New Book—Commonsense Christian Apologetics

For those of you who are interested…I have a new book out called Commonsense Christian Apologetics…on Amazon…272 pages.

It is $10 in paperback, and $0.99 on Kindle.

I think this is my best book so far.

It has some issues that are not in the typical apologetics debate…which I think have inspirational and apologetics value…written from a commonsense viewpoint…and is therefore easy to read yet has some persuasive power and punch.

Thanks.  Hope you enjoy it.  Barton Jahn

A Biblical Adventure of Faith Begins with Abraham

In the Old Testament, after Abraham received his calling from God and left Haran to go to the land of Canaan, from that point onward Abraham was no longer completely in control of his life.  This is a biblically illustrated example of Abraham stepping down off the throne of self-sovereignty.

Abraham cannot stay in Haran and at the same time go to Canaan.  Abraham cannot have a “conventional” life in Haran according to all of the local customs, practices, and social expectations there, and also pursue the promise that God would make Abraham the father of a great nation in the land of Canaan.  Abraham cannot physically and spiritually be in both places at the same time.  Abraham chooses God’s plan and goes to Canaan, and in the process of doing so he also chooses the second half of the cross—the falling away of his old self-will and self-made plans.

Abraham is the first fully illustrated example of the uniquely biblical approach of a person’s free-will purposely choosing the risk inherent in subordinating his self-in-charge nature to the plans of God, based solely upon faith and trust in God’s character.  This is the recipe for a successful human life as defined by God through the stories of faith portrayed in the Bible.

Likewise in the Old Testament, after Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt he was no longer in complete control of his life.  Joseph cannot be in Potiphar’s house in Egypt being uniquely schooled in business management and leadership according to God’s plan, and at the same time work as a simple shepherd back at home in Canaan in his father Jacob’s house.

Moses cannot meet God at the burning bush, and be sent to Egypt to deliver the Israelites, and at the same time continue to live a quiet life as a shepherd in Midian.  From the time of the burning bush onward, Moses is no longer in complete control of his life.

When God sends the prophet Samuel to Bethlehem, the city where Jesse lives, to find and anoint a new king for Israel from among the sons of Jesse, David’s father Jesse thinks so little of David the youngest son as a potential candidate for Samuel’s review, that he is left outside to tend the sheep while his older brothers are brought before Samuel.

David cannot stay in his father’s house as the youngest, and according to the culture of his day the least valued son, and at the same time grow into the future king of Israel according to God’s unique plan.  After David is finally brought before Samuel, and is selected and anointed to become the next king of Israel, from that time onward David was no longer in complete control of his life.

In the examples of the lives of these people of faith, their own normal life-plans and schemes were entirely displaced by the brilliantly imaginative life-plans God had for them.  These individual callings of God could not actualize without the second half of the cross, without these people stepping down off the thrones of their lives to make room for God to work.

Why is this important?  This is important because we need the one true living God to proactively set-up the precise conditions of our lives to lead and guide us into all truth (Jn 16:13) and thus a true revelation about Himself.  This divinely crafted recipe for a godly life translates into our modern world today just as well as it did in biblical times, no matter our current social, economic, geographical, ethnic, or cultural location.

A journey of faith following God converts precepts and concepts into practice in a way that is beyond our human capacity to actualize.  A biblical quality journey of faith following Jesus Christ today translates theory into practice through the divine means of God-composed, individualized life-scripts to match each of our unique in-born abilities and our singular purpose in life.

The truth that will make us free (Jn 8:32-36) is part of God’s gift of eternal salvation that includes a personal relationship and an understanding of Him.  This is the living faith that God wants to enact in each of our lives, divinely crafted and fine-tuned according to our God-given, in-built capacities and talents to match the narrative stories of faith recorded in the Bible.

