Fall 2020 Discussions

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Monday meetings 5:30 PM in CFS 123 and zoom
Monday Nights 5:30 to 7 PM

Come to our Fall 2020 discussions on Christian apologetics making the case for Christian beliefs and answering challenges from those who believe otherwise.

We meet in CFS 123. Campus limits our meetings to 10 persons face-to-face. Come anyway, and if we fill up, you can go next door to another classroom to log into the classroom computer to show our zoom feed on the projector.

The meetings are streamed on zoom with the password “Jesus”.

We meet from 5:30 PM to 7 PM on Monday Nights.

If you have had any of these questions, heard any of these questions, or are interested in our discussion of these questions, the RATIO CHRISTI IS FOR YOU!

Did the universe have a beginning or was there some sort of oscillating universe, and what does this mean for claims of God’s existence?

What if we find life on other planets? Does this mean the Bible is wrong?

Why is God or why are Christians so obsessed with telling people what they can or can’t do with their bodies?

Wasn’t the Bible just written by a bunch of men? Why should I care what it says?

Is anything REALLY right or wrong? Doesn’t society just decide what is right and wrong?

Why do you trust the Bible when it has been corrupted by translation upon translation upon translation?

There are some crazy things in the Bible. How can Christians believe such things?

If God is good, and God is all-powerful, then why doesn’t he stop evil?

Does my life have any purpose? What does religion matter in regards to the purpose of my life? How would I know if there was a purpose to my life?

Most religions have a view of something after death, but how can we know? It sounds like wishful thinking, to me.

Are there any good arguments that support Christianity or the Bible?

And the most important question of all… Who was Jesus?

Why was Jesus such a big deal? Why does nearly every religion have some acknowledgement of his importance? Why is he quoted so much? And what relevance does he have for MY life? Why should I care?

We’d love to meet you in person or online!

-RCSHSU

Beadoleoma

My mentor, my pastor from long ago, and my friend who writes things you should think about. Enjoy his site. It is deeper and more nourishing than mine. Onward and upward!

Another Traveler

“Ah dinna ken” is one of Jill’s and my favorite ways to say “I don’t understand.” I have ways in other languages. I NEED more ways to say “I don’t understand.”

So “ken” is a favorite word. It may stem from reading At the Back of the North Wind, and ThePrincess and Curdie from George MacDonald, who Mark Twain loved touring.  CS Lewis published an anthology of MacDonald.  He also put George in The Great Divorce. George just walks into the action, and if you had read him, you shake your head and laugh!

So “ken” is a favorite word not a favorite doll.

“Kenning” is also a favorite.  Kenning is when you pair two words to create an evocative new word.  In Beowulf, over a third of all words are kennings.  Two favorites are bone-house for a body, and beadoleoma for “battle light” or Beowulf’s sword. …

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Riots and the Gods of the Copybook Headings

First, what is a copybook?

Good nature like a bee collects honey from every herb.
Ill nature, like a spider sucks poison from the flowers.

Back in the day, when handwriting was valued, copybooks were used to practice penmanship. To elevate your thinking, the copybooks had proverbs, quotations, and pithy sayings as headings on each page. The headings were copied to practice, and the sayings were committed to memory.

Wouldn’t this be a great way to memorize Scripture? I may try making my own copybooks with Scripture verses I’d like to commit to memory. But I digress…

Rudyard Kipling wrote the “Gods of the Copybook Headings” in 1919 after the horrific Great War as a commentary on the degradation of society.*

I contend that his Gods have returned in 2020.

AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

The author reveals that he is reincarnated throughout time observing the requirements of the Gods of the Market Place, but observing the longevity of the Gods of the Copybook Headings.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

The WISDOM of the Gods of the Copybook Headings elevated us to the status of modern Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

The Gods of the Copybook Headings refused to disappear, and the smell of their undeniable truth was detected when news of finality came from far-off places.

molotov-cocktail

The smell of Molotov cocktails and the smell of death in CHAZ/CHOP remind us that the Gods of the Copybook Headings are still stalking mankind’s dreams.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

The Gods of the Market Place in our time tell us that the past is evil and needs to be erased, forgotten, and “worked against”. The author uses unfamiliar beautiful things promised by the 1919 Gods of the Market Place, but modern promises of beautiful things include a society free of police, free from racism, with free healthcare, free education, free living expenses, free housing, free of violence, free of guns, and free of the need for borders, free from military spending, free, free, free…

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”

No place better illustrates this than the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone in Seattle. They wanted a place with no police (the no-cop coop), and immediately an armed militia with no accountability, no due process, no civil protections rose up.

chaz-guards-twitter

The Gods of the Copybook Headings said “Stick to the police and civil authorities”, “Make change within the system or else, you may get a might-makes-right protection racket”. In Kipling’s words, “Stick to the Devil you know.”

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”

The author focuses on adultery as the example of sexual sin in his day. One wonders what his brilliant pen would write today.

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”

One of the most timeless of his stanzas identifies the constant drum beat of Socialism. Margaret Thatcher summarized this very well, “The problem with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.” The other problem with Socialism is that it has been tried, and it destroys lives.

