Recommended Resources: Church and Christian Leaders

Resources For Church Leaders by Dr. Rich Knopp

Recommended Resources Especially for Christian Leaders

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Compiled by Richard A. Knopp, Ph.D. Professor of Philosophy & Christian Apologetics Program Director, Room for Doubt (www.roomfordoubt.com) Lincoln Christian University – Lincoln, IL

Resources on Cultural Awareness

American Culture and Faith Institute. “Groundbreaking ACFI Survey Reveals How Many Adults Have a Biblical Worldview” (Feb. 27, 2017). https://www.culturefaith.com/groundbreaking-survey-by-acfi-reveals- how-many-american-adults-have-a-biblical-worldview.

American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS). “American Nones: The Profile of the No Religion Population” (2008). See https://secularstudents.org/sites/secularstudents.org/files/NONES_08.pdf. Links to several studies at http://commons.trincoll.edu/aris/.

Barna Research Group (www.barna.org). Led by David Kinnaman (formerly George Barna).

Barna Group. “GEN Z: The Culture, Beliefs, and Motivations Shaping the Next Generation.” 2018 Report. Replay of simulcast video of the report’s release is here: http://www.whoisgenz.com/?utm_source=Barna+Update+List&utm_campaign=7bbe080081- GENZ_CAMPAIGN_2018_1_25&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8560a0e52e-7bbe080081- 171981205&mc_cid=7bbe080081&mc_eid=be5bccb035

Barna Group. “Competing Worldviews Influence Today’s Christians” (May 9, 2017). https://www.barna.com/research/competing-worldviews-influence-todays-christians.

Barna, George and David Kinnaman, ed. Churchless: Understanding Today’s Unchurched and How to Connect with Them. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale, 2014. See www.barna.org/churchless.

Barnett, Larry. Saving the Next Generation: Why Millennials Are Leaving Christianity and How to Stop It (2016). E-book available for free at www.projectnextgen.org.

Burge, Ryan. http://ryanburge.net/. Burge, a professor of political science at Eastern Illinois University and a pastor, does extensive research on religious views and practices in America.

Kinnaman, David, and Mark Matlock. Faith For Exiles: 5 Ways for a New Generation to Follow Jesus in Digital Bablyon. Grand Rapids, MI: BakerBooks, 2019. Using extensive research, the book offers five practices that can help disciples of Jesus thrive as exiles in digital Babylon. These include: (1) form a resilient identity and experience intimacy with Jesus; (2) develop the muscles of cultural discernment; (3) forge meaningful intergenerational relationships; (4) train for vocational discipleship; and (5) curb entitlement and self-centered tendencies by engaging in countercultural mission.

Kinnaman, David and Aly Hawkins, You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church … and Rethinking Faith (Baker, 2011).

Kinnaman, David and Gabe Lyons. Good Faith: Being a Christian When Society Thinks You’re Irrelevant and Extreme. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2016.

Kinnaman, David and Gabe Lyons. UnChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity … and Why It Matters. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2007.

Knopp, Richard A. “Understanding and Engaging the Nones.” Stone-Campbell Journal 21 (Fall 2018): 217-237. For online resources, see http://www.worldvieweyes.org/scjc2018.html.

Lifeway Research (www.lifewayresearch.com). Led by Ed Stetzer.

McFarland, Alex, and Jason Jimenez. Abandoned Faith: Why Millennials Are Walking Away and How You Can Lead Them Home. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale, 2017.

Pew Research Center. “‘Nones’ on the Rise: One-in-Five Adults Have No Religious Affiliation” (Oct. 9, 2012). Pew Research Center. “America’s Changing Religious Landscape” (May 12, 2015). See

http://www.pewforum.org/2015/05/12/americas-changing-religious-landscape/.

Shaw, Haydn. Generational IQ: Christianity Isn’t Dying, Millennials Aren’t the Problem, and the Future Is Bright. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale, 2015. Offers a perceptive (and positive) analysis of four basic generations along with practical proposals for how Christians should approach friends and family, and for how the church should respond.

White, James Emery. The Rise of the Nones: Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated. Baker, 2014. A survey and analysis of the fastest growing demographic group in America—the religiously unaffiliated— and how the church can effectively reach them.

White, James Emery. Meet Generation Z: Understanding and Reaching the New Post-Christian World (Baker, 2017).

White, James Emery. “Church and Culture Blog.” Accessible at https://www.churchandculture.org/blog. White successfully bridges academic astuteness and down-to-earth analyses of culture and challenges for the church. He is former president of Gordon-Conwell and founder and senior pastor of a megachurch (Mecklenberg) in Charlotte, NC.

