Theologian and apologist Robin Schumacher has a Ph.D. in New Testament and Master's in Christian Apologetics.
Posted 10/20/13 at 8:38 PM | Robin Schumacher
A few years back, our pastor’s son visited a church in Michigan who thought they had the gift of tongues. To give them credit, at least they were adhering to the practice laid out by Paul of a person speaking in tongues being followed by one who interpreted.
During that time in the service, the pastor’s son stood up, recited the Lord’s Prayer in Latin, and then sat back down. A person immediately rose and gave an interpretation that had absolutely nothing to do with what the young man had said.
So what was really going on in that church? I’d venture to say that our pastor’s son exposed the fact that the congregation most certainly did not possess any of the miraculous sign gifts (at least not the gift of interpretation) and they were self-deceived in thinking that they did.
Experiences like this are why today’s Church needs a wake-up call like the one given by Dr. John MacArthur and his recent Strange Fire conference. MacArthur has taken heat from many different directions including jabs from writers on Christianpost. But I believe he’s right with many of his assessments regarding the supposed exercising of miraculous sign gifts and his exegesis of the Biblical passages that refer to them. FULL POST
Posted 10/13/13 at 10:57 AM | Robin Schumacher
Commenting on the problem of reconciling the idea of God and evil, the Greek philosopher Epicurus is supposed to have said:
“Is He willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then He is impotent. Is He able, but not willing? Then He is malevolent. Is He both able and willing? Whence then is evil? Is He neither willing or able? Then why call Him God?”
For people like me, this problem is not theoretical at all, but hits very close to home. Having lost my first wife very young to a rare cancer, I struggled a lot with reconciling how an all-powerful and good God could let such a thing happen.
My next presentation in the free Essentials of Apologetics series focuses on the problem of theodicy, that is, understanding how evil and God can co-exist. Answers for such a difficult topic are needed for both the head and the heart, and it's my hope that this presentation provides what's needed.
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Posted 9/29/13 at 9:50 PM | Robin Schumacher
Christians and skeptics alike know the famous quote from C. S. Lewis' Mere Christianity where he introduces the Liar-Lunatic-Lord idea. But I actually prefer the section that immediately precedes it, which says why the dilemma exists in the first place:
“Among these Jews there suddenly turns up a man who goes about talking as if He was God. He claims to forgive sins. He says He has always existed. He says He is coming to judge the world at the end of time. Now let us get this clear. Among Pantheists, like the Indians, anyone might say that he was a part of God, or one with God: there would be nothing very odd about it. But this man, since He was a Jew, could not mean, that kind of God. God, in their language, meant the Being outside the world Who had made it and was infinitely different from anything else. And when you have grasped that, you will see that what this man said was, quite simply, the most shocking thing that has ever been uttered by human lips.”
The uninformed often try and say that Constantine invented the idea of Jesus being divine, but the truth is, that idea was clearly conveyed by Jesus Himself and the historical facts confirm that the Nazarene carpenter was the One who made the claim. FULL POST
Posted 8/17/13 at 11:11 AM | Robin Schumacher
There is little to no debate among both Christian and non-Christian historians on the facts of Jesus’ empty tomb. By contrast, there is widespread debate as to what best explains those facts.
The historical facts of Jesus’ death and empty tomb are these:
Again, even atheist scholars acknowledge these points, such as the skeptic German historian Gerd Lüdemann who said, "It may be taken as historically certain that Peter and the disciples had experiences after Jesus' death in which Jesus appeared to them as the risen Christ." FULL POST
Posted 8/5/13 at 9:15 PM | Robin Schumacher
This post continues a response to the July 30 CNN opinion piece article by Hemant Mehta, “The Friendly Atheist”, entitled “Why are millennials leaving church? Try atheism”. In Part 1, we looked at a number of arguments Mehta makes that I believe are either flawed or weak. Let’s now examine a few more.
Mr. Mehta says, “The myth surrounding Jesus is part of the problem with Christianity. . . .To believe in Jesus means believing that he was born of a virgin, rose from the dead and performed a number of miracles. There's no proof of any of that ever happened”.
