PhD Candidate and Adjunct Professor Mikel Del Rosario sits down with Mark to discuss current issues in historical Jesus studies.
Welcome to Jessup think I’m your host Mark Moore and our co host Rex Gurney is off traveling the world. So I’m in studio by myself, but I’m excited to be joined by actually a fellow adjunct professor. I teach in our online program now at miquel del Rosario, and he is actually in Dallas at Dallas Theological Seminary working on his PhD. He is the host of the table podcast there with Darrell Bock, coming out of the Hendricks center. And he also has his own website called apologetics guide calm, but McHale sits down with me and we discuss kind of current issues in historical Jesus studies. I think you’re really going to enjoy the conversation. Well, Macau is great having you on the show. All the way from Texas. That’s right. The Big D Dallas, Texas. Oh, thanks so much for having me on the show. Hey, it’s it’s it’s a pleasure. And you have a connection with Jessup.
Yes, that’s right. I actually used to teach on campus here. Teach apologetics and world religion on campus. And before I went out to Dallas Seminary to do my th M. And now in the Ph. D. program there.
Oh, that’s great. And what year did you What year? Did you start here? Just
2011 and 12. I was teaching on campus here and then right when I left is right when Jessup started Jessup online. Oh, right. And so there are there were a number of adjuncts to got to start courses and put together content for that. And I was one of them. So I kind of got it and right on the ground floor.
Hey, that’s great. And you’re still teaching with us online? That’s
right. Yeah. I’ve been teaching every semester since since I left California in 2012. All the way to now. So there you go.
That’s great. And just keeping you busy while you’re doing. Yep. So you did your th m, and then you’re working on your dissertation and your PhD. So I heard through the grapevine that you finished coursework. Yes, that’s right, which is a beautiful experience. So when you come out of that door, right, the dubs started flying. I played. I remember my last class, and it was kind of a weird experience. It was like, Okay, I think I might be done with school for my life. I have all the classes. I’ve taken them all. I can’t I can’t take any more. Like, that’s what my wife tells me. I’m not allowed to take anymore. But you got a lot of things going on in Dallas to that you. So you. So you’ve finished up PhD work. And you’re also working at the Hendricks center. Yes, they are and what is what’s the role of the Hendricks center there, Dallas.
So my title there is Cultural Engagement Manager. And we have a podcast called the table podcast. And it’s a podcast that runs every week. It’s a video podcast. And I produce that I get the guests on the show. And I’m also one of the hosts. We have four hosts. My mentor, Dr. Darrell Bock is one. Bill Hendricks, our executive director for leadership. And then one of my other co workers, Kimberly cook. I mostly do the apologetics shows. But I’ve also done faith and work kinds of shows and other shows. But that’s a big part of what I do. And I also write cultural engagement and apologetics articles for our seminary journal called Bibliotheca Sacra. Nice. So those are the two major things that I do at the center.