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

This is hopeful. Have the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to us to explain basic truths? Society hasn’t accepted these truths as a whole, but individuals are waking up.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wobbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

Some of these verses remind me of Ecclesiastes.

9 What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun. [Ecclesiastes 1:9 NIV]

1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace. [Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 ESV]

12 I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; 13 also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his work–this is God’s gift to man. [Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 ESV]

– King Solomon

And Paul,

11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then^ face to face.  [1 Corinthians 13:11-12 ESV] (^upon our final reunion with God)

Pray to God to open our eyes to see past the lies of the Gods of the Market Place.

-Darren Williams


*Rudyard Kipling’s “Gods of the Copybook Headings”, Sunday Pictorial of London, October 26, 1919

Posture of the Scientific Apologist

This is an excellent ReBlog of my friend and fellow RTB Community Scholar Dr. Stephen Chua. When you engage with colleagues and other “genuine questioners” consider Dr. Chua’s excellent advice:

Posture of the Answerer

The first thing to note is our posture toward the questioner, which includes our attitude/tone/demeanor/choice of words. We must be:

  1. Nonjudgmental (not “holier than thou”)
  2. Nonadversarial (not “us vs. them”)
  3. Prepared and compassionate

People don’t care how much we know until they know how much we care. Winning their hearts, with gentleness and respect, should take precedence over winning an argument (1 Peter 3:15).

Process of the Answer

After demonstrating the proper posture, the process of systematically presenting the gospel could entail the following (3E model):

  1. Empathize – Walk with them; don’t talk against them (1 Corinthians 9:22b-23).
  2. Educate – Lay out the pertinent evidence succinctly (2 Corinthians 10:5).
  3. Evangelize – End the discussion with a clear presentation of the gospel (1 Timothy 2:3b-4).

Read his whole post…

The A4A Podcast Page

Welcome to the Apologetics4All Podcast Page where you can quickly access all of DW’s audio content.

There are two main themes to the content so far: 1. audio versions of my blog posts where I expand upon the content of the posts and 2. a podcast blog of my trip to Israel in January 2020.

Travels in Israel

My daughter Katy and I traveled to Israel together in January of 2020. We recorded our experiences along the way and created this podcast channel. We hope you enjoy these travel dispatches as much as we enjoyed making them.

Image link

Listen now

Here’s the spotify link to the podcast.

Here’s the apple podcast link.

Here’s the Google link to the podcast.

The Audio Blog

  • Who is DW?
  • What I believe and why

Thanksgiving means GIVING Thanks

good-cook-good-god

At this time of year it is always good to ask:

To whom are you GIVING thanks?

Our society is turning all language INWARD to the ISOLATION of the individual.

  • People don’t meditate on something external like Scripture. They feel mindful. They practice mindfulness.
  • People don’t dialog with each other. They feel offended. They take offense.

And in line with our current holiday week,

  • People don’t GIVE thanks. They feel thankful. They practice thankfulness.

But this is an opportunity to ask them if they know the cook who cooked up this awesome feast of our universe with all its beautiful, breathtaking, and life-giving GIFTS.

A great feast requires a great cook! You know the cook. Introduce your friends and family to the cook. It’s always a special thing to meet the cook in a restaurant, and it is even more special to meet the cook of the universe.

happy-tg

A Sin of Omission?

Is ingratitude a sin?

The ungrateful are often (always?) focused on self. They are curved inward in all their thinking. This curving inward is an ancient description of the “S-word” SIN.

“Martin Luther is credited with concretizing the term “homo incurvatus in se”, humanity curved in upon itself. In reality, the roots of the term extend back to Augustine, Bishop of Hippo. While the two men were separated by over a millennium, their descriptions of sin still give us an excellent metaphor for understanding sin today.” Read more…

Being passively “thankful” is dangerously close to “incurvatus in se“. It eliminates any “other” and makes the conscience warm and fuzzy by stoking the feels.

However, if you are thankful, you are thankful for things you RECEIVED, which implies a GIVER.

Wait! you say. I’m thankful for my own mind, my own resourcefulness, and my own ability to work hard for what I have.

Of course you can be thankful for these things. But your mind, your mental health, and the food and structures that allow you to work are still gifts.

18 Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot. 19 Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil–this is the gift of God. [Ecclesiastes 5:18-19 ESV]

Do not curve your thanks upon yourself to result in generic thankfulness. Give your thanks to God – the Great Gift Giver!

17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights… [James 1:17 ESV]

Come discuss this and other topics related to a rational defense of the Christian truth claims, every Monday night while school is in session at SHSU at 6:30 to 8 PM in CFS 123.

Apologetics and Conversion

You can’t argue someone into the Kingdom!

Wait… really? I personally know dozens of people who experienced “arguments that brought them into” the kingdom of God.

I think I know the source of the objection, though. As a Lutheran, I affirm the statements and explanations in Luther’s Small Catechism. The objection to “arguing someone into” the kingdom is most clearly addressed in the Third Article of the Apostles Creed.

THE THIRD ARTICLE

(Sanctification)

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

What does this mean?

