I have been re-reading NT Wright’s chapter on the “The Surprise of Resurrection” in Jesus: the final days, where he corrects some doubtful christian ideas about the resurrection, and offers reasons why we should regard the gospel accounts as basically historical.
There’s a saying in chess that, if you are in doubt about your next move, choose the move your opponent would like least.
I reckon a similar, but opposite, saying might apply to christian evangelism: if you are wanting to evangelise, try to choose the behaviour your friend would most appreciate.
A recent study by the Barna Group in the US provides some invaluable insights from those who are the targets of christian evangelism.
Are you the sort of christian whose faith is built more on reason and evidence than an experience of God?
Do you enjoy answering sceptics’ questions about Jesus and the Bible? Perhaps even enjoy arguing with atheists online?
Have you considered that apologetics might be dangerous for your faith? (Well, sort of! But read on!) Did you know even CS Lewis experienced this?
In my previous post (When sensitive and thoughtful people begin to doubt) I looked at 4 different sets of musicians who were christians earlier in their lives, but had struggled with faith since then. Now I want to share a few thoughts on how churches and parents might help their youth to be able to face doubts sensibly and on a good basis.
Do you know someone who appeared to be a strong christian, and then began to doubt the truth of the whole thing?
I’m guessing they were likely someone in their twenties, brought up as believers but suddenly facing questions they didn’t have answers for and issues they couldn’t easily resolve. And I’m guessing many of them ended up either giving up their faith or radically changing what they believed.
It seems to be a frequent occurrence these days. Maybe we can learn something from these musicians who have gone public on their doubts and how their beliefs have changed.
Right from the earliest days, there have always been disagreements within the christian community. Some are resolved, but some lead to major splits, new denominations or new doctrinal positions.
I have the feeling that a major, and probably irreversible, divergence is brewing in the western Protestant church, between those we may label “evangelical” and those we may label “progressive”.
Both evangelicals and progressives generally hold to the core truths of christianity as expressed in the Apostles Creed – the trinity of God the father and creator; Jesus the incarnate son, teacher, healer, dying saviour and resurrected Lord; and the Holy Spirit living within each believer. But there are some distinctives of these two viewpoints which I think will continue to lead to divergence and separation.
My (internet) friend Nate has a blog, Finding Truth which I regularly read. We disagree profoundly because Nate is an atheist and former christian, while I still follow Jesus. So we cross swords occasionally, often disagreeing (amicably) with the approach the other takes to questions, evidence and arguments. He is gracious enough to welcome my critical comments, just as I welcome his here.
His latest post is The Light Given, and my disagreement is deep enough to make it difficult to express it in a comment on his blog, so I am commenting here, in the spirit of friendly disagreement and (perhaps) discussion.
I’m sure you will have read, and heard it said, that archaeology confirms the accuracy of the Bible. But you may also have heard from sceptics that the Bible isn’t historically accurate. So which is true?
This is a complex matter with a wide variety of conclusions among the experts. I have tried to investigate as impartially as I can, and it seems that both views are true (sometimes) …. and false (sometimes).
Here are seven statements I think can be known to be true.
Some books on Jesus and the New Testament are clearly apologetic in nature, seeking to argue or defend a certain viewpoint, whether it be sceptical or believing.
Other books clearly aim at being academic, impartial, seeking to advance academic opinion.
This book, which is almost a decade old, is kind of both. I have only recently read it, and I think it is worthy of a review.