Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Apostle Paul Answers the Question, "What about Those Who Never Heard?"

In his open-air address to the Athenian philosophers on the Areopagus, the Apostle Paul explained:

"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth all men life and breath and everything else.  From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.  God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 'For in him we live and move and have our being.'" (Acts 17:24-28)1

As philosopher and theologian William Lane Craig explains, these verses plausibly argue that those who would respond to the gospel, hear it:

"God in His providence has so arranged the world that those who would respond to the gospel if they heard it, do hear it.  The sovereign God has so ordered human history that as the gospel spreads out from first-century Palestine, He places people in its path who would believe it if they heard it.  Once the gospel reaches a people, God providentially places there persons who He knew would respond to it if they heard it.  In His love and mercy, God ensures that no one who would believe the gospel if he heard is born at a time and place in history where he fails to hear it.  Those who don't respond to God's general revelation in nature and conscience and never hear the gospel wouldn't respond to it if they did hear it.  Hence, no one is lost because of historical or geographical accident.  Anyone who wants or even would want to be saved will be saved."2

Courage and Godspeed,

1. Acts 17:24-28 as quoted by William Lane Craig, On Guard, p. 281.
2. Ibid. p. 280-281.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

What Are the Laws of Logic? by J.P. Moreland

There are three fundamental laws of logic.  Suppose P is any indicative sentence, say, "It's is raining."

The law of identity: P is P.
The law of non-contradiction: P is not non-P.
The law of excluded middle: Either P or non-P.

The law of identity says that if a statement such as "It is raining" is true, then the statement is true.  More generally, it says that the statement P is the same thing as itself and is different from everything else.  Applied to all reality, the law of identity says that everything is itself and not something else.

The law of non-contradiction says that a statement such as "It is raining" cannot be both true and false in the same sense.  Of course it could be raining in Missouri and not raining in Arizona, but the principle says that it cannot be raining and not raining at the same time in the same place.

The law of excluded middle says that a statement such as "It is raining" is either true or false.  There is no other alternative.

These fundamental laws are true principles governing reality and thought and are assumed by Scripture.  Some claim they are arbitrary Western constructions, but this is false.  The basic laws of logic govern all reality and thought and are known to be true for at least two reasons: (1) They are intuitively obvious and self-evident.  Once one understands a basic law of logic (see below), one can see that it is true. (2) Those who deny them use these principles in their denial, demonstrating that those laws are unavoidable and that it is self-refuting to deny them.

The basic laws of logic are neither arbitrary inventions of God nor principles that exist completely outside God's being.  Obviously, the laws of logic are not like the laws of nature.  God may violate the latter (say, suspend gravity), but He cannot violate the former.  Those laws are rooted in God's own nature.  Indeed, some scholars think the passage "In the beginning was the Word [logos]" (Jn. 1:1) is accurately translated, "In the beginning was Logic (a divine, rational mind)."  For example, even God cannot exist and not exist at the same time, and even God cannot validly believe that red is a color and red is not a color.  When people say that God need not behave "logically," they are using the term in a loose sense to mean "the sensible thing from my point of view." Often God does not act in ways that people understand or judge to be what they would do in the circumstances.  But God never behaves illogically in the proper sense.  He does not violate in His being or thought the fundamental laws of logic.1

Courage and Godspeed,

1. J. P. Moreland, "What are the Laws of Logic?," The Apologetics Study Bible, p. 1854.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Counterpoints: Pro-Life or Partially Pro-Life?

Florida Senator Marco Rubio:

I have never said that. And I have never advocated that. What I have advocated is that we pass law in this country that says all human life at every stage of its development is worthy of protection. 

In fact, I think that law already exists. It is called the Constitution of the United States.

And let me go further. I believe that every single human being is entitled to the protection of our laws, whether they can vote or not. Whether they can speak or not. Whether they can hire a lawyer or not. Whether they have a birth certificate or not. And I think future generations will look back at this history of our country and call us barbarians for murdering millions of babies who we never gave them a chance to live.1

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie:

He made it clear on the issue of pro-life, Marco Rubio is not for an exception for rape, incest, or life of the mother. You know I think that’s the kind of position that New Hampshire voters would be really concerned about.

I’m pro-life but I believe that you know rape, incest, and the life of the mother, should be exceptions to that rule.1

Should we be concerned that someone thinks that every human being is worthy of protection no matter the circumstances of their birth?

Should we continue to allow abortion on demand for life of the mother cases that account for less than 1% of total abortions?

Is it possible to be partially pro-life?

Sound off in the comments below!

Stand firm in Christ,


Monday, February 08, 2016

Jesus as God in His Parables

Chase's helpful series on the authentic sayings of Jesus will continue next week. This week, I encourage readers to checkout this post that demonstrates that Jesus claimed to be God through His parables.

Further, for those interested in researching the reliability of the Bible, checkout our our Old and New Testament Research Materials here.

Courage and Godspeed,

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Video: Where Do Good and Evil Come From? by Peter Kreeft

This video features a great defense of the following moral argument:

1. Every law has a law giver.
2. There is a Moral Law.
3. Therefore, there is a Moral Law Giver.

Courage and Godspeed,

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Late Agnostic Astronomer Robert Jastrow on the Origin of the Universe

“Astronomers now find they have painted themselves into a corner because they have proven, by their own methods, that the world began abruptly in an act of creation to which you can trace the seeds of every star, every planet, every living thing in this cosmos and on the earth. And they have found that all this happened as a product of forces they cannot hope to discover…That there are what I or anyone would call supernatural forces at work is now, I think, a scientifically proven fact.1

To checkout some of the scientific evidence for the origin of the universe, see here.

Courage and Godspeed,

1.    “A Scientist Caught Between Two Faiths: Interview with Robert Jastrow,” Christianity Today, August 6, 1982, emphasis added.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

The Difference Between Patriotism and the Kingdom of God

I thought this was a very timely video to share and topic to discuss during this time of intense campaigning. In the video, "Dr. Michael Brown explains the subtle danger of putting nationalism before the kingdom of God, especially as American Christians."

Of course another erroneous view, that many pastors unfortunately believe, is that politics has no place in the pulpit.  Pastor Michael Sherrard exposes the error in this thinking here.

Share your thoughts in the comments!

Courage and Godspeed,

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Authentic Sayings of Jesus: Matthew 11:27

The subject passage, also found in Luke 10:22, records Jesus saying, “All things have been entrusted to Me by My Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son desires to reveal Him.”1 Craig writes that from this passage “we may conclude that Jesus thought of himself as God’s Son in an absolute and unique sense and as having been invested with the exclusive authority to reveal his Father God to men.”2 But can this passage be deemed authentic?

This saying is a Q saying; it goes back to an original Aramaic version. It also has the criterion of dissimilarity because it would be unlikely for the church to say that the Son is unknowable or to refer to Him in such an informal way (i.e. not by a title like “Son of God”). For these reasons, it is reasonable to think that this saying is authentic.

Skeptics who deny the authenticity of the saying argue that it is out of place in the Synoptic Gospels. However, passages such as Mark 4:10-12; 12:1-11; 13:32 and Matthew 16-17-19; 28:18, which do give indication of the exclusive and absolute authority of the Son, assauge this concern.3

This series identifying authentic sayings of, or events surrounding, Jesus will continue again next week.

Stand firm in Christ,

1.  Holman Christian Standard Bible is used here.
2.  Craig, William Lane. Reasonable Faith:  Christian Truth and Apologetics; Third Edition. Page 312.

3.  Ibid. Page 311.