Friday, September 26, 2014

Emergent Gurus: Carl Medearis, Part 1

From the August 2011 E-Block.

I was not expecting to be doing another entry in the Emergent Guris series for this issue, but a reader asked us to have a look at a recent book, Speaking of Jesus: The Art of Non-Evangelism (SOJ) by Carl Medearis, and I was quite frankly so appalled by what I read in just the first few pages that I decided an extended critique was warranted. 

SOJ, to be blunt, represents in summary that which is worst in emergent Christianity -- a tragic mix of passive-aggressive arrogance and ignorance posing itself as winsome wisdom while undermining the very foundations of what it professes to believe in. For this reason, our critique will proceed by pages -- something I normally reserve only for the worst offenders in any scenario -- and shall extended over more than one issue. 

19 -- Medearis' thematic expression here is that what he calls an "us versus them" model of Christianity which "misses the point." It does? Really? Then one must wonder how Jesus "missed the point" in confronting Pharisees and Sadducees and Herodians; and how Paul, John, and Jude "missed the point" lambasting ideological foes of Christianity. In reality, "us versus them" quite accurately expresses the ingroup-outgroup models of behavior found in the social world of the Bible, and the NT is salted with examples of this model as particulars demanded it. Jesus' own inclination to use parables in teaching "outgroup" members in itself implies an "us" in contrast to "them". Medearis' denunciation of this model is a fantasy of modernist tolerance and accommodation. 

22-3 -- Typical of emergents, Medearis makes far too much of his own cleverness in supposing he discovered something. He poses a question asking the reader to define what the gospel is, and after naming various theological components such as eternal life and justification by faith, smirkingly observes that something is missing from the list: Jesus.

I for one find it unlikely that anyone (despite Medearis' anecdotes) forgot that Jesus had something to do with the gospel. It is far more likely that Medearis is making an attempt at semantic sleight of hand by confusing categories: Jesus is a person, and the gospel is the message he proclaimed; to say Jesus "IS" the gospel is like saying Barack Obama is the United States of America. From a category perspective, Medearis' question should have been, "Who is at the heart of the gospel?" This is a quite pertinent example of emergents wrapped up in their own cleverness thinking they have proved some sort of point, when they have actually arrived at that point by way of semantic gerrymandering. 

25 --As another example of semantic sleight of hand, Medearis says with regret that he tried too often to "win allies to my point of view rather than pointing to Jesus." When Mederais points to Jesus, is he not thereby implicity expressing his point of view that Jesus is someone worthy of being pointed to? Emergents frequently engage, I find, an epistemic fantasy in which they suppose that simply because they are not engaging in formal, structured argument, they are not trying to win people to a point of view. 

26 -- In a related vein, emergents (who are not alone in this aspect) are fond of posing "Jesus" in opposition to everything else thus: "There is a place for doctrines and dogma and science and history and apologetics, but these things are not Jesus -- they are humanly manufactured attempts to make people think having the right ideas is the same thing as loving and following Jesus." 

What escapes Medearis here is that without that doctrine, that history, that apologetics, there is no reason to distinguish his "Jesus" from the Jesus who makes Mormon bosoms burn, or from the Jesus who is merely an imaginary friend as the atheists say he is, or the Jesus who is cast as a Hindu avatar who went to India at age 13. The illusion emergents have here is that if they wave "loving and following Jesus" around with a pious flourish, they have dispensed with any priority towards a faith that has epistemic grounding. 

Like it or not, to get to the point where one follows and loves Jesus, one must first contemplate ideas that give way to a decision to follow and love Jesus. Thus even Medearis must have had a "right idea" to get where he is now. 

30 -- Again exemplifying tragic epistemology, Medearis tells a story of four substantially failed ministry attempts of his, followed by a fifth that was successful: He was sent to do prison ministry, and decided he would "simply [tell] them about Jesus." Since his prison ministry ended up more successful, Medearis jumps to the conclusion that it was "just" telling them about Jesus that caused the success. 

Having worked in prisons, I rather doubt it was that trite. More likely, it was the simplicity of the message per se that was most helpful, as opposed to it being "just" about Jesus. But even if that were the case, it is ridiculous to extrapolate so broadly from a single (or even a handful) of random personal experiences, in particular and specific settings, to "this is how it always ought to be to done with everyone." 

36 -- for reasons I cannot fathom, it seems that all emergents make the same mistake of thinking Simon the Zealot was part of the militant Zealots group of the later first century. it would be well here to revisit what I wrote of this some years ago:

Here, what "the more credible portions of the Gospels" are is not delineated, but seems to indicate, "those that agree with the point of view of James Still" - and indeed, those who hold to this absurdly outdated theory of Jesus-as-Zealot must inevitably resort to parsing the NT at will in order to maintain their viewpoint. It will not be our purpose here to take a complete look at these theories; rather, we recommend that the reader consult Hengel's magisterial work on the subject [Heng.Z], and an earlier, much smaller work [Heng.JRev], which will make it quite clear that there could have been no significant correspondence between Jesus and the Zealot movement. (See especially pp. 297-8 of the former, where Hengel notes seven major divergences between Jesus and the Zealot movement.)

