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Articles by Sean McDowell



  • The Good Book Blog

    Sean McDowell — 

    For the past few years, I have been speaking and writing about the dangers of pornography. Although I have read dozens of books about the effects of porn, I recently heard Matt Fradd discuss it on Unbelievable? radio and decided to pick up a copy of his recent book: The Porn Myth: Exposing the Reality Behind the Fantasy of Pornography. Needless to say, I was not disappointed. In fact, it’s now my top recommendation for a book of its kind. Without using Scripture or religious argumentation, and relying upon dozens of recent studies, Fradd makes the case that porn is damaging to individuals, relationships, and society as a whole. He is not out to censor porn, but to educate people so they can live more healthy sexual lives ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Sean McDowell — 

    It’s no secret that I love apologetics. I love to read apologetics blogs, study apologetics books, and have apologetics conversations. But there is a constant temptation I have to battle that I believe is common among many apologists: the temptation to simply study apologetics but not put it into practice ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Sean McDowell — 

    Recently I had the opportunity to endorse a new book by Kris French, a medical doctor with an expertise in neuro-immunology. While he discusses many of the common arguments for God’s existence in The Universe Diagnosed, he does so uniquely from the perspective as a medic and in a way that is understandable to non-specialists. I think you will enjoy it! But first check out his answers to some of my tough questions about intelligent design, transgenderism, and more ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Sean McDowell — 

    Dr. Ken Berding is a colleague of mine at Biola University. Like me, he is very interested in the Apostolic Fathers. He recently wrote a brief and interesting introduction to the Apostolic Fathers called The Apostolic Fathers: A Narrative Introduction, which is different from any other book of its kind. Professor Berding was kind enough to answer a few of my questions about some of the earliest church fathers and his recent book. Enjoy! ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Sean McDowell — 

    I recently received a book in the mail called Everyone Loves Sex: So Why Wait? by Bryan Sands. Given that my father launched the “Why Wait” sexual purity movement in the 1980s, when I was in my early teen years, I was curious to see what approach Sands would take. And I was pleasantly surprised! His book is balanced, biblical, hopeful, and grace-filled. In fact, when young people ask me for a book on sexual purity, this is going to be one of the first books I will recommend. After thirteen years as a local pastor, Bryan has served as the Director of Campus Ministries at Hope International University in Fullerton, CA since 2011. He is also a public speaker who encourages students across the country. You can find out about his book at www.EveryoneLovesSex.org. I recently caught up with Bryan and asked him a few questions. Enjoy! ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Sean McDowell — 

    Along with asking good questions, cultivating the art of listening well is one of the most important skills for Christians to develop today. And it is especially important for those who want to be effective apologists in our “argumentative” culture ... So, how does one develop the art of listening well? Here are four tips I have learned from personal experience as well as through my undergrad Communication Studies program at Biola University ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Sean McDowell — 

    My friend and Biola colleague Greg Ganssle has written a fascinating new book called Our Deepest Desires: How the Christian Story Fulfills Human Aspirations. Professor Ganssle takes a unique approach to the apologetic task. Essentially, his goal is not to show that Christianity is true, but to argue that when it is properly understood, people should wish it were true. He talks about how tragedy, beauty, and freedom make the most sense in a Christian worldview and that only Christianity fulfills our deepest desires ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Sean McDowell — 

    With the release of his 2000 book Icons of Evolution, Jonathan Wells became one of the leading evolution critics of today. Unlike some detractors, Dr. Wells has impeccable credentials—with Ph.Ds. in molecular and cell biology from U.C. Berkeley and religious studies from Yale. Last week he released a new book that is just as controversial (and frankly, just as fun) called, Zombie Science: More Icons of Evolution ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Sean McDowell — 

    Western culture is obsessed with sex. Sex dominates our movies, music, television, advertising, conversations, social media and more. But the question many people fail to ask is: why? There are myriads of reasons for this. Some reasons are certainly more germane than others. And they undoubtedly overlap. Nevertheless, here are 5 reasons for western culture’s obsession with sex ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Sean McDowell — 

    A few years ago I hosted a student debate at my church. Three of my high school students debated three students from the local freethinking club on the historical Jesus, intelligent design, and morality. The church was packed! One of the freethinking students argued that there is no universal moral law, and hence no need for a God to ground it. As best as I can remember, he argued that morality is merely subjective and depends upon the individual or society. But then, interestingly, during his closing speech, the same student used the opportunity of being at a church to rail against Christians for being hateful, bigoted and intolerant. In other words, he berated Christians for being immoral ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Sean McDowell — 

    Dr. Clay Jones is one of my colleagues in the Biola Apologetics M.A. program. Although he has been teaching and thinking about the problem of evil for decades, he has just released a new book: Why Does God Allow Evil? Here is my endorsement that made the back cover of the book: “If you are looking for one book to make sense of the problem of evil, this book is for you.” I plan to use this book very soon with a group of high school students. And it will now be the top book that I recommend on this subject (along with If God, Why Evil by Norman Geisler and The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis) ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Sean McDowell — 

    Given the recent stunning ruling against Barronelle Stutzman, the 72-year old grandma who was sued for running her business according to her deepest moral and religious convictions, it is more critical than ever for Christians to be ready to make a defense for religious freedom. The following essay comes from my recent book A New Kind of Apologist, and is written by James Tonkowich. This article is longer than a typical blog, but please take the time to read it carefully and help spread the word. Christians simply must be able to make a case for religious liberty today.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Sean McDowell — 

    Recently I had the chance to partner with Awana to create a yearlong, systematic, top-quality apologetics curriculum for students. It is the product of my work with students for the past two decades. My friend Tim Fox (Orthodox Fox) at Free Thinking Ministries was kind enough to briefly interview me about the project. And he gave me permission to post the original interview here too. Enjoy!