I believe that I cannot by my own thinking or choosing believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to him.

But the Holy Spirit has called me by the gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. In the same way he calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith.

In this Christian Church he daily and fully forgives all sins to me and all believers.

On the Last Day he will raise me and all the dead, and give eternal life to me and all believers in Christ. This is most certainly true.

How do I see the role of apologetics in relation to this clear helplessness to choose Christ?

Simple. What do you think the Holy Spirit is doing when he CALLS and ENLIGHTENS.

A person in the fallen state cannot overcome their prejudices, personal biases, and suspicions of new information without EXTERNAL help. As this person hears arguments for God’s existence, the reliability of the scriptures, etc, they need the spirit’s help to even consider the views that are contrary to their own positions on those topics.

For more on this topic, I hand you off to my friend, Philosopher and Theologian Ken Samples at Reasons to Believe. Here is the first part of a 4 part series on the role of Apologetics in Conversion.

In historic Christianity the field of apologetics (a reasoned defense of the faith) is considered a branch of theology. Apologetics often has a close connection to evangelism (communication of the gospel message) by attempting to remove intellectual obstacles that may stand in the way of a person embracing faith (conversion).

In this four-part series we’ll take a look at how apologetics can directly impact conversion by examining the historical case of Augustine of Hippo (354–430). St. Augustine had one of the most famous conversions to Christianity in history, and various apologetic elements facilitated his coming to faith. Read more…

50-year-old Professor Bought Jesus is King…Why!?!

Tags

This won’t take long.

  1. I like emotion-filled music. (Faure Requiem, Luther’s Hymns, Jazz, Salsa, and anything else that reflects the Good, the True, and the Beautiful)
  2. I listened to it on YouTube, and I liked it, especially Water and Jesus is Lord.
  3. So I bought it. I recognize the volume of Kanye West’s megaphone will proclaim “Jesus is King” to the whole world. But more importantly, his megaphone reaches places in my own country that my voice simply won’t be heard. I want his numbers to go as high as they can to turn that volume up to 11. So I did my part.

God bless the preaching of His word.

Screenshot_20191031-191734_Amazon Music

I’ve been blessed by it, too. I am encouraged by anyone who speaks the truth from God’s Word.

Even if I take this walk alone
I bow down to the King upon the throne
My life is His, I’m no longer my own
I pray to God that He’ll strengthen my hand
[Closed on Sundays]

 

Every time I look up, I see God’s faithfulness
And it shows just how much He is miraculous
I can’t keep it to myself, I can’t sit here and be still
Everybody, I will tell ’til the whole world is healed
King of Kings, Lord of Lords, all the things He has in store
From the rich to the poor, all are welcome through the door
You won’t ever be the same when you call on Jesus’ name
Listen to the words I’m sayin’, Jesus saved me, now I’m sane
And I know, I know God is the force that picked me up
I know Christ is the fountain that filled my cup
[God Is]

 

Every knee shall bow
Every tongue confess
Jesus is Lord
[Jesus is Lord]

 

9 Therefore God has highly exalted him [Jesus] and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. [Philippians 2:9-11 ESV]

 

6 But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?'” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?'” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” [Romans 10:6-11 ESV]

 

3 Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit. [1 Corinthians 12:3 ESV]

Suicide: An Unpardonable Sin for Christians?

In loving memory of my Uncle Larry and Cousin Kristie.
Thank you Ken.

Reflections

Throughout my professional career as both a college professor and a Christian scholar I have been asked thousands of questions. However, whenever I’m asked about suicide it always strikes an emotional chord deep within me. A close member of my familydied by suicide more than 40 years ago when I was just a teenager.My wife also lost a member of her family in the same tragic way.

In thispost I’ll makefour points about the tragedy of suicide.My central focus will be on the question of whether God forgives this act.

  1. The Serious Nature of Suicide

To intentionally take one’s life is indeed a sin of great magnitude. Why? Because suicide is self-murder. And what makes murder such a horrific act is not just the stealing of innocent life, but also the fact that all human beings are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26–27). Therefore, murder constitutes…

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Five Greek Words and Apologetics Persuasion

If you see a trend in my reblogs, congratulations. I’m sure it is obvious that I value Ken Samples perspective and writing.

This is another great topic. Enjoy!

Reflections

What role does persuasion play in communicating Christian truth to people?

To engage in Christian apologetics is to enter into the enterprise of personalpersuasion. When apologists defend the faith it is for the purpose of persuading people of the truth of historic Christianity.But what actually goes into making a good case of persuasion in general and for Christian apologetics in particular?

Rhetoricis the field of discourse aimed at persuasion. And persuasion is involved in many critical areas of life such as education, law, science, politics, and religion, including Christian efforts at evangelism and apologetics. However, too often people associate rhetoric with disingenuous attempts to sway people through slick manipulation—but abuse doesn’t rule out the proper use of rhetoric.

Five basic elements have come to be accepted as legitimate tools of persuasion. While these broad principles were first systematized by pre-Christian Greek philosophers, the modes of persuasion themselves…

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