Deeper Waters Podcast 11/18/2017: Jeff Myers

What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Everyone has a worldview. Many of us don’t realize that we do have them. We all have a way of looking at the world and we all have some background ideas that influence the way we think about reality. Many times when we have debate with people of other positions, we’re not so much debating the evidence as we are the worldview that evaluates the evidence.

Christians should have a biblical worldview, but many of our Christians today believe things that outright contradict Scripture. I’m not talking about disagreements on secondary issues where we all have some wrong beliefs. We’re talking about things like Christians believing in reincarnation or that all religions are equally valid.

So when discussing worldviews, you need someone who does understand worldviews, and not just a Christian worldview, but other major contenders. You need someone who also has his awareness of what is going on especially with youth today who are struggling the most with this sort of question. How is it that they can build a biblical worldview and what can churches do to restore this vision? To do that, I decided to have come on Jeff Myers from Summit Ministries to talk about worldviews.

So who is he?

According to his bio:

Dr. Jeff Myers is president of Summit Ministries, a highly respected worldview training program whose tens of thousands of graduates are making a difference in politics, law, academics, medicine, science, and business. In the last 20 years Dr. Myers has become one of America’s most respected authorities on youth leadership development. Focus on the Family founder James Dobson referred to him as “a very gifted and inspirational young leader.” Evangelist Josh McDowell called him “a man who is 100% sold out to preparing the next generation to reflect the character of Christ in the culture.” Through his appearances on Fox News and other media programs, Dr. Myers has become a fresh voice offering humor and insight from a Christian worldview. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree and teaches leadership courses through Lumerit and Belhaven University. Jeff and his family live in Colorado.

We’ll be talking about his book The Secret Battle of Ideas About God. We’ll look at other worldviews such as secular humanism, postmodernism, Marxism, new age, and Islam. We’ll be comparing how these worldviews line up with a Christian worldview. How do they answer the great questions that we have about life? What are some of the weaknesses? Why should anyone think that a Christian worldview is a superior worldview?

I hope you’ll be paying attention to this episode, especially if you have any interaction with youth today, so that you can better help prepare them, or if you are a youth so that you can better help prepare yourself. Please be watching for the next episode of the Deeper Waters Podcast. If you haven’t done so yet, please also on on iTunes and leave a positive review of the Deeper Waters Podcast.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

Book Plunge: Why There Is No God. Part 3.

Is there any chance we’ll find something good in Navabi’s book? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

We’re moving on to part three of Navabi’s book Why There Is No God. Today, we’re going to deal with arguments 11-15.

Argument #11. If there is no God, where did everything come from? Without God, there is no explanation.

This is a real argument and it is one many of us, including myself, use. Therefore, when we come across a real argument, we know what an atheist fundamentalist will do with it. Put up a straw man and not deal with any of the real authorities in the field.

Much of what was said about the “Who created God?” argument was said in part one on the first argument. It’s interesting that the skeptics always ask who created and not what created. Something to be added this time is that Navabi tells us that cosmological arguments tell us nothing about the nature of the God who created.

On the contrary, (As Aquinas would say) they tell us plenty. If you follow the Aristotelian-Thomistic arguments to their conclusion you get a being who is eternal, immaterial, omnipotent, omniscient, good, immutable, etc. Now maybe those are tiny details to Navabi, but not to real authorities in the field, and of course he cites none.

Argument #12. My religion/God has helped me so much. How could it not be real?

Yes. I know we’ve all seen all those academic works that talk about this argument. How many times have we seen Bill Craig go out to defend theism and present this argument? Oh, wait. That’s right. Never. Still, never deny the ability of atheists to go after the most serious arguments that there are.

There’s not much I need to say about this one, although Navabi does have something on what about the people God doesn’t save? Yes. What about them? Sometimes people suffer through their own means or just because we don’t live in a perfect world nor are we promised one.

Since this is not a serious argument, I have no need to treat the reply seriously.

Argument #13. God is love; God is energy.

This could be a popular argument in New Age circles, but I would agree with Navabi that it’s often a redefinition of terms. When I speak about God, I am specific about what I mean. One would think Navabi is as well since he usually has a Western concept in mind. Again, since this is not really a serious argument, I do not plan on taking it seriously.

Argument #14. The Laws of Logic prove the existence of God.

Finally, Navabi is taking on someone in the apologetics world. For this, his choice is Matt Slick of CARM. I don’t entirely use the TAG argument as it’s known as is, but I would like to consider how it would work with a more Thomistic approach. The argument is pretty much that laws of logic are absolute and immaterial and unchanging and eternal and they need to be in a mind that is like that. That mind is the mind of God.

Navabi is right that these laws are descriptive and not prescriptive, but that doesn’t get him off the hook. Where I’d disagree is with any sort of idea that these laws are something like Platonic forms just floating out there. Of course, many supporters of TAG wouldn’t think that, but the way the argument is described can get one to think that way. Instead, I would see them as naturally the way that being itself behaves. If anything is, we can tell that it is what it is, it does not contradict itself in its nature, and it is either B or non-B but nowhere in between.