Some Closing Thoughts—Two

From Commonsense Christian Apologetics:

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”                                                                                      (Heb. 11:1)

To close out the book, as I read the biblical narrative stories of faith in both the Old and New Testaments…I see basically two things happening in terms of journey of faith life-scripts, direction in the lives of Christians, eternal purpose and meaning, and God speaking to us.

The first is the calling of people like Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Samuel, David, Ezra, Nehemiah, Peter, and Paul…who had major promises of God…or very clear missions, goals, or final outcomes to aim for…given to them by God as guidance and hope-filled inspiration at the very beginning of their difficult and challenging journeys of faith.

We naturally tend to write-off these spectacular callings as if they only apply to the superstars of the Bible…too far above our experience to be a viable pattern to apply to our own lives…on a much lesser scale.

Becoming the “father of faith,” becoming the governor of Egypt, liberating the Israelite slaves from Egypt, conquering militarily the Promised Land, becoming king in Israel, rebuilding the walls and the temple in Jerusalem, and becoming the premier Christian evangelists to the Greco-Roman world in the first-century…these are things that seem too big for most of us…and therefore the concept of the displacement of our ways by God’s higher ways in conformity to the cross of Christ…and the gap that is created in a God-composed adventure of faith life-script having a humanistically unattainable goal according to the definition of faith described so brilliantly in Hebrews 11:1…can both be lost in the magnitude and grandeur of the callings of the storylines of these biblical characters.

These displacement and gap elements in the biblical narrative stories of faith could hypothetically seem to raise the bar…the standard…too high for the average Jew in Old Testament times…and the Christian (Jewish Christian or Gentile) in New Testament times.

The recognition of the displacement of our ways with God’s higher ways and thoughts…and the gap in a journey of faith that separates what we can do from what we cannot do…setting up the context for genuine biblical faith to actualize…this could potentially cause an anticipation and expectation problem for many Christians who are faithfully following God and going about their normal Christian practices of prayer, reading and studying the Bible, being active in fellowship with other Christians, and sharing their faith with others…simply because God has not spoken directly to them regarding a specific calling upfront like the examples of the major biblical characters listed above.

But the second thing that I see that is happening in the Bible…probably more often…is that God also works unseen in people’s lives who are trying to be faithful and do the right things…even though God does not at first reveal directly to them…by speaking to them in the Spirit…a major promise, missions, or goal upfront at the very beginning of their journey of faith.

This second type of biblical character can see God’s hand at work over time in hindsight…part-way through their journey of faith…or looking backwards after it has finished and all the dust has settled.

Examples of this type of experience with God…in the biblical narrative stories of faith…might include Ruth, Hannah, Esther and Mordecai, the three Hebrew young men in the fiery furnace of King Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel, and the ten apostles other than Peter and Judas Iscariot.

Ruth is interesting in this regard…in that she does not even know that by marrying Boaz, she has become part of the royal line that produces the future King David in direct line to Jesus Christ the Son of God…born far ahead in the future in the first-century A.D.  How could God…in this case…reveal more information to Ruth in-the-moment…without possibly jeopardizing giving away the future plans of God for mankind in the kingship of David and the royal line leading to Jesus the Son of God and eternal King in heaven?

In fact, I think that every positive biblical character did not have a full and complete understanding of the unique and critical role they played in the unfolding saga of God’s eternal plans and destiny for mankind.

It is safe to say that there is not a single person on the planet today that has a complete macro and micro grasp of the higher ways and thoughts of God.

The point I want to make here…as has been repeated many times throughout this book…is that as Abraham gets his calling from God to go from the city of Haran to the Promised Land of Canaan…with each step that Abraham takes God is displacing whatever normative plans Abraham might have otherwise had back in Haran…with a new life-script beyond anything Abraham could or would have dreamed up…beyond anything Abraham could self-compose, contrive, or self-orchestrate.

This worldly unconventional element of displacement of our ways with God’s higher ways…illustrated in the biblical narrative stories of faith according to the two general patterns described above…contained within God-composed journey of faith life-scripts starting with the detailed and highly specific life-story calling of Abraham and continuing throughout the Bible all the way through to the New Testament first-century…down to our current “church age”…is in my view as big as anything else in the history of mankind.

