Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Iran to Execute Christian

Dear Doug Groothuis,

We are asking for your urgent prayer for Youcef Nadarkhani, an Iranian pastor who may be executed within the next 24 hours if he continues to refuse to recant his faith in court.

Youcef is the pastor of a house church in Rasht, Iran, and was arrested in October 2009 for opposing the education practice that forces non-Muslim students to read the Quran in school. Youcef had argued that the Iranian constitution permits children to be raised in their parents' faith; however, for defying Iranian authorities, Youcef was charged with apostasy.

Iranian officials used pressure tactics during Youcef's imprisonment as an attempt to coerce him to renounce his Christian beliefs, which included arresting his wife and threatening to seize his children. Still, Youcef remained firm in his faith, refusing to deny the name of his Savior Jesus Christ.

On September 22, 2010, Youcef was issued the death sentence for his conversion to Christianity and for encouraging the conversions of other Muslims. Youcef appealed the decision to the Supreme Court of Iran, claiming he had never been a Muslim and therefore could not be found guilty of apostasy. However, a written verdict upholding the death penalty and ordering an investigation was handed down on June 12. A reexamination of the case to determine whether Nadarkhani will live or die began on Sunday and has continued for the past two days. Early this morning, Youcef refused to deny his faith for the fourth time in court. Technically, he must only be granted three opportunities to return to Islam before he can be executed for apostasy.

Throughout his imprisonment, Youcef has trusted in the Lord and has been a bold witness of the redeeming work of Christ in his life. Remember, Jesus did not merely warn His followers that they might be persecuted; He promised it, saying, "If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you... If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you," (John 15:18-20).

Youcef has learned to delight in hardships and persecution for Christ's sake (2 Cor. 12:10)."Many attempt to flee from their spiritual tests... [but] no one will be victorious by escaping from them, but with patience and humility he will be able to overcome all the tests and gain victory," he wrote from Lakan Prison last June. "Although heaven and earth will fade, His word will still remain."

Sincerely in Christ,

Jeff King
President, ICC

International Christian Concern
2020 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, District of Columbia 20006

Just sent to the President of the United States.

Dear Mr. President:

A young pastor who converted to Christianity is threatened with the death penalty in Iran. See this story on him:

Please send a strong message to Iran that this is morally wrong. Come to this young man's defense, I ask you.

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Jazz and Apologetics

Today, in Defending Christian Faith at Denver Seminary, I played two pieces of classic jazz: "Sophisticated Lady," by Duke Ellington and sung by Rosemary Clooney and "Passion Flower," an instrumental, featuring Johnny Hodges on alto saxophone. These were from the recording, "Blue Rose." We reflected on aspects of this music and how it pertained to the virtues required for Christian apologetics. What great fun that was! And our new classrooms have stereo speakers.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Review of Duke Ellington, The Private Collection, Vol. 5: The Suites: New York 1968 & 1970

This long CD (over 71 minutes) is taken from Duke's capacious "vault" of recordings not released during his lifetime (d. 1974). The band would gather between gigs to rehearse new material and rework old material before taking it on the road. Duke was the producer, unlike his "official recordings." And unlike some of the other vault recordings, this has a polished and finished feel to it, rivaling that of "Such Sweet Thunder."

The first suite was composed for a film about the painting of Degas, which was never completed. However, we are graced to have the music. It is multi-layered but unified in expression. Both the ensemble work and the solos are impeccably executed. This clocks in at over twenty-minutes and is a sheer delight.

"The River," originally composed for a ballet, is the second suite is longer and much more modernist or even avant-guarde. It texture approaches chamber music at times and takes some wise chances with melody, meter, and harmony. It can swing, but not always. The "Whirlpool" movement is quite adventuresome. It startled and amazed me the first time I heard it, and continues to do so. I risk sacrilege here, but it reminds one a bit of some of Frank Zappa's best instrumental work.

