Monday, December 3, 2012

LHP Review: Apologetics



Ham, Ken, Bodie Hodge, and Tim Chaffey, Editors. Demolishing Supposed Bible Contradictions, Volume 2: Exploring Forty Alleged Contradictions. Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2011. 169 Pages. Paper. $12.99. http://www.newleafpublishinggroup.com/product_info.php?filter_id=7&products_id=945&PHPSESSID=1ef9bd849d74a5e53b5b7ce556145652 (LHP)

Foster, Bill. Meet the Skeptic: A Field Guide to Faith Conversations. Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2008, 2012. 142 Pages. Paper. $10.99. http://www.newleafpublishinggroup.com/product_info.php?products_id=944 (LHP)

Harrison, Matthew C. and John T. Pless, Editors. Women Pastors? The Ordination of Women in Biblical Lutheran Perspective A Collection of Essays (Third Edition). St. Louis: Concordia, 2012 (2008, 2009). 523 Pages. Paper. $39.99. http://www.cph.org/p-19258-women-pastors-third-edition.aspx (LHP)

Paustian, Mark A. Prepared to Answer: Telling the Greatest Story Ever Told. Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 2004. 211 Pages. Paper. $16.50. http://online.nph.net/p-955-prepared-to-answer.aspx (P)

Paustian, Mark A. More repared to Answer: Telling the Greatest Story Ever Told. Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 2004. 242 Pages. Paper. $16.50. http://online.nph.net/p-956-more-prepared-to-answer.aspx (P)



The resources featured here will help you as a Christian to defend the faith once delivered to the saints, including practices that implement what the Bible teaches and are not merely time or culture bound.
 



The Bible is accurate and without error! Demolishing Supposed Bible Contradictions Volume 2 offers 40 powerful explanations to prove it.
There is an increasing focus in our culture on dismissing the Bible and its authority. Generations of skeptics and the religion of evolution have influenced even some Christian leaders.  By highlighting supposed errors or inconsistencies in the Bible, doubt is created in the minds of believers and stumbling blocks are put up for those trying to present the Gospel. But Biblical evidence disproves the toughest of critics while bringing to light the indestructible power of God’s Word. Tim Chaffey, Ken Ham, and Bodie Hodge of Answers in Genesis highlight the answers to these debates and more:
  • Is all Scripture inspired by God, or is some of it the opinion of the writers of Scripture?
  • After His resurrection, did Jesus first appear to the eleven disciples on a mountain in Galilee or in Jerusalem behind closed doors?
  • Can God be tempted?
  • Why don’t Christians follow all the Old Testament laws?
Demolishing Supposed Bible Contradictions Volumes 1 and 2 are must-have references for every believer who wants to have an answer to give to those who ask a reason for their hope (1 Peter 3:15). Join the battle armed with the sword of Spirit, the truth that will defeat the lies aimed for this generation and those to follow. (publisher's website)

We would love to see Volume 1 of Demolishing Supposed Bible Contraditions. For that matter, we'd like to see more than just two volumes in this series!

I will disagree with an approach that tries to please or appease Christian theological camps with mutually-contradictory answers (160, 164). I will rejoice at what Lutheran Christians have in common in the plain Biblical texts and faithful Bible answers that easily demolish "supposed" contradictions with pure reason and the guidance of God the Holy Spirit (e.g., 11ff, 42-43, 97, 121, 132ff, 165, 166ff).

There is a need for more books like this that take the Bible seriously, yet realize that unbelievers and new Christians (and seasoned Saints) sometimes have honest, challening questions. Readers will appreciate God's gift of reason, but appreciate even more God's superior Divine Wisdom, untainted by sin as is our reason.



Master Books also provided us with a fascinating new book on faith conversations with the skeptic.


