Jacob Hantla's Attempt to "Think about these things"

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I'm Currently Reading

Reading a book does not imply that I agree with the books, condone it, like it, or recommend it. Keep visiting the site, as I hope to publish reviews of my readings along with select quotes from each book as I finish it and digest its contents.

Gospel and Mission in th Writings of Paul

Spiritual Reformation

A Practical Grammar For Classical Hebrew

Whiter Than Snow

Message of the New Testament: Promises Kept

Toward an Exegetical Theology

Spiritual Depression: It's Causes and Cure

A Theology of the New Testament

New Testament Introduction

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Why I blog

I need to write. If I don’t write, I don’t think that I think--at least not thoroughly. Thus this blog is simply an outlet for me to think. My goal is to be thinking about those things and only those things that are in line with Philippians 4:8.

Temporary Quasi-Hiatus in Blogging

It is obvious I'm not blogging as much. This is due to an increasingly busy schedule. I have now just begun school for the next 2-and-a-quarter years. I am now planning on only very minimally blogging/reviewing between now and then. So please keep me blogrolled in your rss readers as stuff will intermittently pop up, but it will be just that: very intermittent.

Review: Is Christianity Good For the World by Hitchens & Wilson

Christopher Hitchens, an outspoken atheist and anti-theist, entered into a written debate with the witty pastor and theologian, Douglas Wilson. The debate was sponsored by Christianity Today. The assigned topic of debate was “Is Christianity good for the world?

Hitchens argues the negative, proposing that Christianity (or any other religion) is not necessary for morality and that a great deal of evil is regularly perpetrated in the name of God. Furthermore, a God like the God of the Bible is nothing more, Hitchens says, than a praise-hungry tyrant who uses and abuses people to accomplish whatever he wants. Douglas Wilson argues that Christianity is good because it is objectively true, changes peoples’ hearts for the better, and gives people at enmity with God a means to be reconciled to God. In each of the exchanges, he reveals the irrationality of Hitchens’ beliefs, in that Hitchens makes many moral judgments but has no objective moral standard to appeal to. He is arguing as if there is a God, while denying His existence. Hitchens was unable to give a response to this challenge. 

The full text of the debate is available on Christianity Today’s website and  has been compiled into the book Is Christianty Good for the World? by Canon Press. Each author is very articulate and a joy to read. At 72 well-written pages, it is easily a book that you could read in one sitting, and I recommend doing so, followed by a slower more thoughtful perusing. The content was superb.

In my opinion, this exchange is MUST reading for the Christian and atheist alike. This really exchange represented the clash of two absolutely opposing world systems and the foundations of each were revealed. Read the book slowly trying to understand each side’s position. Both men were respectful, but jabbingly witty, in the exchange. Wilson was careful to rearticulate each of Hitchens’ points and respond. Wilson was consistently on topic and attacked the heart of atheism, seeking to reveal both the irrationality of Hitchens’ beliefs as well as reveal his hatred toward God. Hitchens’, Wilson argues, is acting and arguing as if there is a God (who he hates), while denying His existence. Hitchens was consistent in his attacks against Christianity and religion. Wilson replied well to each of Hitchens’ points, while Hitchens, it seems, avoided answering Wilson’s main point.

I think this book should be mandatory reading for all Christian apologists as Wilson models how to argue in a way that honors God. He modeled 2 Tim 2:23-25 and 1 Peter 3:15 in his argumentation. Wilson argued in such a way that would not grant the atheist his presuppositions, consistently attempting to bring God’s revelation of Himself in the Bible to bear on the nonbeliever. He revealed that what the Bible says about the nonbeliever is true (knows God but refuses to honor Him as God – Rom 1:21). And Wilson offered Hitchens and the readers the solution, God’s mercy made available through Jesus’ death on the cross. Wilson went toe-to-toe with one of the best atheistic minds in the world today, and God’s Word was demonstrated to be sufficient.

