The Shallow End

ShallowStarting in October 2015, I’ll be teaching a class that encourages us all to dive deeper into the Bible at Springhouse Worship & Arts Center. The class is designed to provide options for daily reading, expose the participants top different ways to study the Bible, and to provide examples of exegesis, devotion and study in the weekly classes.

Week 4 – The Milk Drinkers, where we exegete what those people from the Parable of the Sower who take root and start to grow, but are still drinking milk instead of the meat of the Gospel according to Paul, and go through a devotional (part 4) on Why We Should Read the Bible: Because We Need to Know What We Believe.

Right Click and Save As… the pdf and the mp3 for the full experience:

Dive W4 Participant Guide | Dive W4 Show | Audio

Don’t forget to join the Facebook group page to follow along with the homework and to see the memes, pictures and videos referenced in the audio from the class.

The Kiddie Pool

DITB 1 - The Kiddie PoolStarting in October 2015, I’ll be teaching a class that encourages us all to dive deeper into the Bible at Springhouse Worship & Arts Center. The class is designed to provide options for daily reading, expose the participants top different ways to study the Bible, and to provide examples of exegesis, devotion and study in the weekly classes.

Week 3 – The Seekers, where we exegete what those people from the Parable of the Sower who seem to sprout up quickly and then when the trials of life come upon them they wither away (or hopefully not), and go through a devotional (part 3) on Why We Should Read the Bible: Because the Bible Says So.

Right Click and Save As… the pdf and the mp3 for the full experience:

Dive W3 Participant Guide | Dive W3 Show | Audio

Don’t forget to join the Facebook group page to follow along with the homework and to see the memes, pictures and videos referenced in the audio from the class.

The Jacuzzi

DITB 1 - The JacuzziStarting in October 2015, I’ll be teaching a class that encourages us all to dive deeper into the Bible at Springhouse Worship & Arts Center. The class is designed to provide options for daily reading, expose the participants top different ways to study the Bible, and to provide examples of exegesis, devotion and study in the weekly classes.

Week 2 – The Hot Tubbers, where we exegete what those people from the Parable of the Sower who are more worried about the world and the deceitfulness of wealth, and go through a devotional (part 2) on Why We Should Read the Bible: Because Jesus’ Sacrifice.

Right Click and Save As… the pdf and the mp3 for the full experience:

Dive W2 participant |Dive w2 Show | Audio

Don’t forget to join the Facebook group page to follow along with the homework and to see the memes, pictures and videos referenced in the audio from the class.

Dipping Your Toes

DITB 1 - Dipping Your ToesStarting in October 2015, I’ll be teaching a class that encourages us all to dive deeper into the Bible at Springhouse Worship & Arts Center. The class is designed to provide options for daily reading, expose the participants top different ways to study the Bible, and to provide examples of exegesis, devotion and study in the weekly classes.

Week 1 – The Toe Dippers, where we exegete what those people from the Parable of the Sower who just don’t understand, and go through a devotional (part 1) on Why We Should Read the Bible: Because God.

Right Click and Save As… the PowerPoint Participant Guide pdf, the PowerPoint Show and the mp3 for the full experience:

Dive W1 | Dive W1 Show | Audio

Don’t forget to join the Facebook group page to follow along with the homework and to see the memes, pictures and videos referenced in the audio from the class.

The Life and Death of Christ

What's the Least I Can Believe?Starting in April 2015, for seven weeks, I’ll be teaching a class based (loosely) on Martin Theilen’s What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still be a Christian? at Springhouse Worship & Arts Center. The class is designed to cut through the clutter and excess focus on non-essentials and renew our faith with clear focus on the essentials.

Week 5 non-essential: Types of Baptism. The essential: The Life & Death of Christ

Right Click and Save As… the pdf and the mp3 for the full experience:

Worksheet | Audio

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:
In classes like these, we don’t always have time to cover everything we could. Fortunately, I’ve covered this topic previously. In a previous class, Has God Spoken?, I spent a whole class time demonstrating proof of the Historicity of Jesus using only non-Biblical sources. You can download the pdf from the earlier post, and click the link to download that class audio.

