The challenge of “New Atheism”

JP: Good read from Albert Mohler. For a review of “Atheism Remix” click here.

“Atheism Remix” — Understanding and Answering the New Atheism

Excerpts:

The New Atheism is not just a reassertion of atheism. It is a movement that represents a far greater public challenge to Christianity than that posed by the atheistic movements of previous times. Furthermore, the New Atheism is not just another example of marketing an idea in the postmodern age. The New Atheists are, in their own way, evangelistic in intent and ambitious in hope. They see atheism as the only plausible worldview for our times, and they see belief in God as downright dangerous – an artifact of the past that we can no longer afford to tolerate, much less encourage.

They see science as on their side, and argue that scientific knowledge is our only true knowledge. They argue that belief in God is organized ignorance, that theistic beliefs lead to violence and that atheism is liberation. They are shocked and appalled that Americans refuse to follow the predictions of the secularization theorists, who had assured the elites that belief in God would be dissolved by the acids of modernity. They have added new (and very important) arguments to the atheistic arsenal. They write from positions of privilege, and they know how to package their ideas. They know that the most important audience is the young, and they are in a position to reach young people with their arguments.

The Christian church must respond to the challenge of the New Atheism with the full measure of conviction and not with mere curiosity. We are reminded that the church has faced a constellation of theological challenges throughout its history. Then, as now, the task is to articulate, communicate, and defend the Christian faith with intellectual integrity and evangelistic urgency. We should not assume that this task will be easy, and we must also refuse to withdraw from public debate and private conversation in light of this challenge.

In the final analysis, the New Atheism presents the Christian church with a great moment of clarification. The New Atheists do, in the end, understand what they are rejecting. When Sam Harris defines true religion as that “where participants’ avowed belief in a supernatural agent or agents whose approval is to be sought,” he understands what many mired in confusion do not. In the end, the existence of the supernatural, self-existent, and self-revealing God is the only starting point for Christian theology. God possesses all of the perfections revealed in Scripture, or there is no coherent theology presented in the Bible. The New Atheists are certainly right about one very important thing—it’s atheism or biblical theism. There is nothing in between.

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The Point of Prophecy

JP: Worthwhile read on the point of prophecy

Missing the Point of Prophecy

Excerpts:

The danger of familiarity with prophecy—indeed, with any portion of Scripture—is that even if we apparently interpret it correctly, we can still miss the point. We can easily become self-deceived hearers and not doers of the Word (James 1:22). When we fail to make applications to our lives, we fail to truly grasp the reason God gave prophecy—all while congratulating ourselves on how much we know about the end times. King Herod obtained a correct interpretation of the prophecy of Micah 5:2 from the priests and scribes (Matt. 2:5-6), but those prophetic experts failed to walk a few miles to go worship the One who came to fulfill such prophecy.

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According to God’s Word, the anticipation of our Savior’s return should produce in us a hope that manifests itself in righteousness. We must be holy people who are zealous of good works (Titus 2:14). We must not become so obsessed with details (or speculations) about the future that we miss the fact that God wins and that we should live before His face at all times.

Our growth in purity is the point of prophecy. A proper study of prophecy should fuel a holy longing to meet our Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ, face-to-face. It should motivate us to prepare for that glorious day by pursuing holiness now. Our lives should show that we are not ultimately citizens of this time and place, but that we look forward to an eternal kingdom and a new heaven and new earth, where righteousness dwells. We should not be puffed up by knowledge, but seek to “worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Rev. 19:10). May we so preach, teach, and live.

Ten Reasons to Believe the Bible

JP: Good read by Nathan Busenitz

Ten Reasons We Believe the Bible

There is no question that the Bible claims to be the Word of God. In fact, over 2,000 times in the Old Testament alone, from the beginning (Gen. 1:3) to the end (Mal. 4:3), the assertion is made that God Himself spoke what is written within its pages.

This theme continues into the New Testament, where the phrase “the Word of God” occurs over 40 times. Without apology or qualification, the Bible declares that it was written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Tim. 3:16–17; 2 Pet. 1:21), and that its message is absolutely true (John 17:17; cf. Pss. 19, 119) because its divine Author is incapable of falsehood (cf. Titus 1:3; Heb. 6:18).

  1. It explains us and our world in a way that perfectly corresponds to reality. In other words, it is the special revelation (Psalm 19:7–11) necessary to truly make sense of general revelation (Psalm 19:1–6; Romans 1, 2).
  2. It is accurate in the areas in which it can be tested (such as science and history), and therefore credible in areas where it cannot be tested (such as faith) (cf. Psalm 119:160; John 17:17).
  3. It’s supernatural character has been validated by hundreds of fulfilled prophecies (cf. Isaiah 53; Daniel 9:24–27; John 5:39–47; 1 Cor. 15:3–4).
  4. It is marked by a clear and consistent message, despite being written by many human authors over a period of 1,500 years (cf. 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20–21).
  5. It is unsurpassed in its literary quality, moral ethic, and social impact as would be expected if God were its Source (cf. Psalm 119:137–144). It likewise possesses an inexhaustible richness (cf. Rom. 11:33–36) which satisfies the thirsty soul (cf. Psalms 1:2-3; 42:1).
  6. It changes the lives of individual people, through the power of the Spirit, transforming those who were slaves of sin into sons and daughters of righteousness (cf. Psalm 119:97–104, 130; Eph. 6:18; Heb. 4:12; 1 Pet. 3:1-2).
  7. It stands alone among other books that claim to come from God, in both its external verifiability and its internal consistency (cf. Isaiah 41:21–23).
  8. It continues to victoriously withstand the attacks of its critics. Despite attempts to undermine its message, the Bible has stood the test of time.
  9. It was confirmed as the Word of God by Jesus Christ. As Christians, insofar as we believe in Jesus Christ, we must also believe that the Bible is the Word of God.
  10. It is made certain by the internal testimony of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer (cf. John 10:14–16; 1 Cor. 2:10–16).