ACM Academy of Apologetics – Fall Semester Launch with Gary Habermas!

As of this coming Fall semester, I will be the managing director of Athanatos Christian Ministries’ online apologetics academy.  October 3rd is when several classes begin.  Dr. Gary Habermas will be guest lecturing on the historical Jesus and the evidence for the Resurrection.  It is possible to attend these lectures without being enrolled in the academy.  Those enrolled in the academy, regardless of course, can attend his 90 minute lectures to be held in early November.

With the name of the facilitators listed alongside, here are the Fall 2011 courses offered:

The courses are manageable 3-5 weeks in length with the exception of the OT course, which is 6 weeks.  This fall, there are courses for those who are familiar with apologetics topics already and want to go deeper and those who are just getting started.  For example, we suggest that every Christian know basic Greek.  Also, the Basic Christianity class (taught by me – Glenn Jones) is organized around C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity.  New Christians or seekers are strongly encouraged to take the Basic Christianity course.

This leads us to the fact that atheists and agnostics are welcome to attend our courses.  This session, the Historical Jesus course and the Survey of the Old Testament would be of particular value to a non-Christian:  if you’re going to reject something, you should actually know what you are rejecting as the proponents themselves present it.  The Survey of the OT course is actually part 1 of 3, with parts 2 and 3 to come later in the year.  It is impossible to fully comprehend Christianity without an understanding of the Old Testament.

And that brings us to our “Send an Atheist to School” program.  We are aware that atheists or seekers might not be willing to pay for such courses.  We are asking Christians to consider sponsoring atheists, seekers, agnostics, and fellow Christians who cannot afford our (reasonably priced) courses.

Learn more and register at:

Suffering in the Spirit: Death, Adoption, and Groaning

How can Christians have confidence in the truth of the gospel when their present situation is so different than what the Bible says they have been given in Christ? In this sermon we see the connection between the believer’s present suffering and future glory. The Holy Spirit, Paul tells us, connects us with our future resurrection even in our present struggle with sin, the curse, and death.
The text for the sermon is Romans 8:10-27. It was delivered by me at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Cleveland,TN on June 26, 2011. The previous message can be found here.


What is your view of the Creation account in Genesis? (Part 3)

The following series of posts are my brief answer to this question. Today I share with you part 3 of my answer:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

In conclusion, there are many things that could be said about modern science and what earth geology may or may not tell us about the age of the earth. But one thing is for certain, modern science does not regard Scripture as a reliable historical source of information and thereby neglects to address the many issues of history that the Bible does clearly speak to: 1) the reality that a global flood happened around 4500 years ago that altered the planets geology and ecology in a catastrophic way. 2) Adam and Eve were the first two humans, thus making man’s fossil record is no older than 6,000 years according to the genealogy of the Bible. 3) God created every living creature according to its own kind (the study of Baraminology). This makes the evolutionary claim of a ‘tree’ of common descent – starting from a single celled organism to what we see today – completely untenable. All of this simply means that the modern scientific ‘evidence’ for an old earth has presupposed the wrong starting points and is therefore completely unreliable to tell us the age of the created universe.

Given my argumentation above, I believe that a strong case can be made for a Biblical understanding of the creation of the universe as taking place in six 24-hours days and having occurred roughly 6,000 years ago. I commend this three part series as food for thought as you continue to study the Scriptures and submit yourself to God’s worldview.

This post concludes my three part answer to the question: What is your view of the Creation account in Genesis?