This is as big as the discovery by Copernicus that the earth revolves around the Sun, or Einstein’s theory of general relativity, or the discovery of Edwin Hubble of the Big Bang expansion of the universe, or the discovery of antibiotic medicines to combat disease, or our discovery and understanding of DNA…the “language of life.”

This biblical concept is as big as the American Declaration of Independence…the American Constitution…the Emancipation Proclamation abolishing slavery…the women’s suffrage movement…and the victory over despotic tyranny during World War II.

This biblical concept of the displacement of our ways with God’s ways…and the gap we see in genuine biblical faith between what we can do and what we cannot do on our own…integral and fundamental to a journey of faith following Jehovah in the Old Testament and Jesus Christ in the New Testament…is as big as the discovery by Martin Luther that “the just shall live by faith” rather than works-salvation through pilgrimages, relics, and indulgences…and the monumental realization that common people should have access to the Bible translated into their own languages…that started the Protestant Reformation.

The concept that the living God…the brilliant Creator of the universe…can play a pivotal role…indeed take the lead in crafting and shaping a journey of faith for each one of us…that bears the stamp of divine imagination and innovative creativity in being 100 percent contrary to the opposite worldview of pursuing…on our own…our self-validation and acceptance according to worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…entirely outside of the zone of human literary invention…how can this eternally valuable and applicable biblical concept not be as large or larger than any other concept or event in the history of mankind?

1 John 2:17 reads: “And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”

I hope this book has been a blessing, an inspiration, and an encouragement to you.

What Do We Think of God 3

This Book is Written Mostly for Christians

This book is not primarily written to convince atheists and skeptics of the existence of God…to attempt to convincingly overturn the power of unbelief in this world (Dan. 12:10).  That will be an ongoing battle extending into the end-times.

I think that for some of today’s atheists and skeptics…if they came across 100 varied types of watches and clocks lying on top of the sand while walking along a deserted beach on an uninhabited island…with no sign of a watchmaker in sight…the power of their materialistic bias would still say that the explanation for the existence of these watches and clocks was a naturalistic process of trial-and-error, incremental, step-by step, gradualistic self-assemblage (Jn. 14:17).

This is basically what atheists and skeptics are saying when they object that they cannot find the watchmaker…cannot observe his assembly techniques…and cannot know how and when he “figuratively” placed these watches and clocks on this deserted beach…the watchmaker in this analogy of course being God.

1 Peter 3:15 tells Christians to “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.”

In addition, John 15:20 states: “If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.”

We cannot judge by outer appearances which people are open to the gospel message.  Our part is to freely give to other people…while listening in the Spirit and following God’s lead (Acts 16:6-10)…what we have received.

Sometimes the sharing of the gospel message of salvation starts with the simplest of testimonies of what Jesus Christ has done in our lives…anointed with a power of conviction and an outreach of love we did not know we possessed.

Other times people raise questions that we should try to be prepared ahead of time to answer.

I have found in my own experience that if I have studied the issues and the answers…have prepared myself…that God can set-up “divine appointments” that match me up with people who are open to exactly what I have to share.

I have found that when sharing the example of  Abraham walking from Haran to Canaan…wherein God displaces whatever normative life Abraham would have lived in Haran with an entirely new life-script…people get this concept right away…they can relate to and  understand it easily.

This quick realization and understanding of the unique quality of biblical faith… leads to validating the Old Testament narrative stories of faith with a new measure of credibility…that removes a major stumbling-block for some people who had previously accepted the totally incorrect assertion of radical skeptical unbelief…put forward into our culture for centuries coming from philosophical atheism…that the biblical narrative stories of faith are human literary fiction.

