Gnosticism in its various forms has been remarkably persistent in the history of the church. Both the apostles Paul and John dealt with early forms of it in their epistles, and Irenaeus of Lyons critiqued it in Against Heresies. A number of surviving “Gnostic Gospels” date from the second through fourth centuries. As Justin Holcomb points out in his recent book Know the Heretics, the influence of Gnosticism continues to this day and has filtered down into popular culture. [Read more…]
Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels (Paperback Kindle, Audiobook) is one of the latest books to examine the evidence for the reliability of the New Testament. Detective Jim Wallace was an atheist before he began putting Christianity to the same tests that he places witnesses and suspects to in his investigations of crimes. He split his book into two sections. The first deals with the methods used in detective work. He uses his own experiences to illustrate and applies them to different aspect of Christianity. In the second part he specifically targets the reliability of the four gospels as eyewitness accounts of history. This review will be a chapter-by-chapter summary but should not be taken as comprehensive of Wallace’s presentation:
Section 1: Learn to Be a Detective
Chapter 1: Don’t Be a “Know-it-All”
In the first chapter Wallace begins his training of the reader by speaking a bit about presuppositions. He explains that presuppositions are ideas that we come to an investigation with prior to any investigating. They usually determine our conclusion before we examine the evidence. Though everyone has these, it is required that an investigator or juror set them aside to be able to come to an objective conclusion. The consequences of allowing our presuppositions to guide our investigation are that we are likely to come to a conclusion that is not accurate. This goes for investigating murders and investigating truth-claims of worldviews. [Read more…]
For many years, the council of Nicea has been the subject of much confusion among laypeople. The misapprehensions which have come to be associated with the council of Nicea have, in part, been fuelled by popular fictional novels such as Dan Brown’s notorious The Da Vinci Code. No matter what group you are dealing with in your apologetic exploits (including atheists, Muslims, Jehovah’s witnesses and Unitarians), you are almost guaranteed to encounter some of these misconceptions. For this reason, it is important for Christians to study and learn church history, so that they might correct common myths and falsehoods.