Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Thoughts

I have always loved C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia.

As a child, there was a little pigsty left over from Howard County's farming years that had become hidden and overrun with thorn bushes. The area was nestled behind an apple tree and pushed up against a newly erected chain link fence. The sty had been partly pulled down by mother nature, and wasn't easy to get to. In fact, I think you probably had to be under 10 years old to be able to squeeze through a small animal trail beneath some prickly undergrowth. If you could squeeze through the small tunnel underneath the stickerbushes you'd arrive in a small secure dome of imagination which was held together by the crumbling construct of the sty. I remember making it inside and feeling the soft powdery dirt that lined the floor of the place. The wooden beams were held together by old rusted pieces of metal, and termites had completely eaten through a lot of the roofing. As a result the ground was littered with fine leftover remnants of the soft wood, and the roof was half man-made and half mother nature. 

This was the place I called Narnia.

At the time I had only read the first couple of books, and I didn't understand all the Christian allegorical meaning behind all of the passages. All I knew was that the Narnia world sounded wonderful, and the imagery of kids escaping their parents into a secret land was perfect for my imagination. For many months I ruled the inside of this hidden sty as a King, and the myriad of my action figures we're the players in my kingdom.

As an adult, I have recently begun rereading the Narnia Books. And I agree with the sentiment that "Aslan grows bigger as I grow older" (from Prince Caspian). I recently finished reading the fourth book in the series, The Silver Chair. I've noticed so many things in the series that mean so much more to me now. In The Silver Chair, Aslan the Great Lion, sends two children from our world, Jill and Eustace, to find Narnia’s lost Prince Rilian. Their companion on the quest is the ever-serious Narnian Marshwiggle Puddleglum. The apex of The Silver Chair provides a very moving debate, one which I have found myself struggling with throughout my adult life and also as a topic amongst some of my closest friends. The debate comes to a head after the following set up:

After a long and dangerous journey, Puddleglum and the children have found the lost Prince and freed him from the enchantment that bound him to the Green Witch and her dark underground realm. Before they can escape, though, the Witch appears - determined stop them. She uses her powers to try and persuade the children that all the things they believe in - the sun, sky, their own world, the land of Narnia, and even Aslan - are nothing more than an old dream, a game of imagination, a children’s story - while her cold, lightless, joyless kingdom of Underland is the only real world. She laughs at them for only being able to vaguely describe the memory they were introduced to in their own world. She mocked..."you imagined a bigger and better lamp and called it the sun . . . you want a bigger and better cat, and it’s to be called a lion." 

In response, Puddleglum gives one of the best speeches in the book, and it was something I really responded to last night as I read it. I had been contemplating the world a couple millennia ago as Christ lay silent in the tomb and his disciples were on the run...hiding and afraid. I thought what many Christians probably think when they're being honest with themselves. Is it really possible? Was he real? Did this really happen? Did he defeat death and rise? Can I live my life according to this truth? What about all those 'free thinkers' who say I'm crazy, that anyone that believes in this stuff is living in a fantasy land. The witch was trying to convince me that my memory of truth was a mirage created by my false hopes.

Here's Puddleglum's response to the evil Queen of the underworld:

‘One word, Ma’am . . . All you’ve been saying is quite right, I shouldn’t wonder. I’m a chap who always liked to know the worst of things and then put the best face I can on it. So I won’t deny any of what you said. But there’s one thing more to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things – trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. . .Then all I can say is, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only real world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that’s a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We’re just four babies making up a game, if you’re right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play-world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can, even if there isn’t any Narnia. So . . . we’re leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for Overland. Not that our lives will be very long, I should think, but that’s small loss if the world’s as dull a place as you say.’ 

I'm with Puddleglum. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can, even if there isn’t any Narnia. But I have a strong inclination to know that it's real. Not Narnia of course, but what Narnia stands for in it's allegorical way. I'm going to be a follower of Christ, even when I have doubts about what happened on this day two thousand plus years ago. Because I've seen the reality of the resurrection even in my own life. I've been given opportunities that my decision making should have squelched out a long time ago. I've been rescued time and time again when I hide in the truth of that unseen reality. And why should I yearn for Christ's world so dearly (The Kingdom of Heaven aka Overland) if it doesn't exist? Why would my heart tell me otherwise?