Then adding the thought of the improbability that any human writer could or would invent this concept of intentional displacement by God of our ways for His higher ways…the person we are talking to often understands this distinction immediately…and the discussion can move on to the cross of Jesus Christ…the blood sacrifice for sin…and the resurrection of Jesus that offers a whole new worldview of joy, peace, and meaningful purpose in life.

Inner Peace Coming from an Unexpected Direction

There is an inner peace that comes from being fully engaged in an active journey of faith following God…that can only be discovered and experienced today by Spirit-born and led Christians (Jn. 8:36, 10:4).

This reality is in total contrast to worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…which incorrectly tells people that peace and fulfillment comes from following our own path.

God-composed life-scripts…after the pattern of the biblical narrative stories having the displacement element of the cross of Christ (Lk. 22:42) that creates the gap of Hebrews 11:1 to actualize the context for biblical faith to function in our lives…takes people to the summit…the pinnacle…of what is eternally important in life.

God-composed life-scripts take us to a personal relationship with the living God…the Creator of the universe.

This is a supernatural…a non-natural…course for life.  It will eventually lead to the point of time in life when we can answer from personal experience and first-hand knowledge the question: “what do I think of God?”

One of the best arguments in the Christian apologetics debate today…the topic of the next two sections…is that God writes perfect life-scripts for the people of faith…that even take into account and make allowances for our faults, shortcomings, and mistakes…that only a God who is timeless, all-knowing, and all-powerful…could compose.

This for me is the best good news imaginable…having unlimited potential for investing my life-plans and goals for the good of others and for myself…within a God-scripted, premeditated destiny for me…and unique destinies for the hundreds of millions of other Christians across the globe…stretching out into all eternity with Jesus Christ as our King and Savior.

When placed alongside all other human achievements, discoveries, and thinking…this idea that the living God…the Creator of the universe…has pre-written life-scripts for each one of us that are designed to actualize the context of events into our lives to create a personal relationship with God…has to be placed at the very top of the list in all of human history.

What Do We Think of God 2

At this point it should be remembered that in this story of Abraham and Isaac on Mount Moriah…to borrow the words of Ravi Zacharias in describing this scene in his public lectures…God shouts from heaven at the last moment as Abraham is raising his knife to kill Isaac his son on the altar of sacrifice: “Stop…I myself will provide.”

The writer of the epistle to the Hebrews (who I think was Paul), wrote in chapter eleven:

17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,

18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:

19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.

It was the advance preparation for Abraham in waiting for the birth of Isaac…”from whence also he received him in a figure” that enabled God to take Abraham and us to the singular vantage point of being able to peer ahead into the future and see the second Person of the Trinity…Jesus the Son of God…on the cross as the sacrifice for human sins past, present, and future…and then God the Father three days later “able to raise him up, even from the dead.”

We do not know all of what Abraham saw on that critical turning-point day on Mount Moriah…how much he grasped of the coming Messiah Jesus Christ and the incredible unconventionality of what Abraham had just experienced, how God had set this all up and then intervened at the last moment, and how this pertained to the future destiny of mankind.

In the 8th chapter of the gospel of John…in one of His verbal exchanges with the religious leaders in Jerusalem, Jesus says something enlightening on this question of what did Abraham think about God…after the events of Mount Moriah…and as he and Isaac came down from the mountain to safely return home:

“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad” (Jn. 8:56).

No human writer working from the zone of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…could get Abraham or us to this lofty, looking-point foreglimpse of an eternal, galactically important epiphany…in this dress-rehearsal of the sacrifice for sin that Jesus Christ would accomplish on the cross at Calvary in the first century of our modern era.

The life-script of Abraham…from beginning to end…has premeditated foresight written all through it…that is so deep…so forward looking…so ingeniously creative…and so thoroughly outside of the aspirations and expectations of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…that to categorize this opening story of Abraham in the Bible as myth…to this Christian writer seems to be nonsensical.