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God: How Does God Relate To You Apart From Christ

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God is the text of a sermon that Jonathan Edwards preached to his congregation. I know of no author/preacher who is more consistently captivated by God's glory in his grace and love towards sinners, especially as manifested in the eternal joy in Him of heaven. But Edwards was also poignantly aware of the reality of hell. Hell is what we all deserve; God's eternal and infinite wrath is what we would be experiencing now and should experience for eternity if it were not in God's good pleasure to restrain Himself. God's glory in salvation and grace is made all the more glorious when his perfect and righteous wrath are manifested toward the vessels prepared for destruction. Edwards calls all hearers to recognize their powerlessness in the face of this God who is justly wrath-filled against them. Either rest secure in your position in Christ, where Christ has already absorbed this wrath and given us his righteousness securing eternity in heaven. Or be very afraid, be convicted by sin when you see just how horrible it is that a perfect God would punish it so, repent/turn, and trust in God to cleanse you from that sin, both its guilt and its power. This is an excellent sermon that I had not read in quite some time and am resolved to return to regularly. No matter who you are, you must know of the true God, both his justice and mercy.
Max McLean has an excellent recording of the sermon as well.

My Heart Must Be Affected

I just started reading Edwards' "Treatise Concerning Religious Affections" and this paragraph summarizes well the reasons why I must never be content to leave my heart and affections unaffected when confronted with the things of God:

 "Nothing is more manifest in fact, than that the things of religion take hold of men’s souls, no further than they affect them. There are multitudes that often hear the word of God, and therein hear of those things that are infinitely great and important, and that most nearly concern them, and all that is heard seems to be wholly ineffectual upon them, and to make no alteration in their disposition or behavior; and the reason is, they are not affected with what they hear. There are many that often hear of the glorious perfections of God, his almighty power and boundless wisdom, his infinite majesty, and that holiness of God, by which he is of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on iniquity, and the heavens are not pure in his sight, and of God’s infinite goodness and mercy, and hear of the great works of God’s wisdom, power and goodness, wherein there appear the admirable manifestations of these perfections; they hear particularly of the unspeakable love of God and Christ, and of the great things that Christ has done and suffered, and of the great things of another world, of eternal misery in bearing the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God, and of endless blessedness and glory in the presence of God, and the enjoyment of his dear love; they also hear the peremptory commands of God, and his gracious counsels and warnings, and the sweet invitations of the gospel; I say, they often hear these things and yet remain as they were before, with no sensible alteration in them, either in heart or practice, because they are not affected with what they hear; and ever will be so till they are affected.—I am bold to assert, that there never was any considerable change wrought in the mind or conversation of any person, by anything of a religious nature, that ever he read, heard or saw, that had not his affections moved. Never was a natural man engaged earnestly to seek his salvation; never were any such brought to cry after wisdom, and lift up their voice for understanding, and to wrestle with God in prayer for mercy; and never was one humbled, and brought to the foot of God, from anything that ever he heard or imagined of his own unworthiness and deserving of God’s displeasure; nor was ever one induced to fly for refuge unto Christ, while his heart remained unaffected. Nor was there ever a saint awakened out of a cold, lifeless flame, or recovered from a declining state in religion, and brought back from a lamentable departure from God, without having his heart affected. And in a word, there never was anything considerable brought to pass in the heart or life of any man living, by the things of religion, that had not his heart deeply affected by those things."

Jonathan Edwards
A treatise concerning religious affections  (paperback, kindle, libronix, audiobook)

Free CD: Lampmode Grassroots

 

This morning, I was reminded of God's consuming holiness before which I could never hope to stand...apart from the cross. In an excellent devotional, I had the holiness of God expounded to me, making my heart feel the "horror of his splendor" and holiness. When I look at myself in the light of his holiness, I saw only sin, and then the devotional went on to teach me how I would be immediately destroyed like Nadab and Abihu or Uzzah if I came into contact with that holiness. "My eyes have seen the king and I'm an evil thing; woe is me for I am undone!" I cried out with the authors of this lesson. As they went on to describe God's holy attributes I wanted nothing but to be near that God, but because I'm not perfect I could never hope to stand in his presence. But then they taught, "Sin is odious; he deals severely with the lost. But friend his holiness [was] most clearly revealed at the cross. When He displayed Christ as a propitiation, to vindicate his name and show that He hates sin. His love is holy, no justice dismissed. Because His Son was crushed and suffered for this. So God can forgive sin because He finally punished it...Such an amazing display of love and grace, so we trust and praise Him who was raised for our justification."

