Warren Christian Apologetics Center
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Posts in Charles C. Pugh III
The Virtue of Work in Human Flourishing

Reading an essay by syndicated columnist Cal Thomas, during the early days of 2015, introduced me to a small, but unusual book called the Fate of Empires and Search for Survival. The author of the book is the late Sir John Glubb, British diplomat who lived from 1897 to 1986. The Thomas essay was originally titled “America Interrupted” and first appeared in the Cal Thomas column published by the Chicago Tribune, 29 December 2014. I read it from a copy of The Intelligencer (Wheeling, WV) handed to me by a friend. The headline of the article in the Wheeling paper was “Without Duty, Decadence.”

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A Special 2019 Apologetics Event

Reflecting on the past and present event opportunities afforded Warren Apologetics Center should produce deep gratitude. The words of Paul strike a chord: “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God” (2 Corinthians 3:5).

The Warren Center, namesake of Thomas B. Warren, one of the greatest voices on behalf of Christian theism in the 20th century, challenges religious skepticism through the rich legacy of Warren’s classical (biblical) apologetics approach. He being dead still speaks (cf. Hebrews 11:4). His debate with Antony Flew, arguably the world’s foremost philosophical atheist in the 20th century, has been called the most significant debate on the existence of God during the last 100 years or more. From Warren’s flawless logical theistic argumentation, the great public interest generated by the debate, and all followed three decades later by Flew’s “conversion” to belief in God, it may very well be the time when atheism was handed its most devastating defeat since the earliest days of Christianity.

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The Greatness of the Christian Life

Because of the debates like that which he had with the late Antony Flew, Thomas B. Warren is remembered as a great debater. However, Thomas B. Warren was also a great preacher. I recall listening to him deliver a masterpiece sermon a few years before his death in 2000. The sermon was on the Christian life, and the text was Philippians 4:1-23. In the introduction Warren observed that there are times when we need to take lengthy passages and “follow along” in the passage to see what it is telling us. In this case, he asked, “What is Philippians 4:1-23 telling us about the Christian life?”

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A THANKSGIVING MEDITATION: What Do You Have that You Did Not Receive?

I recall reading the following story as referenced by Jerrie Barber. While on a short-term mission trip, Jack Hinton from New Bern, NC, was leading worship at a leper colony on the island of Tobago. There was time for one more song, so he asked if anyone had a request. A woman who had been facing away from the pulpit turned around. “It was the most hideous face I had ever seen,” Hinton said. “The woman’s nose and ears were entirely gone. The disease had destroyed her lips as well. She lifted a fingerless hand in the air and asked, ‘Can we sing Count Your Many Blessings?’”

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The following significant statements are taken from an issue of the Gospel Advocate, many decades old (September 13, 1973). The statements were penned by the late Thomas B. Warren. He wrote: “The basic thrust of New Testament preaching is apologetic in its nature. . . . It is a grievous error to conclude that the study of ‘Christian Evidences’ [apologetics] is one extraneous to the study of the Bible. The two go hand-in-hand.”

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The Sons of the World Are Wiser Than the Children of Light

On June 7, 2011, Steve Jobs, co-founder and CEO of Apple, Inc., the American multinational technology company, made his last public appearance. Jobs died from cancer later in 2011. His last public appearance was before the city council of Cupertino, CA, for the purpose of announcing Apple’s plan to build a 2.8 million square foot office building located on a 175 acre property, the former campus of Hewlett-Packard’s advanced products division. This high tech office development will be surrounded by 7,000 trees, including apricot, plum, olive, and apple orchards, and indigenous plants—a landscape of beauty designed by a leading Stanford University arborist...

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Mothering—Probably the Most Important Function on Earth

In a 2015 book, How the West Really Lost God, cultural critic Mary Eberstadt affirms that religion is like language—it is learned through community and the first community is the family. Rod Dreher, author of a more recent book, The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation, agrees with Eberstadt’s conclusion. He says, “When both the family and the community become fragmented and fail, the transmission of religion to the next generation becomes far more difficult” (123).

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In one of Francis Bacon’s Essays, he wrote of truth. His opening lines are, “What is truth? said jesting Pilate; and would not stay for an answer.” It is a classic illustration of the observation that men stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened.

According to Oxford dictionaries, “Truth is dead. Facts are passé.” This is the opening line of Amy Wang, Washington Post writer, in her article titled “‘Post-Truth’ Named 2016 Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries.” Wang says the folks at Oxford say post-truth denotes “circumstances in which objective facts are less influential . . . than appeals to emotion . . . [creating] an atmosphere in which [truth] is irrelevant.”

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A President and Apologetics

In his groundbreaking book on the spiritual life of Ronald Reagan, Professor Paul Kengor describes Reagan as having “faith [that] was not shallow, as his evident appetite for apologetics . . . demonstrates” (128-29). One way in which Reagan manifested this “appetite” for apologetics was in reading the books of former British atheist and apologist C. S. Lewis and assimilating and internalizing Lewis’ defense of the Christian faith.

   More than 100 years before Reagan became President, another holder of the office of the U.S. Presidency, Abraham Lincoln, was also greatly influenced by a study of apologetics. The Christian’s Defence, authored by a former skeptic, James D. Smith, and published in 1843, was the result of a debate the author had with C. G. Olmsted in 1841. The Smith-Olmsted debate continued for 18 nights. Olmsted challenged Smith to this discussion because of a series of lectures the latter had delivered in Columbus, MS. The lectures carried such titles as “The Evidences of Christianity” and “The Natures and Tendencies of Infidelity.” Smith argued the case for Christianity so effectively in his debate with Olmsted that a groundswell of support convinced him to print his arguments. In 1843, this apologetics literature, which a few years later would impact the life of Abraham Lincoln, was published in two volumes...

