Insights through Illusion for Daily Living

Apologetcs

Debate

So this weekend is something I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. I am going to see Dr. William Lane Craig debate Sean Carroll at NOBTS.

That may seem somewhat dry and intellectual to some, but I’m telling you nothing has strengthened my faith more than studying apologetics and Christian Philosophy.

This debate is like watching Hulk Hogan or Batman when it comes to debates. Dr. Craig is the heavyweight champion of the world of debates and philosophy.

The debate is about the cosmos. The new tv show which is a reinvention of the Carl Sagan show “Cosmos” purports to be an unbiased look at the cosmos, but that unbiased is kinda laughable. After all the first words I’ve heard from the original series and has been restated about the new series is, “The cosmos are all that there is, was , and always will be.”

That’s a weighty statement. Especially since the idea of the statement fails it’s own naturalistic litmus test.  After all the laws of logic and other things are not “natural” they are not material, but no one disagrees that they exist. The law of noncontradiction itself is not something that can be empirically tested, but yet it’s real.

We will dive into this further after the debate.

Advertisement

Apologetics Tuesday: Imaginary Battle

 

To some people out there on both sides of the fence, the idea that science and religion are somehow at odds and incompatible. This notion is touted on the Christian side by young earth creationists and on the atheist side by the likes of Lawrence Krauss and Richard Dawkins.

They set up a choice that basically says, which one are you going to give up? Science or God?

This is what’s known as a false dilemma. A dilemma of course being a choice between two, and only two, options. The problem is however that these two things are in no way contradictory. In fact they are complementary!

Dr. Lawrence Krauss and Dr. William Lane Craig just had 3 lengthy discussions in Australia on this very idea. What becomes evident though is that on Krauss’s purely materialistic worldview he cannot allow any room for God even if He was staring Krauss right in the face. However it becomes quite clear that Krauss and others don’t intend to actually back up the argument of this dilemma, but instead point out red herrings of “atrocities from the old testament” and a regurgitated genetic fallacy argument. (Basically Christians are Christians because they are born in Christian areas. However trying to disprove an idea by showing how it came to be held does nothing to refute the idea. After all we are born into areas that think murdering children is wrong, yet just because we are born into it doesn’t mean it’s automatically a wrong notion)

What actually becomes clear is that there really is no fight between these two. If people like Krauss who claim to be open minded would allow in ideas and evaluate them before ruling them out a priori, then the discussion might actually get somewhere.

 

I encourage you to check out the videos of these discussions especially the 3rd dialogue. Check them out at ReasonableFaith.org

BryanDrakeShow.com

Facebook.com/thebryandrakeshow

Twitter.com/BryanDrakeShow

 


The Prodigal Atheist: Borrowing from God to Disbelieve in Him

Funny enough I was listening to a pastor preach on the parable of the Prodigal Son tonight. I noticed something in the story that I have never really thought of before. The younger son when leaving his father basically tells him that he’s better dead than alive. He tells his father he can’t wait for him to die, but rather wants his inheritance now.

Funny enough the father is a clear picture of God, and something I haven’t pieced together before is that the younger son is much like the atheist or naturalist who claims outrage at evil in the world, who clings to logical truths, yet doesn’t believe that God exists. They want the things that God has to offer. Justice, love, reason, morality, good, etc. but don’t want to grant that the source exists.

You say so what? The point is that the son wants all the riches of the father, yet wants nothing to do with him. In fact the son would live as if the father is dead. This is how the atheist cuts his own feet out from under himself. By showing outrage at injustice they are automatically asserting that there is some form of objective justice or morality. This however cannot come from a naturalistic worldview. After all science alone can only tell what is, not what ought to be. Therefore when the atheist makes a claim such as, “Slavery in the Bible is immoral” he has no ground to stand on. He has taken from the father the riches and things that benefit him, yet chooses to live as if the father is dead. On naturalism there is no basis for morality, for justice, for reason. Things just are.

So to say that something ought to be a certain way after all is just one higher primates molecules firing one way or another without any true dignity of humanity. However if the Father does exist…if He is alive, then all of these things have a purpose and a meaning.

Borrowing from theism to try and refute it is just like telling the father you want his riches, but want him dead.


Standing Strong

Attack

One of the trends that I’ve noticed lately for atheists, mainly the FFRF, to do is to attack a small town usually in the South, for “violating the 1st amendment.” The problems with this are multiple, but let’s deal with just the glaring one.

As they say here in the south, “They don’t have a dog in that hunt!” We are talking about a group based out of Wisconsin who’s entire purpose is to wipe religion (gee I wonder which one…) off the map. They don’t just want an equality of viewpoints, but merely a complete and utter obliteration of Christianity. They attack a small town over some trumped up “complaint” and threaten to sue either a school district, or city council. They use this tactic not because they have any legal legs to stand on, but because they know it’s an effective fear tactic. They know that most of these targets would rather quietly bow to their wishes than have a media backlash.

Behind the Scenes Goliath…

Now I wouldn’t be doing my due diligence if I never even looked into what they claim or profess. However I have. I listen to numerous debates between atheists and Christians. One such popular opponent in these debates is none other than Dan Barker, a very prominent member of the FFRF.

