Apologetics is not usually known for producing gripping fictional thrillers, but it does have a few.  In fact, I think you might be surprised by how many novel apologetic works are out there.  Here is a sampling.  If you know of any others add it to the list below with a link to its amazon page.

1. A Skeleton in God’s Closet by Paul L. Maier

As far as I know this was the first (and one of the better imho) novels incorporating apologetics.  Paul L. Maier is the professor of ancient history at Western Michigan University and has written and translated some important historical works such as Josephus: The Essential Works, Eusebius: The Church History, and In the Fullness of Time: A Historian Looks at Christmas, Easter, and the Early Church.

Amazon describes A Skeleton in God’s Closet: “When an ancient skeleton is discovered in Israel, will it shed new light on the life of Jesus or plunge the world into chaos?”

Dr. Jonathan Weber, Harvard professor and biblical scholar, is looking forward to his sabbatical year on an archaeological dig in Israel. But a spectacular find that seems to be an archaeologist’s dream-come-true becomes a nightmare that many fear will be the death rattle of Christianity.Carefully researched and compellingly written, A Skeleton in God’s Closet explores the tension between faith and doubt when science and religion collide. In the end, it’s a thought-provoking page-turner, driven by one man’s determination to find the truth―no matter the cost.”

I really thought Maier did a fine job on this work.  I just happened to discover codexit for a dollar at a resale shop.  The title caught my attention and I devoured it.  It essentially explores what would happen to Christianity if we discovered that Jesus did not rise from the dead.  He had two sequels to this volume: More Than a Skeleton and The Constantine CodexMore Than a Skeleton explores eschatology and the return of Jesus (it was my least favorite of this Skeleton series) and the Constantine Codex explores what would happen if we discovered missing manuscripts to the New Testament.  Maier even gives cameo appearances of real scholars such as Daniel Wallace and Edwin Yamauchi in The Constantine Codex.

[Caveat] – Maier has also written two books in the historical fiction genre, but he likes to categorize it as a “documentary novel” because the former emphasizes the fiction opilatever the history (many times to the flames of romedetriment to the history) while in his works he has devised a structure that only resorts to fiction to fill in the historical gaps.  Essentially, he is a historian first and a novelist second, while most historical fiction is the other way around.  He has done a fine job in both Pontius Pilate and The Flames of Rome.  As the titles suggest Pilate is about the true story of how and why the crucifixion took place, from the perspective of the Roman politician who changed history.  The Flames of Rome follows the family of Flavius Sabinus, the mayor of Rome under Emperor Nero, in order to capture the tension of the political conflict in Rome before the Great Fire.

2. Five Sacred Crossings: A Novel Approach to a Reasonable Faith by Craig Hazen

Five Sacred CrossingsCraig Hazen, the director of the M.A. program in Christian Apologetics at Biola University and editor of the journal Philosophia Christi, wrote this quick read (168 pages) which has a nice plot while investigating worldview claims of other religions and philosophies.”Professor Michael Jernigan, a Christian, is teaching a religions course at a community college by using a rare text he owns—“The Five Crossings.” Each “Crossing” unveils a universal spiritual question, which only Christianity can satisfactorily address because it is testable, presents salvation as a free gift, paints a picture of the world that matches reality, makes a non-compartmentalized life possible, and has Jesus at the center.”Craig prefaces this novel in his introduction: Defenses [of Christianity] usually come from believing theologians, philosophers, lawyers, and scholars of various stripes. From time to time, however, scholars who are fascinated by presenting reasons for faith have used allegories, analogies, novels, and other modes of storytelling to make specific points about the truth of the Christian view of the world…. This present work certainly does not compare to what [C.S.] Lewis produced except that it fits in the same category of literature.”

3. The Lazarus Effect: A Novel by Ben Witherington III

lazaruseffectThis is a series of six books that doesn’t deal with apologetics proper, but it does touch on archaeology and biblical scholarship, which apologetics interacts with regularly.  Ben Witherington III is professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary and doctoral faculty at St. Andrews University, and the author of over thirty-five books.  He begins this series with The Lazarus Effect.  This work has been described as an archaeological thriller.  Apparently, the protagonist of this series Art West is based on Ben’s grandfather, James Arthur West, who was also an archaeologist.  West makes a discovery of a lifetime in Jerusalem finding the tombstone of Lazarus.  This indicates that Jesus raised him from the dead, but the stone is stolen, sold to the British Library, and West is implicated in an antiquities fraud that will lead to a trial.  Other books in this series includes: Roman Numerals, Papias and the Mysterious Menorah, Corinthian Leather, Roma Aeterna, and Ephesian Miracle.

