The discipline of Christian Apologetics holds a place near and dear to my heart. It was one of the primary means by which God strengthened my faith and called me into ministry. Like many others, I remember having conversations in college about my Christian faith. I recall discussing the tough issues college students love to spend time talking about. These discussions were not quite on the level of whether or not God could create a stone too heavy for him to lift (Dr. Ronald Nash would later tell me the answer to that question is, “no.”). But we did deal with some very practical questions about Christianity, especially as it relates to other belief systems. I was a very unprepared Christian. That, however, led me to read. I began reading a book on world religions and cults by Josh McDowell. I next remember buying and reading a book on this strange ”thing” called Christian apologetics by some guy I had never heard of named, Norman Geisler.
What I learned in the years that followed was almost all I really needed for most “defenses of the faith” was a better knowledge of what I believed. This drove me to dig into God’s Word as well as systematic theology. The rest, as they say, is history. God used the study of Christian apologetics (the defense of the Christian faith) in my life to drive me to a deeper understanding of the essential truths of the Christian faith and how to communicate those truths more effectively.
As a pastor, I’ve discovered over the last couple of decades there are very few new questions. There are simply the same questions being asked in different ways. My mentor, Ken Boa, told me while I was in seminary that it’s okay to be asked a tough question by someone and not have the answer… the first time. But, he said, you should never be asked the same question twice without having an answer. In other words, being “stumped” once is virtually a rite of passage. Being stumped by the same question twice is lazy.
The first time we’re stumped by a tough question should encourage us to read and study to find the answer. What I’ve tried to do over the years is to get back together with the person who asked me the question and use the opportunity to share my faith with them if they are not a Christian or to disciple them if they are. One of the worst things you can do is try to bluff an answer. It seldom works and I’ve learned folks respect your honesty.
Having said all of that, I need to be clear: There are indeed some very hard questions about the Christian faith. These questions relate to evil, other religions, science, the Bible, just to name a few. By God’s grace I’ve learned there are some very bright and gifted Christian thinkers who have thought and prayed long and hard about those questions and what God’s Word has to say about them. These very capable apologists have written extensively on most, if not all of those issues, and many have some very helpful websites.
The following websites on this list are general apologetics websites. In other words, they are my favorite websites that address a little bit of everything. Make sure to check these sites out. I think you’ll find them a big help.
PS – There are many outstanding apologists who will not be found on the list below only because they either do not have a website or because their site is not much more than a storefront or a calendar of where and when they will be speaking. They are being used of God in mighty ways, but the sites below are the ones I believe will be the most useful to you online.
PSS - New apologists and apologetics websites are popping up regularly. If I've left anyone off of this list, please share their information with me and I'll take a look. Thanks.
Grace and Truth,
1.) Reasonable Faith.org (William Lane Craig’s site)
2.) Ravi Zacharias International Ministries
3.) The Veritas Forum
4.) Stand to Reason (Greg Koukle)
5.) Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry
6.) Apologetics 315
7.) Apologetics Press
8.) Ankerberg Theological Research Institute
9.) Gary Habermas
10.) Christian Research Institute
11.) Lee Strobel
12.) Mary Jo Sharp (Confident Christianity)
13.) J. Warner Wallace (Cold-Case Christianity)
15. Always Be Ready
16. Sean McDowell
Several years ago I worked through Stuart Scott’s book, The Exemplary Husband, with a few folks from my church. We were moving along pretty well until we arrived at the chapter on communication. Yikes…I’ve got a long way to go before I reach mediocre, much less exemplary, regarding how well I communicate with my wife.
Now, I know that no one who reads this blog has any difficulties communicating, but just in case you know a person who knows a person who struggles in this area, I thought I would share a few of Scott’s key ideas.
