Search

Den of Lambs

Christian Defense of the Faith

Month

May 2017

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, reasonablefaith.org, 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,
“Hosanna!”
“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.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