Morning Mashup 08/01

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A daily mashup of Kindle deals, articles, and videos for your information, edification, and enjoyment.


KINDLE DEALS

Atheism Remix: A Christian Confronts the New Atheists | Albert Mohler | $3.99

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What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done | Matt Perman | $3.99

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ARTICLES

A Good Man Justifies a Wicked Deed: Grudem on Trump | John Mark Reynolds

We are not an age that likes absolutes. We temper, we hedge, we do not want to say a good man is doing a bad thing because we do not like conflict. I am thankful that a good man, Professor Grudem, has made his views known: he asserts a good man can vote for Donald Trump and, in fact, probably should. Sadly, his arguments are bad, his advice worse, and the outcome will be disaster.

Can You Vote for Donald Trump with a Clear Conscience? | Andy Naselli

If Donald Trump is the Republican nominee for President of the United States, can you vote for him with a clear conscience? This election cycle may force conservatives—especially religious, social conservatives—to answer that question.

The Excommunicated Member Who Thanked Me | Bob Thune

Six years ago, our elders put Jack under church discipline. Last week, he thanked me for it.

Albert Mohler and Russell Moore Explain Why They Can’t Support Trump | Caffeinated Thoughts

Albert MohlerThe first time I met Bill Clinton was hours after I had been on the O’Reilly Factor calling on him to resign, and that was a quintessential awkward moment, but I was right in terms of the issues. But I could not possibly be consistent and somehow vote for someone whose character I believe eclipses Bill Clinton on so many of those very same concerns. Someone who has bragged about his adulterous affairs, someone who has given himself to the pornographic industry, basically to a form of the sex trade, and let’s just go on. In other words, I can’t being single-issue dispositive does not give an adequate political grid for when you go out. Because character is pretty much and also how prolife someone supposedly is after being so pro-abortion that they actually supported partial birth abortion.

The Story of Iran’s Church in Two Sentences | TGC

Everyone loves a good story. As Christians, we especially love stories that tell us how, when all seems lost, God makes a way. One such story is about the church in Iran—and it’s one of the greatest stories in the world today. It’s a simple story that can be summarized in just two sentences: Persecution threatened to wipe out Iran’s tiny church. Instead, the church in Iran has become the fastest growing in the world, and it is influencing the region for Christ.

3 Types of Legalism | R.C. Sproul

Have you, as a Christian, ever been accused of legalism? That word is often bandied about in the Christian subculture incorrectly. For example, some people might call John a legalist because they view him as narrow-minded. But the term legalism does not refer to narrow-mindedness. In reality, legalism manifests itself in many subtle ways.

VIDEOS

 

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Morning Mashup 05/24

1451631120721

A mashup of Kindle deals, articles, and videos for your information, edification, and enjoyment.


KINDLE DEALS

Shepherding a Child’s Heart | Tedd Tripp | $4.99

Shepherding a Child's Heart

Read the Bible for Life: Your Guide to Understanding and Living God’s Word | George Guthrie | $0.99

Read the Bible for Life

ARTICLES

Why Social Media (and the Church) is Making You Sad | Russell Moore

“We’ve been warned that social media can distract us, shorten our attention spans, disconnect us from real-life relationships. But what if our Facebook and Instagram are also making us miserable?

3 Ways Biblical Theology Will Change Your Bible Study | Holly Marr

“Biblical theology is an important discipline for understanding both the high-level narrative of Scripture and the development of key themes across the canon.

Appreciating the overarching narrative of Scripture and the development of themes across the Bible can significantly impact the way you study God’s Word. Here are just three ways.”

Stop Saying ‘I Feel Like’ | Molly Worthen

“Yet here is the paradox: “I feel like” masquerades as a humble conversational offering, an invitation to share your feelings, too — but the phrase is an absolutist trump card. It halts argument in its tracks.”

Don’t Waste Your Summer | Kevin DeYoung

“In a little over three months we’ll all be moaning, ‘Where did the summer go? I can’t believe it’s over.’ So what can we do over the next hundred days or so to help alleviate that feeling of loss? Or to put it positively, what can we do to make the most of June, July, and August? Here are twenty suggestions.”

Ten Differences Between Delagating and Dumpster Leadership | Eric Geiger

“Sadly, what some leaders call delegating is really dumping, doing whatever it takes, as quickly as it takes, to get responsibilities off their plate and onto the plates of others. On the other hand, delegating is wise, effective, and loving. Effective delegation spreads responsibilities to others so that the organization can accomplish more while simultaneously developing other leaders.”