  • The Good Book Blog

    Sean McDowell — 

    For the past few months I have been reading every study I can find on Generation Z, (those born between 1995-2010). With the help of a graduate student who did some research for me, I found over 350 pages of research on Gen Z, which took me dozens of hours to carefully digest. But then last week I came across Meet Generation Z, by James Emery White. Had I found this book earlier, it would have saved me a ton of time! It is an easy-to-read, documented, and insightful look at how to understand and reach the newest generation of students ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Sean McDowell — 

    I first heard of David Marshall when I encountered his book responding to the claims of the New Atheists (which is excellent, by the way). Then I heard him do an excellent job defending the existence of Jesus in a radio debate with Richard Carrier on "Unbelievable." After that, I thought, “I really need to meet this guy. He’s sharp and making some unique arguments!” We touched base shortly after that and he agreed to answer a few of my questions about his work on the historical Jesus. His book is easy to read, and yet it is packed with some fresh insights. Enjoy the interview and think about getting a copy of his outstanding book: Jesus is no Myth ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Sean McDowell — 

    Tim Muehlhoff and Richard Langer are two of my colleagues at Biola University. Dr. Muehlhoff teaches Communications and Dr. Langer teaches Biblical Studies and Theology. They recently partnered up to tackle a vital issue for today—how do Christians communicate with winsome persuasion in a culture that seems to be increasingly at odds with Christian beliefs? I had the chance to endorse their book Winsome Persuasion and highly recommend it for both its content and style. In particular, Dr. Muehlhoff has really challenged me to personally consider how to speak truth today with both kindness and graciousness. I love his last book I Beg to Differ, and even used it in a small group with high school students. If you want to be an effective communicator today, check out this brief interview, and then think about getting their excellent new book ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Sean McDowell — 

    David Limbaugh is well known for his political commentary. Yet recently he has utilized his legal training to defend historic Christianity with his New York Times best-selling books The Emmaus Code and Jesus on Trial. His most recent book is The True Jesus: Uncovering the Divinity of Christ in the Gospels. David gave me the opportunity to endorse the book and I was pleasantly surprised at how readable it is, but also his depth of research. You can see David discuss the book on Hannity. David was kind enough to briefly answer a few of my questions about his newest book. Enjoy! ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Sean McDowell — 

    I have had the privilege of being part of many writing and curriculum projects. But there are a few that stand out in terms of how fun and impactful those projects have been. The Apologetics Study Bible for Students is at the top of my list. There are a few reasons why ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Sean McDowell — 

    Some time ago I was speaking on the evidence for intelligent design at a family camp in Michigan. Immediately after my talk—in which I discussed the evidence for design from DNA, fine-tuning, and more—a woman approached me and asked, “The evidence is really powerful. Do you think we will ever get to a point when people will have to concede there’s a God?” ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Sean McDowell — 

    One difficult lesson I have learned in apologetics and evangelism is to identify the question beneath the question. To be honest, I have spent considerable time answering questions I thought people were asking, but because I was operating under false assumptions, I missed the heart of their query. Have you ever made this same mistake? Here are three examples from my own life and ministry, and the brief lesson I learned from each of them ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Sean McDowell — 

    Jonathan Morrow is one of the top communicators for both students and adults on apologetics and cultural issues. He is adjunct professor of Apologetics at Biola University (with me!) and director of cultural engagement at Impact 360 Institute where he teaches high school and college students. Check out his website and Twitter account: jonathanmorrow.org and @Jonathan_Morrow. We co-authored the book Is God Just A Human Invention? together in 2010. Last week he released an update of his classic book Welcome to College. This has been one of the top books I recommend for future college students to read so they can experience relational, emotional, academic, and spiritual success. Check out this interview and if you are an aspiring college student, or you know one, consider getting a copy of his excellent book ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Sean McDowell — 

    I love reading. And what better time is there to read than summer? While there are certainly plenty of good books to read, here are five of my personal favorites. While they tend to be in the category of apologetics and culture, these books were all “game changers” for me that either led me to act or see the world differently ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Sean McDowell — 

    A few summers ago I was doing my “Atheist Encounter” at a large student Christian camp in the Midwest. While the interaction with the audience sometimes gets heated (since I role-play an atheist, after all) the students in this session were far testier and argumentative than normal ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Sean McDowell — 

    How do we make theology engaging and interesting for students? While I certainly don’t claim to have it all figured out, and am always looking for some creative and new ideas, here are four lessons I have learned from roughly two decades of teaching and speaking to students on theological issues ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Sean McDowell — 

    Scholars generally agree that Mark was the first written Gospel. As a result, critics often claim that the doctrine of the deity of Christ does not appear clearly in Mark but emerges later in the Gospel of John. While there are certainly explicit claims to deity in John, such as when Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am” (8:58), this critical challenge overlooks distinct proclamations of the deity of Christ throughout the Gospel of Mark. Here is my contention: From the first chapter until the end, the Gospel of Mark proclaims that Jesus understood himself to be God. Consider six brief examples ...