Monday, January 31, 2011

Pascal on Truth

Truth is so obscured nowadays and lies so well established that unless we love the truth w shall never recognize it.—Blaise Pascal, Pensees, #739/864.

Weaklings are those who know the truth, but maintain it only as far as it is in their interest to do so, and apart from that forsake it.—Blaise Pascal, Pensees, #740/583.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Please listen to this woman

Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann on Obama's State of the Union Address.

Omitted by The Chronicle

The Chronicle of Higher Education failed to publish the following response to David Marsh's article, "Two Cheers for Nature" (Dec. 17, 2010). However, they did publish many unsigned comments from their web page. None of the letters or web page comments raised the kind of criticism that I raise in the following letter.

Dear Editor:

In “Two Cheers for Nature,” David Marsh paints himself into nature’s corner by arguing that, while nature is all there is, nature is often cruel; yet it should, nevertheless, be opposed by us (who are nothing but wholly natural, material beings). Having dispensed with God and, consequently, a moral order that transcends a fallen nature, Marsh is left with the mere baseless affirmation that there are “things [that] must be struggled against with all the strength and determination, natural or not, that we possess.” Yet if we are nothing but nodes in the vast non-personal system of nature (having been “selected” by an amoral and purely material process), then the kind of objective values that Marsh needs for moral discrimination are eliminated. Neither can such a materialist worldview philosophically justify the moral agency requisite to revolt against our omnipotent “but unthinking mother” (as Bertrand Russell put it), since we are mere subsets of a larger and more fundamental universe, which is (Russell again) “just there.” In light of this conundrum, perhaps Marsh should reconsider his “atheist self” that declines to praise anything above nature itself.


Douglas Groothuis

Professor of Philosophy, Denver Seminary

Friday, January 28, 2011

My Outline a Talk at Mission Hills Church, January 30

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy, Denver Seminary

Being a Thinking Christian at the University

Truth is so obscure in these days, and lies so well established, that unless we love the truth, we shall never know it—Blaise Pascal, Pensées.

I. The Importance of College Education

A. This will shapes your sense of life and direction crucially

B. You are given an opportunity for intellectual/spiritual growth

C. You need to have a renewed mind that responds to the challenges of unbelief (Matthew 22:37-39; Romans 12:1-2; 1 Peter 3:15-16)

II. Truth and the University

A. Biblical view of truth

1. Objective (Romans 3:4)

2. Universal (Acts 4:12)

3. Absolute (John 14:1-6)

B. A biblical worldview

1. Creation (Genesis 1-2; Romans 1-2)

2. Fall (Genesis 3; Romans 3)

3. Redemption (Romans 4-8)

III. A Challenges to Your Christian Worldview: Postmodernism

A. Postmodernism (mostly in humanities classes, not sciences)

1. Truth is a matter of perspective and culture

2. Must avoid objective, universal, absolute truth claims

B. Logical response

1. This is self-refuting, and therefore illogical and false

a. “There is no objective truth”

· If an objective claim, it is false

· If subjective, why should I believe it?

b. “There are no facts, only relative interpretations”

· If this is a fact, it contradicts itself

· If this is only a relative interpretation it cannot apply across the board

IV. A Challenge to Your Christian Worldview: Scientific Naturalism

A. Negatively: there is no spiritual world: God, angels, demons, afterlife

B. Positively: reality is exhausted by material properties and relationships: what can be described by chemistry, biology, and physics

C. This makes Christianity false, since Christianity is supernatural: God, angels, demons, the afterlife

D. Response

1. There is good scientific evidence for creation and design

a. The Big Bang needs a Creator to cause the universe

b. Design is seen at the large-scale (fine-tuning) and at the small scale (biology)

2. Naturalism is philosophically bankrupt

a. No account of moral values—only instinct and social conditioning

b. No account of the uniqueness and value of human persons; they are merely material beings who have evolved for no purpose

V. Staying Christian in College

A. Discern the worldview of your textbooks and what your professor’s teach

B. Note any challenge to your Christian perspective and research how to answer this. Read! See the following bibliography.

