The Ark of the Covenant Revealed!

Those who know me best know that I have little patience for eschatological fads: premillenial-dispensationalism a la Schofield (from Darby) who has brought us the majority report regarding the end of the world. Left Behind, Late Great Planet Earth, etc., all take our minds away from the ministry of Christ here, were we must be faithful, and transport us to a neverland of false hope and expectations.

It makes Christians look stupid, naive, and gullible.
One question I have for End-Times junkies is this: Is our passion for the end of the world based upon our perception that Christianity is doing poorly in our locale? Christianity is indeed being further marginalised culturally and politically in what was once terra firma for Christians: North America and Europe. But it is doing quite well elsewhere, and it is a pitiful arrogance that leads us to think that because things are not as they were, we are at the end of time.
The Gospel is doing well. The harvest is not finished. Our world is shaken, but it is not the end of the world.
Now, after this introduction, I recommend this article. Let us suppose that the Ark of the Covenant is known and revealed. In light of Christ, the New Testament, especially the Gospels, Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews, how can this matter at all?
Sad thing is, it will matter much to the likes of Grant Jeffrey and other pop media stars in the Christian galaxy.

It's all bad, but it's not all bad.

Someone is probably thinking that, “Scott needs to cheer up a little and not write/post so much negative stuff.” If you’re such a person, I beat you to it–but not for simply the reason of cheer. I have, for the past few years, been reading writings of the English Puritans (mainly the 16th & 17th centuries). Now these people get a lot of bad press, so before you take a shot at me for caring what they think, make sure you know enough about them to converse about them.

Their concern for the Glory of God is amazing, and they are not the witch-hunters or anti-intellectuals that they are made out to be.
But something more important, and more cheerful: They knew their times were evil, horrible, and completely set against the Gospel. They really were persecuted, and even when they weren’t being hounded from town to town by Roman Catholics or Anglicans, they knew that the times were evil.
But they had hope. They knew that the Gospel was of God, and He is greater than their circumstances. In their time they wrote of contentment, hope, joy, patience, encouragement–all while wisely and truthfully assessing the world in which they lived. They simply did not trust humankind, but trusted God. This trust was the source of their contentment.
Someone commented that “Christianity loves a crumbling empire.” Perhaps. Whether we love it or not, these are times to thrive. That’s cheering.

Rethinking Youth Ministry

RE: “Youth Survey: Teens Lose Faith in Droves” in MacLeans

I think it’s time to rethink youth ministry (if you are already doing so, this note may be irrelevant to you). After reading what Bibby has to say, I think that things here in Canada may not be improved much in the near future. I’ve also been reading Philip Jenkins on Histories of Lost Christianities, which is also very unsettling.

Someone once said that most who convert to Christianity do so around the age of 15 (I don’t know if that is only in modern times, or if that is over the whole history of the church, nor how we would know that). If that is the case, why is Youth Ministry so often handed to young men and women who are only a few years older? Is it not time for older Christians to drop the “retirement attitude” (“I did youth when my kids were young”) and get on with converting the next lost generation?

Has there been any objective research showing the success of the Youth Ministry industry (schools, curriculums, media and conferences) over the past few decades? Anecdotal evidence would suggest that Youth Ministry, as practised by a majority of churches, is a failure for the most part (I realise that there may be other reasons for the decline in membership, but this variable needs to be taken into consideration). Ten years ago the rage here was “Youth Driven Ministry” which was basically needs based. But does anyone know what they need?
“It’s a sin to bore a kid with Jesus!” Perhaps, but it definitely a sin to be bored by Jesus. Boredom won’t help youth find Jesus, but is anyone considering why they are bored, or whether our methods of reaching youth is part of the problem?

My First Seniors Discount

This is the story of my first senior’s discount. I am 53. I don’t look a day over 52, I’m sure.

Today I wanted some adequate coffee, so I stopped by McDonald’s before my appointment.

“One large coffee, please.”