A world with Duke Ellington cannot be absurd. This is a sufficient (but not necessary) condition for defeating nihilism. This work is objectively beautiful; created by a great soul. Therefore there is meaning and goodness in the world. Thank God.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Prayer, the dead

Although I am a Protestant, I sometimes feel the urge to pray for the dead--the dead that are probably not in Christ. I lament the lost who are now lost to this world in death.

Yet there are finalities beyond the reach of sentiment--that one cannot alter.

I write this as I ponder the life, art, and character of Georgia O'Keefe.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I will be on Backbone Radio (Denver) from 5:00-6:30 (KNUS-AM, 710) today.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bachmann on the Constitution

Michele Bachmann

The Constitution: Freedom Defined

Washington, Sep 17 -

Two hundred and twenty-four years ago today, fifty-five men presented one of the greatest documents ever conceived by man to the world. In only four pages, the Constitution of the United States set up the parameters for the greatest nation on earth and established a standard of democracy other countries have since tried to replicate. Using simple yet powerful words, the founders presented what was then a radical idea: a republic that allowed for an unprecedented amount of power to be given to its people.

Within the sacred words of this document is embedded a passion for liberty. It is evident that the delegates of the Constitutional Convention were not just concerned about establishing rules for the newly independent America; they were defining and protecting freedom itself. After losing thousands of colonists in the War of Independence, these men had the deep conviction that freedom was precious and liberty was one of the only ideas worthy of such a tremendous loss of life. In a single charter, our founding fathers manifested an ideal that has made this country the envy of the world.

Tragically though, over the years, activist judges and lawmakers have taken the Constitution’s sacred words and twisted them to include meanings the founders never intended. America, in several ways, has strayed away from our original moorings; so many have forgotten the words that guided our country’s greatness for so many years.

Yet we need not give up. The beauty of the Constitution is that it’s not just a document, it is an idea. As evidenced in history, the Constitution is always lived out best when a virtuous people take seriously the personal responsibility they have to make this country great. As we celebrate the Constitution’s anniversary today, let us remember the idea that inspired this charter of freedom and allow its words to once again inspire us to actively protect the God-given freedom it defines.

Groothuis on Backbone Radio

Listen to Backbone Radio every Sunday, 5:00-8:00 pm

710 AM KNUS in Denver & 1460 AM KZNT in Colorado Springs
To listen online from anywhere, click

I will be on from 5:00-6:30 this Sunday.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Review of Rousas John Rushdoony, The Cure of Souls

Rousas John Rushdoony, The Cure of Souls: Recovering the Biblical Doctrine of Confession (Ross House Books, 2007).

Rousas John Rushdoony (d. 2001) was a prolific, if a bit idiosyncratic, Christian writer and teacher. He wrote mostly for small publishers, so his books were not always well-edited. He advanced a thesis, Reconstructionism (or theonomy), that advocated the application of the Mosaic law to today's society.

While I heave learned much from the mind of Rushdoony, I do not hold to Reconstructionism. Nevertheless. Rushdoony was often a trenchant social critic, who was gifted in applying theological categories to contemporary issues. On this, I recommend: The Messianic Character of American Education, This Independent Republic, The Nature of the American System, and The Revolt Against Maturity, to name just a few.

In this work, Rushdoony reflects on the nature of confession. He does so in 49 short chapters (or essays), which cover a wealth of angles. His goal is to reaffirm "the biblical doctrine of confession" as opposed to secular surrogates. To that end, Rushdoony cites many stories from his own long life as well as mining church history.

Rushdoony's central thesis is astute: the biblical doctrine of confession has been largely lost in the contemporary world. Many churches do not include it in their liturgy. Those outside the church may blather on about their sins without any sense of the meaning of sin or forgiveness. Rushdoony emphasizes that confession should be linked to repentance and restitution. We confess our sins before a holy God who commands us to "bear fruit worthy of repentance," as John the Baptist put it.

