If in recent decades you’ve been to college or kept up with the public debate about the credibility and reliability of Christianity’s claims about Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, you’ve likely heard the claims of a variety of skeptics that His death was a sacrifice just like those common among pagan religions.
Stand To Reason’s Alan Shlemon offers three solid reasons why in fact the sacrifice of Christ is the exact opposite of pagan religions, as illustrated in a recently discovered mummified 13-year-old Incan girl found in Argentina, the Llullaillaco Maiden.
Now admit it, your curiosity won’t allow you not to click here to the rest of the story!
Rock legend Pink Floyd probably isn’t the first name that would come to mind if you were to ask 100 randomly selected professing Christians working on Capitol Hill or anywhere else who led them to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
The Poached Egg founder Greg West isn’t just anybody, however, and here he explains the role of one of the cuts on the band’s classic album, The Dark Side of the Moon, played in his journey from atheist to one of this generation’s most significant Christian apologists.
But before you click on the “here” link above, watch and listen to the cut below and see if you can detect what it was in the lyrics that launched West on an epic spiritual journey. Yes, there is a hint in the above photo, which is by George Fitzmaurice on Unsplash:
Among the most common objections to the credibility and historical reliability of the Gospels — the first four books of the New Testament, authored, respectively, by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John — is how could such men write in Greek if they were illiterate?
That objection is frequently accompanied by the claim that 90 percent of the people in the ancient world were illiterate. Several of the disciples who first proclaimed Jesus’ resurrection were viewed by Jewish leaders as “uneducated and untrained,” according to Acts 4:13. Compared to members of the Sanhedrin, the disciples likely weren’t as educated, but that’s not the same thing as being illiterate.
And both Matthew, a former tax collector, and Luke, a physician, certainly weren’t illiterate. Biblical scholars have long noted that Mark’s Greek is simple and direct, which suggests a lower level of education but clearly not illiteracy.
As for John, his Gospel is the most philosophical, which, since he outlived the other disciples, likely reflects that he thought long and hard before putting pen to scroll.
Cross-examined.org’s Dr. Frank Turek responds to this and related objections regularly, as seen in the following video in which he specifically addresses the critique of New Testament scholar and skeptic Bart Ehrman of the University of North Carolina.
Christians everywhere face the question of whether their faith has anything to do with their jobs, but it’s an especially acute issue for those on a congressional payroll.
Here’s why: The law in America is made through the competitive political process, but culture is upstream from politics and faith in turn is upstream from culture. Your faith shapes your work ethos.
Continue reading “Can Christians Be Faithful AND Work With Integrity On ‘The Hill?’”
People on Capitol Hill often speak of the importance of doing a “forensic audit” of a government program, a corporate expenditure or a political campaign, typically in conjunction with a court case or a congressional investigation.
The purpose of a forensic audit is to uncover facts that would otherwise likely go undiscovered, which could in turn render the case or investigation inadequate or outright wrong. Can there be such a thing as a “forensic faith?”
Continue reading “Should A Congressional Aide View ‘Forensic Faith’ As An Oxymoron?”
Christmas is less than a month away and that means there is a fair amount of discussion in the media and popular culture about the birth of Jesus Christ in a manger in Bethlehem.
Critics have long delighted to point out that the census that plays a key role in Luke’s Gospel account of His birth never really happened. Here’s how Luke put it:
Continue reading “New Evidence Shows Luke Didn’t Just Invent The Census In The Christmas Story”
One of the effects of working on Capitol Hill for any length of time is how it tends to capture your focus within the narrow confines of Washington politics and policy.
There’s a whole world out there in the “real world” beyond the Potomac River, one small but immensely significant part of which is the community of scholars who study things like whether the New Testament are reliable records of ancient history, especially the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Now, here’s what is likely a shocker for a lot of folks who spend their working lives toiling away in Congress: Beginning in the early 1970s and continuing today, scholars who once declared the New Testament was not reliable have now come to the conclusion that the Gospels are indeed authoritative and trustworthy.
Continue reading “Here’s Why Even Critical Scholars Now Say The Gospels Are Reliable”
Mention “New Testament” or “Bible” or “Gospels” in a mixed crowd and be prepared to be told there are so many contradictions in the documents that they can’t be believed.
As Prof. Sean McDowell points out, there are indeed what appear contradictions in the Gospels, such as John 3:16 and I John 2:15. “Which is it? Are we supposed to love the world, as God does, or not,” McDowell asks.
“Yet closer analysis reveals they are not thoughtless mistakes from a careless writer, but part of an intentional rhetorical strategy to get readers to reflect upon the deeper meaning of words,” McDowell continues.
If you work on the Hill, such a rhetorical approach might not seem so foreign. After all, liberals and conservatives use the same words all the time, but infuse them with different, sometimes radically different, meanings.
