Thomas Aquinas on Islam

According to Thomas Aquinas, Islam appealed to ignorant, brutish, carnal men and spread not by the power of its arguments or divine grace.

(a 3-minute read; 664 words)

Source: Why Thomas Aquinas Distrusted Islam – Breitbart

Archaeology Testifies to the Hezekiah of the Bible

Below are a video (2:58) and an audio (3:55), produced by different sources, which report yet another occasion where modern archaeology confirms the claims of the ancient Bible.

People interested in history and truth turn to the Bible.

Video (2:58) from CBN

Audio (3:55) from the Colson Center for Worldview  [Editorial note as of March 3, 2017: Sorry, but it appears that the Colson Center is no longer publishing this page.]

Definitions of Darkness

Relevant scripture:  2 Peter 1:19

atheism – “disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods.  This found at Google: atheism.”  This found at Google: atheism.

naturalism – “a philosophical viewpoint according to which everything arises from natural properties and causes, and supernatural or spiritual explanations are excluded or discounted.”  This found at Google: naturalism.

philosophical naturalism – “the doctrine that the natural world is all there is. It is also called metaphysical naturalism and ontological naturalism.”  See this and more at Conservapedia: Philosophical naturalism.

methodological naturalism – “a strategy for studying the world, by which scientists choose not to consider supernatural causes – even as a remote possibility.”  See this and more at Conservapedia – Methodological naturalism.

secularism – “a belief system that rejects religion, or the belief that religion should not be part of the affairs of the state or part of public education. The principles of separation of church and state and of keeping religion out of the public school system are an example of secularism.”  Found at YourDictionary.com: secularism.

scientism – “belief in the universal applicability of the scientific method and approach, and the view that empirical science constitutes the most “authoritative” worldview or the most valuable part of human learning – to the exclusion of other viewpoints.”  This and more found at Wikipedia: Scientism.

***

polytheism – “the belief in or worship of more than one god.”  Found at Google: polytheism.  Polytheism dominated the thinking of antiquity, but holds no sway in modernity.  I include it in this post only for making that point that “darkness” as defined by the Scriptures took different form in biblical times than we see it taking since.

References to New Testament Persons Outside the Bible

(These could be called extra-biblical or extrabiblical sources.)

Wikipedia article:  List of biblical figures identified in extra-biblical sources

John the Baptist is mentioned by Josephus.

Jesus

Peter

James the brother of Jesus is mentioned by Josephus.

Paul

Christ in the Old Testament

Here is a list of books which demonstrate how Jesus Christ is found in the Old Testament.  I have only read a few of them, and those varied widely in benefit.  I’ve made brief comments on some of them.  My main goal here is to simply indicate that my seeing Christ in the Old Testament is not an approach unique to me, nor is it even a new one.  Of course, you could know that simply by reading the New Testament (e.g. John 5:39-40; Luke 24:25-27; 44-48).

By the way, a somewhat broader focus which generally leads to the same conclusion (i.e. seeing Christ in the Old Testament) is New Testament Use of the Old Testament.  You can find a few more resources there.

Edmund P. Clowney, The Unfolding Mystery: Discovering Christ in the Old Testament, second edition, 2013.

Nils A. Dahl  –  I know his work mainly through the book by Donald Juel cited below.

R. T. France  –  Jesus and the Old Testament (1971)

Nancy Guthrie, The One Year Book of Discovering Jesus in the Old Testament, 2010.  I’ve not read any of Nancy’s work.  Her promotional literature indicates that her writing is for women but I don’t know if that means primarily or exclusively.

Nancy Guthrie has also written the following series of Bible studies (each one a 10-week outline) which together cover the entire Old Testament:

The Promised One: Seeing Jesus in Genesis, 2011.
The Lamb of God: Seeing Jesus in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, 2012.
The Son of David: Seeing Jesus in the Historical Books, 2013.
The Wisdom of God: Seeing Jesus in the Psalms and Wisdom Books, 2012
The Word of the Lord: Seeing Jesus in the Prophets, 2014.