In Easter service this morning, it was stated that 'the search for something more describes the arc of our human existence.' I think that's true. It's the reason I was thrilled about the Narnia series as a young was the reason I crawled through a fortress of thorns to seeking a safe haven for my imagination, and it's the reason we all wonder at times why we feel unsatisfied with the things of this world.  So the question that Jesus asked Mary Magdeline when she arrived at the empty tomb a couple thousand years ago should be posited to all of us today. Why are you crying and who are you looking for? The answer, as our pastor John Yates said all hangs on Easter. Christ can't be who we're looking for unless he dealt with death once and for all on Easter morning all those Sunday's ago. Easter is the day that the little escape tunnel through the undergrowth becomes a four lane highway to freedom. It means that we don't have to cry or search anymore.

For me, and for all of us, the answer is found in the risen Christ. I don't have to crawl through the undergrowth to find a magical escape. The Kingdom of Heaven is indeed at hand. Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Well - Post Reason For God Study

Awesome night tonight at our party. We concluded the Reason for God study and had a great turnout for tonight's event. I guess if the study had been a total flop no one would have come. So I'm glad to see so many new faces in attendance. It was an awesome thing to host, I learned a lot about myself, but I'm ready for a little break. I feel like I'm ready to take a turn being spiritually fed.

I have been volunteering a lot lately. Singing, The Well leadership committee, facilities, reading at services...I'm ready to focus on myself a bit. I find that going strong with The Well for about 6 months, and then taking a 3 month break works well for me. By the time I'm done the down time, I'm ready to get to volunteering again.

Tonight reinforced how important it is to be in communion with other members of the body of Christ. It was really awesome. I was tired, and not overjoyed at going initially. But by the time I left I was on another high for the G-O-D. A younger guy in the group asked to go to lunch this week as he's considering law school in the future. It just feels good to connect.

Much Love

Monday, April 18, 2011

Holy Week

So today was a better day as far as the spiritual warfare goes. It's interesting, I often think of the language used in the bible about scales falling from eyes. The imagery is so beautiful. When I'm not communing with Christ, I really am turned off to my spirituality. I really am blind to it for that period of time. When I'm not feeling that relationship with the living Christ, I feel nothing until the scales fall away.

So I understand why people become convinced that God doesn't exist. They must feel like I do, when I'm going through a period of spiritual desert, except they feel that way all the time. It'd be like trying to convince them that there's life in a rock. It's just not apparently there.

And then all of a sudden, usually because I return to my knees in a broken state, I feel Gods presence again. I'm back in communion with Christ and it's palpable. My prayers are answered, but more noticeably, I remember to pray. About everything. When I'm going through the dark moments, I don't even think to consider God when decision making. But once the scales fall away, I can't stop thinking of Him. And the joy returns.

It's been back for a couple days, and I'm excited about it.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:My bed

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Spritual Warfare

It's been a week since I've posted. I've been busy. My wife was out of town for 5 days conducting a jury trial and I became a single parent. Getting the little guy off to school and picking him up, getting breakfast and dinner prepared, plus household maintenance and work...well, by the end of the day I was exhausted.

Satan was all over it. He gleefully took advantage of my tiredness and busy schedule. He did everything in his power to keep me away from my relationship with Christ. Well, tomorrow that's going to end. It's Holy Week as of today and I want to make it special. I did a really haphazard job this lenten season when it came to building my relationship with Christ. I'm committing now to getting up early so I can get in the scripture and prayer. I'm volunteering at the RRM on Tuesday night. I'm reading at the Good Friday service at noon. I'm getting back into it and there's nothing that can stop me.

It feels good to be back.

Monday, April 11, 2011


I have a 4 year old son. He is an incredible person. I know most parents will say that about their kids, but this guy is different. Really. He's beyond anything that I can take credit for. He was just born a good person. We never went through a terrible two phase with him. He's always been loving, attentive and well behaved. Very odd considering the genetics he's working with.

