Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Jesus on Trial

There are any number of studies, and not a few books, showing how the Internet is contributing to dumbing us down. That not withstanding the Internet is the perfect medium for the post modern world that insists there is no absolute truth.

(So, if someone tells you there is no absolute truth what do you do? Ask them if that is absolutely true.

That is not a trick. It is a logical question to ask someone who is spouting illogical nonsense. The statement 'There is no absolute truth' is self refuting.)

A while ago on this blog site someone stated categorically that there was no evidence for Jesus outside the Bible.

That is the kind of utter foolishness one finds repeated all over cyber space spread from one fool to another. There are no real scholars who will make that claim, however, because it is easily refuted. I started to rebut that stupidity with a series of posts and have not yet finished. The three I have posted for those who are interested are The Burden of Proof, The Burden of Proof - Just the Facts, Jack, and The Burden of Proof - Reading History. I will be returning to this topic in the coming days with at least two more posts.

The real truth, the real fact, is that we have more evidence for the existence of Jesus Christ than any figure in the ancient world and that by an order of magnitude.

To claim Jesus never existed would require one to have their head so deep in the sand, or up their backside, that they would never see daylight again. I completely understand. however, that there is a difference between acknowledging Jesus existed and believing he was God.

I also know that rejection prior to investigation is the highest form of ignorance and it is a form that most of the world engages in.

How accurate is is the Bible?
Did Jesus rise from the dead?
Are there miracles?
Can the future be foretold?

In our naturalistic world that rejects any notion of the supernatural most people immediately answer in the negative to questions like this but the truth is that there is a stunning amount of evidence for the affirmative answer to those questions.

David Limbaugh's new book Jesus on Trial: A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel sets out to look at these questions and more through the eyes of a modern day lawyer.

When this book first came out I hemmed and hawed a long time before parting with my copper to buy this on Kindle. I am glad I did. It is a tremendous, 5 star read.

The blurb says, "In Jesus on Trial, New York Times bestselling author David Limbaugh applies his lifetime of legal experience to a unique new undertaking: making a case for the gospels as hard evidence of the life and work of Jesus Christ. Limbaugh, a practicing attorney and former professor of law, approaches the canonical gospels with the same level of scrutiny he would apply to any legal document and asks all the necessary questions about the story of Jesus told through Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. His analysis of the texts becomes profoundly personal as he reflects on his own spiritual and intellectual odyssey from determined skeptic to devout Christian. Ultimately, Limbaugh concludes that the wordsChristianshavetreasuredforcenturies stand up to his exhaustive inquiry—including his examination of historical and religious evidence beyond the gospels—and thereby affirms Christian faith, spirituality, and tradition."
In Jesus on Trial, #1 New York Times bestselling author David Limbaugh confronts the skeptics head-on. Applying his lawyer's eye to the evidence, he produces powerful arguments demonstrating the Bible’s truthfulness. In this book Limbaugh shows:
  • Abundant evidence that the Bible is the most historically reliable text among all ancient writings
  • Why the gospels' account of Jesus' resurrection is far more convincing than any other explanation of His fate
  • The Bible's astonishing feats of prophecy and the skeptics' feeble attempts to dismiss them
  • How the critics' arguments against Christianity are infected with ideological bias
  • The increasing archaeological evidence affirming the biblical account of history
  • How Christianity is not only compatible with scientific methods, but was instrumental in the birth of modern science

Limbaugh knows the skeptics' arguments well—because he used to be a skeptic himself. In these pages he describes his own faith journey to Christianity, explaining in moving detail the arguments, evidence, and biblical passages that caused him to embrace Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.

Part personal testimony, part Christian apologetic, part informative evaluation of the facts, and part primer on theology, Jesus on Trial provides Christians with a remarkable reaffirmation of their faith—while offering a challenge to skeptics that cannot be ignored.

Many, most, do not want to believe. That is their right. But they should be honest enough to state that they do not wish to believe it and not because there is no evidence because there is and it is very compelling, apparently, overwhelming.

A solid 5 out of 5 stars.

On Jesus On Trial Frank Turek says:
When David Limbaugh let his friend Steve know that he had doubts about Christianity, he was surprised by Steve’s response. Instead of a blast of arrogant judgmentalism, Steve responded like a Christian should—with grace and evidence. What has happened since that time is told in this excellent new book. Limbaugh artfully tells his journey from skepticism about Christ to skepticism about skepticism and ultimately to trust in Christ.

David is a lawyer, but he doesn’t write like a lawyer. While he’s intellectually precise, he writes as if he’s sitting across the table from you, anticipating your questions and objections. This is rare for a book of Christian evidences (often called Christian apologetics). Such books often read like technical manuals, but not Jesus on Trial. Limbaugh not only does a masterful job of highlighting the abundant evidence that supports Christianity, his insights into what the scriptures actually say will have you marveling at the tapestry of scripture and the Savior who wove it.

From the very beginning, Limbaugh bares his soul, holding nothing back about how his previous doubts were shielded by an embarrassing lack of knowledge. He writes, “I knew, after all, that I hadn’t really given the Bible itself a hearing, much less a fair one. To my surprise— and this is embarrassing to admit—Steve showed me how verses of Scripture, both Old and New Testaments, were tied to others in content and theme with remarkable frequency. Amazingly, I had never looked at a reference Bible before, and I was blown away. My ignorance was on display, but Steve wasn’t remotely judgmental— to help me learn more, he even gave me that Bible. I was genuinely intrigued to discover that the Bible was not simply a mishmash of stories, allegories, alleged historical events, and moral lessons. There was obviously a pattern here, and for the first time in my life the Bible appeared to me to be thematically integrated. The scales on my eyes started peeling away.”

