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2018 Imperial Valley Apologetics Conference Recap

I had the great privilege of speaking at the 2018 Imperial Valley Apologetics Conference this past weekend in El Centro, CA. I feel bad that it came at the expense of my friend, Tim Barnet, getting sick. But when he asked me to cover for him, I was happy that my Saturday was open.

During the day-long conference, I gave three talks and had a Q&A session. My talks included: Does God exist? Are science and faith compatible? Is the New Testament reliable? IMG_4497

Thank you to Calvary Chapel Bible College El Centro and everyone in attendance. You all are doing an incredible work, and you made it a very special day. And thank you to the visual team for putting together this short recap video from my first talk on the existence of God. You guys were amazing!

If you are interested in having me speak at your church, camp, or youth group, click on the Endorsements & Speaking page and email me at contact@coffeehousequestions.com. You can select a topic from the list or suggest your own. I am happy to help in any way I can. God bless!

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What is the key to discovering truth?

This blog first appeared at seanmcdowell.org

The topic of truth seems to be confused in our culture. Some think the truth is based on what makes you happy, and because God wants us to be happy, whatever makes me happy is true and good!

Others think that each person has their own truth. I saw an advertisement this past summer at UC Berkeley for voice lessons which give “vocal techniques to ‘free the natural voice,’ combined with gentle spiritual exercises empower you to SPEAK YOUR TRUTH” (emphasis theirs). This has become a popular phrase in our culture and was even used by Oprah Winfrey at the Golden Globes when she said, “What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have” (emphasis mine).

Do we just have “your truth” and “my truth”? What happens when your truth contradicts my truth? What happens when someone’s truth hurts other people? We wouldn’t agree with someone speaking their truth when they believe that murder or racism is a good thing. Instead, we need to focus on the Truth. We should seek and believe the truth even if it doesn’t make us happy.

But how can we even discover the truth when people have different beliefs? Dr. Jeff Myers, president of Summit Ministries, gives four worldview tests in his book, Understanding the Times. We are going to briefly look at the first two.

#1 Test for Truth: Reason

Is it reasonable? Can it be logically stated and defended?

It is important to start with these questions. If something goes against reason, we don’t need to look for evidence or think about whether it is true. Illogical statements are self-refuting and falsify themselves.

You don’t need to look for evidence of a married bachelor. If you’re married, you’re not a bachelor, and if you’re a bachelor, then you’re not married. You can’t be both! If I were to tell you about a square circle outside, you don’t go looking for it. It is logically impossible for square circles to exist. So, we need to begin by checking to see if the statement or fact is in accordance with reason. Once it passes the “test of reason,” then we move on to our second test.

#2 Test for Truth: External Support

Is there some external, corroborating evidence to support it?

First, one of the key words in this question is external. This is looking for something outside of a personal experience, emotion, or feeling. The fact that I feel good about believing I’m a millionaire doesn’t make me a millionaire. When you check the external evidence of my bank account you will see that my internal belief was false (in fact, really false).

Second, make sure the external evidence is actually corroborating the claim the person is making. I often see examples of people using evidence that supports a claim that is different from their original claim.

For example, I once read an article claiming to “prove” Darwinian evolution of how one animal kind is able to change into another animal kind. The evidence given was that a new kind of shark was discovered, but this evidence didn’t corroborate their view. Their evidence supported microevolution because when two different sharks breed you get a new type of shark. This is not a change from one kind to another but a change within a kind.

We have to remember that there is truth to be discovered in our world even if it is not obvious. Sometimes the truth is right in front of us, but people think it’s irrelevant.

Because of this, we might have to put in a little extra work. We must discover the truth, live by that truth, and help people around us see its importance. The truth is worth it. In reality, we all know this.

How can I start defending my faith? Interview with Dr. Craig Hazen

If you are reading this blog, then I suspect you realize how important it is for Christians to defend their faith. We live in a culture that is putting forth ideas that are contrary to Christianity, and we have people that are demanding for Christians to give reasons as to why they believe what they believe. These questions or issues may have driven you to study apologetics and the defense of your faith. I am excited to know that there are some of you who read this and fall into that category. However, the problem is that not everyone understands this need.

