Advent season offers a unique opportunity to reflect on one of the most fascinating claims about Jesus–his incarnation. Depending on your vantage point, the incarnation may sound like a fantastic fairy tale, a mind-blowing reality, a comforting truth, or uninteresting doctrine. I find it both outlandish and profound.
God becoming a baby? Really? How absurd. What would compel God to do that? How is it possible? And if he did come, why not come as an adult and skip the awkward baby stage? Many non-Christians find this claim absurd, while many non-Christians take it for granted, which is why I’m taking four Sundays to consider the incarnation from a skeptical and theological perspective. Here’s an introductory video:
Advent 2013 – The Coming of God from City Life Church on Vimeo.
Sermons and manuscripts can be found here.
On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision by William Lane Craig (WLC) is a good introduction to evidential apologetics. Evidential apologetics primarily relies upon reason to argue for the truthfulness of the Christian faith through evidence to support its various claims. This is different from the presuppostional approach taken by Van Till, John Frame, and to a degree Tim Keller. Those authors presuppose that everyone starts from a place of faith–in reason, another god, materialism, and that Christianity is unique and more compelling in its overall account of human existence and purpose. WLC takes a different tack, and while within the evidential stream, insists upon “positive apologetics”, meaning that if you can make a sound and persuasive case for Christianity, you don’t need to be an expert in world religions. WLC is a renown apologist who has debated all kinds of worldview thinkers and philosophers around the world. He is widely respected for his commitment to reason and defending the gospel of Christ
WLC doesn’t assume any prior knowledge of apologetics, and provides handy pull out quote boxes to simplify and explain major concepts. This is nice because many apologetic books either assume a working knowledge or have trouble engaging the everyday reader. He uses historic vignettes to introduce the reader to key thought leaders throughout the book.
His logic is steely and his prose is spartan, but he moves deftly through 10 major apologetic topics, equipping the reader to think well about such areas as: atheism, meaning, basis for ethics, problem of evil, the plausibility of the resurrection, and the exclusivity of Christ. These chapters are introductory and do not cover all the objections that could be raised on a given topic. For existence, in the chapter on “Why there is something rather than nothing”, he argues by deduction for the existence of an uncaused, unembodied Mind that transcends space and time, and then makes a leap to call that thing “God.” Could that thing not be an infinite and intelligent version of the president of the United States that we haven’t yet met? What makes that thing God? Moreover, how do we get from there to Jesus? WLC builds his case for Christ as the Son of God in the later chapters, weaving in his personal story of skepticism and faith.
What On Guard lacks in warmth, it makes up for in clarity. This is not a devotional book; it is a introduction to evidential apologetics, and a fine one at that.
The audio from our evening with Dr. Michael Goheen on ‘The Reliability of the Christian Canon” is now available.
Is the Bible reliable? Does its reliability stand or fall upon the decisions of church councils? Does the Bible provide an accurate portrayal of the person of Jesus Christ? What was Jesus’ view of the Scriptures? These are important questions, especially in an educated, forward thinking city like Austin.
Slides from the presentation can be downloaded here: Canon Powerpoint