No human writer would invent a life-script story having a uniquely specified, advance preparation that contained a message within a message (called a nested hierarchy of information) that had an end-point outcome that was supernatural…that was non-natural.

No human writer would compose narrow, highly specific, complex scenarios of advance preparation that lead to goals, outcomes, callings, and promises of God that are unreachable by human abilities or intellect.

How and why would a human literary genius create such a fictional worldview?

All such fictions should be a projection of ourselves, coming exclusively from the zone of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking.

How would over 40 authors during a time-span of 1,500 years conspire and collude to compose the books of the Bible…all consistently having this message of the cross of Christ that displaces our ways with God’s higher ways and thoughts.

We do not see any evolutionary progression in the nested hierarchy of the information…a message wrapped within another message…in the life-script of Abraham.  The ingeniously innovative advance preparation for Abraham matches perfectly the test on Mount Moriah…the first and only time…perfect and complete right out of the box.

But a God-composed journey of faith life-script eliminates a large portion of the options available within worldly conventional normalcy and thinking.

The biblical narrative stories of faith are exclusivistic.  They limit a large portion of our freedom…by focusing exclusively on God’s higher ways and thoughts in a worldview that Jesus described in the Sermon on the Mount as “entering in at the narrow gate” (Mt. 7:13-14)…thus excluding…for the best and highest of reasons…the “broad way” that includes large portions of worldly conventional norms.

What makes a compelling case for the divine origin of the biblical narrative stories of faith…and therefore the Bible…as will be discussed from varied directions throughout this book…is that this exclusivity takes us a step above and beyond what could otherwise come from worldly conventional thinking.

The advance preparations for Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Peter, and Paul…to name a few…are so tightly and narrowly directed…so targeted toward their God-composed goals, callings, mission-outcomes, and promises of God…that worldly aspirations and concerns fall away…are removed off the pages of their lives.

This is a through-line theme of the Bible that inexplicable in a purely humanistic, naturalistic worldview.

God’s ways replacing our ways is a concept that is infuriating and revolting….is anathema…to atheists and skeptics (Jn. 15:19).

But this entire line of reasoning creates a dilemma for atheists and skeptics.

The closer we move towards actualizing in real life the radical nature of the cross of Jesus Christ applied to our lives…first introduced in the calling of Abraham to leave Haran and travel to Canaan…with God displacing whatever normative life Abraham would otherwise have lived back in the city of Haran…the closer we move towards this worldview of biblical faith…then the farther away we get from the zone of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…and the farther removed is the notion that these biblical narrative stories of faith are human invented literary myths.

No matter what other issues and questions need to be resolved within the apologetic debate around the Old and New Testaments of the Bible…if the Bible is a humanistically created literary document…then atheists and skeptics must explain how the complex and brilliantly crafted storyline of Abraham contains what is called in modern information theory: a nested hierarchy of information…a message contained within another larger message…which is the clear signature of intelligent design everywhere we see this phenomenon.

The highly specified, advance preparation of Abraham…the subsequent working out of the details of a Hebrews 11:1 life-script…and the incredible finale on Mount Moriah that provides a prophetic foreglimpse into the monumental event of the cross and the resurrection of Jesus Christ two thousand years later…is beyond human inventive imagination and totally outside of the realm of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking.

This introduces the main theme of this book…which has both apologetic and inspirational value for Christians today.

The displacement element in the biblical narrative stories of faith is universal…whether or not the people of faith had a specific promise or calling of God…or whether God moved in their lives to arrange events toward a particular end-point outcome where these people could look backward and recognize God’s positive participation…and then answer this critical question: “what do I think of God?”

As Christians today…we do not have to have a clear calling like Abraham (although some Christians will) upfront…giving us a heads-up about what God plans to do in and through our lives.

Several people of faith in the Bible…along with Christians today…went about their lives trusting and exercising faith in God.

God is able to insert into the course of our lives the Hebrews 11:1 reality of a gap…a space…an interval of where we are to where we need to get to…while we “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7).

