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Did God Overlook China?

Fri, 06/23/2017 - 12:00

Dear Dr. Craig,

I'm originally from China and have lived in the U.S. for 17 years. Through a Christian friend, I've been introduced to your books and debates online. I've been going to church for two years now, getting very close to becoming a Christian. Your work has been instrumental in helping my "engineeringly" wired brain making sense of god, slowly but steadily building up my faith. For that, I'm very grateful and want to give my immense gratitude and appreciation.

I find myself uncontrollably talking about god with my Chinese friends, urging them to spend more time in pursuing their spirituality in Christ. Some were interested and some weren't. Pretty consistently, most of them challenge me with the same type of question, "China has thousands years of history, rise and fall of many great dynasties. Where was god? Why didn't Chinese people document the same god? How did Chinese culture enjoy so much brilliant inventions, literatures, and prosperity, without even knowing anything about god? Why didn't god even bothered to love or making himself known to Chinese people for thousands of years?" I tried to research and come up with answers myself, unfortunately, none of which were very convincing to my Chinese friends. I would use your five arguments (origin, fine-tuning, objective moral values, death and resurrection of Jesus, and personal experience) to challenge them, but find it very hard to get past that initial resistance and make the personal connection ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Can There Be Forgiveness Without Repentance? Part 1

Wed, 06/21/2017 - 12:00

The problem I notice is that many times Christians have ongoing difficulty in forgiving those who have wronged them. The strain may go on for many years even as they keep trying to forgive. They frequently assume that there is something wrong with them as being hardhearted and otherwise unloving. They fault themselves for not being able to forgive others. Perhaps these unforgiving Christians are trying to do something that God has not called them to do. Perhaps one-sided forgiveness is actually impossible in the absence of a necessary condition for forgiveness ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Jesus in Genesis 3:15?

Tue, 06/20/2017 - 12:00

In a post on his blog, "Jesus Creed," eminent New Testament scholar Scot McKnight seems to agree with some of the findings of Claude Mariottini's book Rereading the Biblical Text: Searching for Meaning and Understanding which argues that Gen. 3:15 is not in fact messianic. McKnight further points out that such a conclusion agrees with Old Testament luminaries Gordon Wenham and Gerhard von Rad as well as some translations. These, says McKnight, conclude that the “seed” mentioned in Gen. 3:15 refers to not an individual, but rather the sum total of the descendants of both the woman and the serpent ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Critical Tactic: Surfacing the Question Beneath the Question

Mon, 06/19/2017 - 12:00

One difficult lesson I have learned in apologetics and evangelism is to identify the question beneath the question. To be honest, I have spent considerable time answering questions I thought people were asking, but because I was operating under false assumptions, I missed the heart of their query. Have you ever made this same mistake?

Here are three examples from my own life and ministry, and the brief lesson I learned from each of them ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

How Can We Be Commanded to Believe in God?

Fri, 06/16/2017 - 12:00

Dear Dr. Craig,

Thank you for your work in theology. I am grateful for your broad contributions to discussions about theology and religion in public life. Your philosophical and theological ventures are welcoming, thoughtful and substantive.

My question concerns a remark you made in a recent podcast. You mentioned that God commands us to believe in Him. God commanding us believe in Him seems problematic. It is notably articulated by Hasdai Crescas ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

What Pliny the Younger Learned When He Interrogated Christians (ca. A.D. 110)

Thu, 06/15/2017 - 12:00

For many years I have been curious about a Roman governor known to us from history as Pliny the Younger. My interest initially arose because I resided for four years in one of the principal cities he governed—not to mention that one of my four daughters was born in that city. Moreover, since I have expended significant effort studying the writings of the earliest Christian authors after the period of the apostles (those authors known as the “Apostolic Fathers”), I continue to be intensely interested in learning anything I possibly can about the lives of Christians who lived during the first half of the second century ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Warfare in the Ancient Near East and the Old Testament 3: Fighting Chaos

Wed, 06/14/2017 - 12:00

The second chapter of my book on warfare in the ancient Near East (see an overview to the book in a previous post) studies the casus belli of the ancient kings. Although presumably kings often went to war to gain plunder, this was not frequently stated in such bald terms. Instead, the most commonly stated reason for warfare was that the king fought to defeat chaos and preserve order in the world. In this post we will look at the Egyptian and Assyrian claims for preserving order as their goal for war and how these claims help us understand Scripture ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

How Do You Best Prepare Students for College? An Interview with Author Jonathan Morrow

Mon, 06/12/2017 - 12:00

Jonathan Morrow is one of the top communicators for both students and adults on apologetics and cultural issues. He is adjunct professor of Apologetics at Biola University (with me!) and director of cultural engagement at Impact 360 Institute where he teaches high school and college students. Check out his website and Twitter account: jonathanmorrow.org and @Jonathan_Morrow.

We co-authored the book Is God Just A Human Invention? together in 2010. Last week he released an update of his classic book Welcome to College. This has been one of the top books I recommend for future college students to read so they can experience relational, emotional, academic, and spiritual success. Check out this interview and if you are an aspiring college student, or you know one, consider getting a copy of his excellent book ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Resurrections prior to the World’s End?

