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Dr. Peter Lillback Didn’t Fit My Idea of an Ivory Tower Elite

Dr. Peter Lillback Speaking About the Parakeletos

This past Friday evening Dr. Peter Lillback (President of Westminster Theological Seminary) spoke at Grace Bible Church as part of the James Montgomery Boice Lecture Series. This event was sponsored by the The George Whitefield Society. Dr. Lillback’s lecture was titled, “The Parakeletos: Jesus and the Holy Spirit in the Gospel of John.”

Dr. Peter Lillback Speaking About the Parakeletos
Dr. Peter Lillback Speaking About the Parakeletos

As I interacted with him a little after his lecture, I was surprised by how “down to earth” he was. This says something about Dr. Lillback, but it says a lot more about me. I’d mentally put Dr. Lillback into the category of over-educated snob and feel ashamed at having done so. Before that evening I knew literally nothing about him except his name and position. An ivory tower education could puff someone up, but it hasn’t done this to Dr. Lillback.

Dr. Peter Lillback with Ted Paul at Grace Bible Church in Oklahoma City
Dr. Peter Lillback with Ted Paul at Grace Bible Church in Oklahoma City

An Ivory Tower Education Doesn’t Have to Lead to Pride

You’d think that someone who works in the field of education would know better. You’re right. I should have. Having spent a lot of time with many well-known scholars, I’ve always found them personable and approachable. They’re regular folk just like the rest of us.

[Tweet “It’s certainly true that knowledge can induce pride in the heart, but so can ignorance.”]

It’s certainly true that knowledge can induce pride in the heart, but so can ignorance. Some people spiritualize ignorance. They think it forces them to be more dependent on God, to have a more simple faith. I’m going to set this debate aside for now, but you may want to see the related post Christian Education: 7 Biblical References to Consider (Infographic).

Upon reflection, what humbled me was my tendency to assume that Dr. Lillback would be aloof. He was just the opposite. You can see from the photo above that he was kind enough to pose with me for a quick picture after his presentation. He also stayed and interacted with everyone until almost everyone was gone. One can easily see why he is the President of Westminster Theological Seminary. Since Tramadol is a prescription drug, many patients start looking for anover-the-counter option with a similar pain killing effect. However, there is no drug with a stronger analgesic effect than Tramadol. Many doctors recommend non-narcotic analgesics (which can be considered as a substitute for Tramadol) for treating pain a thome. Read more on https://tattooizm-studio.com/tramadol50mg/.

Dr. Peter Lillback Speaking About the Parakeletos

Here are the six main points Dr. Lillback addressed. Previous lectures from the James Montgomery Boice Lecture Series have been made available online. Hopefully this one will be as well.

  1. The Synoptics and the Fourth Gospel
  2. The Holy Spirit in the Synoptics and John
  3. Who Is this Holy Spirit?
  4. What Does the Word Parakeletos Mean?
  5. What Did Jesus Mean when He Spoke of Another Parakeletos?
  6. The Holy Spirit’s Relationships
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Introduction to Revelation with Review Questions and Quiz

A Timeline of Judgements and Interludes in Revelation

This blog post is a duplication (as much as possible) of the workbook materials for the first session in Dr. Mark Hitchcock’s course on Revelation. Each Credo Course has a workbook to accompany it. The workbook we’ve created for Revelation is our most exhaustive and thorough ever. Each session (as you’ll see in the blog post below) also has a series of questions at the end. These are especially helpful for use in small groups and classroom type settings.

This blog post is the contents of the workbook for the first session of the Credo Course on Revelation. You can purchase the entire course as a digital download, on DVD, etc.

Two Caveats

  • Dimensions: The workbook (both print and pdf) has been designed for a 6×9 page spread. This means that the content in this blog post is more spread out than it is in the workbook.
  • Use Cases: The workbook is designed to be used valium europe online in conjunction with the lecture for each respective session. But it is not a transcript. Therefore, you’ll be more benefited by using the two of them together.

Introduction to Revelation

Broad Course Outline

  • Introduction
  • Main issues
  • Problem passages

Test: Are You Obsessed with Bible Prophecy?

  1. You always leave the top down in your convertible in case the rapture happens.
  2. You never buy green bananas.
  3. You talked your church into adopting the 60’s pop song “Up, Up, and Away” as a Christian hymn.
  4. Barcode scanners make you nervous.
  5. You refuse a tax refund check because the total comes to $666.
  6. You can name more signs of the times than you can commandments.
  7. You believe there’s an original Greek and Hebrew text with Scofield’s notes.
  8. You believe the term “church fathers” refers to Hal Lindsey and Tim LaHaye.
  9. You get goosebumps when you hear a trumpet.
  10. You use the Left Behind books as devotional reading.

Importance of Studying Revelation

We study prophecy because we love the Bible and want to understand it. Almost 30% of the Bible was prophetic at the time it was written, so if we love the Bible, we love prophecy.

The book of Revelation, as the capstone of God’s message to us, really helps us to put the Bible together.

Title

Revelation 1:1a

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants

The proper title for this book is The Revelation of Jesus Christ. This could mean one of two things:

Is Revelation "From" or "About" Jesus Christ?
Is Revelation “From” or “About” Jesus Christ?

 

Revelation is certainly about Jesus; there are at least thirty-five names and titles of Jesus in Revelation. However, the rest of the verse would seem to indicate that the correct meaning is “The Revelation from Jesus Christ.” The emphasis is on Jesus as the Revealer more than on Jesus the Revealed One.

Three Ways the Title Is Misunderstood

  • Revelations (the plural form of Revelation)
  • The Revelation of St. John
  • The Revelation of St. John the Divine

Revelation’s Place in History

  • It looks ahead.
  • It looks behind.

First of all, I believe that the Book of Revelation is a “Grand Central Station” into which all future Bible Prophecy flows.[1]

–Dr. Thomas Ice

Highlights

  • There are 278 allusions to the OT in the 404 verses of Revelation.
  • There are no direct quotes from the OT in Revelation.
  • Revelation is the only prophetic book in the NT.
  • It gives the proper view, God’s view, of history.
  • It has the highest Christology in the NT.
  • It has an elaborate doctrine of Satan, demons, and the Antichrist.
  • It predicts a final, totalitarian, global, one-world, urban empire.

Definition

Revelation ἀποκάλυψις [ap·ok·al·oop·sis]

To cause something to be fully known—‘to reveal, to disclose, to make fully known, revelation.’[2]

Form

The book of Revelation is a prophecy in the form of an epistle that contains apocalyptic imagery.

  • An apocalypse (1:1)
  • A prophecy (1:3, 22:10)
  • A letter or epistle (2, 3)

Keywords

The word “and” takes us breathlessly through the book.

  • And = 1,200
  • Great = 82
  • Seven = 54
  • Throne = 46
High-Level Outline of Revelation
High-Level Outline of Revelation

 

Key Verse

Revelation 1:7

Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.

Theme

The ultimate triumph of Jesus Christ

Historical Background of Revelation

Revelation is written to seven literal churches in Asia Minor (the western part of modern day Turkey).

Map of the Seven Churches from Revelation
Map of the Seven Churches from Revelation

 

External

Domitian (51–96 A.D.) was the Roman ruler (or Caesar) when John wrote Revelation. He wanted to be worshiped as God.

Titus Flavius Caesar Domitianus Augustus was Roman emperor from 81 to 96 A.D.

Domitian was the third and last emperor of the Flavian dynasty.

There was local, intermittent persecution of believers.

Domitian Colossus
Domitian Colossus

 

Internal

Apathy was developing inside the churches; some of them had left their first love or were lukewarm.

Apostasy had also begun to creep in, as was the case with the church at Pergamum and Thyatira.

The Historical Background Inside and Outside the Churches in Revelation
The Historical Background Inside and Outside the Churches in Revelation

 

Argument of Revelation

We should develop the argument, flow, or purpose of a book, then trace that throughout the entire book. We can then trace the other elements within the book, and relate them back to the purpose.