Acts 13:1-5 records the calling of Paul and Barnabas to go out into the mission field.  But the calling of Simeon, Lucius, and Manaen…at least for the time being…was to remain behind and continue as teachers in the house churches in Antioch.

Whatever our Christian calling in life may be…the intention of God is to set-up the context of events and circumstances in our life-scripts to actualize a personal relationship with Him…after the pattern of the biblical narrative stories of faith…so that we can reach the radical, extremely unconventional vantage point of being able to answer from an insider’s, informed perspective this question: “what do I think of God?”

What Do We Think of God 1

“If ye be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.  Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth.  For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”                                                                   (Col. 3:1-3)

In making an apologetic argument for the existence of God and the truth of Old Testament Judaism and New Testament Christianity…one place to start is to make the opening claim that the story of Abraham is too profound…too complex…too coherently integrated…and too thoroughly unconventional to be the product of human literary invention …in ancient human history or even today.

The through-line of the story of Abraham is that God…the Creator of the universe…communicates and interacts on a personal level with Abraham in a life-script that is brilliant in its innovative composition…but a life-script that also introduces a large amount of non-simplistic, highly specific information that cannot be found anywhere within the universally conventional mindset of the plans and goals for “normal” human living…in 2,100 B.C. or in the twenty-first century.

The commonsense apologetic argument in this book starts out by suggesting that unless Abraham has the storyline component of waiting the very challenging and unexpected twenty-five years for the birth of Isaac…a very large detail left out of God’s promise to Abraham of descendants as numerous as the dust of the earth and the stars in the night sky (Gen. 13:16, 22:17)…that unless God in this unexpected way shakes up the universal mindset of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking shared by Abraham along with every other human being on earth…then Abraham would not have been able to take Isaac up to Mount Moriah (Gen. 22:1-19)…and to give us a foreglimpse of what God the Father planned to do with His Son Jesus the Passover Lamb of God sacrifice for sin…two thousand years later at the cross on Calvary Hill in Jerusalem.

In the first detailed journey of faith life-script introduced in the Hebrew Bible (the Christian Old Testament)…God inserts an upward incline of new and novel events and circumstances into the life-story of Abraham…events and circumstances that deliberately lead to the capstone question in life…at some point in time along the way for Abraham: “what do I think of God?”

This incredibly profound question is initiated by God Himself…within the unique events and circumstances our God-composed journey of faith life-scripts.  God wants us to ask and answer this question as part of the purpose and meaning of the course of our lives.

But the point here for apologetic consideration into the existence of God and the truth of the Bible and Christianity…is that the life-context of events for the exploration and the arrival at a definitive answer to this question…could only be set-up…could only be actualized by God.

If Abraham and Sarah had been able to start a large family according to a conventional life-script upon their arrival in Canaan…then over time Abraham would have become so committed to the normalcy of a large family life…that the overwhelming pull inside him of the expected entitlement to be able stay within worldly conventional normalcy and thinking on a going-forward basis…would have flat-out said “no way” to God’s incredibly unconventional “request” to sacrifice Isaac as a burnt offering at Mount Moriah.

It was the unusually unconventional late arrival of the birth of Isaac that inaugurated the new concept of biblical faith…described succinctly in Hebrews 11:1…”Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”…that scrabbled-up the otherwise normally rigid expectations and aspirations that accompanies the early start and ongoing maintenance of a large family-life…that enabled the liberated mindset of faith in Abraham to even entertain the concept…and to follow through with this idea to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac…for the highest and best of reasons imaginable…as we see at the end of the story.

It was the innovatively specified and inconceivably fine-tuned originality of this advance preparation for Abraham that enabled him to step forward in faith and become the “father of faith” for the millions upon millions of people who will take the risk to place the benefit-of-the-doubt in the living God…in their unique callings and “called-out” missions in this life.