What I want someone like Navabi to explain to me is being itself. Where did it come from? It couldn’t come from nothing, because nothing has no power to bring about anything. (Someone please notify Lawrence Krauss of this basic fact.) It would have to come then from something, but then we have the problem of the infinite regress. As far as I’m concerned, the Thomistic arguments answer this. (Those interested in more are encouraged to read Edward Feser’s Aquinas or The Last Superstition.)

Argument #15. Believing in God provides meaning and purpose; without it, life would be meaningless.

The argument from meaning is one that does make sense. Why is everything the way that it is? Are we just an accident, or are we here for a reason? This is a huge question and how you answer it will alter much of how you experience reality.

Of course, Navabi goes with the idea that we can create our own meaning. Sure. The problem is, who is to say one meaning is right and one isn’t? Suppose I think the meaning of life is to have as much sex as possible. Does that mean I can rape if I think I can get away with it? Why or why not? What if I think power is the meaning of life? Can I strive to eliminate anyone who gets in my way? Why or why not? What if I think money is? Can I exploit anyone that I want to on the path of riches? Why or why not?

Now I do agree with Navabi that it’s better to believe an uncomfortable truth than a comfortable lie, but that doesn’t matter really. After all, we don’t ascertain what a truth is by looking at if it’s comfortable or not. I do believe my Christian theism because I’m convinced it’s true. My personal comfort has nothing to do with it. In fact, many of us who are devout Christian theists would say many times our religion is quite uncomfortable for us.

When we return to this book, we’ll conclude it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

Annual Halloween Thoughts

How should a Christian respond to Halloween? Let’s dive into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I’ll start this by saying that I am offering this advice as a non-parent. What I am offering this advice as is someone highly familiar with Christianity and Christian doctrines, being a Christian most of my life and being an apologist for nearly the past fifteen years. I do write something like this most every year, but some matters are worth repeating.

So with Halloween coming up a lot of people wonder about how they should observe the day. I recently interviewed Marcia Montenegro who runs Christian Answers For The New Age. I agree with much of what she said about Halloween, but I would like to add in my own two bits.

First off, with the claim that Halloween is a pagan holiday, I am highly suspicious of that. I also think it sets up a dangerous precedent. If we say that something is pagan repeatedly, we will end up having people be suspicious that Christians stole everything from the pagans and then what happens when someone says “Hey. Ever heard of Mithras?” When I have seen claims of stealing form pagans, I have for the most part found them incredibly lacking.

Second, even if it was pagan, so what? Seriously. So what? Today we acknowledge this day by dressing up in costumes, pulling pranks on one another, and asking for candy. Do we really think pagan gods would think we are honoring them by doing this? Most likely, this would instead be seen as an insult. (An interesting discussion on this with a Wiccan and a Christian can be found on the Unbelievable? episode from October 25th, 2014.

The analogy I use is wedding rings. Let’s suppose you came to me and convinced me beyond a shadow of a doubt that wedding rings were pagan in origin. Will that change anything that I do? No. Not a bit. Why? Because I know why I wear my wedding ring. I did not wear it in honor of Zeus or Odin. I do not make a promise before Baal or Molech that I would love my wife and honor her. I made that covenant before God and man. That is what matters.

So thus, we need to look at our intentions. Why are we celebrating the day?

Since most of us are just celebrating it as a chance to dress up in costumes and get candy, I have no objection to it whatsoever. If you want to go to your church for a trunk or treat party, go right ahead. If you want to stay home, then this is my advice. Make sure that you get the best candy on the block. Let people know your house is the one to go to. Don’t just give out tracts. Kids won’t read them likely and will mark you down as a house to avoid.

Instead, let your house be the house everyone wants to go to and when they find out you’re a Christian, that will make them more likely to listen to what you have to say. Note that this is one day that children are coming to your house. Not only are children coming, many children are coming with their parents. This is a chance for you to let your light shine for them. Do you really want to have your lights out on your house when children and parents who need to hear the Gospel are coming right to your door?

Of course, if you think your community isn’t a safe one, a church outing could be a better idea and naturally, you will want to be with your children wherever they go and I have no problem with that. I also think Marcia’s advice on my show was excellent. Try to spend some time that day praying for people who are caught in the occult.

We are meant to go out and claim this world for Christ. That includes every day of the year. Halloween is a day God owns just like every other day and we need not be running in retreat. We have too often practiced a fear of anything that might have a whiff of pagan to it. We should consider that if historically Christians had avoided all contact with the pagans, then Christianity would have never got off the ground. The reason Christianity survived was it had no fear of engaging the pagans. Let us not have that same fear. Halloween belongs to God. Let’s celebrate it to His glory.

In Christ,

Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 10/25/2014: Marcia Montenegro

What’s coming up on this Saturday’s episode of the Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s dive into the Deeper Waters and find out.

First off, we unfortunately had to postpone the interview we had scheduled with Matthew Flannagan. Why? I came down with a virus and I was in no condition whatsoever to do an interview. Unfortunately, my wife was a recipient of my generosity and she is just now starting to get over it. So if you’re wondering why the latest episode didn’t upload on ITunes, that’s why.

