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The Jeremiah Johnston Show

Alister McGrath: Mere Discipleship (Encore Presentation)

January 11, 2020

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How it Started, How it’s going!

I’ve entered a new decade of life since you last heard from me! Have you seen the “How it started, How it’s going” memes? Indeed, I experienced one of those “front number” change birthdays on August 1st – officially now 40. Similar to Saint Jerome, I must admit, I’ve always felt like an Old Soul! I enjoyed the day doing what I love – teaching God’s Word (this time at Bay Harbor Church) and spending the day with my family and dear friends in Northern Michigan, which included a boat ride on Walloon Lake and fellowship with friends around the  fireplace we’ve seen since Audrey and I lived in Oxford and visited the Cotswolds to celebrate my matriculation! Also, how do you like those Michigan lavender fields?! By the way, this email took me a minute to put together so thanks for reading it. J. Hudson Taylor said, “There are three stages in the work of God: Impossible; Difficult; Done.” I’ve lived this quote many times over in our mission with Christian Thinkers Society. God is faithful and I am reminded of that singular truth as I enter a new decade of life. In the spirit of “how it started … how it’s going” scroll to the end of the email to see one of my first “ministry” pics – youth camp, of course!

Christian Thinkers Society has been buzzing this summer and I write to share  important links, ministry updates, and other ways in which God is using CTS to inspire, Christians to think in believing and believe in thinking!” Next month, our Peace Shalom Tour begins (Ohio, Florida, see you soon!).

 Last week, Lee Strobel interviewed me for his new television program “Investigating Faith” with Lifetable TV. I really enjoyed our conversation about my book Unimaginable and what the world would be like without Christianity. We discussed the undeniable ways in which Christianity is the greatest force for good on planet earth! Lee also asked me about Christian Thinkers Society, which was fitting, because Lee has been my friend and encouraging me in ministry since the early 2000s. At the beginning of the interview, I joked with Lee about how Audrey and I were his “uber” from the airport when he visited our church sometime between 2001-2004. We go back and I am thankful for his regular encouragement in my life and enthusiasm about Christian Thinkers Society. Please check out his new tv program, too!

It was a tremendous blessing to rejoin my dear friend, Bob Sprotte (the Bob Dawg – pictured far left), for the 2nd Annual Great Lakes Symposium on Christian Worldview in Bay Harbor, Michigan, at the Great Lakes Center for the Arts. The theme was: The Image Restored: What it Truly Means to Live Life in the Image of God. I’ve had the honor to partner with John Stonestreet and The Colson Center for Christian Worldview numerous times [at least four events including the Wilberforce Weekend, a pastors gathering QnA, also their webinar, their BreakPoint broadcast, and my podcast come to mind] and each time it gets better and better. I love their ministry and am thankful for the partnerships Christian Thinkers Society enjoys because we need as many ministries on the front lines as possible inspiring Christians to love God with all of their heart, soul, and mind. I also had the delight of becoming friends with both Dr. Kathy Kock and Dr. Matthew Sleeth – they are tremendous communicators and great people (so is John Stonestreet, who also spoke). All four of us shared insights on how to live like we belong to God…in a time when a lot of other identities are crowding in. Seats are limited!(Photo credit, Lily Faith!). Here’s a YouTube Link to watch the symposium. The title of my message was “Unleashing Peace” and the theme was “Take off those graveclothes” from John 11.  Big thanks to the Bob Dawg for his leadership, love, and friendship in organizing such an outstanding outreach.

Here’s one of 23 slides I shared in my teaching at the Symposium:

My dear friend, Dr. Robert J. Morgan, interviewed me for his Robert J. Morgan podcast at the always beautiful Lanier Theological Library. I invite you to listen to our conversation here on the Robert J. Morgan Podcast. Dr. Morgan also interviewed Professor Craig Evans and me and I look forward to that podcast, too. Amazingly, later that evening, Dr. Morgan covered 3400 years of hymnody in his phenomenal lecture at the Lanier Theological Library. What a day!

Pictured below, John Stonestreet (The Colson Center for Christian Worldview) and I took questions from pastors and Christian leaders for nearly two hours. I love our pastors across the country and we have to take time to keep encouraging, resourcing, and equipping them! I’ve been asked for a recording of the session and would be happy to provide that in a future email as I do believe it was recorded. Dr. Kathy Koch was also in the audience and provided some exceptional answers to questions.

