My faithful friend Pastor Derek Barnett, lead church planter and pastor at Great Exchange Church in Boulder, CO, asked me to write a guest blog post a few months back on a topic of my choice. Based on the reports that I've heard about the very hard spiritual soil in Colorado at large, I sent him some material on "Incorporating Apologetics into Your Preaching." You may not be a preacher, but for anyone who is involved in leading small groups, Sunday School classes, or other teaching functions in the church, you may find it a helpful read. I'd invite you to check out the post and check out what Derek's team is about to do in Colorado.
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Is Thanksgiving a time for gorging on lovingly (or perhaps laboriously) prepared feasts until we can’t move as a result of a food-comma? Is it filled with strategic plans for honoring the anti-holiday of consumerism that will inevitably follow the next day? Is it like that painting by Norman Rockwell or an excuse for families to see each other or a reminder of a general spirit of appreciation that every decent American should aspire to cultivate in his or her life?
The problem assumes that if a perfectly good and omnipotent God exists, He must have created a world with the best attainable balance of good over evil. It seems that an alternate world can be imagined in which the laws that govern this world create a more perfect balance of good over evil than that which exists now. Perhaps such a world would contain the possibility for moral evil, but not natural evil. (Moral evil, the way I'm using it, is that supposed evil in the world that results from beings that have the option to do otherwise. Natural "evil" refers to those supposed atrocities that occur as a result of the natural order of the universe.)
"By 'hell,' what do you mean?"-- this is the kind of question that you are likely to be asked anytime you bring up this subject in conversation. For our purposes here, I'm going to assume the traditional notion of hell which includes a place of eternal punishment where God's wrath is poured out on those who have chosen to rebel against Him (including Satan, demons, and unrepentant sinners). Frankly, this is a troubling issue for many, including myself. Before trying to dive into this weighty question, I want to mention a few observations that will help us in handling this:
The doctrine of the Resurrection lies at the very heart of our theology, our apologetic, and our Christian hope that one day we too will be raised in the likeness of Him. There is much at stake in attempting to demonstrate the historicity of this event. Dr. Gary Habermas has given us quite the argument for the Resurrection using only those minimal facts that the majority of scholars, both liberal and conservative, agree upon.