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Top 10 Posts for 2017

Thank you for supporting Moral Apologetics in 2017! We have had an exciting year and it has been a privilege to host some exciting content in 2017. As a way of looking back, we wanted to share with you the list of the most read posts for the year.

1. “On Psychopathy and Moral Apologetics”  By David Baggett

2.  “Seven Reasons Why Moral Apologetics Points to Christianity”  By David Baggett

3.  “God’s Goodness and Difficult Old Testament Passages”  By Michael Austin

4.  “The Most Reluctant Convert: C. S. Lewis Onstage”  By David Baggett

5.  “The Failure of Naturalism as a Foundation for Human Rights” By Angus J. L. Menuge

6.  Good God Panel Discussion with Baggett, Walls, Copan, and Craig

7.  “What to Make of a Diminished Thing: Poeticizing the Fall”   By Corey Latta

8. “Advent and Christmas Poetry: Awe – John Donne’s ‘Holy Sonnet 15′” By Holly Ordway

9.  “Hosea and Polyamory: The Sufficiency of Scripture” By Joshua Herring

10. “Living Life All the Way Up”: Hemingway’s Moral Apologetic from Absence” By Corey Latta

 

Image: “Happy New Year” by A. Verde. CC Licence. 

New Associate Editor: T. J. Gentry

 

MoralApologetics.com is excited to announce a New Associate Editor: T. J. Gentry. He’ll be joining our team with the particular intent of focusing on pastoral issues related to moral apologetics. He shares a passion for the moral argument(s) and brings much to his new post. He is, in his own words, a “mere Christian with genuine fascination and awe for the breadth and depth of God’s gracious kingdom.”

20170821_175838He became a Christian in 1978, and began pastoral ministry in 1984. He has worked as a youth pastor, senior pastor, church planter, church-based seminary professor, and as a chaplain assistant in the Army Chaplain Corps. A southern Illinois native, T. J. is a graduate of Southern Illinois University-Carbondale with a BA in Political Science; Liberty University with an MAR in Church Ministries, an MDiv in Chaplaincy, and a ThM in Theology; and Piedmont International University with a DMin in Pastoral Counseling. T. J. is currently pursuing a PhD in Theology and Apologetics at Liberty, hoping to write his dissertation on some aspect of the intersection of moral apologetics and the pastorate.

He is the author of God Help Us: Encouragement for Evangelism, and Thinking of Worship: A Liturgical Miscellany, as well as the forthcoming Evangel-ogetics: Apologetics for the Sake of the Lost. T. J. has published articles on liturgics, pastoral counseling, and church-based counseling ministries. He lives in Carterville, Illinois with his wife and five children, where he pastors an independent evangelical church, directs a Christian counseling ministry, and serves as a Brigade Chaplain for the Army National Guard. T.J.’s preaching may be heard at www.sermonaudio.com/fellowshipinchrist.

Here’s a recent excerpt from his personal correspondence about moral apologetics:

First, and foundationally, a moral apologetic that is intentionally and consistently anchored in the agape of God, thereby reflecting his heart and character, is the ultimate answer to the burgeoning nihilistic tendencies within our culture. An agape based moral apologetic is able to connect even to the most existentially dour and disconnected person whose illative sense still tells them this type of love and its moral concomitants are real and essential to their wholeness as a person. At their deepest level, unbelievers want an agape based moral apologetic to be true. Moral apologetics are central to evangelism.

Second, insofar as the moral apologetics movement that the Lord is prodding makes an intentional connection to pulpit ministry and counseling, moral apologetics provides a means for pastors to address from the pulpit and in the counseling room the underlying questions they will inevitably face in congregations that are increasingly a mixture of believers and seekers. These believers and seekers need a robust theology that appreciates and draws upon the totality of God’s revelation, both natural and special. Moral apologetics rooted in the love of God is, I conclude, the pathway to recover a place at the table for natural theology within Evangelical Christianity, and a way to strengthen the particulars of special revelation regarding the character of God and nature of man. Preaching and counseling will only be enhanced by moral apologetics. In this regard, moral apologetics becomes part of the fabric of congregation-level, workaday Christianity.

I’m praying for clarity regarding my role, as I initially think it is to take the apologetic armament that you are giving me regarding the philosophical and historical foundations and argumentation, and begin to train my sights on how the moral argument relates to various worldviews and apologetics encounters. Something along the lines of the practical and pastoral application of the philosophical, theological, and historical genius of moral apologetics as articulated from an intentional agape based approach.

            We’re thrilled to welcome T. J. onboard, and look forward to seeing how God intends to extend the reach of MoralApologetics.com. In addition to the new pastoral focus T. J. will bring (bolstered all the more by the recent addition of Tom Thomas as a regular contributor), here are additional new initiatives the site will be undertaking over the next year:

  • A stronger focus on the history of moral apologetics
  • The relevance of moral apologetics to spiritual formation
  • Forging more explicit connections between moral apologetics and Christian theology in particular
  • Work toward the formation of a Moral Apologetics Center, including grant moneys to facilitate lectureships, conferences, panel discussions, etc.
  • Delineating more exegetical connections to the task of moral apologetics, and
  • Application of moral apologetics in chaplaincy contexts
  • Greater examination of the explanatory power (or lack thereof) of nonChristian religious alternative explanations of features and facets of moral phenomena

As always, submissions on any aspect of moral arguments for God’s existence are welcome and encouraged. Try to keep submissions to about 1000 words normally.

