A nearly encyclopedic work on the occult, including demonology, paganism, satanism, new age spirituality such as goddess worship, wicca, and kabbalah,A nearly encyclopedic work on the occult, including demonology, paganism, satanism, new age spirituality such as goddess worship, wicca, and kabbalah, tribal (traditional) religions including native american, occultic phenomena, evangelism and spiritual warfare in that context. A lot of detailed info on these subjects with biblical evalutation. Mostly level-headed with some wierd stuff that will make you go "hmm" or "huh?" such as Walter Martin's ideas on "normal ESP", hints of premil-dispensational theology although it appears that Walter Martin was amillenial in his outlook since he says "we have been living in the "last days" for the past 2000 years. The chapters on spiritual warfare, christian counseling, and evangelism were my favorite and were the most practical. I like that the whole exorcism thing is de-mystified and that the power of the faithful calling on the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth is emphasized for its ability to bind and subdue demons, it is cautioned that there are false demonic Jesus's and it is important to clarify this when encountering demonic powers who will often try to deceive people by imitating true religion.
There were some really great bits on the power of the gospel and how much demons hate it, one example was cited where a man when speaking to a demon posing as his lost relative asked the demon to quote the answer to the first question of the heidelberg catechism which says, "what is my only comfort in life and death?".. and goes on to say "That I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with His precious blood, and has set me free from all the power of the devil.".. the demon would not say it and went on to say that wasn't important and that the man should just try to live a good life and develop himself spiritually. This story and many other personal accounts like it are very revealing and insightful.
Over all a very good volume that I will refer back to....more
This book is kind of kooky, but that just adds to its intrigue. I liked what she had to say about the dangers of a secular humanist agenda in the publThis book is kind of kooky, but that just adds to its intrigue. I liked what she had to say about the dangers of a secular humanist agenda in the public schools, something which needs to be exposed since many well-meaning people assume that state schools do not have a dogmatic philosophical bent, which is actually impossible since all education must have some sort of philosophy behind it if its going to say anything. Since Christianity under the banner of religion in general has been outlawed in most state schools, we are left with a secular humanist approach. Somewhat ironically, the reigning secular humanism in state schools is also keen to embrace vague spirituality and psychic phenomenon, I remember a gifted and talented class in which I was instructed about how to develop my "third eye", for example.
Ms. Michaelson is spot on when it comes to the use of divination tools such as tarot, ouija boards, ect., the seeking out of "spirit guides" (i.e. demons), psychic practice and spiritism in general..these are all very bad ideas.
However, quite commonly people who are redeemed from one way of life (in Ms. Michaelson's case an extreme form of occultic practice) are tempted to condemn anything that even hints of their former ways, thus we have in this book a condemnation of the roleplaying game dungeons and dragons, comic books, card games, toys that have any reference to magic, sorcerous smurfs, and the infamously malevolent care bears. This part of the book is quite entertaining and is actually why I give it 3 stars, for the sheer entertainment of it.
If you take this book with a grain of salt I think you will enjoy it too....more
An essential read if you want to understand Van Til's presuppositional apologetic, a unique, refreshing, faithful, and sound approach to evangelism. HAn essential read if you want to understand Van Til's presuppositional apologetic, a unique, refreshing, faithful, and sound approach to evangelism. However, instead of reading straight through like I did, I would recommend reading the opening chapters and then 9th chapter which is an outline and summary of Van Til's thought and then using the book as a reference, picking up on those reading sections that most interest you. If you read it from cover to cover it will be incredibly repetitive as the same things are said in different ways and cited from different parts of Van Til's works and often overlap each other, the book is not laid out in a dialectic form, it just categorizes various writings and comments on them. So, after reading it, I think Bahnsen intended it to be browsed, referenced, and cross reference rather than read straight through....more
This is not a systematic theology, it is a primer on the right attitude for engaging in systematic theology, it lays out an epistemelogical approach tThis is not a systematic theology, it is a primer on the right attitude for engaging in systematic theology, it lays out an epistemelogical approach to systematic theology. Namely, you cannot really know a thing unless you understand it in relation to God. Trying to think about God autonomously from God is what got us into trouble in the first place, so theology has to be done from the paradigm of faith in the Triune God. Van Til compares Christian thinking with modern thinking in that modern thinking sees man as his own reference point and considers a thing as knowable only when it can be exhaustively understood; modern thinking is univocal, while Christian thinking views God as its reference point and thinks God's thoughts after him, that is, analogical.
