Over the last few years of maintaining Sententias I’ve decided to start a very long series that may be used to assist the curious and the new believers. The material will progress from the most basic elements of theology and philosophy [as it relates to the faith]. Then it will progress towards other doctrinal issues and then on to more peripheral issues. All the while there will be intermittent points of reflection and Bible study material.
This will be designed for either a group of individuals (if someone is being discipled by a mature Christian) or by someone who happens to be alone (where this can help get them going until they can find someone to teach them one on one).
I will soon post an outline of what I intended to include. The general format will be that of the famous spider web example. In the centre of the web will be the essentials (e.g. the existence of God, deity of Jesus, atonement, repentance and faith, etc.). In the inner rings will be important but non-salvific and non-gospel issues (e.g. theories of the atonement [I will advocate substitionary], biblical inerrancy, etc.). Then on the more outer rings there will be tentatively held issues like dating, authorships, textual transmission, gifts of the Holy Spirit, etc.
That’s not typically a big deal. I don’t even have a public calendar (but then again, I don’t need to have one). However, what’s so remarkable is the cause for Licona to do this. I hope you’ve had your coffee for the day and you’re in a good mood because the reason it was removed may have you a bit… frustrated. On Licona’s website he posted this explanation along with his private email he sent directly to Geisler.
The disciples were not expecting the Christ and Messiah to be a spiritual Messiah, rather, they expected the Messiah to be a political Messiah redeeming indentured Israel from Roman captivity and rule. According to church tradition, eleven of the twelve disciples (later apostles) died for their belief in the resurrection of Jesus. What can account for such belief and fortitude? It would be unlikely that the disciples contrived the resurrection as a means of social, spiritual, or a political influence. All eleven died independently from each other and never retracted their belief. There are martyrs today but there would be no reasonable explanation for why the disciples would die for something they knew to be false and never retracted it, independent of each other’s influence, before their deaths. Paul accounted for the disciples’ belief in the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15.9-11 and Galatians 2.1-10
The reasons Aslan presents for Jesus’ crucifixion are lacking in religio-historical accuracy. There were certainly political reasons that involved Rome and Pilate. Pilate’s action to offer one criminal for another [accused criminal] was not unprecedented. Josephus [in Antiquities 20.9.3 §§208-210; 20.9.5 §215] gives an account of the release of prisoners. Pilate’s motivation seems to have been more political rather than sympathetic to Jesus. Pilate was only trying to appease the crowds for he has already dealt with rebellious Jews in the beginning of his governorship [Josephus, Jewish War 2.9.2-4 §§169-177, Antiquities 18.3.1 §§55-59].
Last October (2012) Gary Habermas delivered a lecture to the Ratio Christi chapter at Liberty University on the historical data concerning the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. The video was professionally captured and you may view the videos in the links below.
I am interested in becoming a Christian apologetic but these couple questions are kind of a stumbling block for me. Do you think you could answer these questions for me so I could understand Christianity more?
1.What is the ontological argument? To mean it seems like a lot of lip service. Basically tell me if I’m wrong the ontological argument is that if you think something exists it does or if your mind can imagine something it exists? It doesn’t make sense to me. A perfect concept does not prove a perfect being.
2. I was watching a philosophical interview with Greg Koukl who was talking about abstract uncreated beings. From what I got out of it uncreated beings do not exist and God created everything even Numbers But if that’s the case then how can God be bound by logic? Like the answer to the question can God make a rock to be he can’t lift? One would say that God can do anything LOGICALLY possible and since there are no rocks he can’t lift then the question is logically impossible. So how does this make sense? Do you know about created and uncreated abstract beings and can you explain more about the study of them and what they are?
On 8 November 2012 I did a presentation to the Ratio Christi club at Liberty University on how to argue for the existence of God. It was designed to be a smaller training session for the Ratio Christi members. I discussed the importance of apologetics and the difference between knowing your faith to be true and showing your faith to be true. That was the followed by methodological differences and my use of the classical approach.
I then gave three arguments: 1) Thomas’ cosmological argument from contingency, 2) the abductive fine-tuning argument, and 3) the abductive moral argument (or as I like to say, the new moral argument).
Recently, Dr. Michael Licona (Houston Baptist University) spent time in Canada debating Yale professor Dr. Dale Martin on questions concerning the resurrection and self-understanding of Jesus. Below are links to the videos.
Dr. Michael Licona and Dr. Dale Martin discuss the question “Did Jesus Physically Rise From the Dead?” The first evening of the 2012 Religion Soup discussion took place Oct 18, 2012 at St. Mary’s University.