NEED-BASED OUTREACH & Rick Warren on how understanding hurts led a skeptic named Ravi Zacharias to become “a passionate defender of the faith.”

by Rick Warren, Saddleback Lake Forest Campus Update, 5/21/20.

… This week, Saddleback Lake Forest lost a dear friend who many of you will remember speaking at our campus through the years: Ravi Zacharias. Ravi was a vocal skeptic turned passionate defender of the faith, when he found Jesus following a particularly difficult season of his life. He once said,

“You’ll never get to a person’s soul until you understand their hurts.”

… Saddleback Lake Forest has always been about being a big church that feels small – by getting to know everyone who calls our campus home, understanding the hurts that every one of us carries, and providing places to process those wounds in a Christlike way.

This week, we wanted to take a moment to highlight some of those safe and healing spaces that are available to you, whether you’re struggling with mental illness, job loss; or hurts, habits, or hang-ups you could use a faith community to help overcome.  We also wanted to invite you to be a part of our first ever socially distant baptism celebration next Tuesday night, as we celebrate the hope and freedom that Jesus offers each of us in a visible and soul-stirring way.

Read more at … https://saddleback.com/visit/locations/lake-forest

WHY GOD EXISTS & C.S. Lewis’ “moral argument” for the existence of God explained

by Jack Wellman, Pathos, 6/14/16.

One of C.S. Lewis’ greatest strengths as a writer was his ability of logic and reason. This served him well in his apologetics. He inherently knew there were dozens of reasons to believe in God but one of his strongest objections for the argument of there being no God was his “Moral Argument” for God’s existence and it is something like this:

1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.

2. Objective moral values and duties do exist.

3. Therefore, God exists.

To Lewis, there are so many laws that govern human behavior and activities that it is obvious that objective moral values do exist, not in the least for the governments of the world. To him, the moral objectives clearly reflected the Moral Lawgiver, Who is God. His point was that objective morals and values are more than accidental or random chemical reactions in the brain. He couldn’t understand why atheists could be sure God doesn’t exist. Since it is estimated that humans only know about one-half of one percent of all the knowledge that there is to know, could not God exist in that 99.9% of knowledge that’s missing? Lewis never understood how an atheist could know for certain that there is no god when they are unable to prove it.

Read more at … https://www.patheos.com/blogs/christiancrier/2016/06/14/who-was-c-s-lewis/

APOLOGETICS & Norman Geisler, who “didn’t have enough faith to be an atheist,” does not want us to be uninformed about those who are asleep. #obituary

by Kate Shellnut, Christianity Today, 7/1/19.

Just two months after his retirement from public ministry, evangelical theologian Norman Geisler died Monday at age 86. He had been hospitalized over the weekend after suffering a blood clot in his brain…

(He) co-wrote the popular book I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist in 2004… He is the author, co-author, or editor of 127 titles, including a book on transhumanism due out next year. His book The Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics was named by CT among the top religion reference books by living theologians in 2002.

Geisler’s works had been translated into more than a dozen languages, and online tributes for spanned the globe, from Kenyato Brazil. Brazilian theologian Roney Cozzer wrote, “I often say that Geisler was ‘a source from which I drank too much’” and praised God for his legacy.

The Michigan-born scholar received degrees from Wheaton College, William Tyndale College, and Loyola University.

William C. Roach, president of the International Society of Apologetics (which Geisler founded in 2007), was mentored by Geisler and shared details in a tribute today:

Both of us were raised in non-Christian homes, our mother’s would not allow us to play football as kids, we both had alcoholic parents, struggled significantly in school, and most importantly—after our conversion to Christ we both had to face objections to the Christian faith.

Dr. Geisler used to say he got into apologetics because he was stumped by a drunk on the streets of Detroit who claimed to be a graduate of “Moody Instita Bibiltute.” Dr. Geisler knew that he either had to find answers to people’s objections or he must stop sharing his faith. Since the latter is not an option, Dr. Geisler dedicated his life to defending the historic Christian faith.

Following the news of his passing, his ministry posted 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 (ESV), one of his favorite passages to quote when he learned of a death in the body of Christ: “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.”