C. Pray for wisdom and discernment amidst the battle for the souls of human beings (Ephesians 6:10-19)

D. Be a strong, intelligent, knowledgeable Christian witness (Matthew 5:13-16)

Resources on Defending Christianity

1. William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith, 3rd ed. (Crossway, 2008). In-depth work defending Christianity scientifically, philosophically, and historically by a leading philosopher and debater. Also, see his web page: Reasonable Faith:

2. The Discover Institute: A leading organization propagating intelligent design and challenging Darwinism

3. Douglas Groothuis, Truth Decay: Defending Christianity Against the Challenges of Postmodernism. InterVarsity Press, 2000.

4. Douglas Groothuis, On Jesus. Wadsworth, 2003. Looks at Jesus as a philosopher and critical thinker with a well-developed and pertinent worldview.

5. Douglas Groothuis, Rebecca Merrill Groothuis web page: Much material on apologetics, ethics, philosophy, evangelical egalitarianism, and culture.

6. J.P. Moreland, Love Your God With All Your Mind. NavPress, 1997. Cogent apologetic for an active and world-changing Christian mind by a leading Christian philosopher.

7. Nancy Pearcey, Total Truth. Crossway, 2004. How to apply a Christian worldview to all of life.

8. John Piper, Think, Crossway, 2010. Exegetically, pastorally-based defense of the life of the mind for the glory of God.

9. Francis Schaeffer, The God Who is There, 30th anniversary ed. InterVarsity Press, 1998. A compelling approach to Christian witness in the intellectual world.

10. James Sire, The Universe Next Door, 5th ed. InterVarsity, 2009. Classic treatment of the Christian worldview in relation to other important worldviews.

11. Lee Strobell, The Case for a Creator. Zondervan, 2004. Interviews with leading thinkers on the scientific evidence for creation and design. See also the excellent DVD of the same name.

12. “Unlocking the Mystery of Life,” DVD. Illustra Media. On the evidence for design in biology. Available at:

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Propositions to Ponder

Propositions to Ponder in Light of “How Should We Then Live?” Book and Film Series by Francis A. Schaeffer (1912-84)

The following thoughts are offered to review some of the most salient ideas of this series and to stimulate further thought for your discipleship under Christ and before “the watching world” (as Schaeffer put it). I make no claim that this list is exhaustive or that I have necessarily covered all the most important points.

1. A person’s thinking effects everything about that person. The thought forms of a culture largely determine the fate of that culture. A culture is only as strong as its sense of and obedience to divine reality. See Matthew 7:24-29.

2. Western Christians should know something of the history of Western civilization, in spite of (and because of) the loss of historical knowledge today. This shortfall is especially egregious among those under thirty. See Mark Bauerlein, The Dumbest Generation (Tarcher, 2008). Some historical knowledge is required if we are to understand the present, our place within it, and what we should to for the Lord (see 1 Chronicles 12:32). Can we “read the signs of the times”?

3. The secular humanist project of making sense of life and giving meaning to it apart from biblical revelation has failed, philosophically, culturally, and personally. See Proverbs 8:35-36.

4. Christianity alone gives the proper meaning, dignity, and significance to human beings (as created in God image, fallen into sin, but redeemable through Jesus Christ), but does not make them the center of reality. Because Christianity is theocentric and Christocentric; it is not anthropocentric, but neither is it misogynistic. For a biblical (and Pascalian) view of the human condition and plight, see Doug Groothuis, On Pascal (Wadsworth, 2003), chapter eight.

5. Art often tellingly expresses the worldview of an age. Artists are often like antennae that pick up on culture trends and moods before others do so. Moreover, the art of a culture probably affects culture more than its overt philosophy. See Francis A. Schaeffer, Art and the Bible (InterVarsity, 1973).

6. Eastern religions cannot give true significance to humans or to nature, since all is dissolved into an impersonal and infinite reality that is beyond reason. For an assessment of how eastern thought has effected the West, see Doug Groothuis, Unmasking the New Age (InterVarsity, 1986) and Confronting the New Age (InterVarsity, 1988).

