Why Minimal Facts Isn’t Enough

Unpopular opinion time: I’m not a fan of the minimal facts argument for the  resurrection. I don’t think it works, and it might even do more harm than good. I know this is a rather spicy take. And I understand people who absolutely love minimal facts might want to click away. But hang on a second! I used to love this argument, too. So put down your torch and pitchforks for just a moment. Hear me out for a few minutes!   When I first got into apologetics, I came across Gary Habermas’ popular talk “The resurrection argument that changed a generation of scholars.” I was blown away. I bought Habermas and Licona’s popular level book … 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

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

Why Do the Gospels Contain Unnecessary Details?

The Four Gospels are full of pointless minutia. Have you noticed this? For instance, John tells us there were six waterpots at the wedding in Cana that could hold 20-30 gallons of water each. Well, that’s oddly specific. It serves no obvious theological meaning or literary purpose. Why are statements like these there?  Scholar Lydia McGrew calls these “unnecessary details.” She writes: “An unnecessary detail appears to be there for no special reason; it is just there because the author believed it was true. It lends verisimilitude to the account precisely by being so pointless, and in some cases (though not always) vivid. Such details are thus plausible marks of eyewitness testimony — either from … Read more

Video: Evidence That the Gospels Are Based on Eyewitness Testimony

Skeptical critics like Bart Ehrman claim that the gospels aren’t based on eyewitness testimony but are mostly legends that grew with the telling. However, New Testament scholar Richard Bauckham defies that hypothesis. He argues that the presence of particular names is very strange unless they were eyewitnesses behind their stories. Why is that? Aside from the apostles and a few important figures, most people in the gospels are nameless. Using Mark as an example, Jesus heals an unnamed leper, a paralyzed man, a demoniac, the woman with the issue of blood, the Syrophoenician woman, a blind man, and an epileptic boy. There’s also the unnamed rich young ruler, the poor widow, and the woman who … Read more

Video: No, the Resurrection Narratives Are Not Hopelessly Contradictory

Christians are often duped by the common mistake called the ‘fallacy of the expert witness.’ While there’s nothing wrong with appealing to expert authorities, fancy credentials can’t cover up weak arguments.  Enter Bart Ehrman. Dr. Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He’s written several scholarly and popular-level works that cast doubt on the reliability of the New Testament.   As an agnostic, one reason Ehrman says we should reject the resurrection of Jesus is that the Gospel narratives are “hopelessly contradictory.” But are they really? What is his case for this? Erik ManningErik is a Reasonable Faith Chapter Director located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. … Read more

Video: The Gospel Authors Knew Local Geography

Skeptics argue that the Gospels were written far after the events they report, in distant lands like Rome, Egypt, Turkey, or Greece. They’re not a product of eyewitness testimony but a collection of stories passed on for decades. The original story of Jesus got mixed up over time, like a long game of telephone. But is that really what happened? As it turns out, the Gospel writers don’t just know 1st-Century Palestinian geography when compared with other sources, they are actually valuable sources themselves, proving the skeptics wrong. The video is just under 6 minutes long. Erik ManningErik is a Reasonable Faith Chapter Director located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He’s a former freelance baseball writer … Read more

Video: 5 Times Archaeology Debunked Gospel Skeptics

Skeptical critics love to try to poke holes in the Gospel narratives, claiming they’re full of historical blunders. But in recent times, many of these so-called holes have been filled by the shovel of archaeology. In this video, I run through the top 5 examples of critics looking bad in the light of new archaeological discoveries. Erik ManningErik is a Reasonable Faith Chapter Director located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He’s a former freelance baseball writer and the co-owner of a vintage and handmade decor business with his wife, Dawn. He is passionate about the intersection of apologetics and evangelism.

Video: 6 Reasons Why Peter is the Source of Mark’s Gospel

Many of the early church fathers say that Mark’s Gospel is based on Peter’s preaching. If that’s the case, it’s understandable why an apostle like Matthew or someone like Luke would use Mark as a source. You can’t get much closer to the life of Jesus than through the eyes of Peter.  We’ve looked at what the early church fathers had to say about Mark before. However, skeptics like Bart Ehrman say that this whole idea that Mark based his Gospel on Peter’s preaching stems from Papias, and Papias doesn’t know what he’s talking about.   OK, so now what?  While I don’t think that argument works, what if I said there was a way to … Read more

Is Jesus Alive?