How God Messed Up My Happy Atheist Life | Nicole Cliffe

“I know that sounds depressing, but I found the idea of life ending after death mildly reassuring in its finality. I had started to meet more people of faith, having moved to Utah from Manhattan, and thought them frequently charming in their sweet delusion. I did not wish to believe. I had no untapped, unanswered yearnings. All was well in the state of Denmark. And then it wasn’t.”

VIDEOS

Morning Mashup 05/19

 

1451631120721

A mashup of Kindle Deals, articles, and videos for your information, edification, and enjoyment.


KINDLE DEALS

Hero Found: The Greatest POW Escape of the Vietnam War by Bruce Henderson ($1.99)

 

H3 Leadership: Be Humble. Stay Hungry. Always Hustle by Brad Lomenick ($1.99)

Grounded in the Gospel: Building Believers the Old-Fashioned Way by J.I. Packer ($1.99)

The God Who Justifies by James White ($3.99)

ARTICLES

Sex, Hookups, and God – Jarvis Williams urges both men and women to pursue sexual purity for the glory of God and their own joy.

Why I Am Not an Atheist – This series looks promising.

Life’s Not Fair, So Win and Lose Well – Barnabas Piper: “Fair has become equity in the finish instead of equity in the process. This perspective says a reward is due just for showing up, not because it’s earned. It cheapens real rewards for actual successes, and as it creeps into different areas of life, it undermines valuable assets such as hard work or giftedness.

Five Signs Your Church Has Gone Too Far With Marketing – Jonathan Howe with a helpful list of examples of going too far in church marketing.

The Wonder of Waking Up to an Ordinary Day – Trevin Wax shares a letter written by G.K. Chesterton whose writing can make any ordinary day extraordinary.

Gandalf, Job, and the Indignant Love of God – He had me at Gandalf.

Do We Sing Jesus Christ’s Name in the Psalter? | Travis Fentiman, Reformed Books Online – Travis Fentiman: “The Psalter has often been valued less than it should as a manual for sung praise because it is claimed that we do not sing Jesus Christ’s personal name in it . . . This claim also happens to be false; we do sing Jesus Christ’s personal name throughout the Psalter, which will be overwhelmingly shown.”

10 Ways to Love Your Spouse Today – Super practical. I’ll be using some of these today.

Amy Carmichael: Unconditionally Surrendered to her Beloved King – Jani Ortlund on Amy Carmichael: “We are saved to serve. She lived out that theme until her death.”

Our Respectable Sin – One word: laziness.

VIDEOS

 

Morning Mashup 09/07

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Start your Labor Day off right with a mashup of articles for your information, edification, entertainment, and enjoyment.


How Andy Mineo’s “You Can’t Stop Me” Became Baseball’s Top Walk-Up Song – Andy Mineo’s “You Can’t Stop Me” just proved it’s universal popularity by winning Baseball Tonight’s inaugural Whammy award.

(Almost) The Whole Continuous Story of the Old Testament in 11 Books – There are 11 books in the Old Testament, that almost tell the entire story of God’s redemption before Christ.

When Does Your Religion Legally Excuse You From Doing Part of Your Job? – Very helpful article from The Washington Post.

Need We Jail Each Other Over Marriage Licenses? – “The situation in Kentucky reminds all of us that America is extremely divided on issues that show no signs of weakening. This zero-sum culture war cannot continue if the social fabric of America is to have any chance of unifying around a robust pluralism.”

11 Easy Steps to Repenting on the Internet – Barnabas Piper on the brutal realities of repenting online.

The Promise of God in Threatening Pain – NFL center, Garrett Gilkey, offers helpful reflections on the sovereign promises of God in the midst of pain.

Defending the Bible, Protecting the Faith – Dr. Timothy Jones, my current family and discipleship professor discusses how believers should respond to skeptics in this interview about his new book, How We Got the Bible.

Church Discipline, Contemporary Grace Style – Rick Phillips with some weighty questions with those who identify with Tullian Tchjividjian and the Contemporary Grace Movement.

Can a Label Edify? – And here is Ray Ortlund’s response to Phillips. Admittedly, he doesn’t address any of Phillips’ questions or concerns, but does raise legitimate questions over the benefit of labels.

Pop Atheism and the Power of the Gospel – “As conservative Christian convictions continue to be marginalized, I fear the evangelical response might be something other than courageous love. We could be tempted to shrink back in fear if we aren’t properly propelled by the power of the gospel. Like Sayers, we may wish they all would just leave us alone.”

