Thursday, March 29, 2018

Bart Ehrman on the Post-Resurrection Appearances

“It is a historical fact that some of Jesus’ followers came to believe that he had been raised from the dead soon after his execution. We know some of these believers by name; one of them, the apostle Paul, claims quite plainly to have seen Jesus alive after his death. Thus, for the historian, Christianity begins after the death of Jesus, not with the resurrection itself, but with the belief in the resurrection.”1

Courage and Godspeed,

1. The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings. Third Edition. (New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.276), Emphasis mine.

Related Posts

Bart Ehrman and Mike Licona Dialogue on the Historical Reliability of the New Testament

Bart Ehrman on the Earliest Christian Claims about Jesus

Article: Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead? by Mike Licona

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Book Preview: The Case for Miracles for Kids by Lee Strobel

About the Authors

Lee Strobel was the award-winning legal editor of The Chicago Tribune and is the bestselling author of The Case for Christ, The Case for Faith, The Case for a Creator, and The Case for Grace. With a journalism degree from the University of Missouri and a Master of Studies in Law degree from Yale, Lee has won four Gold Medallions for publishing excellence and coauthored the Christian Book of the Year.  He serves as Professor of Christian Thought at Houston Baptist University.  Visit Lee's website here.

Jesse Florea has written and edited for Focus on the Family for twenty-five years.  As editorial director for youth publications, he oversees Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr. magazines, and he cohosts the “Official Adventures in Odyssey” podcast.  Jesse has written or cowritten more than thirty books, including The Case for Grace for Kids and the bestselling The One-Year Sports Devotions for Kids and Devotions for Super Average Kids.  He lives with his wife, Stephanie, in Colorado Springs.

About the Book

From bestselling author Lee Strobel’s well-renowned, bestselling series exploring the life of Jesus and what it means to be a Christian, The Case for Miracles for Kids tackles the tough questions kids ask about God, Jesus, and miracles, as well as providing information for kids who want to learn more so they can share their faith and knowledge with others.  Mixing light-hearted prose and a conversational style with historical facts, research, and true stories, this book brings the miracles and ministry of Jesus to life and shows why they still matter today.

You can pre-order your copy here.  You can learn more about the book here.

Please checkout the Student Edition and the Adult Edition (and the trailer) as well!

Courage and Godspeed,

Related Posts

Apologetics Books for Elementary Age Children to Read

Future Apologist Interview: Emma Gross Discusses "God's Crime Scene for Kids"

Book Review: Keeping Your Kids on God's Side

Friday, March 16, 2018

Got Questions: Who was Saint Patrick and why do we celebrate St. Patrick's Day?

Question: "Who was Saint Patrick and why do we celebrate St. Patrick's Day?"

Answer: Patrick, whom almost everyone calls “Saint Patrick,” although he was never canonized by the Catholic Church, was born to a wealthy family in AD 387 in Kilpatrick, Scotland. His real name was Maewyn Succat. It was his extensive missionary work in Ireland for which Patrick is famous. During the thirty years of work there, he supposedly converted over 135,000 people, established 300 churches, and consecrated 350 bishops. Patrick died on March 17, 461. For over a millennium, the Irish have celebrated St. Patrick’s Day on March 17.

History records that Saint Patrick, at age sixteen, was captured by Irish raiders and spent several years as a slave in Ireland. It was during this time that he learned the various rituals, customs, and language of Druids, and it was these people that he eventually evangelized. Patrick apparently had a dream in which God spoke to him, saying, “Your ship is ready.” Patrick was then able to escape Ireland by ship. Shortly thereafter, he experienced another dream in which he received a letter that was labeled the “voice of the Irish.” When he opened it, he heard the voices of all those whom he had met in Ireland begging him to return.

Saint Patrick then returned to Ireland to tell people about Christ. Though the task was difficult and dangerous, he persisted and was able to build a strong foundation for Christianity. The Irish people were receptive to his teachings, especially in light of the fact that he was able to take several of their Celtic symbols and “Christianize” them. The most well-known of Patrick’s illustrations is the shamrock, a certain type of clover sacred to the Druids, which he used as a symbol of the Trinity.

Each year millions of people celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. It is a national holiday in Ireland when people do not work but worship and gather with family. In the United States, the first St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in New York on March 17, 1762. It consisted largely of Irish soldiers. Today, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated by wearing green, which symbolizes spring as well as Irish culture.

What started as a religious holiday has become a secular celebration of all things Irish. Neither Saint Patrick nor St. Patrick’s Day is mentioned in Scripture. While we would strongly disagree of some aspects of theology that St. Patrick taught, the fact that around 1,600 years ago a man dedicated his life to proclaiming the gospel, resulting in tens of thousands coming to faith in Christ, is most definitely worth celebrating (Luke 15:7–10).