Okay, that’s great. Yeah. So your, your podcast veteran, so yeah. So it was it was a no brainer having you on the show today. And we’re glad you’re just here in California for a brief time. Yeah. So happy to be here. We could sit down and, and, you know, we’re kind of talking about the the focus of your dissertation looking at kind of historical Jesus studies. And, and you’ve been, you’ve started a little bit I mean, you know, when this releases, it’ll be okay, you know, to share this. I know, you’ve already started on some chapters, unofficially. Around, unofficially, but that’s the good thing about your dissertation is you can start writing it whenever. Yeah, I mean, you can write and then you turn it in. I even tell students that sometimes when they’re doing homework, like they can write their papers whenever they don’t have to wait till the due date. Now, none of them take me up on
a wait for any of our college students who are listening here or any students at any school whatsoever. One thing I’ve taken away from my PhD work is that if you get started super early on something, it makes the seemingly impossible actually doable,
yes. Or no question. Like when when you when you sit down to a computer to a blank page, and you have five hours to get something done? Yeah, it’s not as too much stress. But yeah, if you work on it, and chip away at it, I agree. That’s, that’s what something that dissertation taught me as well. That’s right, a little bit at a time goes a long way. And the good thing about I think the dissertation is there’s no way you could write it in a night no matter what. So you can’t wait till the last minute so it kind of forces you. So we’re just teaching students life lessons. That’s right. That’s That’s the that’s the side takeaway of the podcast. Yeah. But but one of the reasons why I was really excited to have you on is to, to kind of look at maybe some of the research you’ve been doing just for these first couple chapters of your dissertation, looking at kind of contemporary historical Jesus studies. And are there some current issues that you’re kind of noticing in scholarship that are maybe a change from maybe the last 20 years? And maybe what what direction is kind of historical Jesus studies headed in there you can see,
there are a couple of things, probably a dimension. The first one is discussion around around the whole concept of the criteria of authenticity. The different thing is that we look at to say, How do we know that what’s in the Bible is actually based on a true story, right? And these are the rules of the game, so to speak. And these rules were not written by the church. This is not like how you might hear the Bible talk about insurance. This is more how you hear the Bible talked about in scholarly circles for people who are Jewish scholars, atheist scholars, people from all walks of life who want to take a look at the Bible as historians. Yeah. And so some people are pushing back on the criteria of authenticity. These are, these are different ways that we can say, well, this, this thing is most likely historical, or increases the probability that this thing is a historical event. Because we’ve had historical Jesus studies for quite some time from the late 1700s. The quest for the historical Jesus, all the way through third quest and 80s. And yeah, 90s to today. And there’s so many different views of who Jesus is using these tools. Right. So maybe these tools are just banca we just no amount of good is not helping anybody, you know? Yeah. So one example is double dis similarity. That’s something where people say, Well, if you get Jesus saying something that’s not like Judaism, and not like Christianity, that’s probably legit. You know, because it’s like, the Jewish people made that up. Or it’s not like the Christians made that up.
Yeah, it’s not a later Christian. Right? Oh,
but the problem was in Jews mouth. The problem with that is, yeah, you can find things like that. But it’s a very tiny sea. And you’re divorcing Jesus from his own culture that influenced him. You’re divorcing him from the movement that he actually started? Yeah. And so while that might be a really good, first pass, maybe? And certainly, certainly, he said, these kinds of things, you know, you love your neighbor kinds of things, right. But certainly, we can know more about Jesus than just that. And so the, the response to this whole push back on the rules are like, well, what else do we have? If we just abandon this criteria? Then how is a Christian going to be able to talk with a Jewish scholar or an atheist scholar about Jesus? If there’s no, we have no rules to play the game together? Right? And so, rather than just throw it out, we need to nuance these things. So rather than say, not like Judaism, not like Christianity, you could say not quite like Judaism, not quite like Christianity. So the Son of Man for example, Jesus used the Son of Man not just in a generic way. Or even the the apocalyptic Son of Man right it’s kind of really no seven Yes, man. He’s he’s using that stuff. Yeah, cuz he’s influenced by Jewish culture. But he is he’s nuancing that and developing it into something more where you can say here’s, you know, a character who is who is believed to be a human with divine characteristics as well. I’m going to take that I’m going to run with that because it’s in the culture Yeah, what better way to begin to reveal who I am through this cultural discussion that’s already there. Right and you look at Son of Man I mean, how many times have you here you know worship song with Sena man in it or in the read of the New Testament Son of man it’s on the lips of Jesus his favorite way of talking about himself and yet nobody else does it
right and that’s that’s been one of the things over the last kind of year in my kind of studies for classes teaching here. That’s something that has emerged that that son of man is is the most used title by Jesus to describe himself but yeah, we as a great point like there are probably no worship songs that say Son of man and and it’s even kind of a pretty elusive title right? I mean, when you when we hear Son of man and maybe the just average person in church here Son of Man, we don’t necessarily know the the, the weight that comes with that. We don’t even necessarily know the Jewish weight that comes with and so even adding that and that’s something like guys like Tim Mackey and the Bible project have been doing a great job of highlighting that about Son of man really highlighting the the Jewish roots, but also like, how you’re kind of pointing out that as he as Jesus nuanced it as well. Well, it also then becomes a really interesting historical claim by Jesus, you know that, that yeah, this is, this couldn’t be just a, an early Jewish writer putting this idea into this character Jesus, but rather, it does give a little validity to now this is this is a historical Jesus who is taking this, and he’s building upon it. And and it’s not quite jasm but it’s not quite Christianity. And
that makes total sense because that he’s the bridge between Judaism and Christianity. Where did Christianity come from if there’s no Jesus? Where did it come from? If Jesus his teachings aren’t the basis of the whole church, you know? Yeah, so son of vans a great one.