How I Learned to Live Joyfully – I try to read everything J.I. Packer writes. He is a superb teacher. This piece recounting Packer’s personal experiences only proves this to be true.

Faith’s true office is to see life in the midst of death. –John Calvin

Morning Mashup 10/01

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Had Sex, Dumped Jesus – Study shows that people leave Jesus in the dust after they lose their virginity. A sobering word from Joel Miller.

Why Ebola Isn’t a Matter to Joke About – With a case of the Ebola virus being discovered in Dallas, this disease hits more to home for many more Americans. Check out this startling information about the virus and pray to end Ebola.

No Coasting Into Christlikeness – Don Whitney: “We aren’t merely to wait for holiness, we’re to pursue it.”

From Mars Hill to Me – What causes a pastor to move from simply being a popular pastor, to being a celebrity pastor?

9 Things You Should Know About Atheism – Joe Carter with some things you should know about atheism.

Five Questions with a Former Muslim – Here is an excellent interview with Nabeel Qureshi, a former devout Muslim from a Pakistani-American family.

Read yourself full, think yourself clear, pray yourself hot, let yourself go. –J.I. Packer

5 Arguments for the Existence of God

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With Christians gathering to worship the Triune God of the Bible, countless others scoff at such behavior. The difference lies most basically in either a recognition and submission to God’s existence or a rejection and denial of his existence. Although I know it is impossible to persuade someone away from something they are utterly convinced of, I hope here to at least provide a very basic survey of the various historical arguments for the existence of God. Christians may find this totally unnecessary because they desire God and willingly submit to his authoritative rule over all things. However, these arguments have helped convinced many Christians of God’s existence and, therefore, helped give meaning to trusting Christ. If a person cannot be convinced of God’s existence, he or she would be silly to believe in Jesus, a savior, sin, future judgment, eternal life, etc. For some, lasting joy begins with recognition of the God who is there.

Throughout history there have been many attempts made at proving the existence of God. There are different ways in which individuals have argued for God’s existence, five of which concern us at present. While Christians will not have to turn very far in the Word of God to see God’s existence, (Gen. 1:1) others have given ontological, cosmological, teleological, and moral arguments for God’s existence.

The Ontological Argument

An ontological argument for God’s existence is deduced from an a priori concept of God. This argument stems from the thought that since thinking about God is the greatest thought we can have, then he must exist. God’s existence is therefore a necessity since there can be no higher conception by humans than that of an ultimate being. Because our minds can conceive God, he must exist. This argument is based on the assumption that existence is greater than non-existence. If God is thus the greatest being which can be conceived, then he must exist. Anselm, the most famous proponent of this argument, said,

And assuredly that, than which nothing greater can be conceived, cannot exist in the understanding alone. For suppose it exists in the understanding alone; then it can be conceived to exist in reality; which is greater.

Therefore, if that, than which nothing greater can be conceived, exists in the understanding alone, the very being, than which nothing greater can be conceived, is one, than which a greater can be conceived. But obviously this is impossible. Hence there is no doubt that there exists a being, than which nothing greater can be conceived, and it exists both in the understanding and in reality.

Anselm was the most famous proponent of this argument, but Alvin Plantinga gives great insight to this issue as well. The simplest form of this argument can be listed in three parts: (1) God is perfect, (2) Perfection implies existence therefore (3) God exists. Plantinga himself admits that this argument, in his opinion, has brought few to belief in God.

The Cosmological Argument

A cosmological argument has also been given to prove God’s existence. This is another deduction approach to argue for the existence of God—a posteriori. Basically, this is a cause and effect argument or a hierarchical argument. Humans observe causal relations in the world. Each of these are dependent on a prior cause. Since there cannot be an infinite number of relations that are dependent on prior causes, there must be an ultimate cause of all relations in the universe. The existence of the universe and the way in which it functions is evidence of a first cause of all relations in the universe. Therefore, God can be described as being this first cause. One prominent figure in philosophy and theology who argued from a cosmological standpoint was Thomas Aquinas. According to Aquinas, contingent beings exist as a result of a set that contains at least one non-contingent being. This one necessary, non-contingent being is God.

