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Come Reason's Apologetics Notes blog will highlight various news stories or current events and seek to explore them from a thoughtful Christian perspective. Less formal and shorter than the www.comereason.org Web site articles, we hope to give readers points to reflect on concerning topics of the day.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ravi Zacharias Speaking on the Need for God

This Friday, Ravi Zacharias will be at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa speaking on the topic "Need God? What if I don't?" The RZIM web site states that Ravi will

...explain why God is more than a psychological crutch for the weak minded and why success and independent living fade in comparison to knowing the eternal Truth found in God.

The event is free, but tickets are required to get into the main sanctuary.It looks like those are gone, but Calvary Chapel offers an overflow in their gym with a video feed.

The event is this Friday, january 16 at 7:00 PM pacific time. If you're not in the area, you can watch the web cast of the event live by clicking on this link: http://media.calvarychapel.com/player3/?panel=event-ravizacharias

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Can a football game change lives? Maybe - if you cheer for the other side

I must admit that I've never been a big football fan. With a name like Esposito, maybe I was destined to like hockey instead. However, I recently read an incredible story of how fans at a high school football game were encouraged to cheer for the other side. As ESPN reporter Rick Reilly writes:

They played the oddest game in high school football history last month down in Grapevine, Texas.

It was Grapevine Faith vs. Gainesville State School and everything about it was upside down. For instance, when Gainesville came out to take the field, the Faith fans made a 40-yard spirit line for them to run through.

Did you hear that? The other team's fans?

They even made a banner for players to crash through at the end. It said, "Go Tornadoes!" Which is also weird, because Faith is the Lions.

It was rivers running uphill and cats petting dogs. More than 200 Faith fans sat on the Gainesville side and kept cheering the Gainesville players on- by name.

Why would someone go to their child's football game and cheer the other side? Well, because they wanted to be like Christ. You see, the Gainesville State School is a maximum security correctional facility and these boys have never had a home game or anyone cheer for them.

Faith's web site states that "The purpose of the athletic program at Faith Christian School is to develop and graduate authentic Christian leaders." That's what they were doing. They took Matthew 25:36 seriously where Jesus exhorts us to visit those who are in prison.

Reilly also reports, "As the Tornadoes walked back to their bus under guard, they each were handed a bag for the ride home-a burger, some fries, a soda, some candy, a Bible and an encouraging letter from a Faith player."

What impact could a selfless act like this have on tough kids? Actually, quite a lot. Reilly concludes:

After the game, both teams gathered in the middle of the field to pray and that's when (Gainesville QB) Isaiah surprised everybody by asking to lead. "We had no idea what the kid was going to say," remembers Coach Hogan. But Isaiah said this: "Lord, I don't know how this happened, so I don't know how to say thank You, but I never would've known there was so many people in the world that cared about us."

Christopher Hitchens says religion poisons everything. I think 14 football players and their coach can easily show how that statement isn't true.

If you'd like to read the entire article by Reilly, visit the link below.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espnmag/story?section=magazine&id=3789373

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Books I'm Currently Reading

As we start the New Year, many people are looking to improve themselves in
some way or another. Perhaps settling down with a good book would be one
option. I generally find myself reading about four or five books
simultaneously. Maybe it's ADD, but usually I pick up a title on a subject that
interests me and I want to research some more, or I have proclivity toward a
certain author. In any case, I thought I'd give you some lists of books
that I am currently reading. In later posts, I'll probably go back and
note some books I've recently read and would recommend.

As you'll soon notice, most of the books on my list are nonfiction and generally
deal with philosophy, Christianity, or apologetics in some way. This is
merely out of necessity, given that I teach a class every month on a different
subject and I simply need to do proper research on it. But don't be undaunted,
as I'll try to include some "fun" titles along the way. Of course, you can
always check out many different books at the Come Reason Resources page:
http://www.comereason.org/resources/res020.asp

The Erosion of Inerrancy
by G.K. Beale
(Crossway, 2008)

Many times evangelicals expect liberal theologians to doubt or water down the
inerrancy of Scripture, but we hardly expect to engage in debate with fellow
evangelicals. However, this assumption is unfounded as G.K. Beale,
professor of New Testament at Wheaton Graduate School, demonstrates. The
origin of the book was an article published in JETS, the Journal of the
Evangelical Theological Society, where Beale responded to Peter Enns' book
Incarnation and Inspiration. Here, he more fully develops the different
arguments that we run across by scholars, both liberal and evangelical who seek
a more "progressive" view of Biblical Authority. Kind of technical
reading, but interesting.

Heretics for Armchair Theologians by Justo Gonzalez and Catherine Gunsalus
Gonzalez
(Westminister John Knox Press, 2008)

I asked for this book for Christmas. It looked like an easy read (160
pages), and knowing that most Christian theological creeds were developed as a
response to heresies creeping into the church, I thought it would be interesting
the see how the Gonzalezes cover things. In fact the best way to
understand just what the essential tenants of Christianity are and why we hold
them is to study the controversies that the church wrestled with. I'm just
into the second chapter and so far so good. This might be good starter
book for those who want to jump into theology or apologetics.

Return to Rome: Confessions of an Evangelical Catholic by Francis J. Beckwith
(Brazos Press, 2008)

At my last trip to the ETS/EPS meeting I saw this for sale and quickly picked it
up. For those of you who don't know, Dr. Beckwith is an apologist and
philosopher who was the president of the Evangelical Philosophical Society until
he resigned when returned to Roman Catholicism. Frank's a friend of mine
(he's participated in a previous Dare to Defend conference that we put on) and
careful thinker, and while I've heard him speak about some of his motivations to
leave Protestantism for Roman Catholicism, so I was really interested in reading
about his thoughts in more detail. So far, he's outlined much of his
personal history and his understanding of what salvation is. I haven't
gotten o the "juicy" parts yet, so we'll see.

Philosophia Christi (The Journal of the Evangelical Philosophical Society)Volume 10, Number2 - Responding to New Resurrection Challenges

The EPS always puts out a great journal and this issue is no different.
With over 200 pages of articles, reviews and scholarly debate, this will keep
you up to date on the latest issues pertaining to philosophy of religion.
It's targeted toward the scholar, so it's definitely not an easy read, but I
found the focus topic interesting. Stephen Davis, William Lane Craig and
Gary Habermas all responded to arguments brought forth by Dale Allison in his
book Resurrecting Jesus. Great stuff to make you think.

Understanding Intelligent Design by William Dembski and Sean McDowell
(Harvest House Publishers, 2008)

This book was sent to me by the publishers and I'm glad they did so. Aimed
at a high school audience it lays out the basic issues within the intelligent
design debate in an easy to understand format; a great general primer. Can
you read this book and argue all the nuances of ID? No - of course not.
But it will give you a broad outline of the arguments and places to jump off to
find out more.

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