Saturday, May 6, 2017

CMDS 2017 - Christian Aplogetics by Dr. Mark Chandra

(This presentation was literally standing room only.  Mark is a very entertaining speaker who made a very strong case for the study of apologetics ‘giving an answer’, not apologizing but intellectually making the case. These notes are just a synopsis but give a jist of the topic and some indication of the nature of CMDS presentations. )

Christian Apologetics

Mark Chandra

What are we apologizing for?
It actually comes from the greek word ‘ apologia’ - ‘to give an answer’

I’m from New Brunswick but my parents came from Ghayana
My father was an East Indian Hindu who came to Christ later in life
My mother was Chinese and I was brought up Anglican. My brother is an Anglican priest

I liked most the ‘spiritual meaty topics of preachings’ 
I didn’t get a lot growing up but in medical school turned on christian radio and heard this 
wonderful teaching like water to me…now I'm doing a phd in apologetics with the very people i listened to on the radio

i think we are in a unique position to meet young intellectuals in medical school
We would do them a disservice to not offer them something to meet where they are
I want to do a kind of apologetics for apologetics and why it’s 

I did some paediatrics training at Queen’s ….we had a small ward and called it the “hospital for six children.”

To be ignorant and simple and not be able to meet the enemy on their ground….good philosophy is needed if only to face bad philosophy and tell the truth.’ 

The weapons of this world are weapons that can tear down false arguments and principalities.

Luke wrote Acts

The apostles went into foreign land and learned the culture of that land and then taught from that.

Jesus did miracles.  Blind received their sight.  Dead came back to life. Jesus healed the paralytic.

Jesus argued with reason as well as acts.

Secularism has taken over the universities. I don’t know how this happened.
I was in Harvard and looked at the motto - Veritas — the full motto is “Truth for Christ and his Church.’
The great universities started as theological 
University - to find universal in the diversity
Theology was the Queen of Sciences
Theology would tell us God created a beautiful world with beautiful creatures.
Quoting John Patrick, used to say, “In all his years he’d never seen a cow appreciate the beauty of the dawn.”  

In churches we build gymnasiums - we believe we worship in the church and God gave us bodies to enjoy and we do this in a game of basketball
My wife and child were watching “Chariots’ - line  “God made me for a purpose for China and he also made me fast.”

If I had my way churches wouldn’t only build gyms but they’d build labs and libraries and astronomical centres

There is a power in CMDS as a 

The work we do is to have professional groups as Christians

My pastor brought up the Da Vinci code and how that book shook a lot of peoples faith to the core - that’s the power of media and hollywood

The bible has many genre’s

by far the most common genre in the bible is history and narrative 
we are made to respond to stories and history
that’s the power of the arts and media
It has the power to bypass the intellect

Da Vinci code is written that way
You’re caught up in the story and the characters then later you have the ‘wonky theology’.

The enemy of your soul wants nothing more than 
A lie that you pick up in 10 seconds of a tv show can take hours to get rid of

Right now Secularism controls the media and university.

As doctors we have power in society

As doctors we are seen as paragons of rationality
It’s easy to dismiss just a christian but it’s hard to dismiss a doctor.

The secularists are shook up by Christian doctors.

Hume - would describe the present of ‘sophistry and illusion’

If you were to make a panel of expects with politicians, doctors, and a pastor - the pastor’s opinion would could the least - they are seen as occupying a sphere of knowledge that is not real knowledge

At my school where my kids go, a Christian school, we do this thing called ‘tough questions’.  
One question, “How can you believe in God with all the evil in the world?”
How do you believe in trinity when trinity isn’t in the bible

How can you believe in the bible when the bible is changing.

Having good judgement is not the same as being judgemental.

The more knowledgeable I am about something the less argumentative I am
That’s the way I am with medicine.

To our culture Christianity is offensive - we don’t have to add to it.  

‘blind leap of faith comes after a long ramp of reason.”