His two chapters called “Aha Moments” reveal the numerous tipping points in Limbaugh’s journey where scale after scale fell away—tipping points that no honest seeker of truth can ignore. Of course, as Limbaugh admits, many who are not interested in truth, or have their own agenda, ignore or remake Christ in their own image.

He writes, “We must not casually remake Jesus in the image in which we prefer to see Him or which conforms to the popular culture’s misperceptions about Him. Our politically correct culture may, presumptuously, choose to recast Jesus as indifferent to sin and saccharine sweet, no matter the circumstances, but this Jesus is God, and God cannot look upon sin. What do these revisionists make of the Jesus Who made a whip of cords and drove the moneychangers out of the Temple (John 2: 15)? … What do the revisionists say about the Jesus Whom Paul describes as “revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus ” (2 Thess. 1: 7– 8)? What of the difficult moral standard Jesus laid down in the Sermon on the Mount? Did He show indifference to sin there?” Limbaugh rightfully concludes: “This idea that Jesus is meek, mild, indifferent, and non-judgmental isthestuffofpuremyth.”

In addition to correcting the culture’s emasculated view of Christ, Limbaugh has two fantastic chapters tackling the paradoxes of Christianity. These include: God’s plan of salvation, including the relationship between grace and works; the acknowledgement that we are sinful yet commanded to be perfect; the Trinity, that God is one in essence yet three in persons; that Jesus has two natures, human and divine; that you must give up your life to find it; that Christians are strong when they are weak; that God is sovereign yet humans have free will; that God knows all and is unchangeable, yet we are to pray; that the Bible is inspired yet written by men; and many others. The insights Limbaugh brings to these paradoxes are some of his own, and the best nuggets mined from Christian scholarship that I doubt you’ll find in one place anywhere else.

Limbaugh devotes several chapters to the evidence for the Bible, including its unity and reliability as evidenced through history, archaeology, prophecy and science. He debunks several myths and misunderstandings along the way, and then saves his final chapter for what many think is the atheist’s trump card against God: Evil.

Many years ago David provided me an “Aha Moment” during one of our very many theological discussions. He said, “Evil really bothers me, but only Christianity has a sensible answer to it.” There’s no question he’s correct. We wouldn’t even know what evil was unless good existed, and real objective good could only exist if God exists. As David explains, evil turns out to be a backhanded argument for God. In fact, evil is the very reason God entered human history in the person of Christ. Only his sacrifice can solve the evil in my heart and yours.

David puts it this way: “Don’t be offended by the notion that you must have saving faith in Christ. Don’t assume that God is making you jump through unnecessary hoops. He is the One Who suffered for you. He did this so that you could live. He doesn’t ask you to believe because He is on a divine ego trip, but because He loves you and wants you to latch on to Him in order to be saved from your sins.”

I just can’t recommend Jesus on Trial highly enough. Every thinking person should investigate the claims of Christ, who is unarguably the most influential human being to ever walk the earth. If his claims are true (and Limbaugh shows they are), then we won’t be putting him on trial—he will be putting each of us on trial. Only Christ can secure you a favorable verdict.

A Canticle for Leibowitz

A Canticle for Leibowitz is a post-apocalyptic science fiction novel by American writer Walter M. Miller, Jr., first published in 1960. Based on three short stories Miller contributed to The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, it is the only novel published by the author during his lifetime. Considered one of the classics of science fiction, it has never been out of print and has seen over 25 reprints and editions. Appealing to mainstream and genre critics and readers alike, it won the 1961 Hugo Award for best science fiction novel.

Set in a Roman Catholic monastery in the desert of the southwestern United States after a devastating nuclear war, the story spans thousands of years as civilization rebuilds itself. The monks of the Albertian Order of Leibowitz take up the mission of preserving the surviving remnants of man's scientific knowledge until the day the outside world is again ready for it.

Inspired by the author's participation in the Allied bombing of the monastery at Monte Cassino during World War II, the novel is considered a masterpiece by literary critics. It has been compared favorably with the works of Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene, and Walker Percy, and its themes of religion, recurrence, and church versus state have generated a significant body of scholarly research.

This 15 part serial is based on the novel by Walter M. Miller, Jr. published in 1959 and was done by National Public Radio in the 1980s. . The story had previously been published as a series of novellas in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science. The book won the Hugo award winner for best science fiction novels of all time.

The radio drama adaptation by John Reed, and produced at WHA by Carl Schmidt and Marv Nunn.

The play was directed by Karl Schmidt, engineered by Marv Nunn with special effects by Vic Marsh.

Narrator - Carol Collins and includes Fred Coffin, Bart Hayman, Herb Hartig and Russel Horton.

Music was by Greg Fish and Bob Budney and the Edgewood College Chant Group.

This is one of the finest radio dramas ever produced. I have these in very high encodes and the sound is superb. These are not quite the same audio quality but the story telling is excellent..

You can listen to the 15 part series HERE.