed it. Disney is to be commended for making an engaging, creative, and faithful “live” version of this classic story.

Like all fictional movies, The Jungle Book offers a story, which has worldview implications. Two questions lie at the heart of the movie: What does it mean to be human? And secondarily: How does man relate to nature? Specifically, these questions are explored through the life of Mowgli—a young boy whom wolves raise in the jungle ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

God’s Response to Evil

Mon, 05/02/2016 - 12:00

A while ago, I got a letter from a friend (whom I’ll call “Mary”) struggling with why God allows evil. Some people had told her that God was working through terrible tragedies to produce a greater good (Rom. 8:28). Others had told her that Satan was the cause of evil and that greater faith and use of her authority in Christ would deliver her from difficulties. Mary found little comfort in these well-meaning professions, and in fact was beginning to think that God was either cruel, impotent, or worse, non-existent, a classic case of the problem of evil ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Is the Universe an Object, and Does It Matter?

Fri, 04/29/2016 - 12:00

Dr Craig,

My question is based on your formulation of the argument from contingency, specifically, your restricted version of the PSR.

Restricted PSR: everything that exists has an explanation for its existence, whether in the nature of its own necessity or an external cause.

There are good reasons to prefer a restricted PSR over the strong version - it avoids the famous objection by Peter Van Inwagen, which argues that the PSR is false because it has the absurd consequence on making all facts necessary. I am aware that you have of Alexander Pruss's work on defending the strong version and am on the fence at the moment as to whether Inwagen's objection succeeds ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

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