It really is and, and kind of with these, maybe with the, the rules that you have to develop, and that seems like in all of kind of historiography right now is people are trying to decide, how do we know something as historical Right, right, what are those ground rules we can all agree upon? And, and I know, you’ve had some connections with a guy named Gary Habermas and, and I was able to study under him took a couple classes with him that that Liberty during my dissertation, and and he’s a great guy, a great guy to have a seminar with. He’s a good, he’s basically like a hockey coach who knows a lot about theology and philosophy. Yeah, and, and just a good kind of good, maybe Eastern Michigan accent. And so he’s really, really good guy, but I’ve always really appreciated his kind of minimal facts and fringe.
Yeah, that really turned me on to historical Jesus studies. Actually, he came to Biola University where I did my MA in apologetics. Yeah. He presented that minimal facts approach. And I read the case for the resurrection of Jesus with Mike licona. That he he co authored with him write that book I recommend to all my students in apologetics that really got me excited about doing resurrection studies. And then also just in general, historical Jesus studies. Yeah. And we were pleased to have him on the table podcast for Easter. Oh, that’s great. Darrell Bock talking about the evidence for the resurrection.
That’s so great. And so I’m, I’m having a little bit of a revelation. So. So you were I also went to Biola and get a ma in apologetics. Okay, how did I not know that? And I also sat in on a class that Gary Habermas came out again, and so what years were you at? This may make me feel old? Or maybe we’re the similar age 2001 to 2003. I did my MA in apologetics. Okay. Yeah, I was. I started in fall of 2001. So we were there. We may have literally been Wow, the same room because it was kind of the where Gary, where he spoke it was in that was kind of like stadium seating. Yeah. It’s like the weird room on by always campus. Yeah. And he just did the weekend thing.
Right. And so we there was defending the faith. One, two and three as required. Yes. Right. Yeah.
So we were ago, we were literally probably in that same day. It was a pretty big space. There were a lot of
or we might have sat next to each other.
Yeah. Hey, that’s right there. This isn’t the first time on this podcast with a host or with a guest that I have made a Biola connection when we’ve been there around the same time.
I’m always conflicted when whenever Jessup plays Biola for basketball,
although now you know, it’s full Jessa Well, hey, yeah, you know, it’s full. Jessup got to my my paycheck required. That’s right. But no, and for me, it’s very similar, like Habermas, his approach to historical Jesus and his approach by using minimal facts. So, so for our listeners, if you don’t quite know what his minimal facts approach are, do you want to kind of give them a little little background?
Sure. Gary Habermas popularized a view that’s now called the minimal facts approach that basically takes data that everyone can agree on whether you’re a Jewish scholar, an atheist, scholar, Muslim scholar, looking at historical Jesus, what are some things that we all can agree on? And then from those, those facts like Jesus crucifixion, the disciples really believe that they saw the risen Jesus, the conversion of Paul and James and the empty tomb, which is 75%, which he will say it’s four plus one, right? These things are strong enough to present a positive case, but also strong enough to defend the resurrection against a naturalistic challenges.
