Got Doubts? Stop Doing This!

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From working in public apologetics ministry for a few years now, one common mistake I see from Christians struggling with their faith is that they try and prematurely flex their apologetic muscles by spending tons of time listening to atheist YouTubers, podcasts or reading blogs but they don’t get the bulk of the Christian evidences strong under their belt first. When they come across a few things that stump them, they get troubled, anxious, or even set aside their faith altogether. This is falling prey to what the great English logician Richard Whately called “the fallacy of objections.” Whately defined the fallacy of objections as “showing that there are objections against some plan, theory, or … Read more

What You Might’ve Missed About the Mount of Transfiguration

Does John’s Gospel give us a much higher view of Jesus than what we find in Matthew, Mark and Luke? Bart Ehrman certainly thinks so. He says:  If Jesus went around Galilee proclaiming himself to be a divine being sent from God…could anything else that he might say be so breath-taking and thunderously important? And yet none of these earlier sources says any such thing about him. Did they (all of them!) just decide not to mention the one thing that was most significant about Jesus? Almost certainly the divine self-claims in John are not historical. How Jesus Became God p 125 In other places, Ehrman admits that the Synoptic Gospels don’t depict Jesus as … Read more

Bart Ehrman’s Worst Argument Against John’s Christology

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Bart Ehrman is fond of saying that if Jesus really said “Before Abraham was, I am” and “I and my Father are one” the Synoptic Gospels would’ve surely reported it. Since they don’t report it, Ehrman infers that it didn’t happen. The author of John’s Gospel made it up. He writes: “If Jesus went around Galilee proclaiming himself to be a divine being sent from God . . . could anything else that he might say be so breathtaking and thunderously important? And yet none of these earlier sources [Matthew, Mark, and Luke] says any such thing about him. Did they (all of them!) just decide not to mention the one thing that was most significant … Read more

The Historical Paul vs. The Legendary Paul?

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Skeptical critics argue that Luke wasn’t a traveling companion of Paul’s. Why do they say this? Let’s discuss one reason. NT scholar Uta Ranke-Heinemann asserts that in: “Acts and the epistles there are two Pauls. The historical Paul of the authentic epistles and the legendary Paul of Acts.” 1 In other words, don’t confuse the colorful Paul of Acts with the actual Paul we read about in his letters. This indicates that Luke didn’t have firsthand knowledge of Paul. He must have lied about being his traveling companion and embellished a bunch of stories. But is the Paul of Acts that different from the Paul we read about in his letters? I’d say no. Not … Read more

Investigating Paul’s Conversion Turned a Doubter Into a Christian Apologist

Studying the conversion of the Apostle Paul turned a learned and skeptical English statesman into a Christian apologist. In 1747, George Lyttleton penned Observations on the Conversion and Apostleship of St. Paul. Lyttleton wrote “I thought the conversion and Apostleship of Paul alone, duly considered, was of itself a demonstration sufficient to prove Christianity to be a Divine revelation.”  In this very short and influential work of 18th-century Christian apologetics, Lyttleton examines the life of Paul found in Acts and in his undisputed letters and offers the following quadrilemma: Either Paul was “an impostor who said what he knew to be false, with an intent to deceive;” or  He was an “enthusiast who imposed on … Read more

Is John’s Jesus Different Than The Synoptics?

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New Testament scholars often treat the Gospel of John like a red-headed stepchild. We’re often told that John presents a Jesus who is fundamentally different from the Synoptics. For example, here is the well-known NT critic Bart Ehrman:  …if Matthew and John were both written by earthly disciples of Jesus, why are they so very different, on all sorts of levels? … Why do they have such fundamentally different views of who Jesus was?… (interview with NPR 12/14/05) Ehrman certainly isn’t alone in his opinion here. Even Craig Evans, an evangelical New Testament scholar, concedes this point to Bart. He says: I suspect we (Ehrman and I) don’t have too much difference on John. My … Read more

Undesigned Coincidences: Sneaky Good Evidence That Luke traveled with Paul

New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman claims that Luke wasn’t really a traveling companion of Paul. In his book Forged, Ehrman writes: “(The author of Acts) is simply claiming to be a traveling companion of Paul’s and therefore unusually well suited to give a “true” account of Paul’s message and mission. But he almost certainly was not a companion of Paul’s. On the one hand, he was writing long after Paul and his companions were dead. Scholars usually date Acts to around 85 CE or so, over two decades after Paul’s death. On the other hand, he seems to be far too poorly informed about Paul’s…missionary activities to have been someone with firsthand knowledge.”  In a … Read more

An Undesigned Coincidence in The Book of Joshua

The Book of Joshua tells us about Rahab, a Canaanite prostitute who ends up becoming an unlikely champion of faith. Jericho was one of the main hubs of idol worship, being particularly devoted to the moon goddess Ashtaroth. Here centered the most offensive and shameful aspects of the Canaanite religion. Despite her rough background, Rahab recognized that the LORD was with Israel and would give them the Promised Land. So hid two men who had been sent to scout the city before their attack, helping them conquer the city.  A weighty argument for the authenticity of the narrative is discussed in JJ Blunt’s book Undesigned Coincidences. This is all the more important as its central … Read more

Christianity Has Spread Worldwide, Therefore Prophecy is Real

In Isaiah chapters 40 through 56, we find some of the most stunning prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures. The section is dubbed the Servant section because of its many references to a figure that God calls “my Servant”. I believe Jesus of Nazareth very clearly fulfilled these Servant passages, and no, I’m not primarily referring to Isaiah 53. But before we dive in, we should probably head off an objection upfront.  The Servant Is Not Strictly Israel The Servant is frequently identified with the nation Israel as a whole (Isaiah 41:8, 44:1 and 21, 45:4, 48:20, 49:3). Those who are skeptical of Christianity argue that Isaiah can’t possibly be referring to Jesus. But there are … Read more

Undesigned Coincidences in the Old Testament: Why David Was Betrayed By His Friend

I’m continuing a series on undesigned coincidences in the Old Testament. As a reminder, an undesigned coincidence is a notable connection between two or more accounts or texts that doesn’t seem to have been planned by the person or people giving the accounts. Despite their apparent independence, the items fit together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. An undesigned coincidence provides reason to believe that all of the statements that contribute to it are truthful.   Often the undesigned coincidence can lay between two different accounts, but sometimes the detail lies within a single book. In such circumstances it’s necessary for the connection between the details to be sufficiently obscure to render the details independent of … Read more

Is Jesus Alive?