St. Augustine (with Ken Samples)

22 Mar

Urban Theologian Radio #11
Based off Ken’s series, “If I had Lunch with St. Augustine.” We touch on Augustine’s life, accomplishments, controversies, and ask “how did a great sinner become a great saint?”

Special Guest: Ken Samples of RTB, read part 1 of his Augustine article 

featured song: Take Up & Read – shai linne (Lyrical Theology: Part 1, 2013)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kqv4szJYg4k&list=PLFnWm9yAvTFQrkfRlTt5T_BP7L4DLMNqf&index=1

http://lampmode.merchline.com/collections/music/products/shai-linne-lyrical-theology-part-1

air date: 2015/03/22

The Real St. Patrick (with Mike Pettengill)

15 Mar

http://www.podbean.com/media/player/audio/postId/5506368?url=http%3A%2F%2Furbantheologianradio.com%2Fe%2Fthe-real-st-patrick-with-mike-pettengill%2F&skin=1&download=1&share=1&auto=1&fonts=Helvetica

Urban Theologian Radio #10

Patrick went from slave to evangelist. He was ahead of his time in his treatment of women. Mike Pettengill wants to reclaim the true Patrick and his missionary legacy.

Special Guest: Mike Pettengill, missionary and author, St. Patrick: Reclaiming the Great Missionary,

Featured Song: Plate Fulla Funk (Plate Fulla Funk, 1995) – DDC

published date: 2015/03/15

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Evolution in the Textbooks (with Russ Miller)

8 Mar

http://www.podbean.com/media/player/audio/postId/5461506?url=http%3A%2F%2Furbantheologianradio.com%2Fe%2Fevolution-in-the-textbooks-with-russ-miller%2F&skin=1&download=1&share=1&auto=1&fonts=Helvetica

Urban Theologian Radio #9

Learn how a disturbing amount of the support given for evolution in textbooks is drawn from incorrect or outdated information.

Special Guest: Russ Miller of creationministries.org

Featured Song: Peep the Message (Forfeit Never, 2014) – Urban Ops

published date: 2015/03/01

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Super Apostles! (with Doug Geivett)

1 Mar

http://www.podbean.com/media/player/audio/postId/5461502?url=http%3A%2F%2Furbantheologianradio.com%2Fe%2Fsuper-apostles-with-doug-geivett%2F&skin=1&download=1&share=1&auto=1&fonts=Helvetica

Urban Theologian Radio #8

Doug Geivett warns of the dangers of the New Apostolic Reformation and its “super apostles”.

Special Guest: Dr. Doug Geivett of Talbot School of Theology, author of God’s Super-Apostles: Encountering the Worldwide Prophets and Apostles Movement

Featured Song: Fal$e Teacher$ (Lyrical Theology Part One: Theology) – shai linne

published date: 2015/03/01

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What Is Faith?

14 Jan

WHAT IS FAITH?

Atheists misdefine the Christian concept of faith. The chief offender is Peter BoghossianWhen Peter and the disciples (get it?) define faith as “pretending to know things you don’t know”, we need to ask: “What is their authority, their source for this definition? Have they done any basic exegetical work in the text? What is their justification for their interpretation? Where do they pull their definition from?”

No wise student of world religions and other belief systems should act as if all frameworks have an identical definition of this word/concept. A person may not agree with the way Christian theology defines faith – fine. But shouldn’t they at least understand how Christians have historically utilized the word and concept? If they are not attempting to do this – which appears to be the case—then what are they accomplishing?

Atheists, please understand: any evangelical worth their salt is not interested in some vague philosophy of religion definition of faith but rather the biblical – and especially the New Testament – use of the word and concept.

Will Peter B. be interested? Not likely. But then he will merely be defining something in a way that is designed to be favorable to his ultimate end. That’s not a linguistic consideration; that’s a cheap tactic. Read Peter Boghossian, Atheist Tactitian for more on this.

That is fine for him, but it’s not scholarship. Peter’s definition doesn’t reflect the way the biblical authors used the word. It doesn’t look at the way systematizers use concepts and it won’t reflect most streams of Christianity (sans fideists). Peter and the crew will talk right past all of us without blinking.