Why baptism? from the perspective of former Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll check out this video. This follow up video answers the question if Baptism is required for salvation.

For a (very long and thorough) debate on infant baptism between John MacArthur (against) and R.C. Sproul (for), click this video and listen in. If you have two hours on your hand it’s pretty indicative of the two sides to this issue.

In a perspective on the One Minute Apologist webcast, Dr. Bobby Conway speaks on whether or not someone must to be baptized to be saved, watch this clip.

My Lord and My God

What's the Least I Can Believe?Starting in April 2015, for seven weeks, I’ll be teaching a class based (loosely) on Martin Theilen’s What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still be a Christian? at Springhouse Worship & Arts Center. The class is designed to cut through the clutter and excess focus on non-essentials and renew our faith with clear focus on the essentials.

Week 4 essential: Salvation Comes Only Through Jesus. The non-essential: How you are saved.

Right Click and Save As… the pdf and the mp3 for the full experience:

Worksheet | Audio

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:
For a clear, short message of salvation from Rick Warren, of Saddleback Church in California, watch this video clip here. For the “most basic” things needed to be saved, listen to John Piper’s answer in this short video clip.

How about some salvation testimonies? Adrian Rogers, the late Southern Baptist preacher. John Piper of Desiring God. Greg Laurie of Harvest Crusades and Harvest Christian Fellowship.

For more stories of how God intercedes in our lives for Salvation, I recommend the whole website of I Am Second. Check out Michael W. Smith, the musician (you may know him.)

The Nature of Everything, Part 3

What's the Least I Can Believe?Starting in April 2015, for seven weeks, I’ll be teaching a class based (loosely) on Martin Theilen’s What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still be a Christian? at Springhouse Worship & Arts Center. The class is designed to cut through the clutter and excess focus on non-essentials and renew our faith with clear focus on the essentials.

Week 3 non-essential: Eternal vs Conditional Security, essential: the Godhood of Jesus

Right Click and Save As… the pdf and the mp3 for the full experience:

Worksheet | Audio

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:
To sum up the Trinity (which is what parts 1 through 3 were about) consider this great, succinct video explanation by Ravi Zacharias, the great apologist. Notice how he deals with complexity and continues using reason and philosophy. That the Trinity is uncovered in the Bible is theology. Trying to understand the Trinity is an exercise in logic and philosophy.

On the unforgiveable sin, see Hank Hanegraaff’s short video response from the One Minute Apologist webcast.

For a great video on the differences between Calvinism and Arminianism, check out this sermon clip by former head pastor of Mars Hill, Mark Driscoll.

For a constructive conversation between John Piper (Calvinist) and Rick Warren (Arminian) over the complete sovereignty of God, suffering, sin, and how God is in control of everything, watch this clip. They also discuss Unconditional Election – God chooses who will be saved – and also Conditional Election in this clip, which coincidentally is where I tend to find myself on this topic, if that matters. “Any apparent contradiction in scripture is my limited capacity… it’s like an ant trying to understand the internet.” – Warren.

For more information on Thomas Jefferson’s version of the Bible, called The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth, visit Smithsonian Magazine. (You can also click on the title of the book for links to read it online.)

An interesting apologetics class by R.C. Sproul touches on the Deity of Christ. Move forward to the 14 minute mark of this video.

Pastor Mark Discholl has a great video clip on Jesus’ claims to be God and why he was arrested and killed.

The Nature of Everything, Part 2

What's the Least I Can Believe?Starting in April 2015, for seven weeks, I’ll be teaching a class based (loosely) on Martin Theilen’s What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still be a Christian? at Springhouse Worship & Arts Center. The class is designed to cut through the clutter and excess focus on non-essentials and renew our faith with clear focus on the essentials.