The Teleological Argument

Another argument that has been given for the existence of God is the teleological argument. From this argument, the existence of God is induced from the reality of design. Our universe is extraordinarily ordered. Order directly implies a designer. For example, the intricacies of a watch directly imply that there is a watch-maker. God’s existence is highly probable from this order-designer induction alone. The order and intricacy of the universe speak to the creative abilities and activity of God. Likewise, such order and intricacy provides a major problem for anyone who would argue for the existence of the universe form pure chance. Order and intricacy all but eliminates the notion that the universe exists by chance. This argument also gives some purpose to the universe as induced from the reality of the order of the universe around us.

This argument is very convincing and it presents several problems to atheists. One problem is the alternative problem. If an atheist continues to deny the existence of God, then they have only one alternative to choose to explain the order of the universe. They would have to claim that the universe is so orderly simply by naturalistic processes, entirely apart from an intelligent designer, and solely by scientifically desirable forces. By blind chance, the world has turned out the way that it is. This is simply not a very intelligent or plausible claim. It is much more probable that a designer, namely God, created the universe. This is the best explanation for the intricacy of the universe. All scientific and biological problems are solved with the teleological argument as they provide evidence for it.

The Moral Argument

A final argument given for God’s existence is what is known as the moral argument. This argument is based on ethics and universal morals that are found in each individual and evidenced in the governing of nations. This argument induces from the moral code that is objective and universal that there must be a moral code writer. It seems that this argument could easily be refuted by a denial of objective moral truth. However, it would actually be difficult to refute it. A denial of objective moral truth is a denial of ethical values. Relative views of moral truth would eliminate the need for laws or regulations. The alternative to objective moral truth is irrationality and chaos. Therefore, the presence and reality of objective moral truth necessitates an author of this moral truth.

Closing Remarks

You may or may not be in the least convinced of God’s existence through these arguments. Nevertheless, I hope that you have at least seen the viability, reasonableness, and probability of God’s existence. There are many refutations to these arguments that have not been discussed. However, I did not come across any compelling enough to include in a post of this size. Today is Sunday. Christians gather to worship across the world. If a God of such moral perfection and sheer grandeur exists, worship is the only appropriate, logical, and reasonable response.


396110_519885398036913_1852978654_nMathew Gilbert is a student at Boyce College (B.A. Biblical and Theological Studies, Dec. ’14). He is the author of the forthcoming book Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God (CrossBooks). Mathew lives in London, KY with his wife Erica and their dog, Simba.

The “Repulsive” Cross of Christ?–6 Reasons Atheists Reject the Atonement

Cross1As I walk in the small Sunday School room on a Wednesday night, ten young children sit at a table ready to be thrilled by God in his Word. I ask the question that I ask every time we meet:
“What is Christianity all about?”

In unison, they reply, “Jesus took my place.”

“Yes!” I reply. “High fives all around!”

 

The atonement of Christ is the central doctrine of Christianity. Volumes upon volumes of theological works are dedicated to this doctrine. Heart-wrenching and worship-inducing sermons and hymns have been written, preached, and sung by believers throughout the centuries. And while there are multiple legitimate theories of the atonement, essentially there are only two responses to the atonement that truly matter: either delight or disgust.

The fact that God the Son bears the wrath of God the Father for the justification of humans who have incurred the wrath of this holy God is mind-blowing and awesome. In fact, it is the highest act of love, grace, and mercy. “[B]ut God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). Sinners are saved because a sinless Savior was judged in our place.

Good news, right? No, GREAT news!

Right?

Well, not for everyone. It is understandable that non-Christians, religious or otherwise, take issue with the atonement.

They may reject its truth. “Jesus did not actually die on a cross or rise from the dead.”

They may reject its message. “It just can’t be that sinners are saved by the work of another and no work of their own is the basis of salvation.”

However, I have discovered that some deny, reject, and repel the most precious doctrine of Christianity on the basis of its morality. In other words, some people reject the atonement of Jesus as being immoral of evil. This is surprising, shocking, and even dumbfounding for the Christian. How could anyone call what we view as the greatest act of love as immoral? Immorality and evil most certainly do not coincide with love. At the very least, this is a very serious accusation.

Farewell, God

In Norman Geisler and Daniel McCoy’s recently released book, The Atheist’s Fatal Flaw: Exposing Conflicting Beliefs, the authors engage with multiple atheistic God-in-the-Dock arguments against the existence of God. In chapter six, the authors show how atheists argue against the existence of the Christian God by showing his pardon of sinners to be immoral. After explaining how the atheist takes issue with God’s justice and wrath against sin and sinners, he shows the atheist’s inconsistency. Not only do atheists despise God’s punishment of sinners, but they also despise God’s pardon of sinners. While it seems immeasurably good news for God to “take all that wrath, every bit of it, and ingest it back into himself,” the atheist responds to such news by saying “Thanks, but no thanks” (89). God bears the wrath that sinners deserve to bear, and at this prospect, the atheist replies, “Ugh! Farewell, God!”