Recently, I looked over the Biblical definition of faith. I took some notes. As a Protestant Christian, I go to Scripture (as in ‘sola Scriptura’). I look to the actual Greek word pisteuō (verb form) and then go from there. I included some basic mini-word studies with a few examples of usage. I look to Scripture, its context (in the Greek) and the lexicons. Then I seek to collate and synthesize the data – this is what systematic theology *is*.

With these notes, I have no mere polemic in mind. I offer an understanding of what the Greek word translated as faith means in the New Testament. 

FAITH IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
-Gk. noun pistis and verb pisteuō both occur more than 240 times (verb form used 98 times in Gospel of John), adjective pistos 67 times

-Verb pisteuō often followed by Greek word for ‘that’ (eg, “believe that…”); indicates New Testament faith is concerned with content. NOTE: it is still more than that, though, e.g., Calvin’s Commentary on Romans 3:14-15.

-“Pisteuō may be followed by the simple dative, when the meaning is that of giving credence to, of accepting as true, what someone says.” … it is “faith in the sense of trust.” (New Bible Dictionary, 3rd edition, 1996, from the entry for “faith” by Leon Morris).

-Common construction for saving faith in NT: verb pisteuō followed by preposition eis.
Literally means believe ‘into’ (as in, “believe/trust into Christ”).

-New Testament faith is not merely accepting certain things as true, but emphasizes trusting a person – Christ. 

Calvin comments: “To separate faith from trust (Latin, fiducia) would be equal to an attempt to separate heat and light from the sun” (Commentary on Ephesians 3:12). The emphasis is the object of faith: the person of Christ. The idea is that God is reliable, dependable, and truthful – therefore trustworthy.

- Sometimes pisteuō is followed by epi, ‘upon’ (e.g., Acts 9:42).

- Also characteristic of the New Testament is the absolute use of the verb pisteuō (e.g., John 4:41).

FAITH IN PAUL
-Faith is used in New Testament often as the antithesis of WORKS – not of rationality or thought.

-For example, Paul writes that ‘A man is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ’ … ‘even we have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ, and not by works of the law’ … ‘because by works of the law shall no one be justified’ (Galatians 2:16).

-Here faith denotes relying on God’s grace as opposed to one’s own merit or work. This is what the Protestant Reformers meant by the Latin motto, “sola fide” (by “faith alone”).

FAITH IN HEBREWS
-The author of Hebrews sees faith as a historic trait for the people of God (in chapter 11 he gives numerous examples)

John Frame comments: “…although faith is not blind, it is different from sight. The heroes of Hebrews 11 endured terrible sufferings, not seeing the fulfillment of God’s promises, the heavenly city. They walked by faith. They had God’s word, and that word was reliable. But it did not answer all their questions or tell each one why his or her suffering was necessary. Yet their prevailed. The very nature of faith is to persevere despite unanswered questions. Thus does God’s word encourage sufferers to hold on tightly to God’s promises and not to be overcome with doubt.” (Apologetics to the Glory of God: An Introduction, John Frame, 1994), p 179.

-The author of Hebrews does contrast faith (Gr. pistis) with things seen (Gr. blepomenon) in Hebrews 11:1.

In general, faith in the New Testament is seen as synonymous with trust. It is usually contrasted with “works” – NOT REASON! The exception (to a certain extent) is the Book of Hebrews. The author uses the concept in a somewhat different way. Still, if a person reads the whole book – or at least all of chapter 11 – they should be able to see how the author seeks to tie faith to the concept of hope. The author doesn’t seek to divorce it from reason (the idea of true faith vs. true reason is not even in the Bible). With that being said, the author of Hebrews does show there is a “not-yet” aspect; there is something still in the future still, which we have not yet seen or experienced but trust God that it will happen.

FAITH IN JAMES
-Often uses faith to denote intellectual assent, as in demons who believe God exists in James 2:19.

