Saturday, January 31, 2009

Book Review: Philosophy of Religion by Norman Geisler and Winfried Corduan

Philosophy of Religion by Norman Geisler and Winfried Corduan is a very helpful text providing a thorough treatment of philosophy of religion. The book is broken into four sections: 1) God and experience; 2) God and Reason; 3) God and Language; and 4) God and Evil. The authors write in a readable style and provide a good outline of thought throughout each section. The goal of the book is to give the reader a comprehensive overview of the rational, philosophical foundations of religious experience and they key issues that philosophy of religion addresses.

In section one Geisler and Corduan explore the nature of religious experience and its connection with the idea of the Transcendent. They aim toward the goal of showing how one might test the reality of religious experiences: “There is no reason to doubt that people have religious experiences. What is subject to question is the basis in reality for such experiences.”1 Clearly, the goal of the authors is to not only explore the nature of religious experiences, but to define the criterion by which one may discern true experience from false experience, as well as outline the rational arguments and implications for true religious experience:
…the denial of the reality of the Transcendent entails the assertion that not only some people have been deceived about the reality of God but that indeed all religious persons who have ever lived have been completely deceived into believing there is a God when there really is not. For if even one religious person is right about the reality of the Transcendent, then there really is a Transcendent.2
Section two delves into all of the classical arguments for the existence of God. This section alone could be worth the price of the book, as the authors lay out the full presentation and full critique of each argument in detail, from their weakest forms to their strongest. Geisler and Corduan are up-front with their own views on the validity (or lack of validity) of each argument, as they seek to show the strengths and weaknesses. It should be noted that the authors are looking for the ideal argument to be as unassailable as possible. They show the honest shortcomings of certain teleological arguments, the ontological argument, and weak areas of the cosmological arguments. This is not to say that the arguments have no usefulness; instead the authors provide their own reworking of the strongest possible arguments for God's existence.

Section three covers the traditional discussion of religious language: how do we define God and how can we speak meaningfully of Him? How is religious language used? Equivocal, univocal, and analogical language are all thoroughly outlined, as well as positive and negative religious language.

The authors conclude with an extremely thorough treatment of the problem of evil. This is divided into four sections. First, they define the problem of evil in its various and strongest forms. Next, the metaphysical problem of evil is discussed. Third, the moral problem of evil is covered. And finally, the physical problem of evil is addressed. This multi-faceted approach gives proper appreciation to the various aspects of the issue and provides a final, plausible answer to the problem of evil based upon the previous content. For those looking for a solid source for working through the problem of evil, Geisler and Corduan present an excellent resource. Philosophy of Religion can be highly recommended, like other books by Geisler, as a standard text.

1 Norman Geisler and Winfried Corduan, Philosophy of Religion (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1998), p. 63.
2 Ibid., p. 76.

Friday, January 30, 2009

William Lane Craig - Does God Exist MP3 Audio

William Lane Craig debates: Does God Exist? on the Michael Coren Show.

Full MP3 Audio here.

Youtube video: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Are All Religions Created Equal? Doug Groothuis MP3 Audio

Christian philosopher Doug Groothuis presents a very good lecture on the logical analysis of differing religions and how to test their truth claims.

Full MP3 Audio here.

Original media at Veritas.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Gary Habermas vs. Arif Ahmed Debate MP3 Audio

Dr. Gary Habermas and atheist philosopher Dr. Arif Ahmed debate at Cambridge University: Did Jesus Rise Bodily from the Dead? A good debate. Video can be found here (although in parts).

Full MP3 Audio here.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Historical Jesus - Gary Habermas MP3 Audio

New Testament scholar Dr. Gary Habermas speaks on the John Ankerberg show about The Search for the Historical Jesus. Very good bit of audio.

Full MP3 Audio here.


Monday, January 26, 2009

Bart Ehrman vs. James White Debate MP3 Audio

Bart Ehrman debates James White on Did the Bible Misquote Jesus? This an interesting debate between two excellent scholars who come to two very different conclusions. Full MP3 audio can be purchased here. If you have been looking forward to the debate, this is well worth the $6. CDs are also available.

White's post-debate report of the debate is HERE, which is a good listen. Here is part 2 of White's review of the debate.

Transcript of the debate in PDF here.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sunday Quote: Francis Schaeffer on Apologetics

"The purpose of apologetics is not just to win an argument or a discussion, but that people with whom we are in contact may become Christians and then live under the Lordship of Christ in the whole spectrum of life."

- Francis Schaeffer

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Book Review: Introduction to Philosophy by Norman Geisler and Paul Feinberg

Introduction to Philosophy by Norman Geisler and Paul Feinberg is an excellent work that introduces the student to the broad subject of philosophy from a Christian perspective. Although providing a wide overview, the authors effectively retain a good depth in the subject matter throughout, providing plenty of detail and explanation.