Below is a YouTube link to my birthday sermon at Bay Harbor Church. The part was hearing Justin, our nine-year-old son, pray before I preached!

Have I mentioned yet Northern Michigan is pretty incredible during the summer? Family time and ministry time together were the . The whole crew was with me and I always preach better when the Redhead is in the audience.

I was interviewed last week for this exciting series “Evidence of the Faith” with I Share Hope. Check out my presentation and others here. My topic was “Evil: Where did it come from?”

The whole family and I visited my publishing headquarters and we enjoyed seeing Dwight Baker, Rod Jantzen, and the amazing team at Baker Publishing in Ada, Michigan. I’m pictured above with Dwight Baker, the third-generation president of Baker Publishing Group, which his grandfather, Herman, started in 1939. Did you know the word Shalom appears 550 times in the Scriptures? I am excited my new book Unleashing Peace will show you how to experience God’s Shalom no matter what you are facing! We all need more of God’s Shalom (peace) and the Lord of peace is with us! I love partnering with Bethany House and Baker Publishing to provide content for Christian Thinkers everywhere!

Question: Who brings their whole family to publishing meetings at Baker Publishing headquarters? – I do.

Ministry life does not have to be dull! It certainly isn’t for CTS!

Speaking of publishing, I received the new paperback edition (Bloomsbury T&T Clark- Library of Second Temple Studies) of Scribes and Their Remains, which Craig Evans and I co-edited and both contributed two chapters – 352 pages! The principal theme of the book: the text as artifact.

As pictured below, I thoroughly enjoyed teaching and sharing from my heart in a mentoring session with very impressive gap-year students.

As promised, this is how it started (pictured below)… youth ministry with my brother-in-law, Christian Newsome. He’s an awesome pastor and great guy. Those were the days. Little is much when God is in it!

Jeremiah J. Johnston, Ph.D.

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Tragic Loss: Prayers Requested for my sister and her family, please

 

On Monday morning I received a “911” text from my mother, Cristie, who informed us that my little sister, Jenilee Mullikin, had lost their baby, Wesley Vance Mullikin (Jenilee was 25 weeks along in pregnancy). I am asking for you to read her story below, to please pray for Jenilee, Jeff, Sadie, and Savannah; and finally, if you feel led to their family here I paste in a link to assist with meals, etc: https://www.mealtrain.com/trains/nk8zw7. Wesley’s funeral service will be observed next week. Jenilee said, “We do not grieve like those who have no hope, because we know when little Wesley opened his eyes the very first thing he saw was Jesus.” I am so thankful the Scriptures say “we weep with those who weep.” Jenilee and Jeff’s faith, in this adversity, inspire us all. – Jeremiah J. Johnston

From Jenilee Mullikin: The Psalmist writes that before we are even formed in the womb that all our days are ordained and written in the Lord’s book. It’s comforting to reassure myself that although the last few days have been an utter shock to us, the Lord knew they were coming. He knew that we would go into our routine 25-week appointment and be told that our baby boy no longer had a heartbeat. And although we may never know the exact moment that he passed from his cozy spot in my belly, the Lord knows exactly when it was and was there to welcome him home.

The Lord knew we would have to deliver him via C section the very next morning. He knew that when our doctor delivered him, there would be only the sound of silence. He knew how much we would yearn for the ear-splitting baby cry. He knew that we would deliver our son, Wesley Vance Mullikin, born still on June 29, 2021.

He knew every single tear that would flow from our eyes. He alone is the only one who knows why He passed. He knew our hearts would be raging within us, screaming out, “Why God? Why us?”

He knew I would hear another baby cry in the middle of the night while in the hospital bed and wish it could be my own. He knew that Jeff and I would hold him one final time, saying goodbye to him after only just meeting him. He knew we would leave the hospital with the heavy weight of empty arms. He knew I would be thankful for the pain of my incision because it would mirror some of the pain of my heart.

He knew the girls would cry when we told them, jealous for a brother they had been waiting for. He knew my milk would come in and there would be no baby to nurse. He knew that today Jeff would pick a burial plot and plan for a memorial. He knew it all. And even now, He knows our pain intimately, because He too has lost His only son.

