At some point during my tenure as a pastor at Grace Baptist, I decided I needed a succinct, memorable expression of the gospel—a phrase I could repeat frequently in a variety of contexts until members of the flock would recall it reflexively.
What I came up with is pretty much straight from 1 Corinthians 15:1-4: The gospel is the good news that Jesus Christ died for sinners and rose again.
Though I didn’t end up teaching it as well I’d intended, the statement did become an important tool in my own thinking. It eventually became reflexive for me, and that was instrumental in a sanctification project God was advancing in my own life.
It was instrumental in two ways: First, it increased my gospel awareness in general sermon preparation, personal Bible study, and random reflections on life and being human. Second, it revealed its own inadequacy. As my understanding of the gospel deepened and expanded, I came to see that my “gospel in a nutshell” statement was too small.
I’m keeping it, though—all the nutshell statements are too small!
Someone I respect said the gospel is simply, “Jesus saves.” I’ve also heard, “The gospel is the cross,” and, “It’s Christ, and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). In a way, the gospel can be boiled down to one word: “Christ”!
"What would you say if someone asked you to explain gender identity? Or when life begins? Or why a family with a mom and a dad is better than two moms or two dads?... The Colson Center has launched a new project to help Christians with short, sharp, and biblical answers to questions we hear every day....a collection of videos you can watch and share that will help you answer some of life’s toughest questions." - Breakpoint
J. B. Phillips is perhaps best known for his translation of the New Testament, which was released piecemeal throughout the late 1940s and into the mid-1950s. He was an Anglican clergyman for over twenty years. Sometime in the early 1950s, Phillips gave a series of evangelistic talks for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. In 1954, these talks were compiled and published as a little book entitled Plain Christianity. The book is a warm-hearted, commonsense discussion about the Christian faith and message. With its mid-20th century British cadence, the book reminds the reader of C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity, which was also derived from a series of radio talks.
In this excerpt,1 Phillips discusses whether people can live without God.
There is a question which I think is in a good many people’s minds, though they may not often put it into words, and I am going to try to answer it. The question is simply this: ‘Can I live without God?’
Lesser mortals like me can’t claim to fully understand everything Alvin Plantinga writes in books like Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism. What we can do is pick up some high-protein food for thought, and possibly, along the way, improve our thinking habits in some potent ways. I read the book primarily as an audiobook, but also in the hardcover form.
First, some context. Plantinga is an analytical philosopher. He writes from a Christian worldview, but—at least in this book—isn’t really doing apologetics for Christianity or for creation doctrine, except maybe indirectly.
Rather, the book is focused on a single two-part question—and the author’s focus throughout is laser sharp. The question is this: Is there really any substantial conflict between science and “theistic religion,” and is there instead substantial conflict between science and naturalism?
Much of the time, Plantinga refers to Christian theism in particular, but he occasionally points out that most of what he is attempting to show applies to other theistic religions as well. His thesis is stated in the Preface:
There is superficial conflict but deep concord between science and theistic religion but superficial concord and deep conflict between science and naturalism. (ix)
Plantinga sums up what he means by naturalism. Also from the Preface:
"Jonathan Morrow of the Impact 360 Institute explains why he believes Gen Z can’t seem to commit to a Christian worldview. He lists two main reasons: the fear of being seen as judgmental and all that it encompasses, and what he calls the 'crisis of knowledge.' ... the belief that we can only glean knowledge from the hard sciences." - Christianity Today
How does a biblical worldview ground math? Is math a reflection of the mind of God (which we recognize because His creation is orderly, and to some degree reflects His nature)—similar to laws of logic being a reflection of the perfect mind of God?
First some groundwork: It seems highly presumptuous for us to assume that something reflects the mind of God, when the only way we can truly know the mind of God is through what He has told us in His Word. To make that argument means we are interpreting general revelation as providing specific content regarding His invisible attributes, eternal power, and divine nature, when Scripture only reveals that those three aspects are seen through His creation (which would include math).
The problem is that there is no (authoritative) hermeneutic for general revelation except for special revelation, and thus we cannot make authoritative claims of specificity regarding the extent of revelation within general revelation.
Instead, I prefer to rely on special revelation for specifics about general revelation—to be dogmatic on the content of general revelation only where special revelation gives us permission. For example, Genesis 9, Job 38-39, and Isaiah 40 describe processes of nature, and assert God’s sovereign control over those processes. The aspects that are revealed in those processes are related to His sovereignty, so I can dogmatically assert His sovereignty, because special revelation does so.