Den of Lambs

Christian Defense of the Faith

Christianity Honors And Affirms Women

I have an amazing wife and four beautiful daughters (one being a daughter-in-law.)  I can honestly say that I would never subscribe to any worldview that thought of them as chattel, demeaned them, or otherwise asked me to treat them as anything less than my equal in God’s eyes.  I believe that the exalted call of wife and mother honors women.  Certainly my wife is  specially gifted physically, emotionally, and psychologically for the stewardship over herself, children, and husband. I am so thankful that my God has not only blessed me with a wonderful wife, but He has also given her, my daughters, and all women a special place in His kingdom.Women of the Bible

All throughout the New Testament, we can see that God affirms women. In Luke, Mary is elevated, The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” (Luke 1:28In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus highlights the special sacrifice that Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus (John 12:1-3), makes for him: “While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” (Matthew 16:6-13)

Elsewhere, the New Testament mentions the involvement of several women in important ministries.  Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Susanna supported and traveled with Jesus and His disciples (Luke 8:1-3). While most of the male disciples were in hiding after Jesus’ arrest, women witnessed Jesus’ crucifixion and prepared His body for burial (Matthew 27:55.) The church at Jerusalem met at the home of Mary, mother of John, also called Mark (Acts 12:12.) Paul commends Phoebe, Priscilla, Junia, and many other female co-workers (Romans 16.) Time and time again, women are mentioned as prominent members of the fledgling Christian church (Acts 18:26, 1 Timothy 5:3-10, 1 Timothy 3:11, Titus 2:3-5.)

Finally, as Ravi Zacharias states, “It is fascinating that the greatest historical event the world has ever known (the resurrection of Jesus Christ) was first revealed to the women.”

Do Miracles Happen?

MiracleWhen I was about 6 years old, my family was having a picnic at Lake Allatoona.  Little Oliver, to prove his strength, was picking up big rocks and carrying them around the campsite.  One of my conquests lay right beside my sleeping baby sister.  As I lifted the rock right over her head, the unthinkable happened; I dropped the boulder over my baby sister’s skull.  As the rock fell, it changed direction and landed harmlessly a few inches from my sleeping sister’s head.

Was that story an incorrect recollection?  Did it happen as I explained it but there was a natural explanation, or did I just make it up and it never really even happened?  I can honestly and sincerely say, “no” to those three questions.

I believe that it was a miracle.

A miracle is an event that is contrary to the established laws of nature and attributed to a supernatural cause.

But, do miracles happen?

The universe.  Most of us take for granted that the universe exists, but why and how does it Universeexist?  For most of modern history people thought that the universe simply always existed, but in the 1940’s evidence began to point to the fact that the universe, which is all matter, energy, space, and time, popped into existence in a cataclysmic event now known as the Big Bang. But how?  One of the first rules of metaphysics is that “from nothing, nothing comes” or to quote the great Billy Preston, “Nothing from nothing leaves nothing. You gotta have something if you want to be with me.” So, there is no current explanation for the beginning of the universe.

The moon.  Our moon is unique in the solar system.  Firstly, we only have one.  Some planets like Mercury and Venus have none and some planet like Jupiter and Saturn have upwards of 50 moons.  Relative to their planet, our moon is far and away the largest.  The moon gives us our gently ebbing and flowing tides, but if the moon were slightly bigger the tides would be hundreds of feet and your beach property would be worthless but if the moon were smaller, the tides would be insufficient to cleanse coastal seawater and replenish nutrients. The moon is the Moonperfect distance from the earth to stabilize our rotational axis which allows seasons and regulates our temperature.  Also, do you take eclipses for granted?  The sun is almost 400 times the size of the moon but because of the earths distance from the sun, the sun and moon look the same size therefore, total solar and lunar eclipses are possible on earth.  No other planet in our solar system has that distinction.  So, the moon seems to enable life on its planet.