Read more at … https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2019/july/died-apologist-norman-geisler-apologist-seminary-ses-theolo.html

COMPARATIVE RELIGIONS & ‪“As C.S. Lewis once noted, Christianity is the only religion with a real concept of grace…” #EricErickson

by Eric Erickson, (full quote)

As C.S. Lewis once noted, Christianity is the only religion with a real concept of grace. Other religions command we do certain things to be accepted by God. Christianity teaches that God has already accepted us, so we should do certain things.

God loves us. He sent his son to die for us that we might have eternal life. All we must do is put our faith in Christ as our Lord and Savior. The message of the Easter season is one of grace, forgiveness and redemption. Christ died that we might live. His very being is a truth we all need.

Read more at … https://www.dailywire.com/news/46230/erickson-truth-erick-erickson??utm_source=twitter

BELIEF & Less than half of Americans say religion can answer today’s problems. #LifeWay

by Aaron Earls, LifeWay, 1/23/19.

As Americans grow accustomed to turning to Google for help, God no longer seems as relevant.

For the first time since Gallup began asking in 1957, less than half of Americans(46 percent) say religion can answer all or most of today’s problems. A growing number—up to 39 percent—see religion as largely old-fashioned and out of date.

Gallup religion answer today's questions old fashioned

Unsurprisingly, the more one attends church, the more likely they are to believe religion does have the answers.

Eight in 10 weekly church attenders (81 percent) say religion can answer today’s problems. More than half of nearly weekly and monthly attendees (58 percent) agree.

But 27 percent of those who attend less often see religion as having the answers, while 58 percent say it is old-fashioned and out of date.

Fewer than 1 in 10 religiously unaffiliated Americans (9 percent) believe religion has answers for today. Seventy-three percent see it as largely out of date.

“The public is now more closely divided than ever before in its views of religion as the answer to what ails society,” said Gallup’s report.

Read more at … https://factsandtrends.net/2019/01/10/losing-our-religion-less-than-half-of-americans-say-religion-can-answer-todays-problems/

CHURCH HISTORY & 3 pieces of historical evidence for the existence of Jesus Christ

by Paul Ratner, Big Think, 12/24/18.

…Here are 3 kinds of evidence we have for the existence of Jesus Christ as at the very least a real person…

1. THE WRITINGS

…writes Dr. Simon Gathercole, a New Testament scholar from the University of Cambridge, in the Guardian.

The letters of the apostle Paul from about AD 50-60 are the earliest texts mentioning Jesus and the doctrines of Christianity. They also contained practical instructions for the growing number of Christians on how to live according to their faith.

The first non-Christian writer to talk about Jesus was the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (born Yosef ben Matityahu),who lived around AD 47-100. He referred to Christ in his history of Judaism “Jewish Antiquities” from AD 93. In the book, Jesus comes up twice – once in a curious passage about Jesus’s supposed brother James and in another paragraph that has since been questioned in its authenticity. Historians think it has been altered by Christians several centuries later who wanted to portray Jesus in a better light. Here is that passage coming from Antiquities 18:3:3:

“There was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works—a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.”

Roman historians Pliny and Tacitus also wrote about Jesus Christ about 20 years after Josephus’s book. The “Annals” by Tacitus from AD 115 mentioned the Roman prefect Pontius Pilate executing Jesus, alluding to crucifixion, and placed that event within the timeframe that agrees with Christian gospels. As you can also see in this excerpt, Tacitus was not a big fan of the Christians:

“Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called “Chrestians” by the populace,” wrote Tacitus.” Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their center and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind.”

Pliny the Younger, who was also governor in Asia Minor, wrote letters to Emperor Trajan around AD 112 describing Christians worshipping Jesus as a God:

“They (Christians) were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and bound themselves by a solemn oath, not to any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up; after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble to partake of food, but of an ordinary and innocent kind ,” wrote Pliny in Epistles 10.96.

2. THE EYEWITNESSES

According to Dr. Gathercole, the earliest Christian writings on Jesus come from the epistles of Paul. The first of these date to no later than within 25 years of Jesus’s death (AD 50-60). On the other hand, biographical accounts of Jesus in the New Testament date from around 40 years after Jesus’s death. Still, these time spans mean that accounts of Jesus’s life were written down by people who would have been alive to know him or the people who knew him personally.

