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

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

Video: God Still Works Miracles Today w/ Dr. Craig Keener

interview with craig keener on miracles

Here is my interview with Dr. Craig Keener, Professor of Biblical Studies at Asbury Seminary, on his new book Miracles Today: The Supernatural Work of God in the Modern World. In this book, Dr. Keener argues that the miracles we read about in the New Testament continue until this present day. He documents many witness reports of powerful, verifiable miracle reports, including people being raised from the dead. The book is due to be released on October 19, 2021. You can pre-order his book on Amazon here. 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 … Read more

Is Jesus Alive?