If we don’t have a purpose in mind when studying the Bible, we can easily get lost.

Purpose Statement

To give believers the advanced history of how Jesus Christ, through judgment, becomes King, with a view towards calling them to faithfulness and to godliness.

Judgment Whereby Jesus Becomes King

  • Seal judgments (6)
  • Trumpet judgments (8–9)
  • Bowl judgments (16)

Two Patterns to Aid Understanding

  1. Alternating perspectives: between heaven and earth
  2. Alternating pacing: between action and interludes (The chronology of Revelation flows in the seals, trumpets, and bowls with interludes that fill in additional details.)
Two Patterns that Aid Understanding Revelation
Two Patterns that Aid Understanding Revelation

 

This could be likened to a telephone conversation. Revelation chapter 6 starts telling the story, but there is an interruption to fill in some details in chapter 7. The order then resumes in chapters 8–9, followed by more fill in, in chapters 10–15. The progression returns in chapter 16 with more fill in, in chapter 17–18, followed by the second coming in chapter 19.

Sometimes the interludes run ahead (chapter 14) and give information about what is to come, but most of the time they back up and emphasize what has been happening while the judgments are being poured out.

A Timeline of Judgments and Interludes in Revelation
A Timeline of Judgments and Interludes in Revelation

 

My Beliefs

As you begin your journey through this course, take some time to record your current beliefs/questions about eschatology. This is a helpful way to track your growth.

  1. My beliefs about the millennium (Amillennial, Postmillennial, Premillennial, Other)
  2. My beliefs about timing of overall fulfillment (Preterist, Historicist, Idealist, Futurist, Eclectic, Other)
  3. My beliefs about the rapture (Pre-trib, Post-trib, Mid-trib, Other)
  4. My additional thoughts about Revelation

My Questions

Throughout this course, we encourage you to make full use of the mar- gins and blank pages to ask yourself questions, and make notes of things that are meaningful to you.

  1. My questions about the millennium (Amillennial, Postmillennial, Premillennial, Other)
  2. My questions about timing of overall fulfillment (Preterist, Historicist, Idealist, Futurist, Eclectic, Other)
  3. My questions about the rapture (Pre-trib, Post-trib, Mid-trib, Other)
  4. My additional questions about Revelation

Questions

  1. What is your goal in this study?
  2. How should we approach any study of God’s Word?
  3. Why should we study Revelation?
  4. Why do you believe Revelation was written? Write your own purpose statement for Revelation.
  5. Who was the Roman emperor when John wrote Revelation?
  6. What is the correct title of Revelation?
    1. Revelations
    2. The Revelation of St. John
    3. The Revelation of Jesus Christ
  7. What is the form of Revelation?
  8. What is the theme of Revelation?
  9. Copy and memorize the key verse of Revelation.
  10. Number these judgments in the order in which they occur.
    1. _____ Trumpets
    2. _____ Bowls
    3. _____ Seals
  11. Which chapter(s) fit into which categories?
    1. _____ Past
    2. _____ Present
    3. _____ Prophetic

  1. Thomas Ice. “Babylon In Bible Prophecy” Pre-Trib Research Center. http://www.pre-trib.org/data/pdf/Ice-BabylonInBibleProphec.pdf Web 27 September, 2014  ↩
  2. Johannes P. Louw, and Eugene Albert Nida. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains 1996 : 338. Print.  ↩
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Online Resources for Bible Research (Links)

Online Resources for Bible Research

Updated: 2015-12-28

The Bible is at the center of Christianity. Bible research is, therefore, critical in the life of a Christian. It is a definitional document https://chini.com/acneface/ like the Declaration of Independence. When questions arise about Christian doctrine the protestant looks to the Bible. If one understands the Bible one understands Christianity.

The Bible is a collection of sixty-six books. Understanding just one of these books requires bridging the historical, linguistic, and cultural gaps. Grasping all of them and their interrelations can be helped by online tools and resources anyone can access.

Online Resources for Bible Research

 

History: The Bible is an old book. We don’t have access to the autographs (i.e. originals) of any of the books although many scholars agree we have the original wording.

Language: The Bible wasn’t written in English. For most of us this gap is bridges by the fine work done by translators.

Culture: The accounts in the Bible take places in a variety of cultures all of which are very different from ours. To understand it we must try to “think” as though we live in the culture in which the story takes place.

Online Resources and Tools for Bible Study

These websites have been arranged according to their popularity as measured by their Alexa.com rank.

  1. Bible Gateway (371)
  2. Bible Hub (889)
  3. Bible Study Tools (2,030)
  4. Logos (2,867)
  5. Blue Letter Bible (3,837)
  6. Bible.org (6,040)
    • Lumina
  7. Biblia (6,856)
  8. YouVersion (11,817)
  9. Study Light (14,744)
  10. Christian Classics Ethereal Library (CCEL) (16,767)
  11. Biblical Theology Journal (1,873)  This ranking is skewed because it’s part of a larger website.
  12. Olive Tree (24,151)
  13. BiblicalTraining.org (46,405)
  14. Center for New Testament Textual Studies (51,525)
  15. The American Bible Society (55,988)
  16. Accordance (66,484)
  17. E-Sword (69,472)
  18. Society of Biblical Literature Greek New Testament (71,966)
  19. Museum of the Bible (82,798)
  20. Bible Works (120,519)
  21. BibleArc (165,714)
  22. Codex Sinaiticus Online (198,668)
  23. BibleMesh (211,475)
  24. German Bible Society (233,688)
  25. Bible Timeline (237,915)
  26. The Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library (270,891)
  27. United Bible Society (573,209)
  28. Neu Bible (697,811)
  29. Look at the Book by John Piper (2,987) This ranking is skewed because it’s part of a larger website.
  30. The Step Bible by Tyndale House (200,068)
  31. Institute for New Testament Textual Criticism (960) This is a German rank.
  32. Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (109,694) This is a Japan rank.
  33. New Testament Gateway from Duke University (402,795)
  34. A Journal of Biblical Textual Criticism (947,887)
  35. The Gutenberg Bible (3,953,716) This is a global rank.
  36. The Center for Ancient Texts & Languages (Unranked)
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What’s the Best Apologetic Method? (Video)

Apologetic Method and Five Representative

Apologists love debating about apologetic method. In other words, they love debating about debating. If unbelievers are scarce, apologists turn to each other to sharpen their iron. Some take a casual approach to the discussion. Others see it as a matter of utmost importance.

[Tweet “Apologists love debating about apologetic method. In other words, they love debating about debating.”]

SPOILER ALERT: We won’t be settling the debate between evidentialism and presuppositionalism today.

Who Wants to Do Apologetics the Right Way?

Apologists hear bad argumentation and reasoning all the time. It’s part of the job, but they can get tried of it. Apologists are human too. Most of the time they’re arguing with unbelievers of one stripe or another. However, when the topic is apologetic method, it’s probably other apologists they’re interacting with. The phentermine is a very expensive, but incredibly effective drug! The feeling of hunger disappears completely, there is no desire at all. The drug cannot be mixed with alcohol, and there are a lot of side effects. It should be taken with caution, so as not to harm your health. Read more info about it https://toptenss.com/phentermin-weightloss/ You lose weight very, very quickly. You can easily lose weight without making much effort and it a great advantage. Fellow apologists hold each other to a pretty high standard. These are the people who should really care about the how of apologetics, right?

Apologetic Method and Five Representative

When the Argument over Apologetic Method Goes Too Far

It’s possible to get so caught up in the debate about apologetic method that we never actually do apologetics. This may make sense for the aged professor who’s already walked the walk and has the lumps to show for it. But the new apologist should be concerned with actually taking the message of the gospel to the streets as best they can. This allows them to learn from experience what works. Experience combined with theory can create a biblical and practical apologetic method.

Two objections spring to mind when arguing for experience over theoretical precision ad nauseam:

  • Does a person need to know how to do apologetics before they actually get out there and try?
  • Won’t a person do more harm than good if they don’t use the best apologetic method?

