The Unexpected Defenders

Christianity Today's April Cover Photo

Christianity Today’s April cover photo featuring HBU faculty

Christianity Today’s April issue focuses on women in apologetics, featuring the female faculty at Houston Baptist University. “The Unexpected Defenders: Meet Women Apologists” is a significant story for our time. While many other articles have shown the groundbreaking work of women in areas such as business leadership, law, and medicine, there has been a persistent, albeit fading, idea that the Christian intellectual life is only full of men and for men. Yet, there are many Christian women interested in the life of the mind and in how to take responsibility for understanding the faith they profess. Continue reading

Fifty Shades of…Blah

blah_blahThis is my post on ‪#‎50shadesofgrey‬: Blah. Blah. Blah.

So goes the culture in which we live. Full of the blah, blah, blah drone of a zombie culture looking for the next thing that will make it feel human once more, but gravely missing the mark yet again. Sleepers, awake! You were not created to be the walking dead, reduced to searching endlessly to satiate your immediate desires. You are made in the image of the glorious Creator! Bring sexuality back from the dead. It is a life-giving part of being human, not a zombified float on the surface of the earth. Where is our desire for the depths? Where is our dignity and resolve? Have we forgotten what it means to be human? Yes….and so blah, blah, blah goes even our artistic endeavors: revelry in the mundane, death where there should be life. And yet, there is hope.

The Spooky Interior Life of Religious Hypocrites

photo(43)The American holiday of Halloween has become one that, at times, is hotly contested in Christendom; especially among evangelicals. Pastors may preach 1 Thessalonians 5:22, “Stay away from every kind of evil,” or even reference 1 Corinthians 10:21, “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot share in the Lord’s table and the table of demons,” in reference to not participating in Halloween activities like ‘Trick or Treating.’ Without getting into the exegetical understanding of these passages—though I cannot deny my heart has greatly desired this (Galadriel, The Lord of the Rings)—I want to point out a reminder on this Halloween: evil applies to much more than the explicit imagery associated with Halloween. Continue reading

Wonder and Awe from London

My husband and I recently returned from a trip to London. We really loved the city and its atmosphere, even though it rained for a little less than half our time there. As I’m sure many Houstonians can relate, we were a bit saddened when upon return to our city the heat and humidity were already raging!

Westminster Abbey and me!

Westminster Abbey and me!

While in London, we saw a lot of the places that our friends told us were “must-see” places: Windsor Castle, the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the British Museum, the British Library, and St. Paul’s Cathedral, to name a few. We had a tour guide, Robert, who was a local Londoner. I could tell that our guide loved the city; especially its architecture and history. He didn’t just tell us facts and scoot us along to the next big thing on the list. Instead, he gave us pointers for how to engage in experiencing each site in a meaningful way. I remember him saying, “As you walk along, have a look at the ceiling, a marvel of architecture and stonework. Pause for a moment and think about what it must have taken to create this great structure.”

A few times, we got to talk with Robert when we were en route to a location. I asked him a question about the people and the culture in the city. I was astounded by the vast history of London and I wondered about the people who currently lived there. Did they appreciate and wonder about all that had happened in their past? Were they fascinated by these same places that tourists visited from all over the world? Continue reading

The Gospel Project: Valuing Life

GospelProject
Last year, I wrote a session for LifeWay’s The Gospel Project on “The Meaning of Life.”  That session is in the current issue for Winter 2013-2014: “A God-Centered Worldview.”  My contribution is about meaning and purpose in human lives in a world void of God. It reflects on the writings of King Solomon (Ecclesiastes), the apostle Paul, William Lane Craig, Friedrich Nietzsche, Bertrand Russell, and others. It also looks at the value that Jesus’ resurrection gives to human life. Along with the study, I wrote some devotionals. LifeWay Christian Resources has made one devotional available online here: Valuing Life

God’s Love, Beauty, and the Dove Company

Last spring, the Dove company hired an experienced criminal sketch artist to draw women as they describe/perceive themselves and then to draw them as someone else perceives them. The result was a powerful video demonstrating to women the overly critical view they are carrying of themselves. At the end of the video, the Dove company chose to include this statement, “You are more beautiful than you think.”

