Friday, October 30, 2015

MIRACLES: Resources for Study


"This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will." 


(Hebrews 2:3b-4; also see Acts 2:22; John 14:11)

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Videos
*The Special Divine Action Project: This is the #1 place to go for scholarly discussion of miracles. This YouTube channel features dozens of lectures by top scholars on the philosophical discussion of miracles, especially featuring the work of Timothy McGrew. There are also several videos by Craig Keener (another foremost expert on this issue), Richard Swinburne (one of the foremost Christian philosphers), Sir Roger Scruton, Ian Hutchinson, Susan Eastman, Peter Harrison, Neal Audenaert, Raymond C. Tallis, and Lenn Goodman.  There are two sets of Dr. McGrew's lectures here: "The Deist Controversy" and "The Great Debate"....the latter of which I have listened to in its entirety at least three times now. Excellent!
*Keener, Craig. "Miracles" (The BaraInitiative): 4 minute video.
*Keener, Craig. "Miracles Symposium": 44 minute video
*McGrew, Timothy. "Baylor ISR....Plantiga Conference" (45 minutes) 
*Shenvi, Neil. "Miracles, materialism, and quantum mechanics": "A 39-minute video discussing the history, fundamental postulates, and philosophical implications of quantum mechanics. In particular, I examine how quantum mechanics challenges naive naturalistic assumptions about the existence of miracles, the role of consciousness and the nature of reality."
*"About Miracles" is a 59 minute documentary that "features four dramatic, true stories about modern day miracles. Told by the actual people involved and featuring gripping reenactments...." Produced by Vision Video. If you are an Amazon Prime member, you can watch it for FREE

Articles: Miracle Accounts
*Cooper, Brad. "I Will Tell the World of His Amazing Deeds!": My account of being healed of a deadly tumor on my kidney.
*USA Today. "Mom prays, dead son comes back to life.": Includes video interviewing the mom and the attending physician, who calls it a "bona fide miracle."

Articles (& Book Chapters): Towards Understanding (Philosophical Issues)
*Cooper, Brad. "Miracles: An Objection": If Jesus healed everyone, why do we not see everyone being healed today?
*McGrew, Tim. "Miracles" (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy).
*McGrew, Tim. "Science, Doubt, and Miracles": An article in the Enrichment Journal (an online publication of the Assemblies of God)
*McGrew, Lydia. "There Are No Slippery Prior Probabilities": A refutation of Hume's assertion about miracles.
*Leland, John. "John Leland on the evidence of miracles." An excerpt from 4 pages of one of Leland's books (published in 1837) as hosted at the "Library of Historical Apologetics" (authored by Tim McGrew).
*French, David. "Yes, There Is Evidence God Exists": A lawyer's personal testimony and reflections on miracles.
*"Are Miracles Possible?": A compendium of articles by both leading Christian thinkers (such as Tim McGrew and Craig Keener) and skeptics.
*Hume, David. “Of Miracles”: Available for FREE. The relevant section of Hume's An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748, 1777) and the source of most modern confusion about miracles. "Mandatory" reading in Tim McGrew's "A Course of Readings in Apologetics."
*Geisler, Norm and Frank Turek. I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be An Atheist, Chapter 8: "Miracles: Signs of God or Gullibility?" (p.197-220). An excellent refutation of objections followed by a solid Biblical defining of miracles.

