Archive for December, 2016

Ken Samples Christians 101 with Mortimer Adler who wrote How To Read a Book.



“It is man’s glory to be the only intellectual animal on earth. That imposes upon human beings the moral obligation to lead intellectual lives.”1 –Mortimer J. Adler

Mortimer Adler was one of the most influential philosophers and educators of the 20th century, but what exactly did he believe and what did he contribute to his fields of study? Here’s your crash course on the life and accomplishments of Mortimer Jerome Adler—and why he still matters today.

Who Was Mortimer Adler?

Mortimer J. Adler (1902–2001) was born in New York City to nonobservant Jewish immigrants. He studied at Columbia University and went on to serve as a distinguished philosopher, educator, editor, and advocate of the Great Books program. He chaired the board of editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica and was the editor of the Great Books of the Western World. He also worked as the director of the Institute for…

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Bible History Daily has an updated list of 50 [update] 53 people in the bible who have been confirmed archaeologically.  It is not an exhaustive list.  It does not include Caiaphas or Pontius Pilate or anyone from the New Testament because it focuses on the Hebrew Bible.  The list of 50 53 comprises mainly kings, pharaohs, and officials.  It is a nice list of names which also includes who they were, when the reigned, and where in the bible they are mentioned. Here is a quick screen shot of the list:Screen Shot 2016-12-14 at 8.42.46 AM.png








Purdue University produced a video of professor Lawrence Mykytiuk and his research:



An article at on his research was also published.  Here is a taste of the article:

Lawrence Mykytiuk cannot document that everything in the Bible took place. What the Purdue University Libraries professor can do is show you that many of the people written about did, in fact, exist.

 “While some would put their hand on the Bible and really mean it when they take an oath, a few revisionist academics would throw it out and say, ‘That’s creative writing.’ I was looking for concrete, objective evidence outside of the Bible that would help build the case,” said Mykytiuk, an associate professor of library science.

The rest can be read here.


Post about other biblical archaeological discoveries from this blog include:

History Has Gone to the Toilets-The Ancient Latrine of Lachish

Virtual Unwrapping of Levitical Scroll

City of Geza

Philistine Cemetery

Ancient Shopping List Provides Evidence of When Bible Was Written

Hezekiah Bulla

12th Dead Sea Scroll Cave Found!


23 New Testament Figures Confirmed







Over at James Bishop’s blog a recounting of William Murray’s conversion to Christianity. William Murray is the son of Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the famed founder of American Atheists, who is known for the lawsuit that banned prayer and bible reading in school on behalf of her son.

Bishop's Encyclopedia of Religion, Society and Philosophy

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Now deceased Madalyn, once known as the most hated woman in America and a title she apparently took great pleasure in (1), fought a war against school prayer and won. It was further ruled in her favour that official Bible-reading in American public schools in 1963 and onward would cease. According to her son Murray (now 70 years of age), as captured on film while still a school pupil during this whole affair, “I am an atheist, and I wish to be an atheist, and I don’t feel it would be appropriate for me to stand up and say the Lord’s Prayer” (2). Madalyn subsequently founded the American Atheists and sued the city of Baltimore demanding that the state collected taxes from the tax exempt Catholic church. She also sued NASA arguing that public prayer ought to be banned by government employees in outer space. She would also…

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1. Rapid Response: “You Can’t Be Certain About the Claims of Christianity”

J. Warner Wallace, author of Cold-Case Christianity and God’s Crime Scene, continues his Rapid Response series, in which “we tackle common concerns about (and objections to) the Christian worldview by providing short, conversational responses. These posts are designed to model what our answers might look like in a one-on-one setting, while talking to a friend or family member.”  This post deals with the following statement:

“No one can be absolutely certain about ancient historical claims, and the Bible can’t be proven beyond a possible doubt. The claims of Christianity are dramatic and critical. If you want me to believe these kinds of claims you’d have to be able to prove them beyond any doubt.”

How would you respond to such a statement? Here is a conversational example of how I recently replied:

“I can empathize with this sort of concern. In fact, I often hear similar statements from prospective jurors in criminal trials. During the jury selection process, we sometimes ask jurors if they will be able to make a decision, even though they may have unanswered questions or possible doubts. If they say they wouldn’t be able to render a verdict unless every question is answered and every doubt resolved, we simply excuse them from service. Why? Because the standard of proof (the SOP) in our homicide trials isn’t ‘beyond a possible doubt,’ it’s ‘beyond a reasonable doubt,’ and there’s a big difference between these two standards.