For almost 6 minutes, Shai Linne and Timothy Brindle proclaim the holiness of God in just one of 7 amazing tracks on Lamp Mode recording's free cd: Grassroots EP. You need to head over to Lampmode and download the free tracks (or alternatively you can pay for higher quality tracks at Amazon, which I sorta recommend since these are only 96kbps mp3s). These guys continually serve me in ways that I formally knew only great books could, but in many ways it is done better, more memorably, and more engagingly than the books I have grown to love ever could. God has used these guys and many others within Lamp Mode and holy hip hop in general to stir my affections and passion for God.

Keywords: free_lampmode_shailinee_rap_hiphop

Defending a Baby's Murder. Will You Be Consistent?

A story of the callous murder of a newborn baby  should rightfully make you angry. An 18-year-old mother, Sycloria Williams, went into an clinic for an abortion; only she gave birth too early. While her cervix was dilating, the baby fetus came out before it could be killed aborted. So they snipped the umbilical cord, and threw it in a biohazard bag.

Even people who think of abortion as a right of mothers to be defended at all costs are horrified. "It really disturbed me," said the president of Broward County NOW. The mother's attorney states, "The baby was treated like a piece of garbage." 

We should be disturbed, angry, and we should resolve to stop this kind of murder.

But let me attempt a defense for the abortion clinic:

  1. The baby was not viable anyway. This argument rings hollow now, doesn't it? Yet it is this same argument that is used to justify millions of 1st and 2nd trimester abortions anually. Nevertheless, there is no substantial difference between this murder and an abortion.
  2. The mother chose: The mother did not want the baby. An 18-year-old would have a very difficult time caring for this child. The mother went into the clinic wanting the baby fetus killed aborted. She had a choice to make and she made it. Isn't this what we defend and use to justify millions of abortions anually? Yet, it somehow doesn't seem like a valid defense when the clinic worker is on the stand asking how he/she could toss a living child into a biohazard bag to die. Nevertheless, there is no substantial difference between this murder and an abortion.
  3. What's the difference?: There is no substantial difference between this murder and an abortion. There was almost no difference between what would have been legal abortion and then what would be deemed murder and grounds for imprisonment and loss of medical license.
    • The baby changed location. It was inside the mother and then outside the mother. Should this affect personhood? No, location should not affect personhoood.
    • The baby's source of oxygen. One moment, the baby received oxygen in the blood from the mother, the next through its lungs. Should this affect personhood? No, source of gas exchange should not affect personhood.
    • Status under the law. One moment the killing was legal as abortion. The next moment, the killing would be called murder. Should this affect personhood? No, legal status should not affect personhood.
    • Our ability to perceive life. One moment the baby's movements, facial expressions, and very being was concealed inside the mother's body. The next, it was out for all to see. Personhood is hard to admit when it stares you in the face. Yet, out-of-sight-out-of-mind affects many moral decisions that we make. Should this affect personhood? No, others' ability to see should not affect personhood.

So my defense rests. The abortion clinic was simply being consistent with what it always does. Its job is to kill unwanted babies. They know that there is no significant deference between a fetus and a baby. So the clinic was simply being consistent.

Prolifers who are angered by this murder are being consistent. We are outraged and grieved by abortions; we are outraged and grieved by murder.

Will you be consistent? When you read the story you should rightly be saddened for a mother whose child was killed, grieved at the loss of an innocent life, and angered at those who could so callously throw a baby out like a piece of trash. But will you be consistent? If these things concerned you, are you concerned about abortion? If not, I ask you, why?

Keywords: abortion

Desktop: My Grace Is Sufficient For You

Click image above to get full-size image

7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

Be Courageous, President Barack Obama (Piper Video)

John Piper's pleadings with Barack Obama in regards to his recent statement about Roe v Wade:

Keywords: abortion,piper

Am I In Love With This World?

1 John 2:15 instructs us: "Do not love the world or the things in the world." 

It is particularly difficult to assess how well my heart is in line with commands like this that can at first glance appear very abstract. My flesh-empowered response to this command will either be to shun all things physical in order to focus on the "spiritual" (amaterialism/gnosticism) or to thoughtlessly assume that I conform pretty well to this command and continue my life unaffected. I do not want either of these responses; I want to live in this world, enjoying appropriately the things of this world, with my mind and heart set on that world that is to come. I need help to see and fight love of this world that is in me. The problem is, I'm typically blind to it. Biblically-informed questions are often useful tools to shed light into the dark recesses of my heart that I have a difficult time exposing.  Today I heard from Smedly Yates two exceptional questions that I plan on asking myself regularly to help me identify, and then put to death, this sin of worldliness:

  1. Is there anything that I desire so much that I would sin (steal, covet, lie, etc) in order to get it?
  2. Is there anything that I have that, if lost, would cause me to sin?
If these questions have elicited in you, like they have in me, a new and increased awareness of worldliness in you, I highly recommend the book edited by C.J. Mahaney, Worldliness (amazon), which I reviewed a few months ago. A very highly recommended read.
 

