Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

I posted earlier how archaeology has confirmed over 50 real people from the bible.  It was one of the most popular articles published by Biblical Archaeology Review by Lawrence Mykytiuk, associate professor of library science and the history librarian at Purdue University holding a Ph.D. in Hebrew and Semitic Studies and is the author of the book Identifying Biblical Persons in Northwest Semitic Inscriptions of 1200–539 B.C.E. (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2004).  He has followed up that article with “New Testament Political Figures Confirmed.”  Mykytiuk starts by exclaiming, “For a collection of writings usually seen as religious, the New Testament mentions a surprising number of political figures, in connection with court trials, dates of important events and even political murders.” He plans to do a follow up article on nonpolitical figures in the New Testament whose existence is confirmed outside its page.  The list of political figures include:

  • Augustus
  • Tiberius
  • Nero
  • Herod the Great
  • Herod of Antipas
  • Pontius Pilate

Seventeen other political figures are listed with the dates they ruled, mention of them in the New Testament, a sample of evidence in historical writings, and evidence in inscriptions.  He also discusses “almost real people” (that is figures that are not certain but are reasonable) and people not clearly documented outside the New Testament. Mykytiuk has also written on confirmation of Jesus outside of the New Testament. Here is a partial screen shot of the current article on political figures in the New Testament:

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He concludes his article in the magazine stating that “All 23 of the political figures discussed in this article are clearly identifiable in sources outside the New Testament, confirming this facet of its historical reliability.”

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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!

Bethsaida

53 People in the Old Testament Confirmed Archaeologically

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Ted Wright over at Epic Archaeology posts some thoughts on philosophy and archaeology:

“Summa Archaeology”

http://epicarchaeology.org/archaeology-philosophy/summa-archaeologica/?platform=hootsuite

 

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Reflections

Examining the Slides in the Miscroscope

As the nonscientist on RTB’s five-person staff scholar team, I sometimes feel like the odd man out. Because I’m a philosopher, I often look at things and think about things very differently than my science colleagues. The questions that I tend to ask, even about science, usually inquire about things from a very different perspective. I typically gravitate toward asking more philosophically oriented questions that focus more on logical relationships than science’s emphasis upon observational relationships. Yet I recently came across a provocative analogy that I think helps to show the broadly common way that my science colleagues and I both seek to discover knowledge and truth.

Catholic philosopher Peter Kreeft draws this interesting comparison in his book on logic:

“Logic is one of philosophy’s main instruments. Logic is to philosophy what telescopes are to astronomy or microscopes to biology or math to physics. You can’t be very good at physics…

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Given that this year is the 500 anniversary of the Reformation, this post by Kenneth Samples is timely:

Reflections

Martin Luther

Martin Luther is famous for posting his 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church at Wittenberg and for attempting to reform the Catholic Church, but what exactly did he believe, and what else did he contribute to Christendom? Here’s your crash course on the life and accomplishments of Martin Luther—and why he still matters today.

Who Was Martin Luther?

Martin Luther (1483–1546) was born in Eisleben, Germany, just as the Middle Ages were coming to an end. His plan was to become a lawyer, but while experiencing the terror of being caught in a thunderstorm, he vowed to become a Catholic monk if St. Anne would rescue him. Serving as an Augustinian friar and priest, Luther was often insecure about whether God would truly forgive him. He wondered whether he could ever be assured of salvation by following the church’s practices of confession, repentance, and performing good works…

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Three Christian Classics

Posted: January 26, 2017 in Uncategorized

Brief overviews of three classic books: Mere Christianity, Pensees, and Confusions by C. S. Lewis, Blaise Pascal, and Augustine.

Reflections

When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food. —Desiderius Erasmus, Dutch Renaissance scholar and theologian

Reading books has been an obsession of mine since my conversion to Christianity as a college sophomore. I sensed my mind really mattered in serving the Lord; so I began a serious pursuit of the “life of the mind” to the glory of God. Today I have a personal library of between 3,000 and 4,000 books.

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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:

 

Thinkapologetics.com provides some insights to common objections to God’s existence.

THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM

In 2004, I started going to the Ohio State University and engaging students for the truth claims of Christianity. I did hundreds of surveys with students and certainly begin to see some of the objections people had to the Christian faith. Around 2006 I moved away from the survey approach and started using a variety of approaches to reach out to the students here. Anyway, it was 2009 when myself along with some OSU students planted a Ratio Christi chapter on the campus. This was done out of the necessity for a stronger apologetics presence on the campus. Since we planted the chapter we have had some very well-known speakers come such as William Lane Craig, Frank Turek, Bart Ehrman and Michael Brown, Paul Nelson, Michael Licona and James Warner Wallace. We have also had some student debates with the skeptic group on the campus. Keep in mind that Ohio…

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Mitch Stokes has written a great piece for crossway.org.

“10 Things You Should Know About Apologetics”

Dr. Stokes is a senior fellow of philosophy at New St. Andrews College in Moscow, Idaho earning his PhD from the University of Notre Dame under the guidance of Alvin Plantinga.  Stokes also holds degrees in religion and mechanical engineering, and holds five patents in aeroderivative gas turbine technology. His most recent book is How to Be an Atheist: Why Many Skeptics Aren’t Skeptical Enough.

Here is a short taste of the article:

1. Apologetics is as much for believers as it is for unbelievers.

Let’s roughly define apologetics as the use of arguments to remove doubt or unbelief (I’ll qualify this in the next point). The point here is that unbelief often comes from our own hearts and minds, despite the fact that we’re Christians. For my own part, apologetics has always been something I do as much for me as for others.

2. Apologetics can be used preemptively.

Here’s the qualifier I mentioned above: although we often use apologetic arguments to remove doubts, we can also use them to prevent doubts. Teaching apologetics to young believers can be a preemptive strike on unbelief.

Reflections

Blaise Pascal

Did you know that the first digital calculator was invented by a seventeenth-century French mathematician? In his brief time on Earth, Blaise Pascal (1623–1662) wore many hats and left an imprint on both modern science and Christian philosophy that lingers to this day. Here’s your crash course on the life and accomplishments of Blaise Pascal—and why he still matters today.

Who Was Blaise Pascal?

Blaise Pascal lived during the scientific revolution and worked as a mathematician, physicist, inventor, polemicist, and writer. His invention of the calculator was one of the major achievements of the early scientific revolution and the precursor to the modern computer.

Pascal grew up as a nominal Catholic, but as an adult he had a dramatic religious experience that led him to commit his life to Christ and to put his remarkable mind to work for Christ’s kingdom. As a Christian philosopher, theologian, and apologist, Pascal provided…

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Reflections

cs-lewis

In the last decade a slew of Narnia movies were released in theaters and, though C. S. Lewis has been gone more than 50 years, his books are still as popular as ever. He’s the famous atheist-turned-Christian, but what exactly did he believe and what did he contribute to Christianity? Here’s your crash course on the life and accomplishments of C. S. Lewis—and why he still matters today.

Who Was C. S. Lewis?

C. S. Lewis (1898–1963) was an Irish-born Anglican thinker and author who taught English literature at both Oxford and Cambridge Universities. Lewis served in the English Army during World War I and converted from atheism to Christianity when he was in his early 30s. During World War II, Lewis presented talks on the BBC radio station titled “The Case for Christianity.” Lewis was a member of the famous Inklings literary discussion group at Oxford University that also…

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