Blog Archive


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 Web site articles, we hope to give readers points to reflect on concerning topics of the day.

Powered by Blogger.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Want to Love God More Fully? Then Engage Your Mind!

I believe that learning to defend your faith is like a grand adventure; it truly is treasure hunting for nuggets that will make God more real to you. I demonstrated this a couple of days ago when we discovered that reason and faith are not opposites. You can take the idea of God's truth seriously and apply it to a very common objection. If someone were to offer you this same objection that faith stands opposed to reason, you could answer them with the truth that faith is built on reasons and exploring faith claims is a very reasonable thing to do. Not only does this answer their objection, but it opens the door to more discussion on the truth-claims of Christianity! Do you see how exciting such an approach is?

I do want to caution you, however, that just because you may have an answer to an objection that is sound, thoughtful, and well-articulated, it doesn't mean people will always listen to you. In fact, you may get a lot of resistance. But it does let you feel more confident that the critic wasn't shutting you down. In fact, as I mentioned, it is the critic who's now being irrational since they don't want to support their claim nor listen to a thoughtful appeal to reason together. Which brings us to another point in why we need to pursue God intellectually: because it helps us love God more fully.

Part of Loving God Means Loving Him with Our Minds

In the Proverbs passage I discussed yesterday, it states that we are to apply our minds to God's knowledge "so that your trust may be in the LORD." This coincides with what Jesus taught when he was asked by an expert in the Jewish Bible about which commandment was the greatest. He replied, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment" (Matt 22:37-38). You can see how Jesus elevates the idea of loving God intellectually by including the phrase "with all your mind." That's absolutely right. In order to fully love God, we need to love Him with all we have — including our intellect.
Just prior to Jesus' statement to the lawyer, He was confronted with a question on the validity of the resurrection by the religious liberals of His day, the Sadducees. Christian apologist J.P. Moreland notes that by intelligently defending the faith, Jesus was practicing the concept of loving God with His mind. J.P writes:
It's interesting that Jesus did something His followers should emulate; He intelligently answered the Sadducees' question! … First, Jesus reveals His intellectual skills in debate by (1) showing His familiarity with His opponents' point of view; (2) appealing to common ground (a text all disputants accepted) instead of expressing a biblical text He accepted but they rejected (Daniel 12:2); and (3) deftly using the laws of logic to dissect His opponents' argument and refute it powerfully. Second, because it forms the immediately preceding context for Matthew 22:37-39, this incident may inform at least part of what it means to love God intellectually: be prepared to stand up to truth and honor when they are challenged, and do so with careful, thought-out answers. 1


1. Moreland, J.P. Love Your God with All Your Mind: The Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul. Colorado Springs: NavPress, 1997. 50-51

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

The Bible Commands Us More Than Once to Defend Our Faith

There are many passages in the Bible that command us to go out there and stand up for the faith. The most often quoted is 1 Peter 3:15 which reads, “but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence."The Greek word for  "defense" is apologia, which is where we come up with the name for Christian apologetics. The word doesn't mean just any defense, though. It means to make a reasoned defense like a debater would make to win the debate or a trial lawyer would make to prove his client's innocence. As Christians, we are to prepare ourselves with a thoughtful response to those who ask about our beliefs.

There are many other passages in scripture that also encourage us to be ready to defend our faith. Here are just a few:

