Holy Koolaid Ruins Christmas

In his video 12 Contradictions in the Bible, Holy Kool-Aid includes the standard list of complaints against the Christmas narratives. Leave it to the skeptics to try and stuff a lump of coal in the stockings of Christians every year. Let’s see what Thomas has for us: Two of the four canonical gospels even tell the story of Jesus’ birth. And these two accounts are irreconcilably different. In both stories, Jesus is born in Bethlehem. But in Matthew, after Jesus’ birth, King Herod hears about baby Jesus described as the future king of the Jews. He feels threatened and has every baby under the age of two slaughtered while Jesus’ parents Mary and Joseph escape … Read more

Artless Similarities: More Evidence for Gospel Reliability

While reading the gospels, you’ll notice similarities between the characters portrayed across the different stories. Parallels between the gospels concerning character depictions are unlikely to be the result of mere chance. And these correspondences seem so casual and subtle that it’s unlikely they were designed that way. Philosopher Tim McGrew calls these ‘artless similarities.’ In an earlier video, we saw this kind of unity of character with Jesus between John and the Synoptics. But let me give another example with two somewhat lesser-known characters in the gospels — Mary and Martha. We find their stories in both Luke and John. For this evidence, I’m drawing from Peter J. Williams’ excellent book Can We Trust the … Read more

Messianic Prophecy Didn’t Inspire the Christmas Story

Skeptical critics love to target the birth narratives found in Matthew’s Gospel. Matthew’s theological agenda is evident in his constant attempt to connect Jesus to some type of Old Testament prophecy. Matthew is very clearly concerned to show that Jesus’ birth and early childhood is a fulfillment of the prophets. And he does it in some very weird ways.  Take for instance Hosea 11:1, which reads “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt, I called my son.” Matthew takes that to refer to Jesus’ return from Egypt after King Herod’s death. The holy family was hiding there after Herod’s slaughter of the innocents. Speaking of which…Matthew applies a prophecy to … Read more

Learn to Make a Maximal Case for the Resurrection

I used to love sharing the minimal facts with unbelievers.  It’s easy to present in a few minutes and sounds rhetorically powerful. When I tell my friends that the facts I’m sharing are universally acknowledged by scholars, even those who are skeptical, it seems like I am not coming at them with something that only conservative evangelicals believe. And on the surface, taking an end-run around the Gospels seemed helpful because unbelievers tend to view them as dubious sources.  However, I ran into a couple of issues. One was practical. Let’s say I got the skeptic to hear me out. Does it really make sense to say: “OK, I granted for the sake of argument … Read more

The Parables of Jesus Disprove the Telephone Game

Skeptics frequently argue that the Gospels are not based on eyewitness accounts. They were composed decades after Jesus’ death by people not familiar with first-century Israel. And they wrote after hearing stories passed down to them. And those stories came from others who heard these stories. It’s one long game of telephone. How can we know if we have the actual words of Jesus?  One piece of evidence that goes against the telephone game theory is the parables of Jesus. The gospels present Jesus as a formal teacher or rabbi, with disciples. NT scholar Peter J. Williams notes that the Gospels use the word disciple or disciples 195 times. They also describe Jesus as a … Read more

Interview: Defending The Gospel of John with Dr. Lydia McGrew

In this interview, I speak with Dr. Lydia McGrew about the reliability of the Gospel of John. Dr. McGrew is a widely published analytic philosopher and author. She received her Ph.D. in English from Vanderbilt University in 1995. She has published extensively in the theory of knowledge, specializing in formal epistemology and in its application to the evaluation of testimony and to the philosophy of religion. She defends the reliability of the Gospels and Acts in her books Hidden in Plain View: Undesigned Coincidences in the Gospels and Acts, The Mirror or the Mask: Liberating the Gospels From Literary Devices, and most recently The Eye of the Beholder: The Gospel of John as Historical Reportage, … Read more

The Mind-Blowing Meaning Behind the Sign of Jonah

Recently I stumbled across what I thought was a rather silly meme: Oof. Here’s the thing: No matter if you believe Jonah is historical or ahistorical (and some Christians, like C.S. Lewis, believed it was the latter), this meme misses the point. Science tells us what nature does when left to itself; miracles happen because nature is not left to itself. Whoever wrote the book of Jonah probably understood that human beings don’t normally get swallowed by whales, let alone survive if they did. But did Jonah survive? No, and yes.  Let’s read Jonah’s parts of the prayer from the whale’s belly: Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the stomach of the … Read more

A Case For the Early Dating of Matthew’s Gospel

The majority of modern scholars believe Matthew’s Gospel was written between AD 80 and 90. That’s quite some time after Jesus lived and died. Matthew was likely dead by then, so how could he have written it? After all, during Jesus’ time, a person could expect to live another 30 or more years if they lived to be 20 years old. Matthew would have been in his 70s or 80s when he wrote. While that’s not impossible, it does seem unlikely. So why do scholars assign such a late date? And is late dating worth reconsidering? Let’s dive into the first question. At the risk of oversimplifying, here are the four main arguments for late … Read more

Video: Don’t Blindly Follow “Biblical Scholarly Consensus”

I’ve made a lot of content defending the historical reliability of the gospels. And one of the most common objections I hear is that my views aren’t in line with modern scholarship. And I admit it. If you’re a Christian and you’re looking for evidence for your faith, you and I are guaranteed to lose the credential war. Yes, there are good conservative Christian scholars out there like DA Carson or Craig Blomberg. But they’re a minority voice. The scholarly consensus is against me. I get it.  Here’s the thing though: That doesn’t really bother me, and it shouldn’t bother you. When it comes to biblical scholarship, we have some reasons to be seriously skeptical. … Read more

The Anti-Christian’s Favorite Fallacy – 19th Century Logician Richard Whately

Richard Whately (1 February 1787 – 8 October 1863) was a brilliant guy. He was an English academic, rhetorician, logician, philosopher, economist, and theologian who was also a reforming Archbishop of Dublin of the Church of Ireland. That’s a lengthy resume. In addition to his role as a leader in the Anglican church, he was a prolific author who tackled a wide variety of topics, and he was one of the first people to discover the legendary Jane Austen. This is a quote from his book “Elements in Logic”, and I believe it’s extremely relevant today. Here Whately tackles one of the skeptic’s favorite fallacies. “Similar to this case is that which may be called … Read more

Is Jesus Alive?