Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Friday, November 25, 2011
Naturalism and Truth. See chapter 17 of my book, Christian Apologetics
Boiled down to essentials, a nervous system enables the organism to succeed in…feeding, fleeing, fighting, and reproducing. The principle chore of nervous systems is to get the body parts where they should be in order that the organism may survive. . . . Improvements in sensorimotor control confer an evolutionary advantage: a fancier style of representing [the world] is advantageous so long as it is geared to the organism's way of life and enhances the organism's chances of survival. Truth, whatever that is, definitely takes the hindmost. 
With me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind? 
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
–II Timothy 1:6-7, NIV
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
1. Introduce the issue and its importance.
2. Give the argument form for P
3. Give the evidence for P.
4. Respond to salient objections to P
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Duke's Music in The World to Come
Outline for My Talk at Saddleback Church, Nov. 27
Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy,
Putting Truth to Work: the Biblical View of Truth
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. Truth in Christian Witness: Apologetics
A. Jesus is Truth Incarnate and an apologist (John 14:1-6). See Douglas Groothuis, On Jesus, chapter 3.
B. His followers must know the truth and make it known (John 8:31-32;
1 Peter 3:15; Matthew 28:18-20).
Christian worldview: creation/fall/redemption/consummation. Christian Apologetics, chapters 2-3.
II. Truth and Today’s Culture
A. Knowing our culture, for example,
“From Issachar, men who understood the times and knew what
B. Two types of unbelief
1. Postmodernism (Richard Rorty): Truth is socially constructed and variable (relativism or non-realism)
2. Philosophical materialism (Richard Dawkins): Truth is what materialistic science describes (realism); there is no supernatural realm, e.g., God, the soul, spirits, the afterlife
III. The Christian View of Truth: the Nature of Truth
A. A true statement is one that reflects or matches reality (realism or the correspondence view of truth). See Christian Apologetics, chapter 5; Groothuis, Truth Decay, chapter 4.
“And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith”—1 Corinthians 15:14.
B. Truth is objective; not merely subjective
Truth-claims stake out portions of reality through words: “Jesus Christ is Lord” (Philippians 2:5-11).
C. Truth is antithetical, either/or
"He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters—Matthew 12:30.
D. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth (John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13). Depend on the Spirit to give us an intelligent and virtuous witness (Acts 1:8).
IV. Against the Postmodern View of Truth
A. Postmodernism often refutes itself: claims truth is not objective, but then claims to be the objective account of truth: “There is no objective truth.”
a. If this statement is true objectively, then it is false. It is, therefore, self-refuting, self-stultifying as an objective truth claim.
b. If the statement is true subjectively, then there no reason to hold the postmodern view of truth as the claim applies to everything as objective, universal claim.
2. Counterexamples against postmodernism showing universal, objective truths:
a. Laws of logic: identity (A=A); noncontradiction (A is not non-A).
b. Objective moral goodness or evil: Mother Theresa or Osama bin Laden; sadistic torture or famine relief; murder or love
B. Challenge postmodernists to pursue the truth and put off laziness: truth counts forever (Luke 9:25). See Christian Apologetics, chapters 6-7.
V. Against Scientific Naturalism
A. If the brain is not designed for truth, and if organisms can survive and reproduce without consciousness or rationality, there is no reason to think our material brains know the truth. Charles Darwin. See Christian Apologetics, chapter 18.
1. We were designed to know God and the world; there is a fit between our being and our knowing of the world (Genesis 1:26-28; Psalm 8).
2. Laws of logic are not physical, but universally and absolutely true ideas (that is, immaterial things).
B. Morality is more than instinct and social conditioning (materialism): values are immaterial truth beyond mere matter. See Christian Apologetics, chapter 15.
VI. Take Biblical Truth to the Streets!
A. Understand the biblical view of truth (realism) and what is true (creation/fall/redemption/consummation) as opposed to postmodernism and scientific naturalism.
B. Therefore, defend Christian truth with competence, confidence, courage, compassion, and creativity (2 Tim. 1:7). There is much at stake (Matthew 25:46).
Sources: Douglas Groothuis, Christian Apologetics A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith (InterVarsity Press, 2011); Truth Decay: Defending Christianity Against the Challenges of Postmodernism (InterVarsity Press, 2000); On Jesus (
Doug Groothuis at Saddleback
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Friday, November 18, 2011
Roots and Fruits
Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D., Doug.Groothuis@denverseminary.edu
How to Spot a Cult
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.—Colossians 2:8.
