Thursday, October 19, 2017

Bart Ehrman on Jesus Mythicists

“It is fair to say that mythicists as a group, and as individuals, are not taken seriously by the vast majority of scholars in the field of New Testament, early Christianity, ancient history, and theology.”1


The idea that Jesus did not exist is a modern notion. It has no ancient precedents. It was made up in the eighteenth century. One might as well call it a modern myth, the myth of the mythical Jesus."2

Courage and Godspeed,

1. Bart D. Ehrman, Did Jesus Exist, p. 20; as quoted by Sean McDowell here.
2. Ibid.

Related Posts

Common Objection #32- "The hypothesis 'God rose Jesus from the dead' is miraculous. Therefore, it is the least probable."

Bart Ehrman on the Earliest Christian Claims about Jesus

Common Objection #14- "Jesus' Disciples were Uneducated and Illiterate."

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The New Testament Documents: Are they Reliable? by F.F. Bruce

F.F. Bruce's The New Testament Documents: Are they Reliable? is a well-known classic.

Enjoy it online for free here!

This book is part of our Free Apologetics E-book Library.

These free books include works by authors such as Alvin Plantinga, Peter S. Williams, R.C. Sproul, C.S. Lewis, Thomas Aquinas, Paul Moser and more!

Courage and Godspeed,

Chad A. Gross

Related Posts

How Historians Examine the New Testament Documents

How Did the Early Church Leaders Decided Which Books Would Be Included in the New Testament Canon?

Articles on the Reliability of the New Testament

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Evil as Evidence for God's Existence

1. If God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist.

2. Evil exists.

3. Therefore, objective moral values exist (some things are evil!).

4. Therefore, God exists.1

For those interested in learning about what makes a good argument, see here.

If you are interested in learning more about how to answer the objection of problem and suffering, go here.

Courage and Godspeed,

1. William Lane Craig, On Guard, p. 161.

Related Posts

Book Preview: Why Does God Allow Evil? by Clay Jones

Article: 36 Purposes of God in Our Suffering

Video: The Problem of Evil and Suffering featuring William Lane Craig

Monday, October 16, 2017

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Friday, October 13, 2017

Josh McDowell: That’s My Story (and I’m Sticking with It)

During a recent sermon at my (the Other Chad) home church, our pastor shared delivery methods for evangelism taken from Bill Hybels' “Becoming A Contagious Christian.”  The delivery methods described were:

·         Confrontational (ex. Chuck Colson)
·         Intellectual (ex. Josh McDowell)
·         Interpersonal (ex. Becky Pippert)
·         Invitational (ex. Ruth Graham)
·         Testimonial (ex. Corrie ten Boom)

Interestingly enough, I have been reading Apologetics for a New Generation by Sean McDowell.  Sean’s father, Josh, has a chapter in the book entitled “A Fresh Apologetic: Relationships That Transform.”  While Josh McDowell may be well known for his work presenting the evidence for the truth of Christianity, many might be surprised to learn it was actually “God’s love” that drew him in.  Below is an excerpt from the chapter:

Most people assume I came to Christ through the intellectual route.  Certainly, there can’t be more than a few people who have documented more evidences for the faith than I have.  And yet, all the evidence I have documented- on the reliability of the Bible, the deity of Jesus Christ, and evidence for the resurrection- never brought me to faith in Christ.

That’s right.  The evidences did not bring me to Christ.  The evidences got my attention, but it was God’s love that drew me.  It was the love I saw between a group of genuine believers who loved not only Jesus Christ but also each other- and even me!

The evidence got my attention, but love drew me.  When I think back to that night when I realized it, I still get chills.  It was a Saturday night in a university dorm.  I was a total skeptic and an absolute heathen.  Only God and the Holy Spirit could have shown me that if I were the only person alive, Jesus still would have died for me.

I’ve said often that I grew up with a father who was the town drunk.  I’ve told how I had to watch him beat my mother.  I’ve shared that I hated him and took my revenge on him when I got old enough and strong enough.  But I never shared the following until recently.

Between the ages of six and thirteen, I was severally sexually abused by a man named Wayne Bailey.  When I was six years old, he was hired on the farm to be a cook and housekeeper.  Whenever my mother would leave or my folks would go downtown or go away for a few days, my mother would always march me to Wayne Bailey and say “Now you obey Wayne.  You do everything that he tells you to do or you’ll get a thrashing when I get home.”  So I was at Wayne Bailey’s mercy.

When I was nine years old, and again at the age of twelve, I told my mother what had been going on.  She didn’t believe me.  I can’t describe the pain and abandonment I felt, on top of the abuse, when my own mother refused to believe me.

Finally, however, at thirteen years of age, I was strong enough.  My parents had left for the weekend, and I went into the house and backed this man against the wall.

“If you ever touch me again,” I said, “I will kill you.”  And I would have.  Two weeks later, he left.  I remember my mom and dad talking that night around the dinner table.  The asked each other, “I wonder what happened”  Why did he leave?  Why didn’t he give notice?”
I sat there thinking, Why didn’t you believe me?

Wayne was gone, but of course by that time, the damage had been done.  I had nothing going for me and everything going against me.  A worse-than-absent father.  Abandoned by my mother.  And horribly abused on top of it all.  I should have become the victim of victims.

But when I went to Kellogg College in Battle Creek, Michigan, I met a group of Christians who exposed me for the first time to the love of God.  Oh, how they loved each other.  And I wanted what they had so badly that I would have paid anything for it.  I would have pawned my soul to have what they have.  That love- and the desire for that kind of relationship- paved the road of faith for me, and thus began my journey of faith.

Some time later, I met the pastor of a tiny church, Factorville Bible Church.  I went to him and shared what happened to me.  And he believed me!

