Category Archives: Theology

Josh McDowell and Son: Christian Parents Can Help Children Develop Their Own Convictions on Faith by Not Answering Questions


CHARLOTTE – For Christian parents to pass on their faith to their children, they should not answer their children’s questions but respond with more questions to help their kids think through the issues themselves rather than rely upon their parents, famed Christian apologist Josh McDowell and his son, Sean McDowell, explained recently at the Southern Evangelical Seminary’s 21st Annual National Conference on Christian Apologetics in Charlotte, North Carolina.

In raising his four children, Josh McDowell explained that he tried to never answer their questions but to respond to them with another question because he wanted them to develop their own convictions rather than simply become Christians because their parents are Christian.

“I needed to teach my kids to think,” he said, “to think logically, to come to their conclusions. Because if there is always dad’s answer, then they couldn’t develop convictions.”

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

There isn’t supposed to be a ‘dad’s answer’ and a ‘son’s answer’ on points of doctrine; there should be a shared answer, what together, the community of which you’re both a part understands is the answer on something.

This is why traditions as varied as Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran, and Reformed, have all made use of catechisms and confessions to teach both old and young, within their flocks. That is why the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8 could not understand what he was reading in Isaiah without someone to guide him.

Individual interpretation can lead one astray; after all, “the heart is deceitful above all things.”

If your son asks for bread, should you give him a stone?

Of course not.

So, instead of throwing back a question at him, you say, “This is what we, collectively,  as (fill-in-the-blank) understand this passage to mean; here are some cross-references that support this interpretation; here’s what our tradition says this means.”

Of course, if you’re the head of your own ministry, like Josh McDowell, I suppose you can’t very well point to a tradition older than yourself. In which case, shoot, why not just say, “Because I said so, and I’m the boss around here!”, because that’s all you have to stand on. Which is not much.

I suppose I’ll give Josh McDowell this much: at least he did a better job of raising his son than Tony Campolo or Francis Schaeffer did, since the son is still relatively orthodox – for now, at least…

Yet he’s still leading others astray with his bad advice, which is unconscionable.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”, we are instructed.

Likewise, “But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.


Musical Interlude: “Revelation (Death’s Angel)”, by Manowar

It’s been far too long since I did a musical interlude, doncha think? (Not counting this recent repost.)

Thanks to infowarrior1 for introducing me to this epic ’80s metal track.

Above the wreckage of your mortal world I stand
Judgement passed delivered by his hand
Now clear the smoke, there the ashes stand
A fitting tribute to mortality and man.
What was written foretold in dreams,
In visions apocalypse now seen.
And all self-righteous fools who lived and blasphemed
Drink the wine of his anger
Die with the beast
Vindication, he is coming on the clouds
See his angels, hear their trumpets sound.
The day of anger when the stars fall from the sky
The moon turns red, the sun turns black as night.
Know the end is coming, heed this sign
By the morning star the four horsemen ride.
Revelation, the chosen saved
Earth be cleansed in a blaze
Armageddon, the first trumpet blows
Hail, fire and blood fall on Satan’s throne.
His hair as white as wool, his eyes like burning flame
He is the first and last, he brings the seven plagues
Seven stars of seven cities in his hand
He holds the keys of death for the underworld and man
Know the end is coming, heed this sign
By the morning star the four horsemen ride
Revelation, the chosen saved
Earth be cleansed in a blaze
Armageddon, the first trumpet blows
Hail, fire and blood fall on Satan’s throne.
Revelation, the chosen saved
Earth be cleansed in a blaze
Armageddon, the first trumpet blows
Hail, fire and blood fall on Satan’s throne.


Indiana Trooper Sued for Sharing Gospel During Traffic Stop

And rightly so, in my opinion.

UNION COUNTY, Indiana – A police officer in Indiana has been leveled with a lawsuit for sharing the gospel with a driver during a traffic stop.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is representing complainant Ellen Bogan, 60, who claims that Indiana State Police trooper Brian Hamilton violated her constitutional rights by asking her about her religious beliefs after he pulled her over for an alleged traffic violation.

According to reports, the incident occurred in August in Union County, Indiana. Hamilton gave her a warning about making an illegal pass—and then asked her if she went to church anywhere. He also reportedly asked her if she had accepted Jesus as her Lord and savior.

“I’m not affiliated with any church. I don’t go to church,” Bogan told the Indianapolis Star. “I felt compelled to say I did, just because I had a state trooper standing at the passenger-side window. It was just weird.”

The trooper then asked Bogan if he could give her a tract, and he went to his vehicle to retrieve it for her.

“The whole time, his lights were on,” she said. “I had no reason to believe I could just pull away at that point, even though I had my warning.”

Bogan later contacted the Indiana State Police to lodge a complaint and request an investigation. She also enlisted the assistance of the ACLU to file a lawsuit claiming that Hamilton violated her First and Fourth Amendment rights by speaking to her about matters of faith and handing her a tract that asks the recipient to “realize you’re a sinner” and “realize the Lord Jesus Christ paid the penalty for your sins.”

It’s one thing for ordinary Christians to have the freedom to be able to share the Gospel with colleagues in day-to-day conversation.

It’s another for police to take advantage of their ability to stop people from their regular movements, and accost them with proselytization while they have a captive audience.

A balance needs to be struck in society, in terms of finding the right place within the public square for sharing the faith.

There is a time and place for everything, as Scripture acknowledges.