The problem with using him as your go to debater…he’s not very good. I don’t say this in a biased way, but in all fairness he is a terrible debater who basically says the same thing over and over ad nausea. I don’t mean by this he sticks to his guns, but rather he pulls out an irritating and easily defeated point, yet trumpets it about like it’s some unheard of wisdom granted just to him, but when confronted with a more learned Greek student (by many years)…he’s right every time and they are just mistaken every time.

Really? That’s the best argument?

Alabama

Anyway back from that rabbit trail. I mention all of this to say this. Yesterday Todd Starnes posted a story about a school district in Cullman, Wiscon….no wait that’s wrong, Cullman, Alabama (right in the FFRF’s back yard….) being threatened by the FFRF for what’s known as the prayer caravan. Basically private citizens on their own volition go to each campus during the summer and stand on public outdoor property and pray for the students. How hideous! How vile!

Here is the story:

http://radio.foxnews.com/toddstarnes/top-stories/atheist-group-demands-school-stop-prayer-caravan.html

Yeah that’s it. That’s all they do, yet somehow that’s a violation against the 1st amendment?

Anyway the Superintendent is not caving, is not backing down from these tyrannical atheist bullies, but rather saying, “get over it.” Now that’s what I’m talking about! Stand strong. Yes we are going to be persecuted, and mocked for His namesake, but we are also called to be salt and light. Salt in a wound is not comfortable. Light shined into the darkness hurts people’s eyes at first, but when adjusted to it, that light can grow!

Stand strong when the enemy attacks, don’t back down. Paul, Peter, James, and the others stood strong even unto death. Do I think that’s where we are headed in the near future? No, but if we live with the mindset of, “I’m not backing down” we can do great things for the kingdom.


Video

Trusting the New Testament Video 2

Just because a document is 2000 years old, should we write it off as inaccurate or altered just because?


Video

Bryan Drake Promo

It’s finally here! Check out our latest promo video. If you like it, SHARE it. Oh, and don’t forget to like Bryan Drake Show


Hypocrisy on Both Sides of the Fence.

To start off I need to be fair. The reason that I wrote part 1 of this series was out of a response to athiests on twitter and Facebook espousing one thing with their mouth, yet living out a completely separate idea. At its core, this is hypocrisy no ifs, ands, or buts.

Check out part 1 here

Now here’s where I have to be fair. The only reason that I am even able to notice this hypocrisy is not because it’s only on their side of the fence. No in fact quite the opposite. The problem generally occurs on our side of the fence. On one hand we espouse the love of Christ, yet don’t live it out. We talk about one thing and live another. I am not saying Christianity is about being sinless (completely different theological discussion), but it is about keeping the flesh at bay on a daily basis. The second we’ve “beat” the flesh in one aspect of our life, is the second it sneaks in for another chink in our armor. Like Amalek in the OT would attack the weak rear of Moses’ people, our flesh will never rest, never sleep, and never stop fighting for dominance in our life.

That is why we have to be diligent in being the face of Christ, not just the words. What good are empty words without hands and feet?

So yes there is hypocrisy on the side of the atheist, which we will dive in to more next time, but before we can do that we have to make sure our flesh isn’t the one in the captain’s chair. We have to make sure that our flesh isn’t driving our Apologetic either.

Grace and love. That’s what has to come through, or there is no point in even starting the discussion. We aren’t doing Apologetics to win a fight or points, but to lead people to Christ.

BryanDrakeShow.com

Facebook.com/thebryandrakeshow

Twitter.com/BryanDrakeShow


Does it even matter? Part 1

How old is the Earth?

Some people say that it is very young, only about 6000 years.
While others would say that it is very old.
The main question to consider in all of this however (and slightly overlooked by both sides sometimes) is this most important question…
In the grand scheme of eternity and kingdom work, does it matter how old the Earth is?
Think about it for a second. Before we dive in to looking at the two sides (as if it were just that easy and 2 sided) we need to remember one very important thing. Much like the talks about end times, once saved always saved, women’s role in ministry or discussions on the genre and structure of Biblical texts, this is an in-house debate for Christians. What I mean by that is, this is something that we need to discuss and dialogue about amongst each other, but when it comes to being in front of atheists and other non-believers, this should not be our hobby-horse or main focus.

Breaking Fellowship?-Not necessary.

The problem really comes in when the two sides start attacking each other in front of others. This doesn’t happen too often thankfully, but again much like any of the other topics listed above, there are multiple viewpoints each with their own merits.
I have personally seen one side tell the other side that if they don’t agree with them, then they have a very low view of scripture. This is particularly evident when it comes to the age of the earth argument.
Young earth creationists (I’ll call them YECs) think that OECs have a low view of scripture because they are not reading the 7 days of creation as literal seven days. However the OEC’s would argue that they are in no way diminishing the scripture because of the Hebrew language and the genre of the Pentateuch.
But before we even look at the merits of either side we have to note that there are multiple YECs and OECs views. For instance a YEC might hold the view based on modern cosmology and physics that the universe is in fact around 13.6 billion years old, with a relatively young earth. Likewise many OEC might take the view of a very old earth with 7 literal days of creation with ages in between the days.
So just in the last paragraph alone you see that the issue is not so cut and dry as we tend to think it is.
What’s important to remember is that neither view diminishes what Christ did on the cross for us. Neither view keeps Him in the grave. That is why this is an in-house debate, because if we are honest with ourselves, at the end of the day it really doesn’t matter how old the earth is if Christ is risen. That’s the central claim to our faith not the age of the earth or the timing of the rapture.

