LIVE with Greg Koukl - Wednesday 9/9 @ 10AM PT

How Can I Defend My Faith without Sounding Defensive?

 

Tired of finding yourself intimidated and defensive in conversations about matters of faith?  Want to increase your confidence and skill as you discuss your beliefs with family, friends, and coworkers?  Greg Koukl, founder and president of Stand to Reason, offers practical strategies to help you maneuver comfortably and graciously in any conversation about your Christian convictions.

Greg will be taking your questions during this Livestream event.  At the conclusion of the live event, ConversantLife will be giving away—for 24 hours only—an electronic version of Greg’s newest book, Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions (Zondervan).

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Wet Blanket Believers

I wish I could've hung out with Thomas Aquinas.  He must've been a riot.  The name may conjure stuffy intellectual images but it shouldn't.  In his Summa Theologica, he draws our attention to an oft-ignored virtue: wit.

“Jokes and plays are words and gestures that are not instructive but merely seek to give lively pleasure. We should enjoy them. They are governed by the virtue of witty gaiety to which Aristotle refers (Ethics II28aI) and which we call pleasantness. A ready-witted man is quick with repartee and turns speech and action to light relief.”

I could totally see Thomas throwing down some sarcastic barbs at fellow members of the Domincan Order. Later Aquinas says:

“It is against reason to be burdensome to others, showing no amusement and acting as a wet blanket. Those without a sense of fun, who never say anything ridiculous, and are cantankerous with those who do, these are vicious, and are called grumpy and rude.”
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A Funny Thing Happened On Facebook

 

When I was in junior high school, a buddy of mine invited me to join the on campus Christian Club.  Realizing that students who participated in an on campus club got a “go to lunch 5 minutes early” pass, I jumped at the offer.  Our lunch lines were horrendous!  The student-led club was basically a Bible study that met once a week, with the occasional guest speaker thrown in.  I wasn’t raised in the church, but I was struck by the good company and became interested in what the big deal was about God and church and stuff.

 

This buddy of mine then invited me to attend church with him.  So, on Sunday mornings, he would bike to my house and then the two of us would pedal through the morning fog for Sunday services.  It was on one of these treks that my friend realized I did not own a Bible.  A few days later, my friend passed down his own well-worn Bible.  The dedication page was covered in white-out, and over the crusty paste he had written my name as the owner of the Bible and scrawled his name on the “From” line.

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q&a: Is God a liar?

Q: Alicia, if God is real, then why does the Bible say one thing about who He is, yet my life depict another? (Ex. His Word says He's my protector, yet I haven't seen that....) So, is He a liar?

Note: A heartfelt Thank You to all who responded to last blog/survey, i.e., "if Jesus were in the boat sleeping...would you wake him up?". Your responses were very insightful and I hope to offer a few thoughts in the weeks to come.

Until then, I thought I'd share this unedited question-answer exchange with a brilliant twenty-something.

A: I see in this question the evidence of pain. Pain—emotional or physical—is exhausting and it reduces truth to bare bones. But bones are held together by flesh and blood which frankly makes it a rather messy affair.

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What is success?

"There is a great different between successfulness and fruitfulness. Success comes from strength, control and respectability. Fruitfulness, however comes from weakness and vulnerability.

A child is the fruit conceived in vulnerability, community is the fruit born through shared brokenness, and intimacy is the fruit that grows through touching one another's wounds.

Let's remind one another that what brings us true joy is not successfulness but fruitfulness."

 

Henri Nouwen

The Nature of Forgiveness

Forgiveness seems to be one of those things that we all know is good, but many of us don’t know exactly what it means to forgive or to be forgiven. Jesus stresses the importance of forgiveness by connecting God’s forgiveness of us and our forgiveness of others in the Lord’s Prayer.

An author by the name of R.T. Kendall wrote a book called Total Forgiveness, and in it he explains what forgiveness is and is not. According to Kendall when you forgive someone you do not:

Approve of what they did

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Jesus: What's in a name

So, you're a yak herder in Nepal and one afternoon you fall asleep on the mountainside. Whilst sleeping, you have a dream and in your dream a messenger tells you that he's going to show you that worship is much simpler than you thought. You're excited to hear this, and he promises to show up in a vision every day for a little while. He does, and each time he unfurls a scroll with the names of many different Hindu gods. Each day though, he scratches a name or two off the list as he says, "you don't need to bother with this one." He keeps doing this until there's only one name left on the scroll. It's at the bottom of the list, a god of which you know nothing, named Jesus. The messenger tells you that this is the only God you need to worry about, the God above all gods and, as well, the God who became a man, died, and then beat death by exiting the tomb arisen. The messenger tells you that two men will come to your family and tell you more about this Jesus.
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the spiritual peace my atheism provided...

After all these years it shouldn't surprise me--but it still does.  I'm honestly still a little perplexed by the image Theists sometimes have of Atheists as mentally-anquished individuals. Often I've been asked, "How could you live without believing there was a God? What was your purpose? What got you up each morning...?" 

So, it's been on my mind to try to convey the type of mental peace that Atheism as a belief system can create for socially-concerned question-askers. These musings are excerpted directly from chapter 43 of my book, Finding an Unseen God.

(Dear Publisher, hope that's okay...)

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Everyone Wants to Save Judas, But He's Dead

Scholars have been trying to save Judas, but Judas is already dead. The real question is why? Why have they been trying to revive this infamous villain? Because Judas is an unfortunate Son worth a fortune. (Do you hear Creedance Clearwater Revival playing?) Judas was worth cash money in the first century because he could betray Jesus. And he is worth dough now. Save Judas’ reputation and you are famous—you get media hype and you sell books. But the sleazsters didn’t think it through; they were wrong. Scholars wrong? You betcha.

 

Here’s what went down. Back in 2006, the Gospel of Judas publicly surfaced after being locked in a safe deposit box since 2000. The box and manuscript was owned by Frieda Nussberger-Tchacos.

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