"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15
Tag Archives: Truth
February 23, 2013Posted by on
Below is my submission to the field exam for my PhD application. It is unaltered and unedited. What you are about to read was produced in 2 hours and 20 minutes. All total it was 12 pages of content. I will say up front if you have an ocd for grammar or punctuation…you may want to turn away as this is not my strength. I tend to focus very heavily on content rather than grammar. That is what editors are for…
What is the relationship between human knowledge gained through research in the social sciences (reason) and those truths gained through the study of the Word of God (Faith)?
The debate between the integration of faith and reason has been going on for hundreds of years. By and large there existed a harmony between the two until the 19th and 20th century. During recent history a large divide has now separated both faith and reason and their individual pursuit of truth. This paper will take a look at the relationship between faith and reason. This includes a brief survey of the current positions, the author’s position on the relationship and the impact on ministry that integration of faith and reason would have.
In order to fully understand the relationship between faith and reason a brief survey will be conducted of the current positions. It should be noted that this specific topic has been discussed or debated for some significant time and most positions have not changed historically. Mankind has always struggled with the boundaries between faith and reason and the ability to strike a balance of sorts. The three dominant current positions can be defined as follows: faith and reason are compatible (compatiblism), faith and reason are incompatible (incompatiblism), and faith corrupts reason (post-modernistic incompatiblism).
Compatiblism could be said to have its roots with Augustine. This view point has been slightly modified over time, and has had one or two deviations from its fundamental premise. The premise of compatiblism is that faith and reason are compatible. Compatiblism believes that there is a unique relationship between faith and reason that allows one to work with the other.
In this line of thought all truth is from God. Therefore, any truth that is discovered is of God whether it is discovered by science, or by faith. This also extends to the notion that an unbeliever, who seeks to discover a truth through reason and without faith, can indeed discover that truth. John Calvin stated “they are superstitious who dare not borrow anything from profane writers. For since all truth is from God, if anything has been aptly or truly said by those who have not piety, it ought not to be repudiated.”1 This view holds the position that man, though flawed is able to ascertain truth through human reason. However, that truth that he obtains is from and of God.
There are some fundamental assumptions with the position of compatiblism. Those who believe in compatiblism believe that there is an absolute truth that has been given by God. As a result, the search for that truth either through faith or reason will ultimately point to God. Thus, faith becomes a sounding board for reason.
The second position to be discussed is the position that faith and reason are simply incompatible. This line of thought can be dated back to Tertullian and can be seen as recently at Van Til. The premise behind incompatiblism is that man is fallen, and through a corrupt mind they are unable to reason truth for themselves. As a result, faith is required to be able to discover the truth.
In this sense the authority of scripture is more than enough and reason must be submitted to scripture, not vice versa. Van Til states “We cannot subject the authoritative pronouncement of scripture about reality to the scrutiny of reason because it is reason itself that learns of its proper function from Scripture.”2 This position views a humans ability to reason through the eyes of scripture only and that human knowledge cannot be obtained without the Bible.
The basic assumptions of this position are very similar to that of compatiblism. Incompatiblism believes that there is an absolute truth that has been delivered by God. However, incompatiblism places a heavy emphasis on the fact that man has a fallen mind and is thus unable to reason and discover God’s truth. This position no doubt comes from scripture similar to John 16 that states that Gods will lead us to all truth, and that His ways are beyond our ways.
The final position this paper will look at is the position where faith has corrupted reason. This can more adequately be described as a post-modernistic view of faith. This position holds that faith is a lack of, and requires no intellectual authority. As a result faith in anything is meaningless. They view faith as an impediment to discovering truth through the means a reason or human knowledge.
Richard Dawkins, a well-known critic of the Christian faith described faith as “the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.”3 This clearly demonstrates a combative view of faith from a humanistic stand point. In this sense there is only one side to the ability to discover truth, and that is the human’s ability to reason.