What is your view of the Creation account in Genesis? (Part 2)

The following series of posts are my brief answer to this question. Today I share with you part 2 of my answer:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

My first contention, mentioned at the end of Part 1, pertains to human testimony and God’s ultimate revelation of the creation account from Adam to Noah to Abram to Moses. Some theories, such as the framework theory, conclude that the creation account is structured in light of the Sinaitic covenant in which Moses was writing Genesis as a ‘preamble.’ In contrast though, it has been noted by some that the book of Genesis is structured in accordance with the word ‘generation.’ This then could easily imply that writings (before Moses) were in existence as historical record in which Moses was God’s instrument of compilation. Now, I acknowledge that all of these things are theories, but it only makes good sense that God’s people would have actually had records of God’s work before Israel was constituted as a covenant nation at Sinai. With this alternate theory stated, it does not follow that the best theory of the books origin is as a mere ‘preamble’ to the Sinaitic covenant for Israel. This makes a framework theory of Genesis chapter one unnecessary because it was not strictly written as a critic of the ancient-near eastern pagan worship that Israel had seen in Egypt. Further information provided to us in Exodus clearly affirms that Israel maintained their faith in the Creator God as their cries to Him were heard. If Israel did not know of the previous covenants before Sinai, then why is it that the Hebrew midwives feared God? (Exodus 1) Why is it that God remembered his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob when the people cried out to God in their slavery? (Exodus 2) The only way to explain these things is to conclude that the information in Genesis was readily available to the Israelites well before Moses ever came on the scene. Thus, in conclusion, it does not follow that the framework theory of Genesis chapter one is the primary meaning or purpose of the creation account. Instead, we must consider the evidence that shows the Genesis creation account is a historical record of creation, just as the rest of the book of Genesis is a historical record of the genealogies of God’s people leading up to Joseph in the land of Egypt.

My second contention deals directly with the meaning of the word ‘day’ in the Genesis account. I do acknowledge that the meaning of the Hebrew word for ‘day’ can mean something other than a 24-hour period, but I intend to show that an alternate meaning of the word is not necessary or encouraged by what is written in the Genesis account of creation or the account at Sinai. First, any other scholarly reading of the rest of the book of Genesis lends itself to an understanding that God created each thing, in each day, with respect to the human concepts of ‘morning and evening.’ In other words, no one questions the other occurrences of the words ‘day’, ‘morning’, or ‘evening’ in other places within Genesis. Thus, one does not need to imagine much beyond a normal earth day cycle for the meaning of the word ‘day’ in Genesis chapter one. This is more clearly seen in what follows with chapter two of Genesis – there the seventh day may be viewed as an un-ending day in which God rested from all His labor. This understanding of the seventh day must be contrasted with the six days of creation to understand that they were in fact finite periods of time. ‘Morning’ and ‘evening’ do not occur on the seventh day. So if we cannot then conclude that the days were 24-hour earth days, what were they? Well, as another theory (the Day-Age Theory) often states – with the sun, moon and stars not appearing until the 4th day, we do not know how long the days were since we tell time based on the earths rotation around the sun, etc. But this argument fails to take into account the language of ‘morning’ and ‘evening.’ Not only does it fail to take into account the language of Genesis one, but it also fails to account for the testimony of God at Sinai where He says, in the Ten Commandments, “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day.” The reason for this statement is not to newly structure the nation of Israel in their work week. Instead, it is to re-affirm the covenant of creation in which man was always to work six 24-hour days and then to rest on the seventh in anticipation of entering God’s un-ending rest once man had completed his work to fill the earth and subdue it. In other words, God created the world in such a way that man would understand how he was to work. This then leads me to my third point of contention.

The testimony of God in creation was given for the purpose of revealing himself primarily through mankind as His image-bearer. This means we must understand that an ‘old earth’ theory decentralized the glory of God in the creation account by opening up our minds to the idea that history went on for thousands of years before the glory of God was displayed in man as the image bearer. Note how the Apostle Paul speaks of these things, “For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God.” (1 Cor. 11:7, emphasis mine) God is not playing some hide and seek game about why and for what purpose He created the universe in six 24-hour days and rested on the seventh. Jesus himself points out that man was not made for the Sabbath, but that the Sabbath was made for man. (Mark 2:27) Thus, once again, we see the anthropocentric nature of the creation account in Genesis chapter one. An old earth makes no sense of God creating mankind as his image bearer. As many scholars know, the context and meaning of ‘images’ in the Ancient near-east would have meant that God did not place an image bearer in his creation for thousands or millions or billions of years! This is tantamount to God saying that He himself was not King of His creation! Are we as Christians really willing to say that about God?