Books: Miracle Accounts
*Keener, Craig. Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts (2 volumes). Grand Rapids: Baker, 2011. Available at OverDrive.
*Muller, George. Answers to Prayer from George Muller's Narratives. FREE on Kindle (at title link).
*Connelly, Douglas. Miracles: What the Bible Says. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1997. Hosted at CCEL to read online for FREE.
*Stafford, Tim. Miracles: A Journalist Looks at Modern Day Experiences of God's Power. Bloomington, Minnesota: Bethany House Publishers, 2012. An easy read that is available cheap in used paperback, and also in Kindle, Audible audio or audio CD (at title link). Also available at OverDrive in ebook and audio.
*Goode, Reema. Which None Can Shut: Remarkable True Stories of God's Miraculous Work in the Muslim World. Carol Stream, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, 2010. A missionary retells her own personal experiences of God's divine intervention. An page-turning read that is available cheap in used paperback, and also in Kindle, Audible audio or audio CD (at title link). Also available at OverDrive in ebook and audio.
*Duffin, JacalynMedical Miracles: Doctors, Saints, and Healing in the Modern World. Oxford University Press, 2008. A distinguished doctor and medical historian investigates the Vatican's use of physicians in verifying miracles (during the canonization process) over the last 400 years.
*Wilson, Darren. Filming God: A Journey from Skepticism to Faith. Shippensburg, Pennsylvania: Destiny Image Publishers, 2011.
*Garlow, James L. Real Life, Real Miracles: True Stories That Will Help You Believe.
*Jacobson, Don. It's a God Thing: When Miracles Happen to Everyday People.
*Jacobson, Don. It's a God Thing: When Miracles Happen to Everyday People: Volume 2.
*Restagno, Allison C. Modern-Day Miracles: 50 True Miracle Stories.
*Muller, George. Edited by A.E.C. Brooks. Answers to Prayer from George Muller's Narratives. FREE!
*Goyer, Tricia. Prayers That Changed History. From the Christian Library Journal review: "Though suggested for a grade and middle school audience, Prayers that Changed History would be a compelling and enjoyable book for all ages, particularly history enthusiasts." Currently only $1.99!

Books: Towards Understanding (Philosophical Issues)
*Keener, Craig. Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts (2 volumes). Grand Rapids: Baker, 2011. Available at OverDrive.
*Lewis, C.S. Miracles. A classic that is available cheap at Amazon, and also in Kindle version or in audiobook through Audible (all in the title link). You can also find the ebook and audiobook versions for loan through OverDrive (additional audiobook version here).  "Recommended" reading in Tim McGrew's "A Course of Readings in Apologetics."
*Metaxas, Eric. Miracles: What They Are, Why They Happen, and How They Can Change Your Life. New York, New York: Plume, 2015. Available at OverDrive in ebook and audio.
*Wardlaw, Ralph. On Miracles1853. FREE on Google (at title link).
*Adams, William. An Essay in Answer to Mr. Hume’s Essay on Miracles, 3rd ed., 1767. FREE. "Mandatory" reading in Tim McGrew's "A Course of Readings in Apologetics."
*Campbell, George. A Dissertation on Miracles, 1824. FREE
"Recommended" reading in Tim McGrew's "A Course of Readings in Apologetics."
*Douglas, John. The Criterion, 1832. FREE. "Recommended" reading in Tim McGrew's "A Course of Readings in Apologetics."
*Connelly, Douglas. Miracles: What the Bible Says. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1997. Hosted at CCEL to read online for FREE.
*Geivett, R. Douglas and Gary Habermas (editors). In Defense of Miracles: A Comprehensive Case for God's Action in History. Downers Grove, Illinois: IVP Academic, 1997. "Recommended" reading in Tim McGrew's "A Course of Readings in Apologetics."
*Lennox, John. Miracles (VeriTalks Book 2). Only 99 cents on Kindle (at title link). A 63 page book that is an adaptation of a talk given at the Veritas Forum at Harvard University in 2012.
*Stafford, Tim. Miracles: A Journalist Looks at Modern Day Experiences of God's Power. Bloomington, Minnesota: Bethany House Publishers, 2012. An easy read that is available cheap in used paperback, and also in Kindle, Audible audio or audio CD (at title link). Also available at OverDrive in ebook and audio.
*Brown, Colin. That You May Believe: Miracles and Faith Then and Now. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1985, 1996.
*Twelftree, Graham. The Cambridge Companion to Miracles. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011. Amazon editorial review: "The miracle stories of the founders and saints of the major world religions have much in common. Written by international experts, this Companion provides an authoritative and comparative study of miracles in not only Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Christianity and Judaism, but also, indigenous religions. The authors promote a discussion of the problems of miracles in our largely secular culture, and of the value of miracles in religious belief. The miracles of Jesus are also contextualized through chapters on the Hebrew Bible, classical culture to the Romans, Second Temple and early rabbinic Judaism and early Christianity. This book provides students with a scholarly introduction to miracles, which also covers philosophical, medical and historical issues."