Scriptures Encouraging Us to Defend Our Faith

Proverbs 25:11 "Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances."
Proverbs 26:5 "Answer a fool as his folly deserves, that he not be wise in his own eyes."
Acts 17:16-17 "Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was being provoked within him as he was observing the city full of idols. So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles."
Acts 22:1 "Brethren and fathers, hear my defense which I now offer to you."
2 Corinthians 4, 6,7 "…commending ourselves as servants of God … in knowledge… in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness."
2 Corinthians 5:11a "Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men…"
Philippians 1:16 "I am appointed for the defense of the gospel."
Colossians 4:6 "Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person."
2 Timothy 2:16 "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness."
2 Timothy 2:25 "…with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth."
Titus 1:9 "…holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict."
1 Peter 3:15 "…always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you…"
One of my favorite passages in this category is Proverbs 22:17-21. The passage reads:
Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise,
And apply your mind to my knowledge;
For it will be pleasant if you keep them within you,
That they may be ready on your lips.
So that your trust may be in the LORD,
I have taught you today, even you.
Have I not written to you excellent things
Of counsels and knowledge,
To make you know the certainty of the words of truth
That you may correctly answer him who sent you?
In another post, I've gone over some of the detail of these verses, but I do think the passage above tells us a lot about God's desire for us in a world filled with hostility toward His ways. In Proverbs 22, He offers us instruction like a father would instruct his son before sending him off for the first time to go out and live on his own. And what is the advice that our Heavenly Father gives us to face the world? We are to heed the words of the wise so that our trust may be in Him! We are to apply our minds to His knowledge! This means that in order to have a full relationship with Him, we need to pursue God intellectually as well as emotionally. God commands us to do so.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Reason and Faith Are Not Opposites

I don't know how many times I've heard the claim that "religion is just a crutch for the weak-minded". Many of the popular atheists in print today like to try and say that belief in God is the opposite of being rational.1 Others I've had conversations with dismiss faith as being the opposite of knowledge. I remember having lunch one day with some mutual friends. The discussion turned to matters of belief and one girl immediately said that we couldn't really know truth at all, to which I objected, saying that there are a lot of things we can know. We know 2 + 2 = 4, the earth circles around the sun, and Shakespeare wrote Hamlet. She immediately objected and said "that's not truth, those are facts!" I answered, "Well, are those facts true or not? What makes the statement 2 + 2 = 4 a fact and 2 + 2 = 5 not a fact? Isn't it an idea known as truth?"

As you can see, this girl was trying desperately to draw a line between matters of faith and things that fall in the category of math and science. She was trying to say that faith is merely a personal choice, like which ice cream flavor is best. But God either exists or He doesn't. Jesus of Nazareth either really lived, really was crucified, and really rose from the dead or He didn't. These statements aren't nearly the same as liking a particular ice cream. They are questions of history and of existence. That means they can be investigated and facts can be discovered. Reasons for their truth or falsehood can be offered. And if it's found that there are good reasons for believing in these claims, then we are only unreasonable if we refuse to believe them.

So reason and faith are not opposites. The Christian faith rests upon the reasons we have for believing in things like the resurrection. In our Proverbs passage, God says that we are to cling to "the words of the wise"; we are to cling to "excellent things of counsels and knowledge." Wise words, counsels, and knowledge are all objective terms; words are only wise or knowledgeable if they are true. And if something is true, then it must be rational to hold to such as belief. That's why God says we can know the certainty of the word of truth. To do anything else would be irrational!


1. The most prolific of those that would contrast faith to reason are the so-called "New Atheists" such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens. In his book The God Delusion, Dawkins writes that belief in God is "a persistently false belief held in the face of strong contradictory evidence"(p.28) which is tantamount to shutting your eyes and denying what's in front of you.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Gay College Prof Indoctrinating Students

Here are some stories from September's Apologetics Update email newsletter. Sign up on the right to get these delivered to your inbox each month.

September is here and school has begun, which means that the ministry here takes on an increasing importance. Just this week in fact, I spoke with a girl who is a freshman at the local community college. She had enrolled in freshman English, a required class. The professor announced that he was an "out" homosexual man and was recently married to his partner.

Gay College Prof Indoctrinating Students

Such professions by an instructor would be perhaps a bit bothersome, but not completely avoidable in such an environment. However, the shocking thing was the first assignment given to the class: the students were required to write a four page essay answering the question "What is Marriage?" in a new, fresh, engaging, and/or surprising way (emphasis included in the original assignment sheet).