I found this book to be fascinating and challenging. It is a bit marred by poor editing, but that does not detract from the wisdom it contains. Surely "the cure of souls" is impossible without a proper doctrine and practice of confession


What would happen if all my 1600 Facebook friends put a link to Christian Apologetics (from Amazon or InterVarsity Press) on their Facebook page and asked five of their friends to do the same? If you can endorse the book, please consider doing this.

Groothuis Teaching on Apologetics

I will be teaching on apolgetics at Crossroads Church of Denver (in Aurora) on October, 16, for both services. They will also have my book, Christian Apologetics, on sale. I hope to see you there.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A short theology of listening

In a world scrambled by aimless philosophical speculation and ever-more commercial and marketable religious apostasy and crass superstition, we should exult in our knowledge that we personally bear the very image of God (imago Dei). Consequently, we have the God-given capacity to reasonably and spiritually respond to the Creator-God’s revelation and to know Him personally. We can further rejoice that our Lord Jesus Christ, through His costly grace, has died for the sin that previously blinded our eyes and deafened our ears to spiritual reality (2 Cor. 4:3-6). The Lord has spoken: in creation, in the Bible, and by his Son—and we have heard and obeyed, by His grace. Jesus preached: “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24).

Yet how do we listen to Christ’s prophets and teachers and preachers? How do we respond to the spoken word of biblical teaching and preaching? Do we really hear?

In his classic text, Biblical Preaching, Dr. Haddon Robinson affirms the centrality and power of preaching the authoritative word. He says of the Apostle: “Preaching in Paul’s mind did not consist of a man discussing religion. Instead, God Himself spoke through the personality and the message of a preacher to confront men and women and them to himself.”

God has specially appointed teachers and prophets for equipping the saints and for the building up of the Body (Eph. 4:11, 14). They must be heeded, for they are no less than the spokespeople of God. In an age rebelling against all legitimate authority, during a time when error is enthusiastically embraced and Truth largely shunned, we must become disciplined, earnest listeners to the Truth. It is our privilege; it is our responsibility.

Our worship doesn’t end with the last hymn or chorus before the teaching; rather, our worship shifts from vocally praising God to actively listening to Him. “Hear O Israel,” cried Moses, God’s prophet, “The Lord our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (Deut. 6:4).

Listen . . . with all your might; hear the living and active word. The teaching and preaching of God’s imperishable word is truly a sacred event whereby the Truth penetrates hearts and minds, consciences are quickened, sin is disclosed, salvation is offered, wisdom is imparted . . . if we listen, if we actively engage ourselves in hearing, if we participate as the Holy Spirit works in our midst.

We are all too accustomed to being entertained and passively amused. Television often hypnotizes or anaesthetizes us; it demands little response and by its very nature stimulates stagnation, not spiritual encounter. Video games, cell phones, and internet access offers an endless source of possible distraction. But when we come together as the Body of Christ we come as participants not as spectators, we come to hear and obey the Truth not to be entertained. Neither Moses nor Paul captured their audience through eloquence or style. They were not entertainers but Truth-tellers: they spoke God’s word with a power that provoked response. Our Lord, when teaching by parable, alerted his hearers: “Therefore, consider carefully how you listen” (Luke 8:18). We are to be engaged in listening, intent on hearing.

Just as it is ethically incumbent upon the teacher or preacher to diligently hunger and thirst after an exegetically and theologically correct message (James 3:1; Matt. 12:36, 37), so it is ethically imperative that the hearers receive and respond to the word—always considering the message according to Scripture. For no human is infallible, and all must be corrected biblically; yet God in His mercy uses these earthen vessels “to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us” (2 Cor. 4:7).

Sound biblical teaching and preaching when illumined by the Spirit is a transaction of grace: needed Truth is dynamically imparted to both redeemed and unredeemed sinners through the spoken word—a momentous event! It’s not just another Sunday’s half hour, not just another “religious” routine. The gracious gifts of the Spirit are to freely operate with the wind of the Spirit filling our sails and refreshing our hearts.