The accounts of the witnesses also correspond quite well to what other sources of information tell us about the life in the Palestine of the first century. For example, having large crowds coming to a healer like Jesus is confirmed through archaeology, which tells us that residents of the area had to contend with diseases like leprosy and tuberculosis. A study of burials in Roman Palestine by archaeologist Byron McCane revealed that between two-thirds and three-quarters of the graves they looked at had remains of children and adolescents. McCane underscored the prevalence of childhood mortality at the time, explaining that “during Jesus’ time, getting past 15 was apparently the trick.”

Of course, just having the details of the environment right doesn’t prove that Jesus Christ existed. Dr. Gathercole, thinks it just wouldn’t make sense for the writers of the time to create such an elaborate character, stating: “It is also difficult to imagine why Christian writers would invent such a thoroughly Jewish saviour figure in a time and place – under the aegis of the Roman empire – where there was strong suspicion of Judaism.”

This sentiment is supported by Byron McCane, an archaeologist and history professor at Florida Atlantic University who said in an interview with National Geographic that he “can think of no other example who fits into their time and place so well but people say doesn’t exist.” In other words, it would be rather unprecedented for such a person to be made up.

3. THE ARTIFACTS

Read more at … https://bigthink.com/culture-religion/3-pieces-of-historical-evidence-jesus-christ-existed

FAITH & Watch this video zoom all the way into the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Before you watch this short video recreation by the European Southern Observatory of a star system being sucked into the middle of a supermassive black hole that lies at the center of our galaxy, consider what Isaiah said, “Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing.” Isaiah 40:26.

Then, just stop for a minute and wonder at the power of God before you finish reading how Isaiah ends this passage with a familiar and oft quoted verse of reassurance.

“O Jacob, how can you say the LORD does not see your troubles? O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights? Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.” Isaiah 40:27-29

HALLOWEEN CAVEAT: How CS Lewis and Harry Potter view evil differently.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Popularity of “evil characters” (e.g. “anti-heroes“) in movies, books, media, etc. coincides with the increasing popularity of Halloween. In such instances, popular entertainment often frames evil as some thing or some being “outside of yourself.”  You must react to this evil outside of yourself and you must defeat it (e.g. Harry Potter saga, fright houses, horror movies, etc.).

Yet, the scriptures portray evil as more often something within ourselves.  It is an “inner danger” which will be overcome only if we act rightly.

Jeremiah 17:9-10 The Message (MSG)

9-10 “The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful,
    a puzzle that no one can figure out.
But I, God, search the heart
    and examine the mind.
I get to the heart of the human.
    I get to the root of things.
I treat them as they really are,
    not as they pretend to be.”

we are born with.

Galatians 5:17-18 The Message (MSG)

16-18 My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence?

CS Lewis got this. Note this comparison between Lewis’ view (which I view as a more biblically valid view) and the outlook in Harry Potter books:

Harry Potter books … If you compare them with the Narnia books of CS Lewis it is very notable that the Potter books are much more dangerous for the heroes. Lewis is far more concerned with inner danger. His heroes know they will be victorious if they only act rightly…  –Andrew Brown, The Church of England should learn from Harry Potter this Halloween, The London Guardian, 10/31/18.

GOD’S EXISTENCE & Stephen Hawking: Only the Christian View of God Makes Sense.

by Fr. Matthew Schneider, Pathos, 10/22/18.

There are many different views of God. Hawking tries to argue against God’s existence but ends up leaving the Christian view of God as the only possible one.

In his final book, famed astrophysicist and atheist, Stephen Hawking spoke about God’s relationship to the universe. Live Science published an article titled: “Stephen Hawking’s Final Book Says There’s ‘No Possibility’ of God in Our Universe.” It includes some key quotations and summaries from the book, “Brief Answers to Big Questions,” published this week:

“If you accept, as I do, that the laws of nature are fixed, then it doesn’t take long to ask: What role is there for God?”

Hawking will argue for the universe existing at random:

“The universe itself, in all its mind-boggling vastness and complexity, could simply have popped into existence without violating the known laws of nature.”

