04 From the Editor
Marvel and Me—How Stan Lee and His Creative Crew Impacted My Life
06 Effective Evangelism
Witnessing to the Messianic Fulfillment of the Day of Atonement
08 Practical Hermeneutics
The “Woman” of Revelation 12: Is She Mary?
10The Gospel according to Marvel
by John McAteer
Cultural Apologetics: In recent years, interest in superheroes has soared, driven largely by red-hot Marvel Comics characters such as Spider-Man, Iron Man, the XMen, and the Avengers. This cultural phenomenon suggests that Marvel’s unique approach to envisioning heroism is feeding some sort of spiritual hunger. What lessons can we learn from it?
18When Someone You Love Says, “I’m Gay”
by Joe Dallas
Ethical Discernment/Christian Discipleship: As homosexuality becomes accepted within the culture, more Christian families are hearing a loved one say, “I’m gay; I’ve accepted it; I intend to live it out.” Joe Dallas offers scriptural and compassionate counsel for dealing with the many questions and strong emotions that arise from this perplexing and unexpected situation.
24 Antitheist Faith and History
by Jeffrey Burton Russell
Historical Apologetics: Driven by an anti-Christian agenda, many atheists seem unconcerned about accuracy and fairness. For example, in Christianity Is Not Great, contributing author David Eller scours history for events such as the Crusades and Inquisitions, draws unwarranted conclusions from them, and fails to note both Christianity’s positive achievements and the horrors perpetrated by atheist regimes.
30 BFFs (Best Friends First): Honoring God in Dating and Romance
by Paul Copan
Christian Growth: We live in an era of increased pseudointimacy where couples seek to bypass the challenges and dedication required by deep relationships—and, eventually, marriage—leading to warped relational patterns, frustration, disappointment, and pain. This article offers practical suggestions to help set proper patterns for relating, building friendship, dating, and embarking on commitment that leads to marriage.
36 The New Atheism Meets the New Spirituality: Buddhism through the Filter of Sam Harris
by Elliot Miller
Interfaith/Philosophical Apologetics (A Summary Critique): In Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality without Religion, leading New Atheist spokesperson Sam Harris surprised many by coming out as a Buddhist meditation teacher. Harris maintains that nothing in this new book is religious; it simply offers secularists a path to Eastern-style enlightenment! How are Christians (or secularists, for that matter) to respond to such a mindboggling revelation?
42 The Debate over Defining Inerrancy
by James Patrick Holding
Doctrinal Discernment/Biblical Hermeneutics: A heated debate is occurring today concerning the doctrine of inerrancy. At issue is the question, “To what extent is it appropriate to make use of information from outside of Scripture, in order to interpret Scripture?” The Christians on both sides of this debate see themselves as defenders of biblical inerrancy. Where do you stand?
48Evaluating Extremism: Are Extreme Beliefs Always Dangerous?
by Jonah Haddad
Critical Thinking/Philosophical Apologetics: The word extremism evokes images of ideologically motivated shootings, beheadings, and bombings, along with destructive governmental policies. But extremism itself is not the problem. What one must carefully examine is the worldview that is being logically extended or practiced to the greatest possible extent.
54Frank Schaeffer: Still the Enfant Terrible
by Douglas Groothuis
Doctrinal Discernment/Critical Thinking (Viewpoint): Article excerpt: “’Frank Schaeffer is a survivor of both polio and an evangelical/fundamentalist childhood,’ so he claims on his Amazon author page. He is now the insider who saw the light and has de-converted from evangelical theology and right-wing politics. He, like no other, can warn us of their errors and idiocies. And he never tires of doing so.”
A Summary Critique: John H. Walton’s The Lost World of Adam and Eve
62 Ask Hank
What Are the Characteristics of Cults?