 

BryanDrakeShow.com

Facebook.com/thebryandrakeshow

Twitter.com/BryanDrakeShow


What is Truth?

Blinded by TruthThose were the words uttered by Pontius Pilate to Jesus as he made judgement over God’s son.

To the culture we live in truth has become whatever you want it to be, as long as it makes you feel good.

  • What’s true for you isn’t true for me

  • There is no truth

–These are the buzzwords of the postmodern, everything is relative culture that we find ourselves in.

The problem is that this may sound great on paper, but it doesn’t work in reality. Take for instance the phrase, “There is no truth.”

That may be the postmodernist’s go to phrase that makes everybody happy and warm fuzzy on the inside. It means that anything we want to believe or put stock in is true, or that any interpretation that you have of any set of values, written works, or ideas is just as valid and binding as the author’s original intent.

There is a glaring problem with that statement though. It’s self contradictory. The phrase makes a liar out of itself basically.

Think about it for a second.

Postmodern Thinker: There is no truth.

Me: …Is that true?

PT: …uhm yes…

Me: …So that’s a truth then?

PT: well no because there is no truth…

Me: So it is NOT true?

PT: …well no, I mean yes, I mean…(Head Explodes)

You see when you start to actually try to make sense of this nonsense it falls apart miserably.

The second phrase.

That may be true for you, but not for me.

Okay much more simple approach. THis is generally used as a cop out for, “I don’t believe what you do, but clearly you do. So even though we both can’t logically be right…we both are?”

Silly right?

How about this try the practical approach to this phrase.

Officer: Do you know how fast you were going?

PT: No sir.

Officer: You were going 70mph.

Pt: well sir that may be true for you, but for me…I was going 35mph.

Officer: …

And after you make your phone call to get bailed out, you realize how foolish that idea is.

It’s pretty speak to make us feel better about the fact that there are in act truths out there. Some of the most important truths out there are moral truths. Things that are objectively right and wrong. If there is no objective truth, then things like murder, rape, theft–they aren’t really wrong, but merely a personal preference.

You can see the danger that this kind of thinking leads to.

What “truth” claims have you heard from postmodernism? Sound off below.

BryanDrakeShow.com

Facebook.com/thebryandrakeshow

Twitter.com/BryanDrakeShow


Apologetics Tuesday: The impact of The Resurrection

We just celebrated the greatest news known to mankind. That He is alive. That simple fact changes everything. It isn’t minuscule or obscure, but it changes absolutely everything.

Check out this video I shot about what The Resurrection does.

BryanDrakeShow.com

Facebook.com/thebryandrakeshow

Twitter.com/BryanDrakeShow


Apologetics Tuesday: Group Time

One of the coolest things has happened lately. When I was a Jr. High Youth pastor, I started getting in to Apologetics. I tried teaching about it and weaving it in to my messages almost on a weekly basis. My students got in to it, but I could never really tell how much.

Flash forward 5 years later and now these same students, in their first year of college now, are diving head first in to the study.

Now if you have been following us you know that the tour we have been on has kept us very busy and which is awesome. However we have recently got to be at a small group Bible study at our home church which these students also attend. They started asking questions and furthering discussion about apologetics and evangelism and philosophy which made my head spin in a good way.

It’s just like building muscle. You have to apply the skills that you have learned in the correct way in order to grow stronger and deeper in your study and understanding of scripture. If you are lazy at the gym you won’t grow, likewise in your spiritual life.

What I discovered is that this time to get together with other believers and chew on ideas and discussion has furthered and deepened my own passion for study. The thing that really awes me though is the intensity in which this next generation is focusing on sharpening their faith and really taking 1 Peter 3:15 at its word and being ready to give an answer for the hope that is in us.

So how does this apply to you? Are there certain questions or concerns that you have been hearing lately that trouble you? Old advice might say to bottle that up and not to worry about it. On the contrary though I’m encouraging you to actively grow and learn from these questions.

After all 2 Cor 10:5 says

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Take those thoughts captive. Renew your mind.

BryanDrakeShow.com

Facebook.com/thebryandrakeshow

Twitter.com/BryanDrakeShow


Apologetics Tuesday: Apologetics meets Evangelism

Friends or Enemies?

So today is a quick post to get you thinking. Some people I’ve talked to have an aversion to apologetics because they fear that it creates a “win the argument not the person” mentality. This is a slightly unfair criticisms since this is not what the approach to apologetics should be at all.

As you know one of my hobby horses is evangelism. Sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with everyone we encounter as commissioned to us by Jesus himself in Matthew 28. What I have discovered is that using apologetics IN evangelism is a very useful tool for some people.