Following this up, Hawking states:

“We have finally found something that doesn’t have a cause, because there was no time for a cause to exist in,” Hawking wrote. “For me this means that there is no possibility of a creator, because there is no time for a creator to have existed in.”

Other God’s Can’t Exist

These lines rule out many conceptions of God but leave the Christian conception of God unscathed.

The Judeo-Christian God Can Exist

However, the God of Judaism and Christianity is exempt from Hawking’s critique. Hawkings assumes properly, “the laws of nature are fixed,” then notes that the universe could have just started existing without violating the laws of nature. So far I concur. However, he makes three mistakes.

All Material

First, he assumes God is the level of the universe. Hawking states, “If you like, you can say the laws are the work of God, but that is more a definition of God than a proof of his existence.” However, the Christian view has never been a God at the level of the universe but one far above on a totally different level of existence.

All Temporal

Second, he assumes all causes are temporal. He explicitly states that God couldn’t have caused the universe as there was no time for God to exist in (3rd quote above). Even in science, some things would be simultaneous but causally related. We say gravity causes a rock to fall, but the force of gravity is simultaneous to the rock falling. Furthermore, time is the measurement of change but change indicates imperfection as it is a moment towards or away from perfection. Thus, the Christian conception of God is unchanging and thus outside of time.

Why?

Third, he forgets to ask why? Why is there anything, not nothing? Hawking just assumes it all just randomly happened but even randomness has a cause. The lottery is random but we all know that there is a cause behind the randomness.

In Christianity, we view God as the very act of being himself. In other words, God is IS. If you get this, you can pass Christian metaphysics 101. The idea is that “to be” doesn’t change the nature of a thing – we can think of a wookie even though no wookies are. It is God himself who maintains all – from quarks to humans to super-massive black holes – in existence. Each is insofar as God grants it existence. 

Conclusion

Hawking was an atheist and critiqued the concept of God, thinking it didn’t match physical reality. He, however, seems to understand God differently than orthodox Christians do. His critiques leave the orthodox Judeo-Christian view of a transcendent and intellectual God as the only possibility.

Christianity has two more concepts of God that are above reason but not contrary to it: the Trinity and the Incarnation. Hawking’s critiques of God don’t address these either for or against.

There is a reason science grew and developed most in Christianity: our rational view of God. Next time an atheist tries to argue against God, realize they often mean something other than God when they use the word “god” …

Read more at … http://www.patheos.com/blogs/throughcatholiclenses/2018/10/stephen-hawking-only-the-christian-view-of-god-makes-sense/

APOLOGETICS & The evidence for Christianity is like a tsunami.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: I first met Josh McDowell when in college I interviewed him for a Christian newspaper I served as founder/senior editor. Then a few years ago we reconnected in Canada when we were both speaking at Breakforth. I appreciate his (and his son, a professor at Biola) continued focus on apologetics. Here is a good overview of his story and the evidence he gathered to undergird a burgeoning belief in Jesus. Reading it can serve as a model of how to share apologetics and your story.

By Josh McDowell, Fox News, 4/8/18.

…When some young believing students at school challenged me to investigate the evidence for Christianity intellectually, I was shocked. Specifically, they challenged me to investigate the evidence for the resurrection. I thought it was joke. In fact, I thought it would be easy to marshal the evidence disproving the claims of Christ. Since I like a good challenge, I accepted their offer…

I left the university and traveled across the United States, Europe and the Middle East to study ancient manuscripts and gather the evidence against Christianity. After months of study, I returned to a small library in England. I leaned back in my chair, cupped my hands on the back of my head and said “It’s true. It really is true.”

…Needless to say, my research had taken quite an unexpected turn. I set out to disprove the historical resurrection of Jesus but ended up becoming a follower of Christ. I first published my research in 1972 in the book “Evidence That Demands a Verdict,” which has since been printed over 4 million times in 44 languages.

The historical evidence for Christianity today is like a tsunami. And yet, the amount of evidence we have engulfs the kind that led me to believe in Christ over five decades ago. The textual, archaeological and manuscript evidence is increasing regularly.

…Because of this, my son Sean and I recently teamed up to revise “Evidence That Demands a Verdict” with all of the latest discoveries that bear upon one verdict: Jesus Christ has risen from the dead in confirmation that he is God.