Geisler and McCoy then move to show six reasons why the atheist believes the cross is “unacceptable, even revolting.” While these reasons given by the atheist may be alarming to the Christian, it is important to see that not everyone approaches our most precious doctrine with the same gratitude and delight. Each reason given is unconvincing, but they are very enlightening and helpful when it comes to understanding how atheists view the atonement. If you ever plan to share the gospel with an atheist, you would do well to know what many of them believe about the cross of Christ. As a Christian, if your heart doesn’t break when reading these reasons, you need to check your pulse.

6 Reasons the Atonement is “Repulsive” (pp. 89-91 of The Atheist’s Fatal Flaw)

The following are the six primary reasons why atheists (obviously not all atheists. This mainly refers to those atheists who put God on trial for contradicting his own nature) reject the atonement of Jesus.

1. Christ’s Redemption is Barbaric

Sam Harris: “The notion that Jesus Christ died for our sins and that his death constitutes a successful propitiation of a ‘loving’ God is a direct and undisguised inheritance of the superstitious bloodletting that has plagued bewildered people throughout history.”

2. Christ’s Redemption is Incoherent

Baptist-turned-atheist, Ken Pulliam asks why only the Father “needed to be propitiated when the three persons of the Godhead are allegedly equal. Moreover, did Jesus’s atonement temporarily sever the unity of the Godhead, which is impossible?”

3. Christ’s Redemption is Impossible

Christopher Hitchens: “We cannot, like fear-ridden peasants of antiquity, hope to load all our crimes onto a goat and then drive the hapless animal into the desert.”

Ken Pulliam: “[I]t is logically impossible to punish an innocent person.”

4. Christ’s Redemption is Unnecessary

Dan Barker: “It does no good to say that Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins. I don’t have any sins, but if I did, I wouldn’t want Jesus to die for my sins. I would say, ‘No, thanks. I will take responsibility for my own actions.'”

5. Christ’s Redemption is Obnoxious

Richard Dawkins: “[Redemption] is a repellant doctrine.” Dawkins has also said the atonement of Christ is “almost as morally obnoxious as the story of Abraham setting out to barbecue Isaac, which it resembles.”

Friedrich Nietzsche: “Sacrifice for sin, and in its most obnoxious and barbarous form: sacrifice of the innocent for the sins of the guilty!”

6. Christ’s Redemption is Immoral

Christopher Hitchens: “I can pay your debt…But I cannot absolve you of your responsibilities. It would be immoral of me to offer, and immoral of you to accept.”

Elizabeth Anderson: “The practice of scapegoating contradicts the whole moral principle of personal responsibility. It also contradicts any moral idea of God.”

Dan Barker: “I do understand what love is, and that is one of the reasons I can never again be a Christian. Love is not self-denial. Love is not blood and suffering. Love is not murdering your son to appease your own vanity.”

There is No Middle Ground

The God of Christianity causes many problems for humans. Atheists reject God and his intervention to save humans because of what it says about them–namely that they are reduced to sinful beings, while God reigns as a supreme holy being. Atheists have a major problem with the first question/answer of the Baptist Catechism: “God is the first and best of beings.”

These statements from the atheists themselves leaves me with a two-fold feeling. Firstly, I cringe at the obvious and unapologetic blasphemy. Secondly, however, I am deeply saddened by these various positions on the atonement. Spiritual blindness abounds in such distaste for the bloodshed love of Christ.

I am sympathetic to these reasons for disregarding the atonement, even though I disagree with each of them. I always appreciate the brutal honesty of most atheists. Only from honest positions can any measure of discussion be held. If you find agreement or sympathies with any of these reasons or if you hold any of these atheistic beliefs concerning the atonement, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section. Decisions made on the atonement of Christ may be the most important decision you will ever make. One thing is clear from this post: Either total delight or total disgust comes from Christ’s cross. There is no middle ground.


Mathew Gilbert is a student at Boyce College (B.A. Biblical and Theological Studies, Dec. ’14). He is the author of the forthcoming book Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God (CrossBooks). Mathew lives in London, KY. with his wife Erica.