June 2012

Daniel Wallace is a prominent evangelical NT textual critic.  He has written about the field in various places, but never in much detail, and never in a book dedicated to the topic.  So I was very excited when I heard he was editing a collection of essays on the topic.  

Revisiting the Corruption of the New Testament is not a general book on the topic of NT textual criticism, but a collection of essays criticizing the analysis and methodology of Bart Ehrman.  Indeed, if you have heard any of Wallace and Ehrman’s three debates, you will already be familiar with much of the material Wallace presents in his chapter.  But it is nice to have that wealth of information put to print and to have access to all of the details Wallace provides in the footnotes.  Here are a few facts about the NT manuscripts that are of note:  (more…)

That is what some Christians and secularists suggest.  They think marriage should be a private institution handled by churches and others, while the government sits by as a neutral observer.  That may salve over the current political and cultural debate over the definition of marriage, but is this a good idea?  Jennifer Roback Morse thinks not, and wrote a three-part series explaining why (1, 2, 3).  She argues that privatizing marriage is not only impossible in practice, but that it would result in more state power and would unnecessarily hurt children.


I woke up this morning hotly anticipating the SCOTUS decision on the constitutionality of Obamacare, fully expecting it to be ruled unconstitutional.  To my dismay, it was upheld (and Roberts, rather than Kennedy, was the deciding vote).  I was happy to see that SCOTUS rejected the government’s claim that Obamacare was a valid expression of Congress’ ability to regulate interstate commerce (although Ginsberg, unsurprisingly, thinks it is), but I was blown away that they considered it a tax.  Seriously?  Talk about legal and semantical obfuscation!  As Wesley J. Smith wrote, “It appears that the Supremes have rewritten the law in order to uphold it.”  With this approach to law and constitutionality, anything can be made legal…the constitution be damned.

Apparently now the federal government can require us to buy whatever they want so long as they call it a “tax” (something Obama and the Dems specifically said it was not). Calling something a tax doesn’t make it one.  Perhaps we’ll all be required to buy, I mean pay a tax for tofu next year.

When Congress can pass such a law, and SCOTUS can uphold it as being constitutional, I fear that we are no longer being ruled by a Constitution but by the whims of those who hold office.  Federalism is dying.  Power is shifting away from the states and to the federal government.  Who needs state governments when the federal government can regulate all of American life?  I fear we are no longer the United States of America.  We are simply America.

In an earlier post I discussed the Qeiyafa Ostracon, identifying it as the earliest extant example of Hebrew writing.  That was what was being reported at the time, but the truth appears to lie elsewhere.  The May/June 2012 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review discussed this inscription, noting the many problems associated with the identification.  


Inclusivism is the doctrine that while no one can be saved apart from Christ, one need not have conscious faith in Christ to be saved.  So, for example, while a good Buddhist may not trust in Christ for his salvation, since he is a good Buddhist Christ applies the merits of His substitutionary atonement to him. 

The NT is opposed to inclusivism.  It is quite clear that one must exercise conscious faith in Christ to experience salvation: 

John 3:14-18  And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, [15] that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. [16] “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. [17] For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. [18] Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 


“[C.S.] Lewis insists that, because science confines its examination to the universe, it’s natural that science discovers nothing beyond it.” — David Bagget and Jerry Walls in their book, Good God.

While I have already written an assessment of Stephen Law’s evil god challenge, after listening to Law engage in an informal debate on the topic with Glenn Peoples on Unbelievable, I have a few more observations to make.

Law seems to take as his starting point the idea that people reject the existence of an evil God based on the empirical evidence: there is simply too much good in the world for an evil god to exist.  Then he reasons that if the presence of good in the world makes the existence of an evil God absurd, people should also recognize that the presence of evil in the world makes the existence of a good God equally absurd.  The success of his argument depends on three assumptions:


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