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Sweeter As The Years Go By!

A.B. Bruce (1831-1899) succeeded Patrick Fairbairn as Chair of Apologetics in Free Church College, Glasgow, Scotland. In the year of his death, Bruce published a work titled, The Epistle to the Hebrews—The First Apology for Christianity—An Exegetical Study. Four decades ago, I heard the late professor, Neil Lightfoot (1929-2012), in the very city from which I write these words, say that he esteemed Bruce’s volume on Hebrews higher than any similar work. Lightfoot, himself, wrote a fine work on Hebrews, titled Jesus Christ Today. Whether Bruce was correct, in an absolute sense, that The Epistle to the Hebrews was the “first apology” for Christianity may be debated. However, beyond dispute is the greatness of the New Testament book we know as Hebrews. Hebrews is a masterpiece in affirmation and defense of the majesty of the deity of Jesus Christ, and the manhood of His humanity...

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Someone defined New Year’s Eve as “the ceremonial rite of passage from one year to another, a sanctioned party that makes way for another 365 days of drudgery and responsibility. December 31 is the night the civilized world stomps on the gas and blows last year’s gunk out of its carburetors.” This is fitting for the worldview of skepticism that sees human beings as having come from nowhere and from nothing and destined to return to nowhere and become nothing...

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Civility-What The World Needs Now

I remember my undergraduate years at Harding College when Dr. Clifton Ganus, Jr. was president. Dr. Ganus is a remarkable Christian gentleman. He is among the greatest administrators I have known in Christian higher education. He is also an expert historian. Ganus and Arnold Toynbee, the late prominent British historian, were friends. I recall a chapel speech Dr. Ganus delivered in which he shared part of a conversation he had with Toynbee. The latter said, “Dr. Ganus, civilizations fall when men start hurting one another.”

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The Great Debate of 2016

 Forty years ago this coming September, America was engaged in presidential debates prior to the general election of 1976. During that same time another debate, the Warren-Flew debate on the existence of God, occurred on the campus of a Texas university. Although the 1976 presidential debates, as always, were significant, a good case can be made that the Warren-Flew debate was even more significant. In fact, some have called it “the debate of the century.”

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His mother was Madalyn Murray O’Hair. She won the landmark lawsuit filed on his behalf when he was fourteen years old, effectively banning prayer and Bible reading from public schools in America by an 8-1 Supreme Court decision, June 17, 1963. America’s schools have never recovered from this decision that long-time U. S. Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia described as somebody “tampering with America’s soul.”

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The Gate of the Year

Minnie Louise Haskins (1875-1957) was a British writer, missions worker, London School of Economics student and teacher, and industrial welfare leader in the first half of the 20th century. In addition to her literary work as a poet and novelist, Haskins and Eleanor T. Kelly co-authoredFoundations of Industrial Welfare, a significant publication promoting a spirit of cooperation between worker and employer. However, it is a small collection of poetry published in 1908 that contains the obscure poem for which Minnie Haskins is best remembered. Originally published under the title “God Knows,” this poem is best known from its popular title “The Gate of the Year.”

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The Vision of Thomas B. Warren

In his book, A Severe Mercy, Sheldon Vanauken describes his friend and mentor, C. S. Lewis, as “a man who could so swiftly cut through anything that even approached fuzzy thinking.” Van (as he was called by Lewis) goes on to say that C. S. Lewis “in brilliance, in wit, and in incisiveness, could hold his own with any man that ever lived” (of course, excluding the God-Man, Jesus Christ).

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Tell Me What This Center Is About

One of the most frequently asked questions about Warren Apologetics Center is: “What is this ‘apologetics center’ about?” Answering this question in such a way that people have a clear understanding is extremely crucial to the overall success of this project. We have worked hard to do this, but we continue working harder attempting to do an even better job communicating what Warren Apologetics Center is all about.

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Let Us Rise Up and Build

Less than ten years ago, the late Dr. Antony Flew, whom Professor Thomas B. Warren debated on the existence of God in 1976, announced that he (Flew) had given up atheism and embraced theism. The news sent shock waves through the philosophical world. Professor Flew’s “pilgrimage of reason” (as he described it) is chronicled in his 2007 book There Is A God. This former British atheist wrote that he had been influenced in recent years by the philosopher David Conway’s argument for God’s existence in Conway’s 2000 book The Rediscovery of Wisdom: From Here to Antiquity in Quest of Sophia. 

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Celebrating July 4th While Remembering Divine Judgment

A while back, President George W. Bush released his book of memoirs titled, Decision Points. Each chapter of the book concerns some point of major decision in his life or presidency. Borrowing from his terminology, I suggest that “Decision Point” sums up the basic message of a passage from the Old Testament prophet Joel which says, “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision” (Joel 3:14). The statement is located in the context of an announcement of the judgment of God in time, and at the end oftime. I believe Aebi to be correct in his conclusion that this “is [1] primarily descriptive of Pentecost, in which the gospel by which people are judged began to be preached; then [2] it is descriptive of the any judgments of God throughout the Christian era, and [3] finally descriptive of the day of judgment at the end of the world” (75).

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