There are really only two kinds of disbelief. Those who do so out of scientific knowledge and those who have an emotional block. You may be tempted to say that only the scientific doubter would be the person who could be reached with apologetics, but you’d be thinking too small. When it comes down to it, it is the Holy Spirit who does the work in someone’s life to make them new, but using something such as the moral argument to help people understand the true hopelessness without God can be an effective bridge to sharing the Gospel.

We will dive more in to this at another time, but I wanted to let you know that apologetics and evangelism can definitely go hand in hand.

BryanDrakeShow.com

Facebook.com/thebryandrakeshow

Twitter.com/BryanDrakeShow


False Dilemma is no Dilemma at All.

If you have been in a philosophy class for more than a month, then you have heard this argument presented.

One of the oldest arguments about morality comes from Plato’s dialogues. A student named Euthyphro asks Socrates if the gods will something because it is good, or is something good because the gods will it to be good?

Let’s break down these two “horns” of the dilemma.

1. Do the gods will something because it’s good?

This means that there is some concept of universal good that is outside of God that he just ascribes to. This means that God is in essence unnecessary for morality.

2. Is something good just because the gods will it?

This basically means that God can just will whatever He wants to be good or evil. For instance if today God willed murder and rape to be moral and kindness to be evil, then it would be. That God can choose on a whim what’s good and what’s bad, and that He can change it at any time arbitrarily. This is clearly not the God that we see.

This presented through the ages by atheists against God and biblical morality because it’s presented as a real dilemma. The problem is that it isn’t a real dilemma at all. An actual dilemma means that you are presented with two and only two options that you must choose between.

di- “two” + lemma “premise, anything received or taken,”

However it’s not an actual dilemma at all. A false dilemma is a situation where there are only two options presented, but they are in fact not the only two options available. This is known as splitting the horns.

So what is the answer then?

The true answer is that “the good” that Plato wrote about is in fact grounded in God’s nature. Or to say it as @ReasonableFaith ‘s Dr. William Lane Craig says it, That something is good because God IS good. Things like love, compassion, justice, kindness are part of God’s unchanging nature. They are not arbitrary, but they are also not from something external either.

God is Himself the good and is the source of our moral duties.

How have you heard this presented before?

BryanDrakeShow.com

Facebook.com/thebryandrakeshow

Twitter.com/BryanDrakeShow


Apologetics Tuesday: What questions do you have?

Your Turn

So I have been doing a weekly series about apologetics for the last few months. If you look back at the previous posts you’ll see the different variety of subjects discussed, but what I want to know is what kind of tough questions have you been faced with? Maybe in talking with friends or family you have been hit with a statement or an argument that throws you a little bit.

What questions have you heard? What we will do is take some of the questions you guys send in and address them as they come in. Don’t be shy or think your question may be too easy or too hard or too crazy, anything is on limits. This is an opportunity to strengthen your faith and better equip yourself to defend your faith!

Let us know!

BryanDrakeShow.com

Facebook.com/thebryandrakeshow

Twitter.com/BryanDrakeShow


Apologetics Tuesday: Embarrassing Testimony Part 2

So it’s been a short break from Apologetics Tuesday, but I wanted to make a short addition to the last entry about embarrassing testimony. The reason I even thought to add this today is because last night after the show I met a girl who was a Messianic Jew who took exception to something I said in the show.

In the show I mention that the idea of a dying Messiah is completely and totally non Jewish. Through the literature, it’s clear they were looking for a Davidic King Messiah, or a priest in the order Aaron to come and bring sweeping reforms to the Roman rule that they were under. They also held a belief that there was no resurrection of the dead before the general resurrection at the end of the earth. That’s why when Jesus who was supposed to be the Messiah died, it put a pretty embarrassing detail that the disciples had to deal with on their shoulders. If Jesus was dead, how could he be the real messiah? However Jesus vindicated His claim of Messiah and of being God when He rose from the dead. If you were going to make up a story about a Messiah, then you would never have him die. Secondly you wouldn’t come to adopt a belief so incredibly un Jewish that He had risen the dead before the general resurrection, unless something happened that truly changed your mind i.e. He rose from the dead.

Her main point was to show that I was wrong for making that claim about the Jews not believing in a dying and resurrecting messiah because even though there was no literature showing that Jews in the 1st century believed this, that they actually believed it. The problem with this idea though is that there is no literature showing this. Even Jesus’ closest disciples didn’t expect Him to die. Paul and the other disciples go back to the scriptures after the Resurrection to see how wrong they were.

So again these embarrassing and somewhat bizarre details actually historically lend credibility to the narrative that Jesus Rose from the dead.

BryanDrakeShow.com

Facebook.com/thebryandrakeshow

Twitter.com/BryanDrakeShow


Is the Idea of Sin Outdated?

Political Correctness…

…rules the culture we live in. Any opinion you have can easily be called offensive by someone else. The word tolerance has had a drastic redefinition by those wanting to harness your opinions. Used to the word meant that you clearly disagreed with something, yet “tolerated” a viewpoint that wasn’t your own. Today tolerance means that if you don’t agree with a certain view you are hateful and intolerant.