 

4. The Coffee House Chronicles by Josh McDowell and Dave Sterrett

Dave Sterrett (who I am glad to say I know personally and taught with several years ago) teams up with Josh McDowell to produce this trilogy which follows Nick, a coffeehousechroniclescollege freshman at a state school in Texas. Nick has his spiritual world turned upside-down with what he hears in an introduction to religion class. His questions turn into conversations as he dialogues with professors, friends, and family about the authenticity the Bible, the identity of Jesus, and the historicity of the resurrection.  This series includes: Is the Bible True…Really?, Who Is Jesus…Really?, and Did The Resurrection Happen…Really?
which from the titles you can tell the topics of each book.  Amazon: “The Coffee House Chronicles are short, easily devoured novellas aimed at answering prevalent spiritual questions. Each book in the series tackles a long-contested question of the faith, and then answer these questions with truth through relationships and dialogue in each story.”

 

5. The Owlings: A Worldview Novella and The Owlings: Book Two by Dan DeWitt

owlingDan DeWitt; dean of Boyce College and teaches courses on worldview, philosophy, apologetics, and C. S. Lewis; provides a short young adult story in which Josiah learns that the world is not all there was, is, or ever will be from the most unlikely visitors: Gilbert, a talking owl and three of his friends.

This series, deemed a “worldview adventure” continues in book two.  Josiah returns with Gilbert the talking owl touching on moral themes like poverty, bullying, charity, sympathy, and the like, but its main goal is to demonstrate the limits of science.

 

6. The Chronicles of Adonai series by Braxton Hunter

Dr. Hunter is president of Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary and professor of apologetics.  He has written several books on apologetics proper such as Evangelistic Apologetics and Blinding LIghts: The Glaring Evidences of the Christian Faith. Active in the apologetics community, Hunter has debates and blogs on the Christian truth.  and He has dipped his hand into apologetical fiction with his Chronicles of Adonai series. Image result for the chronicles of adonai

Set in a post apocalyptic dystopian society, all references and talk of God is removed by the leaders of the community call Adonai.  A great review by Mark Evans reveals that Dr Hunter “includes the cosmological argument . . .the teleological argument . . . and the moral argument. . . . He also gives a clear explanation of the Gospel and repentance. There are some characters who respond to the Gospel. He also emphasizes the clearness of general revelation (Romans 1.20) Early on in the book one of the characters examines the purpose of all that exists.”

The series is in two volumes: The Colony and The Island.

7. The Testimonium by Lewis Ben Smith

One day as I walked into my local Half Price Books I stumbled upon Lewis Ben Smith, a local author who was personally selling his books at a side table. Lewis has been a high Image result for The Testimoniumschool history teacher for the past three decades at a private school in east Texas. An avid archaeologist, he routinely takes his classes out to tributaries to find arrowheads.  In 2014 he published The Testimonium. This novel explores the questions: What if there were new findings that proved, in today’s science, that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is true? Smith’s focus is on the archaeology, but The Testimonium begins a series of books called The Capri Team Adventures which follows the excursions of a team of archaeologists as they uncover other earth shattering discoveries. Other titles in the series:

Matthew’s Autograph – The back cover description: “Finding the undisturbed tomb of one of Image result for matthew's autograph ben smiththe Apostles of Jesus leads the Israeli government to call in Duncan’s companions, who had discovered the Testimonium of Pontius Pilate three years earlier. When the three archeologists arrive in Tel Aviv, they discover an amazing document inside the tomb: the end of Matthew’s Gospel, written in the Apostle’s own hand! Excitement turns to pandemonium when they translate the scroll and find the text varies drastically from every copy of the Book of Matthew in existence. Have the New Testament Gospels been altered since they were written? Has this tomb really lain undisturbed for two thousand years? Is this ancient manuscript really . . . MATTHEW’S AUTOGRAPH?

Gnostic Library – Smith’s most recent work concludes the Capri Team Adventures when theImage result for the gnostic library ben smith archaeologists are captured by terrorists when they were investigating the manuscripts of the Gnostics found in Egypt. One Amazon reviewer states that The Gnostic Library is “A fast-paced, globe-spanning novel about human love and inhuman brutality, that mixes ancient history and modern headlines into an edge-of-your-seat thriller!”

 

 

 

 

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Impact 360 has been releasing some fantastically produced videos. Here is one of their newest ones:

 

Impact 360 has been running some great videos as well as their camps, residency programs, and training.

Speakers who frequent Impact 360 include: Jonathan Morrow (one of Impact 360’s directors), Sean McDowell, J. Warner Wallace, Brett Kunkle, Alisha Childers, Jay Watts, Alan Shlemon, and others.

