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.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! [Psalm 84:4]
Martin Luther loved music saying, “I have no use for cranks who despise music, because it is a gift of God. Music drives away the Devil and makes people joyful; they forget thereby all wrath, unchastity, arrogance, and the like. Next after theology, I give to music the highest place and the greatest honor.”
In fact, “Sing” occurs 115 times; “singing” 29 times; “song” 85 times; “hymn” 3 times; and “music” 29 times in the ESV. That is 261 references to singing songs to God in 66 books of the Bible.
Faith Lutheran Choir is starting up again with Wednesday night rehearsals from 6:30 to 8PM. Chester Bammel is directing and we have a new pianist who will accompany us. I’m excited because this will greatly enhance our worship on Sunday mornings.
We would love to have you – any and all levels of skill. (And if you are not in our church, join or start a choir in YOUR church.)
If you are not quite ready to join a choir, please ask God to give you the boldness to participate in singing the hymns on Sunday morning.
Music and singing is like God’s Neosporin for your scratched up soul. It helps you heal and protects you from infection.
We can sing in any situation.
We sing when we win.
Considering what God has done for us in Christ, we have won big!
Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! [Psalm 105:2]
We sing when we lose.
We rebel against the world by proclaiming God’s faithfulness in spite of our circumstances.
But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress. [Psalm 59:16]
Paul and Silas knew this. [The Philippian Jailer] put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them… [Acts 16:24-25]
Afraid your singing will strike fear into those around you? Here’s YOUR verse! (Spoiler alert! It all turns out fine in the end, so sing anyway!)
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD. [Psalm 40:3]
As [Jesus] was drawing near–already on the way down the Mount of Olives–the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.”
He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” [Luke 19:37-40]
No storm can shake my inmost calm while to that Rock I’m clinging. Since Love is lord of heav’n and earth, how can I keep from singing?
The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart, a fountain ever springing! All things are mine since I am his! How can I keep from singing?*
“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. …
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…
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.
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.
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
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.
*Rudyard Kipling’s “Gods of the Copybook Headings”, Sunday Pictorial of London, October 26, 1919
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.
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.
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.
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
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…
I listened to it on YouTube, and I liked it, especially Water and Jesus is Lord.
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.
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
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]