Week 2 non-essential: The Gifts of the Spirit, essential: the Godhood of the Holy Spirit

Right Click and Save As… the pdf and the mp3 for the full experience:

Worksheet | Audio

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:
Some perspectives on tongues and other Gifts of the Spirit: John Piper on What is the Gift of Tongues? He is fully vulnerable on his own experiences. Mark Driscoll on Common questions about the Gift of Tongues. The whole sermon can be found here on the topic of Empowered by the Spirit to Follow Jesus. While Driscoll (like Piper) is Reformed, he is also open to the gifts being ongoing.

From John MacArthur’s Strange Fire Conference (Cessationalist), Nathan Busenitz, assistant to John MacArthur and professor at The Master’s Seminary, teaches on Charismatic Counterfeits: Do the Modern Gifts Meet the Biblical Standard? in this clip. You can also find quite a bit more on the Strange Fire Conference, which was basically a Cessationalist Conference. For John MacArthur’s own views, which are very strong, watch a sermon here.

For a clear explanation of how to discuss and not divide over the Gifts of the Spirit from an apologist who is not Charismatic, Hank Hanegraaff of the Christian Research Institute, listen to this video here.

The Nature of Everything, Part 1

What's the Least I Can Believe?Starting in April 2015, for seven weeks, I’ll be teaching a class based (loosely) on Martin Theilen’s What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still be a Christian? at Springhouse Worship & Arts Center. The class is designed to cut through the clutter and excess focus on non-essentials and renew our faith with clear focus on the essentials.

Week 1 non-essential: Evolution, essential: the Nature of God.

Right Click and Save As… the pdf and the mp3 for the full experience:

Worksheet  |  Audio

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:
Pastors Matt Chandler of Village Church in Dallas-Fort Worth, Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, and Professor of Theology and Apologetics at Westminster Seminary California Michael Horton discuss how to disagree and not divide in this short discussion clip. A great primer for the central concept of this class: disagreeing agreeably.

Can Science Disprove God? is a short video clip with Frank Turek on the One Minute Apologist webcast.

Links to the ministries named in the Creation, ID and Evolution discussion: Biologos (Christian Evolution), Ken Hamm’s Answers in Genesis (Young Earth), Reasons to Believe (Intelligent Design).

For a perspective by Dr. Norman Geisler on the One Minute Apologist, on whether or not Christians can believe in Evolution, watch this clip. (Based on the feedback in class, it seems like most of you would agree with this.)

Engaging Arrow (S2E11)

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As an exercise in discernment, continuing what we started in the Engaging Culture class in 2014, I decided to check out an episode of Arrow and see what its worldview is and what it espouses either on purpose or by accident. I’m going to write as the show happens:

The creepy alderman Sebastian Blood visits his mother,  who is in stuck in a hospital by Blood under his aunt’s name, and finds out that she spoke to Laurel. He says he forgives her then dons his Blood mask and kills her. Using forgiveness as a sort of morality in bad guys is tried and true. The idea that the bad guy follows a set of rules is supposed to give them a level of depth. Kinda shallow though. Nothing moral about this.

Sarah and Oliver are on the island via flashback. He tells her that you can’t trust anyone. So dramatic.

Laurel is notified that Sebastian Blood’s mother in the hospital died. She tries to enlist help but the ADA says she is on her own. Everyone in this show is on their own.

Oliver visits Roy who won’t tell anything about Blood. He is on his own.

Oliver and team discuss the need to stop Blood. Duh.

Arrow is requested by Laurel for a meeting. She spills the beans on Blood. She tells him that Blood killed his mother to cover up the fact that he killed his father. Arrow agrees to look into it.

Felicity illegally hacked Blood’s mobile phone. I guess that’s cool. The ends justify the means right? The team agrees to look into Blood.

Roy has super tough skin. He can punch through stuff without damaging himself. Super strength and super tough thanks to the injection from Blood when he was captured. He decides to fight crime with his new powers. Vigilante life chosen. At least he wants to help people.

Felicity hacked the justice department and the “bad news” is that she can’t hack the old file on Blood’s dad’s death. Another means justified I guess.

Laurel is going to help Arrow. She is still doping pain pills. She hasn’t learned from any consequences but the drug use is portrayed as wrong.