For six months after that, he walked me through Scripture after Scripture, verse after verse, on forgiveness.  When he finished and finally said “Josh, you need to forgive him,” I answered “No way.”  I wanted him to burn in hell, and I wanted to escort him there.

Obviously, if I had not encountered God’s love in that student group at Kellogg College and experienced it again through that pastor’s friendship and mentoring, I would have been content to hate Wayne Bailey for the rest of my life.  But the truth had taken root in me as a result of those relationships.  I’m convinced that all the evidence in the world, all the most powerful arguments and most convincing proofs, would never have gotten through to me if the transforming power of God’s love had not reached my heart through that student group and others, including the pastor at tiny Factorville Bible Church.  In fact, my mind continued to rebel long after my heart knew what I must do.

But, steeled by that pastor’s loving support, one day I found out where Wayne Bailey lived.  I drove to his house.  I knocked on his door.  I introduced myself.  And, though I must admit I didn’t want to tell him because I didn’t want it to be true, I forgave Wayne Bailey and told him that Jesus died for him as much as He did for me.1

 While my story may not be the same as Josh McDowell's, one thing they have in common is the influence of loving relationships.  That combined with the compelling evidence for the truth of Christianity are the anchors of my faith.

1: Apologetics for a New Generation: A Biblical and Culturally Relevant Approach to Talking About God  p. 65-67

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Article: Why Does God Seem Hidden? by Jonathan Morrow

I had the honor and privilege to contribute to the recently updated and revised Apologetics Study Bible for Students.  You can find my article here.

Author and speaker Jonathan Morrow also contributed an article entitled "Why Does God Seem Hidden?"  This is an important topic so I wanted to share Morrow's article here.

Why aren't God's existence and identity more obvious?  Or, as a student once asked, "If God wants people to know he exists, why doesn't he just show up or write his name in the sky or something?"  These are questions about the hiddenness of God.  All struggle with the reality that God seems present and active at certain times but painfully distant and uninvolved at others.  How can this be explained?

First, God is not as hidden as people sometimes believe.  He is all-loving, desires to have a relationship with individuals, and has given humanity plenty of evidence in creation to indicate his existence (Ps 19:1-4; Rm 1:18-20).  People, however, may choose to suppress this evidence (Rm 1:21-25) or else acknowledge it and turn to the true and living God (1 Th 1:9).

Second, human sinfulness has caused a breach in man's relationship with God.  His hiddenness is in part a response to sin, which he finds repulsive.  Isaiah 45:15 speaks frankly about God hiding from his followers: "Yes, you are a God who hides, God of Israel, Savior" (see Ps 10:1; 44:23-24).  God sometimes hides from people because of their disobedience or indifference toward him.  This is a form of judgment (see Is 59:2; Mc 3:4).

Third, people must remember that it is humans who his first.  Genesis illustrates that God's desire from the beginning was to be present with humanity in a life-giving relationship.  But when Adam and Eve turned their backs on God, he sought them out while they were hiding (Gn 3:9-10).  This remains true today.  God sent his Son "to seek and to save the lost" (Lk 19:10).

Fourth, people would be compelled to believe if God suddenly appeared or wrote his name in the sky, as the student suggested.  This forced faith would perhaps destroy the freedom necessary for a genuine loving, voluntary relationship to exist between humanity and its Maker.  God doesn't want people merely to acknowledge intellectually that he exists.  Even demons believe in God, and they shudder rather than love him (Jms 2:19).  What God wants is relationship.  He wants people to choose to become part of his family by faith.

Fifth, at other times God hides for a season so that people will seek him more earnestly.  This is part of how he teaches Christians to live dependent and grateful lives.  There are moments when the pain and loss we feel in life's circumstances make it seem that God is far away or altogether absent.  At such times, we cry out with the psalmist: "Lord, why do you reject me?  Why do you hide your face from me? (Ps 88:14).  Even Jesus experienced an excruciating silence from God on the cross (Mk 15:34).  Ultimately, Jesus is our example for trusting God when the silence is deafening.

We can learn to trust completely without complete understanding.  And we can rest in the promise God has given: "You well seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart" (Jr 29:13; see Jms 4:8).

Courage and Godspeed,

Related Posts

R. Douglas Geivett on the Hiddenness of God

"Mere Christianity" Made Simple

Paul K. Moser on the Existence of God

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Article: Faith and Facts by Greg Koukl

What is a good definition of biblical faith? How does it relate to science? What is the relationship for the follower of Christ between faith and facts?

In this article, Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason considers these questions. You can find it here.

I encourage our readers to checkout more resources from Koukl and company here.

Courage and Godspeed,

Related Posts

Do All Religions Offer a Piece of the Truth?

Video: The Columbo Tactic- Diplomacy Rather than D-Day by Greg Koukl

Article: Does God Condone Slavery? by Amy Hall

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Rapid Response Series by J. Warner Wallace

J. Warner Wallace has started a great series of blog posts called "Rapid Response."  He explains:

"In our Rapid Response series, we tackle common concerns about (and objections to) the Christian worldview by providing short, conversational responses. These posts are designed to model what our answers might look like in a one-on-one setting, while talking to a friend or family member."

Thus far, the objections dealt with are as follows:

We Don’t Need God to Explain the Existence of Free Agency

We Don’t Need God to Explain the Beginning of the Universe

Evil Disproves the Existence of God

The Gospels Have Been Altered

You Can’t Be Certain About the Claims of Christianity

The Gospels are Unreliable

This is a great resource to use when talking to unsaved family, friends and co-workers!

We will continue to update it as Jim adds responses!

For more answers to "Common Objections," see our series here.

Courage and Godspeed,

Book Review: Cold-Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace

Common Objection #34- "Jesus never claimed to be God!"