Yeah, because when you take those four, so you take for events that also Scholars would agree, hey, that happened. This guy named Jesus existed. And that’s even a precursor. Yeah, he was crucified. The disciples definitely at least you could say at bare minimum, you could say that they believed base, they had experiences with the risen Jesus and weren’t lying about it. Yeah. And they weren’t like, and at that point, they’ve had no reason to make anything up. I mean, there wasn’t any money in it. gold plated rooms, yet. There was nothing, in fact, that just cost them their lives. So that was, and then yeah, the conversion of Paul and conversion of James. And what I always liked about how harmonics approach is you take those four, and then the plus one with the empty tomb, and you talk about, okay, then what’s the best explanation? So obviously, you know, when you look at all of those, an explanation that Jesus maybe didn’t die on the cross, but he only like passed out. And then, you know, and it’s like, well, when you highlight that, like, if he would have come to the disciples and would have just like, he probably wouldn’t have had any strength and the disciples wouldn’t have been like, Oh, this is the result. We need a doctor. Yeah. Yeah. And so I’ve always loved that approach to to, to highlighting apologetics and that sense and historical issues of saying, okay, we have these things we can agree on. Now, what’s the best explanation? And then that’s, I think, a great conversation starter of, hey, how do we explain this? How do we explain? Is it an a hallucination, right, for a group hallucination? I
love what Habermas does with that to them. Yeah. The rarity of a group hallucination where everyone sees the same thing. And and auditory and visual hallucinations simultaneously rise required for that. Yeah.
And and so I’ve always appreciated that, because I do think that is a helpful place to, to begin the conversation for one What I like about it, is that it It forms common ground with your dialogue partner. Yeah. And I think that’s so important in apologetics. I mean, a lot of apologetics can be kind of attack oriented. Right. And there’s mode. Yeah. And debate mode. And there’s not a lot of dialogue. There’s not a lot of friendship. Yeah. And, and I really did appreciate that where it’s like, okay, let’s, let’s start with some common ground. And then let’s hear all the arguments. Let’s and let’s really see, what is the best explanation for this?
Yeah, I’m a big fan of apologetics as conversation. Yeah. Because truth matters. But tone matters, too. Yeah, that’s so good character of who you are, you know. And so when I when I speak in front of audiences, where I know there are skeptics there, and there’s Christians who brought their friends. Yeah, I’m like, Look, I just want to make sure that you have all of the data, you have the whole story so that you can begin your own investigation, not just reading what Bart Ehrman has written in his books. Yeah, some Bart Ehrman, things are really good, actually. Right. Did Jesus exist is a great book. Next, Mr. Herman, but that you have all of the data? And who’s going to say, oh, you’re just close my eyes, because you want me to have all the data. Right. Right. Exactly. And that’s a way to be a minister. It’s a way to serve somebody so that instead of walking into a spiritual conversation and debate mode, because you’re, you’re thinking like an apologist, quote, unquote, to say, I want to serve this person, yeah, I want to care about them. And this is a ministry right now. Right? So it’s about the content. Yeah. But your character matters, too.
Yeah, it really does. And I think that it’s been, it’s been great to see that movement within apologetics as well, that movement of it’s not about winning the argument. But it’s about content and tone. And so important, I saw in Reno, we’re kind of emailing back and forth on on on this. Within your dissertation. You’ve also made I think, a really interesting move from so kind of doing what you have to do and dissertations of kind of surveying the recent scholarship and but then also moving into the historicity and uniqueness of Jesus claim in mark two to be able to forgive sins. And and that’s been something partly from my training days at Biola and interaction with Habermas, that that mark to passage for me has been really pivotal and understanding who Jesus was claiming to be himself, not what other people were saying about him, but what claims he was making. So I would love to explore that a little bit more what what is the, the uniqueness of this claim? What’s the power of this passage to help us understand maybe what Jesus was claiming about himself?