Oliver and Sarah are back on the island. Oliver jokes about always being drunk at parties. Never anything negative to say about drunkenness. “Not everyone is what they seem,” she opines. Once Oliver falls asleep she steals his radio apparently proving that.

Laurel helps Arrow break in to the records office to steal the sealed file. The illegal activity is once again justified by the ends. Oliver then holds off innocent police with force. They jump out of a window. A window?! Why the huge drama about breaking in if you could just go through a window? Mission Impossible bubble popped.

Oliver and team debrief. Dramatic language and posturing.

Roy has a target – the Slasher who attacks prostitutes. Cyn needs a dress. Thea offers the prefect dress. “Guy… or girl” won’t know what hit them. Casual homosexual reference. “Whatever you’re in to.”

Oliver confronts Blood about Laurel. Nothing revealed. Laurel is just acting weird.

Cyn pretends to be a prostitute to find the Slasher. Her first trick? Him, of course. In the whole city, the Slasher picks her up. Way too lucky.

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Blood is confronted by Slade. It’s confirmed that Blood is the murderer of his father. Blood has to kill Laurel or he will be killed.

Laurel’s house is tossed. She is arrested for illegal pain pills. When her father visits her in the interview room she tries to tell him about Sebastian Blood. Her father doesn’t believe her. Consequences finally show up for her drug use! Finally!

Sarah is back on the island. She is trying to contact Anthony, the guy who captured her the year prior. She is concerned about Anthony killing Shadow. He will have to live with her death for the rest of his life, he says. So it’s harder to be the killer than the killed? He needs her to save him. She can be his savior.

Roy is checking on the Slasher in the hospital. Cyn called Thea. She just wants to help him but Roy rejects her help. Always alone: the theme of this show.

Oliver confronts Laurel about how she needs help to kick the drug habit but she says she doesn’t need anyone’s help. Seriously, this whole show is about trying to do everything on your own. Blood and his goons knock out Oliver and take her. Could have ended the show by killing him. So close but Blood doesn’t know Oliver is the Arrow and for no reason decides that survivors are acceptable.

Blood says that masks historically give people authority like a god. Arrow and Blood fight. Blood should be no match but suddenly he knows Kung Fu. Blood gets the jump on Arrow but Laurel saves him by shooting him. She removes the mask and it’s not Blood.

The dirty cop that was killed has tons of evidence that wraps up a bunch of cases tightly. But since we know that Blood is the one who wears the mask it’s not convincing the viewer. The ADA asks her substance abuse problem and then fires her.

Oliver is mad because Laurel “fooled” him into believing Blood is the bad guy. He had a Blind Spot (the name of the episode) with her but no more.

Oliver finds out that Roy put someone in the hospital.

Sarah on the island calls Anthony and thanks him for saving her. She then calls him out for torturing people. He turns from his “save me” attitude to promising to hunt her down and killing her.

Slade kills a bunch of Blood’s men and promises to kill more of he fails again. He is super fast for an old, one eyed, and previously thought to be dead guy.

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Arrow confronts Roy. The serum twists men, he says. Arrow offers to teach Roy to control his ability and his mind. Roy accepts help! Hallelujah! Someone won’t do it alone!

What did we learn?

-The ends justify the means. Killing people, hacking or breaking into government computers or buildings, attacking innocents, whatever. This is a particularly dangerous philosophy because for Christians the whole point is that the ends do NOT justify the means. The means, our journey is everything.

-There seems to be some kind of moral superiority given to those who try to do things on their own. On the one hand we learn that Laurel was wrong to try to kick her drug habit on her own, but Arrow doing things on his own is seen as a plus. This message is confounded by the relative answers to whether or not people should work together to solve problems it’s never answered completely or concretely.

-The drug use does finally have consequences but they are minor so long as the plot moves forward. Laurel losses her job (for now) but has the charges dropped for no reason. The others do doubt her about Blood but only because she kills someone else wearing the mask. The drugs really are secondary. I would prefer a much stronger message about the dangers of drugs via stronger consequences.

-This show is a soap opera. Seriously. So melodramatic!

What do you think?