The book is broken into five parts: first, an introduction to philosophy; second, epistemology; third, the nature of reality; next, the subject of God; and fifth, ethics. In providing a good introduction to the subject, Geisler and Feinberg offer a concise definition of philosophy: “Philosophy is, then, the critical analysis of fundamental concepts of human inquiry, and the normative discussion of how human thought and action ought to function, as well as the description of the nature of reality.”1

The authors detail the disciplines within philosophy, discuss the methods and models used in philosophy, and the tools used in thinking. These include an introduction to logic and detailed critiques of each methodology discussed. They note that for the Christian, no philosophical methodology can eliminate the possibility of divine revelation. Also, the authors present the challenge of Christian philosophy:
“Without a thorough knowledge of philosophy the Christian is at the mercy of the non-Christian in the intellectual arena. The challenge, then, is for the Christian to ‘out-think’ the non-Christian in both building a system of truth and in tearing down systems of error.”2
Part Two’s discussion of knowledge is an overview of epistemology. Can we know? Is certainty possible? How are beliefs justified? Within this section is a thorough critique of skepticism. Also of note is a discussion of the various kinds of certainty. This is helpful in clarifying the question of how on can “know” anything.

Part Three discusses the nature of reality and metaphysics. Particularly helpful in this section would be the detailed overview of the theories of truth. Part Four covers “What is the Ultimate” – a two-part section dealing first with the relationship between faith and reason, followed by a portion devoted to what is meant by God and the existence of God. The problem of evil is briefly addressed. The relationship between faith and reason neatly addresses the positive elements of each of the five views: revelation only, reason only, reason over revelation, revelation over reason, and reason and revelation. The portion devoted to arguments for the existence of God is introductory and sufficient, but by no means comprehensive. For a more comprehensive discussion of the various arguments for the existence of God, this reviewer recommends Geisler and Corduan’s Philosophy of Religion.

The final section covers ethics; what is good or right. Right is defined, the method by which we know right and wrong is discussed, and moral duties are explored. Again, this section, although introductory, does seem to manage a good depth in the subject by thoroughly illustrating the competing philosophies among ethicists. Moral dilemmas are also surveyed here.

Introduction to Philosophy by Geisler and Feinberg is worthy to be used as an introductory text for the philosophy and apologetics student. Its thorough overview and helpful end-of-chapter summaries make it a fine starting point and good reference work.

1 Norman Geisler and Paul Feinberg, Introduction to Philosophy (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1980), p. 17.
2 Ibid., p. 73.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Featured Website: Apologetics Directory

Apologetics Directory is part of Southern Evangelical Seminary's Apologetics Gateway and seems to be in the very early stages of development. However, this might be a site to bookmark and explore, as it contains a growing number of links to apologetics resources. Check it out here. If you are an apologetics website or blog, I am sure they would add a link to their directory if you contact them.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Why Don't I Feel My Faith MP3 Audio by Ravi Zacharias

When you've pursued all the learning, read all the books, made all the intellectual commitments to faith, you expect that somehow there will be an evoking of the emotion that will conform to what it is you claim to believe in your mind or intellect. But in truth, that feeling is often not there, or has temporarily lapsed. In a culture that operates so much by emotion, how do we take both our knowledge and our emotions and unify them into a framework of morality and information?

Full MP3 Audio here.

Original audio files at RZIM. More resources here.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Why Should Anyone Believe Anything At All MP3 Audio by James Sire

Arguing that we must learn to make the fine distinction between reasons to believe and causes of belief, Dr. Sire examines the social, psychological, genetic, and religious theories of belief by employing this distinction to each category. Dr. Sire argues that what one believes must cohere to reality, and offers several arguments that the Christian faith is a system of belief that does just this.

Full MP3 Audio here.

Original media source here at Veritas.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Best Review of The Shack Out There MP3 Audio

If you only listen to one review of The Shack, this is the one to listen to. Pastors Jeff Miller and Brian Gross, and professor Michael Burer host a panel discussion about the good, the bad, and the controversial about the popular novel The Shack.

Full MP3 Audio here. Video here from


Monday, January 19, 2009

The Psychology of Atheism by Paul Vitz MP3 Audio

Psychologist Paul Vitz presents a lecture on the psychology of atheism. Vitz lost his faith and became an atheist. Later he returned to Christianity. He explores the psychological reasons for belief and unbelief. A good lecture for the theist and the atheist.

Full MP3 Audio Here.

Original media found here.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunday Quote: Samuel Chadwick on Prayer

"The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, and prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray."

