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

How Not to Argue for the Resurrection of Jesus

Here’s a pitfall I’ve seen quite a few Christian apologists fall into when arguing for the resurrection of Jesus. The argument goes something like this: Paul probably believed that Jesus’ resurrection was physical. This is evident from his letters. In 1 Corinthians 15:4, Paul says Jesus was buried and then raised. What goes down in burial must come up in resurrection. In Romans 8:11 and Philippians 3:21, Paul also refers to resurrection as something physical. Paul thought what happened to Jesus’ body will someday happen to ours.  According to Paul, Peter, James, and John approved of his Gospel in his letter to the Galatians. He was preaching what they were preaching. Therefore, the other apostles … Read more

Why Apologists Should Talk About the Ascension | Response to Matthew Hartke

Matthew Hartke’s video Why Apologists Don’t Talk About the Ascension has really taken off, lame pun intended. For his very first video, he’s already amassed nearly 60,000 views and counting. That’s impressive. Hartke asks the question “why don’t the big-league resurrection apologists like William Lane Craig, Mike Licona and Gary Habermas talk about the ascension?” And I think this is a good question. Let’s listen to Hartke: Clip 1:  I’ve combed through several books and listened to dozens of talks by Gary Habermas on his minimal facts argument for the resurrection. And maybe I’ve just missed it, but I have yet to see or hear him talk about the ascension. Mike Licona has written one … Read more

Has the Minimal Facts Created a Monster?

Paulogia grinds the gears of resurrection apologists with his trademark “For the Bible tells me so” jingle. He has created several response videos to apologetic superstars like William Lane Craig, Gary Habermas, and Mike Licona. Many people ask me why I don’t respond to more of his videos.  There are many reasons not to respond to Paulogia, often because he can come across as unserious or trollish. But this is also because Paulogia and I both believe that the minimalist approach isn’t compelling enough to persuade skeptics. You might want to see my earlier post for more on that.  I am afraid the popularity of the minimalist approach has helped create this monster called Paulogia … Read more

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

Is Jesus Alive?