Archive for the ‘jesus’ Category

As Sean McDowell points out below, Prove the Bible is a site with short videos that offer evidence for the truth of Christianity. Prove the Bible is a storehouse of apologetic videos categorized by topic such as God, Bible, Jesus, and the Gospel along with a miscellaneous grouping that includes worldviews, ethics, creation, hard topics, etc.

Prove the Bible is as substantive as it is accessible. Populated almost entirely with videos, it provides access to apologetics for this generation. Clint Loveness, who runs the site, is doing too apologetics in the form of media what Lee Strobel did for apologetics in books.  By his consistent and determined drive to capture in video form the best of Christianity’s apologists, Clint has made a significant impact in the accessibility of the defense of the faith in the digital age. By his use of the power of video, apologetics is able to be delivered in a fashion that reaches those that is substantive as well as obtainable to the digital generation. Definitely give it a visit.

Several books are about to hit the stores concerning apologetics this October and November. They look very interesting and worth keeping an eye out for them if your are interested in those topics.

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Myths and Mistakes in New Testament Textual Criticism

In Myths and Mistakes in New Testament Textual Criticism In this volume Elijah Hixson and Peter Gurry, along with a team of New Testament textual critics, offer up-to-date, accurate information on the history and current state of the New Testament text that will serve apologists. It is to be released on November 5 of this year.

Some of the chapter topics include:

  • Myths about Autographs: What They Were and How Long They May Have Survived
  • Dating Myths, Part One: How We Determine the Ages of Manuscripts
  • Dating Myths, Part Two: How Later Manuscripts Can Be BetterMyths about Autographs: What They Were and How Long They May Have Survived
  • Myths About Variants: Why Most Variants Are Insignificant and Why Some Can’t Be Ignored
  • Myths About Early Translations: Their Number, Importance, and Limitations
  • Myths About Modern Translations: Variants, Verdicts, and VersionsMyths about Autographs: What They Were and How Long They May Have Survived

The publisher has designated this book as an intermediate read. So it is not for beginners, but practicing apologists should definitely be picking up a copy to hone their understanding and presentation on the New Testament and textual criticism.

Jesus, Skepticism, & the Problem of History: Criteria and Context in the Study of Christian Origins is described by the publishers:

In recent years, a number of New Testament scholars engaged in academic historical Jesus studies have concluded that such scholarship cannot yield secure and illuminating conclusions about its subject, arguing that the search for a historically “authentic” Jesus has run aground. Jesus, Skepticism, and the Problem of History brings together a stellar lineup of New Testament scholars who contend that historical Jesus scholarship is far from dead. These scholars all find value in using the tools of contemporary historical methods in the study of Jesus and Christian origins. While the skeptical use of criteria to fashion a Jesus contrary to the one portrayed in the Gospels is methodologically unsound and theologically unacceptable, these criteria, properly formulated and applied, yield positive results that support the Gospel accounts and the historical narrative in Acts. This book presents a nuanced and vitally needed alternative to the skeptical extremes of revisionist Jesus scholarship that, on the one hand, uses historical methods to call into question the Jesus of the Gospels and, on the other, denies the possibility of using historical methods to learn about Jesus.

Divided into three parts the book covers the topics of: Part One: The Value of New Testament Historical Studies; Part Two: The Gospels and the Historical Jesus; and Part Three: The Book of Acts and Christian Origins.

Same chapters are:

  • New Testament Textual Criticism and Criteria of Authenticity in Historical Jesus Research by Daniel B. Wallace
  • The Historicity of the Gospel Miracles of Jesus by Craig S. Keener
  • Jesus’ Burial: Archaeology, Authenticity, and History Craig A. Evans and Greg Monette
  • Resurrection, Criteria, and the Demise of Postmodernism Michael R. Licona
  • External Validation of the Chronology in Acts Ben Witherington III
  • along with contributions by Craig L. Blomberg, Robert M. Bowman Jr., J. Ed Komoszewski, Robert K. McIver, Paul R. Eddy, Darrell L. Bock, Paul N. Anderson, Michael F. Bird, Ben Sutton, Larry W. Hurtado, and Nicholas Perring.