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Book Preview: A Theology of the Family by Scott Brown and Jeff Pollard

About the Authors

Scott T. Brown is the President of the National Center for Family-Integrated Churches and pastor at Hope Baptist Church in Wake Forest, North Carolina. Scott graduated from California State University in Fullerton with a degree in History and received a Master of Divinity degree from Talbot School of Theology. He gives his time to expository preaching and local pastoral ministry, as well as conferences on Biblical doctrine and church and family reformation. He and his wife Deborah have four grown children. Scott helps people think through the two greatest evangelistic and discipleship institutions God has provided — the church and the family.

By God’s grace Jeff Pollard was converted to Jesus Christ from a career in rock music in the early 1980s. Though religious from his youth, his true conversion at age thirty brought him to understand and then to preach God’s sovereign grace. God’s Spirit and Word awakened him to his responsibilities as husband and father as well as to God’s vision for families. Jeff is now an elder of Mt. Zion Bible Church, Pensacola, Florida. He is the editor of the Free Grace Broadcaster and author of Christian Modesty and the Public Undressing of America and Do You Know Jesus Christ?

About the Book

This book presents a perspective on the family largely forgotten by the modern church. There are fifty-six authors featured in this volume; authors such as: John Bunyan, Jonathan Edwards, John Gill, William Gouge, Matthew Henry, Martin Luther, A.W. Pink, J. C. Ryle, R. C. Sproul, Charles Spurgeon and Thomas Watson. Each of them give a powerful testimony that the twenty-first-century church needs to be reminded of what she used to believe about family life. These authors bring a measure of the correction and the balm necessary to heal our amnesia and return us to biblical order.

In the mid 1990s, it began to occur to me that the modern Church had actually lost the biblical doctrine of the family. Biblical fatherhood was dead. Feminists owned womanhood. Motherhood was despised. Babies were marginalized as thieves of convenience and success. In America, we have aborted millions of children since 1973. Marriages were crumbling, and the very institution was being redefined. It was almost impossible to find men in the church who understood biblical manhood or fatherhood. The twentieth century was a bad time for the family; the trends were all running in the wrong direction, and biblical ignorance was speeding the family on its way to destruction.

Meanwhile, Jeff Pollard was doing something about it. He was toiling into the night to document a correct theology of the family. He brought these doctrines together in an organized form for the ministry of Chapel Library. If you have known Jeff for any length of time, you know that the last twelve years of his life has been defined by his ministry to Mount Zion Bible Church and the unrelenting schedule to produce the Free Grace Broadcaster, a quarterly digest of Christ-centered sermons and articles from prior centuries. It is all about recovering sound doctrine and biblical practices. Jeff has produced dozens of booklets on subjects such as the gospel, sin, repentance, the Holy Spirit, the blood of Christ, justification, sanctification, secret sins, and many other critical matters. Through Jeff’s work at Chapel Library, there is a wealth of doctrinal resources that are being shipped all over the world. He brought them together in order to correct the lapses, heal the wounds, and pass them on to the rising generation. He worked for over a decade to identify the great authors and writings of the past that could meet the problems of our day. He went back in time. He returned to eras where a Christ centered view of the family was understood much better. He has revealed the doctrine locked in the literary treasure chests of the past. I am thankful that he also did this for the doctrine of the family.

You can learn more about this unique resource here.

Order your own copy here.

Courage and Godspeed,

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Debate Video: Shabir Ally vs. David Wood- "Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?"

On Saturday, March 3, 2018, David Wood and Shabir Ally debate the topic: "Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?" The event was sponsored by Ratio Christi at George Mason University.  Truthbomb team member Chad Vaughn and I attended the debate.

It was a lively exchange and both men did an admiral job representing their respective positions. Dr. Wood argued as follows:

1. Jesus died
2. He was alive again later
3. Therefore, he rose from the dead

Dr. Ally began his opening statement conceding that the traditional Muslim response to the crucifixion (substitution theory) was incorrect. Then, he proceeded to argue that the gospels have evolved over time and that what "Christian scholars" are now discovering through scholarship is consistent with a Muslim position that Allah took Jesus up to himself before he died on the cross.

In response, Wood demonstrated that the best of modern scholarship demonstrates that Jesus died on the cross.

To be sure, Dr. Ally is certainly a gentlemen, but I was repeatedly frustrated by his historical methodology. During the debate, Dr. Ally repeatedly cherry-picked verses and quotes that suited his position. For example, at least two times during the debate, Dr. Ally quoted the gospels as if they were reliable sources after arguing that the gospels were unreliable sources! Moreover, I found it deceptive that Dr. Ally would quote liberal scholars such as Marcus Borg and Robert Price as if they represented mainstream Christian scholarship. This is simply not the case. Dr. Wood wisely pointed out the deceptive nature of this methodology, but I never heard a convincing response from Dr. Ally. He did attempt to argue that it was their arguments that mattered and not their positions, but throughout the evening he neglected to present their arguments in any clear or convincing way. Finally, during the Q and A, Dr. Ally left the realm of academic argument and entered into pure speculation. Dr. Ally seemed willing to consider any alternative explanation, no matter how outlandish, except for the scholarly consensus position- Jesus was crucified on a Roman cross under Pontius Pilate.

