Talbot School of Theology

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A Blog by the Faculty of Talbot School of Theology
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Identity with Christ: Spiritual Formation Assignment, Part 3

9 hours 58 min ago

The idea of our identity with Christ is an important topic in my class on spiritual formation. We spend several class sessions looking at Colossians 3:1-17 from a variety of angles and often return to thinking about how our identity with Christ is foundational for our spiritual life and maturity (the students also memorize Colossians 3:1-17 over the course of the semester). The capstone to this section of the class is an assignment helping the students to reflect on their own identity. Here are the instructions ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Finding Meaning in Life

Fri, 12/19/2014 - 12:00

This is the weekly Q & A blog post by our Research Professor in Philosophy, Dr. William Lane Craig.

Hello Dr. Craig

I'm writing from Sweden so I hope you can understand the meaning of my questions even if it is not in perfectly good english. I should start by saying that I am a non-Christian ... Some months ago I started thinking about life, in a way that I had not done before. I started asking myself the big questions. What is the meaning of my life? What is the reason we are here? What makes me important? Sadly I couldn't find the answers to these questions and the more I thought about them, the harder it became to live my day to day life ... Is the only reason to live life as a Christian to tell others about God? Is that the meaning of life? And finally, why why why should people who believe in God but lives here on earth under terrible circumstances (poverty, depression, sickness, war) still continue there lives here? Wouldn't it be better to just die and go to heaven?

Categories: Seminary Blog

Why You Shouldn’t Tell your Children that Santa Claus is Real

Thu, 12/18/2014 - 12:00

A few evenings ago, we hosted a delightful group of ten Biola students at our house for dinner. During dessert, we launched into a lively discussion about how we should celebrate Christmas as Christians. We discussed various sub-topics under this broader question, but we spent the largest portion of our time talking about how Christians should—and should not—talk to their children about Santa Claus.

 

Categories: Seminary Blog

A Christmas Mother

Wed, 12/17/2014 - 12:00

Since I had several December pregnancies, I found myself frequently thinking of Mary, the first Christmas Mother. As I thought of my troubles and fears with my pregnancy—nothing unusual, just what is common to woman: morning sickness, fatigue, aches, and concerns about the safety of the delivery of the child—I remembered that she was quite possibly, the bravest mother who ever lived. She faced obstacles on every hand but she faced them with courage. Her life was full and good, but it was not at all what she imagined her life and her motherhood would be.

Categories: Seminary Blog

What Are You Waiting For?

Mon, 12/15/2014 - 12:00

The season of Advent is one in which the Church anticipates, prepares for, and celebrates the coming of Jesus Christ into our midst. As I thought about waiting expectantly for the presence of Jesus, I started wondering what exactly I am waiting for. What is it I expect from his coming? Am I waiting for him to come and fix my circumstances or get me out of a tight place? Do I just want him to ease my suffering and pain, to bring comfort and solace?

Categories: Seminary Blog

Letter from a Grieving Father

Fri, 12/12/2014 - 12:00

This is the weekly Q & A blog post by our Research Professor in Philosophy, Dr. William Lane Craig.

Dear, Dr. Craig,

My daughter died a little over a month ago. She would of been three January 18th.I loved her more then anything. She was born with a rare neurological disease. My question is... How could an all loving God, who loves his children and who has such great "power" would allow this to happen. How come everything that happens good to a believer confirms faith and the bad is considered a test or a cliquiest " God is mysterious" explanation. If he is so great and so good, then why he take my daughter from me?! ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

The Christian, Torture, and Intercessory Prayer: The Gist and a Christian Ethics Reading List

Thu, 12/11/2014 - 14:00

Readers of this blog may be interested in the short article I have written over at Reformation 21. The gist of my claim is that the person of Jesus Christ shapes our primary ethical response to torture and our attitude to its perpetration by our authorities. Person, that is, over procedure, particularly over fear based consequentialist reasoning that might allow in extremis the ends of security to justify the means of torture. I very minimally offer that the health of our moral imaginations as Christian citizens is attested to in our habits of corporate prayer.