Christian faith almost always meets skepticism.  Are you equipped to effectively handle the skeptic’s questions and debates?
Meet the Skeptic is a new approach to equipping believers to engage the non-believing culture. Author Bill Foster takes the multitude of objections and reduces them to four basic categories.  Understanding these categories will enable you to effectively share your hope in the gospel of Jesus Christ and clarify the skeptic’s root objection. Foster offers pop culture references and biblical support so that you can:
  • Recognize the Red-Flag Words that prop up objections
  • Ask probing questions and acquire an ear for opportunities
  • Develop an understanding of the skeptics ideas and better fulfill the Great Commission.
This easy to read approach to apologetics and evangelism is a field guide to faith conversations. It is written for teens, college students, and adults and can be used as a group study with the leader’s guide and workbook. (publisher's website)
Debates can be handy. Often, there is a clear winner. And sometimes, sadly, the winner isn't always the Christian. 

A Christian may not be as Biblically-informed as he or she needed to be. Reason is a wonderful servant of God's Word, but is always a terrible master if elevated to be equal to or superior to the Bible. Christians are both saint and sinner. We are not always perfect or winsome advocates of Truth. It is possible for a fallible human to lose a debate. 

It is also possible for the Christian to win the debate but do so in a way that "loses" the nonbeliever. 

Neither kind of loss is helpful for Evangelism and the soul at stake for Christ. 
 
Meet the Skeptic carefully cares for four different types of skeptical objections:
  • Spiritual
  • Moral
  • Scientific
  • Biblical 
All four sections have been extremely relevant while speaking with the spouse of a new member of my congregation. The new member had been raised as a Christian. The spouse had not been. Bear with me as I try to be as vague as possible as I try to protect the specifics of their case as I try to continue to provide them pastoral care.

The spouse was raised in a regionally-famous cult group. One parent left. One parent didn't. As this person grew up, science became a much more tempting way to explain things. Other spiritualities seemed equally valid to this person. Abuses within the cult group led to moral problems with some religious people. And most atheists/agnostics tend to learn about many of the supposed contradictions in the Bible. Just one quadrant of the Quick Reference Chart (134-5) proved to be enough for my first hour-long discussion with the person in question. Please pray for them and the skeptics you already know or will soon meet. Know where each kind of skeptic is coming from by better understanding their Worldview, the Root Idea of that Worldview, and a Probing Question that may at least get them to think without putting them on the defensive.

Available Workbook and Leader's Guide companion volumes may be of interest to you as you find Meet the Skeptic to be a valuable tool in pastoral care.


Christians often have to be prepared to speak with other Christians. While it shouldn't be the case, the burden is often ours to bear of why our congregations and church bodies haven't gone with the latest fads in doctrine and practice that plague other groups that bear the name of Christ.


One such fad, both historically and theologically, is the ordination of women to the pastoral office contrary to Holy Scripture. Now in its Third Edition, Women Pastors? is an extensive sourcebook on our Biblical Lutheran Perspective.

There are thirty essays in this volume, representing Lutheran churches throughout the world. The essays are divided into four sections: Biblical studies, historical studies, doctrinal studies and practical studies.
This updated edition adds six additional essays, three which are from women offering a female voice on the subject of the role of women in the Church.

Editors:
Matthew C. Harrison, LCMS Synod President

John T. Pless is Assistant Professor, Pastoral Ministry and Missions, and Director of Field Education, Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana. 

What’s new in the third edition of Women Pastors? Good question, there are the six new essays in the book, and following this I’ve provided the entire Table of Contents. This book is truly the most extensive treatment of this subject and brings to bear a wide range of authors and arguments against the practice of ordaining women as pastors.

Phoebe: A Role Model for Deaconesses Today by Deaconess Cynthia Lumley
Dr. Cynthia Lumley, associate director of deaconess studies at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana, takes up the case of Phoebe, who is mentioned briely in Roma. 16:1-2. Lumley demonstrates how this Chrisian woman served not as a minister of the Word but in a way that reflected the sacrificial character of Jesus Christ in her support of the work of apostolic ministry.


Disciples But Not Teachers:1 Corinthians 14:33b-38and 1 Timothy 2:11-15by Dr. John Kleinig
Dr. John Kleinig, recently retired after a distinguished teaching career as pastor and seminary professor in the Lutheran Church of Australia, examines 1 Cor. 14:33b-28 and 1 Tim. 2:11-15, demonstrating that women are and must be disciples of Jesus but are not to teach in the liturgical assembly.


