Recommended Resources: Apologetics For the Church

Churchgoers who are well equipped to make a well-thought and ardent defense of the faith are few and far between. This is for a wide variety of reasons. For instance we might still hang on to our fundamentalist roots and feel there is little need to break the barrier between us and the world or possibly we just do not have the theological arsenal God has equipped us with in order to make a good apology for the faith that is within us.

Professor Mark Farnham is Professor of Pastoral Ministry at Lancaster Bible College and currently wrapping up his PhD at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia under Dr. Scott Oliphint. He has started a new ministry called ApAP4C Logo Finalologetics for the ChurchThis ministry is not just data and information about apologetics, it is an equipping tool. Mark offers great teaching and pastoral experience which enable him to be a good balance of theory and practice. I would recommended highly Professor Farnham’s seminars and personal teaching for your church. Even more he has a blog that has served me greatly. You can read some of Mark’s thoughts on his blog here.

Professor Farnham in class not only proved he was well prepared to teach us the deep contours of apologetics but his character matched the caliber of his teaching. He is a great resource for the church and I strongly suggest supporting his ministry.


Recommended Resources are posts devoted to videos, blogs, articles, and sermons that have helped me think through some more difficult topics. This segment of the blog is to develop fodder for thoughtfulness in deeper content issues.

Throwback Theology: Thomas à Kempis on Humility

Thomas-a-KempisThomas à Kempis (1380-1471) was a Medieval theologian from Germany. Thomas was most well known for his piece The Imitation of Christ. This piece was written to be a type of Christian devotional broken up into four books, consisting of Book One: Thoughts Helpful in The Life of the Soul, Book Two: The Interior Life, Book Three: Internal Consolation, and Book Four: An Invitation to Holy Communion. These key insights to the Christian life are regarded as one of the most popular devotionals written. This excerpt is entitled Having a Humble Opinion of Self.

Every man naturally desires knowledge; but what good is knowledge without fear of God? Indeed a humble rustic who serves God is better than a proud intellectual who neglects his soul to study the course of the stars, He who knows himself well becomes mean in his own eyes and is not happy when praised by men.

If I knew all things in the world and had not charity, what would it profit me before God, Who will judge me by my deeds?

Shun too great a desire for knowledge, for in it there is much fretting and delusion. Intellectuals like to appear learned and to be called wise. Yet there are many things the knowledge of which does little or no good to the soul, and he who concerns himself about other things than those which lead to salvation is very unwise.

Many words do not satisfy the soul; but a good life eases the mind, and a clean conscience inspires great trust in God.

The more you know and the better you understand, the more severely will you be judged, unless your life is also the more holy. do not be proud therefore, because of your learning or skill. Rather, fear because of the talent given you. If you think you know many things and understand them well enough, realize at the same time that there is much you do not know. Hence, do not affect wisdom, but admit your ignorance. Why prefer yourself to anyone else when many are more learned, more cultured than you?

If you wish to learn and appreciate something worth while, the love to be unknown and considered as nothing. Truly to know and despise self is the best and most perfect counsel. To think of oneself as nothing and always to think well and highly of others is the best and most perfect wisdom. Wherefore, if you see another sin openly or commit a serious crime, do not consider yourself better, for you do not know how long you can remain in good estate. All men are frail, but you must admit that none is more frail than yourself.

I believe if we are reading this passage honestly and carefully, we will be left on a pile of rubble, a ruin of self. Kempis pulls apart a dignified, magnified, and glorified view of one’s self. Today we are often told that we must find ourselves in order to help ourselves, or the greatest achievable goal is to find our true identity. Contrary to our culture, Kempis gives a resounding “NO!” No we do not need to find ourselves, and God does not help those who help themselves. God bestows grace upon grace! God gives merit and favor to unworthy creatures. This is where a heart of gratitude and a life of service stem from. It is this reason and this end that we live. The great catholic theologian Thomas à Kempis recalibrates for us a proper view of self and humility.


Throwback Theology is a blogging segment of classic sermons, books and articles by some of Christianity’s greatest thinkers. I hope this will encourage you and challenge you to think more deeply about our great God.

Recommended Resources: P.J. Williams on the Gospel’s Historical Reliability

Peter Williams is the Warden of Tyndale House at Cambridge University. He is a textual critic and Syriac scholar. This video is a lecture about how the peoples names used in the Gospels help us know how historically viable they are. It is an interesting and persuasive argument for the reliability of our four canonical gospels. Leave some comments, I love hearing your thoughts.


 

Recommended Resources are posts devoted to videos, blogs, articles, and sermons that have helped me think through some more difficult topics. This segment of the blog is to develop fodder for thoughtfulness in deeper content issues.