McDowell goes on to illustrate his point with additional examples. Definitely worth your time to read and consider.
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash
You hear it regularly in conversations on Capitol Hill. One guy says X and the other guy instantly dismisses it because “oh, that’s what you expect Fox/CNN/MSNBC to say. That’s just fake news.”
And that raises an interesting question, and not just for men and women working in the House and Senate or one of the congressional agencies like the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) or Government Accounting Office (GAO).
Continue reading “Is Jesus’ Resurrection Fact Or Just ‘Fake News?’”
“Conspiracy” is a word one hears regularly on Capitol Hill and it’s almost always in the context of somebody doing something they don’t want somebody else to know about.
After all, as Scripture says, darkness hates the light.
So there is invariably a sinister association with conspiracies, as well as with other words that can mean the same thing, including “plot,” “scheme” and “collusion.” The true purpose behind of any of these can actually be good or bad, but they are usually thought of as representing criminal or otherwise unpleasant purposes.
Which brings us to Jesus. People in high places and low have for millennia tried to dismiss the claim that Jesus was resurrected on the third day after his death on the cross as representing nothing more than a conspiracy among His disciples to fool the world to protect their own hides.
Cross-Examined’s Dr. Frank Turek often hears the claim, as he was recently by a Maryland college student. His response makes it clear that nobody needs a subpoena to get to the truth about the Resurrection:
Whether you are a famous cold-case detective like J. Warner Wallace solving 30-year-old murders or a veteran investigator for a congressional committee probing government contract fraud, much of what you do and how you do it is the same.
Take, for example, assessing the credibility of witnesses. Crime detectives and Hill investigators have to do that all the time as it’s one of their most important skills. What if witnesses don’t agree on all the details of an event? Is that reason to reject some or all of the witnesses?
For many critics of the Gospels, the fact Matthw, Mark, Luke and John provide four accounts that appear to differ on important details about the resurrection of Jesus disqualifies them as credible witnesses. And that in turn raises huge question marks about the Resurrection.
“What if witnesses don’t agree on all the details of an event? Is that reason to reject some or all of the witnesses?”
Wallace is well-known for his many appearances on NBC’s “Dateline” program where he showed America how he solved five stone-cold cases from decades back.
He knows about witnesses and in this video he shares four rules derived from California judicial procedures that he has used for many years and that helped him evaluate the credibility of the Gospel accounts of the Resurrection.
It’s a truism in many secular precincts that Christianity has kept women in a subordinate position to men, but is that a reflection on the Bible that defines the faith or on the Christians who misused or misunderstood it?
With at least 100 newly elected women heading to mount the Capitol Hill steps above as a result of the 2018 midterm election, according to Kathryn Watson of CBS News, the treatment and status of women in America is certain to be a huge issue in the new Congress come January. (Photo above by Louis Velazquez on Unsplash)
Continue reading “Does The Bible Demean Women (On The Hill Or Anywhere Else)?”
Imagine for a moment that Jesus never entered history. There would be no Sermon on the Mount. No Crucifixion. No Resurrection. No New Testament. No Paul. Rome is the foundation of everything that comes after its fall.
And Rome, indeed virtually the entire ancient world, was based politically and economically on slavery, the rights and perogatives of elites, and raw, brute, unaccountable power.
Would there be an America if Christianity never happened?
Continue reading “Why Does This Historian Say He Got Christianity Wrong?”
Ask 100 randomly selected congressional aides whether they think it’s immoral to torture children and I guarantee you all 100 — like virtually any other similarly sized and chosen group — will react in horror and say something like “of course not, only a monster would do that.”
Such responses are evidence of the moral intuitions with which every human being is born. Those intuitions don’t just turn up, Christian apologists contend, they are evidence of the creator, who is the source of the standards of right and wrong underlying the intuitions. Evolutionary materialists argue moral intuitions simply represent the accumulated experience of the results of similar courses of action.
Obviously, something too often intervenes to corrupt or silence the moral intuitions and what that something is generates as much debate among believers and non-believers alike as the source of the intuitions.
Dr. Frank Turek dealt with an aspect of that debate in response to a question posed by a Towson University student. This video of Turek’s response was posted on YouTube November 9.
Tuesday’s 2018 midterm election is followed by a grim morning for hundreds of congressional aides. They work on the personal staffs of losing Democrat and Republican senators and representatives and, on the House side, on the outgoing Republican majority’s committee staffs.
Come the first week of January when the new Congress is seated, with Republicans in the majority in the Senate and Democrats controlling the House of Representatives, these aides will be out of work. It’s part of the rhythm of Congress as every two years, the seats of one-third of the senators and all 435 representatives are open. Many are re-elected, more than a few are not.
Continue reading “Today’s Question For Hundreds Of Hill Staffers — What Now?”