Donald Juel (1942-2003)  –  Messianic Exegesis: Christological Interpretation of the Old Testament in Early Christianity.  In his introduction, Juel writes “The thesis of this book can be summarized in a two-part sentence: The beginnings of Christian reflection can be traced to interpretations of Israel’s Scriptures, and the major focus of that scriptural interpretation was Jesus, the crucified and risen Messiah.”  In this book, Juel has an excursus in which he interacts with C. H. Dodd (see New Testament Use of the Old Testament), crediting his book According to the Scriptures as having “had an enormous impact on the direction of NT scholarship.”

Brian Kachelmeier, “Christ in the Old Testament” (a podcast series)

Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., The Messiah in the Old Testament, 1995.  I’ve read this book and recommended it to those who are interested in it; Dr. Kaiser is an excellent teacher.

David Limbaugh, The Emmaus Code: Finding Jesus in the Old Testament, 2015.  Though I have not read this book, Limbaugh is a reliable Christian author.

Sally Lloyd-Jones, The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name, 2007.  This is a children’s storybook and I’ve heard Christian parents recommend it highly.

David Murray, Jesus on Every Page: 10 Simple Ways to Seek and Find Christ in the Old Testament, 2013.

J. Barton Payne, Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy: The Complete Guide to Scriptural Predictions and Their Fulfillment, 1973, see specifically “Prophecies with Personal Reference to Christ” in the Old Testament, p. 665-668.  The relevant material takes up only four pages of a 754-page book.

Stanley E. Porter, Editor, The Messiah in the Old and New Testaments, 2007.  The Amazon page for this book indicates that it is a transcription of a lecture series.  The reviews are few and less than glowing.

Michael Williams, How to Read the Bible through the Jesus Lens, 2012.  This book disappointed me because its focus on, and revelation of Jesus, did not meet my expectations…but perhaps my expectations were more the problem than the book.

Christopher J. H. Wright, Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament, second edition, 2014.

Notes on the Verisimilitude of the New Testament

My post Craig Evans on the Reliability of the Bible.  It contains a link to a transcript of an interview with Evans titled “Is the Bible Reliable?”  (The article does not, however, contain the word “verisimilitude.”)

YouTube video Bart Ehrman & Craig Evans 2012 Debate P1 (start at 14:04).  Herein, Dr. Evans describes various aspects of verisimilitude in the New Testament.

Facebook post by Neil Shenvi on The frequency of first names in the biblical accounts matches the actual frequency of names in 1st century Palestine.  Neil told me that he derived this information from R. Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Eerdmans (2006), p. 85-88.  Neil also recommended this YouTube video lecture by Dr. Peter J. Williams (Warden of Tyndale House in the UK):  New Evidences the Gospels were Based on Eyewitness Accounts (total time 53:45).

The Wikipedia article Language of Jesus identifies numerous Aramaic words found in the Greek New Testament (e.g. Abba, mammon, hosanna, Gethesemane).  Most Bible scholars believe that Aramaic was the language used by Jesus and His disciples because it was the common language of the cities and regions in which they lived and traveled.  Greek was the lingua franca of the broader world at that time.  Therefore, finding some Aramaic words sprinkled throughout documents written in Greek is just what you would expect of a first-century Mediterranean-wide social movement that originated in Palestine.

The Hallucination Hypothesis of the Resurrection of Christ

In his post WILLIAM LANE CRAIG AND JAMES CROSSLEY DEBATE THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS, (April 24, 2011), Wintery Knight wrote “This is my favorite debate on the resurrection.”  (The debate itself was held March 6, 2007 at Sheffield University in the United Kingdom and titled “Was Jesus Bodily Raised from the Dead?”  The debate was chaired by Hugh Pyper.)  In the post, WK wrote “…Crossley is a solid scholar…”

I also came across another WK post referencing Crossley titled GARY HABERMAS AND JAMES CROSSLEY DISCUSS THE MINIMAL FACTS CASE FOR THE RESURRECTION  (August 13, 2015).  In this post, WK wrote, “James Crossley is my favorite atheist ancient historian, such a straight shooter, ” and “He’s on the skeptical left, but he has a no-baloney way of talking that I really like.”