Holy Hip Hop: The Musical Side of African American Revival

"I think that every revival of sorts has often been accompanied by musical revivals."

Thabiti Anyabwile speaks of God's use to bring a resurgence of God honoring, cross-centered theology particularly among America's African-American youth:

So if you are looking to get started with some of the best "Holy-Hip Hop" let me suggest the following albums in the following order:


The Atonement by Shai Linne

Killing Sin by Timothy Brindle


Rebel by LeCrae

Some others:

13 Letters by 116 Clique
Anything by iSix:5 (guys from my church)
20/20 by Trip Lee
Progression & Crucible by Curtis "Voice" Allen
The Solus Christus Project & Storiez by Shai Linne

An Excellent Wife...I Found Her!

My Excellent Wife

"An excellent wife, who can find?" asks King Lemuel in the inspired words of Proverbs 31:10-31.

By God's grace I have found an excellent wife. Many of the descriptions of the "Proverbs 31 woman" include wise use and earning of money while she manages the household. My wife is a genius at maximizing the money that we have, enabling me to work less and devote more of the money we have to Kingdom business. We must be very careful with our use of money. Money is not a neutral item; we cannot serve God and money (Luke 16:13). Yet we must be faithful in our use of this unrighteous thing, not lovers of it (See the parable and accompanying interpretation in Luke 16:1-13). 

My wife, Kiki is well known among our family and friends as one who always knows how to find a bargain and is always saving money. She is offering a great service to all of her blog readers as she begins what will most certainly turn into an excellent series on Frugality: A Matter of the Heart at her blog, Kiki's Korner.

Kill Off Everybody Who Doesn't Match the Correct Genetic Profile

Basically, because we can, people think it is right to make tons of embryos (very little undeveloped people: the definition of helpless) and then kill off all of the ones that don't fit the genetic profile.

Might does not make right.

B.B.C. reports today that another genetically handpicked-baby was born.

Merry Christmas From The Hantlas

Hantlas' 2008 Christmas Card

Merry Christmas from the Hantlas...all three of us. A highlight of this year, and an answer to many years of prayer, was the addition of Elianna Joel to our family on May 17. Her name means "My God Answers" because He truly did answer a prayer of many years by blessing us with our little girl. Praise God!

Jacob continues to work at Arizona Heart Hospital as a CVICU nurse & is still managing to sell a few homes with HomeSmart Real Estate. At the same time, He's well into work on a Master's Degree at
Reformed Theological Seminary. He's completing a year as an elder intern at Grace Bible Church and will be considered for the office of pastor/elder in January. He is honored and humbled by God's work in him.

Kiki is absolutely loving life as a mom, and she's really good at it too! She is still able to do a few odds-and-ends jobs at Arizona Heart, an opportunity for which we are grateful.

Because of all these blessings, we are reminded that the greatest gift we could ever receive is not a little girl, a good job, or a great family. These are all good things; much better things than we deserve. But we are reminded at Christmas, particularly this Christmas in the midst of these blessings, that the greatest gift we could ever receive has been given to us: God Himself. He came to suffer the death we deserve and give all those who trust in that death eternity with Him. At Christmas we celebrate that Jesus came, and let us remember why He came: "Not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45).

Thank you for your love and care for us. Merry Christmas!

Love,
Jacob, Kiki, & Elianna

Keywords: christmas

Review: Warchild by Emmanuel Jal; And How You Can Help

Born in Tonj, South Sudan in approximately 1980, all that Jal Jok (later renamed Emmanuel Jal) knew was civil war. By the time that most children around the world are learning to swing on monkey bars and play sports, he had seen family members raped and murdered, lost his father to an army position, survived a waterless & foodless trek across the desert, lived through life in a refugee camp, and entered war as gun-toting jenajesh. Short on manpower and wanting to equip and train the next generation, the SPLA army in Sudan trained children to fight in a brutal war that has ravaged Sudan for decades and claimed an entire generation. Warchild is the autobiography of one of those jenajesh, one of the lost boys of Sudan. It is the story of a boy trained to hate and kill, who found his way out of hatred to the God of his mother, Jesus, and learned to love. This transformation began Jal down a path of music culminating in international renown, as a hiphop artist pleading with his people and the world to help bring peace to his homeland in Sudan.