7. Contemporary people tend to put meaning, value, and significance into an “upper story” that is immune from philosophical investigation or empirical verification:

8. Meaning, value, significance, spirituality. Realm of non-reason; requires a leap
Facts, science, verification. Realm of reason; no leap required
Christians should reject these fact/value distinctions since (a) Christ is Lord over all of life (Matthew 28:18-20) and (b) Christianity can be supported through reason; it does not require a blind leap of faith into the dark (to reach the upper story). For more on Schaeffer’s apologetic arguments, see He is There, He is Not Silent (Crossway reprint, 2001). The God Who is There, 30th anniversary ed. (InterVarsity, 1998), and Escape from Reason (InterVarsity Press). For a tremendous exposition of the fact/value dichotomy by a student of Schaeffer, see Nancy Pearcey, Total Truth (Crossway, 2004).

9. The scientific revolution was based on a theistic worldview, not a naturalistic one. This was in keeping with a Christian concept of nature as rational and knowable. See Rodney Stark, For the Glory of God (Princeton, 2003), chapter two.

10. We owe the benefits of individual freedom, human rights, and constitutional form in civil government to the ideas that flowed from The Reformation in Europe. Schaeffer also developed these ideas in A Christian Manifesto (Crossway, 1981).

11. Contemporary science—especially after Darwin—has junked any theistic basis for nature and exiled design as “unscientific.” But Darwinism cannot explain either (a) the origin of life or (b) the diversity of the biosphere, since it can only appeal to time, space, chance, and natural law for its explanations. The critique of Darwinism and the arguments for design in nature have come a long way since Schaeffer’s day, but he was on to the basic ideas. See William Dembski, The Design Revolution (InterVarsity, 2004) and Jonathan Wells, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science and Intelligent Design (Regnery, 2006) and Icons of Evolution (Regnery, 2000). See also the DVDs: “The Case for Creator” and “Unlocking the Mystery of Life.” Both are by Illustra Media and available at

12. Contemporary media often manipulate the populace through selective reporting and its implicit worldview of naturalism. Christians should critique the worldview of the mainstream media and consult alternative sources. On scientific matters, see The Discovery Institute: On philosophy and culture, see Doug and Rebecca Groothuis web Doug Groothuis Rebecca Merrill Groothuis

13. Much of supposedly Christian theology is held hostage to alien worldviews, perspective antithetical to historic Christian orthodoxy. Schaeffer was especially concerned with traditional liberalism (Harry Emerson Fosdick) and neo-orthodoxy (Karl Barth, Emil Brunner, Paul Tillich), both of which grant far too much ground to naturalism. Today many Christian thinkers are compromised by postmodernism. See Doug Groothuis, Truth Decay (InterVarsity Press, 2000), especially chapter seven. Thinkers such as Donald Miller (Blue Like Jazz) and Rob Bell (Velvet Elvis) are afflicted with postmodern glibness, flippancy, and an unhealthy infatuation with mystery and paradox that robs Christianity of its rational, explanatory, and apologetic power (see 1 Peter 3:15-17; Jude 3). These writers reassert the fact/value dichotomy warned of by Schaeffer forty years ago.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Why I am Pro-life: A Short, Nonsectarian Argument

Thirty eight years ago today, the Supreme Court of the United States of America overturned the abortion laws of all fifty states in an act of "raw judicial power" and deep legal illogic, finding a nonexistent "right to privacy in the Constitution" that was applied to abortion. Perhaps fifty-two million unborn human beings have been legal killed by abortion since that grim day.

Today President Barack Obama applauded this egregious and blood-letting decision. Of course, he did; he has premised his abominable political career on being on the wrong side of this life-and-death issue. If you don't think so, read The Case Against Barack Obama. One cannot be pro-life and support this man.

I wrote the following essay as a short, philosophical defense of the pro-life position. It has been published in a secular textbook, Taking Sides, a work on moral issues. Please ponder this argument, spread the word, and promote the culture of life against the culture of death and callousness.


