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Philosophy Bites

23 Sep

Throughout Scripture, Christians are encouraged to be in the world, but not of the world.  While this means that our behaviors shouldn’t reflect the moral views of those who don’t know Christ, it also means that we will encounter those views.  When we do, we need to be equipped to meet them. 

That’s why, this week, we’re featuring the Philosophy Bites podcast: a secular resource dedicated to introducing listeners to the views of modern philosophers in easy-to-digest bites.  In 10-20 minute, bi-weekly interviews, Edmunds and Warburton explore the issues that bend the brains of some of today’s greatest thinkers and help you to do the same.  You’ll be treated to a variety of views on everything from existentialism to vegetarianism, all presented in a friendly, non-aggressive environment that encourages dialogue rather than conflict.

As you listen, take the time to critically consider each of the views presented.  Are there merits to any of the philosophies explored?  What factors detract from the reasonableness or believability of the interviewee’s viewpoint?  How would you Biblically respond to each point?  Are there places where your own philosophy could use some strengthening?

You’re sure to find these podcasts challenging and you may want to listen to some of them more than once as you exercise your critical thinking skills: applying Biblical principles to modern philosophy!

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Kingdom of the Cults

16 Sep

Cult.  It’s a word we don’t like to use today.  It conjures images of secret ceremonies and strange behaviors of unquestioning deference to authority and deviant acts.  To suggest that someone is a member of a “cult” is tantamount to calling them a “freak” or a “weirdo”… and it certainly doesn’t help our ability to effectively share the Gospel!

So why feature a book on cults?  The answer is simple: while we may not enjoy using the word, it’s still important for Christians to understand the differences which exist between traditional Christianity and those religions which pose as “Christian” while denying the fundamental teachings of the faith.  The truth is, not all cults lean towards the occult.  Indeed, many “cult” members are quite normal both in their beliefs and practices.  What makes them a danger is the way in which they twist the requirements for Salvation from the simple faith taught in the Bible into legalistic systems.  Sadly, it’s not always easy to discern where or how such twists have taken place and that’s why, this week, we’re featuring the revised edition of Walter Martin’s classic “Kingdom of the Cults, The”.

Using Scripture as the measuring rod, Martin and Zacharias take readers through the tenants of each variation to see how they measure up to the Gospel presented by Jesus and His apostles.  You’ll enjoy the clear way in which both authors highlight the differences between the faiths and open up insights into potential evangelism opportunities. You’ll be introduced to the unique cultures of each cult and gain useful insights into the way members of these unique organizations think and act.  Read cover-to-cover or used simply as a reference, this in-depth guide will provide you with information on the history and teachings of the most prominent cults of our day.

Kingdom of the Cults, The” was produced by Bethany House Publishers and is available for $22.24 from www.Amazon.com.

William Tyndale: His Life, His Legacy

9 Sep

Throughout the world today, people are learning to be more efficient farmers, to keep more sanitary houses, and to prevent diseases all because someone was committed to bringing them the Bible in their native tongue.  This connection may not be obvious at first.  After all, what does the Sacred Writ really have to do with better medical techniques or the production of crops?  The answer may be simpler than you imagine.

Each of the 7,000 languages spoken in the world today began as an oral form of communication.  While this allows people to communicate their immediate needs, it is rarely an efficient form of accurately conveying information in the long term.  Like a game of “telephone”, verbal instructions can be warped and mutilated until what began as history and good advice becomes legend and folklore.  The ability to write changes this… and frequently this transformation begins with the work of men and women dedicated to sharing the words of the Bible.  It’s a story shared by literally thousands of languages, including (not too long ago) our own.

That’s why, this week, we’re featuring the 60 minute DVD “William Tyndale: His Life, His Legacy”.  Brief and informative, this winner of the 2004 WORLDFEST International Film Festival GOLD Special Jury Award will introduce you to the man whose efforts to make the Holy Scriptures available in the common tongue led to the creation of the modern English language.  In this incredible documentary, you’ll learn about Tyndale’s spiritual journey and the passion which drove him to defy the ruling powers as he translated the Bible into the language of his people.  You’ll hear about his fearless drive, even in the face of death, and you’ll witness first-hand how the written language can impact both the fate of nations and of individuals.  It’s a fascinating journey through the history of the world’s most popular book filled with insights into the origins of one of the most spoken languages of our day!

William Tyndale: His Life, His Legacy” was produced by Avalon Press and is available on www.Amazon.com.

Got Questions

19 Aug

Got questions?  Most of us do.  And while the answers to some questions aren’t all that important (like whether the fuzzy thing in the fridge is a kiwi or a moldy plum), others can make the difference between life and death, Heaven and Hell.  That’s why GotQuestions.org exists!  A non-denominational volunteer ministry, GotQuestions.org seeks to answer the questions of both Christian believers and spiritual seekers in a way that accurately and fully represents the Biblical view.