I wanted to memorialize something that happened yesterday. It happened fast and lasted about 10 seconds. But it was awesome.

We pray a lot in this house. Before meals, at night, in the morning before work. It really has become a rhythm of life around here, and I'm so freaking happy it's that way. My son will often pray for me at night, or say his own prayers, but it's often a procrastination tool or something that we'll prompt.

Yesterday however, I was smoking my pipe on our front porch after church. I was flipping through my iphone. Noah sat next to me on the steps. He said, "It's a beautiful day Dad."

I said, "Yea buddy it is!" I continued to distractedly play with my phone until I noticed his head was down in his hands. I thought maybe something flew into his eye. I looked down at him and he lifted his head up and said 'Amen."

I said, "Hey, were you saying a prayer?" He said "Yea, it's such a beautiful day." I said, "What did you pray?" He said..."oh, just nuthin..." (Meaning he didn't really want to talk about it.) I said, "You know, Daddy says prayers too when I'm thankful or happy." He said..."Me too Dad."

And then the conversation quickly turned to ninjas or something. And the moment was over just like that!
Pretty wonderfully awesome. He turned four last month. I'm crazy in love with him.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Rock Lyrics - Christian Meanings

OK, so this song doesn't directly hit on Christianity, or even God for that matter...but it reminds me of my mental state before I found my way to God. Chasing after the worldly things. And for that reason, it makes the list.

Crazy - By Gnarls Barkley

I remember when, I remember
I remember when I lost my mind
There was something so pleasant about that place
Even your emotions have an echo, in so much space

And when you're out there without care
Yeah, I was out of touch
But it wasn't because I didn't know enough
I just knew too much

Does that make me crazy?
Does that make me crazy?
Does that make me crazy?

And I hope that you are
Having the time of your life
But think twice
That's my only advice

Come on now, who do you
Who do you, who do you, who do you think you are?
Ha ha ha, bless your soul
You really think you're in control?

Well, I think you're crazy
I think you're crazy
I think you're crazy
Just like me

My heroes had the heart
To lose their lives out on a limb
And all I remember
Is thinking, I want to be like them

Ever since I was little
Ever since I was little
It looked like fun
And it's no coincidence I've come
And I can die when I'm done

But maybe I'm crazy
Maybe you're crazy
Maybe we're crazy

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
Location:Java Divine

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Keller Study

Great night talking about why God would allow some to suffer eternal torment. Chapter 5 of the book talks about Hell and makes it clear, (i think), that Hell is not a place that God imposes on us by violence... but rather is a place that we choose when we insist on our way.The following is a great sermon by Keller.

I'm also excited by the prospect of getting together this summer with a close knit core group of guys to stay strong in my faith. We did it last summer and it was really helpful. The summer months can kind of be a spiritual desert of sorts. It's a great time for a book study, and some small group accountability. Also a cool way to build relationships with fellow Christians.

I love the small group I've been with over the past couple months. Strong Christians that have me in my Bible in my spare time. Loving it.

Much Love.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

When the Enemy Knocks

When the Enemy Knocks

I enjoyed this gentleman's post for a variety of reasons.

First of all, it is written with an honesty that I often aspire to, but rarely duplicate in this blog. I often worry that my postings won't be profound enough, or that they'll be horribly boring if I spend too much time on my everyday challenges and concerns.

Secondly, he is becoming a priest. I'm still in awe that people have the calling at such a young age. The thought of me even considering the Priesthood in my 20's would have been laughable to say the least.

Finally, his description of spiritual warfare is right on. Satan piles up as many cumulative little things when you're tired. He prays on exhaustion and worry. He tries to convince you that you're not good enough, that you are incapable of being successful. That you in fact don't reflect God's glory...perhaps even that there is no God.

Enjoy, Thought I'd share. Much Love.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Finding The Right Bible

It's taken me a while but I think I have finally found the answer.