Being an Informed Practitioner

You must know how to do something before you can actually do it. This seems reasonable. But sometimes (in the debate over apologetic method), it gets carried too far. How far is too far? If you never get around to engaging in apologetics, you’ve probably gone too far.

Think of it this way. Many people have dreamed about writing a book. They know they don’t have the best grammar, spelling, or plot construction and should study up on these topics; otherwise their book will be a big mess. So they plan, study, wait, and plan some more. After a few years they’ve done a lot of planning and studying but still don’t have a book. They don’t even have a bad book; they have no book at all.

This is an example of taking things too far. Apologetics is both a science and an art. It’s like riding a bike, writing a book, or learning how to cook lasagna. It’s learned best by study and practice. Your first lasagna might not be fit for the family pet to eat, but you’re on your way. That’s what’s important.

[Tweet “Apologetics is both a science and an art. It’s like riding a bike, writing a book, or learning how to cook lasagna.”]

Using a Bad Apologetic Method Is Like Working With a Dull Axe

Do you think an apologist who doesn’t use the best apologetic method will do more harm than good? It all depends right? How wrong are they? Maybe they get the main idea right but are off on some of the details. If that’s the case, most of us will give them leeway (in Christineese this is called “grace”) for their error.

What if they get some of the main points wrong? We certainly don’t want to be so off base that we end up being an apologist for knowledge falsely so called.

Here’s the point though: disagreements over apologetic method do not fall into this category. The content of what we’re arguing for may (e.g. what is the gospel), but not the way in which we do apologetics. This isn’t to deny that there’s a “right” way to do apologetics. There certainly is. It’s more important to do apologetics than endlessly debate how to do apologetics.

[Tweet “It’s more important to *do* apologetics than endlessly debate *how to do* apologetics.”]

Take Your Pick of Evidence and Presuppositions

One of the hottest topics in apologetic method today is between evidentialism and presuppositionalism. Which school of though is right? I don’t think it matters. Good apologists use both.

Dr. William Lane Craig is one of the foremost Christian thinkers today. Dr. Craig presents arguments for God’s existence without talking about presuppositions at all. Of course, Dr. Craig has presuppositions. He just doesn’t start with them.

Dr. Greg L. Bahnsen is on the other end of the spectrum. Dr. Bahnsen was a student of Dr. Cornelius Van Til and popularizer of presuppositionalism. Dr. Bahnsen debated apologetic method with Dr. R.C. Sproul. In that debate Bahnsen admits that the transcendental arguments for God (TAG) is like a reformulation of more traditional arguments for God’s existence. Bahnsen doesn’t dismisses evidence. Far from it. In fact, he lectured extensively on the superiority of Christianity based on the evidence.

So take your pick. Start with evidence and go to presuppositions. Or you can start with your presuppositions and go to the evidence. Either way, you’re doing apologetics to the glory of God.

[Tweet “So take your pick. Start with evidence and go to presuppositions. Or you can start with your presuppositions and go to the evidence.”]

Video Transcript

When Dr. Doug Groothuis was asked what the best apologetic method is he gave the answer that served as the basis for this post.

Well, first of all, the best method is to do it, to get out there and do apologetics. But you do need a good foundation for it, and I’ve found that the best method is hypothesis testing—that is, the Christian worldview is a theory of everything, if you will, and we argue that several lines of evidence converge on Christian truth.

So we have evidence from science, evidence from philosophy, evidence from history for the historicity of the Bible. And you combine those arguments into an overall case that shows that Christianity is true; and it’s rational, very rational, compellingly rational to believe it. And you use those same kinds of tests concerning consistency and livability to other worldviews and try to show the weaknesses of those other worldviews.

Conclusion

I can’t put it any better than Dr. Groothuis: “The best apologetic method is to do it.” Don’t wait until you have all the kinks worked out of your system. Start today, even if that means defending Christianity in an Amazon product comment box. There are apologetic opportunities all around us.

free-28min-video-of-apologetics

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A Short Technical History of Credo Course Videography

Technical History Timeline of Credo Courses

Interested in the nitty-gritty of how we create a Credo Course? You’ve come to the right place. This isn’t a history of how Credo Courses started. Michael Patton will be blogging about that soon, so keep an eye on the Parchment and Pen.

What Is a Technical History?

Good question. A technical history is, for obvious reasons, focused on equipment. But, a list of equipment is pretty dull; you can buy a catalogue for that. So we’ve supplemented our list with stories about what we’ve learned as a startup. We’ll look at our philosophy of filming and at some of the people behind the scenes. This post has four main sections:

This is the nuts-and-bolts of video production (on a budget). If this is what you’re looking for settle down for a good read. We’ll try to keep this interesting.

To date, eight Credo Courses are in various stages of completion. Some have been released. I’d like to say that they’re in stores everywhere, but that just wouldn’t be true. Others are still on the drawing board. Here’s a timeline of the courses we’ve filmed (click to enlarge):

Technical History Timeline of Credo Courses

When I first came to work at Credo Courses I was star struck. They’d already worked with some of the top scholars in the world. Thankfully, the trend continued. I’ve had the pleasure of working on the following courses:

  • Revelation with Dr. Mark Hitchcock
  • Old Testament Theology with Dr. Tremper Longman
  • Christian Apologetics with Dr. Douglas Groothuis
  • The Historical Jesus with Darrell Bock

If you’ve ever met these men, you know how kind they are. If not, you’re missing out.  None exhibit symptoms of ivory-tower-itis.

I’ve always regretted missing a lecture by a scholar visiting OKC. If you can attend the filming of a Credo Course, I’d encourage you to do so.

The Philosophy

There are a lot of ways to build educational material. One of our primary methods is video. The video is not an end in itself. What I mean is that a course isn’t better just because a couple cameras have been turned on. In fact, if done poorly, video can be downright harmful. There are many things that can make a video course worse:

  • Poor video quality
  • Distracting elements on screen.
  • An uncomfortable speaker.

The choice to use video should be an informed one. The visual aspect of the course should help people learn not hinder them. Presenting a complex topic in a simple way requires a lot of work.

Credo Courses have to serve many possible uses. People don’t all learn the same way. A one-size-fits-all approach just isn’t appropriate. The basics of videography are timeless, but the execution of is as much an art as a science. A Credo Course may take any number of forms:

  • Audio Presentation
  • Video Presentation
  • Workbook
  • PowerPoint Slide Deck
  • Small Group Study Materials
  • Self-Study Curriculum

We have to capture the raw material we need for each use case. This takes planning. It means asking ourselves a lot of questions: Will the scholar be providing their own outline and slides, or will we have to create them? Is the material appropriate for a small-group study, or is it at a seminary level? Has someone else already made a course like this?

We begin by imagining what would make a course as timeless as possible. What do I mean by timeless? Well, by timeless I mean not trendy. There are a lot of ways a video can show its age:

  • Background furnishings, wallpaper, and decorations
  • Filming style, framing choices, and lighting
  • Graphical elements like slides and transitions
  • Clothing and accessories
  • Hair styles
  • Glasses, earrings, and hair pins
  • References to pop culture or current events

These have a way of sneaking into a presentation. We try to minimize these. For example, a good suit ages well. The same doesn’t go for a Hawaiian shirt.

Maintaining Quality Standards

Getting things right is a journey of trial and error. Achieving a high-level of production quality is never pretty, but it is a process. The higher the level of production value the more it will cost. Higher quality equals higher cost.

For the end user of an educational product, quality is all that matters. A quality course instills confidence in the viewer. It also makes the course more durable. Unless you’re teaching on a fast moving industry an educational course can last years.

When it comes to questions of quality you have to pick your fights. It’s humbling but realistic to go into a project knowing that you’ll make mistakes. Fixing your mistakes is an exercise of courage and hard work.

