Posts Tagged ‘Christian apologetics’

Canadian Pastor Offers Strong Apologetics Title

Mark Hildebrand from HarperCollins Christian Publishing Canada just called to tip me off about new title by a new author which is performing extremely well. The Problem of God: Answering a Skeptic’s Challenges to Christianity by Mark Clark is released through Zondervan in paperback and retails for $21.99 

Publisher marketing:

The Problem of God is written by a skeptic who became a Christian and then a pastor, all while exploring answers to the most difficult questions raised against Christianity. Growing up in an atheistic home, Mark Clark struggled through his parents’ divorce, acquiring Tourette syndrome and OCD in his teen years. After his father’s death, he began a skeptical search for truth through science, philosophy, and history, eventually finding answers in Christianity.

In a disarming, winsome, and persuasive way, The Problem of God responds to the top ten God questions of our present age, including:

  • Does God even exist?
  • What do we do with Christianity’s violent history?
  • Is Jesus just another myth?
  • Can the Bible be trusted?
  • Why should we believe in Hell anymore today?

The book concludes with Christianity’s most audacious assertion: how should we respond to Jesus’ claim that he is God and the only way to salvation.

Mark Clark is the founding pastor of Village Church in Vancouver, Canada. Starting in 2010 out of a school gym, it is now one of the fastest growing multi-site churches in North America. Mark combines frank and challenging biblical preaching with real-world applications and apologetics to speak to Christians and skeptics, confronting questions, doubts, and assumptions about Christianity. His sermons have millions of downloads per year from over 120 different countries.

Zondervan | 272 pages | 9780310535225 | 17.99 USD 21.99 CDN


Roger Olson Title Fills a Gap in the Market

Would we call Buddhism a heresy? (p. 148)

Counterfeit Christianity - Roger OlsonThere is a striking difference between heresy and heretics, and as the question above illustrates, much depends on where you’re standing when you ask it. Theology and Ethics professor Roger Olson has written a book which occupies a middle ground between the usual academic text and a popular survey of cults and isms. Counterfeit Christianity: The Persistence of Errors in the Church (Abingdon) makes examining the plethora of Christian beliefs and doctrines accessible to the common parishioner, but is in no way light reading.

Olson has written many hardcover textbooks, but with this 176-page paperback seems to go out of his way to make this sideways look at church history more appealing to a broader readership, using some colorful imagery:

The Nicene Creed means that Christians are to believe in a God who is “one what and three whos.” The Chalcedonian Definition, hypostatic union, means that Christians are to believe that Jesus Christ is “one who and two whats.” (p.32)

Got that?

Or in the contrast between the Protestant and Catholics views of doctrinal authority, he quotes Modecai Kaplan:

Tradition always gets a vote, but never a veto. (p.39)

The approach is fresh, and some of it helps explains areas where non-theologians get stuck trying to untangle complex concepts:

In other words, the doctrine of the Trinity can be explained; the Trinity cannot be explained. The doctrine of the Trinity was never intended to be an explanation of God; it was intended to be a model that helps people think about God in a way that does not destroy the mystery of God, is faithful to God’s self-revelation in Christ, and protects God’s triunity from misunderstanding and distorted explanations. (p. 90, italics added)

And again,

Folk religion is to historic religion what astrology is to astronomy… Not all folk religion is totally wrong or heretical, but it’s a fertile seedbed in which heresy can grow and flourish. (p.140)

Organizationally, the book begins with two chapters outlining heresy and orthodoxy, five chapters dealing with what we might consider classic heresies, and three chapters dealing with more recent, unofficial heresies; those not condemned by a particular historic council.

Many chapters offer prescriptions for confronting flawed teaching:

The only way to have it in its full and true reality is to delve deeply into the Bible and Christian history by studying the whole Bible, not just passages that support our values and desires, and all the great voices of the Christian past – especially those who suffered for swimming against the stream of their cultures.

[There is] a need for American Christians to receive missionaries from Christian movements in the Global South where Christianity is thriving and, by all account, God’s involvement in day-to-day life is evident. (p.152)

Overall, I feel this title is something needed in the religion/apologetics/church history book market at this time. Again, this is not a textbook — though it could certainly serve as an undergraduate text — but has great potential for the average churchgoer who wants to go deeper into an understanding of false doctrine in the Christian era.

Thanks to Augsburg-Fortress Canada for an opportunity to review this title.

Crown Video Reorganizes

In an undated letter we received yesterday, Brad Mix of Christian DVD distributor Crown Video reported that its parent company, Precision Sound Corp. of Edmonton,  is in receivership and that “everything” — inventory and presumably distribution contracts — is being transferred to Word Alive in Winnipeg.  

The letter tries to clarify the relationship between Precision Sound and Crown, in one paragraph stating:

Although our parent company has gone into bankruptcy, as of now, Crown Entertainment has not. We were, however, sharing offices, warehouse, receptionist, shipping/receiving etc.

But in the next stating:

Since Precision Sound owned 100% of Crown Entertainment, Crown is now ultimately controlled by the Trustee in Bankruptcy.

The announcement is also unclear on the future of Crown vis-a-vis the new relationship with Word Alive:

We are still no (sic) 100% what will happen to Crown, but we do know we want to direct you to Word Alive for the DVD products we were carrying.

Web searches — including The Edmonton Journal and The Edmonton Sun — did not track any news stories on Precision Sound.  As of 9:00 AM EST Wednesday, websites at Precision, Crown and Word Alive did not reflect the information contained in the letter.

DVD sales in the Christian bookstore environment have, for many stores, represented the one department in which there was growth and prospects for continued growth. However, in the general market, companies like Blockbuster have had to face new models for online delivery of movies — such as Netflix — that are changing the way customers access video entertainment. It is unclear if this trend was instrumental in the Precision Sound story, but the company was invested in the manufacturing of physical sound and video product, as well as sound and lighting installation for educational institutions, corporations and churches.

If your Canadian retail store did not receive a copy of the letter, please indicate in the comments. We’ll delete the comment after forwarding you what we received.

Old Earth Creation Science Author Hugh Ross

Some of you have a simple Basic Doctrine or Apologetics section.   In one of our stores, a manager renamed it, “For The Skeptic.”

In larger stores that section is subdivided into subsections one of which is often, “Bible and Science”

But did you know you could actually subdivide the section further?  The Creationist community is somewhat divided into “Old Earth” and “New Earth” factions.   An “Old Earth” creationist is someone who accepts the standard scientific age of the planet.  (Not the same as “theistic evolution,” however.)    A proponent of this view is Hugh Ross.  You can read more about him in this Wikipedia article  here.

Here’s a recent promotional video from Baker Books for Why The Universe Is The Way It Is. If you double click on the link, it will take you direct to YouTube, where you’ll see a number of other videos from Ross in the right-side margin.