Theologian and apologist Robin Schumacher has a Ph.D. in New Testament and Master's in Christian Apologetics.
Posted 2/2/14 at 12:33 PM | Robin Schumacher
January has not been a good month.
A few weeks ago, on a Friday night, I traveled about an hour away to attend the visitation for my friend’s granddaughter who died of a brain tumor. She was only nine.
The next day, I traveled in the opposite direction to visit a wonderful couple I know. The husband (early fifties) was in the final stages of liver cancer. He died the following week and I spoke at his funeral. They had only been married a few years.
About a week later, I got the word that a magnificent woman (early 40’s) in our church had succumbed to lung cancer. She is a well-known Bible teacher, conference speaker, writer, and has worked tirelessly to help struggling couples rebuild their marriages. She left behind a loving pastor husband and four teenage children. If ever there was a case of putting to rest the false teaching that you only have to exhibit strong faith for God to heal you, this was it. FULL POST
Posted 1/20/14 at 10:45 AM | Robin Schumacher
A veritable sea of competing religions, beliefs, and worldviews.
A vast number of vocal skeptics and antagonistic mockers.
A strong spirit of persecution, marginalization, and governmental hostility.
These are some of the major characteristics of the Apostle Paul’s world that existed over two thousand years ago. I think you would agree with me that they are also (sadly) becoming increasingly representative of our present day where the exclusive claims of Christianity are concerned and reflect how our society treats those who desire to faithfully live and proclaim God’s Word.
However, despite such a climate, we read that even Paul’s enemies complained that his preaching had “upset the world” (Acts 17:6). What was it about Paul’s apologetic and evangelistic approach that caused him to become such a powerful and influential force in his world and what can we learn from it so that we can have the same impact? FULL POST
Posted 1/1/14 at 11:52 AM | Robin Schumacher
For decades, he’s sported the quintessential Christian man persona. Leading his family in home Bible studies, evangelizing unbelievers, ensuring books by authors like Tozer are constantly on his nightstand and faithful church service have characterized his life.
But just recently, it’s come to light that during all this time he’s participated in gross, hidden and consistent sinful behavior and life-destroying addictions. He now wants nothing to do with Christianity.
During this same period, she taught teen Bible studies at church, constantly listened to Christian music, and encouraged other women to follow Christ. Yet, she also has led a double life hidden from her husband and family and is now living with another man. Amazingly, she told us recently that she thinks she is doing a good thing for the man she is now living with and believes she is positively influencing him in a spiritual way.
These two friends of my family give me much pause and force me to think long and hard about true saving faith. Yes, the Apostle Paul makes no bones about the fact that in this life we will always struggle with sin (Rom. 7:14-25), but yet Scripture also makes it clear that there are those who enter the Christian faith and depart (Matt. 13:1-23) and others who believe they are true believers but are not (Matt. 7:15-23). FULL POST
Posted 12/26/13 at 9:30 AM | Robin Schumacher
The philosophical, empirical, and historical evidence for Christianity being true is quite good.
But so what?
Perhaps you’ve never heard about “apatheism”, but I’m running into it more and more. Apatheism, sometimes referred to as either pragmatic or practical atheism, is a position that acts with apathy, disregard, and a lack of interest in a belief in God.
I first encountered it in a discussion with a very intelligent engineer that I worked with years ago. As I talked about the evidence for God, he didn’t argue with me about the veracity of the claims I was making. Instead, he said he simply didn’t care whether I was right or wrong.
Mark Gauthier, executive director in the United States for Campus Crusade for Christ, believes that many today don’t decide whether to accept a teaching on propositional arguments and proof, but rather they want to see how it will impact them. In one group of college-aged unbelievers he worked with, Gauthier asked them if they would become Christians if he presented iron-clad evidence that the gospel was true. He found that their responses started out as ‘yes’, but then went to ‘no, not really’ as they admitted to him that their real litmus test for believing was an evidentially pragmatic proof: “show me how this can change my life; let me see someone else who has found that it works for them”. FULL POST
Posted 12/15/13 at 2:06 PM | Robin Schumacher
It goes without saying that Christmas is one of the top two celebrations for Christians each year. However, it’s also common knowledge that Christmas has unfortunately become a time for nasty exchanges between those who don’t believe in God and those who do.
For Christians, there’s little doubt we could be doing better in engaging people during the holidays and putting forward a more collective loving spirit. There’s really no need to have a conniption when stores choose to say “Happy Holidays” vs. “Merry Christmas”. Further, wrapping our arms around and helping those who have fallen on hard times at Christmas, regardless of whether they’re Christians or not, says a lot more than a stack of apologetics books ever could.