Six Prerequisites to Good Communication
1.) A husband must want to please God more than anything else. (2 Cor. 5:9)
2.) A husband must be humble. (Eph. 4:1-3)
3.) A husband must be aware that he is accountable to God for everything he communicates (Matt. 12:36)
4.) A husband must know how to listen. (Proverbs 18:13) Listening well means…
5.) A husband must know that communication involves more than just words. He must be very careful about…
6.) A husband must be willing to put forth the effort and spend the time that it takes to communicate. (Rom. 12:10-12)
That ought to give us husbands something to work on for a while.
Below is a "St. Patrick Roundup" of articles and videos I've been collecting over the years. These are some very helpful, and even inspiring, resources that will encourage you in your own faith. Enjoy. And...
Happy St. Patrick's Day,
Patrick: Missionary to Ireland by George Grant at Ligonier Ministries
Patrick's Mission Field and Ours by T.M. Moore at The Fellowship of Ailbe
St. Patrick: Why His Message Still Matters by Brother Colmán Ó Clabaigh at Crosswalk.com
May We All be Irish by James Emery White
Patrick the Saint at Christian History Institute
In Honor of St. Patrick by Mark D. Roberts
The Real St. Patrick by Mark D. Roberts
And here are some other links on St. Patrick at T.M. Moore's ministry, The Fellowship of Ailbe
St. Patrick, produced by The Apostleship of Prayer (video below)
St. Patrick's Day: Celebrating a Life of Mission (video below)
produced by Rome Reports
St. Patrick: Apostle of Ireland (video below)
This is one of the many great series by T.M. Moore at The Fellowship of Ailbe. Do yourself a favor and sign up for the various newsletters that are offered from this Kingdom-minded ministry. Moore is a wise and godly man who walks closely with the Lord and has much to offer the church today.
This series, on how Christians ought to understand and engage culture, is a helpful tool for all who want to represent Christ well and reach the world for his sake. These studies work well as either your own personal devotional resource or as study material for your small group… or both.
1.) Repudiate (Engaging Culture, Part 1)
2.) Appropriate (Engaging Culture, Part 2)
3.) Redirect (Engaging Culture, Part3)
4.) Transform (Engaging Culture, Part 4)
5.) Innovate (Engaging the Culture, Part 5)
6.) Three “Legs” (Engaging the Culture, Part 6)
7.) Three “Braces” (Engaging the Culture, Part 7)
In preparing for a Bible study (Galatians 1:10-24), Galatians 1:12 jumped off the page at me. I’ve read that verse many times before, even studied it in depth. Yet, this time it made a unique impression in my heart and mind once. Paul tells us,
I did not receive it [the gospel he preached] from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.
Revelation. God’s personal self-disclosure.
I don’t hear much debate these days on God’s revelation of himself, and all truth that pertains to him, at least not as much as I used to. I don’t think that’s because the debates are over. Perhaps I’m just not running in the same circles I once was.
On that note, one of the most helpful books I purchased and read back in my seminary days was Volume 2 of Carl Henry’s series on God, Revelation, and Authority. That book was quite a contrast for me since the two theologians my Systematic Theology class dealt with primarily were Paul Tillich and Karl Barth. It was helpful for me way back then (about 1990) to read what an American evangelical author had to contribute to the debate regarding how God reveals himself. I’ve read many useful critiques since then, but it was Carl Henry who first gave me some nutritious food for thought.
In his six-volume series, Henry lays out fifteen theses related to how he understands the Bible’s teaching on divine revelation. You may find yourself bickering with a point here are there, but I have found them succinct and quite helpful as I explain how God reveals himself to creatures who are slow on the uptake, and who certainly would have never "discovered” God on their own.
Below are Henry’s fifteen theses with no added comments from him or me. (You can purchase his six volumes if you are craving his explanations for each.) I am, however, going to share an excerpt from a paragraph in his introduction to the theses.
God is not the Great Perhaps, a clueless shadow character in a Scotland Yard mystery. Far less is he a nameless spirit awaiting post-mortem examination in some theological morgue. He is a very particular and specific divinity, known from the beginning solely on the basis of his works and self-declaration as on the one living God. Only theorists who ignore divine self-disclosure are prone to identify God as the nondescript John Doe of religious philosophy.