Sin?

A lot of this attention is aimed at Christians and our goal to be more like Christ and be less like this sinful world. But there is the word, sin. That’s the one that sets the internet ablaze by armchair atheists looking for an emotional axe to grind to support their chip laden shoulder against God. They begin to quote verses (albeit very out of any historical or even sequential context) like they were Sunday school teachers. Verses about stoning your neighbor for working on the sabbath, or verses about permission to own “slaves”. NOw I’m not going to get into these issues today on this blog, but if you want a quick and awesome  read that can help you with some of the most difficult passages in the Old Testament, check out Paul Copan’s Is God a Moral Monster? You will love it!

But back to the buzzword, sin. In this cultural and political landscape should we even be talking about sin anymore? Isn’t that an outdated notion that people came up with to scare their children into being good, like Santa? This is what a relativistic culture would like us to believe. If you are able to denounce the idea of objective morality, then you can basically say that only Hitler, murderers, and rapists, are sinners and everything else is just a matter of opinion. This idea of acting like sin doesn’t exist is an absolute rebellion against a loving God. Ironically the fact that we identify our sinfulness and evil in this world is actually some of the best evidence that God exists, and that we need Him.

Keep it Fluffy Keep-em Coming

The fear comes though from many pastors and youth pastors in the form of, “Well I shouldn’t talk about sin because I don’t want to run anyone off.” To some that notion sounds just fine because hey why would you want to run anyone away from God? This is an absolute red herring. Yes I agree your first step in evangelism shouldn’t be the Westborough Baptist approach, that’s not winning anyone to the kingdom, but what tends to happen is this mindset, “I’ll get them involved wit church and then start to breach the topic of sin and redemption.” Also a great notion that is following Jesus’ own example with the woman at the well. We sometimes forget the fact that Jesus pointed out her sin, but it was after showing compassion and His true nature of Messiah. What happens though is that we take the mindset above, yet we never quite broach the subject of sin. We talk about the love of God, but never His justice. Truthfully though we see the ultimate demonstration of Christ’s love for us while we are sinners, its when we are aware of our sinful nature. Romans 5:8 clearly says this.

If we are spoon-feeding a sugary sweet gospel of, “God loves everybody and wants you to be the best person you can be no matter what situation you’re in now” without a call to change and repentance clearly seen in the apostle’s, John the Baptist’s, and Jesus’ ministry, we are doing students a huge disservice.

Power Over Sin

For it is God who has the power to break the bonds of sin no matter what they are. God in his awesome power can forgive and change any heart willing to follow him. 1 John 1:9 tells us so. Don’t get caught up in the notion of, “they’re born that way, so maybe they can be the best gay Christian, or adulterous, or drug dealing, or partying, or lying Christian they can be.”

God can and will change us, temptation will always be there which is why serious discipleship needs to take place. Matthew 28, the Great Commission doesn’t stop with making disciples and baptizing them, but the last part is the part we stop with too often.

20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you [b]always, even to the end of the age.

We have to continually study the word together and learn how to be like Christ more and more everyday. Our first response to this culture should in fact be the unconditional love of Christ, followed by a call to repentance as seen in Christ’s own example.

Have you heard others water down the gospel beyond recognition?

How do you feel about the idea of sin?

BryanDrakeShow.com

Facebook.com/thebryandrakeshow

Twitter.com/BryanDrakeShow


Apologetics Tuesday: Embarrassing Testimony

Empty Tomb

Criteria

So we have had a short break from our “Can We Trust the New Testament” series because of Christmas and New Years. The last time we looked at the evidence we talked about the idea of certain types of criteria that are examined anytime an ancient source is examined to trust its historicity.

We have already covered early, and enemy attestation, and today we are going to look at embarrassing testimony.

Embarrassment

Now this isn’t the type of embarrassing we think of when you do that thing where you’re walking down the sidewalk and do the slight trip only to notice everyone saw it. This type of embarrassment comes from including certain elements in the Gospel narratives that would be considered embarrassing for the writers.

There are two very clear examples of this in the passion narrative in the Gospel of Mark.

Joseph

First is the burial of Jesus in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. For the Jews at this time (Which the writer of Mark was) the Sanhedrin (council who tried and sent Jesus to Pilate) basically orchestrated a judicial murder of their Messiah. The sentiment toward the Sanhedrin would have been very negative. So one has to wonder why if Mark was just merely making up the story of Jesus’ resurrection why on earth would he make up a story where a member of the very same council who killed Jesus suddenly does right by Jesus. Giving Jesus his own brand new tomb was an awfully nice gesture, but why would Mark make that up?

That’s why embarrassing testimony is so important, is that it lends credibility to the narrative. Surely if Mark were making this up he would have had someone not on the Sanhedrin give Jesus their tomb.

Women

Even more telling, are Jesus’ first witnesses to His resurrection. The Gospel of Mark shows that a group of women discovered the tomb empty, and were the first witnesses to Jesus’ resurrection. Now in our culture today, nothing would be wrong with this notion at all, and will cause you to overlook this if you aren’t careful. Looking at 1st century story through the lens of the 21st century is anachronistic.