Resources on Christian Worldview and Apologetics

Conway, Bobby. Doubting Toward Faith: The Journey to Confident Christianity. Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 2015. A practical and helpful analysis of doubt. It can lead to confusion, hopelessness, and despair. But it can also deepen our dependence on God, develop empathy for others, and motivate us to find satisfying answers.

Copan, Paul. When God Goes to Starbucks: A Guide to Everyday Apologetics. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2008. 224 pp. Copan addresses a variety of slogans that are often problematic for Christians that are connected to views of truth and reality, to worldviews, and to Christianity. It includes material on looking out for yourself, lying, the nature of God, miracles, science, other religions, homosexuality, Old Testament “holy wars,” and Christian division.

Crain, Natasha. Talking with Your Kids about God: 30 Conversations Every Parent Must Have. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2017. Presents 30 chapters in Five Parts that deal with the existence of God, science and God, the nature of God, believing in God, and the difference God makes.

Crain, Natasha. Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side. Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 2016. Covers 40 questions about God, truth and worldviews, Jesus, the Bible, and science. Includes 10 tips for having deeper faith conversations with your kids.

Craig, William L. and Joseph E. Gorra. A Reasonable Response: Answers to Tough Questions on God, Christianity, and the Bible. Chicago: Moody Press, 2013. 432pp. Five Parts deal with questions about knowing and believing what is real, God, origins and the meaning of life, the afterlife and evil, Jesus, and Christian practice.

Dembski, William, and Michael Licona. 50 Evidences for God: Arguments for Faith from the Bible, History, Philosophy, and Science. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2010. Offers short essays on questions of philosophy, science, Jesus, and the Bible.

Ferrer, Hillary Morgan. Mama Bear Apologetics: Empowering Your Kids to Challenge Cultural Lies. Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 2019. This is a mom-to-mom guide to equip moms—though not exclusively moms— on how to teach their kids to have biblical beliefs. Part 1 has four chapters of challenge for
moms. Part 2 includes chapters on Self-Helpism, Naturalism, Skepticism, Postmodernism, Moral Relativism, Emotionalism, Pluralism, New Spirituality, Marxism, Feminism, and Progressive Christianity.

Geisler, Norman and Frank Turek. I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2004. Contends that it takes more faith to reject the existence of God than to accept it. It covers many questions (e.g. about God, design, first life, new life forms, miracles, Jesus, the New Testament, Jesus’ resurrection, and who Jesus was and is).

Johnson, Donald. How To Talk to a Skeptic: An Easy-to-Follow Guide for Natural Conversations and Effective Apologetics. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2013.

Keller, Timothy. The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism. New York, NY: Dutton, 2008. Part One responds to prominent criticisms of Christianity (e.g. there can’t be just one religion; a good God wouldn’t allow suffering; Christianity is a straitjacket; the church is responsible for injustice; a loving God would not send people to hell; science has disproven Christianity; the Bible can’t be taken literally). Part Two focuses on the reasons for faith (e.g. clues of God; the knowledge of God; the problem of sin; religion and the Gospel; the (true) story of the cross; the resurrection).

Keller, Timothy. Making Sense of God: An Invitation to the Skeptical. New York, NY: Viking, 2016. Compared to Keller’s book The Reason for God, this book shows the relevance and the desirability of Christianity so that the skeptic or secularist would be open to hearing about the reasons for God. It is filled with documented quotations and illustrations that would be useful for a teaching or preaching reference. (See Rich Knopp’s review in the June 2017 Christian Standard here:http://christianstandard.com/2017/helping-the-skeptical-see-god.)

Knopp, Richard A. “Where Will We Go Without God?” Christian Standard 149 (June 2014): 38-40. Online athttp://christianstandard.com/2014/06/where-will-we-go-without-god/.

Knopp, Richard A. “Learning to Love God in a World of Growing Skepticism and Secularism.” 2016 North American Christian Convention session. http://worldvieweyes.org/NACC16.html and video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuiEWpf6Ohw&feature=youtu.be.

Koukl, Gregory. Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009. Koukl offers practical strategies for communicating and defending the Christian faith.

Lennox, John D. Against the Flow: The Inspiration of Daniel in an Age of Relativism. Daniel and his friends did not simply maintain their private devotion to God; they maintained a high-profile witness in a pluralistic society antagonistic to their faith. This book has much to say to Christians and the church today.

McDowell, Sean. Apologetics for a New Generation: A Biblical and Culturally Relevant Approach to Talking About God. Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 2009. Contains 16 chapters by various authors with ideas and insights for effectively and persuasively communicating the Christian message to a postmodern culture.

