New! 5 Online Courses Open for Enrollment Starting Today

ZA Blog on 2 years ago. Tagged under ,,,,,.

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Today we’re announcing five new online courses, covering a variety of subjects, and taught by first-rate scholars.

Whether you want to learn more about the life of Paul for a Bible study, improve your preaching, or understand the most difficult moral dilemmas of our time, these course are the perfect place to start.

To celebrate, all new courses are $20 off! Take advantage of this introductory pricing to jump-start your learning.

Thinking Through Paul: A Survey of His Life, Letters, and Theology

Thinking Through Paul: A Survey of His Life, Letters, and Theology

taught by Todd Still and Bruce W. Longenecker

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Knowing the Elephant: Revelation’s Place in a Theology of Religions

Jeremy Bouma on 4 years ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

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Maybe you’ve heard the famous story of the blind men and the elephant. The story is told from the vantage point of a king who watches as men grapple with the reality of the massive creature:

One man holds the tail, another its tusks; one person grasps the elephant’s ears, another touches its massive body. Each person insists the creature is as his perspective allows, which is why the story is often quoted in the interest of religious pluralism, even agnosticism.

Except, as Daniel Strange notes in his new book Their Rock Is Not Like Our Rock, the story demonstrates epistemic arrogance, for the king insists he sees the whole elephantine truth that all the world religions miss!

Given this story, when it comes to a theology of religions Strange insists one needs to…

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What are Non-Christian Religions and Why Do They Exist? — An Excerpt from “Their Rock Is Not Like Our Rock”

Jeremy Bouma on 4 years ago. Tagged under ,,,.

These two questions sit at the heart of the discipline of the theology of religions. They also sit at the heart of Daniel Strange’s new book Their Rock is Not Like Our Rock.

9780310520771His thoughtful, nuanced, biblically faithful work fills a crucial gap in the evangelical evaluation of the role of other religions. In it he seeks to explain and defend this definition of religion that answers our questions:

From the presupposition of an epistemologically authoritative biblical revelation, non-Christian religions are sovereignly directed, variegated and dynamic, collective human idolatrous responses to divine revelation behind which stand deceiving demonic forces. Being antithetically against yet parasitically dependent upon the truth of the Christian worldview, non-Christian religions are ‘subversively fulfilled’ in the gospel of Jesus Christ. (239)

Read the…

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“Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus”: The Book I Wish I Had 8 Years Ago

Jeremy Bouma on 4 years ago. Tagged under ,.

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For a few months I worked for an upscale department store in D.C. before beginning my M.Div. program. It was a memorable work experience because it was the first time I had encountered Muslims.

There was the woman from Morocco. Ahmad, a half-Pakistani and half-Japanese young man more agnostic than devoted. And Olam, a second-generation twentysomething from Saudi Arabia whom I engaged in a handful of spiritual conversations over lunch.

I thoroughly enjoyed these friendships and interactions, yet I felt ill-prepared when it came to issues of faith. I didn’t understand Islam itself, let alone the Muslim experience, and there were few resources to equip me enter into that experience and help them find Jesus.

Nabeel Qureshi has solved this problem by writing the resource I needed. In Seeking Allah Finding Jesus, Qureshi uses his own dramatic journey from Islam to Christianity to equip us and our people to engage Muslims, walk with them through their spiritual journey, help them encounter Christianity, and find Jesus along the way.

This is the book I wish I had 8 years ago, because this book’s power lies in Qureshi’s own story. It transforms the grey-scale interfaith dialogue conversation into a full-color high-definition experience. To help us he uses his own story to share three vital elements we need to understand to help Muslims find Jesus:

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The Mormon Mirage 5 of 5 by Latayne C. Scott

ZA Blog on 9 years ago. Tagged under ,,.

A Former Member Looks at the Mormon Church Today

5 of 5: "Can You Un-Cult a Cult?"

I know that many people are unsure today of the definition of the word "cult." When I was writing one of my books, Why We Left a Cult: Six People Tell Their Stories (Baker), several challenges arose. First, of course, was to formulate a working definition of a pseudo-Christian cult.1 Second (and, I thought at first, easiest) was to identify groups which qualified to be called cults. The third challenge was finding suitable ex-cultists to interview.

In the course of narrowing down my list of cults, I paused over the Worldwide Church of God. At that time, just after the death of the founder Herbert W. Armstrong, WWCG members began to question many of the former legalistic doctrines, exclusivist teachings, and prophetic speculations of its authoritarian and charismatic founder.

In the end, I decided not to include the WWCG in my list of cults. Much to the dismay of ex-WWCG members (whose angry letters to me still grace cyberspace – see, Mormons, I am an equal-opportunity offender), I acknowledged that I saw a possibility of true change. "I am fascinated with the prospect that a cult, as a group, can turn to God," I wrote in the introduction to my book.