The assumptions for the post-modernistic incompatiblist are that God simply doesn’t exist. They come to this conclusion based under the assumption that science has already proven that God does not exist. Therefore, they are able to draw a conclusion that faith in a God, that doesn’t exist, is a waste of time.
Faith and Reason
Prior to looking at the relationship between reason and faith it is important to set the appropriate definitions for each. The definition of faith can be found in Hebrews 11:1 where the author states “faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”4 This definition matches and perhaps is more refined than definitions that can be offered by secular scholars and dictionaries. Reason, can be defined as the discovery of truth through human means. Reason can be best described as a process to ascertain truth, with the conclusion being the discovery of irrefutable truth. Aquinas defines faith and reason as being two truths, “one to which the inquiry of reason can reach, the other surpasses the whole ability of human reason.”5 This notes the clear difference between the two from a basic definition perspective. Wilhoit comments on this further by stating that truth is “a question of origins – with faith representing the sphere of understanding as revealed by God in His Word, and learning representing the sphere of understanding as discovered and recorded by man.”6
There is a clear distinction between faith and reason in that one is obtained through human understanding, and the other is revealed by God.
Faith and reason most certainly have a relationship. The post modernistic view fails on the simple point that no matter what their own faith is, people will continue to have faith. The position of this paper is that faith and reason have three primary relationships: first, faith is dependent on reason; second, reason is not dependent on faith; and finally, faith can only exist in the absence of reason.
Faith is Dependent on Reason
When one looks at the very nature of faith it is belief in something that has not been seen. That being said there is a point in time where all faith will be revealed as either truth or not truth. In this sense we see that reason will ultimately provide a validation or invalidation of faith. Reason can serve in judgment of faith as long as the truth discovered by reason is absolute and without flaw.
John Locke concluded “reason is given the task of determining whether an alleged revelation is genuinely from God. Though it is certain that whatever God has revealed is true, reason must judge whether any particular revelation comes from God and a revelation should only be accepted if it has the backing of reason in this way.”7 This conclusion, while taken to an extreme can produce negative consequences, illustrates the point that reason will ultimately, in one day sit in judgment of faith. This is an unavoidable reality that ends with the second coming of Christ which at that point all will be revealed.
Faith can only exist without reason
This second point illustrates the reality that if a verifiable truth has been gained through reason, then there is no need for faith. To illustrate this point one need only look at the advancements in biblical archaeology and history. History now demonstrates to us that there was in fact a man named Jesus who walked around during the early first century. This requires no faith because human knowledge and reason has demonstrated this to be irrefutably true. This required an amount of faith on the part of those who lived in the 17th century (and others). In the 21st century it requires no faith to know that Jesus existed. However, it still requires faith that Jesus was the son of God, and that he arose from the grave 3 days after his crucifixion.
In this sense the need for faith will and always has been continuing to diminish as more and more truth is revealed by God. In Romans 1:18-23 Paul notes that God has made it clear to all so that none are without excuse. Aquinas stated in Questiones Disputatae de Veritate that truth discovered by both faith and reason are superfluous.8The truth of God has been available for us to find since creation. As we continue to find it through reason, it diminishes the need for faith and faith is replaced by God’s truth being revealed.
Reason is not dependent on faith
Scripture provides a clear picture that we all contain the faculty to reason and discover truth, and that it is not reliant on our faith in Jesus Christ. Looking at Matthew 16 we see Jesus talking to Pharisees about the red sky at night. The Pharisees are looking for a sign, and Jesus points out that their ability to reason is intact and working. They know that red sky at night is a sailors delight and that red sky at morning is a sailors warning. Jesus is able to rebuke them because they have the ability to reason and discern the truth, even without faith, yet they choose not to.
Those who argue that non-believers are unable to discover truth through reason are in denial as it contradicts the history of humanity. Mankind was given the ability to reason from God. Thus truth can, and has been discovered independently of faith. This demonstrates the nature of origins for the discovery of truth and the reliance of faith on reason for verification of that truth. Reason has the unique position of being able to validate faith, or theory. Faith is a belief that something is true, and reason is the process to ascertain the truth that one has faith in. As a result we see that reason is not dependent on faith, faith is dependent on reason and that faith can only exist in the absence of reason.