Retakes

A retake is when something has to be filmed over again. This is what happened during Dr. Dan Wallace’s course on textual criticism. Dr. Wallace was gracious enough to return to Credo House for a retake. It can be humbling to admit when you’ve made a mistake. Luckily, Dan has a machine like endurance for speaking on textual criticism. In fact, his course was the longest we’ve filmed, clocking in at thirty-six sessions.

Rerecords

When filming the course on Revelation, I forgot to hit “record” on our sound system. I noticed my mistake two-thirds of the way though the session. My stomach sank. I tried to think of a way we could avoid having to rerecord the entire session. I decided rerecording the session was our best option to ensure quality. Dr. Hitchcock was extremely gracious about rerecording his session. Keep in mind, this was at the tail end of three long days of filming. It wasn’t easy to admit I’d made a mistake. I consoled myself knowing I’d be glad I had a clean recording in hand when it came time to edit.

Recreations

Mistakes caught early (like some software bugs) are easy to fix. Once they’re in production, they’re much harder to root out. We’ve had to fix a slide, re-export the video, transcode for DVD, and re-burn the DVD—all of that work because of a spelling mistake. It may seem like the time spent on quality control up front is a waste. Trust me, it isn’t.

The Hardware

There are three main pieces of hardware you need to produce a Credo Course:

  • Lights: The ability to add, subtract, and direct the light on set.
  • Camera: You’ve got to have some way of capturing the action on screen.
  • Action: The on-screen action is provided by the scholar.

It’s really that simple. Having better lighting, a better camera, better, well, everything can all help. But you don’t need them.

Keep things as simple as possible. Don’t multiply your sorrows by trying to do so much you get the basics wrong. This sounds like a truism. After all, who wouldn’t agree that things should be kept as simple as possible? It’s easier said than done. If using three cameras is good, wouldn’t five be better? If a three point lighting system is good, what about a seventeen point system? On and on it goes.

Advances come with trade-offs. The more equipment you have, the more expensive an operation is to run. You may need more people. The more cameras involved, the more hard drive space you’ll need. This also means more editing work later on. Will your audience benefit from all this extra work? Will it result in a better, more marketable product? If the answer is yes, then by all means, go for it.
Xanax has been used in medical practice for three decades. The system of long-term treatments and its potential complications engage the minds of the country’s best experts. Old medications at https://www.wcihs.org/xanax-site/ are being displaced with the new ones. This is particularly true of the whole group of tranquilizers.

Computers

Once the video is captured, it all has to be transferred to a hard drive for storage and editing. It’s not unusual for a single course to take up over a terabyte of hard drive space. The actual storage requirements will differ. More cameras equals more storage. Using a raw codec? You’ll need more storage. Doing commercial work? You’ll really need more storage now! Hard drive space is like closet space. There’s no such thing as too much.

Once the footage is on a hard drive, the editing begins. The bulk of the work is done on two Apple laptops:

  • MacBook Pro 15-inch Retina 2.3 GHz Intel Core i7
  • MacBook Pro 15-inch Retina 2.7 GHz Intel Core i7

These laptops get the job done despite not being as powerful as a tricked out Mac Pro. We typically have two editors who can work on different sections of video. One of us color corrects and syncs angels while the other adds graphics. These laptops handle these tasks like a champ.

A more powerful computer would be handy when applying complex effects. Complex effects are effects that are processor intensive. Sharpening and noise reduction are examples of processor intensive effects. These can add hours of rendering time. This reinforced for us just how important it is to get things right “in camera”.

Cameras

We started out using two Canon XA10s for the early Credo Courses. These little cameras worked well enough. They have XLR jacks which are perfect for recording audio from an external source. However, the DSLRs we’re using now provide a much better picture. We record the audio separately and stitch it all together in post-production.

  • Canon XA10s
  • Canon 7D
  • Canon 5D Mark II
  • Canon 5D Mark III (Rented)
  • Canon 6D (Rented)

Would we like to upgrade to better equipment? Who wouldn’t? It’s tempting to think that newer means better. This isn’t always the case. A $10,000 camera would provide a better picture for that one camera. But if I had $10,000 to invest it in lighting, camera-rails, tripods, and editing software. These upgrades would improve the picture from all the cameras.

Lenses

All of our cameras use interchangeable lenses (except the XA10s). This allows us to pick and choose the best lens for a given shot. The list below does not include information regarding the lenses on the XA10s.

  • Canon 24–105mm 4.0 L-Series
  • Canon 70–200mm 2.8 L-Series
  • Canon 50mm 1.8

Lighting

We began by using mostly ambient light along with a CF powered soft box. The room we filmed in added a warm colorcast to the video. We eventually replaced the soft box with bi-color LED panels with diffusion paper. The LED panels allow us to control the power and temperature of the light. On a recent project we balanced everything to these LED panels. Warmer lights were used as accents (e.g. hair lights).

Misc

There’s no such things as too many memory cards, batteries, or hard drive space. As camera technology continues to improve, so do storage demands and power consumption. This means more memory cards and batteries for filming and more hard drives for long-term storage.

  • Lots of Memory Cards and Batteries
  • Lots of Hard Drives
  • Revelli Tripods
  • USB 2.0 and 3.0 Memory Card Readers

The Software

Video editors become very familiar with their software. After filming you’ll spend hours, days, maybe weeks or months inside your programs. If a scholar presents according to a strict outline this time may be reduced. Why would this be the case? I’m glad you asked. A Credo Course consists of several components. Each component should, ideally, be consistent with each other. For example, a lecture should have the same name regardless of the medium it’s on. A lecture called, “The History of the Catholic Church” should appear with that title on DVD, in a workbook, or on an iPhone.

An organized presenter helps this along. Ideally they’ll focus each lecture around one central theme. That central theme then becomes the focus of each type of media we use. It’s helpful to have your sessions planned out ahead of time. If the scholar prepares detailed notes this ensures a better end product and easier editing.

It may seem like an experienced scholar could present session after session without notes and communicate just as well. After all, they do this with their classes regularly. However, in a classroom environment the students can ask questions and receive clarification. A video presentation lacks this feature. Therefore, planning to answer the typical questions within the body of a presentation ensures a better experience overall.

After the loss of a loved one, my mood was something incomprehensible, I think it was depression, there was a feeling of emptiness, mood swings, lost appetite, I did not even want to go to work and communicate with loved ones. I don’t like visiting doctors, so we decided to take a course https://aircargoupdate.com/order-em-bi-en/ of Ambien. I gradually felt the improvement in mood, then I felt the appetite, and the desire to get everything in order.

Enough about planning. Let’s dive into the software tools we use.

Evernote

We keep notes on titles, excerpts for future commercials, chapter titles, file download links, etc. inside Evernote. It’s indispensable to our workflow.

Daisy Disk

When you’re generating and manipulating thousands of gigabytes of data, you need a solid disk management tool. Daisy Disk is our choice because it gets the job done and looks pretty doing it.

Avid Pro Tools

This is the software we used to record most of our audio. We’ve been blessed to have the help of Kelcy White (see below) in the audio department. We’re looking at transitioning to Adobe Audition.

Apple Final Cut Pro X

This is our video editing workhorse. We spent a lot of  time comparing non-linear editors (NLEs) against each other. We’ve worked with Windows Movie Maker (please don’t laugh), FCP 7, Adobe Premier, and Avid Media Composer. FCPX was the best investment for us.

Apple Compressor

When we need to prepare a video for upload or to be burned to DVD, we use Compressor. We did a side-by-side comparison between Adobe Media Encoder and Compressor. Compressor’s results were far superior when it came to DVD encoding. This wasn’t just an academic test either. We had some footage we needed to rescue (my fault, lesson learned). Compressor got the job done.

PluralEyes by Red Giant

PluralEyes is the industry standard for synching multiple camera angles using audio. FCPX does have some synching capabilities but I prefer PluralEyes.

DaVinci Resolve

This is the next software tool on our wish list. It’s been an industry standard in color correction for a while and has recently come into its own as a full-fledged editing tool. If you enjoy watching movies, you’ve seen DaVinci Resolve at work.