I will never ever know why this happened and why it had to be our family. Like Martha I want to yell and say, “Lord WHERE were you? If you had been here, he wouldn’t have died.” And I want to fall on my face and join hands with Jesus and I want to weep with him.

We begin now to put one foot in front of the other. While we are weak, we think of Jesus saying, “My GRACE is sufficient for you, for my POWER is made perfect in WEAKNESS”. We stand in the strength of our Savior and we stand on the prayers of our brothers and sisters in Christ. We do not grieve like those who have no hope, because we know when little Wesley opened his eyes the very first thing he saw was Jesus.

I mourn because I will never rock him in the middle of the night while the rest of the world sleeps. I won’t get to see his first smile or hear him say, “Dada”. I won’t get to see Savannah push him in the swing or Sadie sneak snacks for him from the fridge. I won’t get to see Jeff teach him how to swing a bat or watch as he runs the bases after his dad’s games. I won’t ever know the sound of his sweet voice or what color his eyes would have been. I won’t get to see him graduate or get married or have a child of his own. And it seems so very unfair.

Although his life was so very short, we will never forget him. He was here. He was real. We saw his tiny ears and fingers and toes. And the Lord allowed us the opportunity to meet him on his way to Heaven. God, will you tell him how much I love him?

Jenilee posted this originally on her Facebook page, here: https://www.facebook.com/jenilee.johnston.

Why We Glory in the Cross! – Special message from Dr. Jeremiah Johnston

Do you know how to take “screen-shots” with your phone or computer? I would encourage you to take plenty of “screen-shots” during my video message “Why We Glory in the Cross.”

Skeptics say we cannot trust the gospels. They are not historically unreliable, says the skeptic. Really? Notice the crucifixion spike of Jehohanan discovered in 1967.

  • The iron spike is 11.5 centimeters or 4.5 inches.
  • Skeleton dates to the late 20s on the basis of coin evidence.
  • Pontius Pilate would have been governor or prefect of Judea.
  • Learn more in my video message and please feel free to share!

Dear test,

I a mountain-peak passage of importance related to the physical, bodily resurrection of Jesus, Paul began in an interesting way: “Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel …” Wait, what? Paul needed to remind the Corinthians “of the gospel”? Exactly. Why did the Corinthians, and why do you (and me), need to be reminded? Because the power of the Gospel is so easy to forget. Let us never forget, without Jesus death and resurrection, there is no good news or Gospel! 

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the central point of Christianity, and has been since the earliest days of the faith, which is why I am sending you numerous emails this week with hours of content to equip you to live a resurrection-centric faith! Followers of Christianity do not have to take the bodily resurrection of Jesus on faith alone because the evidence is so persuasive. Furthermore, I want to teach you why the resurrection of Jesus is not only historically impactful, but transformationally energizes your walk with Christ from day to day. 

The claim that Jesus was truly resurrected assumed a heavy burden of proof. What persuaded Jesus’ followers to speak of Jesus’ resurrection was their conviction that Jesus had died, had been buried in a known place, and had exited that place. These factors, in combination with His appearances, convinced His followers that Jesus was indeed the bodily resurrected messiah.

Early believers had little to gain in their society and everything to lose for believing in the risen Lord. Jesus was a pariah in both Roman and Jewish cultures. Yet, His resurrection gave proof that He was Lord, and that followers of Christ could experience eternal life as well. John 14:19 is one of the greatest promises in the New Testament: “Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.”

I have great news for you today. Jesus Christ rose from the dead and He lives, and there are great evidences for that belief.

As Christians, let’s commit to three principles related to the resurrection of Jesus:

1) we must recover a resurrection-centric faith,

2) we should refresh our minds with evidence of the resurrection, and

3) we should recommit to live the mission of the resurrection.

No matter what life throws at you, the resurrection promises that God is a God of new beginnings. The resurrection changes everything.

The fact that Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to disciples and followers changed the course of history, and Christianity continues to influence the world for good. The hope that is found through Jesus is the basis for the Gospel. Paul writes, “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith” (I Corinthians 15:14). He goes on to say, “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep” (I Corinthians 15:20).

Wherever you’re at, I pray this program equips you with evidence for the faith. Let the power of the resurrection fuel you every week of your Christian life!

– Jeremiah J. Johnston, Ph.D.