“Uh, are you 50-ish?”

“Yes, and then some.”

“Ok”

“Do I get a discount for that?”

“Yes! 51 cents instead of $1.25”

“Great. I bet you are uncomfortable asking people their age.”

“Yes, especially people without much hair. And I wouldn’t want anyone thinking I was 50”

“No, I would have said at least 58.”

(Okay, that last line is a fib; but a darn good one.)

Apologetics Reading List

Some Suggested Readings
Below are some suggesting books—it is incomplete and there are many more out there!

Advanced
Brown, C. Miracles and the Critical Mind.
Frame, J. M. Apologetics to the Glory of God: An Introduction.
Holmes, A. All Truth is God’s Truth.
Schaeffer, F. Escape from Reason.
Schaeffer, F. He Is There and He Is Not Silent.
Schaeffer, F. How Should We Then Live? The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture .
Schaeffer, F. The God Who is There. Van Til, C. The Defence of the Faith.

Apologetic Methods
Bahnsen, G. Van Til’s Apologetic.
Boa, Ken and Bowen, R. Faith Has Its Reasons
Geisler, Norman. The Apologetics of Jesus: A Caring Approach to Dealing with Doubters

Atheism
Geisler, Norman. I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist.
McGrath, A. E. Dawkins God: Genes, Memes, and the Meaning of Life.
McGrath, A. E. Intellectuals Don’t Need God (And Other Modern Myths).

Bible Difficulties
Archer, G. Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties.
Carson, D. A. Love in Hard Places.
Carson, D. A. The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God.
Lewis, C. S. The Problem of Pain.
McDowell, J. Answers to Tough Questions.

Easier
Chapman, C. Christianity on Trial.
Chapman, C. The Case for Christianity.
McDowell, J. More than a Carpenter.
Zacharias, R. Can Man Live Without God?
Zacharias, R. Jesus Among Other Gods.

Emergent Church and Post-modern Culture
Carson, D. A. Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church.
Carson, D. A. The Gagging of God.
Groothuis, D. R. Defending Christianity Against the Challenges of Postmodernism .
Horton, M. Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church.

Evidences
McDowell, J. Evidence that Demands a Verdict

General Apologetics
Chesterton, G. K. Orthodoxy.
Geisler, N. Christian Apologetics.
Geisler, N. Baker Encyclopaedia of Christian Apologetics.
Keller, T. The Reason for God.
Kreeft, P. Handbook of Christian Apologetics.
Lewis, C. S. (2007). Christian Reflections. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.
Lewis, C. S. (2006). God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics. Grand Rapids: Baker Books.
Lewis, C. S. Miracles.
Little, P. E. Know Why You Believe.
Martin, W. R. The Kingdom of the Cults.

History and Assumptions
Carroll, Vincent and Shiflett, David. (2002). Christianity on Trial: Arguments Against Anti-Religious Bigotry. San Francisco: Encounter Books.
Sampson, P. J. (2001). 6 Modern Myths About Christianity and Western Civilization. Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press.

Internet Sources
Kenneth Boa and Rob Bowman, Faith Has Its Reasons http://apologetics315.blogspot.com/2009/03/faith-has-its-reasons-by-ken-boa-rob.html
J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism http://www.biblebelievers.com/machen/
Many free Christian books may be downloaded at http://www.ccel.org/
http://www.carm.org/
http://www.equip.org/
http://vintage.aomin.org/bbcaccm.html
http://www.probe.org
http://www.apologeticsindex.org/

“Must Have”
Lewis, C. S. Mere Christianity
Strobel, L. The Case for a Creator.
Strobel, L. The Case for Christ.
Sire, J. W. The Universe Next Door: A Basic Worldview Catalogue.

Science and Evolution
Philip E. Johnson. The Wedge of Truth: Splitting the Foundation of Naturalism.
Philip E. Johnson. Darwin On Trial
Philip E. Johnson. Defeating Darwin by Opening Minds