Fundamental Premise of Impact on Ministry
The integration of faith and reason is critical to the impact of ministry. It is important to note the author’s fundamental premise and presuppositions before discussing the impact on ministry.
The church should never lose sight of the fact that all truth is God’s truth, and that all truth that has been discovered whether through faith or reason will ultimately point to God. Holmes stated “if all truth is God’s truth and truth is one, then God does not contradict himself and in the final analysis there will be no conflict between the truth taught in scripture and truth available from other sources.”9 Additionally, one should take note that truth revealed by special revelation can only be attained by faith, and not through human reason. In this sense there are two truths, one discoverable by faith, and one discoverable through human knowledge.
Impact on Ministry
In reviewing the impact of the integration of faith and reason into ministry the author read through proposed methods to integrate faith and reason into ministry from Robert Harris. Harris concludes that in order to integrate the two we would need to bounce new knowledge off of the old verified knowledge. This would be to validate both faith against faith and reason against faith and reason. Harris also noted that it is important that truth and knowledge must transfer from one area to another. This is important in that there is one truth and that truth should be transferred from one area to another.
These two approaches offered by Harris provide a brief way to integrate both faith and reason in a way that will allow faith to be reasonably validated by reason and in a way that will trust that all truth that has been discovered will ultimately point to God and give Him glory.
The debate over faith and reason has heated up as of late with the New – Atheist movement. Their argument being that faith is a ridiculous notion that can never be compatible with reason. Hitchens stated “all attempts to reconcile faith with science and reason are consigned to failure and ridicule.”10 This author believes that Hitchens, and Dawkins statements must be taken with some validity and explored.
How does one draw a conclusion that so belittles the notion of faith? The author believes that it is because more times than not, these men have seen Christians express blind faith rather that reasonable faith. In fact, one could more than likely draw a comparison to Post-Modernism and New-Atheism to the downfall of intellectual Christianity. Atheists are able to draw the conclusions that Hitchens or Dawkins draw due to the fact that when challenged a number of Christians cannot express their faith from the perspective of reason, rather “you just gotta have a faith”.
Additionally, with tele-evangislm and a heavy emphasis placed on faith and spiritual revelation most Christians today do not feel the need to understand the historical background of Philippians or the arguments for law of first beginnings. This has lead to a dumbing down of Christianity and has validated the response from Atheists when Christians follow blindly.
Faith and reason do inevitably have a relationship that is organic and fluid. However both are dependent upon the one truth that has been delivered by God. This truth then should be extrapolated and applied where useful to benefit His kingdom. John 16 tells us that He will lead us to all truth. He will lead us with through special revelation or through His general revelation.
Alexander Miller, Faith and Learning: Christian Faith and Higher Education in Twentieth Century America (Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 1977), p. 195 quoting John Calvin’s Commentary on Titus, Opera III
Aquinas, Thomas. Summa Contra Gentiles (Translated by Anton C Pegis) New York: Hanover House 1955-1957 (Book 1 Chapter 4)
________________ Questiones Disputatae de Veritate (Translated by James V. McGlynn, S.J. Chicago: Henry Regnery Company, 1953.
Barth, Karl, The knowledge of God and the Service of God According to the Teaching of the Reformation. New York: Charles Schribers Sons, 1939.
Dawkins, Richard. Untitled Lecture, Edinburgh Science Festival (1992)
_________________ The God Delusion, New York: Houghton Mifflin Company 2006 p. 346
Evans, C. Stephen Faith Beyond Reason Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1998.
Harris, Sam, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2005 p. 65
Harris, Robert J. Defining the integration of faith and learning. Virtual Salt 9/20/2003 http://www.virtualsalt.com/int/intdef.pdf
Hitchens, Christopher. God is not Great, New York: Hachette Book Group, 2007.