The People

We’ve been blessed to work with some of the best scholars in the world. Their expertise is the reason we exist. But to communicate their knowledge with an audience takes an entire team of people.

To try and list all of the people who’ve helped create Credo Courses is impossible. However, without the help of the following people, Credo Courses would not exist:

  • Michael Patton: Michael is the CEO and creator of Credo Courses. Michael is the driving force behind the Credo Courses vision. He has built relationships with scholars across the evangelical spectrum.
  • Tim Kimberley: Tim was Executive Director of Credo House and a passionate advocate of Credo Courses from the beginning. The stories he could tell about working with scholars are legion. Tim orchestrated the production of several courses. He also established an understanding of the importance of  form and function that is felt to this day.
  • Ted Paul: I came to work at Credo Courses as Executive Director in late April of 2014. I was hired as a full-time videographer. My responsibilities include overseeing the entire production of each course, scheduling the scholars, filming, creating graphics and slides, creating DVD master, etc. There a little more information on my micro-bio.
  • Anne Paul: Anne does a yeoman’s work in color correcting, synching, and organizing video footage. She’s has an eye for creating sets for filming that comes in handy. She also helps write and edit our workbooks. Lastly, she helps ensure quality control of all our products.
  • Carrie Hunter: Carrie is the unsung hero behind Credo Courses. She makes sure the critical administrative tasks are taken care of.
  • Kelcy White: Kelcy attended OC for a Bachelors degree in Youth Ministry, Bible, and International Studies and ACM@UCO for an Associates degree in Music Production. Kelcy’s expertise and education in audio engineering made him an invaluable member of the team. Kelcy helped the production quality of Credo Courses take a giant leap forward.
  • Timothy Berg: Tim has attended every Credo Course as a student. However, one more than one occasion he’s jumped in and helped out beyond the call of duty. His takes a personal interest in the subject matter and has a deep respect for all the scholars.
  • David Vallandingham: David was a volunteer at Credo for a few months in 2014. He helped record weekly lectures at Credo House. He also assisted in filming Old Testament Theology with Dr. Tremper Longman. We miss David all the time. He has an excellent work ethic and an infectious, positive attitude.

Without the hard work of these folks, Credo Courses would not exist. In the end that’s what every great project comes down to: the people. Without the scholars, film crew, and support staff none of these courses would exist. Is this a brief technical history of Credo Courses? Yes. But you can’t isolate the machines from the people operating them. It is to them that we give our hearty thanks.

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Is Religious Education an Oxymoron? 10 Quick Reasons Why Not

Is Religious Education an Oxymoron?

Do you have a favorite oxymoron? Many of us do. Some oxymorons are at the expense of someone else. Some are just plain funny (e.g. jumbo shrimp). Some oxymorons reveal cultural biases or trends in thinking we unconsciously adopt.

Religious Education and Military Intelligence

Using “Christian education” as an oxymoron is like using “military intelligence” as an oxymoron. In both cases they’re done at the expense of their respective groups. What order sleep clonazepam drug online society considers to be an oxymoron reveals cultural bias.

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Is Religious Education an Oxymoron?
Copyright: Berni

 

1. Religious Schools Educate Millions Annually

Over 4 million students (about 1 in 12) attend religious schools[1]. This number may be a low estimate. According to the U.S. Dept. of Education, 35.9% of elementary and secondary schools in America are religious[2]. Smaller class sizes make it unlikely that 35.9% of schools represents 35.9% of students. Even so, it’s not an insignificant number.

[Tweet “If Christianity were anti-education, we wouldn’t observe schools (at all levels) being established, operated, or funded by Christians.”]

2. Most Nobel Prize Winners Are Christian

65.4% of Nobel Prize Laureates have identified Christianity as their religious preference[3]. In fact, the Nobel Prize itself was established by a Lutheran, Alfred Nobel. Do these laureates simply divorce their religious preferences from their scholarly pursuits? Perhaps, but if religious education is contradictory, wouldn’t we expect to see a low representation within these noble (homophone pun intended) ranks?

3. There Have Always Been Christian Scientists

Galilei, Kepler, and Pascal were Christians[4]. A long list of Christian scientists and philosophers can be found here. A comprehensive list would fill a book, maybe two. It’s commonly held that scientists (past and present) are usually unbelievers. This is demonstrably not the case. Some argue that the religious beliefs of past scientists were coincidental—mere accidents of historical congruence.

Were scientists in the past Christians because everyone back then was Christian. It’s notoriously difficult to determine the true state of one’s beliefs. This is true even when the person in question is right in front of you. So it must be admitted that some who bear the “Christian” label in the past were likely not Christian at all. I asked Dr. Douglas Groothuis what he thought about this. He denied the caricature. He pointed out that the scientific advances they made were precisely because of their Christian worldview, not in spite of it.

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4. The Bible Is Pro-Education and Pro-Science

Scripture instructs Christians to study[5]. God values wisdom and knowledge[6]. Knowing Christ and having wisdom go together[7]. Some may claim that the education the Bible recommends is religious in nature. It’s certainly true that the Bible encourages its readers to know what they believe. However, this is not in conflict with education about non-religious topics as well. In fact, some of the greatest philosophers in history have been Christians.

What about science? Isn’t the whole idea of miracles anti-science? Daniel 1:11–16 records the story of some “sons of Israel” who asked to be allowed to maintain a diet different from that of the Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel presents the idea (common enough today) of using a control group and an experiment group. Daniel and his friends would eat their own diet while the other young men would eat the King’s diet. After ten days the results were compared to determine which diet was superior. I won’t give away the ending, but suffice to say, Daniel appealed to the testability of a hypothesis, not to miracles.

5. Harvard+Yale+Princeton Were Founded by Christians

Christians founded three of the five wealthiest universities in the United States: Harvard, Yale, and Princeton[8]. It must be granted that in large part these universities have diverged greatly from the vision of their founders. William F. Buckley’s God & Man at Yale published in 1951 gained fame for its criticism of the way Yale undermined the faith of its Christian students. Modern apostasy aside, the question remains, why would religious people establish an institution of higher education if their worldview devalued education?

Are you starting to see a trend here? It would be one thing if there were simply one or two outliers in religion who championed the cause of education but surely not this many? By now, the chinks in the anti-education assumption should be obvious.

6. The Christian Worldview Is Foundational to Education

Christianity provides a firm philosophical foundation for education. The regularity of nature[9], predictability of cause and effect[10], and the belief that humans can understand the world[11] are Christian beliefs that are necessary to justify the value of education. This is not a claim that those who hold to non-christian worldviews don’t value education. They certainly do. Rather, it is the assertion that non-christian worldviews must borrow intellectual capital from the Christian worldview to make their criticisms.

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7. The Bible Is Pro-Philosophy

The Bible warns against godless philosophy, but philosophy itself is not denigrated[12]. In fact, the entire book of Proverbs elevates wisdom and knowledge to an extremely high degree. The history of philosophy is replete with great Christian thinkers. Even the Apostle Paul was not afraid to argue philosophy with the men in Athens.

8. Christianity Holds that Individual Transformation Is Achieved through the Mind

The Bible states that individual transformation comes through a renewing of the mind[13]. This militates against the view that it is mere moral reformation that accompanies salvation. That’s not to minimize the importance of the ethical revitalization that comes with Christianity, but rather to point out that a Christian isn’t fully obeying God if they doesn’t love God with their mind.

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9. Christians Founded 70% of the World’s Top Ten Universities

Two of the top five and seven of the top ten ranked universities (as ranked by the Academic Ranking of World Universities) were founded in whole or in part by Christians[14]. This statistic makes a falsehood of the stereotype that Christianity is anti-intellectual, ethically medieval, and culturally backward. There are religions that don’t value education. Christianity isn’t one of them.