They have programing for high school students, gap-year students, and young professionals. Impact 360 has several programs one can experience:

  • Propel (one week) – A student leadership training to impact the world out of their identity in Christ. This experience is designed for teens who desire to lead and disciple their peers.
  • Immersion (two weeks) – A worldview and leadership experience for high school students where they will learn what they believe, why they believe it, and how to live it out in the real world. Similar to Summit Ministries.
  • Fellows (nine months) – A year  that offers a unique combination of worldview studies with experiential learning, international travel, and leadership training.

Impact 360 is based in Pine Mountain, GA (about an hour south of Atlanta). They have a beautiful campus (this links to a nice visual tour) that is partly founded by some of the owners of Chick-fil-a. So eating a Chick-fil-a helps fund Impact 360.

Jonathan Morrow, the director of cultural engagement at Impact 360 Institute, holds a Master of Divinity, Master in Philosophy of Religion and Ethics, and a Doctorate all from Talbot School of Theology and is an adjunct professor of apologetics at Biola University. Some of his publications include:

He has also contributed articles to the bestselling Apologetics Study Bible for Students (which I also contributed several articles: here, here, and here), A New Kind of Apologist, and Foundations of Spiritual Formation: A Community Approach to Becoming Like Christ.

Morrow is doing a fine job at Impact 360. Definitely worth checking out.

Here are some of the other quality videos Impact 360 has produced:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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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)

 

 

The December cover story for National Geographics is on biblical manuscripts and  features comments from Dr. Wallace, the director of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM). CSNTM, founded in 2002 by Dr. Wallace, utilize emerging technologies to preserve and study Greek New Testament manuscripts by digitally photographing existing manuscripts.

National Geographics article “Inside the Cloak-and-Dagger Search for Sacred Texts” provides an insider view of the discovery and study of biblical manuscripts. It has some wonderful pictures and a lengthy article on the archaeology, collectors, scholars, and schemers in the world of biblical manuscripts along with the history of bible hunting. It is well worth the time to read this article.  It even discusses the early fragment of Mark that I have previously posted about (and here).

Some other institutions, individuals, and items mentioned in the piece include: Liberty University, Randall Price (archaeologist from Liberty), the Dead Sea Scrolls, Mark Lanier (Houston lawyer and avid collector), Museum of the Bible (the new D. C. museum opened by the Green family, owners of Hobby Lobby), Konstantin von Tischendorf (famous 19th century scholar who discovered Codex Sinaiticus), the École Biblique et Archéologique Française, The Institute for New Testament Textual Research in Münster (which keeps the official count of New Testament fragments), Bart Ehrman, the Oxyrhynchus papyrus collection, amongst others.

Some notable quotes from the article:

“And while it’s true that more than 5,500 Greek New Testament manuscripts have been found, close to 95 percent of those copies come from the ninth to the 16th centuries. Only about 125 date back to the second or third centuries, and none to the first.”

“In the case of the New Testament, whose authors wrote in Greek, more than 5,500 Greek manuscripts and fragments have been found—more than any other ancient text. They total as many as 2.6 million pages, Wallace estimates, and like the Oxyrhynchus papyri, most of them have yet to receive scholarly attention.”

“Scholars were thrilled to learn that among them [i.e., the Dead Sea Scrolls] was a nearly complete copy of the Book of Isaiah from the Hebrew Bible. Its content was virtually identical to another copy of Isaiah dated almost a thousand years later.”

” ‘Evangelicals have had a tremendous impact on the market,’ says Jerusalem antiquities seller Lenny Wolfe. ‘The price of anything connected to the lifetime of Christ goes way up.’ “

close-up-of-ring-300x480

A ring found 50 years ago has just recently been deciphered to bear the inscription of Pontius Pilate’s name, the Roman prefect of the Roman province of Judaea, serving under Emperor Tiberius from AD 26/27 to 36/37 during the time of Jesus.

The ring was found amongst thousands of other artifacts in 1968-69 excavations at Herod’s burial tomb and palace at Herodium. The current director of the Herodium archaeological site Roi Porat ordered the 2,000 year old small copper alloy ring cleaned recently and given a thorough scholarly examination.  What was discovered was the inscription “of Pilatus” on the ring. The ring was originally discovered by  Professor Gideon Forster from the Hebrew University in the late 1960s.

Image result for herodiumImage result for herodium on map

Borschel-Dan reports for The Times of Israel that:

Pilate, a Roman prefect who ruled the Roman province of Judaea from circa 26–36 CE, is mentioned in several accounts in the New Testament, as having ordered the trial and crucifixion of Yeshua, a Second Temple-period radical preacher from the Galilee, more commonly known as Jesus.

