Books! We wants them, yes, precious!

Let me bring to your attention two recent books that belong in the library of every Christian college, Christian school, and Evangelical seminary—and in the personal libraries of many of their professors of English literature and theology–not to mention hordes of their students!  Not to mention yours.

First is Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis (Baltimore: Square Halo Books, 2016).  Diana Glyer says, “Williams has done the impossible: he has written a highly readable overview of C. S. Lewis’s theology.  He draws from the deep well of a lifetime spent studying literature and theology and Lewis.  My understanding has been greatly enriched; yours will be too.  This book is a marvel.”  Lewis was the greatest apologist and one of the most influential Christian thinkers and writers of the Twentieth Century.  Yet until now we have not had a study of Lewis’s theology that was both comprehensive and critical, asking, “What is the theology that lies behind the Narnia books, the Space Trilogy, and the popular apologetics, and what are its strengths and weaknesses as a guide to biblical truth?”  Clearly this book meets a critical need.

Then there is An Encouraging Thought: The Christian Worldview in the Writings of J. R. R. Tolkien (Cambridge, OH: Christian Publishing House, 2018).  Jim Prothero writes, “This book on Tolkien is not only readable, it is profound. The counter-culture movement latched onto to The Fellowship of the Ring more than a decade after its 1954 publication and never let go. The ultimate irony is that many of those young people were looking for alternative world-views to traditional values. And all the while, Professor Tolkien was a devout believer writing stories that reflected precisely traditional Christian beliefs and values. Donald T. Williams explores all the nuances of that irony here with humor and insight.”

Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings was listed as the book of the century in three separate polls, and remains one of the most popular and beloved books of all time.  And it was built on the biblical worldview of its author, as he himself said, “unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision.”  That grounding in the Christian worldview is less obvious and in-your-face than in his friend Lewis’s books, but Williams brings it into clear focus here.  Tolkien’s vision is a lens that lets us see the Gospel as true in the real world too.  Williams is a good guide to why that is true and to what difference it makes.

Donald T. Williams (M.Div., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, PhD, University of Georgia) is R. A. Forrest Scholar and Professor of English at Toccoa Falls College in the hills of NE Georgia.  The author of eleven books and countless articles, he is a border dweller, camped out on the borders between theology and literature, serious scholarship and pastoral ministry, Narnia and Middle Earth.  These books are most easily ordered from Amazon.

Soli Deo Gloria!

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With the long vacation of summer dawning and no international trip planned for this year, I will be more free to move around the country to speak or preach for the next three months.  So I thought I would remind you of what I have to offer.

3R MINISTRIES

Renaissance:  The restoration of the life of the mind;

Reformation:  The restoration of sound doctrine;

Revival:  The restoration of vital Christian spirituality.

Donald T. Williams, PhD:  Pastor, Professor, Writer, Speaker, Apologist

Renaissance—a restoration of the life of the mind; Reformation—a restoration of sound doctrine; Revival—a restoration of vital Christian spirituality.  These are the three great movements of God we desperately need in our generation.  And our great mistake is to believe that you can have the last one without the first two.”  —  Donald T. Williams

Donald T. Williams, PhD, is one of the foremost apologists and Christian thinkers you may not have heard of.  What makes him unique?  He is a border dweller, camped out on the border between fields of theology and literature, the border between pastoral ministry and serious scholarship, and the border between this world, Narnia, and Middle Earth.

Pastor, professor, and poet, theologian, apologist, and cultural critic, Williams is R. A. Forrest Scholar at Toccoa Falls College in the hills of NE Georgia.  He also serves as Scholar in Residence for Summit Ministries and has served as a pastoral trainer for rural pastors in places like Uganda, Kenya, and India for Church Planting International. He is past president of the International Society of Christian Apologetics.  Williams is the author of eleven books, including Mere Humanity: G. K. Chesterton, C. S. Lewis, and Jr. R. R. Tolkien on the Human Condition (Nashville: Broadman, 2006), Inklings of Reality: Essays Toward a Christian Philosophy of Letters (Lynchburg: Lantern Hollow Press, 2012), Reflections From Plato’s Cave: Essays in Evangelical Philosophy (Lynchburg: Lantern Hollow Press, 2012), Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis (Baltimore: Square Halo Books, 2016), and An Encouraging Thought: The Christian Worldview in the Writings of J. R. R. Tolkien (Cambridge, OH: Christian Publishing House, 2018).  His articles appear frequently in popular magazines such as Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity and Christian Research Journal as well as various scholarly journals.  He is also one of the featured “talking heads” in the popular recent apologetics video “Mining for God” (www.miningforgod.com).

