Archive for October, 2008

Evangelical Old Testament scholars are currently in the midst of an intense debate over the dating of the Exodus. A more literal understanding of the chronological data appearing in the Old Testament text suggests a date in the 1400s BC (fifteenth century), whereas most scholars for a generation have thought that the archaeological evidence best correlated with the Exodus if it occurred in the 1200s (thirteenth century). A flurry of articles has been appearing in recent issues of the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society on this subject. The current issue (51, 3 [Sept. 2008]), which I just received in the mail today, leads off with two such articles. Read the rest of this entry »

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On Sunday, October 5, 2008, the LDS Church’s semiannual General Conference came to a close. LDS Apostle Robert D. Hales gave an address in which he called on Mormons not to respond contentiously to criticism. The Salt Lake Tribune reported Hales as saying, “More regrettable than the [LDS] Church being accused of not being Christian is when church members react to such accusations in an un-Christlike way. Surely our Heavenly Father is saddened-and the devil laughs-when we contentiously debate doctrinal differences with our Christian neighbors.” Read the rest of this entry »

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This is the first post in an occasional series that will appear on this blog, dealing with frequently asked questions (FAQ) about the doctrine of the Trinity. This series will not be providing an overview of the biblical teaching concerning the Trinity. For such an overview, please see my outline study on the Trinity, which cites about a thousand pertinent biblical references. If you have a question on the Trinity not addressed in that outline study and that you would like to see answered here, please email us with your question, and we will consider it for inclusion here. You can find our email address by visiting our ministry’s home page and clicking on “Email” in the upper right corner.

The first question I will address is perhaps one of the most popular objections to the doctrine, even though it does not address the positive evidence for the Trinity in Scripture. Here it is: If belief in the Trinity is essential for salvation, why is the doctrine not clearly or plainly set out, in so many words, in the Bible? Why does the Bible never say “God is a Trinity” or “There are three persons in the one God,” or something equally explicit as an affirmation of the doctrine? And if no such statement is there in the Bible, how can belief in the doctrine be essential for salvation? Read the rest of this entry »

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2
Oct

What about those who have never heard?

   Posted by: Rob Bowman    in apologetics, theology

One of the top five objections to the evangelical Christian faith that we hear all the time is posed in the form of a question: What about those who have never heard the gospel? What about the unevangelized? Will all such people automatically go to Hell? Isn’t that unfair? (Okay, that’s four questions, even if they do overlap.)

Well, Michael Patton and I are going to be talking about this question live on Connection Gate, a web-based classroom program created by the folks at Reclaiming the Mind Ministries. You can join us at 7:00 p.m. Eastern time tonight, October 2, 2008. We’ll look at some of the competing theories within Christianity on this subject and look at what the Bible says about it. You can find out how to access this cyberspace classroom here. I hope to see you tonight!

–Rob Bowman

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2
Oct

Welcome to The Religious Researcher!

   Posted by: Rob Bowman    in IRR, Religious Researcher

The Religious Researcher is the blog of the Institute for Religious Research, a nonprofit, evangelical Christian ministry based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Just one month ago, I had the privilege of starting as IRR’s new executive director. You can read a little about me and the other senior members of our staff here.

Our goal at IRR is to speak and live the truth in love (cf. Eph. 4:15). We live in a culture filled with a dizzying variety of beliefs concerning matters of religion. Refusal or reticence to say what we believe is not an option. IRR’s mission is to contribute cutting-edge resources on religious groups and issues in order to help those who are seeking to find their way through the maze of opinions as well as those who want to be equipped to share their Christian faith with others. This doesn’t mean we think we know it all or that our opinions are infallible–far from it. We see ourselves as disciples (students, learners), sharing with others what we have learned and seeking to learn from others as well. I invite you to join us in this ongoing process.

–Rob Bowman

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