Friday, July 11, 2014

Sermon of the Week (7/6 - 7/12, 2014) Andy Stanley on Good God and R.C. Sproul on Two Worldviews

I actually doubted Andy Stanley would ever make the Sermon of the Week list since he uses the Bible less frequently than any pastor I listen to (he doesn't preach expository sermons and he intentionally avoids saying "the Bible says..." I don't think he's concerned about Dever's Marks of a Healthy Church).

Stanley is preaching through a series on simple apologetics, giving his congregation one-liners to defend their faith.There are always problems with gross simplification but there is also benefit in boiling things down to the simple reasons why we believe what we do. This sermon from 6/29 is to answer the question of "If God is good, why does he allow bad things to happen?" His comeback is, first, "Have you ever read anything about this?" which moves the impetus from the questioned to the questioner to do his homework and is a way to humbly say "I'm not an expert." Secondly, "Have you ever chosen to do something bad? By your logic shouldn't God have gotten rid of you?"

Stanley draws heavily on C.S. Lewis' thoughts on morality as evidence of God. Once someone states that something is "right" or "wrong" it raises the question of "who decides?" which necessitates an ultimate arbitrator. We all want to be the ones who decides what is "right" and "wrong," and mete out justice but, hypocritically, none of us want to give anyone else that right for fear of their wrath. Stanley argues "ought" and "ought not" comes ultimately from our sense that our world is broken, things aren't as they should be-- we've lost something. He ends up at Romans 8.

R.C. Sproul's ministry has also been broadcasting Sproul's series on apologetics recently, and I recommend listening at least to this Sproul lesson (Only Two Worldviews) from 7/6 to get a similar take on the same topic. Atheists have to answer the questions: "How did something come from nothing?" and "Where does guilt come from?" Sproul's lesson is on atheists' lack of a basis for which to judge something as moral/immoral and therefore their inability to logically claim violations of ethics or human rights. Listen to his entire series, particularly looking at the thoughts of Thomas Aquinas (Sproul is a fan) vs. Immanuel Kant (Sproul is opposed) as well as the podcast on presuppositionalism vs. classical apologetics (apparently this is a current debate among Reformed apologists).

I listened to another sermon this week on Stanley's topic from a purely biblical basis (also on Romans 8) and found it fell short of a convincing argument. Tim Keller also broached the subject in this excellent sermon on 6/29 (you guessed it-- on Romans 8) but not in an apologetic sense. 

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