Lastly, I would like to close by arguing my fourth point regarding the nature of the living things that God created. It is clear, from Genesis chapter two, that God created the creatures of the earth, especially man, in physically mature states. It was not as though the ‘chicken came after the egg’ in God’s account of His creation. It only stands to reason then that God would have easily created the universe in a short period of time, but in a physically mature state that could easily have the appearance of age without actually having existed for for more than 6 days.

To be continued… on Monday, Part 3 will be published.

What is your view of the Creation account in Genesis? (Part 1)

The following series of posts are my brief answer to this question:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

As far as my history goes on understanding the Genesis creation account, I was raised to believe in a ‘literal’ interpretation of the book of Genesis. This meant that I was taught that the creation days, in Genesis one, were six 24-hour days during which God created the entire universe. Now, it is that view that I have always believed and it is that view that I hold today. But I must note that my traditional understanding of ‘literal’ interpretation has shifted. I am very strongly convinced that we should use the word ‘literal’ to refer to the meaning that the author originally intended. Thus, I do disagree with my upbringing on the idea that a ‘literal’ interpretation always means that we are to accept the words at face value according to how we understand the space-time-matter universe today. A good example of this would be where Scripture talks about the stars falling and the sun and moon during black and not giving light (e.g. – Matt. 24:29, Acts 2:14-21). In places such as these, cosmic catastrophe language is being used ‘apocalyptically’ in order to ‘reveal’ something about a given time period where the order of things are changing and God is judging nations and peoples in righteousness. So, where does that leave us in terms of the questions of Genesis chapter one and its meaning?

I think I can safely say that most scholarly interpreters of Genesis chapter one do not categorize the language as apocalyptic language. But there are several views that do say that the language of Genesis chapter one is different from the rest of the chapters in the book of Genesis. Two of these views are the Framework Theory and the Day-Age Theory. These views will be briefly interacted with in the following paragraphs as I seek to articulate my own view of the Genesis creation account.

To start with, when defending a ‘young earth,’ or ‘young age’ view (as I prefer to say ), one must deal with several issues in order to rightly clarify and establish what the Bible teaches about the creation account – that God took six 24-hour earth days to create the entire universe. Therefore, I would like to defend four basic premises in what follows: 1) Human testimony of God’s act of creation existed before Moses wrote or compiled the information contained in the book of Genesis. 2) The meaning of the word ‘day’ in Genesis one is to be understood in light of the words ‘morning’ and ‘evening.’ 3) The creation account is uniquely anthropocentric and the rest of the Bible acknowledges this as an important key to understanding the purpose of creation with respect to mankind. 4) A physically ‘mature’ creation is the norm for the entire creation account.

To be continued… on Thursday, Part 2 will be published.

2 Peter’s Response to Rob Bell

This is what I consider to be a properly customized form of 2 Peter chapter 2 for the recent clarity that has come to the Christian community about the destructive heresy that Rob Bell has began to teach in public and in writing. Take these words to heart and pray that Rob Bell might somehow escape from his folly and the destruction that is promised to all false teachers in the Church:

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

This false teacher among you is Rob Bell! He is like an irrational animal, a creature of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which he is ignorant. He will be destroyed in the very destruction that he denies will come upon the ungodly, suffering wrong as the wage for his wrongdoing. He counts it a pleasure to revel in public and in online videos about how joyous it is to question what has been clearly revealed in the Scriptures. He is a blot and blemish, reveling in his deceptions, even while he administers the Supper in his own mega-church. He has eyes full of pastoral unfaithfulness, an insatiable wolf among sheep. He entices unsteady souls with his teaching, his videos, and his books. He has a heart trained in greed. An accursed child indeed! Forsaking the right way, he has gone the wrong way. He has followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, failing to listen to God’s clear message! In the end, Balaam had to be rebuked for his own transgression by a dumb ass that spoke with human voice to restrain the prophet’s madness!