Donald T. Williams

Williams speaks frequently for churches, colleges, Christian schools, home school groups, campus ministries, and other ministries.  Popular topics include “The Theology of Tolkien’s Middle Earth,” “Why We Lost the Culture War, and How to Make a Comeback,” “Worldviews in Literature,” “The Problem of Evil,” “True Truth: Why We Need to Remember Francis Schaeffer,” and “The Validity of Lewis’s ‘Trilemma.’”  His preaching is expository, in the tradition of men like D. Marty Lloyd-Jones.

To book Dr. Williams for your church, school, or group, contact him at dtw@tfc.edu.

3R Ministries:  Renaissance; Reformation; Revival!

 Donald T. Williams, PhD

381 Talmadge Drive, Toccoa, Ga. 30577;  dtw@tfc.edu

 

APOLOGISTS TO MEET AT TOCCOA FALLS

APOLOGISTS TO SPEAK TRUTH IN LOVE!

The International Society of Christian Apologetics will hold its annual meeting at Toccoa Falls College in Toccoa, Georgia, Friday-Saturday, April 1-2, 2016.  The theme for the meeting will be “Apologetics in an Increasingly Hostile World.”

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Plenary speakers will include Warren Cole Smith, senior editor of World Magazine, speaker for Summit Ministries, and vice president of The Colson Center. Smith will address the conference on “How Media Shape Your Worldview:  The Medium Really Is The Message–Mostly,” and “Restoring All Things:  Knowing What You Stand For, Not Just What You Stand Against, or Promoting The Good, The True, And The Beautiful.”  Smith says that “We Christians must pay close attention not only to what we say, but how we say it if we want to be heard in a culture that is increasingly indifferent or antagonistic to the Christian message.”

Warren Cole Smith
Warren Cole Smith

The meeting will also feature workshops on many apologetic topics by notables such as Norm Geisler and a presidential address on “C. S. Lewis as a Role Model for Winsome Apologists” by Toccoa Falls College apologist Donald T. Williams.

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For further information or to register, go to http://isca-apologetics.org/annualmeeting.

APOLOGISTS TO FOCUS ON INERRANCY

I have the honor to serve this year as president of the International Society of Christian Apologetics (ISCA).  Let me remind you that our annual meeting is going to be very accessible to many in the Southeast, at Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, NC, Fri-Sat., April 10-11.  The theme is “Inerrancy and Evangelical Identity.”  How essential is a full view of biblical authority to who we are as Evangelicals?  It is a doctrine that is under renewed assault, even from within what purports to be Evangelicalism.

We are going to have a stellar line-up of plenary speakers to address such an important topic.

Paige Patterson
Paige Patterson

First we have as a one-two punch two giants from the Southern Baptist Convention, Richard Land and Paige Patterson, who will talk about the struggle for inerrancy in that denomination and what we can learn from it for the struggles ongoing in other Evangelical churches and organizations.  Nobody has had more personal experience with such things than these two.  Land will talk about the history of the struggle for inerrancy in the SBC, and Patterson will focus on the practical lessons to be learned from it.  This will be balanced by rising star Sarah Geis, Doug Groothuis’s protégé at Denver Seminary, who will speak on making the case for inerrancy, not so much to the church as to the world.  Their titles are as follows:

Richard Land
Richard Land

Richard Land, “The Southern Baptist Convention, 1979-1993: What Happened, and Why” (To learn more about Richard Land, go to http://www.drrichardland.com/about. )

Paige Patterson, “The Consequences of Revolution: The Conservative Resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention: A Case Study” (To learn more about Paige Patterson, go to http://www.paigepatterson.info/. )

Sarah Geis, “The Apologetics of Inerrancy: Making Our Case to the World” (To learn more about Sarah Geis, go to http://justifiedfaith.com/author/scgeis/. )

Sarah Geis
Sarah Geis

Then I will do a presidential address on “Discerning the Times: Why We Lost the Culture War and How to Make a Comeback,” in which I will address the related area of how subjectivist hermeneutics undermines biblical authority and our ability to apply it to the world around us.

