Tag: Truth vs. Error

The Jesus Seminar Revealed – Part Three

Jesus Seminar Revealed

In the last part of our report, we looked at the founder of The Jesus Seminar and Westar Institute, Robert Funk. He was a leader in the new “quest” for the historical Jesus until his death in 2005.

Westar Institute’s “mission” statement claims that the organization “is dedicated to fostering and communicating the results of cutting-edge scholarship on the history and evolution of the Christian tradition, thereby raising the level of public discourse about questions that matter in society and culture.”

Question: how “cutting-edge” is Westar’s scholarship?

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The Jesus Seminar Revealed – Part Two

Jesus Seminar Revealed

In part one of our report, we looked at The Jesus Seminar and its impact on other “seminars” conducted as part of the Westar Institute.

I admit to being slightly amused at this statement on the Westar Institute website –

“Westar is not affiliated with any religious institution and does not advocate a particular theological point of view.”

That’s an interesting statement in light of their stated point of view about Christian theology, as you read in our previous report.

In part two, we will look at the founder of The Jesus Seminar and Westar Institute and his stated purposes for “rewriting” the history of Christianity.

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The Jesus Seminar Revealed – Part One

Jesus Seminar Revealed

The Jesus Seminar was a group of “scholars and specialists” interested in renewing “the quest of the historical Jesus.” The name Jesus Seminar would imply that this group had good credentials and would reveal something important about the real life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. That didn’t happen.

According to The Jesus Seminar –

“Among the findings is that, in the judgment of the Jesus Seminar Fellows, about 18 percent of the sayings and 16 percent of the deeds attributed to Jesus in the gospels are authentic.”

Another way of understanding that statement is that 82 percent of the sayings and 84 percent of the deeds attributed to Jesus in the Gospels are NOT authentic.

Let that sink in for a minute ….

The Jesus Seminar would have us believe that the vast majority of what’s written about the sayings and deeds of Jesus Christ in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) are NOT authentic – not true – never said – never done.

Was The Jesus Seminar right?

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A Reading Plan for Christian Apologists – Part 3.23

 

Reading Plan

We are currently looking at the writings of Origen of Alexandria. While admired by many Christians of his day, some thought him to be a heretic because of his views about the pre-existence of human souls, allegorical interpretation of Scripture, and eventual universal salvation.

In the last part of our series, we looked at Origen’s declarations against heresy and heretics in De Principiis.  We will now look at what is believed to be Origen’s most famous writing about heresy – Against Celsus.

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A Reading Plan for Christian Apologists – Part 3.22

Reading Plan

Alexandria, Egypt was a major center for Christianity in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD. Coptic Christians believe that John Mark (author of the Gospel of Mark) was the first to preach the Gospel in Egypt. The Catechetical School of Alexandria was started by Pantaenus toward the end of the 2nd century and many believe it to be the oldest Christian catechetical school. Clement of Alexandria became head of the school after Pantaenus’ death in about 200 AD. One of Clement’s prominent students was Origen.

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Book Review: The Story of Reality

    I love the title!

The Story of Reality: How the World Began, How It Ends, and Everything Important that Happens in Between (Zondervan, 2017).

Greg Koukl is already well known for writing Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted In Mid-Air (with Francis Beckwith – Baker Books, 1998) and Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions (Zondervan, 2009), speaking on scores of university campuses, hosting a radio show for almost 30 years, serving as an adjunct professor of Christian apologetics at Biola University, and being Founder/President of Stand to Reason. So, why a book about reality and why now? 

“The first question any of us learns to ask about anything—and we usually learn to ask it quite early in life—is ‘Why?’ … There are answers to life’s most basic questions, though, and in this book I want to give them to you. I know the answers not because I am especially clever and figured them out on my own. Of course, some things you can safely conclude if you think carefully about the cause … But the best way to get accurate insight into any story is to let the author tell you himself. Yes, life is a kind of story and this Story has an Author. This is one thing that’s fairly easy to figure out from the clues. In this book I want to tell you that story—the Story of reality—and help you see your place in it.” Preface, p 17-18

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A Reading Plan for Christian Apologists – Part 3.20

Reading Plan

We began this series, A Reading Plan for Christian Apologists, 18 months ago for the purpose of emphasizing the importance of reading for apologists –

“Christian apologists must be thinkers. That means they must also be readers. Thinkers read. Readers think. The goal is to become a better thinker for the purpose of becoming a better truth communicator with both Christians and non-Christians. The goal is not to keep what you learn to yourself or amaze your friends with “feats” of knowledge. The goal has not changed since Jesus and His apostles told Christians what to do with the gifts the Lord gave them: 1. glorify God, 2. make disciples (teach them to obey Christ), and 3. equip the saints for their work of ministry for the edifying of the Body of Christ (to name a few).” Reading Plan, June 2016

So far, we have published 23 articles that cover major Christian writings from the 1st, 2nd and 3rd centuries. In our last two articles, we looked at the 3rd century writings of Hippolytus and Clement of Alexandria. We looked at Clement’s Exhortation to the Heathen and Paedagogus (The Instructor), Book I. We now turn to Books II & III.

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Book Review: Leaving Mormonism – Why Four Scholars Changed their Minds

Leaving Mormonism: Why Four Scholars Changed Their Minds (RatioChristiBooks/Kregel Publications, 2017) is the best book I’ve read about the inner workings of Mormonism, but it’s much more than that. Four former Mormons who are scholars in various academic disciplines also share their deep love for Mormons and their desire to help them understand the truthfulness of the Bible and the errors of the Mormon religion.

Drs. Corey Miller and Lynn K. Wilder are the book’s editors and co-wrote chapters with Drs. Latayne C. Scott and Vince Eccles. Their combined range of doctorates from Philosophical Theology to Education to Biblical Studies to Physics brings a special perspective that makes Leaving Mormonism a must-have guide for every Christian who wants to better understand Mormonism and for every Mormon who may be having doubts about their religion.

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