1. Revelation is a divinely initiated activity, God’s free communication by which he alone turns his personal privacy into a deliberate disclosure of his reality.
2. Divine revelation is given for human benefit, offering us privileged communion with our Creator in the kingdom of God.
3. Divine revelation does not completely erase Gold’s transcendent mystery, inasmuch as God the Revealer transcends his own revelation.
4. The very fact of disclosure by the one living God assures the comprehensive unity of divine revelation.
5. Not only the occurrence of divine revelation, but also its very nature, content, and variety are exclusively God’s determination.
6. God’s revelation is uniquely personal both in content and form.
7. God reveals himself not only universally in the history of the cosmos and of the nations, but also redemptively within this external history in unique saving acts.
8. The climax of God’s special revelation is Jesus of Nazareth, the personal incarnation of God in the flesh; in Jesus Christ the source and content of revelation converge and coincide.
9. The mediating agent in all divine revelation is the Eternal Logos – preexistent, incarnate, and now glorified.
10. God’s revelation is rational communication conveyed in intelligible ideas and meaningful words, that is, in conceptual-verbal form.
11. The Bible is the reservoir and conduit of divine truth.
12. The Holy Spirit superintends the communication of divine revelation, first, by inspiring the prophetic-apostolic writings, and second, by illuminating and interpreting the scripturally given Word of God.
13. As bestower of spiritual life the Holy Spirit enables individuals to appropriate God’s revelation savingly, and thereby attests the redemptive power of the revealed truth of God in the personal experience of reborn sinners.
14. The church approximates the kingdom of God in miniature; as such she is to mirror to each successive generation the power and joy of the appropriated realities of divine revelation.
15. The self-manifesting God will unveil his glory in a crowning revelation of power and judgment; in his disclosure at the consummation of the ages, God will vindicate righteousness and justice, finally subdue and subordinate evil, and bring into being a new heaven and earth.
I've shared this piece a number of times over the years, primarily because of the impact Ken Boa made (and continues to make) in my life. I also share it because, in many ways, his influence shows up in much of how I think and minister, as well as what I write. When I begin a new website, (or a website reboot), I try to make sure I include this small gesture of gratitude. I now appreciate the time and effort Ken invested in me as much as when I first wrote this.
Any person who has ever taken a class I have taught has heard the name “Ken Boa” more times than they ever wanted. Ken was a mentor of mine from 1989-1992, while I attended seminary in Atlanta.
I first “discovered” him through an audio tape someone let me listen to. After that, I went to the seminary library and read everything I could get my hands on. I also started attending as many of Ken’s Bible studies and small groups as possible.
Sometimes, at seminary, students can actually become spiritually malnourished as God becomes more of an object to be studied rather than a Person to be loved. Ken served as a great antidote to that disease in my life.
I enjoyed the privilege of getting to know Ken one-on-one and was even allowed to teach some of his classes from time to time. I will always appreciate the time and effort he poured into me. He must have exercised great patience in having this young seminary student trailing behind his every step. But if he did, I never knew it. He was always very gracious and helpful.
After graduation and moving back to Florida, I continued studying under Ken via his audio tapes and books. I have listened to his teaching and read his books over and over again. In fact, I wrote him a few years ago and told him his influence has been felt at every church I have served.
Today I can still keep up with Ken through his website. I can receive daily devotions and prayers, download and listen to his teaching, read many of his articles, etc. And if I want to feel even more like I’m back in one of his studies, I can watch him teach via video.
I haven’t kept up with Ken over the years very well. I have mailed periodic “thank you” cards to him from time to time. But it’s nice to know I can still keep up with him and his teaching. He was, and remains, a very influential mentor in my life. My ministry reveals it as the folks I have been privileged to teach and disciple can easily attest.