Life on earth.  I, as a child, before I started trying to drop rocks on my baby sister’s head, would look up at the night sky and think there’s got to be another little kid on another planet somewhere in the galaxy looking back at me.  We all thought that.  Even the government.  They funded a project called the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence or SETI.  But, the more scientist studied the universe, the more they realized that the conditions for life are far more stringent than we thought.  One condition is the size of our planet.  If our earth were more massive, methane and ammonia with molecular weights of 16 and 17 would stay close to the surface of earth.  Anyone with kids knows that if methane stayed near earth, the surface would be unlivable. But, if the earth were just a little smaller, water vapor, which has a molecular weight of 18 would not stay close to the surface.  No water, no life, right?  If the earth’s rotation was slower, the days would be too hot and nights would get too cold and the consequences would be deadly.  If the earth’s rotation was faster, catastrophic high winds would be produced.  Scientists have calculated that the odds of a planet supporting life are less than one in ten toEarth the seventy-third power which is one followed by seventy-three zeros.  Considering that there are only ten to the twenty-third planets in our galaxy, it doesn’t make sense that earth beat the odds.  So, in the 60 years that the SETI project has been looking for life in our galaxy, what have they found?  Bupkis (maybe that’s why they were defunded in 2011.) So, the odds tell us that we shouldn’t even be here.

The universe popping into existence, the moon’s helping to enable life on earth, and the fact the we live on earth despite the incomprehensible odds go to show me that miracles do indeed happen.

Is Life Meaningless Without God?

“As St. Anselm saw, God is by definition the greatest conceivable being and therefore the highest Good.  Indeed, He is not merely perfectly good; He is the locus and paradigm of moral value.  God’s own holy and loving nature supplies the absolute standard against which all actions are measured.  He is by nature loving, generous, faithful, kind, and so forth.” – William Lane Craig, (Opening statement from his debate with Sam Harris)
“Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.” Ecc 2:11
The writer of Ecclesiastes looked over his accomplishments; the effort, toil, and work, and what was his appraisal?: that everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained.
CrossFor millenia, man has looked for the meaning of his existence. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a rock star. I wanted to stand on a stage and sing my songs for thousands of people. I wanted all of the notoriety and riches that came with it. Was that my meaning or purpose? Or was that just a goal. Your goal in life can be hitting 40 home runs in the major leagues or it can be having the beautiful wife or success in your career. But, I believe, meaning or purpose in life is having a loving relationship with the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. Therefore, if there is no God, then there is no true or objective meaning in life. Philosophers such as Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus have argued that if God does not exist then life is absurd. But instead of using this as an argument for the existence of God, what do the conclude? That life really is absurd.

The absurdity of life without God may not prove that God exists, but it does show that the question of God’s existence is the most important question a person seeking meaning can ask.

Is Christianity Arrogant?

It is often said that Christians are arrogant to say that Jesus is the only way to salvation, as this regards everyone who disagrees with Christianity as mistaken. The issue here is that the truth of a proposition is independent of the attitude displayed by those who hold it.

RepentenceI have studied other religions and tried my utmost to discover the truth about Christianity.  J. Warner Wallace says it much better than I when he eloquently states, “I’m a Christian because it is true. I’m a Christian because I want to live in a way that reflects the truth. I’m a Christian because my high regard for the truth leaves me no alternative.”

Am I arrogant for embracing a worldview that I sincerely hold as true? Also, the pluralist (one who holds to a diversity of views) also believes that his view is the only correct view. So, can the pluralist not also be accused of arrogance?

So, the question is not, “Is Christianity Arrogant?”  The question is, “Is Christianity True?” With the absence of valid arguments against Christianity,  what else are we to believe?


How Would The Gospels Fare In The Courtroom?

Lawyers are in the evidence business.  Claims are a dime a dozen and you don’t have to be a lawyer to know that making a claim isn’t the same as proving a case.  The significance in the fact that so many great lawyers, judges, and legal scholars are Christians, cannot be overlooked (see here, here, and here.)

CourtroomAs pertinent evidence for a Christian worldview, the Gospel testimony to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth must be admitted in the court of public opinion.  Even more importantly, the veracity and historicity of these ancient documents would be admitted as evidence in any common court of law.  These writings assert that they are first-hand accounts of testimony to Jesus Christ (1 John 1:1)  or are a product of meticulous research concerning him (Luke 1:1-4.)  Try as they might, skeptics have not been able to impugn the credibility of the Gospels.