Holmes, Arthur The Idea of a Christian College Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1975
______________ All Truth is God’s Truth (Downers Grove:
InterVarsity Press, 1977), pp. 53, 8, 14.
Jensen, Steven. 2009. “Faith integration and the irreducible metaphors of disciplinary discourse.” Christian Scholar’s Review39, no. 1: 37-55. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed February 14, 2013).
Locke, John. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding er. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975 Book IV.
Paul II, John. “Encyclical Letter Fides Et Ratio”, 1998. http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_15101998_fides-et-ratio_en.html
Sproul, R. C. Defending your Faith an Introduction to Apologetics. Wheaton: Illinois, 2003.
Wilhoit, Mel. “Faith and Learning Reconsidered, the Unity of Truth.” http://www.iclnet.org/pub/facdialogue/9/wilhoit
Stott, John. Your Mind Matters. Leicester, England Intervarsity Press.
Van Til, Corenelius, The Defense of the Faith. Phillipsburg, New Jersey, Presbyterian and reformed publishing CO, 1955
1 Alexander Miller, Faith and Learning: Christian Faith and Higher Education in Twentieth Century America (Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 1977), p. 195 quoting John Calvin’s Commentary on Titus, Opera III
2 Van Til, Corenelius. The Defense of the Faith. Phillipsburg, 212. New Jersey, Presbyterian and reformed publishing CO, 1955.
4 All scripture quoted in the paper will be from the ESV version.
5 Aquinas, Thomas. Summa Contra Gentiles (Translated by Anton C Pegis) New York: Hanover House 1955-1957 (Book 1 Chapter 4)
7 Locke, John. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding er. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975 Book IV.
8 Thomas Aquinas. Questiones Disputatae de Veritate (Translated by James V. McGlynn, S.J. Chicago: Henry Regnery Company, 1953.
9 Holmes, Arthur The Idea of a Christian College Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1975
10 Hitchens, Christopher. God is not Great, 64. New York: Hachette Book Group, 2007.
March 25, 2011Posted by on
Easter is fast approaching. So now we get the fine pleasure of hearing a ton about a magical
Easter bunny who runs around getting people fat(ter). Movies like “Hop” are coming out but strangely there are no movies about the resurrection of Christ coming out this Easter. So, I thought it would be good to tackle the resurrection from a historical perspective.
To sum up where we are thus far…
- We can prove that the time span of the writings of the gospels and the rest of the New Testament took place within an acceptable time frame from the crucifixion.
- We can also demonstrate that the manuscript evidence for the New Testament is far superior and in fact the most documented event in history.
This post is going to take a look at the most critical event in the New Testament, the resurrection of Jesus Christ. (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:14-19)
The resurrection is the lynch pin of the Christian faith. Without it, there is no arisen God, and thus Jesus was not who he said he was. So the question then becomes, are the events depicted in the Gospel historically accurate?
Here are the facts that are relatively agreed to by most New Testament Scholars
- On the Sunday morning after the crucifixion the tomb was found empty by a group of his women followers.
- On multiple occasions many people and groups interacted with a live Jesus after his death.
- The original disciples suddenly and sincerely changed directions and passionately argued for a resurrected Christ.
Those that dispute the above three facts are on the fringe. Many New Testament skeptics will accept the above facts. The support for this evidence is the documents within the New Testament.
Quick Note….Most atheists immediately dismiss the use of the New Testament because it is part of the Bible. I would argue against this. You cannot, at least from a true scholarly perspective, dismiss the documents of the New Testament. While it is presented in a single book, the New Testament must be viewed as a collection of documents which were recorded by several different men. Thus the New Testament provides an opportunity for skeptics to corroborate evidence from one author to another. Again, historical evidence shows that the New Testament was written within an acceptable amount of time from the crucifixion. The manuscript evidence is 99% accurate. So we can say with comfort, what we read in the New Testament, was in fact written within 20-60 years of the crucifixion. Let’s look at each fact.