Abortion is the intentional killing of a human fetus by chemical and/or surgical means. It should not be confused with miscarriage (which involves no human intention) or contraception (which uses various technologies to prohibit sperm and egg from producing a fertilized ovum after sexual intercourse). Miscarriages are natural (if sad) occurrences, which raise no deep moral issues regarding human conduct—unless the woman was careless in her pregnancy. Contraception is officially opposed by Roman Catholics and some other Christians, but I take it to be in a moral category entirely separate from abortion (since it does not involve the killing of a fetus); therefore, it will not be addressed here.[1]

Rather than taking up the legal reasoning and history of abortion in America (especially concerning Roe vs. Wade), this essay makes a simple, straightforward moral argument against abortion. Sadly, real arguments (reasoned defenses of a thesis or claim) are too rarely made on this issue. Instead, propaganda is exchanged. Given that the Obama administration is the most pro-abortion administration in the history of the United States, some clear moral reasoning is called for at this time.

The first premise of the argument is that human beings have unique and incomparable value in the world. Christians and Jews believe this is the case because we are made in God’s image and likeness. But anyone who holds that humans are special and worthy of unique moral consideration can grant this thesis (even if their worldview does not ultimately support it). Of course, those like Peter Singer who do not grant humans any special status will not be moved by this.[2] We cannot help that. Many true and justified beliefs (concerning human beings and other matters) are denied by otherwise intelligent people.

Second, the burden of proof should always be on the one taking a human life and the benefit of doubt should always be given to the human life. This is not to say that human life should never be taken. In an often cruel and unfair world, sometimes life-taking is necessary, as many people will grant. Cases include self-defense, the prosecution of a just war, and capital punishment. Yet all unnecessary and intentional life-taking is murder, a deeply evil and repugnant offense against human beings. (This would also be acknowledged by those, such as absolute pacifists, who believe that it is never justifiable to take a human life.)

Third, abortion nearly always takes a human life intentionally and gratuitously and is, therefore, morally unjustified, deeply evil, and repugnant—given what we have said about human beings. The fetus is, without question, a human being. Biologically, an entity joins its parents’ species at conception. Like produces like: apes procreate apes, rabbits procreate rabbits, and humans procreate humans. If the fetus is not human, what else could it possibly be? Could it be an ape or a rabbit? Of course not.

Some philosophers, such as Mary Anne Warren, have tried to drive a wedge between personhood and humanity. That is, there may be persons who are not human (such as God, angels, ETs—if they exist), and there may be humans that are not persons (fetuses or those who lose certain functions after having possessed them). While it is true that there may be persons who are not humans, it does not logically follow that there are humans who are not persons. The fetus is best regarded as a person with potential, not a potential person or nonperson.[3]

When we separate personhood from humanity, we make personhood an achievement based on the possession of certain qualities. But what are these person-constituting qualities? Some say a basic level of consciousness; others assert viability outside the womb; still others say a sense of self-interest (which probably does not obtain until after birth). All of these criteria would take away humanity from those in comas or other physically compromised situations.[4] Humans can lose levels of consciousness through injuries, and even infants are not viable without intense and sustained human support. Moreover, who are we to say just what qualities make for membership in the moral community of persons?[5] The stakes are very high in this question. If we are wrong in our identification of what qualities are sufficient for personhood and we allow a person to be killed, we have allowed the wrongful killing of nothing less than a person. Therefore, I argue that personhood should be viewed as a substance or essence that is given at conception. The fetus is not a lifeless mechanism that only becomes what it is after several parts are put together—as is the case with a watch or an automobile. Rather, the fetus is a living human organism, whose future unfolds from within itself according to internal principles. For example, the fertilized ovum contains a complete genetic code that is distinct from that of the mother or father. But this is not a mere inert blueprint (which is separable from the building it describes); this is a living blueprint that becomes what its human nature demands.

Yet even if one is not sure when personhood becomes a reality, one should err on the side of being conservative simply because so much is at stake. That is, if one aborts a fetus who is already a person, one commits a deep moral wrong by wrongfully killing an innocent human life. Just as we do not shoot target practice when we are told there may be children playing behind the targets, we should not abortion fetuses if they may be persons with the right not to be killed. As I have argued, it cannot be disputed that abortion kills a living, human being.