Image result for pontius pilate stoneUntil know, the only object to bear his name was the Pilate Stone discovered in 1961 at  Caesarea Maritima which is now currently located at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.  The Pilate Stone inscription included the following:

“Pontius Pilatus, Prefect of Judea, has dedicated to the people of Caesarea a temple in honor of Tiberius.”

Hasson goes on the report about the discovery of the inscription on the ring for Haaretz:

The name Pilatus has been linked to that of Roman governor Pontius Pilate, mentioned in the New Testament as Jesus’ executioner. Pilate was the fifth of Roman leaders in Judah, and apparently the most important of them. He ruled in the years 26 to 36, and some say even from the year 19. The name was rare in the Israel of that era, says Professor Danny Schwartz.

“I don’t know of any other Pilatus from the period and the ring shows he was a person of stature and wealth,” Schwartz said.

The Israel Exploration Society published the findings of this inscription discovery in their journal the Israel Exploration Journal Volume 68, Number 2.

Resources:

2,000-Year-Old ‘Pilate’ Ring Just Might Have Belonged to Notorious Jesus Judge” by Amanda Borschel-Dan | The Times of Israel, Nov 29, 2018

Ring of Roman Governor Pontius Pilate Who Crucified Jesus Found in Herodion Site in West Bank” by Nir Hasson | Haaretz, Nov 29, 2018

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Post about other biblical archaeological discoveries from this blog include:

Caiaphas Ossuary

The Prophet Isaiah

23 New Testament Figures Confirmed

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

New ESV Archaeology Study Bible

 

 

 

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

New book out titled Unbelievable: 7 Myths About the History and Future of Science and Religion by Michael Keas.  Michael Keas earned a PhD in the history of science from the University of Oklahoma, and is adjunct professor of the history and philosophy of science at Biola University.  The book covers much of what I have posted about here on this site such as the myths concerning Galileo, the flat earth, and the dark ages.

Image result for Unbelievable: 7 Myths About the History and Future of Science and ReligionThe product description of the book:

Lies Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson Told Me

Scientists love to tell stories about the quest to understand the universe—stories that often have profound implications for belief or disbelief in God. These accounts make their way into science textbooks and popular culture.

But more often than not, the stories are nothing but myths.

Unbelievable explodes seven of the most popular and pernicious myths about science and religion. Michael Newton Keas, a historian of science, lays out the facts to show how far the conventional wisdom departs from reality. He also shows how these myths have proliferated over the past four centuries and exert so much influence today.

The seven myths, Keas shows, amount to little more than religion bashing—and especially Christianity bashing. Unbelievable reveals:

• Why the vastness of the universe does not deal a blow to religious belief in human significance

• Why the “Dark Ages” never happened

• Why “Flat Earthers” had basically disappeared by the third century B.C.

• Why the real story of Giordano Bruno’s life and death is far more complicated than the popular account of him as a martyr for science

• What everyone gets wrong about Galileo, and why it matters today

• Why the notion that Copernicus “demoted” humans from the center of the universe didn’t gain traction until centuries after his death

• The futuristic myth that scientists and others are positioning to challenge religion

In debunking these myths, Keas shows that the real history is far more interesting than the common account of religion at war with science.

This accessible and entertaining book lays out powerful arguments that will be embraced by religious believers tired of being portrayed as anti-intellectual and anti-science.

Here are a series of videos with Keas concerning the various topics in the book:

 

 

 

 

 

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Post about other issues concerning science from this blog include:

Scientism and Secularism

Science Series: C. S. Lewis on Scientisim, Evolution, and Intelligent Design

Science Series: The Myth that the Church Hindered the Development of Science

Science Series: The Myth that Galileo Goes to Jail

Science Series: The Flat Earth Myth

Science Series: Finely Tuned Cosmos

Science Series: The Dawkins Delusion Continues

Science Series: “Inherit the Wind”

Science Series: Was Belief in God a Science-Stopper? Not for Newton

Science Series: Oxford Professor-Atheism in Decline, Will be Defeated by Faith

Science Series: Creation Confusion – Resources for Research on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design

Science Series: Bill Nye the Pseudo-Science Guy

Science Series: Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God – the Most Popular Article in Wall Street Journal History

Warfare Myth: Science vs. Religion

A new book in apologetics is being released today: Stand Firm: Apologetics and the Brilliance of the Gospel by Paul M. Gould, Travis Dickinson, R. Keith Loftin:

Image result for stand firm book

Gould, Dickinson, and Loftin make are professors at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.  They have been putting together an annual apologetics conference at the Seminary for several years also called “Stand Firm” in which they have had some keynote speakers including Timothy McGrew, John Mark Reynolds, J. P. Moreland and J. Warner Wallace.  I have also, had the privilege of occasionally speaking at the conference.