You can read the rest here.

2. Five Myths About the Ancient Heresy of Gnosticism

Michael J. Kruger, President and Samuel C. Patterson Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Reformed Theological Seminary, discusses Gnosticism:

Gnosticism  was a heretical version of Christianity that burst on the scene primarily in the second century and gave the orthodox Christians a run for their money.  And it seems that some scholars look back and wish that the Gnostics had prevailed.  After all, it is argued, traditional Christianity was narrow, dogmatic, intolerant, elitist, and mean-spirited, whereas Gnosticism was open-minded, all-welcoming, tolerant and loving.  Given this choice, which would you choose?

Dr. Kruger goes on to expose the myths that surround Gnosticism today.

3. How Should We Respond to The “King James Only” Claim?

Greg Koukl from Stand to Reason handles the question: How should we respond to the claim that the King James translation of the Bible is the only valid translation?

A five minute video clip provides the answer:


Screen Shot 2016-12-09 at 10.32.14 AM.pngThe Oxford Dictionary has elected “Post-Truth” as the word of the year.  Closely associated with “post-truth politics,” especially after Brexit and the U. S. election, they have seen a spike this year in the use of the word: Post-Truth.

“Post-Truth” means “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”

In 2004 Ralph Keyes published The Post-Truth Era: Dishonesty and Deception in Contemporary Life.  While Keyes discusses how we live in a period in which Americans tell multiple lies a day, without judgement he explores the reasons why people lie about almost everything and the consequences it has on society.

While Keyes examined the extensiveness of lying earlier in the 2000s, it now seems to be that case that the concern is not that we are lying, but that we don’t care if people are lying.  Alva Noë, philosopher at UC Berekeley in his NPR piece on the word of the year relates that:

What’s impressive is that the electorate — or rather, a very large minority of the electorate — didn’t seem to care or at least refused to treat the candidate’s dishonesty as in anyway disqualifying. That’s the post-truth bit.

Sean McDowell blogs about Post-Truth over at his website are insightful:

[W]e now live in a culture that seems to value experience and emotion more than truth. While modern technology and social media certainly contribute to the phenomena of emphasizing style over substance . . . two thoughts stood out to me when I first heard that “post-truth” was the word of the year.

First, the idea of changing, avoiding, or moving beyond truth is not new.

. . .

Second, we don’t really live in a post-truth world.

That last point is important.  We really don’t live in a post-truth society.  We might not like it or even deny it, but it is inevitable.  Sean demonstrates that truth is important to all of us through a vivid example:

I was speaking at a youth event. Afterwards, a student came up to me and said, “You talked about truth a lot. What’s the big deal? Why is truth even important?” I looked at him and simply asked, “Do you want the true answer or the false answer?”

Charles Ryrie just recently passed away and his extensive bible collection was auctioned off. Here Daniel Wallace, professor at Dallas Theological Seminary and director of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts, details the auction.

Daniel B. Wallace

On 5 December 2016, Sotheby’s had an auction of one of the world’s largest private collections of Bibles and manuscripts. The collection was Charles Ryrie’s, former professor of Systematic Theology at Dallas Seminary. For many years I would take my students to visit his home and see the treasures in his collection. Every year he would bring out new marvels that astonished me. I never saw the whole collection, but he was always generous in bringing out scores of volumes.

Ryrie died earlier this year. He was just a month shy of his 92nd birthday. I had been keeping a close eye on his collection and had discussed it with him many times over the years. Among other things, he owned three Greek New Testament manuscripts, one of only eleven vellum Luther Bibles in the world, and the finest copy of the 1611 King James Bible anywhere. He also owned…

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st-basil-the-great-3Not many people are known as so-and-so “the Great.” But St. Basil the Great was one of the finest thinkers, writers, and preachers in Christian church history. What did this man believe, and what did he ultimately contribute to historic Christianity? Here’s your crash course on the life and accomplishments of St. Basil the Great—and why he still matters today.

Who Was St. Basil?

St. Basil the Great (c. 329–379) was born in Caesarea Mazaca, Cappadocia, to one of the most distinguished and pious Christian families. Along with Basil, the Orthodox and Catholic churches subsequently honored a number of his family members with sainthood. Basil received a notable Christian and classical education in the famous ancient cities of Athens and Constantinople. Basil, along with his brother Gregory of Nyssa and his friend Gregory of Nazianzus, made up the theologically potent threesome known as the Cappadocian Fathers. Later serving as the…

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