1. The Empty tomb
There are multiple sources besides Mark that testify to the empty tomb. Matthew and John are independent sources about the empty tomb. It is also mentioned in the sermons in Acts (2:29; 13:36) and implied by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:4. These are independent sources attesting to the fact of an empty tomb.
Another thing to consider is the fact that women discovered the tomb first. This is most definitely note worthy for one simple fact: women were not highly regarded in Jewish society. Josephus says that women weren’t even permitted to serve as witnesses in a Jewish court of law! If the empty tomb was legend and not fact, the writers of this legend most certainly would have put men at the tomb for the discovery, rather than women. The fact that it is women who discover the tomb empty can only mean one thing…they were in fact the chief witnesses to this event.
2. On multiple occasions many people and groups interacted with a live Jesus after his death.
The list of eyewitnesses to have Jesus after his death is numerous. Paul provides a list of those who have seen him in 1 Corinthians 15:5-8. In this list Paul includes the name of Peter, the Twelve, and James. These are people that Paul personally knew. These appearances cannot be dismissed as mere legends.
Additionally, narratives of the appearances are multiple and independently attested to. Consider for example this, the appearance to Peter is attested by Luke and Paul; the appearance to the Twelve is attested by Luke, John and Paul; and the appearance to the women is attested by Matthew and John. The testimony of the appearances is so broad that it cannot be reasonably argued that the earliest disciples did have such experience.
3. The original disciples suddenly and sincerely changed directions and passionately argued for a resurrected Christ.
This is a topic we have covered before by asking you “Would you die for a lie?”
Here is the reality of the situation for the disciples.
- Their leader was dead. Messianic expectations of their Messiah were one of the Messiah defeating Israel’s enemies not being shamefully executed as a criminal.
- The Jewish belief system did not have/did not allow for anyone being arisen from the dead before the general resurrection of the dead at the end of the world.
Despite these two realities the original disciples came to believe so strongly that Jesus had arisen from the grave and began preaching it throughout the world. The simple fact here is that these Jewish men went about the world preaching something that ultimately was un-Jewish and outlandish according to their own faith. Acts 5:33-39 illustrates these points of contention.
So now the question becomes…what is the best explanation of these facts?
First some common attempts to explain the above facts:
- The body was stolen.
This would explain the empty tomb, but not the appearances, and most definitely not the change of the disciples, even if they stole the body.
- The appearances were hallucinations.
This is highly improbable (if not absolutely impossible) considering that the ENTIRE list provided by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:5-8 would have had to have the same hallucination. That is 500+ people all having a hallucination of Jesus returning from the dead.
The only plausible and absolute explanation of the three facts mentioned above is that Jesus in fact rose from the dead. No other event or explanation could cover all three facts.
We hope we have answered some of your questions regarding the historicity of Jesus and His resurrection… If you have further objections you would like us to answer, please let us know… If not, would you consider trusting in Him today?
December 22, 2010Posted by on
The above image is a snap-shot of a billboard put up near the Lincoln Tunnel by the American Atheist Society. I may not agree with Atheist’s on 99.999999999% of things, but they may have inadvertently stumbled onto something with the “You KNOW it’s a Myth” billboard. If you know us at all… you know our stance on Biblical reliability and authority, but hear me out here…
There is a lot about the Christmas story that is either presumed or assumed. Much of this has to do with the story of the wise men. From a biblical perspective, very little is known about the wise men. However, much can be determined based on their actions. This to me is the story behind the story of Christmas. The story of the wise men provides a interesting backdrop to the birth of the Messiah, and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Where did the Wise men come from?
