Talbot School of Theology

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A Blog by the Faculty of Talbot School of Theology
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If ISIS’s God Were Real, Would I Be Obliged to Follow Him?

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 12:00

Dear Dr Craig,

You may be aware that Frank Turek has a question he will sometimes ask atheists, "if Christianity were true, would you become a Christian"? Well, recently, an atheist flipped this question around and asked me "If the Islamic State were true (by which he means, if the specific type of Allah that IS believe in, existed) then likewise, would you become an IS member?" ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Giving Thanks: Spiritual Formation Assignment, Part One

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 12:00

Half of my teaching load each semester consists of teaching the required freshman class Biblical Interpretation and Spiritual Formation. Although I thought the combination of these two topics in one class was strange when I first read the job posting, the class has grown on me and I now love teaching it. I see the connection as leading from proper reading of the Bible to spiritual formation: the very structure of the class helps prevent us from merely reading the Bible in an academic fashion. We spend a large part of the semester looking at the different genres of the Bible (law, prophecy, etc.) and then we reflect on spiritual formation topics related to those genres (such as legalism and idolatry).

Categories: Seminary Blog

Let's Appreciate Our Pastors!

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 12:00

Whether you know it or not, pastors in the church work very hard. They do a lot of things publicly like preaching, teaching, visitation, and leading; but they also do quite a bit behind the scenes like counseling, studying, planning, and praying. Unfortunately, for many pastors, it has become a thankless job. For this reason alone, it would be important for you to celebrate this upcoming October because it is Clergy Appreciation month.

Categories: Seminary Blog

My 13-Year-Old Daughter’s Baptism Testimony

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 12:00

This past Sunday (September 14, 2014), my fourth daughter, Ana, was baptized as a believer in Jesus Christ at Corona Del Mar beach with 15 or so others from Redemption Hill Church. We have heard from so many about the impact of her public testimony, so I thought that I might share it as an encouragement to you as well. The testimony is hers, written by her and read out before she was baptized.

Categories: Seminary Blog

A Theology of Inequality through Jonathan Edwards

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 12:00

Inequality is not necessarily inequity. Often talk related to disparities in income, opportunities, education, skills—you name it—centers on the issue of justice or equity. However, it may be that justice or injustice has little to do with inequalities. As in all matters, it is helpful to get somewhat of a God’s eye view on this rather easily misunderstood issue. What I’d like to do is briefly draw attention to one strand of biblical teaching worth considering as we discuss matters of inequality. I’ll do this with the help of Edwards and his eschatology.

Categories: Seminary Blog

Why God the Father and God the Son?

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 12:00

Hi Sir, I am very glad to meet you through online...

I understood the essentiality of trinity, there is no doubt about why I should believe in triune God. But, I have been thinking what could be the reason for son and father relationship in God’s head ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

A Canonical Approach to the Catholic Epistles?

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 12:00

The Letters of James, Peter, John, and Jude constitute one of the final frontiers in New Testament studies. Whereas the four Gospels and Paul’s letters have received copious attention, these seven letters, in comparison, constitute the distant shores of a largely unknown world. It is not uncommon to search in vain for substantive treatment of any one of these letters in the standard introductions or theologies of the New Testament. While one can find a handful of introductory texts focusing on “the latter New Testament” or “Hebrews through Revelation,” there are precious few devoted specifically to the Letters of James, Peter, John, and Jude, and almost all fail to consider the possibility of interpreting the Catholic Epistles as a discrete collection.[1] Though considering the canonical collections of the “Gospels” and the “Pauline Epistles,” even the groundbreaking Dictionary for the Theological Interpretation of the Bible (2005) fails to supply an entry for the Catholic Epistles ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Passing On Our Faith – One Generation to Another

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 12:00

A family had a priceless family heirloom – a vase – that was passed down one generation to the next generation. One day, the parents of the family who had possession of the vase, left the teenagers at home while they went out shopping for the day. When they returned home, their children met the parents at the door, with sad faces, reporting: “Mother, Father… you know that priceless heirloom our family passes down one generation to the next… while our generation just dropped it”

Categories: Seminary Blog

Theistic Ethics and Mind-Dependence

Fri, 09/05/2014 - 14:15

"... I have a question about morality that you'll hopefully be able to answer and clarify your position on. My knowledge of meta-ethics is pretty modest, but I'm actually leaning albeit tentatively towards morality being objective (see, there's at least one thing we agree on!). I'd argue that moral obligation can be objective without God (I won't do that here though), but I'd go even further and say that IF morality is founded in God it is NOT objective. If "objective" means "mind-independent" which might be a rough definition of objective, but let's accept it for now doesn't that make morality founded in God "divinely subjective" rather than objective? ..."

Categories: Seminary Blog

When The Group Comes First

Thu, 09/04/2014 - 12:30

I recently read a fascinating book by Richard Nisbett, who compares and contrasts contemporary Asian and Western worldviews. It just so happens that the strong-group mentality of Nisbett’s Asian culture corresponds in some important ways to the mindset of people in the New Testament world.