Early dating and the criteria of authenticity reinforces the credibility of these documents. Firstly, Jesus was crucified by 30-33 AD, and by the end of the 1st century we have four full independent accounts (Mark, Matthew, Luke, John) on Jesus based on early traditions that were circulating in different very early Palestinian Christian communities. Sources that date 40 – 60 years after the described events are very early by historical comparison, on this theme Mike Licona, a prominent New Testament historian, comments:

“A gap of sixty to seventy years between the writing and the events they purport to describe is quite early compared to what historians work with when it comes to other ancient biographies.” (Answering Brian Flemmings “The God Who wasn’t there.”) [1]

Secondly, according to the criteria of authenticity, William Lane Craig argues:

What these “criteria” really amount to are statements about the effect of certain kinds of evidence upon the probability of various sayings or events in Jesus’ life. For some recorded saying or event S, evidence of a certain type E, and our background information B, the “criteria” would state that, all things being equal, Pr (S|E&B) > Pr (S|B). In other words, all else being equal, the probability of some event or saying is greater given, for example, its multiple attestation than it would have been without it.

What are some of the factors that might serve the role of E in increasing the probability of some saying or event S? The following are some of the most important:

(1) Historical congruence: S fits in with known historical facts concerning the context in which S is said to have occurred.
(2) Independent, early attestation: S appears in multiple sources which are near to the time at which S is alleged to have occurred and which depend neither upon one another nor upon a common source.
(3) Embarrassment: S is awkward or counter-productive for the persons who serve as the source of information for S.
(4) Dissimilarity: S is unlike antecedent Jewish thought-forms and/or unlike subsequent Christian thought-forms.
(5) Semitisms: Traces in the narrative of Aramaic or Hebraic linguistic forms.
(6) Coherence: S is consistent with already established facts about Jesus. [2]

So, what would the greatest common-law authority on the law of evidence in the nineteenth century say? “All that Christianity asks of men on this subject is [that the testimony of the Gospels] be sifted as it were given in a court of justice….The probability of the veracity of the witnesses and of the reality of the occurrences which they relate will increase, until it acquires, for all practical purposes, the value and force of demonstration.” – Harvard professor Simon Greenleaf [3]

[1] James Bishop, Historical Jesus Studies, 1-24-15, accessed 8-16-15

[2] William Lane Craig,, Gospel Authorship-Who Cares?, accessed 8-16-15

[3]Simon Greenleaf, Testimony of the Evangelists, accessed 8-16-15

Why Did The Disciples Come To Worship Jesus?

“You shall have no other gods besides me.” Exodus 20:3

Jesus’ disciples were first century Jews. They knew the faith, the culture, and the belief system that only God was worthy of worship (Deut 6:13-16, Isaiah 8:13.) and Jesus himself quoted the scriptures (Luke 4:8.) Both the Old and New Testament was clear about this truth: to worship idols was a violation of God’s first commandment.Jesus Statue

Amazingly, from birth, Jesus was worshiped: “On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.” (Matt 2:10-12)

He was worshiped by those he healed: “Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.” Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.” Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.” (John 9:35-38)

He was worshiped upon his entry into Jerusalem: “Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”(Mark 11:8-10)

The astonishing implication is that Jesus’ humanity did not interfere with the disciples offering him worship that was due to God alone. The only explanation is that they recognized that he was more than just a man. How this recognition was formed in the minds of the disciples is hard to say outside of Jesus’ acts reported in the Gospels, but it is plain to see, as put by Princeton theologian John Murray, “But with varying degrees of awareness there must have entered into their consciousness the implications of the witness borne to him. In this connection it should be observed that his identity as the Son of God is of paramount importance. The import of his divine Sonship is no less than equality with God and Godhood (cf. John 5:17-18, 10:22). Matt. 14:33 is a noteworthy example of the relation that the intradivine Sonship sustains to worship: “And these who were in the boat worshiped him saying: Verily of God thou art Son.”

Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension (Matt 28:16-17)  vindicated his radical claims. This  cemented in the disciples that the worship belonging only to God was fit for Jesus. As God incarnate, Jesus was Lord, therefore,  worship of him was worship of Yahweh.

