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The Jeremiah Johnston Show

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September 14, 2019

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The Jeremiah Johnston Show

Craig Evans Busts Biblical and Archaeological Myths

Dr. Jeremiah Johnston talks with New Testament expert, teacher, and author, Dr. Craig Evans, about the tangible proofs of the Bible’s accuracy. Some of the evidences of biblical accounts have been found in recent years, including a house of David inscription and seal of Pontius Pilate.

“There’s something called ‘minimalism,’” Evans explains. “They were arguing 30 years ago there was no King David, Saul, and Solomon. We have found a huge government complex. Archeology just keeps coming to light that embarrasses and contradicts these lousy interpretations.”

As the author of “Jesus and His World: The Archaeological Evidence,” Evans feels strongly about the importance of understanding Jesus Christ from a historical and cultural perspective. The Holy Land today still offers a look into the world of antiquity.

“I’ve heard it said that there are really five gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Israel,” Evans says. “You go to the land and see the archeology; you view the dig sites and see what’s been found. I think it’s great because it builds faith. You realize ‘this is where it happened.’ The story of Jesus or the Old Testament prophets or King David or whatever we’re talking about – it isn’t just air and just theory. It isn’t just words on a printed page. It suddenly becomes real. You’re walking on the same ground, you’re walking on the top of the same mountain, looking at the same valley, and crossing the same body of water. When you see the land of Israel, you then understand the biblical text better. And in understanding that better, you understand your faith and yourself better.”

Evans is a leader of a Living Passages trip covering significant biblical and early church sites. He recommends Bible study resources such as his book, “God Speaks: What He Says; What He Means.”

Johnston concludes, “All religions don’t have the same aims and claims, and they certainly don’t have the same archeology. I want you to know the great evidence for your faith. Finally, spend time in the Word of God. We don’t want to have just a bunch of information, we want to have wisdom.”


Dr. Craig Evans is the John Bisagno Distinguished Professor of Christian Origins for Houston Baptist University. He is an expert on the historical grounds of New Testament writings. Dr. Evans has published more than 600 scholarly studies, including more than 80 books. His book, “Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels,” is a best-seller.

The Jeremiah Johnston Show

Craig Evans: The Archaeology behind the Bible

 
Sought-after New Testament expert, teacher, and author, Dr. Craig Evans, talks with Dr. Jeremiah Johnston about the important evidences of the Bible and Christian faith found in archeological discoveries.

Johnston emphasizes the importance of not neglecting the past as a whole. “I fear we are becoming an ahistorical culture. History adds value, meaning, beauty, and justice to our lives. We have so much information and yet so little wisdom” without the lessons of history, he says.

In not-so-distant history, a person in the West was considered uneducated without some knowledge of the Bible. That notion has changed, but knowledge of Scripture remains the beginning of wisdom.

Evans iterates the value of the Bible for today. “There’s this notion out there that the Bible is an outdated book. The Bible ties into and contributes to history and is informed by history,” he says. “It comes as a surprise to many that archeologists use the Bible as a very important source. In fact, it’s the number one source. The Bible helps archeologists know where to dig and how to interpret where they dig.”

Evans sheds light on biblical passages such as the resurrection of Lazarus that become more rich and easier to understand when a person knows the historical and cultural framework behind them. Likewise, artifacts uncovered are affirming the people and accounts found in the Old Testament and New Testament.

“Archeology can prove that the historical narratives in the Bible are talking about real people, places, and events,” Evans explains. “Archeology provides us with vital background information so that we can understand the Bible.”

While archeology cannot prove there is a God or exhibit the resurrection of Jesus, it can support the claims of Scripture and bring clarity to biblical texts. For Evans and Johnston, the importance lies in the truths to which the evidence points. Belief in the Jesus of the Bible is supported by numerous archeological finds. More historical treasures are being discovered as skeptics and faithful alike acknowledge their significance.


Dr. Craig Evans is the John Bisagno Distinguished Professor of Christian Origins for Houston Baptist University. He is an expert on the historical grounds of New Testament writings. Dr. Evans has published more than 600 scholarly studies, including more than 80 books. His book, “Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels,” is a best-seller.

The Jeremiah Johnston Show

Andy Bannister: Tools to Help you Defend your Faith

Dr. Jeremiah Johnston welcomes Dr. Andy Bannister, apologist, popular speaker, and author of books including “The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist: Or the Dreadful Consequences of Bad Arguments.” Bannister says his journey into apologetics began with fledgling attempts at proving the Christian faith to a group of Islamic faithful. Realizing his answers and resources were inadequate, Bannister read extensively and practiced interacting with unbelievers in winsome ways.

“The goal is to lead them Jesus,” he says. “We can become obsessed with winning the argument – even with our own denomination or pet theology. Start by listening. Ask questions about what they believe. Ask about their worldview. Repeat back to them what they’ve said and ask them to clarify. Not only will you get more of where they’re coming from, but often, you’ll learn that the question they’re asking is not really what they’re asking.”

Before we think of far-flung places, Christians would do well to start with their own friends, families, and circles of influence, Bannister says. Even a simple invitation to one’s home, for example, can open the door for further conversation and relationships.