 

 

Categories: Seminary Blog

Religious Language and Everyday Discourse

Tue, 09/02/2014 - 12:15

Occasionally I find myself in a conversation with a non-Christian friend. Sometimes, I have to pay close attention to the language I use if the talk turns to things related to God and ultimate reality. I do the same when I talk to my children about Bible things. I want to be understood, but the normal Christian terms are a foreign language to many people, Christians included. The terms are difficult to use when they don’t communicate.

Categories: Seminary Blog

What Was Herod Thinking?

Fri, 08/29/2014 - 12:00

Dear Dr. Craig,

In his debate with you and, on pp. 175 & 211 in his book "Jesus is Dead," Dr. Robert Price argues that the notion of resurrections are likely not all that unexpected in 2nd Temple Judaism and/or totally absent from the 1st century Jewish world view. He specifically cites the case of some wondering if Jesus is the resurrected John the Baptist.

Beyond your answer that points out Price's essential category error (resurrected mere men are not the same thing as the expectation of a resurrected Messiah), could you please elaborate further as to why the two instances (Jesus mistaken as John resurrected and Jewish allowances for a dying & resurrected God) are wholly distinct?

Categories: Seminary Blog

Non-Israelite Followers of YHWH in the Old Testament

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 12:00

My previous posts have looked at several examples of the different ways God interacted with non-Israelite nations. Ken Berding suggested that I compile a list of the non-Israelite followers of YHWH in the Old Testament. Without further ado, here they are.

Categories: Seminary Blog

The Authority of the Bible, Part One

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 12:00

How could it be reasonable to base my life on an ancient book (the Bible was written between 2000 and 3500 years ago)? Indeed, how could it be reasonable to base my life on any book? I should think for myself. To live by someone else’s instructions is to surrender my own mind and personality. That approach produces mindless drones, cultists and terrorists.

Yet for two millennia, followers of Jesus from every culture and language have followed the Bible as their authority, from simple folks to some of history’s most influential scholars and intellectuals, from poor people with no political power to those in positions of great influence. And the world is radically different as a result.

Categories: Seminary Blog

59 Important Questions You Must Ask a Missions Agency

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 12:00

Choosing a Missions Agency is one of the most important decisions you as a missionary must make. This decision will dictate the large picture and small details of your ministry and daily living. So the more time and energy you can give to this decision, the better the fit you will have on the field. Take this season in your life to examine key agencies you are interested in. The following guide can help you pinpoint the deeper issues that may be important to you ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

The Reality of Time

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 12:00

Dr. Craig,

You have played a vital role in my apologetic development, a long with other philosophers. I am puzzled by the fact that a lot of things are taken for granted although examining their legitimacy is the job of philosophy, thus I need to ask you, why do you believe in time in the first place? Isn't just an idea in our mind that helps us locate an event in relation to our experience? I do not get older because of time, but because of my biological development and entropic reality. These are physical constituents of the Universe that entail space and mass in a dynamical interaction. Moreover, the elements that shape events already exist in our universe, to say the time for x has not yet come, is strictly to say that the physical conditions for x to occur is not satisfied yet by the gathered factors. Can you help me identify what I could be missing here, please?

Categories: Seminary Blog

Jars of Clay

Thu, 08/21/2014 - 12:00

Have you ever felt like a failure? Inadequate? Ineffectual? Have you ever examined your heart and glimpsed sin and darkness and defeat? I have. It is discouraging and demoralizing. It makes me wonder what God sees in me. There is no doubt that I am a flawed vessel. But does that mean that I am a useless vessel?

 

Categories: Seminary Blog

The Morality of the Current Conflict in Israel

Mon, 08/18/2014 - 12:00

Perhaps the real question our friends are asking is this: “What impact does our faith as Messianic Jews have on our support of Israel?” This is a fair question, and it is a reasonable assumption that most Jews who believe in Jesus support the Jewish state.

Categories: Seminary Blog

Questions about Leibniz’s Cosmological Argument

Fri, 08/15/2014 - 12:00

Dear Dr. Craig,

I have been arguing with a friend that is an atheist. I am also an atheist or perhaps more correctly, an agnostic about Leibniz’s cosmological argument ... If after sufficient research, Leibniz’s argument proves more plausibly true than false, than on the basis of it and the abductive argument for the historicity of Christ's resurrection, I'm prepared to take Pascal's Wager.

Categories: Seminary Blog

Indefeasibility and Openness to Evidence

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 12:00

... I have read and listened to you on your reformed epistemologist view; the Christian faith being based on Holy Spirit witnessed properly basic beliefs; distinguishing between knowing and showing your Faith to be true and all. In your statements, and especially with reference to the recent 'Problem with Christian Apologetics' podcast, you state that when a believer encounters a more skilled and sophisticated rebuttal of his Faith, because he knows his Faith to be true primarily by the Witness of the God, he only has to go and research on good defeaters to the rebuttals. The unanswered rebuttals in no way should trump the witness of the Spirit to us on the Truth of Christianity.

My question is, wouldn't that be argued to be having the end game in mind and only finding the reasons to shore up a presupposed conclusion? Wouldn't the incentive to beef up your case lead to interpreting the data to fit the conclusion already at hand? I believe you hold that we should move towards where the evidences lead us, how open are we to the evidences if we have a conclusion that has got to and can only be upheld? I would love to have a response from you.

Categories: Seminary Blog

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