In the words of G.K. Chesterton the Christian can only hope to get his head into the heavens, instead of the heavens into his head. Modern thought is a closed system which can never reason its way to God because by its own paradigm God must be contained within the universe as equally ultimate with it so that meaning supposedly may exist apart from him, whereas in a Christian worldview God transcends the universe and gives meaning to all things so that there can be no meaning apart from the God who defines all things. There is an antithesis between these worldviews that must be confronted, Christians who want to faithfully defend the faith must not just deal with facts but also must address the philosophy of facts which would rule out the possibility of the transcendent altogether and show that such a philosophy cannot account for facts and cannot properly interpret facts.
This is heavy reading and I feel like this will require a lot more reflection to really get what is being said here, I also feel that it is very important that I do get it because I believe Van Til presents a consistent and faithful apologetic for the Christian faith and his approach is right on. Van Til is arduous reading for most anyone, but if you are willing to sit under his tutelage and really labor over it I can promise your time will be well spent. As a follow up to this, and in order to develop a more thorough knowledge of Van Til's thought I plan to read Greg Bahnsen's analysis of Van Til's work and maybe John Frame's after that....more
"The Reason for God" is "Mere Christianity" for post-moderns. Tim Keller begins by deconstructing the objections of many unbelievers, revealing the ma"The Reason for God" is "Mere Christianity" for post-moderns. Tim Keller begins by deconstructing the objections of many unbelievers, revealing the many unexamined assumptions and prejudices that people often come with, and inviting all to apply the same level of skepticism and criticism to their own objections to Christianity, in a word, to doubt their doubts.
In the second half of the book, after he has thoroughly dismantled some of the most looming intellectual and emotional ramparts of unbelief, he builds upon the ruins a vision of the Christian worldview and why he believes that Christianity alone has the power to transform and achieve lasting peace and prosperity for the world. This is a marvelous book that leaves you longing for more, there is certainly a lot more that could have been added, but this book makes a good introduction to the Christian faith for the uninitiated and stands as a solid piece of post-modern apologetics. ...more
This book fueled my personal evangelism throughout junior high and high school, it is truly a handbook for the trenches of Christian mission and evangThis book fueled my personal evangelism throughout junior high and high school, it is truly a handbook for the trenches of Christian mission and evangelism. ...more
Most books on apologetics focus on the content of apologetics, making sure you know what you believe. The best books on apologetics I've encountered aMost books on apologetics focus on the content of apologetics, making sure you know what you believe. The best books on apologetics I've encountered are those that focus on preparing your mind ahead of time for an encounter, which means more than just having the right things to say, it also means knowing how to say them. It's the difference between strategy and tactics, strategy looks at the world map and marks out the overall objective, tactics focus on the details of accomplishing a single mission. This book will help you accomplish your mission as a Christian, which may not be what you think it is. According to Koukl, the Christian's objective is not necessarily to convince a person first thing, but to "put a stone in their shoe", that is, leave them with a thought or a question that will gnaw at them over time. Koukl understands the subtle difficulties of trying convince a person and knows that one such convinced against their will is of their same old opinion still. We need to let people arrive at the truth in their own time, by the grace of God; God's timing. I loved this book and recommend two readings of it at least....more
A famous saying of Dale Carnegie is that "a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still". This says far more than I think is often reaA famous saying of Dale Carnegie is that "a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still". This says far more than I think is often realized. What it says is that there is something deeper than intellectual assent that must be regarded when attempting to persuade. In addition to the mind, the will must be moved and the will has to do with pre-commitments, also referred to as pre-suppositions or pre-knowledge.
Greg Bahnsen is well known for perpetuating the legacy of Cornelius Van Til's presuppositional method of apologetics and making it more accesible to modern day readers. The pre-suppositional apologetic starts by admitting that there is no philosophically neutral ground, everyone has to start with some foundation and framework for what they believe. This is their worldview and it determines the way that data will be interpreted and the sorts of conclusions that will be arrived at.
It is important for Christians to do more than just find common ground to build upon with non-Christians, the foundations of unbelief must be shown to be faulty and demolished. What is more, it must be pointed out that while many people speak as if they held a non-Christian worldview, they cannot avoid living like the Christian worldview is true in regard to their epistemology (i.e. many people assume that objective truth can be discovered through certain laws of logic while they hold a worldview that does not account for laws of logic and objective truth) and ethics (the same phenomenon applies when there is the assumption that absolute moral laws exist without a worldview that accounts for how they could exist)..the Christian worldview makes the most sense out of human experience because it is in fact true. ...more