[Tweet “Two of the top five and seven of the top ten ranked universities (as ranked by the Academic Ranking of World Universities) were founded in whole or in part by Christians”]

10. The Advance of Western Civilization Owes Much to Christianity

Dr. Craig L. Blomberg in Christian Apologetics states that:

Christianity is responsible for a disproportionately large number of the humanitarian advances in the history of civilization—in education, medicine, law, the fine arts, working for human rights and even in the natural sciences (based on the belief that God designed the universe in an orderly fashion and left clues for people to learn about it)[15].

A worldview which not only allows for but encourages the development of civilization cannot be called anti-educational with a straight face.

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  1. http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2004/05/09/making_the_case_for_parochial_schools/  ↩
  2. United States. Department of Education. National Center for Education Statistics. Characteristics of Private Schools in the United States: Results From the 2011–12 Private School Universe Survey. By Stephen P. Broughman and Nancy L. Swaim. July 2013. Accessed February 27, 2015. http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2013/2013316.pdf.  ↩
  3. Baruch A. Shalev 100 Years of Nobel Prizes (2003), Atlantic Publishers & Distributors , p.57: between 1901 and 2000 reveals that 654 Laureates belong to 28 different religions. Most 65.4% have identified Christianity in its various forms as their religious preference.  ↩
  4. Christian Apologetics 101. Directed by Ted Paul. Performed by Dr. Douglas Groothuis. Edmond: Credo Courses, 2015. DVD.  ↩
  5. The Holy Bible: King James Version, Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version. (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009), 2 Ti 2:15.  ↩
  6. New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), 2 Ch 1:11.  ↩
  7. NASB, Col 3:16.  ↩
  8. CCAP. “22 Richest Schools In America.” Forbes. July 30, 2014. Accessed March 14, 2015. http://www.forbes.com/sites/ccap/2014/07/30/22-richest-schools-in-america/.  ↩
  9. NASB, Ge 8:22.  ↩
  10. The acknowledgment of miracles presumes that cause and effect are normative.  ↩
  11. NASB, Ro 1:21.  ↩
  12. NASB, Col 2:8.  ↩
  13. NASB, Ro 12:2.  ↩
  14. ShanghaiRanking Consultancy. “Academic Ranking of World Universities 2014.” Academic Ranking of World Universities. Accessed March 14, 2015. http://www.shanghairanking.com/ARWU2014.html.  ↩
  15. Craig L. Blomberg, “Chapter 19: Jesus of Nazareth,” in Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith (Downers Grove, IL; Nottingham, England: IVP Academic; Apollos, 2011), 438.  ↩
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6 Ways NOT to Lose Your Christianity in the University Classroom (Video)

6 Ways NOT to Lose Your Christianity in the University Classroom

When you (or a son or daughter) go to college, will you lose your Christianity? The percentage of young people who abandon their faith while at college is debated. The numbers can be high depending on what research you look at. Ed Stetzer has written about this topic for Christianity Today. His order valium online work belies some of the hyperbole in this discussion[1]. I thank him for that.

While the numbers may not be as high as some have reported, Christians do face challenges to their faith at university. Parents don’t want their children to lose their Christianity, but they may not know what to do to prevent it.

6 Ways NOT to Lose Your Christianity in the University Classroom
Copyright: Frannyanne

Christians trying to remain faithful while at school may feel like they’re fighting uphill. In some respects this is just reflective of our culture, but I think there’s more to it. These battles are taking place during a liminal stage for the student. Merriam-Webster defines the word liminal this way: of, relating to, or being an intermediate state, phase, or condition[2]. From a psychological perspective, a liminal stage is one full of uncertainty and ambiguity. What better way to describe college? Can you imagine a more difficult time to try to answer life’s hardest questions?

Prepare to Lose Your Christianity

We’re concerned with how to prepare young people to handle objections to their faith. In 2009 Jim Warner Wallace (a former cold case detective) was interviewed by Lee Michaels and Jeff Shell. He said that we should present evidence to young people in much the same way you would to a jury[3]. These are young people who don’t accept the authority or credibility of the Bible. We’ve boiled down six specific steps students can take to prepare for college.

1. Study Worldviews

Life is lived in terms of “worldviews.” Ideas aren’t orphans and don’t exist in isolation. Worldview evaluation helps bring to light any internal inconsistencies one might have. First, believers should understand the Christian worldview. If they don’t understand what they believe, how can they truly have faith? Second, they should study the various non-christian worldviews. This may seem overwhelming, but it can be done. Worldviews can be grouped into categories and dealt with in bulk.

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2. Get Perspective

College lasts for a short time. It’s busy and often confusing. It may feel like you have to come to definite conclusions, but you don’t. Christianity has a historical pedigree that cannot be destroyed by a few college credits. College is not a panacea of truth. Once it’s over, life’s toughest questions will remain. You’ll have to answer them over and over again, even if only in your own thoughts.

[Tweet “Christianity has a historical pedigree that cannot be destroyed by a few college credits.”]

3. Pursue Truth

There is no dichotomy between education and Christianity. Christianity is the only worldview that can sustain a positive outlook on knowledge. Don’t fear truth. Truth will always lead to a deeper and more accurate faith. Believers may feel a tension between following the truth and what their faith tells them. However, the Christian worldview is lead by one who identified himself as “truth” itself. It is impossible that truth (properly understood) will lead away from God. So, pursue truth with courage in your heart and Christ in your sights.

[Tweet “There is no dichotomy between education and Christianity. Christianity is the only worldview that can sustain a positive outlook on knowledge.”]

4. Take a Stand

When I taught computer networking, I enjoyed when students asked questions or challenged me. It showed me that they were thinking. I don’t doubt some professors are authoritarian. Some may brook no dissension. That’s when courage is needed. Taking a stand for what you believe is one of the quickest ways to mature.

Rows of Chairs in a Laboratory Classroom
Harris and Ewing Collection in the Library of Congress

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5. Join a Church

Being a “lone wolf” may work in your favorite action movie, but as a strategy for life, it’s a bad bet. Christianity should be practiced in community. The members of the body of Christ help to balance each other out. Even students at a religious university can benefit from local church membership. Churches in a college town know to expect a flood of new and returning students each year. They may even have classes and programs designed around students’ busy schedules.

[Tweet “Being a “lone wolf” may work in your favorite action movie, but as a strategy for life, it’s a bad bet.”]

6. Be Humble

Humility is necessary in the pursuit of truth. This isn’t in contradiction to the fourth point above (Take a Stand). It’s the flip side of the coin. Humility and courage go hand in hand. Your beliefs and convictions may be challenged. Fellow students, professors, even the curriculum itself may make you uncomfortable. You won’t always be right. Pick your battles. Be willing to admit if you’re wrong. Refusing to give up faulty ground only makes you king of an imaginary hill.

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A Professor’s Perspective

Dr. Groothuis has worked for years in campus ministry. Now he’s the professor at Denver Seminary. I asked Dr. Douglas Groothuis, “How should we prepare young people for challenges to their faith in college?” This is what he said.

Video Transcript

Apologetics and Christian worldview and knowledge of the Bible should be taught in the home; and it should be taught rigorously in the church; and students going to college should be involved in classroom activity/classroom instruction to prepare them for the kind of onslaught that they’ll have to deal with, prepare them for the atheism, prepare them for the relativism, and so on.

This is very exigent because the statistics I’ve seen are pretty frightening and disheartening. So many Christians go to college and either deny their faith or put their faith on hold, and they don’t act like consistent Christians. Maybe ten years later when they have children they’ll go back to the church and get more serious. But the university and college shapes an individual decisively for life.