Some of you may have a desire to share the knowledge you have with others, but you don’t know how that is possible without a platform. You might be brand new to apologetics and worldview issues, and you feel overwhelmed by the amount of information to learn and don’t know where to start. What should you do?

Dr. Craig Hazen, the Director of the M.A. in Christian Apologetics at Biola, joined me this week to discuss how each person can turn the world upside down and stand up for Christianity. You don’t have to know all the facts or have degrees. You just need to know where to start and have a passion for sharing the truth. I hope that you are encouraged by this episode as you begin or continue your journey in defending your faith.

Comment below with any questions you have about defending your faith!

You can follow the Coffeehouse Questions Podcast and have it automatically downloaded to your device by subscribing on iTunes. You  can also find it and follow on SoundCloud or search “Coffeehouse Questions with Ryan Pauly” on your Android podcast player.

Like the Facebook page and interact with Ryan by asking questions and commenting. You can also see who will be future podcast guests on the Facebook page and send in your questions to be asked on the show! Send in your questions at contact@coffeehousequestions.com, FacebookTwitter, or by text at (714) 989-6927 (Google Voice number for texts only).

Why does God allow evil? Interview with Dr. Clay Jones

This question is probably asked more than any other, and it is one of the most common objections against the Christian view of God. If God is all good and all powerful, why doesn’t he stop evil? Questions like these are frequently asked and it is important for Christians to respond well.

God Evil

Dr. Clay Jones, an Associate Professor of Christian Apologetics, joined me to discuss his new book, Why Does God Allow Evil? This book covers a wide range of questions helping you to have answers for some of the toughest questions.

What is evil? Why do bad things happen to good people? Why didn’t God create a world with free creatures who always choose good? How does eternity relate to our suffering here?

Listen and get answers to these questions and more!

What are other questions you have about the problem of evil? Comment below!

You can follow the Coffeehouse Questions Podcast and have it automatically downloaded to your device by subscribing on iTunes. You  can also find it and follow on SoundCloud or search “Coffeehouse Questions with Ryan Pauly” on your Android podcast player.

Like the Facebook page and interact with Ryan by asking questions and commenting. You can also see who will be future podcast guests on the Facebook page and send in your questions to be asked on the show! Send in your questions at contact@coffeehousequestions.com, FacebookTwitter, or by text at (714) 989-6927 (Google Voice number for texts only).

Are Genesis 1 and 2 contradictory creation accounts?

I remember the first time a Christian told me that Genesis 1 and 2 were contradictory. He seemed to say it as if it didn’t matter. It was like saying, “There are contradictions in Scripture, but don’t worry about it and just have faith.” This, I believe, is a huge problem. It seems to limit God’s omnipotence or His goodness. It becomes difficult to explain how God, the author of Scripture, would contradict himself. Does God error?

I agree that there are apparent contradictions in Scripture, but just like other apparent contradictions, they are cleared up when understood correctly. Christians can’t avoid this issue in Genesis 1 and 2 by saying they don’t contradict. Instead, we have to give reasons why.

What is the apparent contradiction?

It has often been said that Genesis 1 and 2 provide contradictory accounts of when man was created in relation to other created things. Genesis 1:26 puts the creation of man on the 6th day after all plants (day 3) and animals (days 5 and 6). Genesis 2:5-7 seems to say that man was created before the plants and animals. So the question becomes, were Adam and Eve created near the beginning or end of creation?

In order to answer this question, we must understand the context of Genesis 1 and 2. We understand this need for context in our lives every day. For example, “The lions destroyed the dolphins,” appears crazy on the surface. Why did the lions go into the ocean? Why didn’t the dolphins simply swim away? It then becomes very clear when you realize the person talking is on the sports channel and is covering a recent football game. The context in which the person is talking or writing makes all the difference.