I could not put the book down, reading the entire thing in just three days, despite being a slow reader. The horrific reality of the day-to-day life and mostly death of Sudanese civil war and its effects on both the armies and civilians is clearly portrayed, not inappropriately or even for shock value, just clearly stated through the memory of a young child who lived it. It is probably too much for children to handle so be discerning; it is too much for adults to even get their arms around and you will find your emotions regularly overwhelmed. Genocide, war, statistics are all horribly abstract terms that don't affect my mind and don't affect my prayers and efforts as they should. Stories affect us. This story is one that should be told and it should affect us. This story is especially important to be told because it is one that represents millions whose stories we won't read. 

I highly recommend Warchild. You will not go away unaffected. I pray that Sudan would not be unaffected.
 
If you would like to help Sudan, I recommend directing your support to Sabet & Suzy Kuj and their clinic that they are running in same city where Jal was born. They work tirelessly to help the helpless along with Sabet's passion to train pastors to lead churches. You can find out more at their website, In Deed And Truth.

Keywords: review,sudan

Review: Michael Logozar - Coming Into View (Get it FREE through Noisetrade)

I have had Michael Logozar's album Coming Into View for only a few days and have played it a half dozen times. It is an all-instrumental piano album. For 48 minutes and 10 tracks, Logozar manages to play in a soothing and diminished manner that doesn't have the annoying triteness of the relaxation, new age piano albums. Logozar is content to be silent and let a note simply ring and capable of complex interludes.

I have a very difficult time reading or studying without music in the background, and the constant struggle is to find something that will not become distracting in itself, isn't boring, and can simply fade into the background. Coming Into View is certainly one of the best that I have found for this purpose.

Best of all, you can get the album for free by letting a few friends know about it through NoiseTrade. Use the widget below to get the free album.

Keywords: free,music

Free Audiobook! Calvin: Of Prayer and the Christian Life

John Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion is replete with teaching on prayer, and HovelAudio has excerpted many of these sections and recorded them into a four-and-a-half hour audiobook entitled Calvin: Of Prayer & the Christian Life. Listening to Calvin write about prayer will help you to pray and to understand and treasure prayer. It may also whet your appetite to read more of Calvin's Institutes, which is very readable. Best of all, IT'S FREE for the month of November. As you check out, enter the code NOV2008, and you can download it at no cost.

 

Keywords: audiobook,free

Before & After Photos...Putting Things in Perspective


The photo on the left? My daughter before birth.
The photo on the right? My daughter after birth.

What changed? Location, level of development, and type of dependence on her mother. And that is sufficient in the mind of one the two presidential candidates to justify the murder of the one on the left but not the one on the right.

Like my wife says in her brand new blog, abortion makes or breaks my vote. There are many important issues in this and every election, but none so important to elect a man who would vote consistently (100% of the time) to enable and further the murder of babies.

Keywords: abortion,elianna

Matt Kellso Puts Things In Perspective; I Cried

Read what brought me to tears this morning as I read it. My friend, Matt Kellso, does a good job of putting things in perspective with a glimpse into a very painful season of his life.

Ten Reasons Why It's Wrong To Take the Life of Unborn Children

John Piper offered the following in 1989 which should be considered very carefully by all who are contemplating just how big of a deal pro-choice vs. pro-life is in this political election:

(read more...)

Keywords: abortion

New Book: Job by John Piper

Job by John Piper

Keywords: job,piper

FREE! Religious Affections by Jonathan Edwards

For a limited time, in celebration of Jonathan Edwards' 305th birthday, Logos is giving away the Libronix version of A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections for free. When you checkout, use the coupon code: EDWARDS to get it free.

While you're at it, you can pre-order the 2-Volume Works of Jonathan Edwards. You'll save money ordering it now rather than after it's available. Piper's God's Passion for His Glory: Living the Vision of Jonathan Edwards and A God Entranced Vision of All Things: The Legacy of Jonathan Edwards are available for 40% off with the coupon code: PIPER-EDWARDS.

