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EXAMINING THE CLAIM THAT THE WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS OF JOHN 7:53-8:11 ARE MORE LUKAN THAN JOHANNINE

© 2015, by John Tors. All Rights Reserved. NOTE: This is a companion article to our article “A CALL FOR SERIOUS EVANGELICAL APOLOGETICS: The Authenticity of John 7:53-8:11 as a Case Study” Introduction One of the best known stories about Jesus is His encounter with an adulteress whom He refused to condemn.  The story, known in academic circles as the Pericope Adulterae, or Pericope de Adultera (“the extract about the …

A CALL FOR SERIOUS EVANGELICAL APOLOGETICS: The Authenticity of John 7:53-8:11 as a Case Study

© 2015, by John Tors. All Rights Reserved. The Problem There is a troubling dearth of serious and competent apologetics being done by evangelicals in the matter of the origins and transmission history of the New Testament.  The “received wisdom” about such issues as when, how, and in what order the Gospel books were written and about the original form of the NT text has come to be dominated by …

CONTRADICTIONS IN THE GOSPEL BOOKS? Lessons from the World Junior Hockey Championships

© 2015, by John Tors. All Rights Reserved. There are a number of events in the ministry of Jesus that are documented by more than one Gospel author.  Events that are documented by two authors (Matthew and Mark, Matthew and Luke, or Mark and Luke) are called the “double tradition.”  Events that are described by three Gospel writers (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) are called the “triple tradition.”[1] One of the …

GIGO: Unearthing a Decisive New Tipping Point for Textual Criticism

© 2015, by John Tors. All Rights Reserved. Introduction The New Testament books were seen as Scripture from the very beginning.[1]  They were passed around from church to church[2] and copies must have been made of the originals (i.e. the “autographs”) from the very beginning.  Manuscripts of the NT proliferated through the centuries as copies were made of earlier copies, and copies made of those.  The large number of such …

ECHOES IN THE MATH: More Non-Evidence for the Big Bang

© 2015, by John Tors. All Rights Reserved. An article in the 24 January 2015 issue of New Scientist trumpets, “Ancient echoes speak to us from the big bang.”[1]  According to that headline, there are “ancient echoes” and they are “speak[ing] to us from the big bang.”  Surely this must be further evidence for the Big Bang Theory. And yet, as one reads through the article, he cannot be faulted …

A PRIMER ON NEW TESTAMENT TEXTUAL CRITICISM (IN MANAGEABLE, BITE-SIZED CHUNKS)

© 2015, by John Tors. All Rights Reserved. Understand each bite before moving on to the next one! The First Bite A) The New Testament (NT) was written in Koine Greek in the 1st-century AD, but the printing press was not invented (in the West) until the mid-15th century AD. This means that for about 1,400 years, books – including the NT – could only be reproduced through copying by …

NOT COUSINS: The Genetic Dissimilarity between Chimps and Men

© 2015, by John Tors. All Rights Reserved. An advertisement from the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada appeared in today’s Globe and Mail (January 1, 2015, p. A9), entitled “Cousin, we need to talk.”  It featured the face of a chimpanzee and the text began, We share almost 99% of our DNA.  We still have so much to learn from each other. Here we again see an evolutionist trope that …

NOTHING FROM NOTHING (Response to the National Post, Nov. 19, 2014)

© 2014, by John Tors. All Rights Reserved. According to an article in today’s National Post entitled “Answering the Great Questions” by Lawrence Krauss (p. A14), atheist Krauss tells us about “Hawking Radiation,” particles that are supposedly emitted by black holes.  (He does not tell us that Hawking radiation is a theoretical construct predicted by physicist Stephen Hawking, but not something that has ever been observed or experimentally verified.)  Krauss …

Silhouette of a Women doing Yoga at Sunset

CAN CHRISTIANS DO YOGA? Do Not Be Bamboozled!