So, we must look at the context and perspective of Genesis 2 in order to see if it contradicts the timeline in Genesis 1. With this understanding, we are able to see that there is a change of perspective. Dr. Hugh Ross, an astronomer and President of Reasons to Believe, explains the change in perspective from Genesis 1 and 2 in his book, Navigating Genesis. He writes,

“While Genesis 1 focuses almost entirely on the physical creation–what God made or made happen and in what order, Genesis 2 begins to elaborate on the why, or purpose, of creation. The Genesis 1 storyteller describes the unfolding scene of the six creation days from a vantage point somewhere just above Earth’s surface, but below the clouds, as God prepared a suitable habitat for humanity. Genesis 2 zooms in on a small portion of Earth’s surface (Eden) and what occurred from the vantage point of one human being (the first human) in that locale, walking and awakening to the sights and sounds all around” (p. 95).

Genesis 2 is no longer talking about the whole globe. Realizing the setting allows us to understand what is meant by the different descriptions. Just like the report about the lions and dolphins. Once you realize the context, we are no longer talking about the ocean but about football. Genesis 1 offers the big picture timeline and Genesis 2 focuses on what happened during the 6th day of creation in the garden. Dr. Ross continues,

“Genesis 1 presents the major physical creation events in a time-ordered sequence… In Genesis 2 God introduces the first humans to their setting, first to the misty land itself, then to the plants, then to the higher animals and, finally, to each other. That is, God sequentially lays out humanity’s authority over and responsibility to manage different components of His earthly creation but offers only a highly condensed, non-sequential summary of His physical creation activity. No contradiction can be inferred legitimately from differences between these two versions of the creation story” (p. 95-96).

Genesis 2 never says that man was created before plants or animals. The garden in Eden was planted after man was created, but this doesn’t mean that the whole globe was void of plants. We then see in Genesis 2:19 that “the Lord had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them.” The language here is that God “had formed” the animals and then brought them to the man. Again, this is consistent with what we see in Genesis 1.

Conclusion

Understanding the context and change of perspective allows us to read these two accounts in harmony. They are not both offering a big picture timeline of the creation event. Instead, they are each describing a different aspect of creation. This apparent contradiction becomes clear when understood in this new way, and Genesis 1 and 2 become complementary creation accounts.

What are other apparent contradictions that you have a difficult time with? Comment below!

Top 10 Videos of 2017

One of my goals since starting Coffeehouse Questions has been to take on speaking events. The blog started in 2015 and the podcast started in 2016. 2017 was very exciting because I started to get more frequent requests for speaking events. I was able to speak at school chapels, churches, a Ratio Christi club, and summer camps. Three of my events were with Stand to Reason at Hume Lake.

I am so grateful for each of these events. I already have one event on my Calendar for January 10th in Indiana, and I’m looking forward to booking more in 2018! Check out my Endorsements & Speaking page for topics or suggest your own!

Enjoy the most viewed videos from 2018!

10. Discussing the Resurrection of Jesus on Truth Matters TV

9. What It Looks Like To Follow Jesus – Luke 10:1-24

8. Are Science and Faith Compatible?

7. World Religions: Are they all true?

6. Is Jesus the only way to God?

5. How Relativism Undermines Your Student’s Faith in Christ

4. Who created God?

3. How do I share God with someone who rejects Christ?

2. How can God be loving when he commanded killing in the Old Testament?

1. Will we have free will in heaven if we can’t sin?

I hope you enjoy this list of videos from 2017. I am still trying to catch up and have more videos to post, so follow the blog and look for those in the future! Finally, in case you missed it, you can check out the top blogs and top podcasts from 2017.

God bless and Happy New Year!

Top 10 Blogs of 2017

Another year is coming to an end, and there is so much to be thankful for. I didn’t get as many articles written in 2017, but that didn’t stop you all from reading and supporting my work. I was able to publish 48 different articles addressing different questions about Christianity, science, ethics, religion, and culture. These posts were seen in 113 countries!