Some of Jeremiah’s teaching reminders from his presenter slides are below …

  • One half of John’s Gospel and 1/3rd of Matthew, Mark, and Luke focus on the death of Jesus Christ.
  • There are 10 sermons in the book of Acts: Five by Peter and five given by Paul … each of them focus on the cross and the impact of the death of Christ.
  • So convinced of the power of the cross was Paul that he determined to know nothing “except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (1 Cor 2:2)
  • Paul authors the greatest document ever written called the Book of Romans and makes it clear that we are “justified by his blood” and “reconciled to God though the death of his Son. Romans 5:9-10
  • No wonder Paul boasted in nothing except the cross – Galatians 6:14
  • Finally, in the Book of Revelation 28 xs Jesus is symbolized as the lamb … the lamb who was slain. Our salvation is eternal, our redemption is endless because our names are written in the Lambs book of life … what’s more the redeemed people fo God … that number that no-one could count who are drawn from every nation and langue and stand before God’s throne  .that dramatic scene in Revelation 7…
  • And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb. (Rev 7:10)
  • We stand righteous before God … in robes washed white in the blood of the lamb (Rev 7:14)
  • This is where God promises to wipe every tear from our eyes.
  • The Lamb’s name is written on our foreheads in Revelation 14:1

If you missed my earlier email with links to the conversation Sheila Walsh had with me on the importance of the resurrection of Jesus, you can click here or on the image below.

Watch Interview: The resurrection is the only way we make sense of the suffering in our lives

The Resurrection of Jesus is the only way we ultimately make sense of the suffering in our lives. In this Holy Week, I want you to be reminded that the resurrection of Jesus is what energizes our faith and service for our Lord. The resurrection, as you will see in the clip and interview below, is the eternal life support we have available when faced with grief, suffering and pain.

I enjoyed visting “Wednesdays in the Word,” with my dear friend Sheila Walsh (a gifted Bible teacher, author and amazing woman of God) of Life Today with James and Betty Robison.

Here’s a clip of Why The Resurrection of Jesus Matters Today as much as it did 2,000 years ago … I also encourage you to watch the entire interview. You may be surprised to learn life expectancy in the time of Jesus and the early church averaged twenty years of age. Skeletal remains suggest that as many as one quarter (25 percent) of the Roman Empire, on any given day, was sick, dying, or in need of immediate medical attention. Suffering was everywhere. Then came the man from Galilee who said, “The dead are raised up!” (Luke 7:22). Please watch and share these encoring evidences for our faith linked in this email.

He is Risen Indeed!

– Jeremiah J. Johnston, Ph.D.

Wednesdays in the Word with Sheila Walsh – Watch Full Interview

LINKS: An mp3 of the interview can be downloaded here and the transcript of the interview is available here. Please feel free to share and encourage others this Holy Week!

Key Point: The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the seminal issue for the church today, as it was that first Easter morning in Jerusalem. If the resurrection did not happen, Christianity is a waste of time. If I were a critic of Christianity, perhaps the most difficult problem would be coming up with a reason for why there are any Christians (Christianoi) in the first place. Their founder was a crucified criminal. Crucifixion was considered to be the most heinous and shameful way to die. In the gospel of Luke, His disciples are said to have lost all hope following the crucifixion. They gave up, and why would they not? In that gripping scene in Luke 24:13–35, two disciples on the Emmaus road encounter an interesting stranger. Not realizing they are walking and conversing with the resurrected Messiah, they admitted, “we had hoped that he was the one” (Luke 24:21), with a particular note of defeat. The early Christian movement should have died out, but instead it thrived. Why? The resurrection of Jesus.

Coming Soon: UNLEASHING PEACE – We Need God’s Shalom! (you can pre-order now!)

Honoring my wife Audrey, on her birthday (April 5th), with a special story or two

Honoring my wife Audrey, on her birthday (April 5th), with a special story or two

Romans 13:7 … “give honor to those whom honor is due” 

Picture above is an attempted Easter selfie, 2021.

I am going to attempt to implement Romans 12:10 with this email tribute for my wife Audrey’s birthday – today – April 5th! Audrey is celebrating birthday #37 and we have now “been together” for twenty incredible years (we first went out when Audrey was 17!). I want to bring my wife honor with a few words from my heart. By the way, Romans 12:10 challenges us to “outdo one another in showing honor.”