McDowell, Sean, and J. Warner Wallace. So the Next Generation Will Know: Preparing Young Christians for a Challenging World. Colorado Springs, CO: David C Cook, 2019. 208pp. Written for anyone who works with the youngest generation (GenZ). Includes 8 chapters and a Postscript that inform and challenge us to give young people our priority (e.g. by recognizing their uniqueness, connecting with their hearts, and giving them a worldview with significance) and to prepare them for the future (e.g. by developing a passion for truth; training rather than entertaining; providing adventures; and using movies, music, social media, and current events).

McGrath, Alister. Doubting: Growing Through the Uncertainties of Faith. Grand Rapids, MI: InterVarsity, 2006. McGrath says that “doubt is an invitation to grow in faith and understanding, rather than something we need to panic about or get preoccupied with.” It deals with the nature of doubt; doubt and the vain search for certainty; doubt in other worldviews; personal aspects of doubt; doubt in the Bible; doubts about the gospel, yourself, Jesus, and God; and how to handle doubt.

McGrath, Alister. Mere Apologetics: How to Help Seekers & Skeptics Find Faith. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2012. McGrath has doctorates in molecular physics and theology from Oxford. The book’s nine chapters include chapters on various “pointers” to God and “gateways” for opening the door to faith.

Mittelberg, Mark. Confident Faith: Building a Firm Foundation for Your Beliefs. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale, 2013. Part One discusses and analyzes six “paths” to faith; Part Two offers 20 “arrows of truth” from science, logic, the Bible, history, and experience. Part Three addresses 10 “barriers” to belief.

Mittelberg, Mark. The Reason Why Faith Makes Sense. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2011. A small book that deals with questions about faith, God, the Bible, our accountability to God, Jesus, and God’s forgiveness. Useful as a resource for the Room For Doubt “Basic Questions” curriculum.

Moreland, J. P., and Tim Muehlhoff. The God Conversation: Using Stories and Illustrations to Explain Your Faith. Revised and Expanded edition. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books, 2017. 192pp. Offers insight on intriguing topics (e.g. God’s goodness and terrorism, the maze of different religions, the resurrection of Jesus, ethics, design or accident, unfulfilled desires and God). It includes examples, quotations, and stories than can help explain the Christian worldview in our conversations and communication.

Ortberg, John. Know Doubt: Embracing Uncertainty in Your Faith. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2014. Helps to show that doubt can motivate us to study and learn, to expand our understanding, and lead us to trust. The right kind of doubt can be a gift to deepen our faith and intimacy with God.

Pearcey, Nancy. Finding Truth: 5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes. Colorado Springs, CO: David C Cook, 2015. Includes an Appendix on Romans 1:1–2:16 and uses this passage as a springboard to discuss five principles for a Christian response to our age: identify the idol; identify the idol’s reductionism, test the idol by asking if it contradicts what we know about the world; test the idol to see if it contradicts itself; and replace the idol by making a case for Christianity.

Powell, Doug. Holman QuickSource Guide to Christian Apologetics. Nashville, TN: Holman Reference, 2006. A book packed with much information in an attractive and colorful layout with many pictures. It talks about “apologetics” (giving a defense of the Christian faith), considerations about God’s existence, the origin of the New Testament, the reliability of the Old and New Testament, miracles, prophecy, Jesus’ resurrection, who Jesus was, and the problem of evil.

Powell, Kara, Jake Mulder, and Brad Griffin. Churches Growing Young: Six Essential Strategies to Help Young People Discover and Love Your Church. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2016. See the accompanying website at http://churchesgrowingyoung.com. Based on research with over 250 of the nation’s leading congregations who are effectively engaging 15-29 year olds.

Powell, Kara E. and Chap Clark. Sticky Faith: Everyday Ideas to Build Lasting Faith in Your Kids. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011.

Powell, Kara, and Steven Argue. Growing With: Every Parent’s Guide to Helping Teenagers and Young Adults Thrive in Their Faith, Family, and Future. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2019.

Putman, Jim, and Bill Putman. Hope for the Prodigal: Bringing the Lost, Wandering, and Rebellious Home. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2017. The book offers biblical truths and practical advice, based on personal experience, on how to reach prodigal children with love and service.

Stonestreet, John, and Brett Kunkle. A Practical Guide to Culture: Helping the Next Generation Navigate Today’s World. Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2017. Offers valuable direction on recognizing cultural undercurrents; understanding youth struggles with identity; how to talk to youth about same-sex marriage and transgenderism; how to help youth avoid addictions; and how to ground youth in the biblical story and empower them to change the world.

Strobel, Lee. The Case for a Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points Toward God. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2004.