This is obviously a radical claim to make today. After all, many smart people disagree with me. How do we know the claims of Christ are not “fake news?”

My challenge for you is to consider the evidence for yourself. According to the Apostle Paul, if Christ did not rise from the dead, then Christianity is false, and Christians are to be pitied (1 Corinthians 15:14, 17). But if Jesus did rise, then Christianity is true. The evidence is there, if you are willing to consider it. After 50 years of studying it, I can tell you that this tsunami has not let up.

Read more at … http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2018/04/08/evidence-for-christianity-is-like-tsunami.html

SCIENCE & Stephen Hawking ‘pointed theologians towards a God with the universe in the palm of his hand’

by Adam Beckett, The Church Times UK, 3/14/18.

…The Principal of St John’s College, Durham, the Revd Professor David Wilkinson, who is the author of God, Time and Stephen Hawking (Monarch, 2002), said on Wednesday: “There is sadness at his death, admiration for a remarkable life story, admiration for his remarkable works of science, and a thankfulness for some of the things he discovered about the universe.”

Professor Hawking had given the world an “optimism that science can deal with all of its own questions about the universe”, he said.

“[Professor Hawking] thought science should be able to give the reason for the start of the universe, which is a very important thing for people of faith.

“He reminded us who are of faith of the weakness of any ‘God in the gaps’ or deistic view of God, and pointed theologians towards a God with the universe in the palm of his hand.”

Professor Hawking “demolished smaller Gods, and left us with the bigger, biblical God”, Professor Wilkinson said.

Professor Hawking was a “person of great humour, fantastic courage, and brilliant mathematical ability”, and the scientific community would be “sad at losing such a public icon.

“We have lost a prophetic voice, with some of the things he had to say about climate change, the search for aliens, and our role in the universe.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury posted on Twitter: “Professor Stephen Hawking’s contribution to science was as limitless as the universe he devoted his life to understanding. His was a life lived with bravery and passion. As we pray for all those who mourn him, may he rest in peace.”

The Revd Dr Rodney Holder, a member of the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion at St Edmund’s College, Cambridge, said that Professor Hawking was “a great, towering figure in cosmology, particularly in black holes, which will be his legacy”, and “undoubtedly a great man, battling with a terrible affliction”.

Dr Holder quoted Professor Hawking’s A Brief History of Time (Bantam, 1988), in which he wrote: “What is it that breathes fire into the equations [of the universe]?”. For people of faith, it was God, Dr Holder said.

Read more at … https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2018/16-march/news/uk/stephen-hawking-pointed-theologians-towards-a-god-with-the-universe-in-the-palm-of-his-hand

ATHEISM & Post-9/11, scholars scolded the religious. Now they overintellectualize them

by Stephen T. Asma, JULY 28, 2014

September 11 changed the God conversation. Atheism was always a reasonable alternative to theological glitches like the problem of evil, and of course God seemed increasingly unnecessary after Darwin’s revolution, but atheism was a relatively quiet and confident minority position. Like opera fans who know they’re right but don’t bother to evangelize the unsophisticated, atheists were generally too imperious to go to the trouble of public debate.

But after 9/11, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Daniel Dennett, nicknamed the Four Horsemen of the new atheism, showed us the first wave of atheist response: anger, retaliatory logic, and self-loathing about the failure of flaccid liberalism—our impending cultural suicide from too much naïve tolerance. Pugilistic Islamic fundamentalism was taken as a token for religion generally, and the excesses in this world of otherworldly metaphysics led the Horsemen to call for the end of faith altogether.

Academics slight the essential day-to-day comforts that keep religion, or at least its spiritual secular offshoots, relevant.

Recent books offer a second wave, with political, economic, and philosophical takes on religion and its surrogates. Peter Watson’s The Age of Atheists (Simon & Schuster), Terry Eagleton’s Culture and the Death of God (Yale University Press), and Roger Scruton’s The Soul of the World (Princeton University Press) are much more historically aware, and more comfortable with the persistent ebb and flow of Western religion, than were the Horsemen’s admonitions. But in focusing on seductive macrosocial and lofty theological impulses, the new books slight the essential day-to-day comforts that keep religion, or at least its spiritual secular offshoots, relevant. They also largely dismiss the powerful light that science can shed on spiritual longing. They don’t miss the forest for the trees; they miss it for the sky above the trees.