A foil to this volume might be Jesus, Criteria, and the Demise of Authenticity edited by Chris Keith and Anthony Le Donne in which it claims that “scholars from different methodological frameworks have expressed discontent with this approach to the historical Jesus. In the past five years, these expressions of discontent have reached a fever pitch.”

A popular volume on apologetics is coming out by Mary Jo Sharp: Why I Still Believe: A Former Atheist’s Reckoning with the Bad Reputation Christians Give a Good God. Sharp is a former atheist from the Pacific Northwest, who thought religion was odd at best. Holding a Masters in Christian Apologetics from Biola she is an assistant professor of apologetics at Houston Baptist University. It will be available November 5th.

Alister McGrath, the prolific writer and theologian of Oxford University is the Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion. Narrative Apologetics: Sharing the Relevance, Joy, and Wonder of the Christian Faith is coming out October 15. Since the Bible is a narrative, McGrath encourages believers to present the truth of Christian not only through systems, arguments, and talking points (methods that appeal to our mind and neglect our imagination and our emotions), but he shows how we can both understand and share our faith through the use of stories.

Dr. Tanya Walker, dean of the Oxford Center for Christian Apologetics declares that this book is a “compelling call to resist a reductionist rationality and to enter into the ‘imaginative embrace’ of the Christian faith.”

Animated Apologetics

Over the past several years there has been a boom in Christian Apologetic animated videos.  While there are plenty of apologetic videos from debates, podcasts, presentations, etc., here I want to focus on just those videos that are of high animated quality, relatively short (under 10 minutes), and are focused on Christian apologetics. Over at Prove the Bible, the whole website is videos (live and animated) all sorted by topic. It is definitely worth a look. You also can check out some YouTube channels dedicated to apologetics (both live and animated) such drcraigvideos, Sean McDowell, Mike Winger, Whaddo You Meme, Cross Examined, and Acts17Apologetics, amongst others.  Here, I have focused solely on animated apologetics videos.  I sorted them by topic.

God

Bible

Jesus

Resurrection

Problem of Evil

Science and Religion

Cults and New Religious Movements

Christian Doctrine

Philosophy of Religion

Social/Ethical Issues

General

The guards at the tomb of Jesus has been either much discussed or ignored in apologetical discourse around the resurrection of Jesus.  For example, here is William Lane Craig answering a question about the guards at the tomb:

 

Dr. Timothy McGrew, professor of philosophy at Western Michigan University,  has a thorough response to the challenge of Matthew’s veracity concerning the resurrection as it pertains to the guards narrative in Matthew 27:62-66.  It is well worth the read as Dr. McGrew picks apart the criticism that Torley provides against the historicity of the guards narrative.  Torley claims that the narrative is unhistorical for three reasons:

  1. It is mentioned only in Matthew’s Gospel, not in the other three.
  2. This account fails to explain why the body could not have been stolen on Friday night.
  3. We are not told why Pilate would agree to the Jewish leaders’ request.
  4. The Jewish rulers would not have made such a request of Pilate, since a gentile employed by a Jew would not be allowed to work on the Sabbath.

McGrew systematically dismantles each of these reasons.  A quick summary of each rebuttal:

  1. Rebuttal: This is an argument from silence; why can’t a single source be adequate for historicity.  As McGrew points out: “Many of the events of antiquity crop up in only one source.”
  2. Rebuttal: This reason is assuming that the request is made on Saturday morning. Again McGrew points out: “it is not even clear from the text that the request was made on Saturday”
  3. Rebuttal: Just because we are not told why something happens, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.  McGrew: “this is a very odd way to object to historical evidence. Many narratives recount events without affording us an explanation for them, and sometimes we are left to guess what that explanation might be. So what?”
  4. Rebuttal: “Nothing in Jewish law as interpreted at the time would prevent them from making such a request.”

McGrew lays out a clear rebuttal to these charges against the guards at the tomb and will also answer other charges against the historicity of the resurrection in future posts at the blog site: What’s Wrong With the World? Definitely worth keeping up with.