Many argue that outside considerations experienced by the mother should overrule the moral value of the human embryo. If a woman does not want a pregnancy, she may abort. But these quality of life considerations always involve issues of lesser moral weight than that of the conservation and protection of a unique human life (which considers the sanctity or innate and intrinsic value of a human life).[6] An unwanted pregnancy is difficult, but the answer is not to kill a human being in order to end that pregnancy. Moreover, a baby can be put up for adoption and bring joy to others. There are many others who do want the child and would give him or her great love and support. Furthermore, it is not uncommon for women to experience deep regrets after aborting their offspring.

The only exemption to giving priority to the life of the fetus would be if there were a real threat to the life of the mother were the pregnancy to continue. In this case, the fetus functions as a kind of intruder that threatens the woman’s life. To abort the pregnancy would be tragic but allowable in this imperfect world. Some mothers will nonetheless choose to continue the pregnancy to their own risk, but this is not morally required. It should be noted that these life-threatening situations are extremely rare.

This pro-life argument does not rely on any uniquely religious assumptions, although some religious people will find it compelling. I take it to be an item of natural law (what can be known about morality by virtue of being human) that human life has unique value. A case can be made against abortion by using the Bible (only the Hebrew Bible or both the Hebrew Bible and New Testament combined) as the main moral source, but I have not given that argument here.[7] Rather, this essay has given an argument on the basis of generally agreed upon moral principles. If the argument is to be refuted, one or more of those principles or the reasoning employed needs to be refuted.

Although at the beginning of this essay I claimed I would not take up the legal reasoning related to abortion, one simple point follows from my argument. In nearly every case, abortion should be illegal simply because the Constitution requires that innocent human life be protected from killing.[8] Anti-abortion laws are not an intrusion of the state into the family any more than laws against murdering one’s parents are an intrusion into the family.

[1] See Scott Rae, Moral Choices, 3rd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009), 288-291.

[2] For an exposition and critique of Singer’s thought, see Gordon R. Preece, ed., Rethinking Peter Singer (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002).

[3] See Clifford Bajema, Abortion and the Meaning of Personhood (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1974). This book is on line at:

[4] On the dangerous implications of his perspective, see Francis A. Schaeffer and C. Everett Koop, Whatever Happened to the Human Race?, revised ed. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1983).

[5] For a developed philosophical and legal case for including the unborn in the moral community of human beings, see Francis Beckwith, Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice (Cambridge University Press, 2007); and Robert P. George and Christopher Tollefsen, Embryo: A Defense of Human Life (New York: Doubleday, 2008).

[6] On the distinction between a quality of life ethic and a sanctity of life ethic, see Ronald Reagan, “Abortion and the Conscience of a Nation,” available at: This was originally an article in the Spring, 1983 issue of The Human Life Review.

[7] See Rae, 129-133.

[8] See Beckwith, chapter two.

Letters Without (Known) Authors

For some time, The Chronicle of Higher Education has been printing unsigned letters from their web page. This violates a fundamental principle of journalism: do not print unsigned letters. I learned this in high school (1973-75) while working on the staff of The Eagle's Cry (the paper of West High in Anchorage, Alaska). On some occasions, a paper might print something and withhold the name of the writer--perhaps to protect him or her from dangerous recrimination. But that is not the situation for The Chronicle. They are letting people express ideas without being accountable for them. It is vexing. I have been writing letters to the editor since I was a child, and every one of them was signed, "Douglas Groothuis."

Particularly vexing were the comments in the most recent issue by one anonymous writer who was excoriating the work of Francis Schaeffer and evangelicalism in general. (This was in response to an article calling for careful scholarship about evangelicalism, something secular academics have been bemused over and writing on for about fifteen years.) Being both an expert on Schaeffer and a Christian academic who has reflected on the state of evangelicalism for over thirty years, I wanted to respond to these false charges with an email--or at least to know who wrote the letter. But under cover, this writer is allowed to vent his irresponsible charges with no personal accountability.