However in the 1st century according to ancient historians including Josephus, the testimony of women meant nothing. Critics try to claim that this isn’t true pointing to events such as the destruction of Masada in which women were used as witnesses, but the problem with this is that they were only used as a witness in this case because they WERE the only witnesses that survived.

Surely if Mark was making up this story, he would have made male disciples the first discoverer’s of the empty tomb. But he didn’t.

In fact what this shows is that the first witnesses to the empty tomb actually were Jesus’ women disciples.

That covers two clear examples of embarrassing testimony in the Gospel account. There are numerous other examples including the disciples doubting Jesus and running away from Him, as well as not realizing what He was telling them.

Next up Eye-witness.

BryanDrakeShow.com

Facebook.com/thebryandrakeshow

Twitter.com/BryanDrakeShow


Can we Trust the NT: Enemy Testimony

Paul

You’ll recall that I posted four types of criteria that are very important when it comes to trusting an ancient sources historicity. Early, eye-witness, embarrassing, and enemy attestation. We’ve already looked at early testimony and seen that the Gospels are in fact early, containing very early sources.

Today we will look quickly at enemy attestation. Think about it for a minute. Skeptics of history always claim that the winners of any battle get to write the history, therefore there are no opposing views of an event. If all of the people writing about Jesus were already His followers, you could see why doubt could be thrown onto their accounts because they may or may not have a bias that they carried with them. IF you could find someone who didn’t believe in Jesus, then you’ve hit some serious historical pay dirt.

That’s exactly what we have in two cases. In the creed cited by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15, he mentions the appearances of the resurrected Jesus. two of the appearances are what is known as “enemy attestation” appearances. James and Paul.

Looking at James first, it’s clear that James, the brother of Jesus, did not believe Jesus’ claims while He was alive, yet something happened to James so life changing that made him change hi mind completely and become the leader of the early church in Jerusalem. What kind of life-changing event happened? The appearance of the risen Jesus.

Now Paul is even more extreme. He was a pharisee sheriff if you will. He rounded up Christians to be arrested or killed. He prided himself on being a pharisee of pharisees. Yet something happened to Paul that made him completely turn a 180 and become one of the greatest Christians that has ever lived, giving us half of the NT. You see skeptics try to claim that the disciples had some sort of grief hallucination because their leader was dead (which there is no evidence by the way). This however is refuted by Paul. Paul is the nail in the coffin for the idea of collusion and hallucination. Paul an enemy Christianity had an experience so life-changing that he went from killing Christians to becoming the mouth-piece of Christianity to the ancient world.

The only thing to explain this along with the other minimal facts is that Jesus really did rise from the dead and the tomb is empty.

Next up is embarrassing testimony.

BryanDrakeShow.com

Facebook.com/thebryandrakeshow

Twitter.com/BryanDrakeShow


Apologetics Tuesday: Can We Trust The NT- What did Paul think?

Minimal Facts

Last week I looked at the minimal facts approach that can be taken to looking at the evidence for the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus. Again the resurrection is key because without it, our faith would be dead. Now before I go too much further there are two ways of knowing Jesus rose from the dead, first is the experiential way. Having the witness of the Holy Spirit. This is generally the only evidence that most people ever need, but there are some people out there who need the historical case for Jesus in order to believe.

For more on the experiential evidence of the resurrection, check out my post from a few weeks back on “Shouldn’t a Magician be an Atheist?”

Opposition

People who doubt the resurrection try to first deny the historical value of the Gospels (Richard Carrier-Bart Ehrman-The Jesus Seminar). Secondly, they attack the Apostle Paul, saying he didn’t actually believe the same thing as the Gospels about Jesus. They try and claim that Paul never believed in a bodily resurrection at all, thus undermining the entire principal of a historical event, but rather some spiritual experience. The problem with that thought though, is a subjective visionary experience does nothing for us today. A risen resurrected Jesus changed everything. It vindicates Jesus’ personal claims of deity.

One of the earliest source materials we have in the New Testament is in 1 Corinthians. Paul quotes a very old Christian tradition that dates back to within 5 years of the resurrection. Some scholars date this creed as early as 18 months after the events of Jesus resurrection. The significance of that is enormous. Showing that the earliest Christians, and the Gospel writers stories lined up, and that the Gospel writers didn’t just make up all that happened in their accounts.

Here is the creed from 1 Corinthians 15:3-8

For I delivered to you [b]as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to [c]James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as [d]to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.

Paul basically lays out the entire narrative of the 4 facts talked about last week.

The burial, the empty tomb is clearly implied, the appearances, and then the origin of the Christian faith in such an un-Jewish idea of a resurrected Messiah.

Paul adds himself to the list of the appearances to give credence to his own experience to say it equals that of the original disciples.

This ancient creed shows how much the Gospels and all of the NT agree with each other about the narrative of Jesus. So the best conclusion is that we do in fact have great early sources. Historians consider it to be pay dirt when they have 2 independent early sources of the same event. With the narrative of Jesus, we have 5 independent sources, two of which are very, very early. In antiquity this is about as good as it gets for historical sources.