Fri, 06/09/2017 - 12:00

Fact 4, Point 2 in your opening statement of the debate with Bart Ehrman: you state that Jewish views of the afterlife precluded having a glorified existence prior to the general resurrection. Yet, the accounts of the Transfiguration of Jesus, three disciples saw Moses and Elijah. Elijah, according to the account in Kings, never died, but Moses is recorded as having died at the end of Deuteronomy. Whether or not he was actually raised and glorified in the same sense they came to believe Jesus was, could they not have believed that to be the case? Apparitions of the dead (Samuel to Saul and the medium at En-dor) were not unknown in the OT ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

5 Game-Changing Books to Read this Summer

Thu, 06/08/2017 - 12:00

love reading. And what better time is there to read than summer? While there are certainly plenty of good books to read, here are five of my personal favorites. While they tend to be in the category of apologetics and culture, these books were all “game changers” for me that either led me to act or see the world differently ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

King David in Archaeology

Wed, 06/07/2017 - 12:00

In his forthcoming summative book, called Beyond the Texts, the Syro-Palestinian archaeologist William G. Dever summarizes what is presently known about ancient Israel and Judah based primarily on the artifacts—the material culture that includes textual sources. One example is Dever’s portrait of the historical King David. He offers the following seven propositions about David that are inferred from archaeology and also converge with what is attested in biblical texts ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

How to Remain a Truly Christian University

Tue, 06/06/2017 - 12:00

I just finished reading Owen Strachan’s book, Awakening the Evangelical Mind: An Intellectual History of the Neo-Evangelical Movement. He has some good words for how to keep evangelical universities, well … evangelical. These three paragraphs are worth the three minutes it will take you to read them ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Who Is the "Fool" that Denies God? Not Who You Think

Mon, 06/05/2017 - 12:00

A few summers ago I was doing my “Atheist Encounter” at a large student Christian camp in the Midwest. While the interaction with the audience sometimes gets heated (since I role-play an atheist, after all) the students in this session were far testier and argumentative than normal ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

“What if—?” Questions

Fri, 06/02/2017 - 12:00

Dear Dr. Craig

I have been a fan of your work for about 2 or 3 years now. I used to be an atheist until one of my Christian friends directed me to your website and now I would consider myself to be struggling with atheism/scientism and Christianity. The last few days an idea has shaken up my worldview and my trust that philosophy can prove the existence of God. I think I can best sum up the idea as such ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Creating a Place of Refuge

Thu, 06/01/2017 - 12:00

Summer movies are often the stories of heroes; whether real-life or Marvel®, both are super. These stories inspire as they entertain us. The problem is, most of the time, we are content with letting someone else be the hero. We are too busy, too passive, too self-absorbed, or too afraid of what would happen if we got involved; and so the people around us stay unknown to us and do not receive the help they need. The result is preconceived biases that isolate us from one another and a lack of care and compassion for those who need a place of refuge and relief ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Business as Ministry: Work as a Reflection of God

Wed, 05/31/2017 - 12:00

All legitimate work in the world has intrinsic value and God calls men and women to be faithful in working in various arenas as their service to Him. Of course, there are some limits to this, since it would difficult to see how God could call someone to produce pornography or engage in the illegal drug trade. But excluding those exceptions, God calls people to work in business, not only because of what it accomplishes, but because it has value in and of itself to God. Business is the work of God in the world in the same way that being a pastor is the work of God in the church and in the same way that missionary service is the work of God on the mission field. All have value to God because of the value of the work done, and that work is an intrinsically good thing that has value as it's done with excellence ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Dualism, Non-Reductive Physicalism, and the Spiritualization of Death

Tue, 05/30/2017 - 12:00

Recently I was in discussion with a friend who was concerned about the tendency of some Christians to spiritualize death and dying by appeal to the afterlife. To “spiritualize” death and dying is to utilize spiritual beliefs to avoid dealing with unwanted feelings over the loss of a loved one. “I just try to think of how happy she is with Jesus.” “When we see him again in heaven it will seem like no time has passed.” “I am just glad she’s finally at rest in Jesus’ arms.” To spiritualize death and dying in these and other ways is a defense mechanism. It is a way to defend against experiencing some painful part of reality as it actually is ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

El Pecado de la Adicción al Trabajo

Mon, 05/29/2017 - 12:00

Cada vez estoy más convencido que ser un “trabajador obsesivo” es la adicción más común entre las personas que están en el ministerio cristiano. Evidentemente esta condición se presenta entre todas las personas sin importar su ocupación o religiosidad. De hecho en inglés el término “workaholic” ya forma parte del vocabulario común ya que representa una realidad cada vez más presente en nuestras sociedades. Pero es fácil convertirse en un trabajador obsesivo y disfrazar esta situación con piedad y buenas intenciones. De la misma manera es muy atractivo sumergirse en el trabajo y echarle la culpa a Dios o a la obra de Dios como excusa por esta situación ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Royally Bad Objections to the Kalām Cosmological Argument

Fri, 05/26/2017 - 12:00

Dr. Craig,

I can't tell you how much of a blessing your work has been to me. You have been a great inspiration to me, and I consider you a fine example of what a Christian scholar should be.

I have been listening to a series of lectures entitled "The Big Questions of Philosophy" published by The Great Courses in which Professor David K. Johnson of King's College attempts to answer philosophically some of life's biggest questions. Because of the growing popularity of these lectures (especially now that they have been made very affordable through Audible), I thought it might be beneficial to get your thoughts. Professor Johnson demonstrates a deep familiarity with Christian apologetics. So much so that the lectures could almost have been entitled, "An Unbelievers Guide to Christian Apologetics." That may be a little bit of an exaggeration but not by too much. He singles out Richard Swinburne, Alvin Plantinga, and yourself. I hope one day you might have time to produce a podcast debunking his claims in general, but for now I wanted to ask you about something in which he mentions you by name specifically ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Finding Favor and Extending Favor

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 12:00

Job interviews are a nerve-wracking ordeal. The feeling of being out of control regarding one’s future leads to subservient postures in relationships. This was the situation the Moabite, Ruth, found herself in after returning with her mother in-law to Bethlehem (Ruth 1). However, in this amazing Biblical narrative is a posture of grace-seeking that is reminiscent of our seeking God; it is the God-action of finding favor in others that we should model in our working relationships ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

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