Below is an introduction to Ken that I took from his website. If you are interested in spiritual formation, apologetics, or some really good Bible studies, I would encourage you to visit his website and get to know more about him. I am indebted to him and thank God for him.
Grace and Truth,
Kenneth Boa is engaged in a ministry of relational evangelism and discipleship, teaching, writing, and speaking. He holds a B.S. from Case Institute of Technology, a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary, a Ph.D. from New York University, and a D.Phil. from the University of Oxford in England.
Dr. Boa is the President of Reflections Ministries, an organization that seeks to encourage, teach, and equip people to know Christ, follow Him, become progressively conformed to His image, and reproduce His life in others. He is also President of Trinity House Publishers, a publishing company that is dedicated to the creation of tools that will help people manifest eternal values in a temporal arena by drawing them to intimacy with God and a better understanding of the culture in which they live.
Recent publications by Dr. Boa include Conformed to His Image, 20 Compelling Evidences that God Exists, Face to Face, Augustine to Freud, and Faith Has its Reasons. He is a contributing editor to The Open Bible and The Leadership Bible, and the consulting editor of the Zondervan NASB Study Bible.
Kenneth Boa also writes a free monthly teaching letter called Reflections. If you would like to be on the mailing list, visit http://www.kenboa.org/ or call 800-DRAW NEAR (800-372-9632).
Several years ago I taught through the Book of Revelation in a couple of my Bible studies. It was when we arrived at chapters 11 & 12, we finally started hearing about beasts, dragons, etc.
This, quite naturally and appropriately brought up a discussion about Satan. Therefore, to help the conversation along, I shared the following “facts” on Satan that I gleaned from Wayne Grudem. I thought I might pass it along here as well.
Some Facts About Satan
1.) Satan was the originator of sin (Gen. 3:1-6; 2 Cor. 11:3; John 8:44; 1 Jn. 3:8)
2.) Demons oppose and try to destroy every work of God (Gen. 3:1-6; Matt. 4:1-11; John 8:44; Rev. 12:9; Ps. 106:37; 2 Cor. 4:4; Gal. 4:8)
3.) Yet, demons are limited by God’s control and have limited power (Job 1:12, 2:6; Jude 6; James 4:7). Wayne Grudem writes, “We should not think that demons can know the future or that they can read our minds or know our thoughts.” (Isa. 46:9-10; Mark 13:32)
With respect to knowing our thoughts, the Bible tells us that Jesus knew people’s thoughts (Matt. 9:4; 12:25; Mark 2:8; Luke 6:8; 11:17) and that God knows people’s thoughts (Gen. 6:5; Ps. 139:2, 4, 23; Isa. 66:18), but there is no indication that angels or demons can know our thoughts.
4.) There have been differing stages of demonic activity in the history of redemption…
5.) Are demons active in the world today? According to Grudem, “If Scripture gives us a true account of the world today as it really is, then we must take seriously its portrayal of intense demonic involvement in human society.”
6.) Not all evil and sin is from Satan and demons, but some is.
7.) Can a Christian be demon possessed?
It depends on what the person means by “possessed.” The New Testament doesn’t use this term in the original Greek. If by “demon possessed” someone means “that a person’s will is completely dominated by a demon, so that a person has no power left to choose to do right and obey, then the answer is “no,” for Scripture guarantees that sin shall have no dominion over us since we have been raised with Christ (Rom. 6:14, see also verses 4 & 11).
However, most Christians would agree that there can be differing degrees of demonic attack or influence in the lives of believers (see Luke 4:2; 2 Cor. 12:7; Eph. 6:12; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8).
8.) Jesus gives all believers authority to rebuke demons and command them to leave (Luke 9:1; 10:17, 19; Acts 8:7; 16:18; 2 Cor. 10:3-4; Eph. 6:10-18; James 4:7; 1 Pet. 5:8)
9.) We should expect the gospel to come in power to triumph over the works of the devil.
Taken from Wayne Grudem’s book, Systematic Theology