After watching the video, I began to think through some possibilities. Maybe the criminal sketch artist had a biased view going into the drawings because he was informed as to the goal. Maybe the “strangers” caught onto the intentions of the producers who were filming this video. Maybe…and then I stopped. I remembered that this video initially caught my attention because of the concept: we have a different view of ourselves than others. We also have a different view of ourselves than God. It’s probably a less charitable view than the Lord’s view of us. To be sure, I am not saying that humans are perfectly good or that God doesn’t care about the evil found in individuals. However, watching the video was a reminder of the truth of God’s love of his beautiful creation (Genesis 1:31).

Our provost at Houston Baptist University, John Mark Reynolds, calls people, “beautiful souls.” I think the Dove company has found a way to convey a reflection of that beauty found in us that sometimes takes a stranger to see.

Jesus, Lazarus, and Rick Warren

To live your life striving to be a reflection of Christ is hard. To live your life as a leader in the church trying to help others live as reflections of Christ is hard. To live your life on a large public platform as a leader in the church trying to help a global community live as reflections of Christ is probably close to insanity. (James 3:1)

This past week, the family of Rick Warren suffered a tremendous loss: the life of a child.

They are public figures and as such have taken on a responsibility to public life, which includes publicly sharing this loss of life. At a time when I would want the world to turn a blind eye to me, the Warrens have garnered worldwide attention with their tragedy.  Some of that attention has shown the goodness of God’s love prevalent in the world. Some of that attention has shown the sickness of the human heart. I paused today after seeing some inappropriate responses to the Warren’s situation that were related to criticizing his theology and/or ministry:  Why would these things even cross a person’s mind at such a time?  There is one most excellent example in responding to death from the Scriptures:

Jesus wept. weepingjesusbw

When the Lord’s friend died, he did not give lengthy discourses on sin or evil or even on why death comes upon us all. He did not analyze Lazarus’ theology, ministry, or life. Jesus, being God, had the knowledge to critique his friend’s life and to do so with perfection. But what did he do? He grieved…out loud.

Rick – It is hard to be a public figure. It is certainly harder when a loved one dies. Press on, brother.  You are greatly loved.


Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15

Book Review: “Cold-Case Christianity”

I’m going to admit my bias at the onset on this review. I heard Jim Warner Wallace of Please Convince Me speak on this material at the Apologetics Canada Conference in 2012, almost a year before his book released. I was ready to dig into anything he put into print because I so enjoyed his crime scene investigator-type presentation. So, when I had the opportunity to review his book, I was excited to do so! And Wallace’s book did not disappoint.

I have the privilege of speaking at conferences on similar topics as Wallace.  One of the main questions I field after giving a presentation on the reliability of the transmission of the New Testament is, “But why should I trust the authors who wrote these letters?” More specifically, the question usually refers to “how can I know these authors were telling the truth?” Jim Warner Wallace’s book, Cold-Case Christianity sets out to answer this question, as well as make a cumulative case for the Christian faith.

Continue reading

Book Review: “Resurrection iWitness” by Doug Powell

Res.iWitnessUpon first look at Doug Powell’s innovative book, Resurrection iWitness, I was already impressed with it’s aesthetic appeal; not a typical feature of an argument-based apologetic work.  With further exploration, I realized there was great potential for impact of the material, especially on children and students, as it utilizes tactile engagement in order to teach the foundation of belief in the resurrection.

Do you have a child who is questioning belief in God?  Perhaps, they are somewhat disconnected from the whole idea of the “resurrection” of Jesus. This book vividly brings to light the evidence and importance of the resurrection of Jesus, but does so in a way that will engage their imagination.  It looks like a storybook and has been jokingly dubbed “the resurrection pop-up book,” but its ingenuity lies in how it draws the attention of the reader to engage in learning.  Of particular interest to me was the “Martyr’s Map” in which the locale of each martyr’s death was depicted by a red pushpin on a black and grey map; such striking imagery.

Though there are a few spots in which the type is a little small (due to formatting) the overall book is truly a masterpiece.  After reviewing it with my own teenage daughter, as well as with our youth minister and his wife, I am convinced that this resource will be invaluable as a teaching aide for the most important doctrine of the Christian faith.  I highly recommend this work for any Christian home or church as it will provide instruction for the young and act as a piece of intrigue for those unfamiliar with arguments for the resurrection.

For more information on Doug’s book visit: http://www.bhpublishinggroup.com/books/products.asp?p=9780805495812

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