There is very little in the Bible that indicates where the wise men came from. Tradition (as well as a popular Christmas carol) have them coming from the Orient. From a biblical perspective this assumption is tenuous at best. What we know from the Bible is that they simply were from the East… nothing more. That being said, in order to determine where they came from we have to look at historical circumstances. For that let’s look at the Parthian Empire. The Parthian Empire was a rival to the Roman Empire. The “MU” to the “KU”, the “OU” to the “UT”. The Parthian Empire was the ruling empire of East Asia. It’s boarders extended from the Euphrates river all the way to Modern day Pakistan. The Parthian Empire is relevant because it was the ruling Empire for Babylon at the time of Christ’s birth and the Parthian Empire fought with the Romans in 40 BC for control over Palestine. The Parthian Government was ruled by two assemblies; the Arsacids (royal family) and the Megistanes which consisted of Magi (priests) and wise men (influential Parthian of non-royal blood). While there is still debate as to where the wise men, or Magi, came from, the Parthian Empire may provide the best possible place for a number of reasons that will be explored a little later on.
Many speculate that the wise men came from Babylon. This is entirely possible. The interesting thing is, Babylon was located within the Parthian Empire. One more interesting item of note: The Parthian Empire was on the door steps of Palestine.
Who were the Wise men?
So who exactly are these wise men? Most Christians probably pay no attention as to who they really are, and focus more on the fact that they were at the birth of Christ.
Here is what we can gather from the Bible. Depending on the translation you use you will see the word Magi, or wise men in Matthew 2:1. While I do agree that some Magi (wise men) were pagan in nature there were some who were not. Something to consider: while the Israelites were held captive in Babylon, Daniel was appointed to be the Chief Administrator over all of the wise men (Daniel 2:48). Additionally, a large number of Israelites (Levites, and Bejaminites) stayed in Babylon after the exile. The conclusion here is that there was a fairly large contingent of Israelites in Babylon for a long period of time that would extend from post exile (approx 537 BC), to Parthian Empire Babylon (247 BC) to the Birth of Christ (approx 4 BC).
In a broader context one could look at it this way: There is a high probability that there were Magi in Babylon (circa the Parthian Empire) that were very well aware of the prophecies of Daniel), as well as the prophecies.
Again, Some Magi were members of Parthian government. It would be the equivalent of the Senate in the US. These are men who were able to elect the King as well as depose the King. Needless to say, the Magi carried a certain amount of gravitas wherever they went. Remember, the Parthian and Roman empires bordered one another and had been at war for a number of years just prior to the birth of Christ. As a result, Herod probably feared the Parthian Empire, because he was once replaced as King by King Antigonus who was a vassal to Parthia. When the Romans regained control of the area… Herod was restored to power.
Why would the Magi come to Jerusalem and then Bethlehem?
This question gets to the heart of the matter. Why would these men travel to Jerusalem and then to Bethlehem upon seeing a star? There would have to be something incredibly compelling to travel nearly 1,000 miles to see the King of the Jews. Ezra’s travel from Babylon to Jerusalem was 120 days (Ezra 7:8-9). This is a pretty significant trip. Overall, for the Magi, this would be a trip that lasted nearly 8 to 9 months. Why would they do this? What was so compelling to them that they would leave their homes, travel by caravan, to follow this star? I would suggest that it is because of Numbers 24:17.
Numbers 24:17 reads as follows: “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel”. The interesting thing about this passage is that Balaam was a sorcerer hired by Balak to curse the Israelites as they camped on his boarders, ready to conquer him. Instead of cursing Israel, God took control over Balaam and he blessed the Israelites (Numbers 24:10-14). Then Balaam dropped the bombshell in numbers 24:17. Many speculate what the meaning of 24:17 is. Some say that it relates to David’s kingdom. If this is the case, then the prophecy was not fully fulfilled by David. The Damascus Document is a part of the Dead Sea Scrolls. It is a commentary on scripture that dates back to 2nd century BC. Part of the Damascus commentary focuses on Numbers 24:17. “And the star is the seeker of the Law who came to Damascus, because it was written a star has came forth out of Jacob and a scepter has risen out of Israel. The scepter stands for the prince of the congregation. At his coming he shall break down all the sons of Sheth.” Numbers 24:17 had been interpreted to mean the coming Messiah. If I’m correct, this is how the Magi would have read Numbers 24:17.