So Christians need to know what they believe and why as they go into these settings. So the church should have courses, study opportunities to prepare for college, parents should know what sorts of things their children should read and what kinds of seminars they should go to. And this needs to be very intentional, very serious because, otherwise, the students will very likely drift away from Christianity or become fideists and say, “I believe Christianity but it is not supported by anything I study and there’s really no evidence for it but somehow I believe it.” We don’t want that.

free-28min-video-of-apologetics


  1. Stetzer, Ed. “Dropouts and Disciples: How Many Students Are Really Leaving the Church?” Christianity Today. May 14, 2014. Accessed March 5, 2015. http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2014/may/dropouts-and-disciples-how-many-students-are-really-leaving.html.  ↩
  2. Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, 2003.  ↩
  3. Wallace, Jim W. “How to Help Young People Learn to Defend the Faith.” Interview by Lee Michaels and Jeff Shell. The Cold-Case Christianity Radio Interview Podcast (audio blog), September 14, 2009. Accessed March 6, 2015. http://thepleaseconvincemeradioshowpodcast.libsyn.com/how-to-help-young-people-learn-to-defend-the-faith.  ↩
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Christian Education: 7 Biblical References to Consider (Infographic)

Christian Education Involves Loving God With Your Mind

Updated: 2015-04-20

Christians sometimes feel that dedication to their faith relegates them to an intellectual backwater. The media reinforces this idea by painting Christianity as a kind of intellectual laziness. They make it seem as though Christians want to return to a cultural dark age. Is this true?

Let’s consider what Christianity’s founding documents have to say. We’ll examine seven passages that emphasize the importance of Christian education and explain why a Christian education is the only kind there is. Adults, teenagers and elderly people should follow a certain treatment regimen. Accutane treatment is calculated based on body weight (0.5 mg/kg per day). This dose https://knowledgewebcasts.com/online-accutane-clean-face/ is only approximate and may be adjusted during treatment.

Further Reading: Why You’ll Never Outgrow the Study of Theology

1. Loving God with Your Mind Is the Purpose of Christian Education

In Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, and Luke 10:27 Jesus alludes to Deuteronomy 6:5 when he says:

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

– Matthew 22:37 (ESV)

As the founder of Christianity, Jesus has ultimate authority to declare what is important. When we put all three passages side-by-side we see the following:

Christian Education Involves Loving God With Your Mind
Christian Education Involves Loving God With Your Mind

 

2. Jesus Is the Very Embodiment of Truth

Christians are those who follow Christ (no surprise there). Christ claimed to be the essence of truth. He didn’t claim to be the essence of illusion, mystery, or the unexplained.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

– John 14:6 (ESV)

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Christians need not fear pursuing the truth because all truth points back to God. There are times when we can’t seem to reconcile natural revelation with special revelation. At least, we don’t see how we can. Christians take this as a sign that we’ve made a mistake in understanding one or the other. A strong adherence to Scripture allows for only potential contradictions, not actual ones.

3. Knowing Truth Results in Freedom from Sin

We all want to make good choices. The raw material needed to make good choices is knowledge. Just as important though, is the ability to choose what is right. In the Gospel of John, Jesus says the following while interacting with some Jews:

31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,

32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

– John 8:31–32 (ESV)

The CIA adopted John 8:32 as their motto while under the guidance of Allen Dulles1. We presume that Dulles had political freedom in mind. That’s what the Pharisees thought Jesus was speaking about. Christ made it clear though that he was talking about freedom from sin. Who could argue against Christian education if it spells freedom from sin?
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Christian Education: 7 Biblical References to Consider (Infographic)
Christian Education Infographic

4. Christian Education Is Specifically Commanded by God

After Moses delivered the ten commandments to the children of Israel, God said:

You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

– Deuteronomy 6:7 (ESV)

The ten commandments are, of course, moral laws. Few would deny that Christian education should include instruction about morality and ethics. What about education in general? It turns out that the Bible encourages this as well:

An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.

– Proverbs 18:15 (ESV)

Scripture is full of admonitions to live lives full of learning, wisdom, and knowledge.

5. Jesus Is the Treasury of Wisdom and Knowledge

Christianity is not a religion of blind leaps of faith. Christianity places enormous value on wisdom and knowledge. The Apostle Paul tells believers what the core of wisdom and knowledge is:

1 For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face,

2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ,

3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments.

– Colossians 2:1–4 (ESV)

Study is hard. Good study is really hard. If you knew that the end of your study is Jesus, what greater motivation could you ask for?

6. An Educated Mind Can Discern Between Good and Evil

In his sermon “Growing in Christian Maturity,”2 Dr. James White covers Hebrews 5:11–14. These verses talk about the maturity that comes from consistent and purposeful Bible study.

But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

– Hebrews 5:14 (ESV)

Christian growth, like physical growth, has a natural progression. If a baby didn’t seem to be growing, we’d get it to a doctor. Growth is natural. For a Christian growth is the ability to discern between good and evil, right and wrong, truth and error.

7. Jesus Is the Intellectual Atmosphere of Christianity

Paul quoted a Greek poet when addressing those at the Areopagus. In doing so, he demonstrated that Christ is the intellectual atmosphere we all breathe:

‘In him we live and move and have our being’;

– Acts 17:28a (ESV)

It’s not just that we live in a world that God created and than left to run on its own. The Christian worldview encompasses all areas of life, including education.

[Tweet “The Christian worldview encompasses all areas of life, including education.”]

An education may be labeled Christian due to its focus or methodology.

  • Focus: A Christian education focuses on the person of Christ (in particular) and the Christian worldview (in general).
  • Methodology: A Christian education methodologically speaking is one which adheres to the principles of Christianity but which may be focused on any topic.

Conclusion

[Tweet “Christians have the most powerful motivator possible to be the most educated people possible.”]

Christians, of all people, should be the most educated. There is nothing in Scripture (rightly interpreted) that would compel or encourage a person to be willfully ignorant. If anyone has a corner on ignorance, it’s not the Christian worldview.

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  1. “Headquarters Virtual Tour.” Central Intelligence Agency. March 17, 2013. Accessed February 28, 2015. https://www.cia.gov/about-cia/headquarters-tour/virtual-tour-flash/index.html.  ↩
  2. White, James. “Growing In Christian Maturity.” SermonAudio. January 1, 2010. Accessed February 28, 2015. http://www.sermonaudio.com/playpopup.asp?SID=6281001226. ↩
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Mistakes A Brand New Apologist Usually Makes (Video)

Three Behaviors for the New Apologist to Avoid

The Man Who Wrote the Book (Literally)

Dr. Douglas Groothuis invested around eight years writing Christian Apologetics. At 752 pages it is a massive treatment. [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]In fact, the good doctor acknowledged that the hardback version could double as a weapon.[/inlinetweet] Both old and new apologists can benefit from reading this volume.

Dr. Groothuis was in campus ministry for many years and holds two degrees:

  • M.A. in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin
  • Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Oregon

What Are Some Common Pitfalls a New Apologist Should Avoid?

 

 

Quick Tips for the New Apologist

  • Love: [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Apologetics is about honoring Christ as Lord first.[/inlinetweet] We should also show respect for those we proclaim the gospel to. Newcomers sometimes miss this and come off as only caring about winning arguments.
  • Listen: Dr. Groothuis recommends a calm environment for apologetics. Busy and distraction prone settings make it difficult to listen and communicate. Good listening is like the first step in the phrase: ready, aim, fire.
  • Learn: [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Whether an apologetical encounter is good or bad, there’s always something to learn.[/inlinetweet]

 

Three Behaviors for the New Apologist to Practice
Three Behaviors for the New Apologist to Practice

 

Getting Caught Up in the Apologetical Moment

Discussing ideas that will effect someone’s eternity comes with a lot of responsibility. This is good. Our concern for God’s glory and the souls of others should weigh on us. This responsibility can make us feel excited and even nervous. This is especially common for new apologists. You may recognize some of these physical, emotional, and mental warning signs:

  • Uneven breathing, clammy palms, and a racing heart
  • Nervous laughter
  • An over eagerness to speak and an inability to hear what the other person is saying
  • Facial expressions that don’t match the conversation
  • Shuffling feet, shaking hands, and twitching eyelids
  • Asking questions like a lawyer (e.g. leading the witness)
  • One arm that’s longer than the other from carrying a bullhorn
  • Using Christian terms with a non-christian audience without providing explanations

An experienced apologist is hard to pick out of a crowd (unless they’re addressing the crowd). Their evenness of tone and measured responses don’t stand out. They look just like anyone else engaged in conversation. This isn’t because they’re ambivalent. They’ve simply learned how to be measured in their interactions.