I plan on purchasing the NIV/Message parallel bible. The Message is a loose free flow thought for thought style of read. It makes getting through some of the Old Testament stuff a pleasure. However, I think it loses some of the poetic language that we've grown accustomed to in the NKJV, and the NIV. I was perusing some if the parallel Bibles and I think it's the way to go. I love comparing translations. I used to always flip to Psalm 19 to see if I'd like the version. The first 5 verses are really tough to get across in english. The theme is the unspoken proof of God's existence in the universe. Some translations use the word 'speech' repeatedly in a way that is confusing. The HCSB repeats 'speech' because it adheres closely to a literal translation. But I don't like that. The NRSV and the NKJV handles the translation well, but changes the meaning slightly. The Message actually captures the thought perfectly, but uses completely different words.

So...I would recommend getting either the NKJV/Message, NIV/Message, or the HCSB/Message or NRSV/Message parralel Bibles. The NRSV, NKJV, and the Holman are the most readable and accurate translations that I've found. To match them up with the Message would give a rounded out experience. But I'm going NIV/Message most likely because...well...I just enjoy those versions the best. I've spent most of the past couple of years in the NIV and I'm pretty familiar with it. I find that the best translation of Paul's Epistles are found in the NRSV.

Here's a handy link to a nice chart from Zondervan. Check it. Much Love.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Evangelism. Kind of an ugly word for a lot of folks. It gets a bad wrap. I just got home from the Keller study and I was chatting with a guy I met on the beach retreat. His group has an atheist in it who promotes some great discussion. I have a group filled with believers, and it's been good, but I long for some serious debate at times. Anyway, I was really glad to hear that the conversation was open and respectful. My buddy said that the atheist had really given some honest thoughts to the possibility of Christ.

I'm proud of the way we have run this course. All of our Well studies are set up to promote interfaith dialogue and healthy safe discussion. It's a forum where all sides can learn something. But at the same time, we're hopefully to make strides for Christ. We are doing our best to evangelize in a safe and loving way. No one is coerced to do anything. It's a forum where we can wrestle with tough topics and hopefully convince people that God loves them and desperately wants to know them. This is done through a humble, servant type of example.

I pray that our Christian community can live up to the standards and model set forth in the Bible. One of the points made tonight in the video was that no one was surprised that the Church had made mistakes in the past. It's an organization run by people and so it is destined to be flawed...that reaction to the Church bothered me. I want the world wide Christian community to be set apart. I want it to be filled with people that have been affected by the spirit and born again. I want people to be shocked and outraged when the Church lets them down. I want it to be special and held to a higher standard.

I want to reflect that I have been changed. I want to care about people before myself. I want my community to do the same. I pray for world wide change.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Prayer Beads

I've mentioned before in previous posts that I'm often drawn to the Catholic Church. A lot of their tradition captivates me, and I find it very beautiful. I think praying the rosary is an incredible way to enrich your prayer life. Unfortunately for me, many of the rosary prayers are inappropriate due to the focus on Mary as intercessor. I don't need to be spending that much time prayer to a Saint. I need to be focusing on Christ and his saving grace.

I recently found some Anglican websites that make protestant prayer beads. I think the prayers are beautiful and harken back to the tradition of the early church fathers without going down the needless intercessory road. I'm going to have to order some.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Battling Fear - Psalm 62

David is in the midst of fear. Yet he begins his prayer by glorifying God the Almighty. In verses 3 & 4 he cries out to his enemies. How long do they intend on kicking him when he is down? Verses 5 - 8 provide the bookend to his concern and anxiety with more praise to God. In fact, it almost reads as if he is teaching his people how to handle fear and uncertainty. Verses 9 & 10 remind us that putting our hopes in our idols to provide protection is a fruitless endeavor. 11 & 12 remind us that God is just and loving, but also that He will be faithful to us when we abide in Him.

1 Truly my soul finds rest in God; 
   my salvation comes from him.
2 Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
   he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
 3 How long will you assault me?
   Would all of you throw me down—
   this leaning wall, this tottering fence?

