In Apologetics Encounters, Be Winsome or Lose Some

    As a Christian thinker and apologist, I have talked with many non-Christians about my Christian faith over almost the past four decades. Some of these apologetics discussions have taken place in formal debates, others on television and radio, still others on social media, and many in personal face-to-face discussions. Sometimes I reflect back on these discussions and wonder how…

Reasoning through JFK Assassination Theories

Conspiracy theories never seem to go away. Especially the ones that are said to involve clandestine plots of the United States government. It seems that many Americans believe high-level members of the federal government have been involved in such things as assassinations, cover-ups, and secret societies. Conspiracy theories, like all theories, need to be thought through critically and dispassionately. As Christians,…

Revelation Versus Religion: Can Religious Pluralism Be True?

Why can’t all the world’s religions be true?  The challenge of accepting the idea that all religions are true (religious pluralism) stems from the fact that the individual religions teach essential things that logically contradict one another. For example, their disagreement about the existence of God or gods is just one of many examples demonstrating how profoundly the world’s religions…

A Fourth Branch of Christendom?

Historic Christendom is generally thought of as consisting of three main branches: Orthodoxy, Catholicism, and Protestantism.1 Yet as a serious student of Christianity I would like to propose that a reasonable case can be made that there is now a fourth branch of Christendom to go along with the three traditional ecclesiastical bodies.2 Not everyone will agree with my assessment but let…

What Is the Relationship between Judaism and Christianity?

Since I teach courses in comparative religions at Biola University and through Reasons Institute, people sometimes ask me what I think about the relationship between the biblical religions of Judaism and Christianity. And in that specific context, I’m also asked about Messianic Judaism. In fact, some time back I was contacted on social media by a Messianic Jew who is very supportive…

How Did the Son’s Incarnation Impact the Trinity?

The doctrines of the incarnation (Jesus Christ as God in human flesh) and the Trinity (one God in three persons) are two of historic Christianity’s most distinctive teachings. In fact, these two doctrinal truths separate the historic Christian faith from the two other major Middle Eastern monotheistic religions of Judaism and Islam.1 Yet these biblically revealed doctrines contain great mystery,…

A Memorial to My Professor Martin Schramm

One of the very best and most supportive professors I had in college, Rev. Dr. Martin Schramm, died recently of cancer. Dr. Schramm was one of the founding five faculty members1 at Christ College Irvine (now Concordia University Irvine) a private liberal arts university of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Professor Schramm earned his doctoral degree in communications at the University of Southern California…

How Close Are the Middle Eastern Monotheistic Religions’ Views of God?

Among the world’s major religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are known as the great monotheistic traditions. But exactly how close are these religions in their specific conception of God? And is it possible that adherents of these religions worship the same God? The traditional conceptions of these three religions have significant common ground, which includes the following:  theistic in philosophical…

Responding to Islam’s Objection to the Trinity

The doctrine of the Trinity (one God in three persons) is one of historic Christianity’s most distinctive teachings. This view of God’s nature separates the Christian faith from the two other popular Middle Eastern monotheistic religions of Judaism and Islam. Traditional Jews and Muslims deny the Trinity and affirm a unitarian view of God (a single God who is one…