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I never like the question, “Do you take the Bible literally?” It comes up with some frequency, and it deserves a response. But I think it’s an ambiguous—and, therefore, confusing—question, making it awkward to answer. Clearly, even those of us with a high view of Scripture don’t take everything literally. Jesus is the “door,” but He’s not made of wood. We are the “branches,” but we’re not sprouting leaves.
Three years ago I sat on a short bench in a small stone church on the outskirts of Oxford. In a tiny graveyard outside was a flat tombstone with the name “Clive Staples Lewis” etched into the granite. The pew my wife and I were sitting in was the same place C.S. Lewis occupied with his brother Warnie every Sunday morning for decades as they worshipped together at Trinity Church.
It seems like every time I turn around I hear of another prominent Christian thinker or theologian who has embraced Darwinism. It’s deeply disconcerting. In light of the stature of these Evangelical leaders, some people are going to ask, “What do they know that I don’t know? I thought this was a done deal. It’s either Darwin or God.”
One justification for the atheists’ claim to high moral ground is what seems to them to be the patently immoral conduct of the God of the Old Testament.
Not long ago I read a stunning (and scathing) response in a blog post by a Christian woman who was furious with those taking exception with the “Christian” convictions of a well-known Mormon media personality. “If only you would get on your knees and pray asking God to give you the wisdom and the discernment you need, you would see and know [this Mormon] is the real deal,” she wrote. “But instead you…ridicule him and the Mormon church…[rather than] doing your own research.”
I want to teach you how to assess a basic argument. How can you know if a line of thinking is a good one or not? There’s no magic to this. The tools of thinking are simple ones. Anyone can employ them skillfully with a little practice. If you have the right equipment you can make a lot of progress even if you don’t consider yourself an intellectual whiz-kid.
Life Unworthy of Life? Twenty years ago I made a preposterous prediction. I repeated it 12 years later in an issue of Solid Ground. I echoed it a third time in a Townhall column two years following. Sadly, last week it came to pass, virtually to the letter.
Sometimes the simplest questions—questions that seem so basic we never expect them to be asked— can stop us in our tracks if we’re not equipped to engage them. For example, central to the Gospel is the notion of goodness. God is good; we’re not good. God’s goodness prompts Him to rescue us from our non-goodness, our sin. Seems clear enough.
Something is happening. The pieces began to fall into place for me late last summer in the small town of Turlock, California, while having dinner with colleagues before an event. Seated around the table were Craig Hazen, Frank Beckwith, William Lane Craig, J.P. Moreland, and myself—each deeply involved in publicly defending the faith on a national level for years. One by one we reflected on the people who had made a difference for us when we were all wet-behind-the-ears pups during the Jesus movement and soon after.
Has God Spoken? Can the Bible Be God's Revelation? Whenever I hear the opening lines of Michael W. Smith’s song, “Ancient Words,” I am always moved: “Holy words long preserved /for our walk in this world. / They resound with God's own heart. / Oh, let the ancient words impart.”