Categories: Seminary Blog

The Authority of the Bible, Part Two

Mon, 12/08/2014 - 12:00

The Bible claims to be our supremely authoritative guide to life. But isn’t it irrational, oppressive, or even dangerous to base our lives on an ancient book—any book—rather than to “think for ourselves”? My claim in this short series is that basing our lives on the Bible is exactly what thinking for ourselves leads us to do—if we’re thinking well ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Faith and Works

Fri, 12/05/2014 - 12:00

This is the weekly Q & A blog post by our Research Professor in Philosophy, Dr. William Lane Craig.

 

"... You might say that there are objective moral values and they need to be followed regardless of the fact that they do affect our salvation or not. Bible and Jesus also teach us to do good deeds. I agree with these assertions but the question still lingers for a person like me and many others (people who are primarily concerned with the bottom line result) that why do we have to take moral commandments/values so seriously when ultimately they are not going to count in our 'scoring sheet' in the hereafter. Of course there are objective moral values and Bible & Jesus Christ teach us to be good human beings. But Bible/Jesus Christ teach us lot of good things and no Christian can claim to fully adhere to these teachings. This is what evangelical Christianity teaches us that whatever good we do, we cannot merit God's salvation which is an unmerited gift and comes with faith alone ..."

Categories: Seminary Blog

Christians Against the Law?

Thu, 12/04/2014 - 12:00

To what extent should Christians follow the Old Testament law? I submit that the proper question should not be “Which laws are relevant?” but rather “How are all these laws relevant?” Instead of dismissing priests, holy places and sacrifices as unrelated to Christian living, one would do better, in my opinion, to explore how God is revealed through all of these and how God specifically relates to the ritual categories of space, status and time in the contemporary Christian experience.

Categories: Seminary Blog

Spurgeon Comments on Whitefield's Preaching

Wed, 12/03/2014 - 12:00

Charles Spurgeon’s words about the way Whitefield preached are worth pondering ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Thriving In Ministry: 20-20 Hindsight

Tue, 12/02/2014 - 12:00

Students often ask, What does a Christian leader need in order to experience an effective life of ministry in the local church? A key part of the answer has to do with the kinds of people we gather around ourselves. As I look back over some thirty-five years of local church ministry, four kinds of relationships (besides God and my natural family) have proven indispensable to the health and vitality of my own pilgrimage as a pastor ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Fine-Tuning and the Prior Probability of Theism

Fri, 11/28/2014 - 12:00

This is the weekly Q & A blog post by our Research Professor in Philosophy, Dr. William Lane Craig:

I'm taking a philosophy class at a local community collage. I wrote a paper on the fine-tuning argument presented by Robin Collins. The fine tuning is improbable given atheism. Here we have all of the number for fine tuning for life given by Collins. But my professor raised an objection that I have never heard before, namely what is the probability of God? His objection is that if have a probability for the fine tuning we need a probability to compare it to. Since we don't have a clear one, why should we conclude that God is more likely than atheistic fine tuning? If you could help me understand this I would greatly appreciate it. I can understand that it seems like a very reasonable thing to think God is not as unlikely as the fine tuning but is there a strong philosophical argument or case to be made here?

Categories: Seminary Blog

Adjustable Seating

Mon, 11/24/2014 - 12:00

Stability is a good thing – knowing that your favorite chair won’t collapse when you plop down in it after a hard day – being able to count on the love of someone no matter what. But as followers of Jesus Christ, we need to be willing to adjust with the changes that come with such a commitment. The first disciples were so inclined, and because of it, we have the gospel, are born-again, and look forward to an eternity in the presence of our loving Father.

Categories: Seminary Blog

Evolution Without God

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 12:00

This is the weekly Q & A blog post by our Research Professor in Philosophy, Dr. William Lane Craig:

While taking an anthropology course at San Jose State University about 10 years ago, the instructor took a poll on the first day of class asking students if that we were there because:

1) God created the world that we know including humans in their present form.