I. Discerning Truth from Error
A. Christ, the church, and the truth
1. Jesus is Truth Incarnate (John 14:1-6)
2. The church is the pillar and foundation of the truth
3. The truth about God, salvation, ethics, and history is found in the Bible (2 Timothy 3:15-16; 2 Peter 1:20-21)
B. The challenge of theological error
1. The wide road to destruction (Matthew 7:14-14)
2. Paul’s farewell address to the Ephesian elders (Acts 20:20-28)
3. Being rooted in the truth (1 John 4:1-6)
II. What is a Cult?
A. Historically: groups that split off from an established religious body
Christian cults: significant deviations from Christian orthodoxy
B. Scaling the language barrier (Walter Martin)
Cults use Christian vocabulary without using our dictionary (the Bible’s meaning of these terms)
C. Theologically: teachings deny key orthodox beliefs about God and salvation
1. Source of authority: the Bible alone (sola scriptura) or the Bible plus another source?
a. Mormonism: Book of Mormon,
b. Jehovah’s Witnesses: Watchtower Society pronouncements
c. Christian Science: Science and Health with a Key to the Scriptures
d. Other Mind science groups: Unity, Religious Science
2. Understanding of human nature
a. Cults always demote God and promote humans (Walter Martin), thus denying the need for the Cross of Christ
b. Cults deny total depravity and original sin (Mark 7:21-23; Romans 3:9-20)
3. Redefining the person and work of Jesus Christ
a. Cults diminish the work of Christ for our salvation (Galatians 1:6-11)
b. Deny his deity (John 1; Colossians 2:9)
c. Deny his full atonement for sins (Romans 5:1-8)
d. Deny his physical resurrection from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:1-8)
4. Cults deny the gospel of Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:6-11; 2 Corinthians 11:14)
a. The gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-8; John 3:16-17; Romans 5:1-5; Ephesians 2:8-9)
b. Faith plus good works or mystical experience
Mormons: We do all we can—and God makes up the rest
c. Salvation is found only in Christ (Acts 4:12) and received only by faith (Ephesians 2:8-9)
III. Reaching Those in Cults
A. Know what you believe and why you believe it (Romans 12:1-2)
B. Be prepared for spiritual warfare (Acts 13:1-12; Ephesians 6:10-19; 1 Peter 5:8-9)
C. Be filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8)
D. Treat the cultist as a human being needing salvation, not on object for evangelism
E. Discern the cultists beliefs and gently challenge them with biblical truth and apologetics (1 Peter 3:15; Jude 3; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5)
Walter Martin, The Kingdom of the Cults. Several editions.
Gordon Lewis, Confronting the Cults (P&R Publishing).
Robert Bowman, Orthodoxy and Heresy (Baker, 1992).
Ron Rhodes, The Challenge of Cults and New Religions (Zondervan, 2001).
Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality (Tyndale) A classic on living the Christian life biblically. I have read this many times.
Magazine: The Christian Research Journal. See www.equip.org
Groothuis on Radio
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Wisdom from Timothy McGrew
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Lecture outline for my talk at Denver Seminary today
Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D.
Professor of Philosophy,
November 15, 2011
Roots and Fruits:
Intellectual Influences that Shaped my Christian Calling
Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.—1 Corinthians 11:1
I. What is a Christian Calling? (See Os Guinness, The Call)
A. Life direction according to spiritual gifts, opportunities, and strong desires
1. What needs to be done for the Mission of God
2. What one does well
3. What gives one deep joy
B. My calling (Matthew 6:33; 1 Corinthians 10:31)
1. Defend and apply Christianity as objectively true, rationally compelling, and pertinent to all of life (Matthew 22:37-40; 1 Peter 3:15; Jude 3)
2. To do this through teaching, preaching, and writing
3. What this means: teaching at Denver Seminary, adjunct teaching and guest lecturing at secular schools; preaching in local churches; writing academic and popular works: Twelve books; two dozen peer-review academic journal articles; hundreds of articles, book reviews, and letters to the editor in dozens of magazines, journals, and elsewhere.
4. The biggest literary fruit: Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Christian Faith (InterVarsity Press, 2011)
II. The First Root: Soren Kierkegaard (1813-55)
A. The Sickness Unto Death: exegeted my own soul for me
B. Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing: solidified my calling as a Christian thinker
C. Example of an earnest, brilliant life of letters for the cause of Christ (despite his fideism)
III. The Second Root: Francis A. Schaeffer (1912-84)
A. The discovery of Schaeffer in the fall of 1976: The God Who is There (1968)
B. The gift of understanding, intellectual courage, and a life-plan
C. Schaeffer’s strengths
1. A deep compassion for the lost
2. Spiritual integrity in ministry
3. A broad understanding of the Bible, theology, culture, and history
4. A strong sense of the Lordship of Christ over all of culture
D. Schaeffer’s weaknesses
1. Over simplification
2. Lack of philosophical rigor
IV. The Third Root: Blaise Pascal (1624-1663)
A. The discovery of Pensées in 1977.
B. The genius of his view of the human condition: deposed royalty
C. The genius of the wager (properly understood)
D. His influence on all my writing and ministry
E. See my book, On Pascal (
V. The Fourth Root: Os Guinness (b. 1941)
A. The Christian as astute social critic and prophet: The Dust of Death (1973); The American Hour (1992); The Case for Civility (2008); etc.
