Are Christian Apologists Guilty of Committing the Spider-Man Fallacy?

The New Testament has archaeological and historical evidence in spades, lame pun intended. For example, we have Caiaphas’ ossuary, an inscription of Pontius Pilate, the discovery of the pool of Siloam, and a lot more. We also have external confirmations of Jesus’ existence found in Tacitus and Josephus, among others.  When Christians share this information online, untrained skeptics will snarkily accuse believers of committing the “Spider-Man” fallacy. The ever-reliable and usually offbeat Urban Dictionary defines the ‘Spider-Man fallacy’ like this:  “Often used to illustrate the flaw in the assertion by evangelical Christians that archaeologists unearthing biblical cities today “proves” that the Bible was written by a supernatural force. The Spiderman Fallacy is committed any time the … Read more

Why Everyone Should Believe That the Apostle John Wrote the Fourth Gospel

Skeptical Biblical critics like John Shelby Spong say that it’s impossible that the Apostle John wrote the Gospel of John. Spong writes: “There is no way that the Fourth Gospel was written by John Zebedee or by any of the disciples of Jesus. The author of this book is not a single individual, but is at least three different writers/editors, who did their layered work over 25 to 30 years.”  Spong isn’t alone in this criticism, even some conservative evangelical Christians have cast doubt on the traditional authorship of John for various reasons. But there are quite a number of reasons to think that John the Son of Zebedee really wrote John. First, let’s consider … Read more

Is Bart Ehrman Right When He Says That Acts Contradicts Paul’s Letters?

Agnostic New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman says, “the book of Acts in the New Testament contains historically unreliable information about the life and teachings of Paul.” In his book, Jesus, Interrupted Dr. Ehrman provides five examples of contradictions that exist between Paul’s letters and Acts.  Ehrman writes, “These are just a few of the discrepancies that one can find when one reads Acts horizontally against Paul’s letters. Many more can be discovered. What they show is that Acts cannot be relied upon for completely accurate detail when it describes the mission of the early apostles such as Paul.” Since these contradictions are the five he handpicked for his book, he must feel like they’re some of the … Read more

Jesus the Jerk? A Response To the Friendly Atheist

the friendly atheist

A few weeks ago, CNN Tonight host Don Lemon said: “But here’s the thing, Jesus Christ, if that’s who you believe in Jesus Christ, admittedly was not perfect when he was here on the Earth. So why are we deifying the Founders?” As you can imagine, this caused quite a stir over social media and on the blogs, since the Bible clearly teaches Christ’s sinless perfection. While a few right-wing Christian leaders went a little overboard in their denouncements of Lemon,  “The Friendly Atheist” took it as an opportunity to take some jabs at Jesus. Hemant Mehta, the author of the blog, writes:  “Let’s talk about what Jesus did. Jesus once got so angry he flipped … Read more

Are There Beastly High Priestly Problems Going On in Luke and John?

annas and caiaphas

If the Gospels make historical goofs, then it’s hard to call them reliable documents. Skeptics have been quick to point out that the Gospel writers make several factual errors, and an example of that is Luke and John’s confusion regarding the high priesthood.  Tradition tells us that Luke was a traveling companion of Paul and used apostles for sources. Surely he should’ve known better. And John was supposedly a Jew and an eyewitness. A local should’ve probably had a solid idea about how the high priesthood works.   Let’s start with Luke.  Two High Priests?  Luke 3 sets the stage for John the Baptist, and this is where he seems to get confused. Luke 3:2 reads: “during … Read more

Busting 7 Arguments Against the Traditional Authorship of John

When arguing for the traditional authorship of John, you’re going to encounter a significant amount of pushback. Skeptics will often say that there’s a vast scholarly consensus against Johannine authorship, but when you look at their arguments, many of them are quite weak. In this post, I’ll address some of the more common ones.  1. Wouldn’t someone close to John sound more like the Synoptic writers?  No, not if John had different purposes for writing his Gospel. The early evidence from the church fathers says that his Gospel was intentionally supplemental. Clement of Alexandria wrote:  “Of all those who had been with the Lord only Matthew and John left us their recollections (hypomnēmata), and tradition … Read more

6 Ancient Sources That Identify the Author of the Fourth Gospel

In my last post, I went over a ton of internal clues in the Gospel of John that support the argument that John, the Son of Zebedee, is the author of the Gospel of John. I noted in my intro that just about every bit of evidence we have from the writings of the early church tells us that John wrote it. But just so you know that I’m not pulling a “dude, trust me” type of argument, let’s examine the external evidence for John’s authorship.  Before we dive in, it’s important to point out that there’s no recorded challenge to the traditional authorship of the Gospels until around the early 5th-century by Faustus the … Read more

Why Jesus is Too Good To *Not* Be True

As someone who takes an interest in the intersection of the historical Jesus and Christian apologetics, it sometimes feels like all that can be said has been said. Works asking the question “who was Jesus?” are legion, both from a skeptical viewpoint and a Christian perspective. Too Good to Be False: How Jesus’ Incomparable Character Reveals His Reality by Tom Gilson takes a fresh perspective that makes this the first work of apologetics that made me want to worship.  There are plenty of books that defend the reliability of the Gospels by looking at historical evidence or examining skeptical objections. Gilson does a bit of an end-around and shows that the person of Jesus isn’t like any … Read more

Why Think the Apostle John wrote the Gospel of John? Follow the Clues.

Just about every bit of evidence from early church history says that John, the son of Zebedee, wrote the Gospel of John. But if you just read the book by itself, John isn’t explicitly identified by name. He refers to himself as the ‘Beloved Disciple.’ Because of this, there has been some in-house debate among Christian scholars who wrote it. And skeptics like John Shelby Spong say it’s impossible that John or any other eyewitness possibly wrote it. Spong writes:  “There is no way that the Fourth Gospel was written by John Zebedee or by any of the disciples of Jesus. The author of this book is not a single individual, but is at least three different writers/editors, … Read more

By Going ‘Woke’ the Giants Put Sam Coonrod In a No-Win Situation

Years back, I used to blog about baseball, and about the St. Louis Cardinals in particular. My writings eventually caught on and I even got to write freelance for a few popular sports publications. I was kind of a big deal (not really) but eventually gave it up as my family grew. Back then, anytime a baseball writer would venture off into politics or religion you’d always get hit with a “stick to sports” over social media. Well, I quit sticking to sports since I’ve picked up writing on Christianity and apologetics. Sports itself has also quit sticking with sports in the past few years. And I’m not saying that’s an entirely bad thing. But … Read more

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