NOTE: CHRISTIAN FAITH IS HYPOTHETICALLY FALSIFIABLE (1 Corinthians 15)
IF Christ has not been raised

THEN Paul’s preaching is vain (Greek kene: empty, without content, purposeless, untrue)

IF Christ has not been raised
THEN the Corinthians faith is also vain (Greek kene: empty, without content, purposeless, untrue)

IF Christ has not been raised
THEN the apostles are misrepresenting God

IF Christ has not been raised
THEN your faith is futile (Greek mataia: worthless, powerless, without effect, useless)

IF Christ has not been raised
THEN Christians are of all people most to be pitied

FAITH IN VAN TIL: 

As a Calvinist, I ask what others in the Reformed tradition have said: a theologian (Frame), a philosopher (Van Til) and an exegete (Calvin), all who represent the Reformed Christian tradition. Then we may ask, “How have others understood the concept of faith historically?”

“Christianity is not irrational” … “it must not be taken on blind faith”
(Common Grace and The Gospel, 1972), p 184.

“…the Christian faith is not a blind faith but is faith based on evidence…”
(A Christian Theory of Knowledge, 1969), p 250.

FAITH IN CALVIN:

“Our faith cannot rest on anything other than his eternal truth” (aeterna eius veritate) – Commentary on Genesis 17:4

“Faith is a knowledge of the divine will toward us received from his word” (Institutes, 3.2.6).

“We make the foundation of faith the gratuitous promise, because in it faith properly consists” (3.2.29).

*All of Chapter 2 of Book 3 of Calvin’s Institutes is on faith; he defines it and explains its properties. 

EPILOGUE

On a slightly different trek, one may ask what is the source or cause for said faith. Well, that gets us into what is called the ‘ordo salutis’ (Latin,” order of salvation”).

The source of this trust (why does any one person begin trusting/have faith in the first place?) is understood to be an effect resulting from the supernatural work of the person of the Holy Spirit upon the mind of an individual. Sometimes this is talked about under the rubric of something called “effectual calling”.

Reformed types believe regeneration is a gift and must precede genuine faith – or trust. Arminian or Wesleyan types think that people believe (have faith/trust) on via their own means and then as a result are born again (regenerated) after. People often go to the Greek of Ephesians 2:8-10 to discuss this question.

RESOURCES: Peter debated Tim McGrew on this topic on Unbelievable Radio here. It was good overall (not to say I agree with Tim 100%, I don’t). Also, see the RTB podcast “Is Christian “Faith” Blind?” (Apr 10, 2013).

Debating the Problem of Evil with Atheists [video]

2 Dec 522382_356590257709850_143695488999329_863997_633064247_n

I (Vocab) debated two atheists at once out in the open in downtown Phoenix (Jason Short, Tempe, AZ and Randy Chesley, Portland, OR). The topic was the problem of evil and the title was “Does Evil Nullify God’s Existence?” Here is the video 

Here is the Question and Answer Session from the Audience…

And here are two podcast reviews of the debate:

Backpack Radio: “Atheists Behaving Badly” [04/29/2012]

Redemption Radio with Jeff Durbin: Max Headroom, Vocab Malone & …

Date: April 6, 2012
MODERATORS:
Professor Sanjay Merchant (Grand Canyon University) and Ryan Smeets

To read the biographies of the debate participants, go here

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 ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Vocab Malone is a hip hop artist and slam poet. He is Pastor of Teaching  and Evangelism at Roosevelt Community Church in Phoenix, Arizona. Vocab holds a Master’s Degree from Phoenix Seminary and is  pursuing a D. Min at Talbot. He is married to Nicole and together they have adopted four boys. Vocab can be heard every Sunday night on Backpack Radio on 1360 KPXQ. Follow him on Twitter @VocabMalone
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Atheist David Fitzgerald Wrong About John the Baptist

12 Nov 0

Do you meet all of the following conditions?
-under 35 years old
-an atheist
-debate Christians on the Internet
-have attended a talk put on by the Secular Student Alliance

If you answered yes to all four, chances are, you know David Fitzgerald. You might also know Dave if you are a Christian apologist who is involved with campus ministry. Apparently, William Lane Craig knows. David is the author of Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed At All? and promotes the Christ-Myth Theory, which claims Jesus Christ never lived.