CoffeehouseQuestions.com isn’t the only place featuring my writing. This past year I also started writing at SeanMcDowell.org and apologetics.com. I couldn’t have done this if it wasn’t for my readers. You all have encouraged me so much. Thank you for another great year!

Here are the 10 most read blogs in 2017!

10. 10 Self-Defeating Ideas You Should Probably Stop Believing

9. Does God just want us to be happy?

8. Does God send good people to hell?

7. Is belief in God a rational position?

6. How is an eternal hell an example of a loving God?

5. What is the evidence for evolution from the fossil record?

4. If God created Satan, does evil and sin come from God?

3. What does the Bible really say about homosexuality?

2. Can Christians claim to have the One, True God?

1. 10 Creation Essentials: Old Earth or Young Earth?

Be sure to check the top podcasts and videos of 2017. You can also look back into the past with the top 10 blogs of 2016, and subscribe to get future posts.

God bless and Happy New Year!

Why doesn’t everyone believe in Jesus if he came to earth?

I often get the question, “Why doesn’t God do something that would just make everyone believe in Him?” I often ask, what would that be?

Students respond by saying things like:

“He could give everyone a dream!”

“He could stand right in front of me and tell me He is God.”

“He could do miracles!”

To this I respond, He has already done that. This Christmas, we celebrated the fact that Jesus, God incarnate, came to this earth, lived, and did miracles in front of many people. However, many did not believe in Him after this. Why not? Listen to this week’s podcast.

Why do you think people don’t believe?

You can follow the Coffeehouse Questions Podcast and have it automatically downloaded to your device by subscribing on iTunes. You  can also find it and follow on SoundCloud or search “Coffeehouse Questions with Ryan Pauly” on your Android podcast player.

Like the Facebook page, watch live, and interact with Ryan by asking questions and commenting. You can also see who will be future podcast guests on the Facebook page and send in your questions to be asked on the show! Send in your questions on FacebookTwitter, or by text at (714) 989-6927 (Google Voice number for texts only).

Making the Case for a Forensic Faith with J. Warner Wallace

In my time working with students, I have found that many students have a passion for God yet few could defend Christianity. They often know what they believe, but they don’t know why they believe it! It is for this reason that Coffeehouse Questions exists. I want to be able to help students understand why they believe what they believe and help them answer difficult objections to their faith. This is also the reason that J. Warner Wallace has written his newest book, Forensic Faith: A Homicide Detective Makes the Case for a More Reasonable, Evidential Christian Faith. Forensic Faith is a fantastic book that is easy to understand and will help you

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  • embrace your duty to defend the truth;
  • devise a training strategy to master the evidence for Christianity;
  • learn how to employ the techniques of a detective to discover new insights from God’s word; and
  • become a better communicator by learning skills of professional case makers.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and would highly recommend it. It includes insight that will deepen your faith and give you confidence to talk with your family, friends, and strangers.

J. Warner Wallace’s other books include Cold Case Christianity and God’s Crime Scene. He is a Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, serves as an adjunct professor of Christian apologetics at Biola University and a faculty member at Summit Ministries. Jim also made an appearance in God’s Not Dead 2 which you can see here. Listen below to my two-part interview with J. Warner Wallace as we discuss the importance of being a Christian case maker.

Part 1:

Part 2:

You can follow the Coffeehouse Questions Podcast and have it automatically downloaded to your device by subscribing on iTunes. You  can also find it and follow on SoundCloud or search “Coffeehouse Questions with Ryan Pauly” on your Android podcast player.

Listen to the Coffeehouse Questions radio show on Active Reliance Radio every Wednesday from 4:30-5 PM PT.

Like the Facebook page, watch live, and interact with Ryan by asking questions and commenting. You can also see who will be future podcast guests on the Facebook page and send in your questions to be asked on the show! Send in your questions on FacebookTwitter, or by text at (714) 989-6927 (Google Voice number for texts only).

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