Today we constantly hear things like, “That’s your truth,” “That’s your reality,” “Who are you to judge?” Sadly, this is a symptom of a thinking disease called relativism. Relativism is the belief that there is no absolute or objective moral truth. In short, the relativist believes that you have your truth and that I have my truth and that there is no truth with a capital T. So prevalent is this thinking disease that according to Barna only one-third of adults believe in absolute [or objective] moral truth.
Of course, this disease isn’t brand new. When Jesus told Pilate that He “came into the world to testify to the truth,” Pilate retorted, “What is truth?” (John 18:37-38). Indeed, the Romans were syncretistic—they had no problem accepting the worship of other gods. As Frances Schaffer has pointed out, the Romans didn’t hate the Christians because they worshipped Jesus—the Romans hated the Christians because the Christians would worship only Jesus. Continue reading
Of all the kinds of historical hypocrisy that is attributed to the Christian, none looms as large as the crusades. Thomas Madden, Professor of History and Director of the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Saint Louis University, sums up the popular conception:
The crusades are generally portrayed as a series of holy wars against Islam led by power-mad popes and fought by religious fanatics. They are supposed to have been the epitome of self-righteousness and intolerance, a black stain on the history of the Catholic Church in particular and Western civilization in general. A breed of proto-imperialists, the Crusaders introduced Western aggression to the peaceful Middle East and then deformed the enlightened Muslim culture, leaving it in ruins.
When I teach on why God allows evil, I include a lengthy discussion on the Crusades, inquisitions, witch-hunts, slavery, Nazi Christians, and the oppression of women (for the rest of this post I’m going to sum this up as “Crusades, etc.”). Although these events aren’t typically a part of problem of evil discussions, it’s important for the Christian to answer them because the question naturally arises: If Christians really have the life-changing Good News, then why do they seem to be such bad news for society? Continue reading
In my article, The Bibliographical Test Updated, I updated the number and earliness of manuscripts for the New Testament in comparison to other ancient manuscripts. Since then some apologists have asked whether we need to update our numbers on an annual or even semi-annual basis. The short answer is No. Frequent updating of the bibliographical test is unnecessary and it is virtually impossible to do so. I will deal with each of these in turn. Continue reading
Recently a pastor wrote a very popular blog entitled, “Confronting the lie: God won’t give you more than you can handle.” I’ve seen it frequently “Shared” and apparently it has gotten many thousands of “Likes” on Facebook. In Googling around I found other websites expressing similar sentiments. I don’t want to embarrass the author so I’m not going to name him. But I’m concerned about this notion getting wide agreement because it is terribly imprecise, misleading, and can call God’s goodness into question.
The author calls the idea that God will never give you more than you can handle BS. Continue reading
I posted on this previously but now that the Christian Research Journal has made the entire article available online, I’m doing it again.
For more than forty years Christians have appealed to what is called the “bibliographical test” as a means of establishing the New Testament’s (NT) transmissional accuracy. The bibliographical test examines the overall number of extant manuscripts (sometimes abbreviated to MSS or MS for the singular) and the difference between the date of the original writing, called the autograph, and the date of the earliest surviving, or extant, manuscript. Since we do not possess the autograph of even one ancient document, this test best determines transmissional accuracy for any ancient document. Continue reading
We know that countless people are depressed, and millions are addicted to alcohol or drugs, and millions take antidepressants. And I’m not surprised!
Because honest people—and by that I mean the people not living in denial, the people honest about the human condition—should be depressed! Very depressed.
Consider a truth agreed upon by every agnostic, skeptic, atheist, and Christian: only one thing is going to prevent you from watching every person you know die from murder, accident, or disease and that will be your own death by murder, accident or disease. Continue reading
Richard Dawkins and other new atheists herald God’s ordering of the destruction of Canaanite cities to be divine “ethnic cleansing” and “genocides.” With righteous indignation, Dawkins opines that the God of the Old Testament is “the most unpleasant character in all of fiction.” But was the killing of the Canaanites an example of divine genocide? If you think the Canaanites deserved to die because of their own wickedness, Dawkins will zealously compare you to acting like the Taliban. A closer look at several key facts will help explain God’s reason for the destruction of the Canaanites and reveal how our own sinfulness demonstrates our incapacity to judge rightly. Continue reading
The blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is called the “unpardonable sin,” a sin that will never be forgiven. The very possibility of even committing it often haunts many Christians. Indeed, as an insecure high school sophomore I once thought that I had committed the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit—and I was distressed! Clearly, our own mood and emotional outlook can affect how we listen to Scripture. In the four decades since, I’ve encountered many Christians who feared that they had committed the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit and I’ve always been glad to tell them that they had not. Continue reading
It is no surprise that in a 2002 survey almost three-quarters of Americans (seventy-four percent) rejected the teaching of original sin.
After all, Americans want to feel good about themselves. Nathaniel Brandon, whom many consider the father of the self-esteem movement, said, “The idea of Original Sin…is anti-self-esteem by its very nature. The very notion of guilt without volition or responsibility is an assault on reason as well as on morality.” Also, many view this as an idea from the so-called “Dark Ages”; philosopher and historian Ernst Cassirer noted, “The concept of original sin is the most common opponent against which the different trends of the philosophy of Enlightenment join forces.” But, sadly, the survey also revealed that only fifty-two percent of evangelicals held to the doctrine of original sin. Continue reading