The Use of Tractate 26 to Promote the Ordination of Women by John Kleinig
In this shorter piece, Dr. Kleinig argues that Philip Melanchthon’s confession that the ministry of the New Testament is not bound to persons, as was the Levititcal priesthood of the Old Testament, does not open th way for the ordination of women [or actively homosexual persons!]. On the contrary, Melanchthon grounds the authority of the office on the institution of Christ in contrast with the purely human authority of the papacy. The ordination of women is an act of human authority; it cannot be demonstrated as being instituted by Christ.


The Ordination of Women and the Ecclesiastical Endorsement of Homosexuality: Are They Related? by John T. Pless
John T. Pless, assistant professor of pastoral ministry and missions at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana, examines the coherence and parallelism of theological arguments now being offered for the ordination of practicing homosexuals with those arguments that were and are made for the ordination of women.


Giver to Receiver: God’s Design for the Sexes by Adriane Dorr
Adriane Dorr, managing editor of The Lutheran Witness, examines God’s design for man and woman noting that the differences between male and female are reflected in God’s ordering of the life of both family and church for our blessing.


Vocational Boundaries: The Service of Women within The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod by Kimberly Schave
Deaconess Kimberly Schave applies the doctrine of vocation to the issue of the ordination of women in “vocational boundaries,” lifting up how women are called by God to serve in home, church and world.


Complete Table of Contents
Publisher’s Preface
Preface to Third Edition
Preface to First and Second Editions


Section I: Exegetical Studies
The New Testament and the Ordination of Women — Henry P. Hamann

Didaskalos: The Office, Man and Woman in the New Testament — Bertil Gärtner
Phoebe: A Role Model for Deaconesses Today—Cynthia Lumley
Disciples But Not Teachers: 1 Corinthians 14:33b–38 and 1 Timothy 2:11–15 — John W. Kleinig
1 Corinthians 14:33b–38, 1 Timothy 2:11–14, and the Ordination of Women—Peter Kriewaldt
“As in All the Churches of the Saints”: A Text-Critical Study of 1 Corinthians 14:34,35—David W. Bryce
Ordained Proclaimers or Quiet Learners? Women in Worship in Light of 1 Timothy 2—Charles A. Gieschen
The Ordination of Women: A Twentieth-Century Gnostic Heresy?—Louis A. Brighton
Ordered Community: Order and Subordination in the New Testament—John W. Kleinig
The Ordination of Women—Gregory J. Lockwood

Section II: Historical Studies
Women in the History of the Church: Learned and Holy, But Not Pastors—William Weinrich

The Use of Tractate 26 to Promote the Ordination of Women—John W. Kleinig
Liberation Theology in the Leading Ladies of Feminist Theology—Roland Ziegler
Forty Years of Female Pastors in Scandinavia — Fredrik Sidenvall
The Ordination of Women and Ecclesial Endorsement of Homosexuality: Are They Related?—John T. Pless

Section III: Systematic Theology
Twenty-three Theses on the Holy Scriptures, the Woman, and the Office of the Ministry—Bo Giertz

The Ministry and the Ministry of Women—Peter Brunner
The Ordination of Women and the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity—John W. Kleinig
May Women Be Ordained as Pastors?—David P. Scaer
The Office of the Pastor and the Problem of the Ordination of Women Pastors—David P. Scaer
Ordination of Women?—Hermann Sasse
The Women’s Ordination Debate in the Lutheran Church of Australia: An Open Response to the Initial Report of the Commission on Theology and Interchurch Relations—Gregory Lockwood
The Ordination of Women into the Office of the Church—Reinhard Slenczka
The Argument over Women’s Ordination in Lutheranism as a Paradigmatic Conflict of Dogma—Armin Wenz
Giver to Receiver: God’s Design for the Sexes—Adriane Dorr