It is easy to express faith when things are going well. My wife, Audrey, has the incredible Christian quality of expressing faith when life becomes unexpectedly difficult. So here are a few thoughts from my heart to you, Audrey.

Audrey’s Faith. 

Charles Surgeon said, “A little faith will bring your soul to heaven; a great faith will bring heaven to your soul.” Audrey, your faith brings heaven to earth.

Audrey, for your birthday, I want to acknowledge your great faith. I can think of so many different major life moments where your immediate reflex was … faith.

Specifically, I remember the time I told you I should quit Christian Thinkers Society (the year was 2011). I think I was pretty emphatic in my home office. I probably said it more than once. In fact, I know I did. In those moments of my little, weak faith, you spoke big faith into my life. By most outward appearances, Christian Thinkers Society started strong, seemed “successful,” certainly impacted lives for Christ, but I felt so inadequate (and still do). I never felt up for the task, but you reminded me that God began a “good work in me and would bring it to completion” (Phil 1:6). Christian Thinkers Society was about calling and Christian destiny.

Audrey, Christian Thinkers Society, by the grace of God, would not exist today without you speaking faith to me in those early moments.

With our children (I sometimes lose count of how many children we have!), there have been some significant health challenge moments where, again, your immediate reaction was … faith. What better example can I offer than the faith you expressed to honor God in our triplet pregnancy.

Thank you for expressing faith in the difficult moments. Thanks for praying first.

Audrey’s Faithfulness, “let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering; for he who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23)

As a family on the front lines of ministry, traveling often, even living in foreign countries pursuing our calling, we have not shared the familiar support system of other families. We’ve lived in the UK, Canada, and thankfully now call Texas home. You never complained. To be sure, it has not been easy. In fact, nothing worth having ever comes easy, does it? You have always been faithful. For those who watch your leadership in our home, with our five children (it is five children, right? lol), and the hope you offer so many far and wide through Christian Thinkers Society, I (and others) cannot think of a better descriptor for you than “faithfulness.” Thank you for your faithfulness to our calling, and family, but most importantly, to Jesus, because I know your faithfulness to him energizes and informs your faithfulness to everything else.

Audrey’s Fruitfulness. “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” (Gal 5:22-23)

St. Augustine was significantly impacted by St. Ambrose of Milan. Ambrose was known as a powerful speaker; however, what impacted Augustine was Ambrose’s kindness. Augustine wrote, “To him was I unknowing led by Thee, that by him I might knowingly be led to Thee. That man of God received me as a father, and showed me an Episcopal kindness on my coming. Thenceforth I began to love him….” Augustine was powerfully impacted by the kindness shown him by Ambrose, which made Ambrose’s teaching all the more powerful.

In a time when talent, ability, and achievements are (sometimes) used by influencers as excuses not to be kind and sometimes even to “railroad” others, Audrey, your kindness makes your “other ministries” all the more powerful. Thank you for your kindness.

You also have the gift of encouragement. We were living in Oxford, England. I was pursuing my Ph.D. (as you know!). I was pretty pleased with a section I had written of my thesis, which took me some time to finish (at least, I thought I was finished!). I sent said section to my supervisors and was presently eviscerated. I remember asking you, “maybe I am not cut out for this?” “Are you sure we heard God on this? (or some nonsense like that).” The fruit of the spirit and encouragement through your life kept me going. I look back and cannot believe I thought I wouldn’t succeed, but hindsight is always 20/20. As you know, I published a nearly 96,000-word thesis as an academic monograph, but I remember the days you spoke life into my research. Thank you.

Happy Birthday, Audrey. Thank you for your faith, your faithfulness, and your fruitfulness!

– Jeremiah J. Johnston, Ph.D.

What would Jesus’s New York Times Obituary Look Like? 

What would Jesus’s New York Times Obituary Look Like?

I was among a group of scholars who participated in a very interesting project on how Jesus of Nazareth’s obituary may have read in the New York Times (published in Vanity Fair, not an academic publication!).

But first …. 