Understanding The Trinity

During this season of Advent, it is essential that we understand one of the Cardinal doctrines of Christianity; the Doctrine of the Trinity. The Christian doctrine of the Trinity is the doctrine that God exists as a unity of three distinct persons: Father, Son, and Holy

TrinitySpirit. Each of the persons is distinct from the other yet identical in essence. In other words, each is fully divine in nature, but each is not the totality of the other persons of the Trinity.  This doctrine gives us logical affirmation for the Incarnation, the Atonement, and the Resurrection and allows us to be confident in the intellectual veracity of the hope that is within us.

My favorite analogy is explained by philosopher Peter S. Williams:

“…A musical chord is essentially composed of three different notes (to be a chord all three notes must be present), namely the first, third and fifth notes of a given musical scale. For example, the chord of C major is composed of the notes C (the root of the chord), E (the third from the root) and G (the fifth from the root). Each individual note is ‘a sound’, and all three notes played together are likewise ‘a sound’. Hence a chord is essentially three sounds in one sound, or one sound essentially composed of three different sounds (each of which has an individual identity as well as a corporate identity). By analogy, God is three divine persons in one divine personal being, or one divine personal being essentially composed of three divine persons. Moreover, when middle C (the root of the chord) is played it ‘fills’ the entire ‘heard space’. When the E above middle C is played at the same time, that second note simultaneously ‘fills’ the whole of the ‘heard space’; yet one can still hear both notes distinctly. When the G above middle C is added as well, a complete chord exists; one sound composed of three distinct sounds:” [1]

The Christian concept of God seems to be superior to the unitarian concept in that God, as the greatest conceivable being, must be loving rather than unloving. Love, however, reaches out to another person rather than centering wholly in oneself, as the very nature of love is to give oneself away. So if God is perfectly loving by His very nature, He must be giving Himself in love to another. But who is that other? Since God is eternal and creation is not, we can imagine a possible world in which God is perfectly loving and yet no created persons exist, as was the case without our space/time universe. So created persons cannot sufficiently explain whom God loves. Since God is a plurality of persons, as the Christian doctrine of the Trinity affirms, He can be in an eternal loving relationship without creation.

On the unitarian view God, however, God does not give Himself away in love for another; He is focused essentially only on Himself. Since God is essentially loving, the doctrine of the Trinity is more plausible than any unitarian doctrine of God.

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” 2 Cor 13:14

1. Peter S. Williams, Understanding the Trinity, 2012.

Is There Any Extra Biblical Evidence of Jesus Of Nazareth?

Although extra Biblical writing concerning the historical Jesus are simply redundant (since the Gospels and Acts are the earliest and most reliable sources of the life of Jesus of Nazareth) there are extra Biblical writings, enough to satisfy the most skeptical unbeliever.

Lawrence Mykytiuk is associate professor of library science and the history librarian at Purdue University. He holds a Ph.D. in Hebrew and Semitic Studies and is the author of the book Identifying Biblical Persons in Northwest Semitic Inscriptions of 1200–539 B.C.E. (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2004).

Here are the major sections:

Works of Flavius Josephus
Works of Flavius Josephus

Roman historian Tacitus

Jewish historian Josephus

Greek satirist Lucian of Samosata

Platonist philosopher Celsus

Roman governor Pliny the Younger

Roman historian Suetonius

Roman prisoner Mara bar Serapion

And this useful excerpt captures the broad facts about Jesus that we get from just the first two sources:

We can learn quite a bit about Jesus from Tacitus and Josephus, two famous historians who were not Christian. Almost all the following statements about Jesus, which are asserted in the New Testament, are corroborated or confirmed by the relevant passages in Tacitus and Josephus. These independent historical sources—one a non-Christian Roman and the other Jewish—confirm what we are told in the Gospels:31