Donald T. Williams
Donald T. Williams

I think this is a great opportunity that many of us should take advantage of.  Registration and further information is available at

http://www.isca-apologetics.org/annualmeeting.  I hope to see many of you there!

 

Donald T. Williams, PhD

R. A. Forrest Scholar & Prof. of English, Toccoa Falls College

Waverly Hall: A Book and a Challenge!

An old house, another world, a genocidal maniac, a teenage girl, and, yes, a squabbit… Meg was supposed to be exiled to Waverly Hall for an entire year. A year of boredom. A year of isolation. What she finds instead will mark her forever and may lead to the freedom of a world devastated by plague and kept under the brutal control of an insane dictator. Not bad for an eighth grader.

Well, as of this past week we here at LHP can now put our money where our proverbial mouths are when it comes to writing novels:  My first work of fiction (I’ve written scholarly Civil War history before) is now available from Lantern Hollow Press!  Waverly Hall can be purchased in print and as an e-book from Amazon, Kindle, and Smashwords.  It’s a chance for those of you who have persevered with us for so long to see if we have the foggiest idea what we’re talking about!

Meg meets one of the less friendly denizens of Waverly Hall.

Waverly Hall is the story of Megan O’Reily, a girl from Atlanta, GA who is forced to spend a year with her crazy uncle in his old home in the North Georgia mountains while her parents traipse across Europe on an extended vacation.  While at Waverly Hall, she discovers a collection of portals that opens into a network of sentient worlds spanning multiple universes and times.  Her first adventure leads her into a dark, sci-fi dystopia in the world of Relois.  Relois is suffering from the effects of a centuries old  plague that once nearly wiped out all life on the planet.  The survivors, addicted to the serum that protects them from the plague, are forced literally to work themselves to death in the service of the man who created the serum, now called “The Keeper of Relois.”  How Meg reacts will determine the fate of an entire world and whether or not she will ever find her way back home again.

There are multiple layers to the book, and that encompasses my challenge.

  • First and foremost, I hope that it is a good story that you can read and enjoy from cover-to-cover.  If you think no more of it than that, I am content.
  • Second, as you read, you will probably catch snatches of the familiar.  That is also intentional.  I wanted the book to serve as a sort of bibliography to some of the many works that I love.  Therefore, you will find references to many, many books, movies, authors, computer games, history, real physical locations, etc. etc. hidden throughout the book.  I have attempted to hide these sufficiently well so that you can appreciate the story without being distracted by them, but might later enjoy hunt for them after you’ve finished your first read.
  • Third, while I agree with Lewis in avoiding allegory, I have also adopted his approach of showing how things “might have been” if ideas and philosophies from our own world were to play themselves out in another.  You will find some very real, very frightening statements coming from various characters in the book that, frankly, I didn’t make up.  They came straight from the minds and lips of very real people right here in our own world.  In Relois, we see how they might be worked out in reality.

And so, here’s the challenge:  I dare you to dig into the book and find all the things I’ve hidden.  Some references are as plain as the nose on your face.  Others take a little more thinking.  Still others I’ll be very surprised if anyone finds at all.  In my first post each month for the foreseeable future, I’ll defy you, good readers, to unlock a specific portion of my code.   If you can do it, email me before the day specified in the challenge, and I’ll give you credit in the post I use to reveal the answer at the end of the month.  If you’re the first one to get it entirely right, I’ll not only give you credit, I’ll make sure you get a free prize (to be specified in the challenge) and some LHP swag.

Of course, to start, you’ll need a copy of the book! The e-book is currently on sale at Smashwords.com, but you can also purchase it straight from our e-store for your Kindle or get a hard copy from Amazon.com:

If by chance you wanted a signed hard copy, you can contact me directly (info@lanternhollowpress.com). We can sell those for $9.99 plus shipping and handling.

Now, for this month’s challenge (You’re competing for a $20.00 Amazon gift card and an LHP T-shirt):

In the book, there are four characters whose names that are significant references to Lewis, Tolkien, and characters in their worlds. The prize goes to the first person to correctly name three out of the four and explain the connection!

BONUS: If you can catch all four, I’ll throw in a copy of the Kindle version of The Tales of Taleissin: with Other Poems of Mythopoeic Interest by Donald T. Williams.

You must get your entry in to info@lanternhollowpress.com by 11:30 p.m. on July 21st. Good hunting. I hope you enjoy the ride. 🙂