Well, the second development that I was going to mention actually ties right into this oh perv, which is in 2011, a guy named Andrew Chester I found that there was a consensus, basic consensus around the idea that Jesus was believed to be divine very early and in a Jewish context. Now, as a historian, you’re gonna go, Well, how on earth did that happen? Yeah, right, in a monotheistic Jewish context, right, you’re gonna start worshipping this man, Jesus, how does that happen? So, as a historian, you could say this, there’s a spectrum here. It’s either related to something Jesus said about himself, or this belief is entirely unrelated to anything Jesus said, or did. Yeah, the answer is somewhere on that spectrum. Right. I want to tip the scales more to say, Well, certainly he had to say something. Yeah, right, say something to give people a reason. Yeah. And so this claim to possess divine authority, I think has a really good chance of being very close to historical bedrock. Or at least I can make a case that based on historical bedrock, you can say Jesus really said this, and it was unique. So for example, Jesus being a miracle worker, everyone’s going to give you that, yeah, everyone’s going to give you that the Jesus seminar people, you know, john Dominic Crossan is going to give you that right. Marcus Borg would write that as well. Yeah, he Sanders had a list of 12 things that we know about the historical Jesus, that he was a miracle worker, is bedrock, right. But he was certainly more than a miracle worker. And I think he was a unique kind of miracle worker. And I think the data can show that in mark two, he claimed to forgive sins. No one else does that. Right. So I looked in Greco Roman sources, I looked in Jewish sources, Greco Romans, they believe that the gods could forgive. Hmm, interesting. The gods could only forgive things you did against them. They couldn’t forgive what you did to like another guy. Another guy, yeah. But no human person could do it. Right? Only only a deity could. On the Jewish side, of course, only God forgives sins, and God revealed himself as the God who forgives an exodus. Yeah. And so that is really all all sin is ultimately, an offense against God’s only God can forgive that sin. Yeah. But I looked at all these humans that some people have brought up like, well, maybe what Jesus did really wasn’t all that unique. And if it wasn’t all that unique, then mark too, isn’t telling us the whole story or the true story. Yeah, because the scribes wouldn’t go. He’s blaspheming. You can forgive sins except God alone, if what the scholars are saying is true, right. And so Tobias hageland is a guy I’m reading and working through his suggestions that prophets or priests could forgive sins. So I looked at priests, for example, priests, they could pray for you. They could do the atonement, rituals, the atonement rites, but that’s different than forgiveness, right? Tell them it’s more about purification. In fact, if a woman was menstruating, for example, there’s rights for that. That’s not forgiveness. There’s no sin involved, right? That’s not forgiveness. So you’re linked to purity? Yeah. And there’s another letter of aristeas says that the Jewish prophets would sacrifice in total silence. So how are you going to proclaim someone’s sins forgiven, if you’re not saying anything, and, but then profits as well. And there’s a whole slew of them that I went on. But bottom line is what I found, when Jesus said, Son, Your sins are forgiven, that’s unique. No other miracle worker ever did that. Right.
And we definitely see claims of miracle workers in Greco Roman history, right. I mean, with Emperor’s and that being able to perform and so that’s not the uniqueness, right. That’s not the unique claim. And that’s why I think it’s it is really great to make to bridge that gap. Jesus is not just miracle worker, but he’s a miracle worker who make made a unique claim about who he is. And in that claim, is something that could have sparked a belief in him at a very early time. And and I think that is really, that seems to be a really important piece within historical Jesus studies is what did people believe about Jesus? Very early on, right? Because if you can, and I know Bart Ehrman, that’s that’s one of his kind of axes to grind right now is okay, if you have a different Christology, and then somehow it morphed into the Caledonian creed that we have. Okay, that, you know, hey, that’s shifted, and now we’re worshipping Jesus that didn’t actually exist. And I do think it’s so important to man look back. What What were the earliest beliefs of the Christians?
And the Mark chapter two, this is the earliest miracle story in the earliest gospel, right if you take mark and priority Yeah, I do. Yeah. And so for Bart Ehrman to say something like the johannah and Jesus is really different than the Synoptic Jesus, where you can see the kernels of that high Christology Yeah, The synoptics, right? Because when Jesus says to the paralytic son, Your sins are forgiven. He’s making a claim to do what only God can do. Yeah. And that is why you have this scribal response that this is blasphemy. Right? So that is sometimes historically contested because of well, maybe all these other people could forgive as well. But I looked at these things, Daniel, supposedly Samuel supposedly, right, forgive sins of the Bible. No. And Josephus says retelling of these things, maybe there’s a little question. Yeah. But if you actually look at it, all they’re doing is praying for people, right? So only if you expand your definition, which is what I think Tobias hageland is doing, expand your definition of forgiveness, to include praying for people, well, then Okay, sure, then you can find that all over the place, right. But this is a really unique thing. And I think that Jesus claimed to forgive sins, makes him a unique kind of miracle worker. And now you have to wrestle with the claims of the historical Jesus. Yes. If Jesus really said this, now we’re gonna do that.