4 Surely they intend to topple me
   from my lofty place;
   they take delight in lies.
With their mouths they bless,
   but in their hearts they curse.
 5 Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
   my hope comes from him.

6 Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
   he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.

7 My salvation and my honor depend on God;
   he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
8 Trust in him at all times, you people;
   pour out your hearts to him,
   for God is our refuge.
 9 Surely the lowborn are but a breath,
   the highborn are but a lie.
If weighed on a balance, they are nothing;
   together they are only a breath.
10 Do not trust in extortion
   or put vain hope in stolen goods;
though your riches increase,
   do not set your heart on them.
 11 One thing God has spoken,
   two things I have heard:
“Power belongs to you, God,
 12 and with you, Lord, is unfailing love”;
and, “You reward everyone
   according to what they have done.”

We can't command ourselves to have less fear. Our fear needs to be overwhelmed by the greater 
sentiment of fearing God the creator. When we put God first, when we revere the awe inspiring 
God before we move to our concerns...everything is put in order. Thats the story of God's faithfulness.
The story of scripture. We find rest by pouring out our hearts to God like David does in verse 8. God 
wants us to vent to Him. It is cathartic for us, but also productive, since God is the only one that can 
truly come to our aid. We find rest by refusing to seek rest in the world's offer of security. A David says,
these offers are lies. One of the ways we learn to properly fear god is by learning to rest in him. Notice 
that rest is different from rescue. It's not the same thing as escape. It's a calm in the eye of the storm that 
you have to actively seek. Rest comes when we remind ourselves who God is and what he has done. 
David starts the psalm off that way. Stop listening to yourself and start talking to God. Start speaking to 
aloud about what you know is true. Examples of this dialogue, this pouring out of our hearts in prayer 
can be found throughout the psalms.

Lord, teach me to pour my heart out to you. Teach me to come to you in reverence, seeking to tell you 
what I know is true. That you are the only help in the midst of the storm. In you alone I trust.

Much Love.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Well Beach Retreat

Dueteronomy 10:12 And now oh Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

My wife and I are at a ginormous beach house with other members of our Well group. The theme for the weekend is fear. Where does it come from? What exactly are we afraid of and why?

This is what I've come up with so far: If you trust God, you will fear him, and if you fear him, you will fear worldly things far less often. (I use fear in the sense that the ancient hebrews used the word. It encompasses more than just being afraid, but includes also a reverential sense of awe. We don't have an exact word in English to properly translate the Hebrew word fear in our bibles.)

Fear is so prevalent in today's society. I can attest to it. Sometimes I lay awake at night worrying about work the next work day. A lot of those nights, I can name nothing specific that consumes my thoughts. It's simply a general sense of anxiety. Ridiculous actually. And how often do I turn to my idols for a source of comfort and distraction, when I should be kneeling before the almighty Lord God in reverence? If I came to Christ in awe, knowing that through Him All things were made, including big would my concerns seem? Not very. But I'm not saying anything new. Check it:

Jeremiah 10:2
Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the sky,
Though the nations are terrified by them.
For the customs of the peoples are worthless;
They cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel.
They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammers and nails
So it will not totter. (This reminds me of all my apple products).
Like a scarecrow in a melon patch, their idols cannot speak;
They must be carried because they cannot walk.
Do not fear them; They can do no harm nor can they do any good.
No one is like you, O Lord; You are great, and your name is mighty in power
Who should not revere you, O King of the nations? This is your due.

Isaiah 2:22
Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils.
Of what account is he?

So when you come to God with a sense of reverence and awe, it follows that your priorities will then be set right. But why is it so hard to remember to put God in His proper place of glory in our lives? I blame a lot of it on modern gadgets and the distractions that flow from them. Our modern day idols. Radio, tv, movies...constant filler and sound. I know many people who can't fall asleep without constant sound in the background. Anything to fill our mind and push away the concerns of life. If we can succeed at mastering/masking our fear with modern idols, why would we need to call upon God?