The Johnston triplets (Ryder, Abel, and Jaxson), along with their classmates at Fort Bend Christian Academy, proclaiming the eternal truth: HE IS NOT HERE, HERE IS RISEN! (video is 9 second)

Jesus of Nazareth, Whose Messianic Message Captivated Thousands, Dies at About 33

 

As published at Vanity Fair … 

Sam Roberts, an obituary writer for The New York Times, imagines how, given the facts available then, his predecessors might have reported the aftermath of an execution in the Middle East one Friday two millennia ago.

By Sam Roberts

Jesus of Nazareth, a Galilean carpenter turned itinerant minister whose appeals to piety and whose repute as a healer had galvanized a growing contingent of believers, died on Friday after being crucified that morning just outside Jerusalem, only days after his followers had welcomed him triumphantly to the city as “the anointed one” and “the Son of David.” He was about 33.

For a man who had lived the first three decades of his life in virtual obscurity, he attracted a remarkable following in only a few years.

His reputation reflected a persuasive coupling of message, personal magnetism, and avowed miracles. But it also resonated in the current moment of spiritual and economic discontent and popular resentment of authority and privilege, whether wielded by foreigners from Rome or by the Jewish priests in Jerusalem and their confederates.

Still, Jesus had been preceded in recent years by a litany of false messiahs. He followed a roster of self-styled prophets who promised salvation and, with their ragtag followers from separatist sects, cults, and fractious rebel groups, were branded as bandits by the governing Romans, ostracized by the ruling priests as heretics in a period of pessimistic apocalyptic expectation, and already lost to history.

Despite the throngs that greeted him in Jerusalem and applauded his daring assault on the Temple and his attack on the money changers who operate within its precincts with impunity, it is arguable whether the legacy of this man—whom some contemporaries dismissed, if guardedly, as “the one they call Messiah”—will be any more enduring or his followers any more committed than the prophets and their devotees who preceded him.

(Moreover, what he might have accomplished further had he lived is also debatable, since the average life span today is not much more than 40.)

Jesus seems to have been universally respected as a wise man whose appeal for mercy, humility, and compassion reverberated powerfully. But he left no written record, and, according to those who heard him, he sometimes preached mixed messages. He would bless the peacemakers, but also suggest that his followers buy swords. He would insist that his mission was solely to minister to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” but would also direct his devotees to proselytize to other nations.

Read the rest of the Obituary of Jesus … click here. 

He is Risen Indeed!

– Jeremiah J. Johnston, Ph.D.

Did you read our previous three Holy Week emails? For your convenience, here they are: 

Holy Week 2021 Email 1 – The resurrection of Jesus is the only way we make sense of the suffering in our lives

Holy Week 2021 Email 2 – Why We Glory in the Cross! Special message from Dr. Jeremiah Johnston

Holly Week 2021 Email 3 – 7 Reasons We Believe Jesus Rose from the Dead

Why Can We Trust in the Bodily Resurrection? – Part 1

Why Can We Trust in the Bodily Resurrection? – Part 2

LINKS: An mp3 of the interview can be downloaded here and the transcript of the interview is available here. Please feel free to share and encourage others this Holy Week!

What are the 7 best evidences for why we believe Jesus Rose from the Dead?

What are the 7 evidences for why we believe Jesus Rose from the Dead?

What is the “Body of Proof?”

The Easter event overwhelmed the followers of Jesus to such an extent that it dominated their thought and became the very center of their preaching. Indeed, the message that Jesus himself had proclaimed was subordinated to the proclamation of his resurrection. Does the resurrection of Jesus dominate your Christian life? How can we grow in our appreciation and understanding of the physical, bodily resurrection of Jesus? I did my Ph.D. research on the physical, bodily resurrection of Jesus, which I defended in the United Kingdom in 2012. In 2015, my 90,000+ word thesis was published as an academic monograph with Bloomsbury T & T Clark. 

What is the “Body of Proof”? Here are seven compelling reasons I believe Jesus rose from the dead (there are additional reasons, too!). Let me encourage you to watch and share the four videos linked in this email. Please note, in the video above, my message begins at the 13:47 mark.

1.     The resurrection of Jesus is the only way we ultimately make sense of the suffering in our lives.

Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

2.     Jesus foretold it – #OnTheThirdDay

Hosea 6:2 After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him.

Mark 8:31; Mark 9:31; Mark 10:33-34

1 Corinthians 15:4 … that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures

3.     Jesus demonstrated resurrection power.

Mark 5:21-43: Jairus’ daughter.