This is wrong. The Chronicle should know better and changes its ways.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Book Store

I visited "A Timeless Tale Book Shop" today and really liked the prices, selection, and owner, Pam Smith. This used to be called The Corner Bookstore. I recommend you visit this store: 1500 W. Littleton, Blvd., Littleton, CO 80120, 303-797-2243.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Atheists and the problem of evil

"Debunking Christianity" has published my on line article, "Assessing the Problem of Evil." There will probably be a host of criticisms and outright attacks. I cannot monitor all of these, since I am too busy finishing my book, preparing for school, and more. If you are interested in joining the discussion, here it is.

If you find anything there that disturbs your Christian commitments, don't panic. Contact me or just go to a good apologetics web site as William Lane Craig's.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Problem of Evil

My article, "Addressing the Problem of Evil," first published in The Christian Research Journal, is now on line. I have a chapter on this in my forthcoming book, Christian Apologetics (IVP, August, 2011, we hope).

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Few Books I'm Reading (if anyone cares)

1. Ray Stedman, Authentic Christianity. A pastoral exposition of passages in 2 Corinthians. Challenging and encouraging words by a faithful Bible teacher who pastored for forty years.
2. Thomas Sowell, Basic Economics, 4th ed. If every elected official read this book, we would not be in a recession. There are economic realities that cannot be changed through "verbal virtuosity," in his phrase.
3. John Stott, The Authority of the Bible (booklet). Reread this recently for material on biblical inspiration. Excellent.
4. John Frame, The Doctrine of the Word of God. I am not a Van Tillian and I take a different approach to arguing for biblical authority (the one Stott gives; see above), but Frame gives you a good workout and is very thorough. My doctrine of the nature of biblical authority is probably virtually identical to Frame's, however.
5. Terry Teachout, Pops. This is the biography of Louis Armstrong, one of the pioneers of jazz and an inimitable personality. Teachout is one of our better writers on the arts.
6. Chris DeVito, ed., Coltrane on Coltrane. A thorough collection of interviews and some commentary on John Coltrane (d. 1967), jazz saxophonist nonpareil.
7. Matthew Elliot, Faithful Feelings. A biblical (New Testament) study of emotion, which cogently argues for a cognitive view: emotions have intellectual content, can be directed by reason, and should be normatively evaluated and cultivated. Very profound so far.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


When you need to weep,

When others need to weep,
let them weep.

When the world weeps,
weep along with it.

Not all our tears will
be unrequited.

Help on reference

Can anyone find a link for me for this essay? I have it in a footnote, but cannot find it on line anywhere!

Nara Schoenberg, “Luther Burbank, The Superstar Nobody Knows,” Chicago Tribune June 7, 2009.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

God of the Gaps?!

On an discussion, Intelligent Design was (once again) accused of the "god of the gaps" approach. To this, I responded thus:

Many have responded to this old canard, such as Bill Dembski in The Design Revolution and myself in my forthcoming book, Christian Apologetics. "God of the gaps" just presupposes that naturalism can explain everything; if it faces an explanatory problem, it refuses to consider a non-natural explanation involving original, intelligent causation. That is dismissed as "god of the gaps." It is an air-tight strategy that begs the question in favor of naturalism. Yes, some theistic explanations have failed, but not all. Moreover, many naturalistic explanations have and continue to fail. It cannot account for irreducible complexity or objective moral value, and so on. See JP Moreland, The Recalcitrant Imago Dei.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Christian Worldview in a Nutshel (but please don't leave it at that)

The universe (originally good, now fallen and awaiting its divine restoration) is created by the Triune God, who has revealed himself in nature, conscience, Scripture, and through the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, so that the universe may be judged and renewed, and so that people may be restored to God and experience new life eternally.

