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K. Scott Oliphant, in his book Covenantal Apologetics: Principles & Practice in Defense of Our Faith, has given us both an introduction to and a fresh understanding of Cornelius Van Til’s presuppositional apologetics.

The most popular form of apologetics (defending the faith) today is what is known as Evidentialism. In other words, we defend the truthfulness of Christianity by presenting evidence for God’s existence, His creation of the universe, the historical and literal resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the inspiration and authority of Scripture. Covenantal apologetics, on the other hand focuses its attention on the underlying assumptions we all have as fallen human beings, and then proceed from that point (while not denying the importance of evidences).

God relates to human beings on the basis of covenants. The Westminster Confession of Faith 7.1, says “The distance between God and the creature is so great, that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience unto Him as their Creator, yet they could never have any fruition of Him as their blessedness and reward, but by some voluntary condescension of God’s part, which He has been pleased to express by way of covenant.” God condescends to deal with us despite our sin, and He does it by means of covenants which are solely based on His grace and mercy.

Covenantal apologetics is based on several foundational truths. The faith we’re defending  must begin with, and necessarily include, the triune God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), who condescends to create and to redeem. Human beings (made in the image and likeness of God) are all in a covenant relationship with God. All people know the true God (see Rom. 1). Those who are and remain in Adam suppress the truth that they know, while those who are in Christ see the truth for what it is. The suppression of truth, however like depravity, is total but not absolute. Three basic concepts should be understood and presupposed as being true: the authority of Scripture (there has to be a final word), a sense of the divine (and a knowledge of Him) in every human being, and God’s common grace in every human being.

There is some deep water in spots, but Oliphant makes his case in a way that’s understandable. Covenantal Apologetics has changed the way I think about apologetics, including wanting to read more of Van Til.

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Here are few good links to articles that will make you think. Enjoy!

The Apostate’s Creed by Jared Wilson.

Eric Davis tells us why we can’t forgive ourselves.

How Don Whitney started reading the Bible every day and why it’s important.

James Anderson answers the question “What is a worldview?”

 

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The apostle Paul is one of the most, if not the most, important Christian who has ever lived. His conversion and subsequent life of ministry is powerful evidence for the reality and truth of the Christian faith.

Renowned and respected scholar F.F. Bruce’s book Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free provides an in-depth overview of Paul’s upbringing, conversion, ministry, teachings, and travels. Bruce includes quite a bit of information about the Roman empire and the world in which Paul lived. This book is a goldmine of information!

I highly recommend Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free. If I ever teach a class on the life and ministry of Paul, this will be the textbook.

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I’ve come across several articles lately that are good and worth consideration.

First, Jon Bloom writes on “The Real Root of Sexual Sin” at the Desiring God blog. You can read it here.

“70 Prompts for Praising God” is a goldmine of a resource on prayer. You can read it here.

We hear a lot about “privilege” today, especially white privilege. Jonathan Leeman has written a thoughtful piece about it from a biblical perspective. You can read it here.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

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Katherine Timpf, of National Review, reports that Bloomington, Indiana  is changing the name of Columbus Day and Good Friday in order to “better reflect cultural sensitivity in the workplace.” You can read the entire article here, but these two paragraphs sum it up well:

As cute as all of that sounds, I really have a hard time seeing how renaming Good Friday in particular amounts to valuing “diversity” or “cultural sensitivity.” In fact, it almost seems like the opposite. Good Friday is an important holiday in the Christian churches, and “Good Friday” is what those churches have chosen to call it. What’s the issue? After all, it’s not like it’s called “All People Except Christians Are Bad Friday.” Suggesting that the name of a Holy Day is some kind of dirty phrase that needs changing is anything but sensitive, and a true celebration of diversity would be allowing a religion to keep the words it uses to describe its own celebrations — even if that religion is different from yours.

Calling Good Friday “Good Friday” isn’t forcing anyone to change his or her beliefs. It’s not offensive or controversial; it’s just calling something what it’s called. The fact is, people have the Friday before Easter off because it is a religious holiday for Christians — and no matter what you name it in city memos, that will still be true. Calling Good Friday “Spring Holiday” isn’t being sensitive . . . it’s being inaccurate.

And if you don’t celebrate it, then so what? You’re still getting paid time off on a Friday – and believe it or not, there are much tougher things out there that you could have to deal with.

Melissa Kruger has some wise words for women (which also apply to men) in her article “Sisters, Jesus Is Not Your Cheerleader.”

Kevin DeYoung makes the case for Christian magnanimity here, using the recent Mike Pence experience at the Broadway play called “Hamilton.”

John Tierney, from City Journal, explains who’s really at war with science. Here’s a spoiler: it isn’t the Right. “The Real War on Science” can be read here. It’s a long read, but worth it.

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If you haven’t read The Babylon Bee, you really need to start. It’s a Christian satire site, somewhat like The Onion. It’s creator is Adam Ford, who also does the Adam4d.com comics site (which is also excellent). Here’s an article from World which gives some background on Adam.

We should take God, His Word, and people seriously – but not ourselves. We have to be able to laugh at ourselves every once in a while to stay sane.

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There have been some good, thoughtful, and eye-opening articles recently – all of them worth thinking about.

Ligonier Ministries has produced another survey about what Americans believe theologically.  It’s worse than the results two years ago. You can read it here.

In the upcoming election, or any election for that matter, should you “vote your conscience”? Bryce Young provides us with his answer here.

Albert Mohler weighs in on Andy Stanley’s denial of the Bible’s authority in this article. If the Bible isn’t our final authority for faith and practice, then who or what is?

How may times have you heard a brother or sister in Christ tell you that they’ve made  a decision because they “had a peace about it”? Probably a lot. But is that idea supported by Scripture? Eric Davis has an answer here.

Do you love your reputation more than Christ? Jared Wilson explains why the answer has to be “no.” You can read it here.

 

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