Still looking?....Here is a great bibliography on answering Hume's objection to miracles....and another excellent bigliography on "The Miracles of Jesus" (with links and many FREE pdf files).



Jesus feeding the crowd of 5000 men (heads of household) plus women and children--an account in all four of the Gospels for which there are undesigned coincidences (Matthew 14; Mark 6; Luke 9; John 6). Image source: Wikimedia Commons.

MIRACLES: An Objection Answered

A reasonable objection that I have heard recently while interacting on Facebook (paraphrased):

In the Gospels, Jesus healed everyone who asked, but today we do not see everyone who asks being healed. Why don't we see everyone being healed?

But the situation is really much more complex than this. Here is my response:

(1) Jesus did not heal everyone.

a) He did not heal people who did not have faith. Matthew 13:58 makes that clear: "And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith." (NIV; also see Mark 6:5)

b) Jesus's disciples were not able to heal everyone (Mark 9:17-29; Matthew 17:14-20).

c) In the Gospels, Jesus does generally seem to heal almost everyone. And in specific situations, it is stated that crowds came to him and he healed everyone who came to him--on those occasions. I think the clear purpose of this is to show that Jesus has complete sovereignty over disease and that he is the Messiah promised in the Old Testament, God in the flesh. But if we step back in time a little bit and make a few implications from the Gospel accounts, I think that we will see that there is more to the story. First, it would appear from the Gospel accounts themselves that Jesus's miracles started once he began his ministry and for that very purpose of revealing that he is the Messiah (see John 2:1-11 and pay special attention to verses 4 & 11). With that in mind, there was a period of 30 years in Jesus's life where he did no miracles (at least not publicly). More than that, it appears that Jesus's own father Joseph (actually stepfather) died before Jesus reached the age of 30.

So let me summarize it this way: Sometimes a lack of healing is related to a lack of faith. And sometimes it is related to God's timing and purposes.




Jesus feeding the crowd of 5000 men (heads of household) plus women and children--an account in all four of the Gospels for which there are undesigned coincidences (Matthew 14; Mark 6; Luke 9; John 6). Image source: Wikimedia Commons.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A COURSE OF READINGS IN APOLOGETICS by Dr. Tim McGrew

A Course of Readings in Apologetics
Dr. Timothy McGrew

[Thanks to Dr. McGrew for allowing me to publish this on my blog. The bibliography is all his. I tracked down the availability of these resources on several venues in order to make them available to as wide an audience as possible. Many/most are available for free download, free loan through OverDrive (if your library uses this service), on Audible, or cheap on Amazon. Enjoy! Brad]

Items preceded by an asterisk (*) are available free online in Google Books or other sources. Items marked with a dagger (†) are works by adversaries of Christianity. Items on OverDrive (for free through libraries that use this service) are noted after the title and will specify the formats available: eBook or audio. Items on Audible (audiobooks) will be noted after the title, also. Clicking on the title itself will take you to that book's listing on Amazon.

Click on the title links to find the great resources listed below 
(and then check out the growing MASTER LIST OF APOLOGETIC RESOURCES)....