© 2014, by Diane Hong. All Rights Reserved. Yoga has certainly gone mainstream.  It has been a craze for decades.  We see yoga studios pop up everywhere; fitness centres offer “hot yoga” as part of their classes; doctors recommend that you do yoga to relax; and I even heard of “Christian yoga classes” offer in churches, which is shocking! Over the years I have had this discussion with Christian friends, …

DOES AN ANCIENT TEXT PROVE THAT JESUS WAS MARRIED TO MARY MAGDALENE AND HAD CHILDREN? A Response to “The Lost Gospel” by Simcha Jacobovici and Barrie Wilson

© 2014, by John Tors.  All Rights Reserved. Tuesday, November 11, 2014, saw the release of a new book called The Lost Gospel: Decoding the Ancient Text that Reveals Jesus’ Marriage to Mary Magdalene,[1] by Simcha Jacobovici (co-author of the risible The Jesus Family Tomb)[2] and Barrie Wilson (author of the less sensationalistic but equally risible How Jesus Became Christian).[3]  The Globe and Mail featured an article on The Lost …

FANTASIA 2014: A Response to Yuval Harari’s “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind”

© 2014, by John Tors. All Rights Reserved. When I was a young boy living in Montreal, my dad took me to a local theatre to see a re-release of Disney’s Fantasia.  Fantasia, made in 1940, features eight animated sequences set to classical music.  The sequences didn’t all have the same impact on me; I didn’t care much for the Dancing Hippo sequence or the Greek Mythology sequence.  The three …

A GLIMPSE OF HEAVEN? An Assessment of “Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back”

© 2014, by John Tors. All Rights Reserved. Introduction Heaven is for Real,[1] Pastor Todd Burpo’s story of his son Colton’s alleged “trip to heaven and back” has certainly caught the public imagination.  As of this writing, the book sits in top spot on The New York Times’ Print/Paperback Nonfiction Best Sellers list, a list on which it has appeared for an astounding 186 consecutive weeks.[2]  It has sold more than …

JESUS OR THE BIBLE: Which is the “Word of God”?

© 2014, by John Tors.  All Rights Reserved. Introduction If one asks an Evangelical Christian whether Jesus is “the Word of God,” the answer is usually an unqualified “yes.”  If one then asks whether the Bible is “the Word of God,” the answer is also an unqualified “yes.”  While many are satisfied with these answers, there are others who see them as contradictory.  Muslims, for example, will ask how two …

THE IRREFUTABLE CASE FOR THE RESURRECTION: How David K. Clark’s Risible “Betting on Jesus: The Vanishing of the Christ” (Free Inquiry, April/May 2014) Strengthens the Case for the Resurrection of Jesus

© 2014, by John Tors. All Rights Reserved. Part 1: David K. Clark’s Super New Argument  Attempts to disprove the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ date back all the way to the very day of the resurrection itself, when the tomb guards who reported this event to the chief priests were told to “‘Tell them, “His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept”’” (Matthew 28:13).  This …

THE RESURRECTION OF OUR LORD JESUS AND THE TESTIMONY OF GOD IN OUR DAYS

© 2014, by Derek Casey. All Rights Reserved. Verification of Contemporary Facts and Proof for the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus “… because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained.  He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:31) The Gospel is good news because it is verifiable and …

DO APPARITIONS OF MARY UNDERMINE THE CASE FOR JESUS’ RESURRECTION? Debunking Hector Avalos’ “Living Laboratory”

© 2014, by John Tors. All Rights Reserved. Introduction In an article entitled “Jesus’ Resurrection and Marian Apparitions: Medjugorje as a Living Laboratory,”[1] Dr. Hector Avalos (below, left) seeks to cast doubt on the New Testament records of Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances by arguing that the so-called “Marian apparitions”[2] which began in 1981 at Medjugorje, Yugoslavia (below, right),[3] “amply illustrates how people can use the most objective and physical language to …

“A PLACE FOR THE CAMELS” (Genesis 24:31b): Refuting the Claim That There Were No Domesticated Camels in the Holy Land at the Time of the Patriarchs

© 2014, by John Tors. All Rights Reserved. Introduction The liberal Biblical scholarship Emperor has new clothes.  This particular new suit is the “Bible’s Phantom camels,”[1] a claim by two Israeli archaeologists[2] that domesticated camels first came to Israel in “the last third of the 10th century B.C.,”[3] which means that the Bible’s account in Genesis of camels during the time of the patriarchs centuries earlier is anachronistic and shows …

“NATIVITY LEGENDS” OR HISTORICAL FACTS? A Response to Free Inquiry

© 2013, by John Tors. All Rights Reserved. Introduction It’s that time of year again.  Christmas is approaching, and with it a bevy of annual traditions: Christmas carols, decorations, coloured lights on houses, shopping for gifts – and, of course, the farrago of assaults by atheists and liberal scholars on the historical truth of the Gospel accounts of the birth of Jesus.  The latest such is “Joseph Ratzinger and the …

“THEY TOOK THE WORDS RIGHT OUT OF MY MOUTH”: Does John 3:16-17 Record the Words of Jesus or of John the Evangelist?