Yeah. Yeah, you have to, you’re kind of faced with that dilemma. That kind of lewisian dilemma, right? Hey, if he’s claiming this, then that’s, that’s leading you to make a decision about who Jesus is. about who the historical Jesus. Yeah, you’re in what you think about.
They’re alluding to the liar, lunatic or Lord for CS Lewis, the New Testaments, a little more simple than that. Actually, the New Testament says you only have two options. Yeah, he’s either from above. Or he’s from below, right? No one ever contested that Jesus was a miracle worker, and that he had powers. Yeah. What they contested was where the powers came from him from above, or below, right? celsus actually says he went to Egypt to learn Egyptian magic, and then came back home and wowed everybody with these powers. That’s not a denial that he was a miracle worker, right?
Yeah, trying to explain it. They’re trying to again, it comes back to the Habermas, what’s the best explanation? Yeah. What’s the best explanation for Jesus being able to perform these miracles? And he’s Yeah, from above or below. I think that is great.
And so in that Mark, chapter two, he is showing you something you can’t see my something you can see. Right? If you say to someone, hey, Your sins are forgiven. The guy looks the same. Yeah, yeah. How do we? How do we know if that even worked? Right? And that’s why he says, so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on her to forgive sins, I tell you, he says that the paralytic get up and walk right. And in all three accounts, on the Synoptic Gospels of this one event, everyone praises God, and they’re all amazed. Right?
And, and that really, it really does portray a different experience, then a priest or prophet, praying for forgiveness, or even doing a ritual that would bring about forgiveness, right, that the priests in no way and it doesn’t seem to be in the literature, either, that the priest is making a claim by making this sacrifice that the priest himself is forgiving the sin. Right. And, and it would be maybe a very different story if Jesus sacrificed a lamb and then turned to him and said, Your sins are forgiven.
Yeah, because of this right? Then it’s now the forgiveness is coming from that ritual, right? He’s not even in the temple, right? This is part of the huge offense there. There are certain ways that God says or deny maker of heaven and earth says human beings can be involved in this process, right? in the temple, with sacrifices, with a repentant person and all this, this, Jesus brings it up out of nowhere. Yeah, guy comes on a stretcher. He wants to be healed, obviously. That’s why he’s interrupting this whole thing, right? And Jesus says, Your sins are forgiven, like one. Yeah. Where did that come from? Right.
And the guy was probably like, okay, but can I get healed?
Yeah. Another similarity thing is because salvation is the more more of the emphasis in the early church, not healing. Right. And he uses the phrase, son of man here again, as well. Yeah, another, another handle that we can say. This is probably based on a true story. Yeah. Jesus was known as a miracle worker. Certainly, he was known to heal laying people. Certainly, he was known to have clashes with the Pharisees on because of the kind of authority that he seemed to claim he had. Certainly, all these things increase the probability that this is a really, this was a true story.
Yeah. And would you say that the, the purpose of historical Jesus studies especially maybe within, you know, evangelical community, the purpose of historical Jesus studies is to maybe find common ground in scholarship like, hey, okay, let’s really look at this. We don’t want to just close our eyes, unplug our ears, and, and say, well, we think this about Jesus, but let’s look at the data and then allow people to respond To that data and respond to what is that best explanation? Because I’ve really felt like I’ve, I’ve seen that and even in my my own life, I think one of the reasons why I went to Biola and did the apologetics program was because of deep questions I had in my own life and my own faith. I grew up in the church, I grew up with Jesus. And I came to a point where I wanted to know, is this true? And, and I think that for for as much as as truth is muddy, right, and culture, I think that’s there’s a desire within people to know something is true. I think maybe that’s our draw to the natural sciences. Right, right. Well, if I can study it, and I can prove it in a lab, then I know it’s true. And we’ve kind of separated faith from from that type of truth. Yeah. And and I think, in many ways, maybe historical Jesus studies brings those back together, like, hey, let’s look at the data. Let’s look at it in an in as much as an unbiased way as you can we all we all come from our own point of view. But we can look at that data and say, Hey, if Jesus making this claim, and this were the experiences of those around them, these are the things that had happened, then maybe that does bring us to a place that then we do have a decision to make on our own what what do we then think about Jesus? What do is that? How, how do you kind of position historical Jesus studies?