Finally, as Dr. Wood noted, Dr. Ally's case for the "evolution" of the gospels rested upon work done by Marcus Borg in his book "Evolution of the Word." But interestingly, Dr. Borg agrees with the central facts Dr. Wood used to make his case for the resurrection!

I am grateful to both men for a lively discussion, but in the end, Dr. Wood made the better case.

Who do you think won?  Please share in the comments below!

Courage and Godspeed,

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Book Review: Expanded and Updated Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell and Sean McDowell


When I began investigating the evidence for Christianity, one name that believers repeatedly recommended was Josh McDowell.  I began looking into his works and discovered two titles- More than a Carpenter and Evidence that Demands a Verdict (EDAV).  At the time, I especially found EDAV to be a great resource for a novice like myself.  It enabled me to evaluate some of the manuscript evidence for the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Amazingly, the original EDAV was published in 1979!  The new edition is thoroughly revised and updated from previous editions in light of the plethora of recently uncovered historical documentation and the best of modern scholarship.  The chapters are expanded and address many of the most recent attacks from Christianity's harshest critics.

In addition, EDAV is now co-authored by Josh McDowell and his son, Sean McDowell, Ph.D.  This new work provides "fresh insights, greater perspective and a fresh voice to today's most pressing questions."

Strengths of the Book

Usually, when we receive a book to review, we post a book preview of the work for readers to familiarize themselves with a forthcoming text.  Shortly after posting our book preview for EDAV, a skeptic sent me a review of the original EDAV by some prominent atheists and simply stated, "The evidence has been weighed and found wanting."  This serves to highlight one of the strengths of this expanded and updated version.  Consider the chapter presenting evidence for the resurrection of Jesus.  Readers familiar with McDowell's original work will immediately notice that the arguments now offer fresh insights from top scholars in this area, such as N.T. Wright and Mike Licona.  So the skeptic simply cannot assume that, if they have read the original and "found it wanting," that the same can be said for the latest version.  The arguments offered in each section of this work are much richer and deeper than its predecessor.

I also greatly appreciated how the authors offered an "apologetic" for apologetics in the introduction of the text.  This is especially vital in today's church culture where some of the most ardent defenders of irrationality are Christians!  They also address 10 common misconceptions about the Christian faith.  This provides a nice foundation for the forthcoming content.

Finally, this reviewer was also delighted to find that EDAV deals with topics that many modern day apologetics works do not address.  Some examples include the historical Adam, the historicity of the patriarchs, the historicity of the Exodus and the historicity of the conquest of Canaan.  While defending "Mere Christianity" certainly has its place, this work takes you well beyond.

Arguments Dealt with in the Book

EDAV is compiled of thirty-two chapters divided into to the following 4 parts:

I. The Uniqueness of the Bible
II. Evidence for Jesus
III. Evidence for the Old Testament
IV. Evidence for Truth

Readers who work through EDAV will be equipped to defend, among other key arguments, the deity of Christ, the reliability of the Bible and the evidence for the historicity and resurrection of Jesus.

Who Would Benefit from this Book?

This reader cannot think of one person who would not benefit from reading this book.  The skeptic will be challenged with robust and well-documented arguments for the central pillars of the Christian faith and beyond.  Meanwhile, the Christian will be equipped to defend their faith against some of its most contemporary critics.


Josh McDowell, along with his son, Sean, hope that " providing the most up-to-date information, this fourth edition of Evidence that Demands a Verdict will equip Christians of the twenty-first century with confidence as they seek to understand and defend their faith" [p. xvii].  Mission accomplished.

It is also their desire that "many who have been confused or never exposed to the truth of Christianity will discover that Jesus Christ is who he claimed to be, that God loves them, and that he wants to welcome them into his eternal family" [p. xviii].  This reviewer firmly believes that the skeptic who reads this work with an opened mind will be challenged by those truths.

I rarely describe a book as a "necessary purchase," but the new updated and revised EDAV certainly qualifies.  The wide scope of evidence it presents along with the excellent scholarship therein, makes it an indispensable resource for the Christian case maker or the inquiring skeptic.

I highly recommend this work!

You can order your copy here.

Courage and Godspeed,

Related Posts

Book Review: The Fate of the Apostles by Sean McDowell

Video: If God, Why Evil? by Sean McDowell

Video: Homosexuality- Compassion and Clarity by Sean McDowell

Friday, March 02, 2018

Billy Graham: Who is Jesus?

As the world remembers the life of the Evangelist Billy Graham, I've been taking the opportunity to listen to his messages.  This video was recorded in 1971 in Chicago.  The title is "Who is Jesus?"


God Bless,

Thursday, March 01, 2018