Luke 7:11-17 Widow of Nain’s son.

John 11:1-44: Lazarus

4.     Jesus’s bodily resurrection was not what his disciples (or any other Jews, for that matter) anticipated.

Peter said, “God forbid, Lord! This shall never happen to you” (Matt 16:22).

4Q285 (DSS) – Messiah kills the Roman emperor.

Luke 24:21, “We had hoped he was the messiah …”

5.     The sources written and archeological overwhelmingly support the resurrection narrative embedded in the Gospels.

1 Corinthians 15:3-7 – no passage in the NT is taken more seriously by biblical scholars. Creed: Source material for this creed is the oldest in the New Testament.

6.     It is the only convincing explanation for the conversion of those who did not follow Jesus during his ministry (Then he appeared to James).

“Is this not the carpenter? … And they took offense at him.” (Mark 6:3)

“Not even his brothers believed in him.” (John 7:5)

“He is out of His mind.” (Mark 3:21)

7.     It is the only convincing explanation for the historical fact that everywhere the Christian faith goes and is embraced, culture is dramatically changed and made better.

Will you commit to living a resurrection-centric life?

He is Risen Indeed!

– Jeremiah J. Johnston, Ph.D.

Did you see our previous two Holy Week emails? For your convenience, here they are:

Holy Week 2021 Email 1 – The resurrection of Jesus is the only way we make sense of the suffering in our lives

Holy Week 2021 Email 2 – Why We Glory in the Cross! Special message from Dr. Jeremiah Johnston

Why Can We Trust in the Bodily Resurrection? – Part 1

Why Can We Trust in the Bodily Resurrection? – Part 2

LINKS: An mp3 of the interview can be downloaded here and the transcript of the interview is available here. Please feel free to share and encourage others this Holy Week!

A Personal Update From Jeremiah

 

In praise of your fellowship, prayers, and our God Who answers, I am delighted to share I had the “final” appointment with my colon surgeon on Monday, March 1st. I am healed. In fact, I just finished a 4-mile jog. God’s grace has worked mightily in my life (and continues). I am so thankful for your prayers, which honestly left me overwhelmed with gratitude. I will never forget laying in the hospital room reading some of the messages from my brothers and sisters in Christ. Our ministry is powered by God’s grace and your prayers. I am focused on all God has for Christian Thinkers Society moving forward. Finally, I realize you likely receive many emails, so if you have missed some of our recent health updates (or you’re wondering, ‘wait, you had surgery on your colon?’) you can find those here, here, here, and here.

I hope you’ll join me this Thursday evening for a live-streamed event, “Finding Peace in Anxious Times” (additional information below) hosted by the wonderful Baker Book House in Grand Rapids, MI, with excellent panelists and our dear friend and gifted Bible teacher, Susie Larson.

We hide the problem behind phrases like “an unprecedented year,” “a new normal,” or “a challenging season.”

There is another virtual event I want to make you aware of, which is timely. Christian Thinkers must be activated in the mental wellness discussion! We hide the problem behind phrases like “an unprecedented year,” “a new normal,” or “a challenging season.” But the truth is that all of us are dealing with more strains on our mental health than we’ve ever experienced…and many in the church are surviving instead of thriving. When there’s a gap between what we think we should be feeling as Christians–joyful, grateful, blessed–and how we really feel–exhausted, worried, hopeless–it’s hard to know where to turn. I am delighted to join this panel of Christian Thinkers have been there, whether through personal experience with anxiety and depression or through extensive counseling training and practice. We want to equip you with practical advice for addressing mental health issues during difficult times, sharing:

-Insights on the reality of mental health struggles, even among believers

-Truths to apply to both everyday stress and overwhelming attacks of anxiety

-Ways to discern what habits and practices can provide peace and focus

Whether you’re looking to improve your own mental health or want to better understand and care for those you love who are struggling, this roundtable discussion is for you.

The event is free and all you need to do is register your attendance, here. 

Date And Time

Thu, March 4, 2021

6:00 PM – 7:00 PM CST

Add to Calendar

Jeremiah J. Johnston, Ph.D.