Another reason we don't like to go to God in reverence, is that our society teaches us that there is no such ing as sin. We are all free to be you and me, and that everyone is entitled to their own sense of morality...their own definition of right and wrong. It's all subjective. So if there isn't the acknowledgement that in the face of God we deserve nothing other than to be crushed and obliterated...than why revere Him? Why even acknowledge Him? Sometimes it takes a face to face encounter to get us to understand the power and glory of the almighty. Every example we see in the bible follows the following format. Falling on your knees in shame, begging for forgiveness, repenting in the face of the almighty, recoiling as God reaches out to you in forgiveness, and then volunteering to live for Him in supreme worship. Take Isaiah 6 for example:

1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another:

“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”

4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. 5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”

6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

In the ancient hebrew there were no exclamation points. In order to describe someone's beauty, you would say she was pretty pretty. This is the only part of the bible where something is described in triplicate. The angels proclaim God as holy holy holy. This was a grammatical impossibility, but the only way to describe Gods glory. Isaiah was faced with this infinitely powerful truth, and could only fall to his knees in terror saying 'woe is me.' He acknowledges that he is a product of his generation, worried about things of this world, and living a life of unclean words and lips. The only thing he deserves is to be smote under Gods wrath. But in one of many snapshots, or foreshadowings of Christ's coming, he is forgiven and washed clean by the purifying act of God. His first instinct is to stand up and volunteer to a life of service.

Yes, we react to His grace don't we?!

God, I ask that you reorient me to a life of worshiping you. I ask that you fill me with the Holy Spirit and interrupt my life like you did Isaiah. Remind me that I am simply filled with one breath, without You, destined for eternal extinguishment. Absolve me of my sins through Christ's complete work on the cross, allow me to accept that gift, and to live my life according to your wishes for me. In Jesus's name I pray.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Historical Jesus

Extra Biblical Christian Evidence

Note: Though many skeptics claim the early church fathers did not use independent extra-Biblical sources, throughout this section will show otherwise. Potential references to the use of a extra-biblical sources will be shown using purple font.
CLEMENT OF ROME (? – 98? A.D.) Clement was a bishop of Rome and later became known as the fourth pope. He was eventually martyred in approximately 98 A.D. Some speculate Paul was referring to Clement in Philippians 4:3 but this cannot be proven. Clement was a first century apostolic author which gives credence to his first-hand account of early Christianity. In the passage below, Clement confirms the ministry of the disciples and some of the basic tenets of early Christianity.
“The Apostles received the Gospel for us from the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was sent forth from God. So then Christ is from God, and the Apostles are from Christ. Both therefore came of the will of God in the appointed order. Having therefore received a charge, and being fully assured through the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and confirmed in the word of God will full assurance of the Holy Ghost, they went forth with the glad tidings that the kingdom of God should come. So preaching everywhere in country and town, they appointed their first fruits, when they had proved them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons unto them that should believe.”Corinthians 42
Examples of Extra-Biblical Resource Evidence for Clement:
  • And giving heed unto His words, ye laid them up diligently in your hearts, and His sufferings were beforeyour eyes Chapter 2 (correspondence with possible eye-witnesses)
  • Tertullian and Jerome record the belief Clement was personally ordained by and a disciple of Peter (whichimplies he was privy to extra-biblical information as he was close to an original apostle).
  • “The New Testament he [Clement] never quotes verbally. Sayings of Christ are now and then given, butnot in the words of the Gospels. It cannot be proved, therefore, that he used any one of the SynopticGospels.” The Catholic Encyclopedia Online
IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH (? – ~100 A.D) Ignatius was a Bishop of Antioch reported to have been appointed to his position by Peter of whom he was a disciple. He is also believed to be a disciple of Paul and John. Ignatius was arrested by the Romans and executed as a martyr in the arena. Even though his testimony would ultimately lead to his death, Ignatius was adamant about the things he witnessed. He reinforces early Christian beliefs in the letters he penned while in prison. Even when execution was imminent, Ignatius refused to recant his faith.
“Jesus Christ who was of the race of David, who was the Son of Mary, who was truly born and ate and drank, was truly persecuted under Pontius Pilate, was truly crucified and died in the sight of those in heaven and on earth and those under the earth. Who moreover was truly raised from the dead, His father having raised Him, who in the like fashion will so raise us also who believe in Him.” Trallians
“He is truly of the race of David according to the flesh but Son of God by the Divine will and powered, truly born of a virgin and baptized by John that all righteousness might be fulfilled by Him, truly nailed up in the flesh for our sakes under Pontius Pilate and Herod the tetrarch… That He might set up an ensign unto all ages through His resurrection.” Smyrneans, 1
“Be ye fully persuaded concerning the birth and the passion and the resurrection, which took place in the time of the governorship of Pontius Pilate. For these things were truly and certainly done by Jesus Christ our hope.” Magnesians XI
Examples of Extra-Biblical Resource Evidence for Ignatius:
  • Theodoret states Ignatius was personally appointed to the Antioch See by Peter (like Clement, this impliesa personal relationship with an original apostle, making extra-biblical information available to him).
  • John Chrysostom emphasises the honor bestowed upon Ignatius as he personally received his dedicationfrom the apostles.
  • Clement was also believed to be a disciple of Paul and John.