Wallace, J. Warner. Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels. Colorado Springs, CO: David C Cook, 2013. Wallace uses his nationally recognized skills as a homicide detective to look at the evidence and eyewitnesses behind Christian beliefs. Including gripping stories from his career and the visual techniques he developed in the courtroom, Wallace uses illustration to examine the powerful evidence that validates the claims of Christianity.

Wallace, J. Warner. Cold-Case Christianity for Kids: Investigate Jesus with a Real Detective. Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2016. In this children’s companion to the bestselling Cold-Case Christianity, detective Wallace gets kids excited about testing witnesses, examining the evidence, and investigating the case for Christianity.

Wallace, J. Warner. God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe. Colorado Springs, CO: David C Cook, 2015. Wallace is a cold-case homicide expert who has appeared on cases on truTV (Court TV) and NBC’s “Dateline.” He applies his cold-case methods to the origins of the universe.

White, James Emery. A Mind for God. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2006. A relatively small book that’s a great place to start being challenged to develop and use your mind for God.

Young, Ben. Room For Doubt: How Uncertainty Can Deepen Your Faith. Colorado Springs, CO: David C Cook, 2017. Now a teaching pastor, Ben Young struggled with doubt. This book takes an honest look at hard questions about God, the Bible, and faith. It offers examples of spiritual giants in scripture and history who doubted. It gives insight on how to process uncertainty and disappointment with God. It clarifies the difference between uncertainty and mystery. And it provides encouragement for how faith and doubt can go together.

Some Websites on Christian Worldview and Apologetics

https://www.alwaysbeready.com. Always Be Ready Apologetics Ministry headed by Charlie Campbell. It is “dedicated to equipping people with well-researched information on issues that seek to undermine or challenge the truth of Christianity as revealed in the Bible.” It includes links to many topics and research areas.

http://www.answersingenesis.org. A young earth creationist website headed by Ken Ham.

http://www.apologetics315.com. The site hopes to be a significant educational resource for churches, campus groups, and Christians around the world.

http://www.arn.org. Many resources from the Intelligent Design community.

http://christianmomthoughts.com. Website of Natasha Crain whose passion is to equip Christian parents to raise kids who can make a case for, and defend, their faith in an increasingly secular world.

https://coldcasechristianity.com. J. Warner Wallace, a cold-case homicide detective defends Christianity.

https://crossexamined.org. Headed by Frank Turek, co-author with Norman Geisler of the book, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.

http://ehrmanproject.com. Offers responses to Bart Ehrman’s skeptical claims about the Bible. Ehrman is a university professor who frequently appears in TV religious documentaries.

http://www.garyhabermas.com. Gary Habermas specializes in the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus.

https://www.josh.org. A website for the ministry of Josh McDowell, a prominent Christian author and speaker who addresses key questions about Jesus, the Bible, the resurrection of Christ, etc.

http://www.leestrobel.com. Website of former atheist and former Chicago Tribune reporter, Lee Strobel, who is now a prominent defender of the Christian faith and author of The Case for Christ.

https://mamabearapologetics.com. A resource that challenges and informs ladies (moms and others) to be better prepared to help their children respond to the variety of attacks against the Christian faith.

http://oneminuteapologist.com. Brief video interviews with a variety of Christian thinkers. http://www.ratiochristi.org. Attempts to strengthen the faith of Christian students at universities.

http://www.reasonablefaith.org. The website of William Lane Craig, a leading Christian apologist and debater, that offers both scholarly and popular materials, including podcasts and videos.

http://www.reasons.org. Reasons to Believe website of Hugh Ross, a Christian astronomer, who defends the compatibility between biblical creation and a very old universe of over 13 billion years.

http://www.risenjesus.com. Website of Mike Licona, a Christian apologist and president of Risen Jesus, Inc.

http://www.roomfordoubt.com. A website that offers an environment to encourage questions, address doubts, and strengthen faith. A variety of resources are provided, including a six-week curriculum called “Basic Questions” for churches, schools, camps, and campus ministries.

https://www.str.org. “Stand to Reason trains Christians to think more clearly about their faith and to make an even-handed, incisive, yet gracious defense for classical Christianity and classical Christian values in the public square.”

https://www.summit.org. Summit offers many online resources, conferences for 16-25 year olds, and various curriculum materials to help Christians engage culture with a biblical worldview. In its curriculum section, it provides a “high school worldview test.”

http://www.thepoachedegg.net. Offers a wide array of apologetic resources.

http://www.worldvieweyes.org. WorldView Eyes is designed to inform youth and adults about various worldviews and to help them think critically with a Christian mind. The site includes papers, outlines, and links to audio and video presentations by Dr. Rich Knopp, Professor of Philosophy & Apologetics at Lincoln Christian University, Program Director of WorldView Eyes, and Program Director for Room For Doubt (www.roomfordoubt.com).