- Samuel Chadwick

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Book Review: Tactics by Greg Koukl

by Brian Auten

This week I received my copy of Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions by Greg Koukl. I was anxious to have a look at the book, as I have been following Greg Koukl’s ministry of Stand to Reason for a number of years. On one hand, I was excited to see in book form what I have heard Koukl demonstrate so many times on his live radio program: an effective and gracious way to communicate one’s faith in an articulate and winsome way. On the other hand, my familiarity with Koukl’s Tactics audio program made me wonder if this was just a repackaging of the same material. I was thoroughly surprised. I’m a reader – but it’s been a while since I have devoured a book.

Tactics is an immediately practical book. The author’s heart is that Christians be equipped to be good ambassadors. An ambassador has three skills: “knowledge, an accurately informed mind; wisdom, an artful method; and character, an attractive manner.”1 Koukl describes the goal of a tactical approach – one that seeks to converse more persuasively by being thoughtful and reasonable, rather than emotional, about one’s convictions.

In a very balanced way, Koukl carefully introduces this approach and neutralizes some of the negative connotations that come with sharing and defending the faith. Some people immediately object at the idea of argumentation or “methods.” However, Koukl summarizes a more biblical approach:
Here’s the key principle: Without God’s work, nothing else works; but with God’s work, many things work. Under the influence of the Holy Spirit, love persuades. By the power of God, the gospel transforms. And with Jesus at work, arguments convince. God is happy to use each of these methods.2
Now Koukl dives into the meat of the book. He presents about a half dozen “tactics,” as he calls them – each with a memorable name, such as, “Columbo,” “Suicide,” and, “Taking the Roof Off,” among others. As he teaches you these tactics, Koukl’s experience and mastery in this area immediately become evident. He is not a theorist presenting untested ideas. Instead, he is a veteran, discussing situation after situation gleaned from countless personal encounters, public debates, radio interviews, and friendly conversations. The phenomenal part is that these approaches are simple and the applications are immediately accessible to the reader.

One particular insight Koukl shares should bring relief to those who feel fear come over them at even the thought of discussing their faith: you don’t have to hit home runs. In fact, Koukl stresses that you don’t even have to get on base. The goal is to leave them with something to think about. His advice: simply leave them with “a stone in their shoe.”

Navigating through the book, you will find gem after gem of wisdom. So many of the common objections that the Christian encounters are found here – but with answers that are actually useful in conversation. Although much of the substance is philosophical in nature, Koukl drops the jargon and replaces it with practical expressions. This is a handbook suitable for the layman and professional apologist alike.

After passing the halfway point in the book, you will realize that you are not just learning how to steer safely through a conversation – you are learning how to think. Koukl will sharpen your thinking skills and your ability to spot fuzzy logic and faulty arguments. You will realize that this is a book about truth. By the time you reach the end (it’s about 200 pages), you will be amazed at the amount of wisdom, insight, and courage you have gleaned. A second reading is definitely in order.

Koukl’s Tactics is endorsed by a long list of notable apologists and Christian thinkers: Norman Geisler, William Lane Craig, Gary Habermas, J. P. Moreland, Hank Hanegraaff, Jay Wesley Richards, David Noebel, Justin Taylor, Paul Copan, Sean McDowell, Frank Turek, and Craig Hazen.

For those familiar with Koukl’s Tactics audio program (found here), many of the same personal encounters are cited. However, this is not a repackaging of old material. I found the book to be immensely helpful even after recently re-listening to Greg Koukl’s Tactics in Defending the Faith audio program. In addition to the expanded and fresh material, I found the summaries at the end of each chapter to be particularly helpful.

Greg Koukl's Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions is not designed to give you pat answers or lists of facts to bring to your conversations. Far from being “another evangelism book,” Tactics is a book that will challenge you to be a critical thinker, a logical communicator, and a gracious ambassador for Jesus Christ.

1 Gregory Koukl, Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008), p. 29.
2 Ibid., p. 40.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Shack Reviewed by Todd Wilkin MP3 Audio

In a previous post we presented Norman Geisler's review of The Shack by William P. Young. Now here is an audio review by Todd Wilkin on the Issues, Etc. podcast.

Full MP3 audio here.
Subscribe to Issues, etc. podcast here.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Michael Licona Debates MP3 Audio and Video

Here are a number of good debates that Michael Licona has had with prominent atheists, agnostics, and Muslim scholars.