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The Mormon Mirage 4 of 5 by Latayne C. Scott

ZA Blog on 9 years ago. Tagged under ,,.

A Former Member Looks at the Mormon Church Today

4 of 5: "It's All About the Story" 

Some Mormons have begun to publicly criticize me for "spending my life criticizing the LDS Church." It’s true that 5 of my 14 books are about Mormonism. However, that’s a fraction of my writings, and until this year the last book I published on the subject was 15 years ago. If I were the rabid dog nipping at the heel of their church, I counter, I certainly wasn’t very consistent. Thus when I felt a call to re-enter into the LDS thought world and examine its sea-changes, I did so with all the enthusiasm of Moses leaving the burning bush as I began to write The Mormon Mirage.

And, at the same time I was researching for this look at the Mormonism of the 21st century, I was also writing a novel, Latter-day Cipher.

Why would someone whose lifetime body of work was almost all non-fiction (books and hundreds of magazine articles and other short works) turn to writing a novel, one with a similar subject to some previous nonfiction books?

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The Mormon Mirage, pt. 3 of 5 by Latayne C. Scott

ZA Blog on 9 years ago. Tagged under ,,.

A Former Member Looks at the Mormon Church Today

Agreeing with Spurgeon

The Mormon Mirage is not the only book I wrote about Mormonism. In another, Why We Left Mormonism: Eight People Tell their Stories (Baker), I interviewed seven other people to find out what was effective in reaching them while they were LDS, what mistakes Christians made, what advice they offered. In another, After Mormonism, What? Reclaiming the Ex-Mormon’s Worldview for Christ (Baker), I applied the worldview categories of James W. Sire (The Universe Next Door) and formulated questions and lessons for helping new Christians coming out of Mormonism.

I learned from painful experience, though, that in my own life, nobody knew how to address the needs of a heart broken by a church.

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The Mormon Mirage, 2 of 5 by Latayne C. Scott

ZA Blog on 9 years ago. Tagged under ,,.

A Former Member Looks at the Mormon Church Today

Understanding Representational Research

One very useful thing about once being so catastrophically wrong about a god — and all associated things religious — is that I am reluctant to say I can never again be mistaken, even in the most crucial areas of my faith.  I have found, as have many ex-Mormons, that such an experience can make one tenuous and fearful. Most specifically, I will never again make the mistake of believing that any one person’s experience with a religious system is normative, or even necessarily reliable.

Probably one of the most useful concepts in my life that has helped me understand the authenticity of the Bible, and so to compare it to less-authentic systems of thought such as Mormonism, is an area of study about which I wrote in my dissertation.

Representational research acknowledges the triadic nature of the things of God. God is triadic. A full understanding of reality shows it to be triadic, consisting of the invisible world of God, linked purposefully by the Holy Spirit to the visible world.1  Even our own ability to process information about the outside world is triadic.2 It is this relationship of facts (the things, events, conditions, etc.) to representations  (images, language, other ways to “access” the facts) which has given me great insight into Mormonism, and buttressed my faith in the Bible at the same time.

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The Mormon Mirage, part 1 of 5 by Latayne C. Scott

ZA Blog on 9 years ago. Tagged under ,,.

Latayne C. Scott is the author of numerous books on Mormonism from a Christian perspective, including The Mormon Mirage. She is also a former member of the LDS church. We've asked her to share some thoughts on Mormonism and Christianity with us here at Koinonia.

– Andrew

A Former Member Looks at the Mormon Church Today

1 of 5: Can't We All Just Get Along?

Zondervan’s new edition of The Mormon Mirage contains all the original reasons why I left the LDS Church, after being a faithful, happy, BYU-scholarship, temple-recommend Mormon. But about 50 percent of this new book is comprised of completely new content – necessitated because the LDS Church is one of the most metamorphic, dynamic religious groups of all time.

Mormon Mirage Rewriting this book was a labor of love and sorrow. Prevalent in the reviews of the book (in both previous and present editions) has been the observation that I am not bitter, nor is my writing vindictive. That’s because I have no such emotions in my heart.

However, it’s easy to understand why there are hundreds of thousands – perhaps even millions – of ex-Mormons who have no such kindly feelings toward the church they left. Many are still processing the feeling of spiritual betrayal that it took me years to overcome. Worse yet, I see an increasing number of people who leave the LDS Church and are not seeking spiritual guidance from anyone or anything. For example, postmormon.org (a non-religious site) logs between 7 and 8 million site visits per month. http://www.rickross.com/reference/mormon/mormon549.html Its discussion boards are lively and often acrimonious. This organization gives ex-Mormons a place for dialogue on its discussion boards and attracts doubters with billboards throughout Utah that proclaim: "You are not alone."

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