Recent news reports are claiming that the references to camels in the patriarchal narratives (Gen 12:16; etc.) of Genesis are “anachronistic,” or historically out of place, because there is allegedly no evidence for camel domestication before the tenth century BC. This claim is actually not new, since it was made by W. F. Albright over seventy years ago, but is it true?
When I was a research student holed up in a windowless office in the library for a year, the PhD student next to my office was Jeremy Howard. While I struggled through stacks of research trying to avoid drowning in the historical theology portion of my dissertation, Jeremy was blazing through the writing of his dissertation on the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics and its use for Christian apologetics. His research world couldn’t have been farther away from mine. Years later, he has recently piloted a work that fits a gap I didn’t know I was looking for. To pass on an introduction to this new series, I interviewed the general editor, Jeremy Howard with several questions here.
Yes. If you deny that Adam was a historical person it negatively impacts other Christian doctrines. An affirmation of the historicity of Adam positively and necessarily connects with a number of key Christian doctrines.
I recently watched a disturbing video. A camera caught the head of a certain political organization; we’ll call him Lucius, attempting to convince a packed auditorium about the reality of moral law. Specifically, Lucius appealed to a real moral law above and beyond culture to argue against a right to homosexual marriage. What struck me most was less of what he said and more how he said it. Lucius taunted the crowd relentlessly, hurling insults like hand grenades. People often argue against moral reality by appealing to moral reality (e.g., there can’t be absolutes because look at out how absolutely wrong the crusades and inquisitions were!). But there is an equal and opposite inconsistency, namely, arguing for moral reality while breaking the very morality we are defending (e.g., real morals like ‘love your neighbor’ exist, you ignoramus!). In other words, Lucius’ problem was that he did not argue his worldview as if his worldview were actually true. No matter what he said, the way in which he said it made it seem like morals like love and respect were not to be taken seriously after all. The medium refuted the message.
Dave Brunn recently gave a gift to the English-speaking church in his book One Bible, Many Versions: Are All Translations Created Equal? (IVP, 2013). Dave Brunn is a professional translator and trainer of translator-wannabes within New Tribes Mission. To the best of my knowledge, he has never worked on an English-language translation project. His translational claim to fame is a translation of the Bible (done alongside dedicated national co-translators) into Lamogai, one of the multitude of languages in Papua New Guinea. Consequently, Dave Brunn brings an outsider’s perspective to our recent English translation battles. (You know what I’m talking about, the “mine is the best translation and all others are suspect” battles.) And his outsider’s perspective is clarifying and challenging. Here is a summary of the book, in the author’s own words (from pages 189-190), focusing on what translations share, rather than how they differ.
By Thomas Finley and Kenneth Way From October 2 to December 8 of this year the Cyrus Cylinder will make a visit to The Getty Villa (in Malibu, CA) as part of a tour of the United States. This will be an amazing opportunity to see in person this artifact that gives significant background information for the Bible.
“A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” This slogan, first broadcast by the United Negro College Fund in 1972, has become something of a John 3:16 for educators seeking to evangelistically rouse students out of intellectual slumber. If I could tailor this slogan for our Biola community as we embark on a new semester, it would become: “The mind of Christ is far too precious to not cultivate.” While lacking the elegant phrasing and bumper sticker quote-ability of the original, it does express something I hope we can pause to ponder as we enter our classrooms.
Reza Aslan’s new book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth (Random House, 2013), is in most ways a typical attempt to paint a new picture of Jesus. Because so many hundreds of books of this type have been published, Aslan’s book would most likely not have received significant attention at all, except for two factors. First, a botched interview of the author on Fox News caused a huge surge of interest, making his book an overnight best seller. And second, Aslan is a very good writer. His primary teaching role, after all, is as a professor of creative writing at UC Riverside. Aslan is able to take a lot of important historical background and present it in a riveting manner, accessible to most readers.
In my last post I shared about how to carry on a deeper, less confrontational discussion with your Muslim friend by asking a question about the topic of hypocrisy. Click HERE for my earlier post. In this post I will suggest a different question to ask your friend that might allow you to enter into yet another non-confrontational conversation with the goal of introducing your Muslim friend to Jesus Christ.
One of the hardest things Christians face when they step out to share their faith with Muslims is that the conversation almost inevitably veers toward a competitive discussion about which religion is better: “You think this, but I think this.” “I’m right and you’re wrong.” Often you’ll find yourself on the defensive: “Yes, Jesus did die on the cross…” “Yes, Jesus is the Son of God…” “No, the Bible hasn’t been changed…” Is there any way to keep your conversation from degrading into an “I’m right and you’re wrong” discussion?
The Bible is God’s very word and therefore carries the authority of God himself. And that word of God, Scripture tells us, is a powerful thing—“living and active and sharper than even a two-edged sword” (Heb. 4:12). It floods the soul with its resplendent rays, laying bare God’s truth and putting all darkness to flight. Yet, as this text tells us, not all receive the truth of this light, and some esteem it as folly itself. How can this be? If Scripture is “the power of God unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16), how could any reject its authoritative claims?