Can Historians Prove that Jesus Rose from the Dead?
Mike Licona vs. Bart Ehrman MP3 | Video

Debate: On the Resurrection of Jesus Christ
Mike Licona vs. Richard Carrier MP3 | Video

Debate: Did Jesus Rise From the Dead?
Mike Licona vs. Dan Barker MP3 | Video

What Was the 1st Century Fate of Jesus?
Mike Licona vs. Ali Ataie MP3 | Video

Christianity and Islam - Did Jesus Rise?
Mike Licona vs. Shabir Ally MP3 | Video


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

God's Problem by Bart Ehrman Critique

The other day Challies mentioned William H. Willimon's review of Bart Ehrman's book God's Problem that is worth the read.
"While reading God's Problem, I kept asking myself, why bother? There are no new insights or discoveries here . . . Ehrman proves the dictum that old fundamentalists never die; they just exchange fundamentals and continue in their unimaginative, closed-minded rigidity and simplicity."
Find the full review here.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

James White Critiques Misquoting Jesus MP3 Audio

Dr. James White appears on the Podcast with a full 2-hour critique of Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus. An even more thorough discussion than yesterday's post. Excellent episode.

Full MP3 Audio here. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast.


Monday, January 12, 2009

James White Critiques Bart Ehrman MP3 Audio

This is James White on his Dividing Line podcast as he critiques Bart Ehrman's interview on the Infidel Guy program.

Full MP3 Audio here.

A second part of this critique can be found here.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday Quote: D. L. Moody on the Personal Apologetic

"Out of 100 men, one will read the Bible, the other 99 will read the Christian."

- D. L. Moody

Saturday, January 10, 2009

European Leadership Forum 2009

The European Leadership Forum serves as a bridge between local leaders' needs and God's global resources. This year the forum will be May 23-28 in Eger, Hungary. I hope to attend again this year, as 2008's forum was excellent. Lots of resources here.

Download the 2009 European Leadership Forum brochure for more info.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Apologetics in Pastoral Ministry MP3 Audio by William Lane Craig

A good talk on how to bring apologetics into your pastoral ministry by William Lane Craig. Original here.

Full MP3 Audio here.


Thursday, January 08, 2009

Tactics Book by Greg Koukl Coming Soon

Coming soon from Stand to Reason, apologist Greg Koukl's new book: Tactics - A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions. It is available at amazon or you can receive it from STR directly.

Look for a review coming soon.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Bart Ehrman and Peter Williams MP3 Audio

From the Unbelievable? program on Bart Ehrman is the author of the bestselling book "Misquoting Jesus." He calls into question the authority of the New Testament as scribal changes over time have changed the documents.

So can we trust the scripture? Bible scholar Peter Williams believes in the reliability of the New Testament and that Bart's prognosis is far too pessimistic. Be sure to listen to a fuller critique of Ehrman by Williams here.

Subscribe to the Unbelievable? podcast.

Full MP3 Audio here.


Tuesday, January 06, 2009

John Lennox New Atheism MP3 Audio

Professor John Lennox is interviewed regarding the New Atheism. Video is also available, as well as a PDF download. His site is a great resource. There are many other talks regarding Dawkins, the New Atheism, and apologetics.

Full MP3 Audio here.

Other great John Lennox MP3 audio here.


Monday, January 05, 2009

Evidence for the Christian Faith

The website Know What You Believe has a very useful outline with evidence for the Christian faith which covers the historical evidence for Christ, the reliability of the New Testament, and a case for the resurrection. Not only will you find an outline of the evidence in a flow-chart format, you may also download it in a group study format. Very useful!


Sunday, January 04, 2009

Sunday Quote: Blaise Pascal on Believing

"There is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don't."

- Blaise Pascal

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Historical Apologist: Clement of Alexandria

Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-220) was one of the church fathers who, in contrast to Tertullian, took a positive attitude toward philosophy and Greek learning. Clement held that the Greek writers were able to discern important truths because the divine wisdom, or Logos, is present in all humans. Though philosophy is inferior to and cannot substitute for revelation, Clement thought its study can deepen one's understanding of revelation.1

1. C.Stephen Evans, Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics & Philosophy of Religion (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002), p. 24.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Christopher Hitchens vs William Lane Craig Debate

On April 4, 2009 William Lane Craig will debate Christopher Hitchens on the topic Does God Exist? Mark your calendars for this one.

Other debates on William Lane Craig's schedule can be found here, including Craig vs. Richard Carrier, Craig vs. Quentin Smith, and others.

WLC's comprehensive debate list here.

If you want audio of the debate, go HERE!

NEW: Craig's follow-up podcast on this debate is here.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Bible Reading Plans for 2009

After looking around for a good Bible reading plan for 2009, here is one that seems to offer the best options. It is the ESV reading plan. They offer multiple reading plans and methods of subscribing.
Check it out here.

Happy New Year!

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