Skeptic Interjection: How can Clement and Ignatius knowing the apostles be considered extra-biblical

resources? If some of the apostles were said to have written the New Testament, how is this any different thanusing the New Testament as a source? Answer: There are several reasons why this is important. First of all, Clement and Ignatius would have most certainly been privy to the apostles’ first-hand testimonies instead of simply having to rely on a “text” that “someone” had written. Second, because they were said to have known the apostles intimately, they would have had a far greater ability to discredit their claims. Apparently the disciples passed all of their tests because both Clement and Ignatius died as martyrs (which would have been highly unlikely if they had any doubts concerning
the apostles’ claims).
QUADRATUS OF ATHENS (126 A.D.) Quadratus was an Athenian bishop and direct disciple of the Apostles. He is generally regarded as the first Christian apologist because of his defense given to Emperor Hadrian in 126 A.D. Quadratus points out the fact that a few who were healed and resurrected by Jesus lived until modern times.
“The deeds of our Savior were always before you, for they were true miracles. Those that were healed, those that were raised from the dead, who were seen, not only when healed and when raised, but were always present. They remained living a long time, not only while our Lord was on earth, but likewise when he had left the earth. So that some of them have also lived to our own times.” Eusebius IV III, 2
Examples of Extra-Biblical Resource Evidence for Quadratus:
  • In the above passage, Quadratus refers to those who were healed by Jesus and had lived until moderntimes.
  • Like Clement and Ignatius, Quadratus was said by Eusebius to be a direct disciple of the apostles.
ARISTIDES THE ATHENIAN (126 A.D.) Aristides, along with Quadratus mentioned above, presented an apology to Emperor Hadrian during his stay in Athens in 126 A.D. Aristides describes the treatment of Jesus by His own people, the Jews, and contrasts their beliefs with those of the Christians.

“When the Son of God was pleased to come upon the earth, they received him with wanton violence and