Section IV: Theology of Ministry
Ministry and Ordination—John W. Kleinig

Gender Considerations on the Pastoral Office: In Light of 1 Corinthians 14:33–36 and 1 Timothy 2:8–14—Robert Schaibley
“It Is Not Given to Women to Teach”: A Lex in Search of a Ratio—William Weinrich
Vocational Boundaries: The Service of Women within The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod—Kimberly Schave
How My Mind Has Changed—Louis A. Smith
(publisher's website)
Is this new edition worth purchasing if you bought the First Edition? Certainly! It includes the essays highlighted above PLUS the handful of essays added in the Second Edition. And yes, it is also worth purchasing (again) if you bought the Second Edition your first time around. This is THE Definitive Edition, in my humble opinion.

What do you do with previous editions? You could donate one to your congregational or public library. Give one to your local ELCA, NALC, or LCMC pastor. Share one with your board of elders to read and pass around. The new essays make the "upgrade" worthwhile, yet do not discount the value of either of the previous editions to help someone struggling with this issue. Personally and pastorally, I've kept one at home and one at church.

Women Pastors? answers "No" with clear Scripture, the witness of history, the whole of Christian theology and the Lutheran Confessions, as well as Church and Ministry, including those whose Lutheran Churches had a 51% vote in favor, yet short of the 2/3 necessary to pass the unfortunate measure, to at least one who was in favor of women pastors whose mind has changed.


Northwestern Publishing House has blessed us again with a two volume set on objections of Christianity.


"Prepared to Answer" provides a helpful model for sharing the Christian faith by supplying Scripture-based responses to common objections to Christianity. Through a unique narrative approach, author Mark A. Paustian gives engaging answers to frequently asked religious questions. Some of the topics in this volume include why bad things happen, different denominational interpretations of Scripture, abortion, miracles, evidence of God's existence and Jesus' resurrection from the dead, Jesus as myth, and moral absolutes. Note: This volume is a companion to "More Prepared to Answer" (12N2022). These two books are also available as a set (12N2025). Size, 5.5" x 8.5". Paper cover. 221 pages. Published 2004. This product is eligible for quantity discounts.
 
"More Prepared to Answer" provides a helpful model for sharing the Christian faith by supplying Scripture-based responses to common objections to Christianity. Through a unique narrative approach, author Mark A. Paustian gives engaging answers to frequently asked religious questions. Some of the topics in this volume include feminism, modern views of sex and marriage, religion as viewed by science, and reincarnation. Note: This volume is a companion to "Prepared to Answer" (12N2021). These two books are also available as a set (12N2025). Size, 5.5" x 8.5". Paper cover. 254 pages. Published 2004. This product is eligible for quantity discounts. (publisher's website)

Each of these volumes models a narrative-based approach to apologetics (I, vi). Learn how to handle questions about marriage today (I, 76), hypocrites in the church (I, 99), "many paths to god" (II, 20), the trustworthiness of the Bible (II, 27), amazing grace (II, 66), and the necessity of prayer and worship (II, 156).

Consider using a chapter or two to guide an unique Sunday morning Bible class. Share copies with your Youth Group to help youth and leaders wrestle through recently-asked questions. Bless your pastor with a set to help him in his Call.

We are given to speak the truth in love. Read these two books by Mark A. Paustian to help you do just that and be More Prepared to Answer.



Lutherans have always seen the need to defend the faith, even if they didn't use the word "apologetics." Even the Augsburg Confession itself needed a document of Defense. Evangelism shares the Gospel so that the Holy Spirit may create faith where and when He wills. Practice apologetics to create doubt in the person's own current false worldview in order to answer common objections, overcome rumor, caricature, and misinformation, and prepare a soil more free of stones and weeds in anticipation of sowing the seed of the Gospel of Christ.



The Rev. Paul J Cain is Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming, Headmaster of Martin Luther Grammar School, Yellowstone Circuit Visitor (LCMS Wyoming District), a member of the Board of Directors of The Consortium for Classical and Lutheran Education, Wyoming District Worship Chairman, and Editor of QBR.