People often get up-tight when they first learn of the existence of variations in the text of the Greek New Testament, but their concerns are baseless. The text of the New Testament is far-and-away the most attested and stable text of any ancient document. In fact, if you question the stability of the text of the New Testament, you probably ought to disregard just about everything you think you know about ancient history since almost all the important historical manuscripts from which such history is derived are from copies that are far later and of far poorer quality than are our New Testament manuscripts. I recently discovered a convenient way to demonstrate this!
Among the must-have toys of Christmas 1975 was the pet rock. Advertising executive Gary Dahl conceived the idea while listening to others complain about the hassles of animate pets, and then his marketing instincts kicked in. He gathered ordinary stones,
I just returned from the Evangelical Theological Society annual meetings in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where I picked up a copy of D. A. Carson’s new little book, Jesus the Son of God: A Christological Title Often Overlooked, Sometimes Misunderstood, and Currently Disputed (Crossway). On the taxi ride from the airport to the conference, I briefly tried to share the Lord with a taxi driver named Hassan. We were about a minute into the conversation when Hassan commented rather ardently, “We Muslims believe that Jesus is a prophet, and not the son of God.” I explained to him that Christians don’t believe that God had physical relations with Mary that led to her pregnancy, as many Muslims assume and consider blasphemous. The problem for dialogue with Muslims like Hassan is that many Muslims think that is precisely what we Christians mean when we use the expression “Son of God” in reference to Jesus—which, of course, we don’t. So what if you were a Bible translator in a Muslim country and knew that many of your readers would make the same assumption that Hassan did about the expression “Son of God”? Perhaps you should change the words “Son of God” to something else that is proximate in meaning but less offensive. Or maybe you shouldn’t…
Last week, I posted my initial take on the so-called "Gospel of Jesus' Wife." My first point was that it was "too early to tell" whether the manuscript was genuine. In the last twenty years, forgers have produced some amazingly convincing forgeries, so scholars have become cautious about all archeological finds.
Many of you have probably heard of The Book of Mormon—not the book itself, but the Broadway musical that garnered nine Tony awards in 2011, including Best Musical, and earned a Grammy as well. It tells the story of two bright-eyed American Mormon missionaries who attempt to bring their good news to a remote village in Uganda racked by war, poverty, AIDS, and famine. (From the summary on Wikipedia). It is a powerful—albeit raunchy—satire of religion from the creators of that epitome of high-brow, cultured entertainment, South Park. I have not seen the musical myself, but I have viewed several segments on YouTube, and found myself (I admit it!) snickering at the delicious lampoon of Mormon doctrine, marveling at the music and vocal performances, and also deeply challenged by the message of the show.
According to an article in the Washington Post, an ancient manuscript claiming that Jesus had a wife has just been discovered. I’ll tackle this new discovery with some Q&A. What is this new find? Karen King, the Gnostic scholar who published the manuscript, has titled it the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife (see the scholarly article here). It is a very small fragment, only 12 partial lines, of an ancient Gnostic book. The fragment, written in Coptic, dates from the fourth century, but it is a copy of an older book, perhaps written in the late second century. According to the fragment, Jesus refers to “my wife.”
Where is one place that you can go in Jerusalem to see possible remains of King David’s palace, Nehemiah’s wall, Hezekiah’s tunnel, the Pool of Siloam and royal tombs? That would be the City of David, which is the name given to the small spur of land that extends southward from the Temple Mount. I want to share with you five highlights from this small area.
Here’s a chapter written by an unknown early Christian to an unbeliever named Diognetus that is well-worth the three minutes it will take you to read it. This evangelist and apologist refers to Christians as “a new race or way of life” (Diogn. ch. 1). In chapter 5 he unpacks the distinctiveness of Christians.
A lot of critical-leaning biblical scholars dispute Paul’s authorship of the Pastoral Letters: 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus. Recently there has been a bit of movement toward greater acceptance of the possibility of Paul’s authorship among those more critically inclined, though there is still a long way to go. One argument supporting the Pauline authorship of these letters is a discovery I made a number of years ago while studying Polycarp’s Letter to the Philippians. Polycarp inadvertently tells us in his little letter that he believes that the Apostle Paul is the author of 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy (and if that is true, probably also of Titus). Why does this matter? Because Polycarp wrote around A.D. 120 (some recent scholars say around 110), and was in a position to know a lot about the apostolic age that we don’t know. Up until this discovery, the earliest known author to both quote from the Pastoral Letters and to connect them to Paul as author was Irenaeus writing around A.D. 180. This discovery moves down the external attestation for the Pauline authorship of the Pastoral Letters by 60 years.
Come and find out the answer to this question on Wednesday evening, March 7th, 7:00-8:30pm, at the Mayers Hall Auditorium at Biola University. This is the title of a free public lecture by Dr. Simon Gathercole, Senior Lecturer in New Testament at the University of Cambridge. The event will conclude with a Q&A session.
The different tasks of leadership pose many challenges for a leader. It requires that the leader have a good sense of knowing the people well enough to relate to them but also for him to have a good sense of direction in terms of where he wants to lead them. Fundamentally, however, one of the most neglected aspects of leadership entails knowing exactly where the leader is in terms of self-awareness. In other words, the leader must have a good read on his own strengths and weaknesses in order to know how to best lead the people he shepherds over. This requires a strong sense of self-awareness of the leader in his giftedness, his personality, and his leadership style. This entry will examine the biblical encouragements for self-awareness and the hindrances that prevent his success in leadership.