What does the Bible have to say further about this concept of the brilliant ingenuity of God displacing our ways with His higher ways and thoughts (Isa. 55:8-9; Prov. 3:5-6)?

In Genesis 17:17…after God reaffirmed His promise to Abraham and changed his name from Abram to Abraham, and Sarah’s name from Sarai to Sarah…it reads:

“Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?”

Then in the following verse 18, Abraham reveals that he is close to giving up on this promise of God, and suggests to God a more reasonably conventional, alternative solution for the fulfillment of God’s promise:

“And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!” meaning that Ishmael is alive and here now…and cannot he be the fulfillment of this protracted, long overdue promise?

Or in other words…”cannot the earlier arrangement be acceptable that Sarah and I worked out with Hagar that produced Ishmael…according to self-sovereignty on our own…without your input God…within the otherwise acceptable zone of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking”…rather than staying within the original plan of God to wait for the birth of the promised heir which seems to be taking far too long…according to the unconventionality of God-sovereignty?

But after the birth of Isaac…the biblical faith of Hebrews 11:1 of “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”…inconceivable to Abraham before this point in time…now actualizes into a new worldview of faith in the true living God that will even take Abraham to the pinnacle…the summit…of trust and faith placed in the word of another person…in this case trust placed in the word of God.

Thoughts on Apologetics 4

I would posit the notion here that the brilliant and engrossing recent historical fiction novel A Column of Fire by Ken Follett…like his two previous books in this series…The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End…has all of its characters and all of the action occurring entirely within the zone of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…without exception…utilizing normal human talents and abilities.

Not a single person in A Column of Fire has the characteristic of biblical faith as depicted in a journey of faith life-script like that of Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, Daniel, Peter, James, John, or Paul…where people hear God’s voice and follow His leadership…God inserting His direct participation into people’s lives and imposing His will upon the broader world-scene.

This omission by a famous, world-class author writing an historical fiction novel having the main theme of the difficult social, cultural, and political advancement of religious tolerance during the middle to late 1500’s in Europe, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth in England…is either by conscious, deliberate omission made by the author while being fully aware of the dynamic relationships between people and God recorded in the Bible…or instead the result of a worldview bias that prevents even being able to see a living God in action in the biblical narrative stories of faith…displacing our ways with His higher ways.

But the question in terms of the contemporary Christian apologetics debate…is how would a world-class writer composing a historical fiction novel coming from the secularized zone of worldly conventional thinking…invent fictionalized characters after the biblical patterns of Noah through Paul…and fit them seamlessly into the otherwise outwardly appearing, non-supernatural course of events in human history.

How would any secular writer…outside of the genre of Christian historical fiction novels…insert hypothetical fiction characters and scenarios having a supernatural relationship with the living God…hearing His voice in the Spirit and following His lead…coherently integrated into historical fiction like the book A Column of Fire?

If the gulf between the supernatural and the natural is this large…if the gap between the biblical narrative stories of faith contrasted with the “occupy till I come” normalcy of our inherent abilities and talents…is this wide…then what is the naturalistic explanation for the origin of the completely non-natural component of a living God displacing our ways with His higher ways and thoughts…found within the recorded journeys of faith in the Bible?

If the direct participation of God in people’s lives is unacceptable and out-of-bounds within an historical fiction novel…unthinkable and outside of secular creative imagination in the invention of hypothetical characters such as an Abraham or Paul…how then are humanistic writers a plausible explanation for the origination of the biblical narrative stories of faith…having the most non-natural, supernatural participation of God at the heart of their storylines?

My point here in this section is to make the argument that the one unique, solitary human reality that rises above and outside of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…is the innovative concept of the narrative stories of faith recorded in the Bible.

These story of faith life-scripts contain the unthinkably unconventional element of the displacement of our ways in life with God’s higher ways…a derivative of the cross of Jesus Christ in the first-century…applied uniformly and universally in the varied life-plans of the positive characters of faith in the Bible…and in the lives of Spirit-led Christians today.