I debated (informally) David on three different occasions in 2013. In our second conversation, he made a claim that John the Baptist was a failed Messiah. This claim came in the flow of an argument he was making about  Jesus (supposedly) not having the same amount of historical corroboration as so-called “loser Messiahs”. I asked Dave for evidence or a source for his take on J to tha B. He mentioned the Clementine Recognitions, saying it backs him up. Watch the debate here and note our dialogue between 12 and 13 minutes.

Next:
-pause the video
-read sections 155 and 160 of Book I of the Clementine Recognitions
(it’s pasted in below and I’ve underlined the most relevant lines but you can read more here)

 

1.54 — Jewish Sects.
“For when the rising of Christ was at hand for the abolition of sacrifices, and for the bestowal of the grace of baptism, the enemy, understanding from the predictions that the time was at hand, wrought various schisms among the people, that, if haply it might be possible to abolish the former sin, the latter fault might be incorrigible.
“The first schism, therefore, was that of those who were called Sadducees, which took their rise almost in the time of John. These, as more righteous than others, began to separate themselves from the assembly of the people, and to deny the resurrection of the dead, and to assert that by an argument of infidelity, saying that it was unworthy that God should be worshipped, as it were, under the promise of a reward. The first author of this opinion was Dositheus; the second was Simon.
“Another schism is that of the Samaritans; for they deny the resurrection of the dead, and assert that God is not to be worshipped in Jerusalem, but on Mount Gerizim. They indeed rightly, from the predictions of Moses, expect the one true Prophet; but by the wickedness of Dositheus they were hindered from believing that Jesus is He whom they were expecting.
“The scribes also, and Pharisees, are led away into another schism; but these, being baptized by John, and holding the word of truth received from the tradition of Moses as the key of the kingdom of heaven, have hid it from the hearing of the people.
“Yea, some even of the disciples of John, who seemed to be great ones, have separated themselves from the people, and proclaimed their own master as the Christ. But all these schisms have been prepared, that by means of them the faith of Christ and baptism might be hindered.”
1.60 — Disciples of John Refuted.
“And, behold, one of the disciples of John asserted that John was the Christ, and not Jesus, inasmuch as Jesus Himself declared that John was greater than all men and all prophets.’If, then, ‘said he, ‘he be greater than all, he must be held to be greater than Moses, and than Jesus himself. But if he be the greatest of all, then must he be the Christ.’ 
“To this Simon the Canaanite, answering, asserted that John was indeed greater than all the prophets, and all who are born of women, yet that he is not greater than the Son of man. Accordingly Jesus is also the Christ, whereas John is only a prophet: and there is as much difference between him and Jesus, as between the forerunner and Him whose forerunner he is; or as between Him who gives the law, and him who keeps the law. Having made these and similar statements, the Canaanite also was silent.
“After him Barnabas, who also is called Matthias, who was substituted as an apostle in the place of Judas, began to exhort the people that they should not regard Jesus with hatred, nor speak evil of Him. For it were far more proper, even for one who might be in ignorance or in doubt concerning Jesus, to love than to hate Him. For God has affixed a reward to love, a penalty to hatred. ‘For the very fact,’ said he, ‘that He assumed a Jewish body, and was born among the Jews, how has not this incited us all to love Him?’ When he had spoken this, and more to the same effect, he stopped.”

Re-listen to David’s claims about John as a failed Messiah – does the source (which is a late work falsely ascribed to Clement of Rome) match his claims?

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 ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Vocab Malone is a hip hop artist and slam poet. He is Pastor of Teaching  and Evangelism at Roosevelt Community Church in Phoenix, Arizona. Vocab holds a Master’s Degree from Phoenix Seminary and is  pursuing a D. Min at Talbot. He is married to Nicole and together they have adopted four boys. Vocab can be heard every Sunday night on Backpack Radio on 1360 KPXQ. Follow him on Twitter @VocabMalone

 

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