My question to Mehta is the same one I always ask atheists when this argument comes up: what type of proof are you looking for? What kind of evidence, using the legal/historical method that’s routinely employed to validate history from antiquity, will suffice? FULL POST
Posted 8/4/13 at 1:48 PM | Robin Schumacher
It’s rare for me to get worked up anymore over statements that atheists make about Christianity. For many years now, I’ve debated and exchanged dialogs – both in person and over the Web – with many atheists and hatetheists (there is a difference) and have gotten pretty used to the primary arguments of the former group and the flawed caricatures / misrepresentations of the latter, so I am usually not bothered by what either has to say about the Christian faith.
Then I read the July 30 CNN opinion article by Hemant Mehta, “The Friendly Atheist”, which is entitled “Why are millennials leaving church? Try atheism”.
Maybe it was seeing so many of the tired, false assertions in one place. Maybe it was some of the poor logic and argumentation the author employed. Whatever it was, I actually got peeved. FULL POST
Posted 7/28/13 at 2:41 PM | Robin Schumacher
In the halls and classrooms of accredited universities and among scholarly historians - both Christian and non alike - the idea that Jesus of Nazareth never lived is ridiculous. However, in some internet atheist haunts, the claim is still very much alive.
Is there good historical evidence for believing that Jesus existed? Absolutely.
The seventh presentation of the free "Essential Apologetics" series looks at the claims of those who doubt Jesus' life and presents a case against the idea that Jesus was just a copycat of other pagan gods. It also shows what facts are nearly universally accepted among historians about the carpenter from Nazareth.
You can view and download all presentations completed so far in the Essential Apologetics series here.
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Posted 7/14/13 at 5:05 PM | Robin Schumacher
In one of their Penn and Teller shows that ran on Showtime a few years back, atheist Penn Jillette took aim at the Bible and attempted to discredit its trustworthiness in his introductory statements by saying, “If you believe that the Bible is real because of faith, we can't touch you … they [Christians] pride themselves on believing things that are hard to believe in. They think God will bless them for that. But if you want history or fact in your Bible, you are so screwed.”
Is that true? How does one effectively evaluate the Bible to determine whether it's reliable or not?
The sixth presentation of the free "Esssential Apologetics" series tackles these questions and more. By utilizing accepted historical criteria that's used to verify other works from antiquity, the presentation shows that the New Testament holds up extremely well under scrutiny and deserves serious attention from both skeptics and the faithful alike. FULL POST
Posted 7/7/13 at 10:43 AM | Robin Schumacher
Theologian and Christian apologist Francis Schaeffer believed that the arts (music, paintings, drama, movies, etc.) reflected the true inner philosophy and beliefs of a society. This being the case, it was not uncommon to find him lecturing in his Swiss L’Abri community not only on the teachings of Christ but on topics such as the metaphysics of the rock group Led Zeppelin.
There’s little doubt that Schaeffer was right. The arts move through our eye and ear gate and oftentimes engage us visually to consider philosophical, moral and spiritual questions in ways that other mediums can’t.
The recently released movie “The Purge” was widely panned by theater critics, but nevertheless rose to be the top movie the week it opened. The film is set at a time in American history when employment is at its lowest level ever. Ditto for crime. On the surface, things couldn’t be better.
Because for one 12-hour period per year, all laws are suspended and humanity is allowed to carry out every act that it desires without consequence. “Tonight allows people a release for all the hatred and violence that they keep up inside them,” says the key protagonist in the movie, who is a man with a wife and two children. When questioned by his kids about why such a thing is allowed, the mother responds, “Just remember all the good that the purge does.” FULL POST
Posted 6/23/13 at 2:09 PM | Robin Schumacher
Oftentimes atheists claim that the overwhelming majority of scientists are unbelievers and attempt to support their position by pointing to a number of polls that query the religious temperature of scientists, which have been conducted over the past decade or so. By offering such data, atheists try and argue that immersion in science dispels the supposed superstitious and fictitious beliefs of those who believe in God.
Is this really the case? Let’s take a look and see if this line of argumentation holds up once things are more closely examined.
In the recently released movie, The Unbelievers, atheists Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss state how science is “beautiful” while religion is “not beautiful”, with the pair doing little to hide their contempt for any person who believes there is more to reality than just the material universe. Do the vast majority of Dawkin’s and Krauss’ colleagues share their opinion? FULL POST