© 2013, by John Tors. All Rights Reserved. One sometimes has to wonder if the raison d’être of Bible scholars is to “spen[d] their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing” (Acts 17:21).  How else can we account for the bizarre idea championed by some of them that Jesus did not speak the words recorded in John 3:16-17 in His conversation with Nicodemus?  …

THE HARBINGER AND “THE ISAIAH 9:10 EFFECT”: An Examination of the Claims of Jonathan Cahn

© 2013, by John Tors. All Rights Reserved. The Background A sensational book has taken the evangelical community by storm.  First published in January, 2012, it reached The New York Times bestseller list in its second week of release[1], and has remained there ever since.  Within the first year it had sold a million copies, and as of this writing, it is currently #12 on the “Trade Fiction” Best Seller …

AN IMPOSSIBLE ENTITY: A Refutation of “The Thinking Atheist’s” Unthinking Attack on Creationism

© 2013, by John Tors. All Rights Reserved. Introduction There is a video posted on YouTube called “Top Ten Creationist Arguments”[1] that was produced by someone calling himself “The Thinking Atheist.”  This intrigued me, as I have long sought to find an actual “thinking” atheist[2], but without success.  After viewing the video, I have to report that this has not changed, as the video is notable only for the lack …

EVIDENCE OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP IN THE BIBLE: Job 26

Text © 2012, John Tors. All Rights Reserved.  (Images from NASA) He stretches out the north over empty space; He hangs the earth on nothing. He binds up the water in His thick clouds, Yet the clouds are not broken under it. He covers the face of His throne, And spreads His cloud over it. He drew a circular horizon on the face of the waters, At the boundary of …

CAN A CHRISTIAN VOTE FOR A MORMON?

© 2012, by John Tors. All Rights Reserved. With the U.S. Presidential election a few days away, the question of whether a Christian can and should vote for a Mormon has been raised by more than one person.  The latest is Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion professor and author of a number of books on religion, including Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know – and Doesn’t and …

GOLIATH WAS THE BAD GUY, REMEMBER? An Assessment of Henri Nouwen’s Teachings

© 2012, by John Tors. All Rights Reserved. Introduction On October 8 of this year, the Toronto Star published an opinion piece called “The life of a spiritual Goliath.”[1]  It was a paean to Henri Nouwen, the late Roman Catholic priest and writer of many books on “spirituality.”  According to the author, Stephen Bede Scharper, Nouwen was a “remarkably influential spiritual explorer” who remains “a spiritual goliath.”  He had found …

SHOULD CHRISTIANS “EMPTY THEIR MINDS” THROUGH MEDITATION?

© 2012, by John Tors. All Rights Reserved. As I wrote in my previous article “SHOULD CHRISTIANS PRACTISE MEDITATION?“: There are different forms of meditation, but the commonality to them is to focus the mind, usually by intense concentration upon a word or phrase (mantra), which may be repeated continuously in the mind, or breathed, or chanted, or by visualization (e.g. of a deity or of one’s own deity) in …

WOMEN AND CHURCH LEADERSHIP: An Inquiry and a Response to Pastor Keith A. Smith’s “Can Christian Women be Pastors and Preachers?”

© 2012, by John Tors. All Rights Reserved. For many centuries, the Christian church understood that God had allocated to men only the authority and authoritative teaching roles in the church.  In the last several decades in the Western world, however, the changing zeitgeist has led to this understanding being challenged.  Many churches and entire denominations have embraced the ordination of women as elders, pastors, and even bishops. Some who …

“HENDERSON HAS SCORED FOR CANADA!” What the 40th Anniversary of the Canada/USSR Summit Series Can Tell Us about the Gospel Books

© 2012, by John Tors. All Rights Reserved. Today, September 28, 2012, is the fortieth anniversary of Game 8, the final and deciding game of the 1972 Canada/USSR hockey “Summit Series.”  It was an event that captured the attention of Canadians as very few other things ever have.  Hockey was our game, the one thing we did better than anyone else in the world, and the one thing that touched …