No, Andy Stanley Isn’t a Marcionite

Last week I witnessed one of the most bizarre things in the Christian-social-media-world (other than Christians dogmatically refusing to acknowledge President Trump’s various moral failures): Andy Stanley (yes, that Andy Stanley) has been deemed a “Marcionite.” Having listened to a decent number of his sermons over the years I found this hard to believe. After listening to the sermon in question, I’m now convinced that calling Stanley a Marcionite is so off the mark that it amounts to slander and so, these Christians should repent of it and ask his forgiveness.

The hot-takes on the sermon are numerous, and I don’t have the energy to address them all. Instead I hope to provide a counter to what seems to be the source of the comparisons to Marcion. That seems to have been an article at First Things by Wesley Hill called, “Andy Stanley’s Modern Marcionism.” (UPDATE: I’ve since learned that this post appeared the day before Hill’s, as did this tweet. So, while Hill may not have been the source of the charge against Stanley, given the prominence of First Things, it seems likely he played a substantial part in it becoming widespread.)   Continue reading

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Jesus’ Strategy for Dealing with Disagreement

When talking with nonbelievers about the truth of Christianity, it’s important to help them see how the Christian worldview makes the most sense of the things they already believe are true. Essentially, this is employing the same strategy Jesus used when dealing with disagreement.
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We can apply the same strategy in our own conversations with nonbelievers. When people confront us with objections to our belief in God, we should do what we can to answer those objections. But, we should also look for ways to demonstrate to them that the Christian worldview makes the most sense of other things they accept as true.

Finish reading this entry at Influence Magazine. ->

The Early Belief in Jesus’ Bodily Resurrection

When talking with nonbelievers about your Christian faith (or even when talking with current believers who are experiencing doubts about their faith), one of the most important chapters in all of Scripture to keep at the forefront of your mind is 1 Corinthians 15. In this one chapter, you can find two powerful reasons to believe that Christianity is true.

First, we see Paul’s emphasis on the importance of the Resurrection. He writes, “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:14, ESV). Not only that, but if Christ hasn’t been raised, we Christians are “misrepresenting God” (verse 15) and we “are still in [our] sins” (verse 17). If the Resurrection did not occur, “we are of all people most to be pitied” (verse 19).

Paul is making an important point here that many overlook. According to Paul, the entirety of the Christian worldview hangs on the reality of Jesus’ resurrection. If Christ did not rise in the real world, we’ve all been wasting our time and deserve pity.

According to Paul, we can have all the faith in Christ we want, but if Jesus didn’t actually rise from the dead, that faith is in vain. So, if we don’t have good reasons to believe that Christ rose, we don’t have good reasons to be Christians. Fortunately, we do have such good reasons — very good reasons, in fact.

Finish reading this entry at Influence Magazine. ->

Is Apologetics Biblical?

Given that many in our society are growing increasingly hostile to Christian beliefs, we must be thoughtful about how we go about responding to this trend.

In a previous article, I advocated for the claim that apologetics should play a vital role in helping push back against this hostility. Apologetic thinking may not be all that’s needed, but it should be one of the tools in our shed — and it needs to be a sharp one.

Jesus tells us to make disciples; that will, at minimum, involve making converts. If those far from Christ today are ever going to investigate the truth of the Christian worldview, apologetics can help show them why it is indeed worthy of serious consideration.

Finish reading this entry at Influence Magazine. ->

What Is Apologetics, and Why Do We Need It?

Many in the Church today spend immense amounts of time and energy ensuring that our churches and ministries are “relevant” to today’s culture. In general, this is good, and we should encourage efforts to make connections and become more relatable.

However, there is one area that does not get enough attention, and if it doesn’t change, people will never take the truth and reality of the gospel seriously — no matter how relevant we may think we are.

Simply put, we need more emphasis on (1) demonstrating that the truth of Christianity is grounded in reality — and not simply our beliefs — and (2) providing compelling responses to those who raise objections to the Christian worldview.

Finish reading this entry at Influence Magazine. ->

What Makes Something ‘Christian’?

In a previous post I argued that it’s not always “lame” (to quote Gregory Thornbury, President of The Kings College) to use ‘Christian’ as an adjective. While I did provide an example of at least one case where it could be helpful (e.g., “Christian philosophy”), I didn’t say much about what makes something Christian. To fix that shortcoming it might be helpful to consider a comment attributed to the President of my own school, Gary Nelson. During a forum this past January, President Nelson spoke about what makes, and what doesn’t make, for a “Christian Seminary.”1 The Tyndale Seminary Student Association relayed part of his talk at the forum in the tweet below.

Continue reading

Comparing Donald Trump to Hitler Isn’t Helpful

donald-trumpLet me state this right from the start: I think Donald Trump is a racist, a sexist, and is firmly committed to a misguided nationalism. I think it’s a mistake for Christians to go out of their way to vote for a person like Donald Trump. But, given the alternative, I also understand why some feel forced to do just that. However, I think it’s wrong — and not just a mistake — for Christians to publicly support a morally abhorrent person like Donald Trump (and to encourage others to do the same).

As soon as it became clear that Trump was not just a side-show, but a real contender for the nomination, I have been firmly committed to the Never Trump cause. Today I am only more firmly committed to it.

With all of that said, trying to sway people away from Trump by comparing his rise to Hitler’s is not at all helpful. Donald Trump is not Hitler and could not govern as Hitler did. He cannot wreck America like Hitler wrecked Germany.

Finish reading this entry at the Christian Post ->