Roundtable Discussion

Recently I participated in a roundtable discussion, “Finding Peace in Anxious Times,” with two other panelists (Jamie Grace and Jean Holthaus) hosted by Susie Larson and the Baker Book House. Our one-hour discussion and QnA session is now available in its entirety on YouTube. I hope you will watch,  share, and most importantly practice the ministry of presence is someone’s life who may be hurting.

We hide the problem behind phrases like “an unprecedented year,” “a new normal,” or “a challenging season.”

The truth is that all of us are dealing with more strains on our mental health than we’ve ever experienced…and many in the church are surviving instead of thriving. When there’s a gap between what we think we should be feeling as Christians–joyful, grateful, blessed–and how we really feel–exhausted, worried, hopeless–it’s hard to know where to turn. I was delighted to join this panel of Christian Thinkers have been there, whether through personal experience with anxiety and depression or through extensive counseling training and practice. This discussion will equip you with practical advice for addressing mental health issues during difficult times, sharing:

-Insights on the reality of mental health struggles, even among believers

-Truths to apply to both everyday stress and overwhelming attacks of anxiety

-Ways to discern what habits and practices can provide peace and focus

Whether you’re looking to improve your own mental health or want to better understand and care for those you love who are struggling, this roundtable discussion is for you.

Jeremiah J. Johnston, Ph.D.

​P.S. Please don’t forget about my new book Unleashing Peace …. coming soon! We need this message of Shalom … like yesterday! 

New Discoveries in the Dead Sea Wilderness

New Discoveries in the Dead Sea Wilderness

Photo credit: Shai Halevi, The IAA (Israel Antiquities Authority), more photos can be found here.

16 March 2021

Important update from Professor Craig Evans, founding board member of Christian ThinkersSociety, dear friend, colleague, and academic mentor of Dr. Jeremiah J. Johnston.

 

This morning it was announced in Israel that more discoveries have been made in the Dead Sea wilderness region, where in the 1940s–1960s some one thousand ancient Jewish scrolls were found. What led to the recent discovery was the launch of “Operation Scroll,” an effort to survey and eventually explore hundreds of caves in this region that might contain ancient antiquities, including scrolls.

This effort led to the 2017 discovery of a cave near Qumran that contained ceramic jars that at one time probably contained scrolls. Archaeologists think that this cave had been looted in the 1950s, which could account for the appearance of ancient scrolls whose place of discovery was unknown.

The latest success of Operation Scroll has resulted in the discovery of fragments of books of prophecy by Zechariah and Nahum. These fragments were found at Nahal Hever in the “Cave of Horror,” so-called because of the discovery of forty human skeletons during the original excavation in the 1960s. It was at Nahal Hever that a Greek Minor Prophets scroll was discovered. The new fragments, eighty in all, should add to our knowledge to this important scroll. (See the image above of one of the Greek fragments.)

These scroll fragments were hidden in the cave during the great revolt against Roman control of Israel in 132 to 135 AD. This revolt was led by a man named Simon bar Kosiba, who gained the title “Bar Kokhba,” or “Son of the Star,” inspired by the prophecy of Numbers 24:17 “A star shall go forth from Jacob, and a scepter shall arise from Israel.” This important passage was understood to refer to the coming Messiah. Some thought Simon was the fulfillment of the prophecy. Alas, Simon’s rebellion led to a catastrophic defeat and the expulsion of the Jewish people from their homeland. The Jewish people were without a homeland until 1948.

One of the interesting features of the recently announced Greek fragments of Zechariah and Nahum is that the name of God appears written in Hebrew — not Greek — which testifies to the great respect the Jewish people had for God. The scribe who wrote this biblical scroll felt that the name of God could only be written in the original Hebrew, not in Greek translation.

It is very probable that more discoveries will be announced in the years to come.

Professor Craig A. Evans

Christian Thinkers Society

P.S. If you have further questions related to this discovery, please contact Professor Evans here.

Jeremiah and Craig in the Griffith Papyrology Lab, Sackler Library, Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford.

Excited to hold my first academic chapter published in German on the “Kingdom of God” in Mohr Siebeck’s “Jesus Handbuch” – co-authored with my friend and colleague, Professor Craig A. Evans Mohr Siebeck | Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company will also be publishing the chapter for an English version. This book will be read by “dozens” at most, but it is important to continue to shine the Light in the academic world, too! Plus, our article on the “Kingdom of God” is a very important subject.