...Bruce Winter in After Paul Left Corinth [38] notes that the word "zealot" was applied to a disciple of a teacher, and had been used for a long time in the academy to describe the exclusive loyalty that was expected of a student. It may be no surprise that Luke alone, a Gentile writer, uses the term for Simon

This is not merely a trivial point, for Medearis used the presence of Simon as a supposed member of the "Zealot" party to answer a question posed in a public forum about terrorism. As part of his response, he noted that Jesus accepted a terrorist of the day into his inner circle. Since this is manifestly false, it is already irresponsible as is; but it is made worse by the fact that it would also mean Jesus harbored and protected in his ministry a wanted criminal.

This is a perfect illustration of why Medearis' clumsy and breezy preference for what he so arrogantly designates as "Jesus" over doctrine, history, and all else is misguided. Unfortunately, inspired by the fact that ONE (!) Muslim came up to him after the service and remarked that Medearis didn't talk about theology or doctrine (which he had "heard before") but rather "about Jesus in a way I've never heard before," he concludes -- based on that thoroughly inadequate and anecdotal sample -- that he did a better job than otherwise.

In reality, there can be no separation between Jesus and all the rest of it. The identity of Jesus is intrinsic to, and inextricable from, all those contexts. Medearis' naivete here is much like that of the fundamentalist who professes to preach "just the Bible" and gets a bent beak when you suggest that refinement may be had by understanding the linguistic or social context of a passage. Medearis "Jesus" is an emasculated and decontexualized message rooted in little more than subjective personal experience to which the convert is expected to become addicted under the pretense of it being some sort of "personal relationship".

39 -- Particularly disturbing is Medearis' proclamation that it is not "our job to explain everything," though in context he notes particularly such matters as the Crusades and the Inquisition. This is only partially right: It is not every Christian's job to explain every single thing, but it is our job as disciples to at least know where to go for answers when the honor of Christ is besmirched. In the end, however, it is clear that the problem is not so much that Medearis shows that it isn't our job, but that he is too disaffected to take the job on in the first place. He writes further of a confrontational atheist professor of his in college who railed against Christian evils and made him feel uncomfortable, and then plaintively asks, "What exactly were we supposed to say?"

Is Medearis serious? How about (depending on the argument), "Professor, serious historians of the Inquisition like Henry Kamen tell us..." Is this that hard to do? No, it is not. But Medearis describes such things as this, or as the problem of original sin, as a "weight" [41] he is relieved to have off his back, and that is despicable.

Again: This is not to say that everyone ought to be fully informed on every conceivable issue, but the solution is not to ignore the problems under the pretense of "just pointing to Jesus" as though you were thereby relieved of the responsibility.

45 -- Even more disturbingly, Medearis asserts that the reason why some Christians try to explain things is "because they're insecure themselves." By that reckoning, apologists and scholars are the most insecure Christians around, and that in turn is a gratuitous insult. Perhaps that would explain why Medearis himself used to explain things, but here again, all he would have done to eliminate that insecurity is erect a fabricated "Jesus" (no different than one that might be constructed by a Mormon, or a Hindu guru) that is amorphous and indistinct enough that every possible objection passes through him.

48 -- Further indicating that this is so, here is how Medearis summarizes his message: "We don't have to explain Him. All we have to do is point with our fingers, like the blind man in the book of John, and say, 'There is Jesus. All I know is that He touched me, and where I was once blind, now I see.' "

Perhaps it ought to occur to Medearis that physical blindness being cured is something which is quite plainly evidential in nature; it can be tested, evaluated, and critiqued for effectiveness. On the other hand, his attempt to apply this passage to something internal is entirely misguided: While it can be tested for results, it is incapable of being distinguished, internally, from an artificially bulletproof delusion like the Mormon burning the bosom. The problem though is encapsulated when he says, "we're wrong when we put our faith in our reason." But that's not quite what we're to do. Rather, we're supposed to back our faith (loyalty) with reasons to be loyal. If it were otherwise, the missionary sermons in Acts would hardly appeal to evidence such as the empty tomb.

He later asserts (76), "I point to [Jesus], and He does all the heavy thinking. I don't have to convince anybody of anything." No, but as a disciple, you do have a responsibility to honor Jesus by way of defense when necessary. Again, of course, this may not be Medearis' particular role in the Body, but for him to pretend that it is universally not a responsibility is both irresponsible and contrary to the example of Jesus himself and each of the apostolic-era teachers.

57 -- Medearis uses a quote from Donald Miller that also encapsulates the problem: "How can I defend a term [Christianity] that means ten different things to ten different people?" Well, actually -- you do this thing called "ask questions" and then you "get answers". Again, raising your hands in despair isn't the responsible option.