Contents of the book include the following topics: Truth, God, Miracles, Reliability of the New Testament, Jesus, the Resurrection, the Problem of Evil, World Religions, and New Religious Movements.

A quick description of the book: “In an age of skepticism and disenchantment, people long for something that satisfies our mindÕs search for truth and our heartÕs desire for beauty and meaning. Stand Firm: Apologetics and the Brilliance of the Gospel argues that the gospel satisfies both of these needs. It is true and rational, but it is also inherently attractive and provides meaning and purpose. In short, the gospel is brilliant. It is brilliant, in one sense, because of the broad variety of evidences for its truth. But it is also brilliant given its beauty, goodness and the meaningful life it offers. The book provides up to date responses to questions about the existence of God, the reliability of the Bible, Jesus and the resurrection, and the problem of evil. It also treats unique topics such as understanding truth, knowledge and faith, the claims of alternate faiths, religious disagreement, etc. Each chapter attempts to connect these considerations with the gospel so that we may stand firm in our faith.”

“Scientism” is the view that the hard sciences—like chemistry, biology, physics, astronomy—provide the only genuine knowledge of reality.

Fortunately, J. P. Moreland; Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of TheologyBiola University in La Mirada, California with four earned degrees: a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Missouri, a Th.M. in theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, an M. A. in philosophy from the University of California-Riverside, and a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Southern California; has provided a devestateing critique to this genuinely mistaken view: Scientism and Secularism: Learning to Respond to a Dangerous Ideology.

Image result for scientism and secularism

I have blogged about scientism before, but J. P. Moreland, with this book, has written the definitive work on the issue.

Here are some examples of people asserting scientism:

  • “Whatever knowledge is attainable, must be attained by scientific methods; and what science cannot discover, mankind cannot know.” – (Bertrand Russell Religion and Science, 243)
  • “Traditionally these are questions for philosophy, but philosophy is dead. Philosophy has not kept up with modern developments in science, particularly physics. Scientists have become the bearers of the torch of discovery in our quest for knowledge.” – (Stephen Hawking The Grand Design, 13)
  • “Science, as the only begetter of truth.” – (Richard Lewontin, The New York Review of Books 1/9/97)

Crossway Books, the publisher of the book, has provided a series of articles by Moreland in preparation of the release:

10 Things You Should Know about Scientism” by J. P. Moreland | Crossway Sept 19, 2018

5 Myths About Science” by J. P. Moreland | Crossway Sept 21, 2018

What is Scientism?” by J. P. Moreland | Crossway Sept 24, 2018

You couldn’t ask for a better resource on this topic.  In his excellent work Love Your God With All Your Mind shares why we should reject scientism: “What I do reject is the idea that science and science alone can claim to give us knowledge. This assertion – known as scientism – is patently false and, in fact, not even a claim of science, but rather, a philosophical view about science.”

J. P. Moreland discusses the issue of scientism in this video:

 

Resources:

Scientism and Secularism: Learning to Respond to a Dangerous Ideology by J. P. Moreland (Crossway: 2018)

“The Dangers of ‘Scientism’ and an Over-Reliance on Science” by J. Warner Wallace | Cold-Case Christianity, Feb 11, 2015

“Is Scientism Self-Refuting?” by William Lane Craig | Reasonable Faith, Mar 21, 2011

“Blinded by Scientism” by Edward Feser | Public Discourse Mar 9, 2010

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Post about other issues concerning science from this blog include:

Science Series: C. S. Lewis on Scientisim, Evolution, and Intelligent Design

Science Series: The Myth that the Church Hindered the Development of Science

Science Series: The Myth that Galileo Goes to Jail

Science Series: The Flat Earth Myth

Science Series: Finely Tuned Cosmos

Science Series: The Dawkins Delusion Continues

Science Series: “Inherit the Wind”

Science Series: Was Belief in God a Science-Stopper? Not for Newton

Science Series: Oxford Professor-Atheism in Decline, Will be Defeated by Faith

Science Series: Creation Confusion – Resources for Research on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design

Science Series: Bill Nye the Pseudo-Science Guy

Science Series: Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God – the Most Popular Article in Wall Street Journal History

Warfare Myth: Science vs. Religion

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Posts about other Apologetic Resources from this blog include:

Apologetics Quick Guide

Belief Map

Reasonable Faith Videos