Why should the concept of marriage, which all cultures across time have understood as the lifelong coupling between a man and a woman that provides the stability to produce and rear offspring, need to be redefined in some new or surprising way? That is like asking someone to redefine automobile in a new or surprising way. Why would one create such an assignment unless the goal is to create the impression that the idea of marriage is up for grabs? Note that this was an English class, not sociology or political science, and 10% of the grade earned in this required course comes from this assignment.

These types of subtle tricks to indoctrinate our kids infuriate me! How in the world will kids just out of high school be able to defend the historic and natural understanding of marriage on their own? They simply don't have the experience to answer the subversion of their beliefs in this assignment. They are like the proverbial frog in the pot; the prof slowly turns up the heat and soon all their Christian values are boiled right out of them.

I was glad to be able to provide some resources to this girl that clarifies how marriage requires of two people of the opposite sex because it is a function of how God constructed our bodies. Marriage is as much a function of biology as it is of relationship, and as such it cannot be redefined on a whim, even if you do not believe the Bible.

I'm glad that I was able to help this student clarify her beliefs and provide her with some answers to maintain her Christian witness. But there are many other people out there who need help in a similar way. That's why Come Reason Ministries exists: to provide answers for the seeker and to help the Christian defend the truth of the Gospel in a hostile world. We do this through our web site, podcasts, videos, publications and speaking events. But we need your help.

Please prayerfully consider supporting Come Reason with a gift or inviting me to speak for your church or group. We need supporters so I can continue to help people like this young girl. Many have nowhere else to turn to find the answers that strengthen their faith in Christ, instead of tearing it down.

Speaking the Truth in Love Conference

I had a great time last month at the Speaking the Truth in Love Conference in Kent, Washington. It was great to meet conference organizer Eric Urabe in person although we has a "virtual" relationship for some time now. I also got to catch up with my friend Abdu Murray, who has been in great demand since his book Grand Central Question was published this year.  I should have videos of the event very soon and we will be making them available on the web site and in DVD format, so stay tuned!

September Apologetics Class:
Defending the Trinity Against World Religions

On Monday, September 8, I will be holding my next apologetics class at Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside entitled "Defending the Trinity Against World Religions." This class will help believers defend critical challenges against the Trinity such as the claim that the Trinity is a logical contradiction, the word Trinity is not found in the Bible, and the Trinity is too mysterious and unintelligible for us to understand.

The class is free and open to anyone. It begins at 7:00 PM and childcare is provided. Click here for details.

This Month's Apologetics Resource:
Hidden Ways the Gospels Prove Reliable

This month, I'm excited to offer a new resource for your gift of any size. "Hidden Ways the Gospels Prove Reliable" takes a look at evidence that has recently come to light showing how the gospel accounts must have been written by first century eyewitnesses of the events they record. By studying the names used throughout the accounts, noting interlocking testimony, and finding undesigned coincidences, it becomes easy to see that the gospels are not fable, fiction, nor falsehood.

This gift is yours for a secure donation of any size to help support the efforts of our ministry. Your tax deductible gift may be given securely online here, or you may send us a check at the address on the bottom of this email. However the Lord leads you, please know that I'm deeply grateful for your prayers and your friendship.


Lenny Esposito

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Top Five Blog Posts for August

Below are the top five apologetics blog posts for the month of August. Articles on atheism were the most popular, but we saw a significant amount of traffic when I responded to Ann Coulter's criticism of Kent Brantly, the American missionary doc who contracted Ebola. Rounding out the top five is an article with theological impact and an observation that skeptics seem to not be skeptical of their own viewpoints. Here are the links:

1. Atheist insults believers and is stunned at the response
2. Atheists contradict themselves by seeking invocations
3. Ann Coulter is Wrong: People are More than Numbers
4. Why didn't God create a world where everyone would go to heaven?
5. Why isn't the skeptic skeptical about his morality?
Come Reason brandmark Convincing Christianity
An invaluable addition to the realm of Christian apologetics

Mary Jo Sharp:

"Lenny Esposito's work at Come Reason Ministries is an invaluable addition to the realm of Christian apologetics. He is as knowledgeable as he is gracious. I highly recommend booking Lenny as a speaker for your next conference or workshop!"
Check out more X