Practically, we must regain a biblical reverence, a fear and trembling before our Maker (Prov. 1:6). As a teacher and a preacher, I know the meaning of the congregation’s eye contact, facial expressions, and posture. Yes, in a way it is the speaker’s responsibility to provoke the interest of the hearers. But it is equally our responsibility to listen and to help the speakers by demonstrating an interest. This may require a sacrifice if you are not naturally captivated—but isn’t that the essence of following Christ—sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2)?

We obey what we have truly heard; we truly hear what we dedicate ourselves to hearing “and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17). Hear O Israel.” “Let everyone be quick to hear” (James 1:19) that the Lord may be honored, revered, and obeyed.

Black Place by Georgia O'Keefe

Monday, September 12, 2011

Michele Bachmann on Rick Perry's Errors

I'm offended.

If you watched tonight's Republican debate, you saw Rick Perry defend his decision to mandate a vaccine for young girls through an executive order while he was governor of Texas. As a mother, I have raised three biological daughters and 23 foster daughters, and I believe taking away a parents right to direct the health care of their children is flat out wrong . It’s a violation of liberty and everything you and I stand for.

Tonight, I also questioned why Governor Perry made this executive order. When you look at the facts, the question becomes, is this about life or is this about millions and potentially billions for the drug company?

We cannot forget that in the midst of the executive order, a big drug company made millions of dollars because of this mandate. This drug company's PAC made thousands of dollars in political donations to Governor Perry, and his own former Chief of Staff was working as the lobbyist for this drug company when he issued the mandate. This is flat out wrong.

Governor Perry says if given the option again he would not issue the mandate. However, as President of the United States there are no mulligans; there are no do-overs.

I am also concerned that Governor Perry also supports giving subsidies to illegal immigrants. The American way is not to give taxpayer-subsidized benefits to people who have broken the law and are here illegally. That is not the American way.

I believe it is going to take a strong constitutional conservative to defeat Barack Obama.Our constitutional conservative values must guide our actions for solving America’s challenges. And if these values are not represented in the White House, we are in for four more years of the same policies that have led our country in the wrong direction.

Our nation's challenges are have reached a critical point. And we cannot risk electing a Republican nominee to face Barack Obama who doesn't get it right the first time. The stakes are too high. The current polling of Republican voters show we are endanger of sending a candidate who does not adhere to our shared values to face Barack Obama in the general election.There are a number of candidates who say they are “members of the Tea Party,” but their records of policy and action do not reflect Tea Party values.

As conservatives, it is our charge to make Barack Obama a one-term President. I know that I am the only candidate in this race who can not only defeat Barack Obama, but who will adhere to constitutional conservative values as President.

The Empathy Machine

My essay, "The Empathy Machine," made it to the semi-finals of a competition on line.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Islam and 9/11.

Cherry Hills Community Church will present an outstanding seminar on Islam and 9/11 Sunday, September 11, 2011. I hope many of you will attend. Lee Strobel and Mark Mittleberg will be speaking, among others.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Groothuis interview

AUTHOR: Doug Groothuis
BOOK: Christian Apologetics
INTERVIEW DATE: Wednesday, September 14
INTERVIEW TIME: 3 p.m. Central/2 p.m. Mountain

MEDIA: “The Janet Mefferd Show”
COVERAGE: 110 stations
HOST: Janet Mefferd
CONTACT: Bobby Belt

Questions-Answers on Apologetics

I answer some questions about apologetics on the InterVarsity web page. This pertains to my book, Christian Apologetics.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Lee Strobel endorses my book, Christian Apologetics

I got your book and love it! It's comprehensive without being too technical. It's highly accessible and readable for the average Christian. It covers the breadth of relevant issues. Great job! I'm going to give it a big push as the lead story in my next INVESTIGATING FAITH newsletter with and urge people to buy it.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Read "Christian Apologetics" with Others

Apologetics 3:15 is starting a read-along project, which is using my book, Christian Apologetics. It also features an interview with me as well as my spoken introduction to all 28 chapters of the book.