Some people believe that the Apostle Paul “hijacked” Christianity and turned it into something God never intended. How Paul, a mere human being, could have done that to God’s plan is not explained very well, but they still believe it. Some say Paul was a … Continue reading What Paul Knew and When He Knew It – Part 2
It seems like everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon of Paul hijacking Christianity and turning it into something different than what Jesus Christ intended. Another way people have presented it to me is that Paul “invented” Christianity. Others say that Paul was a “dupe” … Continue reading What Paul Knew and When He Knew It – Part 1
In our last report we looked at Old Testament references concerning God’s Anointed – the Messiah. We will now look at how the New Testament presents Jesus of Nazareth as being the promised Messiah. A reminder about the word “Messiah.” It comes from the Hebrew word mashiach … Continue reading Convince Me There’s A God: The New Testament Part 4
The full title of this wonderful book is Why Are There Differences in the Gospels?: What We Can Learn from Ancient Biography (Oxford University Press, 2017). The author, Dr. Michael Licona, is Associate Professor of Theology at Houston Baptist University and president of Risen Jesus. Lee Strobel interviewed Licona for his book “The Case for the Real Jesus” and video “The Case for Christ.”
Dr. Licona is the author of several books including The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach (IVP Academic, 2010) and Paul Meets Muhammad (Baker, 2006). He is also co-author with Gary Habermas of the award-winning book The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus (Kregel, 2004) and co-editor with William Dembski of Evidence for God: 50 Arguments for Faith from the Bible, History, Philosophy, and Science (Baker, 2010). Licona is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society, the Institute for Biblical Research, and the Society of Biblical Literature. He is also a well-known speaker and debater and has appeared on dozens of radio and television programs.
The full title of this new book is Reformation Theology: A Systematic Summary (Crossway, 2017). Its publication is certainly timely as we approach the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation this October (October 31, 2017).
I understand Michael Horton’s concern about the upcoming anniversary –
“Frankly, I’m a bit ambivalent about this anniversary. If it is another occasion for liberals to hail Luther’s “Here I stand!” as the harbinger of modern autonomy, or for conservatives to celebrate Protestant values, or for confessionalists to rewatch the Luther movie and dredge up polemical grudges, then it will be at best a colossal waste of time. If, on the other hand, it is an occasion to allow God’s Word once again to break into our self-enclosed circles with a word of radical judgment and radical grace, then it will be a happy anniversary indeed.” Prologue, p 34
We have looked most recently at the “Apostolic Fathers” in our series. They include men like Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, and Polycarp of Smyrna – disciples of the apostles of Jesus Christ. They were born during the 1st century and served as bishops and apologists.
The men who followed the Apostolic Fathers in the 2nd, 3rd and early 4th centuries fought many important battles for orthodox Christianity as passed to them from the apostles through the apostolic fathers. The writings of these brave men are important for modern Christian apologists to read because the battles they fought are similar to what we fight today. Plus, we can learn from the deep devotion they presented in both their lives and ministries.
We’ll begin with Justin Martyr, Irenaeus of Lyons, Tertullian, and Clement of Alexandria.
Some of the best known of the ancient apologists are the “Apostolic fathers.” They were disciples of the apostles. They lived during the 1st and 2nd centuries AD and their apologetic ministries had a powerful influence on the early Christian Church. They included Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, and Polycarp of Symrna (some scholars include Papias of Hierapolis in the group). We’ve learned about Clement of Rome and Ignatius of Antioch in previous studies. We move now to Polycarp of Symrna.