BryanDrakeShow.com

Facebook.com/thebryandrakeshow

Twitter.com/BryanDrakeShow


Minimal Facts Approach?

Bare Minimum

That idea sounds kind of strange when using it as an argument to convince someone of something. However when you unpack the idea and understand what the minimal facts approach is, it changes how we can relate to unbelievers. If you are going to have a debate with someone, or even try to share Christ with someone, you need to stand on some sort of common ground. If you are trying to quote scripture after scripture to someone who doesn’t believe the New Testament is even credible, then you are going to lose your breath doing so. But if you can find some sort of common ground that the two of you agree on, then you can build a foundation from there into a conversation that lets you present your case in a way that will be paid attention to.

The Minimal Facts Approach.

Think of it like a common denominator in math. When adding and subtracting fractions, you have to find the common denominator before you start working, you break it down to it’s simplest form. That is what is done with the Resurrection of Jesus using what’s known as the minimal facts approach. Depending on who is presenting these facts, there are generally 3 to 4 facts that are agreed upon by virtually ALL credible New Testament scholars. That includes ones who are very skeptical, and even atheistic in their worldview, yet they still agree that Jesus was:

-Crucified in the First Century by Pontius Pilate

-Left an Empty Tomb

-His Disciples had experiences of an appearance of what they thought was from Jesus, that changed them

-Paul and James both “enemies” of Christianity had experiences that changed them.

These facts are all agreed upon by virtually all New Testament scholars, given the background historical information from sources in antiquity, not just the New Testament. These are facts that can be used as common ground for people who doubt the credibility of the New Testament Documents, because these are clearly seen with or without them. Josephus and other ancient historians write about Jesus’ crucifixion under Pilate, Paul’s writings clearly show that he had an experience that changed him. The disciples willing to die for a very un-Jewish notion of a resurrected Jesus before the general resurrection all show that they had some kind of experience.

These facts provide the groundwork for a very convincing case that the best explanation for these facts in that God raised Jesus from the dead.

Tomorrow, I will quickly look at 1 Corinthians 15 and it’s impact as a very early source.

BryanDrakeShow.com

Facebook.com/thebryandrakeshow

Twitter.com/BryanDrakeShow

 


Apologetics Tuesday: Trusting the New Testament Part 4

https://i0.wp.com/alphastoredesign.com/search-images/www.holytrinitystore.com/images/st-mark-xlg.jpgEarly Testimony

Over the past few weeks you know we have been looking at notion of being able to trust the New Testament as an accurate source. Last week I introduced the idea of different criteria we can use to trust if what The New Testament reports is accurate. Some of those criteria were early testimony, eyewitness testimony, embarrassing testimony, and enemy testimony.

All of these are very important in their own way of showing the accuracy of the NT documents. For the most part we will deal with the Gospels since that is where most of our info about Jesus’ life is. However we will look at one other piece of the NT to show some of the earliest writing we have.

Dating

Before we look at “Early Testimony” we need to know when the Gospels were written. Most conservative dating puts them at 30-40 years after Christ’s death for the time of writing. Others date them up to around 60 years after the events happened. I find the earlier dating fits better because we have one solid concrete piece of historical dating that we know happened in A.D. 70. The Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans. This is undeniable. The Gospel being Jews would most likely have mentioned something about the Temple being destroyed, but none of them did, even thought they reported the words Jesus spoke about No stone will be left unturned in Mark 13:1-4. If you read the passage in Mark it’s clear the writer didn’t know about the destruction of the Temple because it hadn’t happened yet.

To compare how 30-40 years after the events compares to other ancient sources make sure to look at the chart from Week 2.

Source Material

Now the interesting thing though is that looking at the Gospel of Mark (Which is the earliest Gospel account) and 1 Corinthians 15 (One of Paul’s letters which was written before the Gospels) you find two very peculiar passages that bring light to how early these stories about Jesus go. Even if “legends” about Jesus were created by the time of the Gospel writing, (which scholars agree is not probable because of the short time period and availability of live eye-witnesses to refute any false claims) these two passages stand out.

First is the Passion Narrative (last week of Jesus) in the Gospel of Mark. Here is what Dr. William Lane Craig says about this Pre-Markan story from the Gospel of Mark.

First and foremost is the Passion source which Mark used in writing his Gospel. Whereas most of Mark’s Gospel consists of short anecdotal stories strung like pearls on a string, when we get to the final week of Jesus’ life we encounter a continuous narrative of events from the Jewish plot during the Feast of Unleavened Bread through Jesus’ burial and empty tomb. The events of the Last Supper, arrest, execution, burial, and empty tomb were central to the identity of early Christian communities. According to James D. G. Dunn, “The most obvious explanation of this feature is that the framework was early on fixed within the tradition process and remained so throughout the transition to written Gospels. This suggests in turn a tradition rooted in the memory of the participants and put into that framework by them” (J. D. G. Dunn, Jesus Remembered, 2003, pp. 765-6.) The dominant view among NT scholars is therefore that the Passion narratives are early and based on eyewitness testimony (Mark Allen Powell, JAAR 68 [2000]: 171). Indeed, according to Richard Bauckham, many scholars date Mark’s Passion narrative no later than the 40s (recall that Jesus died in A.D. 30) (Richard Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, 2006, p. 243). So we’re dealing here with an extraordinarily early source.

