apologetics

The City Podcast: Science vs. God

by Timothy Motte on February 17, 2014

The City, a podcast of Houston Baptist University: Smart. Sane. Spiritual.

Featuring: Dr. Hugh Ross, Cate MacDonald, Dr. Holly Ordway, Dr. John Mark Reynolds

What if I told you that science leads you to God instead of away from him?

Astrophysicist Hugh Ross’ testimony is exactly that. His first encounter with Christianity was as a grad student at Cal Tech, and it was studying science that brought him to faith in God. The beauty of the heavens, the elegance of mathematics, and the evidence for design that Dr. Ross conveys so articulately in this podcast provide the antidote to conundrums faced by the students of Dr. Ordway and Cate MacDonald. You’ll definitely want to listen all the way to the end.

Mentioned in this podcast: Dr. Ross’ book, Hidden Treasures in the Book of Job

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Email us at podcast@hbu.edu with your thoughts, questions, or suggestions for future episodes.

On Debating Dan Barker

by John Mark Reynolds on November 22, 2013

Originally posted at Wheatstone Writes. John Mark Reynolds is a Founder of Wheatstone Ministries. He blogs, advises, and speaks for Wheatstone regularly. Visit www.wheatstoneministries.com for more information.

I was excited to debate Dan Barker. Why? First, Barker’s story is very much like my own, but with a different conclusion. We had similar childhoods and followed a pathway into Christian ministry. Right about the time his first book came out, I was deciding whether to remain a Christian. [click to continue…]

The City Podcast Special: What Good Are Debates?

by Timothy Motte on November 6, 2013

The City, a podcast of Houston Baptist University: Smart. Sane. Spiritual.

Featuring: Mary Jo Sharp, Dr. Holly Ordway, Dr. John Mark Reynolds

This coming Saturday, November 9th, HBU Provost Dr. John Mark Reynolds will debate Co-President of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, Dan Barker on the question, “Does God exist?”

To help you get the most out of this debate, here is a special podcast with Dr. Reynolds, moderator and organizer Mary Jo Sharp, and director of Apologetics at HBU, Dr. Holly Ordway.

What is the value of these kinds of theological or philosophical debates? What attitude should the audience bring to it? What attitude should the participants bring to it?

Register for the debate here. It’s free.

If you can’t be there in person, you can watch it live at hbu.edu/live.

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Email us at podcasts@hbu.edu with your thoughts, questions, or suggestions for future episodes.

The City Podcast: Imaginative Apologetics

by Timothy Motte on September 9, 2013

The City, a podcast of Houston Baptist University: Smart. Sane. Spiritual.

Featuring: Dr. Michael Ward, Dr. Holly Ordway, Dr. John Mark Reynolds

This is the third part of a three part conversation with Dr. Michael Ward, C.S. Lewis scholar and author of Planet Narnia and The Narnia Code.

Dr. Ward has been hired to work full-time for HBU at the C.S. Lewis Centre in Oxford, as well as teaching both online and on campus classes. What will his work be on?

Imaginative Apologetics.

In this conversation Dr. Reynolds and Dr. Ordway talk about what Imaginative (or Cultural) Apologetics is and how it will serve the kingdom of God.

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Email us at podcasts@hbu.edu with your thoughts, questions, or suggestions for future episodes.

If you are interested in attending the unveiling of the C.S. Lewis memorial in Westminster Abbey this November, visit www.lewisinpoetscorner.com.

 

The City Podcast: Mere Christianity in a Mythic Moment

by Timothy Motte on April 30, 2013

The City, a podcast of Houston Baptist University: Smart. Sane. Spiritual.

Featuring: Mary Jo Sharp, Dr. Holly Ordway, Cate MacDonald, and Dr. John Mark Reynolds

HBU is in a mythic moment.

There are many factors contributing to this, and that is why Dr. Reynolds brought in amazing apologetics professor Mary Jo Sharp to discuss it.

The melting pot nature of the city of Houston, and the mere Christian mission of HBU bring to light the ways in which Christians from vastly different denominations can work closely together while still maintaining their doctrinal distinctiveness.

Also, in this episode, you will find out which Lord of the Rings character Dr. Reynolds thinks President Sloan looks like.

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Email us at podcast@hbu.edu.

 

A to Z with C.S. Lewis: T is for Tao

by Lou Markos on April 18, 2013

Laozi and Kong Fuzi

Mere Christianity is Lewis’s best known and most complete work of apologetics.  In it he begins with a general argument for theism (the existence of God) and then expands that argument into a specific defense of the Christian gospel.  From there, he goes on to explain and support the central moral and theological principles of Christianity.

Although Lewis believed firmly in the authority of scripture, he knew that many of his modern readers did not share his belief.  Accordingly, Lewis carefully builds his apologetical arguments on common ground: on facts and observations about our world and ourselves that all people, regardless of their religious beliefs, can see, understand, and acknowledge.

That is why he begins Mere Christianity with an unexpected statement that seems, on the surface, to have little to do with a defense of the Christian faith.  Did you ever notice, Lewis writes, that when two people disagree about something, they argue about it rather than fight?  Though most of us likely did not notice this phenomenon before, the moment we read Lewis’s statement, the truth of it becomes apparent. Of course we argue instead of fight!

And that’s when Lewis hooks us.  Whether we realize it or not, two people cannot argue about something unless they agree (often unconsciously) to a fixed standard that transcends them both.  When we argue, we take that standard for granted and then make a case (sometimes rationally, sometimes irrationally) that our side of the argument better approximates that standard.

In a case where two former business partners are suing each other for fraud, neither party says: “yes, I swindled my partner, and I was right to do so.”  If he did, he would not be sent to jail; he would be sent to an asylum.  Now, one party might partially confess to fraud, but then he would follow the confession by offering mitigating circumstances to show that the “fraud” was actually justified.  In other words, he still holds to the accepted standard that fraud is wrong.

On the basis of our shared experience of such ethical debates, Lewis posits that a universal, cross-cultural moral code exists and is binding.  In The Abolition of Man, he gives that law code a name: the Tao.  Many Christians are confused by this: why should Lewis borrow a word from Taoism (a branch of Buddhism) to bolster his case for the Christian faith?  The answer is simple: to show that all people (east and west) recognize the Tao, even though they continually break it.

Many relativists will balk against Lewis’s assertion of the Tao, claiming that morality veers wildly from culture to culture and is a man-made (rather than a divinely-given) thing that alters from age to age.  But those same so-called relativists will quickly change their tune if someone robs them.  “It was wrong of you to do that,” they will say, and if the person who robbed them says, “in my culture it is OK for me to steal,” the relativist will not accept the excuse.

The fact is everyone knows the Tao exists, for whatever our own personal ideology, we expect other people to treat us in accordance with the Tao.  Indeed, if there were no Tao, then no court could have tried the Nazis or Saddam Hussein or the perpetrators of apartheid.  The Tao does exist, but if it exists, then it makes necessary a director of the Tao who transcends all times and cultures.  It requires, in short, a super-natural Creator who inscribed the Tao into our conscience.