Assumptions can be the enemy of meaningful Gospel sharing. For example, an evangelist can assume that his hearers want the answers to the questions the sharer deems important. However, finding out what is important to other parties, and then relating how Christianity answers their needs and questions, is an important first step.

“We leap into arguments,” Bannister says. “When it comes to the Gospel, I think we’ve missed the trick: how do we make people see the difference that Jesus makes? If Christianity is true, all those things you care about depends upon it.”

Johnston paraphrases Blaise Pascal’s idea: “Present the Gospel to your friends and family in a way that they wish it were true, and then show them that it is.”


Andy BannisterDr. Andy Bannister is the director of the Solas Centre for Public Christianity and an adjunct speaker for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM). He is a professor, speaker, and author of books including “The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist: Or the Dreadful Consequences of Bad Arguments.”

The Jeremiah Johnston Show

Philip Nation on Spiritual Disciplines

Dr. Philip Nation, director of Advancement and Global Impact Churches for the Baptist World Alliance, talks with Dr. Jeremiah Johnston about holiness in believers. It’s a topic that is close to Nation’s heart.

“We’re called as Christians to live a countercultural lifestyle,” he says. “Holiness is inclusive of ethical and moral choices, but it has a broader meaning of setting your life aside for God. Jesus is calling us to love Him with the totality of our lives.”

In his book, “Habits for Our Holiness: How the Spiritual Disciplines Grow Us Up, Draw Us Together, and Send Us Out,” and a similar Bible study, Nation directs believers in ways in which they may grow in Christlikeness.

Spiritual disciplines are, themselves, emblematic of the balance of trusting God for one’s salvation and righteousness while still working out salvation with great reverence and respect. Nation references 2 Timothy 2:15 in regard to a Christian’s responsibility: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”

Habits of holiness include studying the Bible, prayer, worship, service to others, quiet contemplation, rest, leadership, and disciple-making. Nation emphasizes the need for Christian vocational and volunteer leaders to attend to their personal relationships with God. He also advises believers to have both a dedicated prayer time and an ongoing conversation with God.

Christians would do well to ask themselves:

Is my love for Christ deepening, and am I experiencing the love of Christ on a personal level?

Does my spiritual life look different now than it did six months ago?

Are there other people involved in my spiritual formation and maturity?

Are there people who can speak realistically, sympathetically, and strongly in my life?

Is my spiritual life mobilizing me on the mission of God?

Since obedience is central to a healthy relationship with Jesus, Johnston urges a show listener, Joel, to confess his sins and to receive Christ’s forgiveness.


Dr. Philip Nation is director of Advancement and Global Impact Churches for the Baptist World Alliance. He is a speaker, blogger, and author of books including “Habits for Our Holiness: How the Spiritual Disciplines Grow Us Up, Draw Us Together, and Send Us Out.”

 

 

 

 

 

The Jeremiah Johnston Show

J. Warner Wallace and Sean McDowell: Reaching Generation Z

Dr. Jeremiah Johnston hosts apologists, Dr. Sean McDowell and J. Warner Wallace, to talk about reaching Generation Z – generally those between the ages of about 3 and 20. The two guests wrote, “So the Next Generation Will Know.”

“Generation Z members are more reluctant to define themselves by faith and religion,” McDowell says. “About 30 percent or more don’t identify with a particular religion. There’s reason to pay attention and to be concerned.”

Yet, reaching young people can come through authentic connections. “The most influential truth claims are the ones you make in the context of relationship,” Wallace says. Youth are more likely to listen, understand, and think through ideas that have been presented within a healthy relationship.

The men point to the Apostle Paul, who often referenced his relationships with the people to whom he was writing. McDowell says students often don’t believe in Christianity’s claims because they are convinced it’s not true or they have broken relationships. “If we really want to influence them, we have to step personally into their lives and build relational capital to speak into their lives,” he says.

Sometimes, showing love and building relationships is less about talking and more about participating in activities that are meaningful to young people, such as sports or watching wholesome entertainment. “What we’re encouraging parents to do in the book is to just open our eyes and see the opportunities that are in front of us and try to leverage them without exasperating our kids,” McDowell says. “Use opportunities to build relationships and to teach truth.”

While many people care deeply about the philosophical implications of Christianity, many are looking primarily at how it affects their daily lives and what it means to their loved ones.

A show listener, Sarah, asks how to reach a non-Christian for Jesus Christ. Johnston tells her to reveal to others why Christianity matters to her. “Sharing your personal transformation with Jesus Christ is the most effective way,” he says. He encourages believers to write out their testimonies and be prepared to share stories of life change because of Jesus Christ.


seanMcDowell_2 (3)Dr. Sean McDowell is an assistant professor in Biola University’s Christian Apologetics program and the resident scholar for Summit California, He is a speaker, storyteller, author, coauthor and editor. J. Warner Wallace is a detective, national speaker and bestselling author. He serves as an adjunct professor of Apologetics at Biola University and as a faculty member for Summit Ministries. Warner is the creator of the Cold-Case Christianity website, blog, and podcast. He is the author of several books.