Now I am in good enough health that I am ready to continue doing the show again and this Saturday, we’re doing a show in preparation for Halloween. As you can expect, there’s a lot going on around this time of year. Many Christians wonder if they should participate in Halloween. There is also supposed to come out this weekend the movie “Ouija.” Is this just a harmless children’s game or is there something more to it?

Years ago, Gary Habermas advised me to not study the occult for myself. It can be too powerful of a draw. Instead, I should save such discussions for those who have come out of it and know it from the inside-out. I am fortunate to be friends with one such person and am honored that this Saturday I get to welcome Marcia Montenegro to the Deeper Waters Podcast.

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Prior to trusting Christ, Marcia was involved for many years in Eastern and New Age beliefs, and was a licensed professional astrologer for 8 yrs. During that time, she also taught astrology, and was President of the Metropolitan Atlanta Astrological Society. Marcia has a Masters in Religion from Southern Evangelical Seminary, Charlotte, NC, and is a missionary with Fellowship International Mission. Through her ministry, Christian Answers for the New Age, she has spoken in 30 states and is a frequent guest on radio, and has published articles in several Christian publications, informing Christians about the New Age as well as reaching out to those who are part of it. Marcia is the mother of an adult son, and is the author of SpellBound: The Paranormal Seduction of Today’s Kids (Cook, 2006).

Marcia has now come out of the New Age movement and has devoted her life to helping others to come out of it. In fact, many times I have messaged her about something that sounds as if it was New Age to get her opinion on it. Unfortunately, much of this can also be found in the Christian church as many of the notions that are seen as popular today are actually quite occult in their mindset. (Consider the Word of Faith movement as an example of this.)

I hope you’ll be listening as you and your family prepare for Halloween just as ours is. You want your children to be fun and safe this time of year and you also should want to know about any dangers of the occult that you might not be aware of. Please be watching your podcast feed for the latest episode of the Deeper Waters Podcast featuring Marcia Montenegro.

In Christ,

Nick Peters

The New Age Has Come

Does it involve Eastern thinking? Kind of. Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

We’re talking about the difference the resurrection makes and one aspect we’re looking at today is that the new age has come. Now when we hear about the new age, we often think of those in the east. In a sense, we are correct. However, to talk about the true new age movement, we need to stop long before we get to areas like India. We need to stop at the Middle East. The modern new age movement has us going back to the old lie of “You shall be as gods.” The real new age movement began in the area of Jerusalem. Our modern movement is simply behind on the times and living with an old view that has been replaced.

Many Jews believed in a coming age of the Messiah that would have the reign of the Messiah. There are many references in the Bible that some think refer to the end of the world but in reality, they refer to the end of the age. For instance, in the Olivet Discourse, Jesus is not giving signs of the end of the world. Instead, he is giving signs that the age is coming to an end. What would be the next age? It would be the age that has the ruling of the Messiah. The Jews had something else wrong. Jesus would not be ruling in Jerusalem creating just another earthly monarchy. Instead, he would be ruling from Heaven by the side of the Father over all the Earth and His kingdom would be spreading. (This is something we will be touching on later on.)

This means that everything has changed. When Paul converts on the road to Damascus, he does not just have a worldview where the idea of “Jesus is not the Messiah” has changed to “Jesus is the Messiah.” He has to change his view on creation, Israel, the Law, righteousness, justification, forgiveness, the Messiah, suffering, etc. The reason for this is that the action of God in history was central to Jewish thought and they based their identities on it. They spoke of God who brought them out of Egypt. They spoke of God who rescued them from exile. The next new movement then would be to speak of God who acted in Christ.

Picture it as if you had a set of beliefs that could be seen as a spider web. Suppose one of your beliefs is “The grocery store is 20 miles from my house.” Then, you do some measurements in your car with your odometer and realize that the store is actually 18 miles away. Okay. That’s a small belief that you can change and it doesn’t affect you too much. You realize your math was off and that’s that. Now suppose instead that you come to the conclusion “The grocery store never even existed.” This is a belief that would more likely have you check into the mental hospital wondering what was wrong with you.

It’s the same today with people who often apostasize from Christianity and don’t change their worldview much. If you leave the faith, the degree to which your worldview changes is the degree to which Christianity affected your worldview prior. If it played a small part, it will not change your worldview as much. If it played a major part, you will have to totally change everything that you see in your worldview. This is something that explains how serious the situation was for Paul. Everything changed.

If the resurrection of Jesus does not change everything, then something is wrong.

Now to be fair, this could be more difficult for us in America since we have grown up in a society where Christian theism has always been in the background at least and we live in an age where the resurrection has normally been seen as the reality. We can find it hard to appreciate how different the world was before Christianity came along. This is why we need to often drop our modern Americentric understanding of the world and try to see how it was before Christ came. It’s also why we should be doing reading in other areas relevant to biblical studies.

For now, let us rejoice. The new age has come, the age of Christ. Hopefully the modern new age movement will learn to keep up with the times.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

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