  1. He existed as a man. The historian Josephus grew up in a priestly family in first-century Palestine and wrote only decades after Jesus’ death. Jesus’ known associates, such as Jesus’ brother James, were his contemporaries. The historical and cultural context was second nature to Josephus. “If any Jewish writer were ever in a position to know about the non-existence of Jesus, it would have been Josephus. His implicit affirmation of the existence of Jesus has been, and still is, the most significant obstacle for those who argue that the extra-Biblical evidence is not probative on this point,” Robert Van Voorst observes.32 And Tacitus was careful enough not to report real executions of nonexistent people.
  1. His personal name was Jesus, as Josephus informs us.
  1. He was called Christos in Greek, which is a translation of the Hebrew word Messiah, both of which mean “anointed” or “(the) anointed one,” as Josephus states and Tacitus implies, unaware, by reporting, as Romans thought, that his name was Christus.
  1. He had a brother named James (Jacob), as Josephus reports.
  1. He won over both Jews and “Greeks” (i.e., Gentiles of Hellenistic culture), according to Josephus, although it is anachronistic to say that they were “many” at the end of his life. Large growthin the number of Jesus’ actual followers came only after his death.
  1. Jewish leaders of the day expressed unfavorable opinions about him, at least according to some versions of the Testimonium Flavianum.
  1. Pilate rendered the decision that he should be executed, as both Tacitus and Josephus state.
  1. His execution was specifically by crucifixion, according to Josephus.
  1. He was executed during Pontius Pilate’s governorship over Judea (26–36 C.E.), as Josephus implies and Tacitus states, adding that it was during Tiberius’s reign.

Some of Jesus’ followers did not abandon their personal loyalty to him even after his crucifixion but submitted to his teaching. They believed that Jesus later appeared to them alive in accordance with prophecies, most likely those found in the Hebrew Bible. A well-attested link between Jesus and Christians is that Christ, as a term used to identify Jesus, became the basis of the term used to identify his followers: Christians. The Christian movement began in Judea, according to Tacitus. Josephus observes that it continued during the first century. Tacitus deplores the fact that during the second century it had spread as far as Rome.

Was Hitler A Christian?

I was recently challenged by an unbelieving friend that Hitler was a Christian.  My response was: “As far as Hitler, he may have called himself a Christian, but he persecuted the Jews. Do you really think that a man who tortured, experimented on, and sought to eliminate the Jews would follow the teachings of the Jew, Jesus of Nazareth?”

Dr. Frank Turek puts it more succinctly in his book Stealing from God: “…please don’t tell me Hitler was a Christian.  David Silverman suggested that in our debate, and it’s completely contrary to the facts.  Hitler may have used religious language for political gain.  But does anyone really think that Hitler was sincerely and consistently worshiping a Jew whoseHitler guiding principle was to love God and your neighbor as yourself?  Whatever Hitler believed, it wasn’t orthodox Christianity…Hitler called Christianity one of the great ‘scourges’ in history and wanted Germans to be the ‘only people immunized against this disease.'” [1]

But why should you lend credence to my  opinion or even that of Dr. Turek?  Let’s let Adolph Hitler speak for himself.  The book, Hitler’s Secret Conversations 1941-1944 published by Farrar, Straus and Young, Inc.first edition, 1953, contains Hitler’s real views. The book was published in Britain under the title, _Hitler’s Table Talk 1941-1944, which title was used for the Oxford University Press paperback edition in the United States.

Hitler says, “National Socialism and religion cannot exist together…. The heaviest blow that ever struck humanity was the coming of Christianity. Bolshevism is Christianity’s illegitimate child. Both are inventions of the Jew. The deliberate lie in the matter of religion was introduced into the world by Christianity…. Let it not be said that Christianity brought man the life of the soul, for that evolution was in the natural order of things.” (p 6 & 7)

“Christianity is a rebellion against natural law, a protest against nature. Taken to its logical extreme, Christianity would mean the systematic cultivation of the human failure.” (p 43)

“Christianity is rebellion against this constitution, a protest against the creation; performed consistently, it would lead to the breeding of inferior.” (p 76)

“The best thing is to let Christianity die a natural death…. When understanding of the universe has become widespread… Christian doctrine will be convicted of absurdity…. Christianity has reached the peak of absurdity…. And that’s whysomeday its structure will collapse…. …the only way to get rid of Christianity is to allow it to die little by little….Christianity the liar…. We’ll see to it that the Churches cannot spread abroad teachings in conflict with the interests of the State.” (p 49-52)

“The reason why the ancient world was so pure, light and serene was that it knew nothing of the two great scourges: the pox and Christianity.” (p 96)

As is evident, Adolph Hitler was not only not a Christian, he was anti-Christian.

[1] Frank Turek, Stealing from God, p. 119.

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