Therefore, in the comments section of this second post, I asked him, “WK, of all the debates about the resurrection of Jesus that you have watched/heard/read, who, in your opinion, has put forth the best argument against it? (When I reject an argument I want to know that I’m not just rejecting a weak version of it or a weak spokesman for it.)”  You can see my question and his response here.

By the way, here is Gary Habermas writing about the issue at hand in an article titled “Explaining Away Jesus’ Resurrection:The Recent Revival of Hallucination Theories.” (2001).

In one of WK’s responses to me, WK links to a 2007 post on William Lane Craig’s Reasonable Faith blog titled Dale Allison on the Resurrection of Jesus.  Craig is answering a question about Allison and begins by saying this:

I’ve never seen a better presentation of the case for scepticism about Jesus’ resurrection than in Allison’s Resurrecting Jesus: The Earliest Christian Tradition and Its Interpreters (New York: T. & T. Clark, 2005). He’s far more persuasive than Crossan, Lüdemann, Goulder, and the rest who actually deny the historicity of Jesus’ resurrection. That Allison should, despite his sceptical arguments, finally affirm the facts of Jesus’ burial, empty tomb, post-mortem appearances, and the origin of the disciples’ belief in Jesus’ resurrection and hold that the resurrection hypothesis is as viable an explanation as any other rival hypothesis, depending upon the worldview one brings to the investigation, is testimony to the strength of the case for Jesus’ historical resurrection.

Thus we have WK saying that the best argument against the resurrection of Christ that he has heard is Michael Goulder’s in Jesus’ Resurrection: Fact or Figment?: A Debate Between William Lane Craig and Gerd Ludemann, which Craig therein refutes.  And we have Craig himself saying that the best argument against the resurrection he has ever heard (he says specifically that it’s superior to Goulder’s) is Dale Allison in Resurrecting Jesus: The Earliest Christian Tradition and Its Interpreters which Craig then goes on to refute in the post itself.

In summary, two of the best known scholarly supporters of the resurrection of Christ (William Lane Craig and Gary Habermas) both see the “hallucination hypothesis” as the best argument skeptics have…but that it’s still decidedly inferior to the resurrection hypothesis as an historical explanation, even when articulated by the most effective spokesmen.

P.S. Since Eric Chabot had also posted on the Craig-Crossley debate (A Look at William Lane Craig and James Crossley Debating the Resurrection of Jesus), I posed to him the same question about “best challenge” to the resurrection of Christ that started the line of thinking that led to this post.  You can see my question and Eric’s response to me at the post.

Shall not the Lamb have the full reward for His suffering?

Shall not the Lamb have the full reward for His suffering?

I first heard this quote from Paul Washer.  He was quoting from a story about Moravian missionaries.  The story goes that two young Moravians sold themselves into slavery in order to preach the gospel in distant lands.  This is the what the two said from the ship to their heartbroken families on the shore as they sailed away.

Two in five think Jesus is a mythical figure | UK Study

This is from a recent UK study of 3,000 people.

Opening excerpt of the article describing the study:

A joint study from major Christian organisations has found while 57% of people in England call themselves Christians, two in five think Jesus wasn’t a real person.

Source: Two in five think Jesus is a mythical figure | Premier.org

Theologian Scott Sullivan comments on the study here (which is mainly an 11-minute podcast), especially the study’s finding that 39% of respondents did not think that Jesus of Nazareth was a historical figure.

The Book of Ruth | The Bible Project

The Bible Project is using drawing to tell the stories of the Bible.  Here’s the way they do the book of Ruth (The video lasts 7:08).  This is but one of the Bible books they have done so far.

If you like this, be aware that they have a website and a YouTube channel (to which you can subscribe so as to be notified when each new video is produced).