Image result for guards at the tomb jesus

Dr. William Lane Craig of Reasonable Faith, Houston Baptist University, and Biola University, has just released his new videos on the resurrection.  Share them on social media:

Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?: The Facts

 

Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?: The Explanation

 

There are some great resources on the evidence for the resurrection in addition to these videos.  Check them out when you get a chance:

Other Resources:

Videos:

1. My Apologetics Quick Guide video:

 

2. Dr. Craig’s lecture at the Southhampton, England “BeThinking” Conference:

 

3. Impact360’s animated video on the resurrection:

 

Articles:

“Jesus’ Resurrection” by William Lane Craig at Reasonablefaith.org

“The Case for Christ’s Resurrection” by Gary Habermas in To Everyone an Answer

The Resurrection of Jesus” by William Lane Craig at Reasonablefaith.org

The Argument from Miracles: A Cumulative Case for the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth” by Timothy and Lydia McGrew

Books:

Did Jesus Rise from the Dead? William Lane Craig (Impact 360 Institute, 2014)

The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach, Michael R. Licona (IVP Academic, 2010)

The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus, by Gary R. Habermas and Michael R. Licona (Kregel, 2004)

The Resurrection of God Incarnate, Richard Swinburne (Oxford Univ. Press, 2003)

The Resurrection of the Son of God, N. T. Wright (Fortress Press, 2003)

 

 

I am sure you have heard that when Jesus cried out in a loud voice from the cross saying “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:33-34; Matthew 27:45-46) that this was when God the father turned his back on Jesus because as He bore the sins of the world and God could not face Him.  People as notable as William Lane Craig have asserted as much:

 

While I understand the sentiment behind the unbelievable treatment of Jesus, I find the interpretation unwarranted, implausible, and incoherent.

It is Unwarranted

No where in the passages (either Mark or Matthew) do the gospel authors communicate that God turned his back on Jesus because the sin of the world was laid upon Christ.  While this idiosyncratic interpretation is not Un-Biblical (goes against anything the Bible directly states) it seems to be Non-Biblical (the Bible does not say that God turned his back on Jesus at anytime in scripture).  Non-Biblical is not problematic in any orthodox sense (leisure suits are not mentioned in the Bible but they do not violate any Biblical principle), but to state that God turned his back on Jesus is simply not found in the Bible, thus it is Non-Biblical.

It is Implausible

The Protestant Reformers set forth a principle of scriptural interpretation to govern biblical hermeneutics. It is sometimes called the analogy of faith. R. C. Sproul explains:

we are to interpret Scripture according to Scripture. That is, the supreme arbiter in interpreting the meaning of a particular verse in Scripture is the overall teaching of the Bible.

Applying this interpretative principle to this passage, you will not find other scripture stating that God turned his back on Jesus thus resulting in Christ crying out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  If we want a scripture to enlighten our understanding of Mark 15:33-34 and Matthew 27:45-46, we should turn to Psalm 22.  Interestingly, verse 1 of Psalm 22 is the line, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Ironically, Craig provides insight to the despairing cry of Jesus:

This is thought to be the moment at which, so to speak, God the Father turned His back on His Son and allowed him to experience the separation from God that is sinners’ just desert for sin. This seems plausible; but upon reflection second thoughts arise. In the first place, once one realizes that what Jesus is doing here is reciting the words of Psalm 22, which is the prayer of God’s righteous servant in distress, then a very different perspective emerges. Far from showing Jesus’ alienation from God at that point, his praying Psalm 22 seems to show his deep reliance upon God at this bleakest moment of his life. Moreover, a little later he prays, “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!” (Luke 23.46). Here he addresses God as his Father.

Psalm 22, in a general sense, is a psalm written about a person who is crying out to God to save him from the derision and torture of his enemies, and then thanks God for saving him in the last ten verses. Given the salvation of the person in the latter part of the psalm, it is not a cry of despair, but a cry of help, in which God rescues. God has vindicated Jesus, not abandoned him. As Psalm 22:24 declares “For he has not despised or abhorred the torment of the oppressed. He did not hide his face from him, but listened when he cried to him for help.”

