Adam Johnson

The Thought and Apologetics of Francis Schaeffer

Francis Schaeffer was a very influential theologian and philosopher at the beginning of the era of modern Christian apologetics as it was making a comeback in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. He ran the L’Abri ministry in Switzerland from the mid-1950s until his death in 1984 where he helped many people discover and think through the answers to hard questions about Christian faith. What made Schaeffer so influential and able to engage the culture with the truth of Christianity so effectively? What was Schaeffer’s apologetic methodology and how has it shaped the way we do apologetics today? Adam was interviewed on the “Theology Matters” podcast with Devin Pellew to discuss these and other questions about the thought, apologetics, and life of Francis Schaeffer.


Created to Know: The Epistemologies of Michael Polanyi and Francis Schaeffer

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

During the mid to latter part of the twentieth century, thinkers from various disciplines spoke out against the epistemological conclusions of Modernism. Some of them thought that the modern view of human knowledge had been a major impetus behind the carnage of World War I, World War II, fascism, and communism. One such thinker, Michael Polanyi (1891-1976), a world-renowned physical chemist, recognized that this incomplete understanding of knowledge had become especially prevalent in the scientific community. He turned to the study of philosophy in order to explore how these ideas came about and to propose a much needed course correction.


Evidence that the New Testament is Historically Reliable

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

Introduction

The New Testament (NT) makes some amazing claims. It contains the life and message of a man named Jesus who claimed to be God in the flesh. Supposedly He had supernatural abilities; not the least of which was His own resurrection. The NT also claims His death on a cross paid for the sins of every man, woman, and child. To whoever would trust in this message the NT promises forgiveness, freedom, and reconciliation with God.

If that isn’t enough, the NT then asks us to literally bet our lives on these bold claims. But what if we devote our lives to following Jesus and it all turns out to be a farce?


A Comparison Between Patristic and Reformation Soteriology

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

There was little dispute over the doctrine of salvation among the early church fathers, at least not directly. The larger debates during this era though, such as the deity of Christ and the nature of the Trinity, were intertwined with, and sometimes rooted in, soteriological concerns. As John Behr points out, there were two basic axioms that directed the theological reflection of the church in its first few centuries: “The first is that only God can save. It is God who is at work in Christ. . . .The second axiom is that only as a human being can God save human beings.”1


A Major Flaw in the Compatibilist Understanding of Freedom

The Lack of Source-hood

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

Introduction

Are we free to choose our own path or has it already been determined for us by something, or someone, else? For the early philosophers, the largest threat to free will was fate. Later in history, Christian theologians struggled to reconcile free will with God’s sovereignty (theistic determinism). Ever since the modern era, the attack on our free will has mostly come from scientific progress in genetics, neuroscience, and psychology (physical determinism).1 Regardless of where the determinism comes from, the most perplexing question is: if everything in our lives has been determined, then how can we be held morally responsible for what we do?


Q: What Does It Mean When the Bible Says God “Changed His Mind”?

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

1 Samuel 15:29 says that God “will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind.” What is strange, then, is that several times the Bible also says, “God changed His mind”! Some say this is a contradiction, and I could see their point if different Biblical authors were always saying these two things in two different books.

However, the writer of 1 Samuel says both of these things in the very same chapter. 1 Samuel 15:11 says God regretted (changed His mind about) making Saul king.


Q: What Did Jesus Mean in Matthew 7:6 When He Said, “Don’t Give to the Dogs What is Holy”?

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

The context is important here; read Matthew 7:1-6. Jesus is explaining how not to be like the Pharisees. The Pharisees arrogantly went around pointing out everything people did wrong. Yeah, they were the life of the party, as you can imagine.

Well, Jesus was teaching that we shouldn’t be like that. Jesus does not say we should never judge others; that would be ludicrous. When someone murders, we must step in and say “hey, that is wrong.” It’s not that we shouldn’t judge, but that we shouldn’t judge like the Pharisees did, arrogantly just to exult themselves over other people.


Q: How Can I Discover My Place in Ministry?

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

How can I discover my purpose in the church and community? How do I discover and nurture my talents, gifts, and capabilities?

This question is near and dear to my heart. I’ve gone through this exercise many times in my life. Again, just recently God has been taking me through this terribly important question in order to determine His will for my life. Hopefully I can share with you some things He’s taught me as I’ve struggled through this question.

I’ve always told my children to, first, find out what you are good at and then, second, find out how to use those talents to help other people.


Q: How Do I Help People Care about Truth, not Just Know About It?

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

If a person knows about God and knows about absolute truth, how does he come to accept it? How can I help that person care about that truth, not just know about it?

That is a good question. I’m so glad God brought this question my way because I’ve been struggling through this myself lately too. I don’t have all the answers, but I’ll share with you what He’s been teaching me.

I struggle with this question often because I’m a teacher at heart. I love to learn, assimilate, process, summarize, and pass it on to others.


Q: Why Do Christians Still Sin if We Are “Freed from Sin”?

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

That is a great question. I remember the first time I heard that question; I was in high school in a youth group meeting when another fellow student asked the leader this question. I honestly don’t remember the answer given at the time, but I just remember thinking it was very insightful to ask that.

I mean, it’s true. Jesus said, “If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). We know He’s talking about freedom from sin because just before that in John 8:34 He says that everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.