Raised? Finding Jesus by Doubting the Resurrection | A Brief Review

Jonathan Dodson and Brad Watson have written an incredibly helpful, culturally accessible and doctrinally sound book in Raised? Finding Jesus by Doubting the Resurrection. The premise of the book is simple, in the words of the Apostle Paul, "if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins." (1Cor15:17) If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then everything else he said or did is of little importance. However, if he did rise, that changes everything about everything. That makes the resurrection of Jesus perhaps the best place to start for those examining his life and claims - and that is where Raised? comes in. 

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William Lane Craig on God's existence and "apathy-ism"

On December 4th, world-class apologist and research professor, William Lane Craig (WLC) appeared on Fox News to discuss his latest book, A Reasonable Response: Answers to Tough Questions on Christianity, God and the Bible. You can access more of WLC's articles, debates, and books at Reasonable FaithI previously posted their latest, and very well done, clip on the cosmological argument hereIn this interview he offers a very brief snapshot of why it is important for followers of Jesus to have answers for why we believe what we do, along with his five primary arguments for the existence of God.

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How is faith formed?

Last month I wrote a post ("What is Faith?") describing what biblical faith is and is not. Here I will address how our faith is formed. What factors and forces play a role in what we believe? We tend to think our beliefs (whatever they are) are based purely on intellectual grounds. However, there are a variety of forces that inform what we hold to be true. In other words, it's not quite as simple as we think. This is particularly relevant when it comes to belief in the existence of God and how we are to relate to him. Here we'll look at four of the most prominent influences that give shape to what we believe.

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What is faith?

One of the major obstacles to Christianity is that many mistake the concept of "faith" for taking a blind leap in the absence of evidence. That's a valid concern, but it is a false caricature of biblical faith - a caricature I held to be true prior to following Jesus. Biblical faith is not a blind commitment or mere emotional wishful thinking. That is not faith, that is foolishness. I will deal specifically with the plausibility of biblical faith in a future post. But, first we must address what faith is and how it is formed. In this post we will discuss the elements of biblical faith. Traditionally, biblical faith is understood as having three components: knowledge (notitia), assent (assensus), and trust (fiducia). Understanding the anatomy of biblical faith is of crucial importance, both for followers of Jesus and those who are not, as it is faith that leads to salvation and ongoing sanctification (i.e. transformation).

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Why the type of faith required by Christianity is more common than we suppose

This is the best page of writing I've read in the last two weeks, so I thought I would share it here due to its clarity, insightfulness and wisdom. Lewis is such a help when it comes to taking seemingly complex matters and reframing them in ways that leave the reader wondering why he had not seen such things before. In his essay, On Obstinacy in Belief, he devotes a section to tackling the common objection that the type of faith (or trust) required by Christianity is simple-minded, naive and un-intelligent. His response is worth reading and considering. 

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Does God exist? The cosmological argument

This is a very well-done, helpful and accessible video short by William Lane Craig & Co with Reasonable Faith on the cosmological argument as one clue for the existence of God. While some critique this argument for the many questions it leaves unanswered, we must keep in mind its purpose. This is just one of many clues for God's existence that, together, make a very compelling case that God exists and served as the primary mover of all things at some point in the finite past. 

Six suggestions on how to navigate doubt

I recently wrote a piece, "Six suggestions on how to navigate doubt", for Downtown Cornerstone. Doubt is something I personally encounter, from time to time, and frequently deal with as a pastor of a growing church. Doubt shouldn't be something we ignore, but face directly. But, how do we do that? I wrote this short post to help give a starting point for navigating doubt. Here's an excerpt: 


No matter what you believe, if you’re thoughtful and honest, you will face some measure of doubt. Is what I believe true? Can we know what is true? Do I believe what I do because it is true or for other reasons (personal experiences, moral preferences, particular environment, etc)? Have I reasonably considered the other options?

I was recently asked by a friend, who is in the thick of considering the claims of Jesus Christ, “How do followers of Jesus manage doubt? How do you not let doubt swallow you up completely?” Those are good questions, no matter what you believe.  

 In this post, I’d like to specifically deal with doubt within the context of Christianity. Following Jesus is not an isolated hobby for personal enrichment nor for those merely looking to have their spiritual needs met. Rather, Christianity claims to be the truth of the universe and, if true – and I believe it is – that changes everything. As CS Lewis once said: "Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important."

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Common questions about Jesus' resurrection

If you do not follow Jesus and want to begin to explore the life and claims of this man (and you should) start with his resurrection. If the resurrection did not happen, there is no point in moving on to anything else. Even the Apostle Paul said, "if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins." (1 Cor 15:17). So, start with Jesus' resurrection. A common question I frequently get is, "How many intelligent, self-respecting people could actually believe an obscure Jewish preacher in a rural province of the Roman empire 2,000 years ago was God who raised from the dead?" That's a good question. Answer: Quite a few actually. 

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Nash on Christianity and Rationality

Reason has an intrinsic relationship to God, it has cosmic significance. Christians believe the rational world is the projection of a rational God who objectifies His eternal thoughts in the creation and who endows the human creature, the apex of His creation, with the image of God which includes a structure of reason similar to God’s own reason.
— Ronald Nash, The Word of God and the Mind of Man, 69

CS Lewis on getting your head set right

In God you come up against something which is in every respect immeasurably superior to yourself. Unless you know God as that - and, therefore, know yourself as nothing in comparison - you do not know God at all. As long as you are proud, you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.
— CS Lewis, Mere Christianity, 96