Agents of a state committed to religious neutrality in a country with freedom of religion should not be taking advantage of their powers to proselytize ordinary citizens who aren’t their colleagues, while on the job, especially under such circumstances as this.

I wouldn’t want a cop to pull me over, and proselytize Islam, or Judaism, or atheism; I can therefore sympathize with this atheist woman.

The corollary of the Golden Rule is that you don’t do unto others what you wouldn’t have them do unto you.

Therefore this cop was wrong, and should accordingly be punished.


Posted by on October 10, 2014 in America, law, religion, spirituality, Theology


Trinity Western grad ‘attacked’ for being Christian in job rejection

Originally posted on Will S.' Culture War Blog:


A Trinity Western University graduate says she was “attacked” over her religion by a Norwegian wilderness tourism company, just for applying for a job.

Bethany Paquette claims her application to work in Canada’s North for Amaruk Wilderness Corp. was rejected because she’s Christian.

“It did really hurt me and I did feel really attacked on the basis that I’m a Christian,” Paquette said.

In her complaint to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal, Paquette outlines a series of emails from executives from Amaruk Wilderness Corp.

Paquette, an experienced river rafting guide, applied to be a wilderness guide for Amaruk’s Canadian operations in the North.

She says she was shocked when she read the rejection email from Olaf Amundsen, the company’s hiring manager.

He wrote that she wasn’t qualified and “unlike Trinity Western University, we embrace diversity, and the right of people to sleep with or marry whoever they want.”

Trinity Western is the…

View original 340 more words


Lost in Transition – With His Latest Research on Emerging Adults, Sociologist Christian Smith Helps the Church Reach Out to a Rootless Generation

Will S.:

Ties in with Free Northerner’s excellent recent post on adolescence, here.

Hint: if you see a ‘You have reached the end of this Article Preview’ notice after the first few paragraphs: highlight some of the text and Google it, then when you see the same CT story at or near the top of the search results, click on it; you should be able to read the entire thing, coming from Google (it worked for me, anyway).

Originally posted on Literate Comments:

What are the traits of religious American teenagers who retain a high faith commitment as emerging adults?

The most important factor is parents. For better or worse, parents are tremendously important in shaping their children’s faith trajectories. That’s the story that came out in Soul Searching. It’s also the story that comes out here.

Another factor is youth having established devotional lives—that is, praying, reading Scripture—during the teenage years. Those who do so as teenagers are much more likely than those who don’t to continue doing so into emerging adulthood. In some cases, having other adults in a congregation who you have relationships with, and who are supportive and provide modeling, also matters.

Some readers are going to be disappointed that going on mission trips doesn’t appear to amount to a hill of beans, at least for emerging adults as a whole. For some it’s important, but not for…

View original 25 more words


Rooting Out Bad Religion – Why Ross Douthat Wants to See America Return to its Confessional Roots

Will S.:

Interesting Q&A with Ross Douthat at Christianity Today, worth reading.

Hint: if you see a ‘You have reached the end of this Article Preview’ notice after the first few paragraphs: highlight some of the text and Google it, then when you see the same CT story at or near the top of the search results, click on it; you should be able to read the entire thing, coming from Google (it worked for me, anyway).

Originally posted on Literate Comments:

View original


Vatican Astronomer Says Alien Life Will Be Discovered, But Will Not Prove or Disprove God

How does he know that for sure, though?

The new president of the Vatican Observatory Foundation has said that it is only a matter of time before alien life forms are discovered, which will pave the way to questions about God’s relationship to intelligent beings outside our planet.

Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno speculated that the general public will not be too surprised when life on other planets is eventually discovered, and will react in much the same way it did when news broke in the ’90s that there are other planets orbiting far off stars.

Consolmagno, a planetary scientist who has studied meteorites and asteroids as an astronomer with the Vatican Observatory since 1993, told Catholic News Service that discovery of alien life will not prove or disprove the existence of God, but will pave the way to questions on salvation and how it relates to intelligent species.

I agree that one would not be able to automatically draw conclusions either way from the discovery of intelligent life elsewhere, but what I dispute is that they must needs exist, only because we have no evidence for either the existence or non-existence of intelligent alien life elsewhere, so speculating that ‘it’s only a matter of time’ before we discover such, means Consolmagno is arguing not from fact, but from an unsupported belief.

Some creationists, however, such as Creation Museum CEO and President Ken Ham, have argued that God has not created life anywhere outside the Earth.

“I’m shocked at the countless hundreds of millions of dollars that have been spent over the years in the desperate and fruitless search for extraterrestrial life,” Ham wrote in a blog post for Answers in Genesis in July, referring to NASA programs probing for extraterrestrial life.

“Of course, secularists are desperate to find life in outer space, as they believe that would provide evidence that life can evolve in different locations and given the supposed right conditions! The search for extraterrestrial life is really driven by man’s rebellion against God in a desperate attempt to supposedly prove evolution!”

I also disagree with Ham, because nothing in Scripture teaches that life does not exist elsewhere; therefore, we ought not assert that it doesn’t, any more than we ought to assert that it does.

We’ll see.

Or not.


It’s not like it matters, unless and until we find such…

Why not cross that bridge if and when we reach it, folks on either side of the ‘debate’?

Arguing about it until then is pointless, and accomplishes nothing, other than making Christians look foolish.



Posted by on September 22, 2014 in religion, Theology


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 318 other followers