If you didn’t get a chance to watch the Butt/Ehrman debate (The Pain and Suffering in the World Indicate that the Christian God does Not Exist) live you can visit the Apologetics Press website to view it in their archives. It will be worth your time. Kyle did an excellent job presenting and defending his side of the debate topic, but don’t take my word for it – watch it for your self.
I’ve prayed for the efforts that will be made and I’m excited to watch the debate take place tonight between brother Kyle Butt and Mr. Bart Ehrman. If you would like to watch over the web you can view it at the AP’s website. The debate will begin at 6:00pm (Central Standard time I believe).
Here’s a link to a PDF flyer (seen below) that can be printed off for the April 4th debate between Kyle Butt and Bart Ehrman.
Please keep this upcoming event in your prayers:
|Tickets Available for Kyle Butt/Bart Erhman Debate|
The Christian Student Center of the University of North Alabama will be hosting a debate between Apologetics Press author Kyle Butt and University of North Carolina professor Bart Ehrman. Professor Bart Ehrman has written more than 20 books, including the New York Times bestsellers Misquoting Jesus, Jesus Interrupted, and God’s Problem. He is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He is a self-avowed agnostic who claims that the pain and suffering he sees in the world make it impossible for him to believe that the Christian God exists. Thus, the debate will be on the subject of suffering and the existence of God. Ehrman will be affirming: “The pain and suffering in the world indicate that the Christian God does not exist.” Kyle will be denying that proposition.
A number of times I have referenced my discussion with a brother who left the Lord in a complete way; he did not just move into the progressive camp of ideology, he moved through the progressive camp and out of any semblance of relationship with the Lord. I thought it would be a good idea to include a few thoughts that belong to our discussion. Here is a small portion of his first email to me:
“Ron, I am an Agnostic/Atheist. I sincerely find no evidence for a deity, and in that regard I am equally sincere in believing that I was mistaken for so many years in regarding the Bible as being the Word of God. I believe that that the Bible is the writings of the early history of the Judean/Christian background, but I sincerely, SINCERELY believe that the book that I once so revered is merely the writings of men. In that regard, I believe that the Bible teaches some good; some truth; some bad; and some error.”
My reply to him was in the broader context of his email to me; in other words, I did not directly address these words as much as I set out to address two (three) underlying points that, since that time, I have continued to pursue.
“Dave, I understand the moral quandary that people have with regard to the nature of a loving God and the concept of hell. You know this type of discussion has [been] going on for more than three millennia (Genesis 18), and my answers may be inadequate to you. Nevertheless, I will try [to persuade him]. It is also likely that you know the tactics I will employ, but as it is in all good athletic endeavors, it is not so much the tactics (important as they are), as the execution. I will begin by asking you to explain man’s existence; from where did he come and how did he come into existence with an intellect that is not the same as that we call “lower” animal? In addressing your concern, let me ask: is there such a thing as morality? If so, what is the basis of it?”
This discussion (through this point of July) has focused its attention on morality, the explanation of how the material realm came into existence, and whether the Bible is a credible historical document. He maintains that morality is the product of man, there is no need to explain the material realm’s existence (it is possible for it to have always been), and with regard to the Bible as credible history, he says it is undetermined.
I replied to him that for morality to have its origin in man brings chaos, the material realm’s existence has a beginning (both science and philosophy recognize as much), and that the Bible is a credible document of history that can be tested and verified.
As I mentioned before (in class), discussions of this type are of interest to me, but they can be intense and challenging. Truth, however, has nothing to fear with regard to such discussions. It may be that he will pose a question or comment to me that will cause me difficulty; if such happens, then I will be better for it as I seek an answer to such difficulties.
Such discussions may not be your “cup of tea,” but there are other types of discussions in which you can engage; don’t let a challenge fall to the way-side when there is an opportunity for you to glorify the Lord’s name and will. We are all called upon to defend the Lord’s honor, name, and His expressed will. RT
Before the terrible tornadoes (of this year) took place in Oklahoma I received a news letter from Apologetics Press that announced plans for a future debate between brother Kyle Butt of Apologetics Press and Professor Bart Ehrman who is an author and a self-proclaimed “agnostic” when it comes to the belief of the Christian God. Accordingly, the topic will revolve around the existence of pain and suffering and the existence of God and the compatibility or incompatibility of the two. Please keep brother Kyle and the efforts of Apologetics Press in your prayers.
Also, as I have said in the past, I would encourage those who have a desire to help with the relief effort in Oklahoma but no good means of doing so to keep The Churches of Christ Disaster Relief in mind. We support this effort at Keltonburg and I know that an untold number of lives have been physically and emotionally affected for the better as well as spiritually due to the many souls brought to Jesus through the help of this program and its efforts.
- This is Just-A-Minute with Ed Boggess. Scandinavian psychologist, H. C. Runke, advanced an interesting proposition in his new book, The Psychology Of Unbelief. He concludes that “unbelief is an interruption in development.” He is convinced that given normal circumstances the average person will develop a faith in a Higher Being. If this does not happen, he suggests that something had to happen to “short-circuit”, his word, normal development. If Runke is right, it explains why in every human society ever discovered, there exists a faith in some Supreme Being. It also explains why more and more studies are revealing that people of faith live healthier, happier and longer lives.
Yesterday I began reading Brian McLaren’s latest book, “A New Kind of Christianity,” for a writing project. McLaren is a denominational preacher and foremost leader of the so-called “emerging church” movement, which is a misguided attempt to make Christianity relevant to a postmodern world. Prior to the preface, before the book even begins, there is a quote from Vincent J. Donovan that must have greatly impressed McLaren (else, he would not have given it prominence). The quote tells the tale of the emerging church mindset.
Donovan writes, “The day we are completely satisfied with what we have been doing; the day we have found the perfect, unchangeable system of work, the perfect answer, never in need of being corrected again, on that day we will know that we are wrong, that we have made the greatest mistake of all.”
Ponder that. The “greatest mistake of all” entails claiming to have the “perfect answer” that will never need to be changed. But, isn’t that precisely what the gospel is–“the perfect answer, never in need of being corrected”?
The “emerging church” is populated with epistemological agnostics, one of their greatest fears being the making of a truth claim (which sounds much like a postmodernist).
Donovan’s assertion is that, when you are convinced you have the exact right answer, that’s when you can be certain you are wrong. But such a position is self-defeating. Does Donovan know his assertion is correct? If he does, then he ought to abandon it as wrong. On the other hand, if Donovan does not know his assertion is correct, then maybe his whole thesis is shot through with error (which it is). The position is wholly untenable and amounts to agnosticism.
McLaren is a good writer, but an agnostic posture toward truth is neither biblical, nor an expeditious way to reach today’s lost souls (who, by the way, are really not that different from the folk to whom Peter and Paul preached). Rather than trying to save the gospel from extinction, we ought to let it save us.