The Heretic, the Bible, and the Birth of the Modern World

In a very real sense, the modern world began 350 summers ago when a young man was excommunicated by the Jewish community in Amsterdam. The excommunication of Baruch (later changed to Benedict) Spinoza is one of the hallmark events in the development of the modern mind and modern secularism. The anniversary of Baruch Spinoza’s excommunication also serves as a reminder of the ideological roots of modern biblical criticism and the political agenda behind Spinoza’s critical approach to the Bible. Born November 24, 1632 to Michael de Espinoza and Hana Debora, his second wife, Baruch Spinoza was a son of privilege. His ancestors had fled Portugal and Spain during the Inquisition and the Spinoza family became pillars of the Marrano Jewish community in Amsterdam.

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A Deep and Radical Antagonism—The Bible and Secular Worldviews

"It need not further be denied," argued James Orr, "that between this view of the world involved in Christianity, and what is sometimes called 'the modern view of the world' there exists a deep and radical antagonism." James Orr observed this 'deep and radical antagonism' over a century ago. Can we possibly fail to see it now?

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Can Believers Be Bible Scholars? A Strange Debate in the Academy

Michael V. Fox doesn’t believe that faith-based scholarship of the Bible is possible–and he wants to see such scholars marginalized in the larger world of scholarship. In an essay posted at the Web site for the Society of Biblical Literature [SBL], Fox argues, “In my view, faith-based study has no place in academic scholarship, whether the object of study is the Bible, the Book of Mormon, or Homer. Faith-based study is a different realm of intellectual activity that can dip into Bible scholarship for its own purposes, but cannot contribute to it.”

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“You Are Bringing Strange Things to Our Ears:” Christian Apologetics for a Postmodern Age, Part 3

The postmodern age is a very strange time to proclaim and defend the Christian faith. In an age when the reality of truth itself is denied, the church finds itself faced with several distinct challenges. In Acts 17:16-34, we find Paul standing at the very center of apologetic ministry in the first century. As we considered yesterday, a Christian apologetic begins in a provoked spirit, is focused on Gospel proclamation, and assumes a context of spiritual confusion.

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“You Are Bringing Strange Things to Our Ears:” Christian Apologetics for a Postmodern Age, Part 2

The church is faced in the postmodern age by several distinct apologetic challenges. Internally, the church must defend the faith against ignorance, against compromise, against doctrinal apathy, and against denial. The church now suffers from a breathtaking deficit of doctrinal instruction and biblical truth. In some churches, the great truths of the Christian faith are unknown, and in others, these truths are left dormant and untaught. Beyond this, the very real dangers of doctrinal corrosion and heresy threaten.

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