About the Templeton Project

The Templeton Committee met for the first time on October 21, 2015.  Pastor Michael Tavella had received a $5000 grant from the John Templeton Foundation through the auspices of Earl Whipple, a staff member of the organization and a member of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.  The grant will be used to develop a manual for churches and individual Christians on how we should conduct ourselves when in conversation with atheists and others who do not attend Church (the “nones”), either one on one or in a public forum.  The biblical basis for the project is I Peter 3:  15b-16.  The proposal includes field testing the manual in church adult classes and then holding at least one public forum in which Christians and non-Christians  dialogue with one another. These conversations will constitute a Christian defense of the faith (ἀπολογία, apologia, English-apology) and a witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Humility as the Ground of All Dialogue

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Defense of the faith and witness require a certain attitude with humility at the very center.  Humility, not a pagan virtue, is eminently Christian.  In I Peter, a letter that has been the inspiration for this blog, humility is mentioned near the end where the apostle counsels the members of…
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Personality and Conversion

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Human personality may appear intransigent and unyielding to some perceptive and veteran observers. People simply don’t seem to change; their reactions and behavior throughout their lives are predictable.  Their unchanged behavior shows their unchanged hearts. But, is this true? Change for the better in the character and personality of individuals…
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Parable of the Sower, Seed, and Soils–Part V

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Subscribers, Because of a technical glitch, you did not receive the articles sent to you in December and January (of which there are many).  If you wish to read them, go to the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church website (holytrinity.net) under “News and Blog:  The Templeton Project.   We now move…
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The Judgment and Utopia–Part IV

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We have been looking at Matthew 10, where Jesus sends out the Twelve on a mission to Israel in light of the coming of the Son of Man.  The end of the world is the time of the judgment of God. At the beginning of the chapter Jesus instructs the…
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Confronting Nihilism

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Nihilism is a view of the world that denies that therein exist meaning, purpose, and moral values.  At bottom, it is a denial of the reality of God.  Human beings must form their own response to this meaninglessness including the possibility of suicide.  We must find our own meaning, if…
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Sending Out–Part III

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In Matthew 10 Jesus sends the apostles out on a mission to Israel.  He instructs them to go nowhere among the Gentiles (a mission that will come later, see Matthew 28: 16-20), but only to the lost sheep of Israel.  Along with casting out demons; healing the sick; cleansing lepers;…
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The Beatitudes–Part II

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We have come to the second part of an extended series on discipleship and the teachings of Jesus in Matthew.  These teachings are found in five blocks of material that are found at various places in the Gospel.  We continue our examination of The Sermon on the Mount where we…
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The Will of the Father–Part I

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We begin here with a series on discipleship and witness.   The Will of the Father At the end of Matthew 12, we are told that Jesus’ mother and brothers wish to speak with Him.  He responds in a striking, unsettling way. “‘Who is my mother, and who are my…
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