Starting with “Crucial Questions”, the site carefully lays out Christian doctrine as it has been passed down through the centuries answering questions like “Does God Exist?”, “Is There Life After Death?”, and “Is Jesus the Only Way to Heaven?”.  Through a series of concise, easy-to-read answers, GotQuestions.org explains the core beliefs which bind us together as followers of Christ.

But just as there are similarities, there are also differences.  While Christians all subscribe to the same views of God, man, sin, and salvation, we don’t always see eye-to-eye on everything else.  Embracing the belief, “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, and in all things charity”, the site labors to answer questions like, “Should a Christian Woman Wear a Bikini?”, “Should a Christian Play Video Games?”, and “Is it Wrong to Want to Be Famous?”.  You’ll find answers to questions on topics ranging from relationships to the End Times, so take some time to sit down and explore!

Want to take the site with you when you head to school, work, or the gym?  Why not download the GotQuestions app for iOS or Android?  You’ll have all of the features of the website right at your fingertips – providing the right answers at the right time!  Don’t like reading?  Why not check out the GotQuestions podcast. You’ll hear the same great Biblical advice seen on the website in an easy-to-use collection of 2-5 minute episodes!

However you choose to get your answers (and regardless of your status as a Christian or a seeker), you’re sure to find GotQuestions.org to be an excellent resource!  So check it out today!

Cross Examined

12 Aug

Facts and statistics play an important role in sharing our faith but they don’t do much good if they can’t be quickly and accurately applied to real-life situations.  Learning to do that can take some practice and that’s why, this week, we’re featuring Cross Examined, the apologetics ministry of Dr. Frank Turek.

Co-author of I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist and a former Naval aviator, Dr. Turek brings both his ability to think rationally and act quickly to table each week through his radio program and podcast.  Addressing the pressing issues faced by today’s believers, he teaches listeners to respond both thoughtfully and respectfully to the problems predominant within our society.  A good balance of logic and Scripture, each program is sure to leave you better prepared to defend what you believe.

Looking for a bit more?  Why not check out Frank’s blog where he addresses common objections to Christianity in detail?  View articles on church beliefs, morality and politics, or intelligent design and evolution.  Each thought-provoking essay is sure to leave you feeling both more competent and more confident in your ability to make a strong case for your Christian beliefs!

Whether you’re an experienced apologist or new to the faith, you’re sure to find something that will help you as you share your faith with others!  So check out Cross Examined today.  You’ll be glad you did!

Encountering the World of Islam

29 Jul

What does it mean to be a follower of Islam? The question is a simple one, but the answers are not. According to the Pew Research Center, there are over 1.6 billion Muslims in the world today – that’s nearly ¼ of the world’s entire population! Spread out across six continents, these faithful seek each day to become more wholly submitted to the will of Allah, but what this looks like can vary tremendously from one sect to another. That’s why Keith E. Swartley’s textbook, “Encountering the World of Islam” was one of my first stops as I began seeking a deeper understanding of a faith so different from my own.

Designed to provide Christians with an introduction to the development and expression of Muslim belief, “Encountering the World of Islam” takes an in depth look at the origins, theology, and culture which surround this historic faith. In eleven carefully planned lessons, readers will learn what it means to be a Muslim, what the faith looks like in daily life, and how they can most effectively communicate their own faith with their Islamic friends. Supplemental readings introduced students to the world of Muslim missions (and some of the difficult questions which surround the topic) while practical activities help readers to better understand the culture which surrounds one of our world’s biggest religions. Join in the online community and you’ll receive an even more enlightening introduction!

Re-released in updated form by IVP Books in 2012, “Encountering the World of Islam” is available for $27.12 in paperback and makes an excellent introduction for everyone from the casual observer to the mission-minded believer!

Cold Case Christianity

11 Feb

What does Forensic Statement Analysis (FSA) have to do with the Gospels?  More than you might think!  Most of us are familiar with the archaeological evidence for the reliability of the Gospels, yet few of us have encountered (or analyzed) the forensic evidence.  And that’s what makes J. Warner Wallace’s new book “Cold Case Christianity” special.

Using this relatively modern branch of science, Wallace (a former atheist) teaches readers to effectively apply the skills of a police detective to the Gospel accounts.  From circumstantial evidence to the chain of custody to conspiracy theories, Wallace uses real life cases to walk his readers through the steps necessary to secure a conviction in a cold-case homicide… then teaches them to apply the same standards and procedures to the case for Christ.

Throughout the pages of this entertaining volume, you’ll learn how detectives harmonize eyewitness accounts, determine the reliability of their witnesses, and filter out biased testimony.  You’ll travel with Wallace to the scenes of robberies and homicides as you learn to collect and assemble enough evidence to result in a conviction… and develop a solid case for the Gospel.

Written clearly and concisely, the book is as entertaining as it is informative.  Wallace’s skill as a story teller is surpassed only by his common sense approach to apologetics.  “Cold Case Christianity” is an excellent primer for anyone interested in presenting a solid case for their faith in the Bible and the God it portrays.

“Cold Case Christianity” was published by David C. Cook and is available in print or e-book through Amazon.com.

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