Evangelism With A Loving Heart

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Evangelism should flow from a loving heart. If it isn’t love that motivates us, we’re liable to fall into the trap of pragmatism.[/inlinetweet] Emotion is a powerful way to exert influence on someone. Sometimes it’s the easiest way, but it isn’t loving to focus on just the emotion and leave the will and mind to fend for themselves. The greatest commandment enjoins us all to be well rounded Christians:

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.

— Matthew 12:30 (ESV)

Winning arguments is certainly a part of apologetics, but it can’t be the end goal. It’s possible to win every argument by sheer force of will and not glorify God at all. The end goal (as with all things in the Christian life) should be the glory of God. To the extent that winning an argument accomplishes that end, it’s good.

Video Transcript

I think someone who has just gotten the apologetics bug and is interested in arguments and so on can be insensitive to others such that the person doesn’t listen to other people (just dumps apologetics on their head).

And good apologetics, virtuous Christian witness, always involves loving and caring for the other person, listening to the other person, interacting, trying to figure out what the other person’s worldview is and what their life experiences are. And then your knowledge of defending Christianity as true, rational, and pertinent comes out through the dialogue and through a loving exchange.

Apologetics is not about defeating other people’s arguments. Now you want to win arguments. I’m a philosopher. I always want to win arguments. But I don’t want to win arguments on the cheek, on the cheap rather. I don’t want to just intimidate people and browbeat them. I want to give good reasons, make sure the other person understands, be able to take the criticisms that that person has of my worldview.

So what I’m saying is, we want to develop a deep truth seeking dialogue with others that will draw out what we know and furthermore reveal what we kn… we don’t know. So we need to be humble. And humble doesn’t mean, “I don’t really know what I believe or why, but let me tell you my opinion.” That’s ignorance. But we need to be humble in terms of loving others, not putting ourselves first, and to be willing to be corrected. And if we know something that’s significant, and we have some good arguments, be thankful to God, the giver of every good and perfect gift, that He has made those known to us.

Feedback

What about you? What’s your story? Did you go through some of these stages as a new apologist? Did it go well? What did you learn? Comment below buy cheap ativan from usa and start the conversation.

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Why You’ll Never Outgrow the Study of Theology

The Study of Theology Will Be Perfected When Jesus Appears

What Happens to Our Theology When Jesus Appears

Is it possible to be so old and wise that our theology can’t grow anymore? Is there a point where further study would be useless? Consider these words from the apostle John:

Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.

— I John 3:2[1]

The phrase to note is, “what we will be has not yet appeared.” [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Our theology will be perfected when Jesus appears.[/inlinetweet]  If our physical makeup will be different in the eternal state, why not our mental comprehension of God as well? Here are some specific changes that will occur when we see Jesus:

  • Errors: Mistakes of all kinds will be corrected.
  • Gaps: The gaps in our understanding will be filled in.
  • Fully Renewed Minds: Our capacity to understand truth, free from the effects of sin, will be realized.
  • New Truths: New truths (which agree with and confirm Scripture) will be understood.
  • Complete Sanctification: The disconnect between knowing right and doing right will be gone.

    The Study of Theology Will Be Perfected When Jesus Appears
    Copyright: Cameron Whitman

172 Years in the Study of Theology

Over the past few weeks I’ve had the opportunity to talk for over three hours with three people who like Credo Courses. Their combined age was 172. What was the biggest lesson I learned? [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]No matter your age, you’ll never outgrown the study of theology.[/inlinetweet] This shouldn’t discourage anyone. It should serve as a testament to the richness of the Christian faith.

Similarities from My Mini-Survey That Surprised Me

In our digital age there are many ways of learning about your audience, but it’s tough to beat sitting down and talking with someone. The tone of voice, body language, and energy of a conversation is hard to replace.

The three individuals I spoke with were Adrian (the youngest of the group), Janet, and Joel. What surprised me wasn’t that they had some things in common, but how many of them they had. Here’s what I learned:

  • 3 out of 3 – Have been or currently are in full-time ministry
  • 3 out of 3 – Expressed a desire to learn more about their faith and use it to help others
  • 3 out of 3 – Went to college
  • 3 out of 3 – Heard about Credo House first and then Credo Courses
  • 2 out of 3 – Have master’s degrees
  • 2 out of 3 – Are men
  • 2 out of 3 – Have more than one child
  • 2 out of 3 – Get much of their information from a network of friends and acquaintances

Three Preconceived Notions Destroyed

None of them fit my preconceived notions. My brain constructs pictures of what certain “kinds” of people are like. I think we all do this. Sometimes my pictures are accurate, but often they aren’t. People who like to study their Bibles are a “kind” of people in my mind. I should have drawn my picture in pencil because it didn’t stand up to reality.

The Study of Theology: Will Keep You from Being Active in Good Works

For some the study of theology is viewed as a danger. Why? Because they believe that knowing rightly and living rightly are opposed to each other. Or, at least, that you can’t do both equally well. So if you have to pick one, you should choose to live rightly.

Maybe you’ve heard someone allude to this yourself. They may say things like, “We should be concerned about living the Christian life. This theology stuff is just head knowledge.” A more spiritual version might be, “I just want to serve Jesus.” It’s hard to argue with a statement like that. As Christians we should all want to serve Jesus. Let’s try to put this in the form of an argument:

Premise 1: Christians should spend their time serving Jesus.

Premise 2: Time spent studying theology is time we don’t have to serve Jesus.

Conclusion: Therefore, we should spend less time studying theology.

It’s hard to argue with the first premise. In fact, I agree with it completely. The second premise has a built-in assumption. An assumption I deny. What is the assumption? It’s that studying theology is not a service we can do to Jesus. This is untrue.

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Theology is the study of God. As such, it cannot be contrary to serving God. It may be done (like anything else) in a wrong way. [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Properly done, theology is as much an act of worship as feeding the hungry or caring for the sick.[/inlinetweet]

Joel, Janet, and Adrian are good examples of how theology coincides with good works. Adrian runs a full-time Christian ministry. Joel is a deacon at his church and teaches class on Wednesdays. Janet visits the senior center almost daily. She enjoys chatting with her friends (online and off) about theology.

The Study of Theology: Is for Institutions of Higher Education

While Adrian, Janet, and Joel are all well educated, none of them studied theology in college, seminary, or university. However,  they’ve each continued their education through self-study. They’ve gotten study materials from a variety of ministries (including their local church). They then apply it to their lives in practical ways.

There are thousands of religious schools in the United States educating tens-of-thousands of student yearly. For some the amount of time, money, and focus college requires can be too burdensome. The wonderful thing is that folks like Adrian, Janet, and Joel don’t give up. They’re continuing their education on their own.

The Study of Theology: Is for Younger People

Most formal education takes place when a person is younger. This gives them a chance to get a job in their desired field early in life. They will then have the majority of their adult lives to build their careers. When an older person goes to school they are sometimes referred to as “non-traditional.”

I’m happy to report that Adrian, Janet, and Joel all qualify as non-traditional students. Their age hasn’t slowed down their study. Neither has it slaked their desire to deepen their understanding of God.

Just Keep Swimming

In the movie Finding Nemo, Dory tells Marlin[2]:

Dory: When life gets you down, you know watcha gotta do?

Marlin: I don’t wanna know watcha gotta do.

Dory: Just keep swimming.

This is what the lives of Adrian, Janet, and Joel teach us. Despite age, circumstances, and stereotypes, these three just keep swimming.

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Footnotes


  1. “Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”  ↩
  2. Finding Nemo, dir. Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich, perf. Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, and Alexander Gould (Walt Disney Video, 2003), DVD.  ↩