Conversational Apologetics

Mandatory
Greg Koukl,
Tactics *OverDrive (eBook and audio) *Audible

Recommended
Norman and David Geisler, Conversational Evangelism *OverDrive (eBook)
Supplementary
Randy Newman,
Questioning Evangelism
Randy Newman,
Corner Conversations
General Bible and Historical Background

Mandatory
* James M. Gray,
Primers of the Faith, chs. 132 (Part I) *FREE
* Samuel P. Tregelles,
Historic Evidence of the New Testament *FREE
E. M. Blaiklock,
The Compact Handbook of New Testament Life


Reference
* William Binnington Boyce,
Introduction to the Study of History *FREE
Basic Reasoning Skills in Apologetics

Mandatory
Peter Kreeft,
Between Heaven and Hell
Recommended
Peter Kreeft,
The Best Things in Life
Peter Kreeft,
The Unaborted Socrates
Peter Kreeft,
Socrates Meets Jesus
Positive Biblical Apologetics: Minimal Facts Argument

Mandatory
* C. S. Lewis, “Modern Theology and Biblical Criticism”
*FREE
William Lane Craig,
Reasonable Faith, chs. 7 and 8 *OverDrive (eBook)
Terry Miethe, ed.,
Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?
Copan and Tacelli, eds.,
Jesus’ Resurrection: Fact or Figment?
Recommended
Komoszewski, Sawyer and Wallace,
Reinventing Jesus
Craig A. Evans,
Fabricating Jesus

Positive Biblical Apologetics: Eyewitness Testimony Argument

Mandatory
* C. S. Lewis, “Modern Theology and Biblical Criticism”
*FREE
J. W. Montgomery,
Where is History Going?, chs. 2 and 3 (Also published separately as Jesus Christ and History) *FREE17 page excperpt
* Edmund Bennett,
The Four Gospels from a Lawyer’s Standpoint *FREE
* F. F. Bruce,
The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? *FREE
* William Paley,
A View of the Evidences of Christianity, Parts 1 and 2 *FREE *FREEKindle book
Recommended
* Thomas Cooper,
The Bridge of History over the Gulf of Time *FREE *FREEAudiobook
* John James Blunt,
Undesigned Coincidences, Part 4 *FREE
Jeffrey Sheller,
Is the Bible True?
Mark D. Roberts,
Can We Trust the Gospels? *OverDrive (eBook)
Richard Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses
Eddy and Boyd,
The Jesus Legend *OverDrive (eBook)
Komoszewski, Sawyer and Wallace, Reinventing Jesus
Craig A. Evans,
Fabricating Jesus
Supplementary
N. T. Wright,
The Resurrection of the Son of God *OverDrive (eBook)

Reference
* T. H. Horne,
An Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, 8th ed., vols. 1 and 2 *FREE
* Nathaniel Lardner,
Credibility of the Gospel History, 17 vols. *FREE

Positive General Apologetics: Orientation

Mandatory
C. S. Lewis,
Mere Christianity *FREE *FREEAudiobook

Recommended
Craig and Copan, eds.,
Contending with Christianity’s Critics *OverDrive (eBook)
Sennett and Groothuis, eds., In Defense of Natural Theology: A PostHumean Assessment
Timothy Keller,
The Reason for God *OverDrive (eBook & audiobook) *Audible (abridged)

Reference
Craig and Moreland, eds.,
The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology *OverDrive (eBook)

Positive General Apologetics: The Kalam Argument

Mandatory
* William Lane Craig, “The Existence of God and the Beginning of the Universe”
FREE
William Lane Craig,
Reasonable Faith, chs. 3 and 4 *OverDrive (eBook)
Supplementary
William Lane Craig,
The Kalam Cosmological Argument
Craig and Smith,
Theism, Atheism, and Big Bang Cosmology
Positive General Apologetics: The Origin of Life

Mandatory
Stephen Meyer, “The Explanatory Power of Design,” in
Mere Creation
Dean Overman,
A Case Against Accident and Selforganization
Recommended
J. P. Moreland, ed.,
The Creation Hypothesis, ch. 5
C. Thaxton, W. Bradley, and R. Olsen,
The Mystery of Life’s Origin
Robert Shapiro,
Origins: A Sceptic’s Guide to the Creation of Life on Earth
Stephen Meyer,
Signature in the Cell *OverDrive (eBook)