State of the Site

This term marked the start of MoralApologetics.com. It is a website the vision for which had been in my head for a while, but I am not the most technologically or social media savvy person, to put it mildly, and I was rather riddled with fear about getting the project underway. I didn’t really know the first step about purchasing a domain name or setting up a web page. With reticence and tentativeness, sometime late summer or so, I asked for help from Facebook, and several folks generously volunteered. I availed myself of an offer by former star student Delia Ursulescu, who really got the early ball rolling. I am so very grateful to her for getting us over the first major series of hurdles. And then Jonathan Pruitt, a student in the Ph.D. in theology and apologetics program here at Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, enthusiastically came onboard with great energy and a head full of innovative ideas on how we can move the site forward. He’s been my Managing Editor ever since, my right hand man, and rumor has it a middle-of-the-night conspirator in a trip to IHOP for a nocturnal podcast. My English professor wife has also helped immensely with editing and has been, as always, a faithful source of support, encouragement, and inspiration.

In the three or four months we’ve been up and running, the website has really taken off. We’ve garnered nearly half a thousand Facebook likes, and we’re just starting to attract Twitter followers, a more recent initiative. Gary Habermas wrote a nice blurb for our site, and FB nods have come from no less than public philosopher Tom Morris (formerly from Notre Dame) and apologist extraordinaire William Lane Craig (from Reasonable Faith). We were delighted to see a talented writer and friend, Corey Latta, come onboard early on to write for us, and we’ve been able to assemble a growing team of theologians, philosophers, Old and New Testament Bible scholars, and literary experts to write for us and generate podcasts—from Biola to Houston Baptist to Liberty, from coast to coast and lots of places in between, not to mention from all around the world. Two brilliant New Zealanders who do cutting-edge work in the area of theistic ethics, Matt Flannagan and Glenn Peoples, have been generous enough to share their work, and Angus Ritchie in England promises something soon. We’re currently in the middle of a writing contest along three different dimensions: philosophy, Bible, and literature. My dear friend and undergraduate mentor Elton Higgs has written poems the site has featured. It’s been just great fun.

We want to continue to showcase and highlight the terrific work getting done by a broad array of scholars and thinkers on topics related to the powerful apologetic resource morality provides. The topic is so rich and fertile and multi-faceted it’s going to take contributions from a range of disciplines to do it justice. We’ve only just begun. Potential to build a cumulative, multi-dimensional, multi-disciplinary moral apologetic is great, and the time is right.

Please pray for the site and the impact it can have, and as you feel led, contribute something. Moral arguments are here to stay; in fact, they’re catching on and gaining momentum. They’re deriving strength from top-notch analysis and imaginative work, both fiction and nonfiction. We hope to feature work by the Paul Copans and J. P. Morelands, but the site isn’t just pitched to scholars and Ph.D.’s. We want folks from a broad array of backgrounds and educational experience to catch this shared vision. Some essays or blogs or podcasts are pitched at higher levels than others, but there’s something for everyone. We want the site to be a microcosm of the body of Christ—with lots of members, lots of different moving parts, plenty of diversity, but all of us working together in the same direction, to accomplish together what we couldn’t have accomplished on our own. We want to play a leading role in helping moral apologetics do the work we know it can in bringing attention to the moral features of this world that serve as a signal of transcendence, a powerful piece of evidence for a good and loving God: the locus of value, the Source and Goal of our best moral impulses, the one who invested this world with its sacramental significance; who promises to be with us through every trial, forgive us every sin as we turn to Him in faith and repentance, and who has the resources to wipe away every tear, redeem every suffering, and put this world aright.

Blessed Advent Season to you all!

Dave Baggett

 

Photo: “waterplace condo tower” by J. Nickerson. CC License. 

Announcement: Theistic Ethics Workshop at Wake Forest University

The organizers of the first annual Theistic Ethics Workshop encourage abstract submissions for our inaugural meeting at the Graylyn Conference Center (www.graylyn.com) on the campus of Wake Forest University. The workshop will be held on October 8-10, 2015, and details can be found here:

http://users.wfu.edu/millerc/Theistic%20Ethics%20Workshop

Authors of accepted abstracts will have all their expenses covered, including travel. This workshop is being supported by generous funding from the Thomas J. Lynch Funds of the Wake Forest University Philosophy Department. Please direct any questions to millerc@wfu.edu.

All the best,

Christian Miller (Wake Forest University)
Mark Murphy (Georgetown)
Christopher Tucker (William and Mary)

 

 

Photo: Welcome toe Athens” by La Forgia. CC License.