B. Guinness as a matchless orator and statesman for Christ
VI. The Fifth Root: Rebecca Merrill Groothuis
A. Rebecca and my calling
1. Prodding me to write Unmasking the New Age (1986)
2. Alerting me to spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:10-19; 1 Peter 5:8-9)
3. Challenge to develop my views of women in the
a. “Equal in Being, Unequal in Role: Exploring the Logic of Woman’s Subordination,” in Discovering Biblical Equality (2004)
b. See Adam Omelianchuck, “Ontologically Grounded Subordination.” Philosophia Christi, Vol. 13, No. 1 (2011): 169-180. This defends Rebecca’s argument against challenges by Steven Cowan.
c. See Rebecca Merrill Groothuis, Women Caught in the Conflict (1994); Good News for Women (1997).
B. Rebecca’s editing and my writing
Episode from finishing our book, Christian Apologetics
Those also deserving mention (not in priority order):
James W. Sire, C.S. Lewis, Carl F. H. Henry, Gordon Clark, Gordon R. Lewis, R. J. Rushdoony, J.P. Moreland, William Lane Craig, Richard John Neuhaus, Arthur Holmes,
Keith Yandell, R.T. Herbert, John Calvin, The Westminster Divines, G.K. Chesterton, Jacques Ellul, Bernard Ramm, John Stott, Walter Martin, Brooks Alexander, Harry Blamires, Ronald Nash, Alvin Plantinga, Phillip Johnson, F.F. Bruce, William Dembski, Neil Postman, Marshall McLuhan.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Advice from Duke
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Steve Jobs, Jesus, and the Problem of Evil
55O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
56The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
57But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.--1 Corinthians 15:55-58, King James Version.
(For more on the problem of evil, see chapter 25 of Christian Apologetics.)
1. The purpose of this blog is not bragging on myself, but rather promoting a work I believe in for the sake of advancing the Kingdom and Mission of God. That is why I spent over eight years writing it.
2. Further, given the rise of the Internet, the old ways of promotion are no longer adequate: adds in magazine, radio interviews, and so on. Much of the interest in books is generated on line, and the author is often the only one available to do this. That is why I started my blog about the book and why I promote the book on my social media.
3. Whatever good one finds in my book, I attribute to God's grace and faithfulness. I did not make up the Christian faith, not can I can credit for the rational defense of it. It is all of grace.
Wednesday, November 09, 2011
Ways to Further the Ministry
Tuesday, November 08, 2011
Roots and Fruits
You are cordially invited to the first session of the Christian Thought Colloquium 2011-12.
Our own Dr. Douglas Groothuis will present on “Roots and Fruits: The Intellectual Influences That Shaped my Christian Calling.”
The colloquium will be held on Tuesday, November 15 at noon.
The venue will be classroom 115.
After Doug’s presentation for about 40 minutes, we will have a Q&A session for 5-10 minutes.
Dr. Don Payne will serve as moderator.
Saturday, November 05, 2011
Friday, November 04, 2011
Episcopal Book of Common Prayer
Douglas Groothuis Lecture at Denver Seminary
My review of part of Nigel Warburten's "A Little History of Philosophy" (on Amazon)
Tuesday, November 01, 2011
From The Book of Common Prayer
For a Sick Person
O Father of mercies and God of all comfort, our only help in time of need: We humbly beseech thee to behold, visit and relieve thy sick servant N. for whom our prayers are desired. Look upon him with the eyes of thy mercy; comfort him with a sense of thy goodness; preserve him from the temptations of the enemy; and give him patience under his affliction. In thy good time, restore him to health, and enable him to lead the residue of hislife in thy fear, and to thy glory; and grant that finally he may dwell with thee in life everlasting; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
For Recovery from Sickness
O God, the strength of the weak and the comfort of sufferers: Mercifully accept our prayers, and grant to your servant N. the help of your power, thathis sickness may be turned into health, and our sorrow into joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
O God of heavenly powers, by the might of your command you drive away from our bodies all sickness and all infirmity: Be present in your goodness with your servant N., that his weakness may be banished and his strength restored; and that, his health being renewed, he may bless your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.