Chapter meetings of CMDS - praise and worship then watch a video 
I would like to see apologetics more at CMDS
Emotions only take me so far

Thou shalt love the Lord they God with all thy heart, all they soul and all the mind and all thy strength 
  • it was first in Deuteronomy
  • Jesus added ‘mind’ 
  • I believe it was that we have the hellenistic - which divided knowledge in heart and mind but the jewish was that knowledge was heart and mind, not separate
  • apologetics allows me to love God with my mind as well,

Model of Bible study 
-apologetics should be part of this

1)It’s good for our faith
2) It’s an evangelical tool

The stakes are high here. Everyone argues back. Their whole world view is tied in this.
I have found that I have been able to put a pebble in their shoe
I have helped the person who was listening in, they were not involved in the emotionality of the thing but they’ve listened.  I’m living proof that the holy spirit can work this way. I know Christianity can work on the heart but I came to Christ by my mind….my heart will quickly not believe what my mind thinks is not true

Maybe our special group is the group of people who is very culturally intellectual.

3) Apologetics is good at shifting culture

False ideas are always an impediment to the gospel
-if you think Christianity is just a delusion or irrational
-if you present Christianity to secular culture you shift it - I’ve seen John Patrick come to a campus and make Christianity for a while a ‘plausible thing’.  
  • I’ve seen it give Christian intellectuals in the class ‘permission’.
It must be done with respect and gentleness.

The gospel saves us from the guilt and power of sin
We do it with respect and gentleness and an upright life.

William Lane Craig - “ON GUARD”

Apologetics Top
Mr Chandra , somebody asked me ‘how do you believe in god with all the evil in the world.

You believe is a god all powerful
You believe in a god that is good
How come there is evil.

When someone asks you this
they are saying there is a thing of evil
But they’re telling you there is good
And also good and evil are objective things, not just subjective

When Hitler murdered 6 million jews he thought he was doing ‘good’.

That’s subjective

But we believe there is an objective good and evil

In every day life we believe good and evil are objective things.

We believe right and wrong are objective.

A kid gave John Patrick saying right and wrong were subjective so John gave him an F on the paper.

to believe in good and evil we need some sort of moral law.

where does the moral law come from 

the force, god , or mother nature

That’s what they’re trying to disprove with the question….the person who asks these questions is assuming god to make any sense

always end with the heart stuff

Why did God questions are hard because I don’t know why god created the universe.

But think

God wanted to create a world where love was possible.
Real love requires freedom.
Forced love and autonomous
For real love to exist there must be possibility to freedom of choice
Always come back and bring some type of pastoral understanding


Humble Apologetics 
John Stackhouse

Hamilton apologists - Deconstructing narratives - we can’t plant the seed of the gospel - unless we stir up the ground - he’s 
-secularists assume a meta- narrative - we all have narratives - it’s okay to be spiritual but not religious - secular society gets upset when we discus the big story - the meta narratives - secularists have a meta narrative that is never assumed but  they believe their narrative is objective proof.

eg Religions are all the same but at their core are the same but its actually different….the metanaratives of their faith are really different
  • 4 questions
  • origins - where do I come from
  • condition - why am I as I am
  • salvation - what do I have to do
  • destiny- what happens when I die

  • origin - chance plus time equals us
  • condition - lack of reality determinists
  • salvation - don’t need to do anything, just is
  • destiny - nothing

Secularism comes from Seculum - there’s nothing beyond this world

Charles Taylor - CBC podcasts - myth of the secular 
Jamie Smith - How not to be secular.

Canadian Apologetics Conference 
RAVI - podcast apologetics - Can I live without God.

Mere Christianity - CS Lewis

Case for Creator

Darwin’s Black Box
  • darwin didn’t know about biochemistry - small examples of natural selection
  • mousetrap example - 
  • blood clotting cascade 
CMI - evolution doesn’t make rational sense

Darwin - on descent of man - the implications 
  • if it could ever be shown that a complex organism could be built with each part not being for survival then my argument would be wrong - DARWIn
  • Leahy as a microbiologist -
  • new synthesis = darwin and genesis

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