HT: Gons

Keywords: edwards,free,libronix,logos

Proving Your Salvation In the Local Church

My friend Matt Kellso who has a very good looking blog, was gracious enough to get out of bed at 1:00 AM this morning while listening to a Dever sermon to type this quote out to remind you and me of the importance of the local church:

"[1 John 3:14-16 teaches] 'We know that we have passed from death to life, how, because we love our brothers. Anyone that does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him. This is how we know what love is, Jesus Christ laid down his life for us and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers....[And 1 John 4:20 says] If anyone says, I love God, yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother who he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.' This is how you can know, do you want to know that this new life that you have is real?

I got a great idea. I got it from the Bible. Commit yourself to a local group of saved sinners. Try to love them. Don't just do it for 3 weeks. Don't just do it for 6 months. Do it for years. And I think you'll find out. I think others will too. Whether or not you love God. The truth will show itself. That won't save you, it's only the death of Christ that saves you. HE ALONE IS OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. But if He really is OUR righteousness. If we really do love him, who we have not seen. It will show itself by us loving those that we do see and that we are committed to regularly [gathering]."

Apologetics for the Glory of God by John Frame (Review)

I have read almost a dozen apologetics texts over the last year, and in my estimation, Apologetics for the Glory of God by John Frame should be the first book you read on the subject. Let John Frame guide you as you learn the particulars of apologetic argument from other apologists. John Frame describes what principles should be guiding the use of any evidence or line of reasoning as the apologist seeks to reason with the nonbelieving skeptic. Frame's apologetics would rightly be characterized as presuppositional in nature; he is not shy to be aligned with Cornelius Van Til. However, for those who think that a presuppositional apologetic eschews evidence, you will be pleasantly surprised. I recommend that any reader of Apologetics for the Glory of God get a copy of Frame's masterpiece Doctrine of the Knowledge of God as frequent reference is made to it and you will find ideas hinted at fully expounded in that larger volume. All of Frame's thinking is influenced by his tri-perspectival way of looking at things (which DKG goes into much detail), where he realizes the helpfulness of considering truth from different angles. His apologetics is no different; the perspectives into which he breaks the apologetic task (and the chapters of the book) are:

  1. Apologetics as Proof
  2. Apologetics as Defense
  3. Apologetics as Offense

Classical apologists seek to find commonground between the believer and the nonbeliever and work from there to convince the skeptic of the plausibility of existence of the God of the Bible; therefore, the classical apologist argues, the Bible is not the appropriate place to start in apologetic encounters. The presuppositionalist argues on the other hand, that the unbeliever is acting in rebellion to God as manifested by his desire to think autonomously and place himself as the ultimate criterion of truth. The apologist should not encourage this thinking; neither should the apologist adopt it. The skeptics basic heart commitment is that Jesus is not Lord; the apologists basic heart commitment is that Jesus is Lord. "Our argument must be an exhibit of that knowledge, that wisdom, which is based on the 'fear of the Lord,' not an exhibition of unbelieving foolishness. Therefore apologetic argument is no more neutral than any other human activity. In apologetic argument, as in everything else we do, we must presuppose the truth of God's Word....Even if neutrality were possible, that route would be forbidden to us" (p. 9).

There is no common ground apart from mutual knowledge of God of which Romans 1:19ff way. The thing that the apologist is most sure is true is that which God has told him in the Bible. Therefore, the apologists argument will be based on Scripture. Frame writes, "The preacher-apologist is to present the word...to expound it, to apply it to his hearers, to display its beauty, its truth, its rationality. [He] seeks to combat the unbeliever's false impressions and present to him the word as it really is. It is to this testimony that the Spirit also bears witness" (p. 17). This does not mean, however, that natural evidences or rational argumentation are out of line, just that they must be submitted to Scripture, "The obedient Christian apologist will show the unbeliever the various ways in which nature reveals God, without claiming neutrality and without allowing the use of non-Christian criteria of truth" (p. 25). The main attack against this line of reasoning is that it is circular; the teachings of the Bible are true because the Bible is true. We must recognize the truth of this statement but recognize that every system of thought is circular when it seeks to defend its ultimate presupposition: the Bible, reason/logic, sense-experience, relativism, or otherwise.