Back to the motivation for the trip… If these men were holdovers from the exile or shared the same office that Daniel had, there is a very good chance that the Magi would have to have been familiar with the prophesy of Numbers 24:17 in order to understand the meaning of the star over Jerusalem. This is why they left seeking the King (Scepter) of the Jews. Additionally, they may have known they were in the Messianic era because Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy was coming to an end. If this is the case, they would have expected the Messiah to be born soon in order for the prophecy to hold true.
How many Magi came?
Most, if not all, nativity scenes show three Magi present. Most Christmas stories tell of three wise men being present. The reality is that Bible makes no mention of the number of Magi that came to Jerusalem (it only lists their three gifts). In fact, men of the stature as described above would have required many attendants to come with them. Given the value of their gifts to Jesus and the dangerousness of the road they likely traveled, the Magi more than likely would have needed an armed escort – especially if they were officials from the Parthian Empire. This presents an interesting image of not just three but literally hundreds of attendants with any number of Magi travelling across the country side following a star. This point is most notable as the caravan reaches Jerusalem and is seemingly able to get virtually an immediate audience with King Herod.
When did the Magi come?
Again, if you look at most nativity scenes, you would be under the impression that the Magi were present at the birth of Christ. Again, this is not biblically supported. As a matter of fact, the Bible (Matthew 2) clearly contradicts this notion. Matthew 2:1 is the first indicator that the wise men were not at the birth of Jesus. Additionally, take this into consideration; if the star appeared over Jesus at the time of birth we know at a minimum that it would be at least 120 days before the Magi could reach Jerusalem. If you add on the time that it would take to identify the star, organize the caravan, plan the trip and get on the road, one could easily be looking at anywhere from 5-6 months total time before they reached Jerusalem. Maybe another month before they reached where Jesus was. This would make sense with King Herod’s order to kill all of the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under (Matthew 2:16).
Based on the above information we can logically determine that (in regards to the “Three Kings” of carol fame) the Atheists have it right – Well, sort of… and purely by accident. However, we should celebrate reason, rather than legend. And reason dictates that the Bible is historically accurate and the final authority on all things theological and historical. This really is the little known story of Christmas. If my historical theory holds true, then many of the idea’s surrounding the greatest story ever told would be a legend built off of this historical story.
July 27, 2010Posted by on
Open air preaching is absolutely fascinating to me. It is a back to the basic’s approach to evangelism. Think about it…this is how the apostles did it. They stood out in public and preached. They made their argument under the most intense scrutiny. It is incredible to watch the reaction of the world to those who preach in the open. You when I wrote The No Shame + No Fear series it was geared towards evangelism. So clear is the call for evangelism that many forget how to evangelize. Open air preaching is one way to do it. Keep in mind it is not for everyone. But there are a number of ways to this. Everyone has opportunities to witness. It could be on facebook, Myspace, with your friends or wherever!
Here are links to some open air preaching:
These video’s were put up by a group called The Way of the Master. This is Ray Comfort, and Kirk Cameron.
July 24, 2010Posted by on
No Apologizing now has its own email… firstname.lastname@example.org.
KB and I are gearing up for our 100th post. It is a pretty big deal that we hit this mark. For the 100th post we are hoping to put together a vlog. For those of you not familiar…a vlog is like a blog but only in video format. What we would like to do for our vlog is to be as interactive with you as possible. This could include questions about us, questions you have on theology, or just comments in general. That is where the e-mail comes in…
Use the e-mail to send us your questions or comments. We will use them in the vlog to generate discussion. If you have something you would like for us to debate….send it in. I can tell you right now the vlog has been decided on. If we don’t receive any e-mails Kevin will be forced to do 20 push-ups on camera…well maybe that won’t work…because I am sure people will want to see that.
On behalf of Kevin (who is probably getting upset reading this) and I, we would like to thank you for reading our posts, and we hope you get something out of it.
SEND US SOME COMMENTS!