But what about those who reject the idea that God exists? For my unbelieving friends, I’d like to offer some respectful do’s and don’ts for the Christmas season that will hopefully provide more peace between the two sides of belief and unbelief. FULL POST
Posted 12/8/13 at 10:11 AM | Robin Schumacher
You’d likely agree with me that the co-discoverer of Calculus was a smart guy.
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716) was a German mathematician, logician, and philosopher. Leibniz is well known for his mathematical discoveries, but he’s also recognized as the person who popularized what many say is the single most important question ever asked: Why do we have something rather than nothing at all?
In his short work, Principles of Nature and Grace Based on Reason, Leibniz presents and answers the question in the following way:
“Now I must move up to the metaphysical level, by making use of a great though not very widely used principle, which says that nothing comes about without a sufficient reason; i.e. that for any true proposition P, it is possible for someone who understands things well enough to give a sufficient reason why it the case that P rather than not-P. Given that principle, the first question we can fairly ask is: Why is there something rather than nothing? After all, nothing is simpler and easier than something. Also, given that things have to exist, we must be able to give a reason why they have to exist as they are and not otherwise. Now, this sufficient reason for the existence can’t be found in the series of contingent things…it must be something that exists necessarily, carrying the reason for its existence within itself; only that can give us a sufficient reason at which we can stop. And that ultimate reason for things is what we call ‘God’.” FULL POST
Posted 12/1/13 at 7:33 PM | Robin Schumacher
Responses to my recent post on proof that God chooses who will be saved fell down the standard lines of demarcation in Christianity, with some decrying the thought that God chooses who receives His mercy and others nodding in agreement with the idea. Those who don’t hold to the Reformed teaching on election normally point to two verses they believe support their position:
“This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim. 2:3–4), and “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
These verses raise a question, though, that I highlighted in my prior post: does God get what He wants or not? Outside of Universalists, Christians acknowledge that not everyone will spend eternity with God. So that being true, if God really doesn’t choose who will be saved, then why doesn’t God get what these two verses say He wants? FULL POST
Posted 11/25/13 at 7:06 AM | Robin Schumacher
This past week was filled with news stories and personal recollections of John F. Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas fifty years ago. What you didn’t hear in the news, though, were accounts from people claiming that JFK had survived Oswald’s bullets and recovered to resume his presidency and then go on to become a two-term president.
The reason such nonsensical assertions aren’t made is because the facts are sure and the events surrounding Kennedy’s assassination are relatively young from a historical perspective; that is, they are within reach of a generation of people who are still alive and who can attest to the truthfulness of the reports regarding what really happened.
Whether it is the shooting of JFK or any event in history, one of the key ways we establish the truthfulness of a historical account is by referring to recorded testimony by trusted eyewitnesses who were there. While there will always be those who call into question eyewitness testimony and point to errors that witnesses have made about various events in the past, the truth is that checks and balances have always existed to help ensure the truth nearly always wins in the end. FULL POST
Posted 11/20/13 at 8:07 AM | Robin Schumacher
Dan Delzell’s reasoning’s and conclusions in his article, “Proof that God Wants Everyone in Heaven” was something I would have agreed with some years ago. The thought that God would not extend His grace and mercy to every human being was as distasteful to me as eating rhubarb.
But during my dissertation work, I was forced to look longer and harder than I had in the past at the Apostle Paul’s writings on salvation and evangelism, and through that study and other work, I became convinced that the reformed teaching of election was biblical – i.e. that God indeed chooses who will be saved and leaves the rest in their chosen rebellion.
Make no mistake, this position isn’t popular within much of Christendom or outside the Church for that matter. Dan’s stance is much more palatable and appealing, but even so, I have to respectfully disagree with my Christian brother regarding his position. FULL POST
Posted 11/9/13 at 11:08 AM | Robin Schumacher
The baha'i faith is an interesting worldview. Being not exclusivistic in its beliefs it excludes no spiritual claim...except those made by Christianity, which says there is only one way to God (Jesus). Thus, as Ravi Zacharias has pointed out, the baha'i exclude the exclusivists.
Welcome to the self-destructive nature of Pluralistic thinking, the prevailing "true for you but not for me" spiritual philosophy of today. Tolerant until it encounters a contrary concept it personally rejects and accepting until it confronts a belief it doesn't care for, it is the poster child for self-defeating philosophy and illogical thought.
My next presentation in the free Essentials of Apologetics series focuses on Pluralism and examines the claim Jesus made about being the only way to God. Such politically incorrect thinking is heresy today, but the fact of the matter is, given the logical law of non-contradiction, not every spiritual claim can be right so it behooves us to think hard and work diligently to uncover the truth about whether all roads do lead to God (spoiler alert - all roads *do* lead to God - view the presentation and find out why...) FULL POST