– See more at: http://m.chronicle.com/article/The-Believers/147877/#sthash.5TtCF77n.dpuf
Read more at … http://m.chronicle.com/article/The-Believers/147877/

APOLOGETICS & Why We Must Teach Apologetics Unapologetically

by Dan Kimball

“I spoke recently about Jesus as the only way of salvation. I explained that it can’t be true that all paths lead to God.

Now, this is a very anti-PC thing to be teaching. I didn’t want to just jump to a single Bible verse to say it.

Instead, I walked through the biblical narrative of creation, explaining how in the beginning people worshiped one God. Over time, other faiths developed, and I showed how Jesus was the fulfillment of prophesy going back to the Garden of Eden.

I stressed that it was not logical that all faiths could be right, since they contradict one another in major ways. I shared why I trust the Bible as the source of truth and put my confidence in Jesus as the One Way.

Afterward, a young woman told me she trusted in Jesus that night because she hadn’t ever heard a pressing argument that showed why the statement of Jesus as the One Way made sense.

Obviously, there were many things leading up to that night, and God had been working in her heart for months beforehand. But it was having a “reason for the hope” laid out and explained that ended up moving her heart to full faith.

I have been in ministry for more than 20 years, much of it focused on youth and college-age, and I don’t think there ever has been a more urgent need to teach apologetics than there is today. Here’s why.”

Read more at … http://www.churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/175086-dan-kimball-must-teach-apologetics-unapologetically.html

CONTEMPORARY ISSUES & NT Wright, Science and Religion via @ScotMcKnight

by: Scot McKnight

“A collection of his public presentations, N.T. Wright’s new Surprised by Scripture: Engaging Contemporary Issues, brings Wright’s well-known narratival reading of Scripture/Israel’s history/Israel’s Story to bear on a number of topics, including science, the historical Adam, a “scientific approach” to the resurrection, ordaining women … and that’s just the first four chapters! Yes, plenty to dig into here and I suspect it could be a fantastic seasonal adult Bible study focus group.”

Read more at … http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2014/06/09/nt-wright-science-and-religion/

APOLOGETICS & Old/New Testaments’ Portrayals of the Heavenly Father

By Dan Kimball, 4/27/14 “There is one God and the key in seeing the whole story of the whole Bible not just isolated stories…”

More from Kimball, “Writing a chapter in the ‘Crazy Bible?’ book looking at the way there is a perception that the Old Testament shows a different God than the New Testament. There is one God and the key in seeing the whole story of the whole Bible not just isolated stories. This Simpsons episode illustrated this with Homer holding a photo of God and as he would angle it, the image changed as he would say ‘vengeful God’ “loving God… Just watched the whole episode. Quite fascinating… There is a church that worships in a bowling alley in it.”

Read more at … http://instagram.com/p/oegLIFrrpa/

BIBLE & How the ‘Jesus’ Wife’ Hoax Fell Apart #WSJ

by Jerry Pattengale, The Wall Street Journal, 5/2/14

The media loved the 2012 tale from Harvard Divinity School.

The ‘Gospel of Jesus’ Wife’ fragment is about 1 1/2 inches by 3 inches. Photo: Karen L. King/Associated Press

In September 2012, Harvard Divinity School professor Karen King announced the discovery of a Coptic (ancient Egyptian) gospel text on a papyrus fragment that contained the phrase “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife . . .’ ” The world took notice. The possibility that Jesus was married would prompt a radical reconsideration of the New Testament and biblical scholarship.

Yet now it appears almost certain that the Jesus-was-married story line was divorced from reality. On April 24, Christian Askeland—a Coptic specialist at Indiana Wesleyan University and my colleague at the Green Scholars Initiative—revealed that the “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife,” as the fragment is known, was a match for a papyrus fragment that is clearly a forgery.

Read more at … http://m.us.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304178104579535540828090438?mobile=y&mg=reno64-wsj&url=http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304178104579535540828090438.html