Positive General Apologetics: Intelligent Design

Mandatory
† Richard Dawkins,
The Blind Watchmaker, chs. 14 *OverDrive (eBook) *Audible
J. P. Moreland, ed.,
The Creation Hypothesis, Intro. and chs. 1 & 2
Michael Behe,
Darwin’s Black Box *OverDrive (eBook)
Jonathan Wells, Icons of Evolution *Audible

Recommended
William Dembski, ed.,
Mere Creation
Jon Wells,
The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design *OverDrive (eBook & audiobook) *Audible

Supplementary
* Tim McGrew, “Toward a Rational Reconstruction of Design Inferences”
FREE

Positive General Apologetics: The Moral Argument

Mandatory
C. S. Lewis,
Mere Christianity, Book I *FREE *FREEAudiobook
* Paul Copan, “God, Naturalism, and Morality,” from
The Future of Atheism
Recommended
C. E. M. Joad,
The Recovery of Belief, ch. 3
Mark Linville, “The Moral Poverty of Evolutionary Naturalism,” in
Contending with Christianity’s Critics *OverDrive (eBook)
Defensive General Apologetics: The Challenge of Naturalistic Science

Mandatory
C. S. Lewis,
Miracles: A Preliminary Study, ch. 3 *OverDrive (eBook & audiobook) *Audible
John Lennox,
God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God? *OverDrive (eBook)

Recommended
* Arthur James Balfour,
The Foundations of Belief, 8th ed.
Supplementary
Rodney Holder,
Nothing but Atoms and Molecules?
Defensive General Apologetics: The Problem of Evil

Mandatory
† David Hume,
Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, Section X *FREE *FREEAudiobook
William Lane Craig, Hard Questions, Real Answers, chs. 4 and 5
Recommended
C. S. Lewis,
The Problem of Pain *OverDrive (eBook & audiobook) *Audible
Defensive General Apologetics: The Objection to Miracles

Mandatory
† David Hume, “Of Miracles”
*FREE
* William Adams,
An Essay in Answer to Mr. Hume’s Essay on Miracles, 3rd ed. *FREE
Recommended
* George Campbell,
A Dissertation on Miracles *FREE
Habermas and Geivett, eds., In Defense of Miracles
Supplementary
* John Douglas,
The Criterion *FREE
C. S. Lewis, Miracles: A Preliminary Study *OverDrive (eBook and audiobook) *Audible

Reference
* Tim McGrew, “Miracles,”
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy *FREE
Defensive General Apologetics: Other General Objections

Recommended
Paul Copan,
When God Goes to Starbucks *OverDrive (eBook)
William Lane Craig, Hard Questions, Real Answers
Craig and Copan, eds.,
Contending with Christianity’s Critics *OverDrive (eBook)

Reference
* John Leland,
A View of the Principal Deistical Writers, 2 vols. *FREE
Geisler and Brooks,
When Skeptics Ask
Defensive Biblical Apologetics

Mandatory
* Richard Watson,
An Apology for the Bible *FREE
Recommended
Paul Copan,
Is God a Moral Monster? *OverDrive (eBook)
* Joseph Butler, The Analogy of Religion *FREE
Köstenberger and Kruger, The Heresy of Orthodoxy
Eddy and Boyd,
The Jesus Legend *OverDrive (eBook)

* John Thein, The Bible and Rationalism, 4 vols. *FREE
* T. H. Horne,
An Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, 8th ed., vols. 1 and 2 *FREE
Gleason Archer,
Encyclopediaof Bible Difficulties *OverDrive (eBook)
Michael Brown, AnsweringJewish Objections to Jesus, 5 vols. *OverDrive (eBook)