Friday, January 07, 2011

If this bleeding, broken, and groaning world does not repeatedly break your heart, then you know nothing of yourself, the world, or of God.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

My Talk at Crossroads Church, Jan. 8, 8:30 AM

Crossroads Church, Thornton

Doug Groothuis, Denver Seminary

An Invitation to Apologetic Adventure and Warfare

  1. A Passion for Truth

1. “The truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32)

2. Truth under fire: pluralism (2 Corinthians 8:4-6); false worldviews (atheism) and religion (Islam)

3. Do you care about God’s truth? (Acts 17:16)

4. Jesus is the Truth Incarnate, only Mediator (John 14:6; 1 Tim. 2:5)

  1. What is Apologetics?

1. Making the case that Christianity is objectively true, rational, and pertinent to all of life (1 Peter 3:15-16; Jude 3; Acts 17:16-34)

2. Loving God with all of our mind (Matthew 22:37-40)

3. Part of the Great Commission adventure to disciple the nations (Matthew 28:18-20)

4. Part of spiritual warfare (Acts 13:1-12; Ephesians 6:10-19)

  1. Issues in Apologetic Engagement

1. Be filled with the Holy Spirit to have a knowledgeable zeal for God’s glory and the salvation of the lost (Acts 1:8; Romans 9:1-3)

2. Be wise as a serpent, innocent as a dove, bold as a lion (Matthew 10:16; Proverbs 28:1)

3. Argue for the objective truth of Christianity (as a worldview), not just a lifestyle or a relative truth (Romans 3:4)

The universe (originally good, now fallen and awaiting its divine restoration) is created by the Triune God, who has revealed himself in nature, conscience, Scripture, and through the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, so that the universe may be judged and renewed, and so that people may be restored to God and experience new life eternally.

4. Understand the worldview of the person you are addressing (Acts 17:16-34)

5. Find logical and factual holes in their worldview: relativism, pantheism, Islam, etc. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

6. Build bridges from their worldview to the Christian worldview (Acts 17:16-34)

  1. Four circles of Christian evidence (quick survey)

1. Cosmology: evidence for creation and design from science (Psalm 19:1-6; Romans 1:18-21)

2. Biology: evidence for design from science (Psalm 19:1-6; Romans 1:18-21)

3. History: strong historical evidence for the reliability of the Bible, especially the testimony about Jesus Christ (Luke 1:1-4)

4. Existential: the meaning that Christ gives to life (Blaise Pascal)

a. Understanding our uniqueness as human beings made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26)

b. Understanding ourselves as rebels against God (Genesis 3; Romans 3)

c. Knowing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior (John 3:16-18; 10:10)

Resources on Apologetics

1. William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith, 3rd ed. (Crossway, 2008). In-depth work defending Christianity scientifically, philosophically, and historically by a leading philosopher and debater. Also, see his web page: Reasonable Faith:

2. Douglas Groothuis, Truth Decay: Defending Christianity Against the Challenges of Postmodernism (InterVarsity Press, 2000).

3. Douglas Groothuis, On Jesus and On Pascal, both Wadsworth, 2003.

4. Doug Groothuis web page:

Apologetics articles by Doug Groothuis:

5. Doug Groothuis, Christian Apologetics. InterVarsity Press, forthcoming, August, 2011.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

An Invitation to Apologetic Adventure and Warfare

I will be giving this talk at a men's breakfast at Crossroad Church in Thornton, CO (53 East 128th Ave. 80241), on Saturday, January 8 at the ungodly hour of 8:30 AM. Contact them for details: 303-452-5332. Here is a short summary of outline:

1. A Passion for Truth
2. What is Apologetics?
3. Issues in Apologetics Engagement

Sunday, January 02, 2011

My Laptop Philosophy in the Classroom. Taken from a Syllabus at Denver Seminary

No laptops are allowed in the classroom. While many students will use them responsibly, sadly my experience shows that many will not use them wisely, and will, instead, use them to surf the Internet—checking emails, etc., even watching films. For this reason, I am banning them from the classroom. The classroom needs to be zone for knowledge and inspiration. Knowledge needs students and students need knowledge. We need to breath ideas together without the distraction of alien mediation (cell phones, laptops, and so on). Therefore, please print out the class notes for the day (given through the web page by email) and be ready to take notes and discuss the material face-to-face, voice-to-voice, soul-to-soul. Many students disappear behind the screens. Please give me—better, offer up before God—the class time each week for discussion, debate, and dialogue.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Lament and jeremiad must be met in equal measure (nay, in exceeding measure) with celebration, conservation (of the good), and innovation (culture-making).