betrayed him into the hands of Pilate the Roman governor. Paying no respect to his good deeds and the
countless miracles he performed among them, they demanded a sentence of death by the cross… Now the Christians trace their origin from the Lord Jesus Christ… The Son of the most high God who came down from heaven, being born of a pure [Hebrew] virgin, for the salvation of men… And he was crucified, being pierced with nails by the Jews. And after three days He came to life again and ascended into heaven. His twelve apostles, after his ascension into heaven, went forth into the provinces of the whole world proclaiming the true doctrine… They who still observe the righteousness enjoined by their preaching are called Christians.” Apology XIV-XV
JUSTIN MARTYR (~100 – 165 A.D.) Justin Martyr, possibly the most well-known early Christian apologist, was an educated pagan philosopher who converted to Christianity around 130 A.D. Though he risked losing his wealth, status, and life, Justin fearlessly spread Christianity throughout Asia Minor and Rome. Refusing to recant his testimony, he was led to his death via scourging and beheading in 165 A.D. Being an educated man, Justin weighed the evidence carefully before accepting his new faith and explains to the reader he made his decision only after careful consideration and research.
There is a village in Judea, thirty-five stadia from Jerusalem, where Jesus Christ was born, as you can see from the tax registers under Cyrenius, your first procurator in Judea… He was born of a virgin as a man, and was named Jesus, and was crucified, and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven… After He was crucified, all His acquaintances denied Him. But once He had risen from the dead and appeared to them and explained the prophecies which foretold all these things and ascended into heaven, the apostles believed. They received the power given to them by Jesus and went into the world preaching the Gospel.” First Apology, 34, 46, 50
“At the time of His birth, Magi from Arabia came and worshipped Him, coming first to Herod, who was then sovereign in your land… When they crucified Him, driving in the nails, they pierced His hands and feet. Those who crucified Him parted His garments among themselves, each casting lots… But you did not repent after you learned that He rose from the dead. Instead, you sent men into to the world to proclaim that a godless heresy had sprung from Jesus, a Galilean deceiver, whom was crucified and that His disciples stole His body from the tomb in order to deceive men by claiming He had risen from the dead and ascended into heaven.” Dialogue withTrypho, 77 97, 107-8
Examples of Extra-Biblical Resource Evidence for Justin:
  • Justin presents one of the earliest statements that specifically attest to Jesus’ historicity. Justin refers hisaudience to the Judean tax registers where they would find evidence of Jesus’ birth.
  • In the second quote above, Justin is refuting the rumors concerning a resurrection conspiracy and the
    accusation that Jesus was a Galilean deceiver. Justin’s awareness of the rumors concerning Jesus revealshis knowledge of extra-Biblical testimony.
  • Justin uses the healing ministry of Christians to attest to the very real power of ChristCountlesspossessed men throughout the land are being exorcised by many of our Christian men in the name ofJesus Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, continue to healrendering helpless and driving thedemons out of men, though they could not be cured by any other exorcists or those who used incantationsand drugs.” Second Apology VI
  • Justin makes a reference to The Acts of Pilate which was not a Biblical: “And that these things did happen,you can ascertain from the Acts of Pontius Pilate.” First Apology XXXV
HEGESIPPUS (110 A.D. – 180 A.D.) Hegesippus converted to Christianity from Judaism after extensively researching the Gospel story for himself. Instead of accepting the Gospel story at the word of others, he travelled extensively throughout Rome and Corinth in an effort to collect evidence of the early Christian claims. Hegesippus provides important testimony that the stories being passed around were not watered down, embellished, or fabricated.
“This man [James] was a true witness to both Jews and Greeks that Jesus is the Christ… The Corinthian church continued in the true doctrine until Primus became bishop. I mixed with them on my voyage to Rome and spent several days with the Corinthians, during which we were refreshed with the true doctrine. On arrival at Rome I pieced together the succession down to Anicetus, whose deacon was Eleutherus, Anicetus being succeeded by Soter and he by Eleutherus. In ever line of bishops and in every city things accord with the preaching of the Law, the Prophets, and the Lord.” The History of the Church
Examples of Extra-Biblical Resource Evidence for Hegesippus:
  • Hegesippus describes the ministry and demise of James (Jesus’ brother) at the hands of the pharisees.These accounts were not mentioned in the New Testament.
  • Hegesippus fervently retraced the roots of the early church and states he did so in order to ensure thecirculating testimonies concerning Christ were genuine.
  • In his research, Hegesippus recounts the ministries of several witnesses (primarily church fathers) notincluded in the Bible.
  • Hegesippus documents the interrogation of Jesus’ grand-nephews by Domitian and records they lived intothe reign of Trojan.
  • Hegesippus documents the martyrdom of Bishop Symeon, (the son of Cleopas mentioned in Luke 24:18).He was believed to be either a relativedisciple, and/or contemporary of Jesus.
  • Hegesippus addresses heresies being spread by differing sects, implying he did not focus his researchsolely on Biblical teachings.