Tuesday, April 24, 2012

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

Why I am a Christian:  Ask the Christian Philosopher

“More consequences for thought and action follow the affirmation or denial of God than from answering any other basic question.”
- Mortimer Adler

I.                   Why I am a Christian

A.    What is Christianity?

1.      As a worldview: creation, fall, and redemption

2.      Summary statement

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 renewed and judged, and so that people may be restored to God and experience new life eternally.

3.      One Gospel statement: Romans 5:1-8

B.     Philosophical-scientific evidence for its objective truth

1.      Absolute origin of the universe a finite time ago

2.      Design of the universe: macroscopic and microscopic evidence

3.      Objective moral law and a Law-giver

C.     Historical evidence for its objective truth

1.      Reliability of the New Testament

2.      Uniqueness and incomparability of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (John 1, Luke 1:1-4)

3.      Positive effect of Christian ideals throughout history

D.    Existential evidence for its objective truth

1.      A coherent, meaningful, and fruitful worldview

2.      A sense of oneself—good and bad—before the living God

II.                Why You Should Consider Following Christ

A.    Intellectual satisfaction: evidence of truth and rationality (Romans 12:1-2)

B.     Existential possibilities: eternal life or the loss thereof (John 3:16-18)

C.     Being part of a redemptive movement globally (Matthew 28:18-20)

Resources Defending Christianity as True, Rational, and Pertinent to Life
1.       Gleason Archer, Encyclopedia of Biblical Difficulties (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1982).
2.       Craig Blomberg, The Historical Reliability of the Gospels (InterVarsity, 2007).
3.       Campbell Campbell-Jack, Garvin J. McGrath, eds. New Dictionary of Christian Apologetics (InterVarsity Press, 2006). I contributed essays on “Technology,” “Blaise Pascal,” “Gnosticism,” “Point of Contact,” “Theistic Arguments,” and “Cyberspace.”
4.       William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith, 3rd ed. (Crossway, 2008). In-depth work defending Christianity scientifically, philosophically, and historically by a leading philosopher and debater.
5.       William Lane Craig, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, God? A Debate Between a Christian an and Atheist (Oxford University Press, 2004).
6.       William Lane Craig, Chad Meister, eds., God is Great, God is Good (InterVarsity, 2009). A collection of essays by prominent thinkers defending Christianity against a variety of charges, especially by “the new Atheists” (Dawkins, Harris, Hitchins, Dennett).
7.       William Dembski, The Design Revolution (InterVarsity, 2004). Brilliant defense of Intelligent Design against naturalism.
8.       Douglas Groothuis, Truth Decay: Defending Christianity Against the Challenges of Postmodernism (InterVarsity Press, 2000).
9.       Douglas Groothuis, On Jesus and On Pascal, both Wadsworth, 2003.
10.    Douglas Groothuis, Christian Apologetics (InterVarsity, 2011).
12.    The Discovery Institute (Intelligent Design): www.discovery.org
13.    J.P. Moreland, Scaling the Secular City (Baker, 1987). More advanced apologetics.
14.    Nancy Pearcey, Total Truth (Crossway, 2004). Strong introduction to the Christian worldview in comparison to other worldviews, and how to engage culture in a godly way.
15.    Francis Schaeffer, The God Who is There (InterVarsity Press, 1998). 30th anniversary ed. (InterVarsity Press, 1998). Classic treatment of the contemporary culture and the Christians response.
16.    Francis Schaeffer, How Shall We Then Live? The Rise and Fall of Western Culture (Crossway, 1976). Explains the basic themes of Western thought and culture and how Christians should live today in light of this. See also the DVD film series.
17.    James Sennett and Douglas Groothuis, editors, In Defense of Natural Theology (InterVarsity, 2005). More advanced work.
18.    Rodney Stark, The Triumph of Christianity (HarperOne, 2011).
19.    John Stott, Basic Christianity (InterVarsity Press). Explains the basic Christian message and the Christian life in clear, cogent terms. A modern classic.
20.    Lee Stroble, The Case for a Creator (Zondervan, 2004). See the DVD of the same name.
21.    Lee Stroble, The Case for Faith (Zondervan, 2000).
22.    Lee Stroble, The Case for Christ (Zondervan, 1998).

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