2) God guiding evolution to present times.

3) Evolution without God via chance and natural selection.

The instructor ended the survey by saying that by the end of the course he would convince the class that #3 is, in fact, the truth. One of the examples that he used was the argument involving vestigial limbs and body parts. He pointed to humans resembling tadpoles with tails in the embryo state, whales with hip joints, dogs with toes high on their legs that are useless, genetic trail showing that a horse's hoof is really the middle toe that continued to grow longer than the others, etc.

I would love to hear Dr. Craig's answer to such evidence. I have been strengthened by your ministry and I will continue to support it. Please feel free to paraphrase my question to correct any grammatical errors.

Categories: Seminary Blog

The Call of an Under-Shepherd

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 12:00

At the end of September I had the honor of speaking at the installation of my good friend, Mickey Klink, as head pastor of Hope Evangelical Free Church in Rosco, Illinois. The following is the text of my talk and I thought I would share it in this venue as it might possibly serve as encouragement for others who are about to embark on the journey of pastoral ministry. (I’ve shared this with Mickey’s permission):

 
Categories: Seminary Blog

Women and the Office of Deacon: Part 5

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 12:00

In my earlier posts for this series I argued that the office of Deacon should be reconsidered as broader than physical needs and re-defined as leadership of the ministries of the church. I argued that women should be promoted to the office of Deacon in the church. This final piece addresses two objections related to promoting women to the office of Deacon with some functions of leading and instructing men in the church. Just to be clear, this entire proposal is within a complementarian framework that regards women and men as distinct, as shown by the limitation of the office of Elder to qualified men (not women).

 

 

 

Categories: Seminary Blog

Christmas in November?

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 11:33

Merry Christmas! Today, November 18, is Jesus' birthday, according to a few ancient sources.

A few years ago, I came across an interesting article about the date of Jesus' birth by Paul Meier, a prominent New Testament scholar. Here is a summary:

We celebrate Jesus' birthday on December 25, but it is quite unlikely that he was born on that day. That date was picked out in the fourth century, possibly as a replacement celebration for the winter solstice or other pagan holidays.

Paul Meier suggests a birthday in November. This is based on two pieces of data....

Categories: Seminary Blog

Reflexiones del Pasado y Presente Sobre la Reforma en Hispano América

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 12:00

Hace unos días tuve el privilegio de participar en el IV Congreso sobre la Reforma Protestante Española que tuvo lugar en la Facultad de Filosofía de la Universidad Complutense en Madrid, España. Este importante congreso internacional tuvo como tema principal la Reforma en Hispano América. Entre los participantes se encontraban profesores, historiadores y eruditos para dialogar acerca de la influencia del protestantismo en América Latina y su relación con la reforma española. Aunque el número de participantes no eran tan numeroso, el significado de esta reunión y los temas tratados son de suma importancia y son relevantes para nuestros días. Me gustaría compartir en este espacio algunas reflexiones sobre el pasado y el presente basadas principalmente en los temas tratados en este congreso.

Categories: Seminary Blog

God of the Gaps

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 12:00

This week's question: "...In watching your debates, I came across your debate with Sean Carroll. What an outstanding performance by the both of you. I think it might be the best debate available on your site. But Carroll made a point in passing that bothers me, and I wonder if you might not flesh it out more for me. It is: How are the teleological argument, and, for that matter, the cosmological argument, not God of the gaps? It seems the argument really is "we don't know how this fine-tuning could occur without God, so it must be God." Or, "we don't know how something came from nothing, so it must be God." I admit, as I think it through, why can't the atheist simply tack on "yet." This does seem like an Ancient Greek saying "we don't know how lightning exists, so it must be Zeus." The correct answer then was simply to tack on a "yet" after "we don't know how lightning exists." I'm certain I'm missing something, but I do find this troubling from an intellectual standpoint."

Categories: Seminary Blog

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