Rob Bell is a waterless spring. He is a mist driven by a storm. For him the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. For, speaking loud boasts of folly, he entices by sensual passions of their own flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. He promises them freedom, even in their unbelief, but he himself is a slave of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. For if, after a person has escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for Rob Bell never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to him. What the true proverb says has happened to him: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the pig, after washing itself, returns to wallow in the mire.”

The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach

I wanted to point everyone’s attention to a new book on the historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus. It is a very detailed book and something I would encourage everyone to consider owning. It will help you deal with the modern day critical schools that doubt the resurrection and it will also encourage your faith to know the historical evidence that we have and better enable you to defend the Faith when skeptics and non-believers ask you to give a reason for the hope that you have.

Here is the product description:

The question of the historicity of Jesus’ resurrection has been repeatedly probed, investigated and debated. And the results have varied widely. Perhaps some now regard this issue as the burned-over district of New Testament scholarship. Could there be any new and promising approach to this problem? Yes, answers Michael Licona. And he convincingly points us to a significant deficiency in approaching this question: our historiographical orientation and practice. So he opens this study with an extensive consideration of historiography and the particular problem of investigating claims of miracles. This alone is a valuable contribution. But then Licona carefully applies his principles and methods to the question of Jesus’ resurrection. In addition to determining and working from the most reliable sources and bedrock historical evidence, Licona critically weighs other prominent hypotheses. His own argument is a challenging and closely argued case for the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus, the Christ. Any future approaches to dealing with this “prize puzzle” of New Testament study will need to be routed through The Resurrection of Jesus.

Please do consider buying the book through this Amazon link above. It will help the ministry expenses for maintaining this web site. Here are two recommendations for the book as well:

“The resurrection of Jesus is–in many ways–too important a topic to be left to theologians! In this thoroughly researched and well-argued volume, Mike Licona brings the latest in discussion of historiography to bear on the question of Jesus’ resurrection. In a discipline that is often overwhelmed by theological special-pleading, it is refreshing to have this sober and sensible approach to the resurrection that evaluates the historical data and the arguments of many of the scholars writing on the subject. There are few biblical scholars who will not learn something from this important book.”

—Stanley E. Porter, president, dean and professor of New Testament, McMaster Divinity College

“The most important event in the story of Christian beginnings is the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, who was widely believed by his followers to be the Messiah of Israel and the very Son of God. Their conviction that Jesus was such a being was confirmed by the resurrection. Without the resurrection of Jesus there really are no grounds for Christian faith. Consequently, there is no topic more important than this one and this is why Michael Licona’s book on the resurrection of Jesus is so welcome. Licona demonstrates expertise in every field that is germane to the question. He knows the philosophical arguments inside and out, as well as the relevant historical, biblical, cultural and archaeological data. This is the book for believers and skeptics alike.”

—Craig A. Evans, Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Acadia Divinity College, Nova Scotia, Canada

New Resource: Alvin Plantinga’s Virtual Library

Calvin College has created a great virtual library of Christian Philosophy. Here are the details of Calvin’s philosophy department and the virtual library web site:

Calvin’s Philosophy Department houses one of the finest undergraduate philosophy programs in the nation. Calvin’s Philosophy Department was the undergraduate and/or teaching home of four American Philosophical Association Presidents—Alvin Plantinga, Nicholas Wolterstorff, William Frankena and O. K. Bouwsma.

The Virtual Library of Christian Philosophy currently holds 177 articles.

Here is the link to Alvin Plantinga’s articles in the library. Enjoy!

Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life."

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