Yeah, as an apologist, I felt very prepared as a generalist coming out of Biola. But then I had this desire to specialize in Jesus studies, because, in my experience, having conversations with people about arguments for existence of God, the problem of evil, these kind of worldview, right questions, yeah, eventually end up at least in conversations I’ve had in end up going back to the text to Jesus in the Gospels. Yeah. And that’s what I wanted to specialize. And I was inspired by habra masses, work on on minimal facts. Yeah, by Mike like on his work. Darrell Bock as well, who’s my mentor now about the authority of Jesus, and who he claimed to be. And then the vindication of that in the resurrection, we hear a lot about the resurrection of Jesus and apologetics. But very few people at apologetics conference will give a presentation on the claim that Jesus made. Yes, is what fills the resurrection with meaning, right, and the earliest Jewish apologetic for Jesus as as Messiah, and as the Lord had to do with his vindication via resurrection and ascension that he’s seated at the right hand. Yeah. So I think for me, apologetics is the is the the vehicle that I’m taking New Testament studies, and using it to help the church through apologetics. I think it can help increase our faith. And like you, I grew up in the church, lots of questions about the faith, we think we’re right, everyone else thinks we’re right, right? Everyone knows you. Right? Right. Everyone else thinks they’re right. I should say, Yeah. Can we all be right? is nobody right? You know, how do I know the Bible is something I can really believe in. And so I remember when I was in college, too, I came to the point where a lot of Christian college students do, you know, where I said, Is this religious, my parents faith versus my faith. Yeah. And at Biola, they were talking about things and my New Testament class, like, there was no such thing as religious truth on one side, and regular, everyday truth on the other side. So I said, I decided, you know, what, if this is really true, if truth is just truth, you know, if Jesus really rose from the dead, and time and space and Christianity is true, and that’s no different than the fact that you and I are sitting here right now, you know, this has to change my whole life. Yeah, it has to impact everything. Right? So if it’s really true, it’s worth believing and living and dying for if it’s not true, why even bother? Right?
Yeah, that’s so true. And I think that’s just a really good point to make as we kind of land the plane here on the on the episode like that, that I think we are with us having similar experiences and and I do think that a lot of Christian college students have that experience and I’m always encouraging the students, that there has to be that step from the faith you grew up in and the faith that has become your own and and only you can make that step right. Like we can’t make that for a student no one can make it for me when I was in college. And and I appreciate the foundation that was laid in my life and with my family and but I had to kind of seek that and and and that’s why I’m so encouraged by kind of the apologetics movement within the church as well. As because there with with All of our questions, there are people who are thoughtfully who are respectfully who are scholarly, pursuing those questions. And, and it’s not just about answering the questions, right. But they’re pursuing, how to explain these, how to talk about these, how to look at all the data. And I think that’s so important. And so I always encourage the students I’m with and and the listeners of the podcast to do if you have questions, don’t hide those questions away. Ask them and get into a community where you can pursue the truth because I agree with you again, like, truth is truth. And so we can never be afraid of the truth. And to pursue that. And and I do agree that I think almost every question we have in faith is going to come back to Jesus in some ways, and and how you handle the historical Jesus. And and if the historical Jesus is a certain way, then that changes everything. Yeah. And and that changes our lives. And for me, and times of doubt, and all that I’ve always come back to Jesus, what he claimed about who he was what he did in the resurrection and ascension. And, and then then that raises questions about my doubts. Yeah, like, Well, what do I do with this? And and I think it’s, it’s so important. So just thank you so much for coming on the show. Thank you for the work you’re doing. I’m excited to to see the dissertation when it is fully written. And, and I know you’ll be happy for that to be happening, too. Yeah.
Well, thanks so much for having me on the show.
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