The Sermon on the Mount Incorporates the Law into the Gospel: Part 3 of a Review of Andy Stanley’s “Irresistible”

Irresistible
Pastor Andy Stanley says in his book Irresistible that Christians should “unhitch” the Old Testament from their Christian faith.  These words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount seem to say the opposite, incorporating the Old Testament law into the New Covenant:

17 Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.  18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.  (Matthew 5:17-19)

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Jesus Invented Love Your Neighbor? Part Two of a Review of Andy Stanley’s “Irresistible”

Irresistible

In Pastor Andy Stanley’s attempt to prove that the Christian can ignore the Old Testament in his book Irresistible, he claims that “Love your neighbor” is a new command by Jesus that sets New Testament ethics apart from Old Testament ethics.  He then qualifies this, but the qualifications still don’t fully acknowledge the Old Testament basis for the teaching.

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The Failure of Popular Christian Apologetics:  Part One of a Review of Andy Stanley’s “Irresistible”

Irresistible

Pastor Andy Stanley wants to be rid of having to defend the Old Testament.    The thrust of his book is that he sees the Old Testament as an unnecessary drag on the New Testament gospel, so he wants to unhitch the Old Testament from the New, allowing the gospel of the New Covenant to sail on unimpeded.  But his approach is a copout, a lazy and shallow way to deal with the apologetic issues raised by the Old Testament.  Don’t like the Old Testament?  Pastor Stanley says to just pretend that it’s not part of the Bible!  His approach misrepresents what the New Testament teaches and diminishes the power of the gospel.  His approach to apologetics represents the failure of the popular approach to Christian apologetics to defend the truthfulness of the Bible. Continue reading

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A Thomistic Transcendental Argument that Needs Van Til


A Review of Edward Feser’s The Last Superstition:  A Refutation of the New Atheism (St. Augustine’s Press, 2008).

 

I recently read Edward Feser’s book, The Last Superstition, because someone who claimed to be a former Van Tilian said it was the book that converted him to Thomism.  Cornelius Van Til often criticized Aristotle, and criticized Aquinas for relying on Aristotle, and criticized Classical apologetics in general.  As the subtitle indicates, Feser’s book is directed at refuting atheism, not Van Til.  It should be no surprise, then, that Feser does not identify Van Til and respond to his criticisms of Aquinas.  My conclusion after reading the book is that Feser does not even incidentally provide a refutation of Van Til’s criticism of Aquinas.  Nevertheless, because there is a great deal of debate over what exactly Van Til found wrong with Aquinas, Feser’s book provides a convenient way to compare and contrast Thomistic apologetics with Van Til’s presuppositional approach to Christian apologetics. Continue reading

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In Opposing Naturalism in Science, the Bible is More Foundational than Design

Here is a link to a guest post that I wrote:  https://veritasdomain.wordpress.com/2017/08/23/guest-post-in-opposing-naturalism-in-science-the-bible-is-more-foundational-than-design/

I contrast this graph from Paul Nelson of the Discovery Institute (see here), which marginalizes the issue of what the Bible says about the age of the earth:

. . . with mine, based on these questions:

  • Are the Metaphysical Beliefs Consistent with Design in Nature?
  • Do the Metaphysical Beliefs Entail Rejection of a Naturalistic Epistemology?
  • Do the Metaphysical Beliefs Require Divine Revelation?
  • Are the Metaphysical Beliefs Consistent with Absolutely Authoritative Revelation about Creation?

 

 

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A More Natural Understanding of the Creation of Light, the Expanse, and Waters Above the Expanse in Genesis 1

A common view is that the light that God created on day one of the creation week was a light without a natural source. This understanding is a major reason given by Christians who advocate an old earth, Big Bang model to argue that the days of Genesis 1 are not meant to be taken literally.  They argue that the absurdity of the existence of day and night on earth before the sun existed as a light source is a signal to the reader that Genesis 1 is a poetic description of creation that is not meant to say anything about literal chronology during creation.[1]  One old-earth advocate even complains that God would not create light on day one and then replace it with the sun three days later because that “seems unlike the actions of an all-wise God.”[2]  Who is he to tell God that His way creating light is not very smart?  At any rate, an explanation of the creation of non-solar light on day one that shows how it is consistent with the other creation acts in Genesis 1 would add to the reasonableness of God creating light in that way and add to the reasonableness of the literal view of Genesis in general. Continue reading

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5 Points of Intersection Between Postmillennialism and Apologetics – Point 5b

New Atlantis illustration by Lowell Hess

New Atlantis illustration by Lowell Hess

Point 5 (continued):  Postmillennialism was an important influence in the Scientific Revolution.  Postmillennialism supports the argument for the Christian basis for science since postmillennialism was an important influence in the Scientific Revolution.

The founder of British empiricism and experimentation, Francis Bacon (1561-1626), concluded his famous book on experimental method, Novum Organum, by saying:

For man, by the fall, fell at the same time from his state of innocency and from his dominion over creation. Both of these losses however can even in this life be in some part repaired; the former by religion and faith, the latter by arts and sciences.  For creation was not by the curse made altogether and for ever a rebel, but in virtue of the charter, ‘In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread,’ it is now by various labours (not certainly by disputation or magical ceremonies, but by various labours) at length and in some measure subdued to the supplying of man with bread; that is, to the uses of human life.[1]

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5 Points of Intersection Between Postmillennialism and Apologetics – Point 5a

Pelican in her Piety

Pelican in her Piety – Medieval Manuscript Illustration

Point 5:  Postmillennialism was an important influence in the Scientific Revolution.  Postmillennialism supports the argument for the Christian basis for science since postmillennialism was an important influence in the Scientific Revolution. Continue reading

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5 Points of Intersection Between Postmillennialism and Apologetics – Point 4

Point 4:  Postmillennialism is the biblical anecdote to failed predictions of Christ’s Second Coming.  Postmillennialism, with a preterist view of the Great Tribulation, refutes the numerous failed predictions, which have undermined the credibility of the modern evangelical church, that Jesus is coming soon to rapture Christians out of the world. Continue reading

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5 Points of Intersection Between Postmillennialism and Apologetics – Point 3

Point 3:  Postmillennialism refutes the skeptics’ claim that Jesus broke His promise to return. Postmillennialism, with a preterist view of the Great Tribulation, refutes the claim of skeptics that Jesus was a false prophet because He did not return to earth within a generation as He predicted and as His apostles expected.  Continue reading

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