Frame spends the rest of the book working his presuppositional line of reasoning out as it relates to proving Christianity to be true, defending Christianity's truth, and attacking the irrationality of all other belief systems. Frame includes very little actual argumentation, with the exception of the problem of evil in the world. He admits this. His goal in this book is to provide the framework into which all other arguments or lines of reasoning will fit, and he does so masterfully. It is for this reason that I recommend that you read Frame before any other apologists, because fit into this framework the apologist can use any true line of reasoning or evidences (whether it comes from a presuppositionalist or not) and use it in a way that recognizes Jesus and not man as Lord.

Finally, the book ends with an exceptional transcript from a faux dialogue between Frame and a man on an airplane where Frame demonstrates how each item he has discussed throughout the book might work itself out in actual apologetic discussion with a real life person.

I do not recommend that Apologetics to the Glory of God is the only apologetics book you read, but I do recommend that it is the first. When you are finished, I recommend you move on to Busenitz's Reasons We Believe and/or Pratt's Every Thought Captive.

Keywords: apologetics,frame

Is Google Making Us Stupid?

Nicholas Carr asks, "What is the internet doing to our brains?" in a very insightful aticle in the Atlantic. He notices that same thing that I notice, "Immersing myself in a book or a lengthy article used to be easy. My mind would get caught up in the narrative or the turns of the argument, and I’d spend hours strolling through long stretches of prose. That’s rarely the case anymore. Now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do. I feel as if I’m always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle."

He ties this into the type of reading that we are encouraged to do as we surf the web, quickly skimming for the content and moving on. It isn't necessarily a worse way to read, just a different way; it is strengthening different muscles than are strengthened when you sit down and thoughtfully digest and interact with long chunks of reading.  But those muscles need to be strengthened as well; I think that's why we have such a difficult time reading older writers, especially the Puritans, who would take a long time to make their point, but put more thought, support, and explanation into it than any modern editor would ever allow. 

Anyway, the article looked really interesting, but how would I know, I got bored and surfed away after a few minutes....then I decided that my brain needed a workout, and I pushed through and finished it, skimming only once or twice. A recommended read to make you think about the way that you read and think.

Review: Financial Shock by Mark Zandi

Financial Shock is a timely read in in light of today's economic crisis. It has served me well in educating me as to the behind-the-scenes causes of the financial shock that we are all feeling. Dr. Mark Zandi, chief economist and cofounder of Moody's economy.com, gives simple and helpful advice on how to avoid/mitigate the damages of the next bursting bubbles. He ably identified time and time again that "Americans aren't as smart about money as we should be. Financial illiteracy was a fundamental cause of the subprime financial shock" (p. 236). This book, which is imminently readable, will go far to help educate any member of the public who spends the time to read it.

He begins the book with a very simply yet insightful summary of the recent history that led to the perfect storm. The remaining chapters go into detail on each one of the players. The book is full of helpful charts that convey simply pertinent information without confusion. Zandi is a master at making the complex understandable, at defining terms, and writing for the layperson (but I have no doubt that this would be helpful for the well-versed as well). Finally, although he misjudged the state of the market writing, "the worst of the crisis appears to be over," (published in July '08), he does give 10 "policy steps" based on all that he's written to help us fix this problem and to avoid or mitigate the damamges of bubble bursts in the future. This list will help you get a flavor for what he writes about in the previous chapters (don't worry if you don't understand the terminology - I didn't either - but if you read the book you will):

  1. Adopt a voluntary mortgage write-down policy
  2. Establish clear mortgage lending rules
  3. 3. License mortgage brokers
  4. 4. Expand data collection
  5. 5. Reform the fractured foreclosure process
  6. 6. Invest in financial literacy
  7. 7. Modify mark-to-market accounting
  8. 8. Raise financial transparency and accountability
  9. 9. Overhaul financial regulation
  10. 10. Pay attention to asset bubbles.

If I could summarize Financial Shock, it would be: Simply Helpful. Simple, but not Simplistic. And although it is writing about a scandal, it is not scandalous. History is used more to help us learn lessons than to point fingers. I have learned much from this book. It has given me the basis to digest most of what I'm reading in the paper and hearing on the news.

On a similar note, I found this roller coaster animation plotting housing prices exceptionally enlightening in regards to the financial state we find ourselves in (HT JT):

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