It is Incoherent

Not only is the interpretation of God turning his back on Jesus on the cross unwarranted and implausible, it is incoherent. Given the doctrine of the Trinity, Jesus, who is fully man and fully God, it is metaphysically impossible for there to be a separation in the Trinity.  If God had to turn his face or back away from Jesus (obviously metaphorically speaking) then Jesus would have to turn away from himself, because he is God. It would be metaphysically impossible for there to be a rift in the Trinity.

Apologetic Value of “My God, My God”

One of the values of interpreting Mark 15:33-34 in light of Psalm 22 is apologetics.  I find the most warranted, plausible, and coherent understanding of Jesus’ cry as a declaration to those who are standing at the foot of the cross.  In essence, Jesus is NOT looking UP crying out to God in despair, but looking DOWN to those surrounding him and citing the first line of Psalm 22.  Why is he citing the first line?  Because he is telling the listeners to read that psalm.  David E. Garland in the NIV Application Commentary to the Gospel of Mark states that, “Without chapter and verse divisions in the Hebrew Scriptures, specific passages were cited often by the first verse or key phrases.” It is like when a person sings the first line of a song and everyone knows the song they are singing.

Why is Jesus telling those at the foot of the cross to read Psalm 22?  Because it has prophetic declarations for the coming Messiah.

Verse 16 declares, “For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced by hands and feet.” This is a perfect description of what is happening to Jesus as he cries out “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” David, who wrote the psalm, did not have his hands and feet pierced, but Jesus, hanging on the cross, certainly had.  This is described hundreds of years before Roman crucifixion had even been invented.

Notice verse 17 and 18: “I can count all my bones-they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” Jesus is declaring, read Psalm 22, it is a messianic psalm, I am the fulfilling this prophecy in your presence, so you know that I am the messiah.

Cover artThis is evidence of Jesus being the Christ, the Son of the Living God as Peter pointed out in Mark chapter 8 when Jesus asked, “Who do you say I am?” Jesus is pointing to the evidence that it is true, He is the Christ (the anointed one), the Son of the Living God. Josh and Sean McDowell elaborate in their recent book Evidence That Demands a Verdict: Life Changing Truth for a Skeptical World on the Old Testament prophecies of the messiah fulfilled in Jesus Christ:

The numerous and pervasive instances in the Old Testament of description and detail that correspond to the life of Jesus are like threads in a tapestry that is gradually filled in to reveal him as the Messiah. Put another way, the Old Testament can be compared to a jigsaw puzzle. The numerous pieces remain puzzling until they are assembled enough to fill out the intended picture. In the same way, the Messianic references in the Old Testament remain puzzling until patient study begins to reveal them as a picture of the person of Jesus Christ. The New Testament is thus the decryption key for unlocking the meaning of the Old Testament Scriptures.

The words of Peter recorded by Luke resonate clearly when one contemplates the fulfilled prophecy of Christ: “But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ should suffer, He has thus fulfilled” (Acts 3:18)

Resources on Fulfilled Prophecy:

Videos:

 

 

 

Online Articles:

55 Old Testament Prophecies about Jesus” The Jesus Film Project, Jan 4, 2018

Announcing:
APOLOGETICS QUICKGUIDE

Here is a series of online presentations that I did with the wonderful assistance of Clint Loveness called “Apologetics QuickGuide.”

It follows the topics from the above menu link: Is Christianity True?

It was filmed at a great location, by a professional film crew.  The quality is outstanding, making the content that much more accessible.  I hope that it can be a help to churches, schools, and individuals for many years to come.

Special thanks to Clint Loveness who filmed, produced, and published these videos.  Here is the introductory video to the four sessions:

 

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Posts about other Apologetic Resources from this blog include:

Belief Map

Reasonable Faith Videos

As planned I am highlighting some useful resources online, in print, conferences, etc. that will help those involved in apologetics.  Recently William Lane Craig’s Reasonable Faith has released a new animated video titled “Who Did Jesus Think He Was?”  Over the years Craig’s ministry has been publishing some very high quality apologetic videos that are under ten minutes each.  These are of great value, quality, and usefulness in our media saturated culture.  Here is the video most recently released:

 

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Post about other Apologetic Resources from this blog include:

Belief Map