So you can see that we have incredibly early attestation of the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Tomorrow I am going to show you why this is so important along with the early testimony in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians using what’s called the “Minimal Facts” approach.

What are your thoughts on the dating of the NT?

How does that change opinions?

BryanDrakeShow.com

Facebook.com/thebryandrakeshow

Twitter.com/BryanDrakeShow


The Long Island Scam

If you have not had a chance to read any of my posts on exposing “psychics” or mediums, check them out Cold Reading,here hot readingbefore watching this video.

Theresa Caputo, the Long Island Medium, is a part of TLC’s cash cow of reality tv shows. The show chronicles the daily life of “psychic medium” Theresa Caputo as she encounters the spirits in the world around her. Makes for great ratings if you are easily swayed and don’t have the facts, but that’s what I’m here for.

Once you know what’s going on here, you can see right through everything that is being done by this swindler.

Check out this video of her


Apologetics Tuesday: Criteria What if it’s True?

Do we have any credible sources for the New Testament?

For the last two weeks, we have looked questions concerning the historical reliablility of the New Testament. Like I said last week, the ramifications of a trustworthy New Testament change the world. We realize that we are sinners and need salvation, only given through Jesus Christ. The question comes in though concerning our main source for Jesus.

The last two weeks have dealt with the historical background of the New Testament and retention of manuscripts since its writing. We discovered that compared to other sources from antiquity, the NT is the most reliable source we have based both on gap in authorship and surviving copies, and the amount of copies that we have. Other sources pale in comparison to the amount of copies the New Testament has.

We are over 99% sure that the New Testament still says what it said in the original autographs.

Now The Big Question.

Is what is written in the New Testament true?

That is the million dollar question. There is some criteria to look at concerning ways to determine the truthfulness of the account given by the NT. Being the best source in antiquity does nothing for us if it is fact a very well preserved myth or legend.

Over the next couple of weeks we will break down the different important criteria about Jesus and the evidence in favor of a truthful NT account of His life.

Some of this criteria includes, early testimony, eye-witness testimony, embarrassing, as well as enemy testimony.

These will help us determine whether what the NT says is actually truth.
Next Week we will dive in to some of these criteria.

What happens if the New Testament is true?

BryanDrakeShow.com

Facebook.com/thebryandrakeshow

Twitter.com/BryanDrakeShow


Apologetics Tuesday:Trusting The New Testament Part 2

Background

Critics try to discredit the NT based simply on the information behind its writing and the amount of manuscripts we still have. One of the most popular criticisms is that the NT was changed over the years. People willingly believe this too even though the background information clearly shows this to be not true. For instance the same people who discredit the NT will gladly put stock in Caesar’s writings or the manuscripts of Homer, Tacitus, Plato, and the great Greek historian Herodotus.

They don’t really give a reason for why they are not nearly as harsh on these other sources than on the NT. I can tell you though, what it boils down to. The fact that these are secular sources automatically gives them more credibility in the minds of critics. The funny thing is though, there is no merit for this view. The only reason for this is because it fits closer to their world view. You’ll always find that “Free Thinkers” and “Open Minded” people are always the first to try to shut down opposing voices….not too tolerant eh?

How does the New Testament stack up with these other ancient sources?

We need to look at two things to determine how much we can tell about our current version of the NT is from the original manuscripts. First is time, and then number of manuscripts.

Here is the time gap between the original writing and the surviving copies.

Homer—500 Years

Herodotus–1400 Years

Plato–1200 Years

Tacitus–1000 Years

Caesar–1000 Years

Pliny–750 Years

Pretty big gaps right? These are our most reliable historical sources right? So a gap that big is not that big of a deal right? Wrong.

The New Testament–25 Years. Yep that’s it. 25 years. Less than the amount of time that it takes for legends to form.

What about number of Manuscipts

Homer–643

Herodotus–8

Plato–7

Tacitus–20

Caesar–10

Pliny–7

Not very much right? So you see how few copies we have for our favorite ancient sources.

The New Testament?

5,686 Copies. Yup you read that right. 5,000 copies more than the next source.

That’s a huge amount! What does that do for you though? Think about it this way. With that many surviving copies, you can sit them side by side and look at where they are the same and where they differ. This helps you realize what the original manuscripts said. So not only is the New Testament a reliable historical source, but it is the most reliable historical source in antiquity.

How does that affect us?

Think about why people reject the New Testament now. Not on its historical merits, but because they realize the implications of what it means for the NT to be true, and how it changes everything.

The God of the Bible is real and loves us, and that our sin separates us from God, that we are not good in our nature, but need redemption from our savior.

That’s what the world is afraid of, but what we have to convey to everyone.

What do people tell you about the NT?

BryanDrakeShow.com

Facebook.com/thebryandrakeshow

Twitter.com/BryanDrakeShow