67 -- One of Medearis' excuses for evasion of responsibility is that it is God's job, not ours, to decide who is "in" and "out", and that it is difficult for us to decide such things (75). But this too is merely an evasion, especially since he later admits that such a line does exist (69). Defining the boundaries of orthodoxy is in no sense the same as deciding whose beliefs are within those boundaries. Once again, Medearis thinks all we need to do is tell people to "follow Jesus," but without the boundaries, which "Jesus" will Medearis be recommending?
  • The one who was the literalization of an initiation symbol in Gnostic mystery rites?
  • The one who was just some average Joe God picked out (adoptionism)?
  • The one who was magician and a homosexual?
  • The one who was one of many manifestations of God?
  • The one who is also the archangel Michael?
  • The one who is the Spirit brother of Lucifer?
  • The one who is a symbolic representative of the Christ Spirit?
  • The one that was a black man, or an Irish priest, or a cynic sage, or a pacifist, or an expression of the Gnostic redeemer myth?
While some of these are facetious, and I could offer many more, it remains that Medearis is believing in his Jesus on the back of his forebears like Athanasius who suffered greatly to be sure that he didn't have to think that hard today.

71 -- Not too amazingly, Medearis shows the documented emergent talent to speak out of both sides of his mouth, as he attempts to make out Paul as a preacher in his mold based on a single passage in Corinthians where Paul says he determined to know nothing but Jesus (1 Cor. 2). The fact that a significant portion of the rest of Paul's letters amount to Paul firmly drawing lines between truth and untruth escapes Medearis, as does the fact that the point of Paul’s statement is not that he came preaching a highly simplistic message of the sort Medearis is preaching, but is made as a contrast to the pneumatic public speaking displays of his Corinthian opponents.

85 - A place that shows that Medearis misses the point is where he asks, "Are we saved by our brains or our hearts?" I ask in reply: How can your heart make a correct decision if your brain is not used?

88 -- I was not surprised to see a story raised similar to one I alluded to in an earlier critique of Spurgeon:

He tells an account of an elder divine who evaluated a younger man’s sermon -- apparently on some text that did not have Jesus as a subject -- as a poor one. The younger man asked if he had not done a competent job of exegesis, and asked of various other faults; the elder man said none of those were the problem. The problem was that the younger man hadn’t brought his sermon back to the topic of Jesus.

Now while this may seem like admirable piety, in reality it is badly misguided. In this I see the seeds of such things as modern Sunday School material that strains mightily to make even obscure OT texts relevant to a modern Christian life – when they aren’t. In turn, this leads to a perception (rightly) that Christians force meanings into texts that simply aren’t there.

Medearis quotes Spurgeon as saying to a junior preacher, "Son, until you can find Christ in Ezekiel you will not share my pulpit again." My reply to Spurgeon: "If you can find Christ in Ezekiel, you're straining it far out of its intended context."

Our critique of the first half of this book is finished, and we will conclude next time. For this half, I would close with a rather disturbing comparison.

Years ago, I critiqued a cult leader named John Clark severely, and catalogued the responses of his followers, one of which said the following:

I knew that I probably didn't need to read [Holding]s article] any further. However, I tried. Like you said, I, too, am willing to be wrong and consider. Reading his website reminded me so much of where I was in 1988 - - confusion!
. . . . I could not understand the big scholarly words, Bro. John. But I understand the tender Voice of my Savior. My prayer for the "scholars" is that they quit hiding behind the big words and just humble themselves before Jesus. Then they could just rest and receive from Jesus what they need.

It should disturb us greatly that Medearis' own professions are identical to that of this cult victim.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Of Eyewitnesses, Memories, and Mark Hamill

 Today we have a guest piece by frequent contributor W. R. Miller.


A common anti-Christian claim is that people can’t remember details of events after thirty or forty years.  According to biologist Richard Dawkins, “All four of the gospels, by the way, were written long after the events that they purport to describe, and not one of them by an eyewitness.” [1] Detroit, Michigan attorney Bruce Townley [2] writes, “If one follows the majority of biblical scholarship, Mark was written at or near 70 CE. This makes Mark (and consequently Matthew and Luke) 35-40 years after the death of Jesus. How many ‘eyewitnesses’ were still alive over that time period?”[3]  In the Oxford Annotated Bible, Pheme Perkins makes the claim, “Scholars generally agree that the Gospels were written forty to sixty years after the death of Jesus. They thus do not present eyewitness or contemporary accounts of Jesus’ life and teachings." [4]

On the contrary, the evangelists themselves testify to their own eyewitness accounts.

1 Peter 5:1
Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed…

2 Peter 1:16-17
For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.

1 John 1:1-3
What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life – and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us – what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us…

John 21:24-25
This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and wrote these things, and we know that his testimony is true. And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.

Luke 1:1-4
Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.

Acts 2:23-24, 32
“This man (Jesus) was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him… God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.”

Acts 3:15
“You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.”

Acts 4:20
“For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard

Acts 4:33
With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.

Acts 10:39-42
We are witnesses of everything he (Jesus) did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen – by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead.”

These are a few of the many verses that appeal to the eyewitness value of Scripture, compiled here.

The evangelists’ testimony is documented in the New Testament.

What is a testament?

American Heritage Dictionary:


“n. Something that serves as tangible proof or evidence" [5]

Oxford English Dictionary:


¶3.erron.= TESTIMONY; witness. [6]

What is testimony?

Oxford English Dictionary:

testimony, n.

1. a.  Personal or documentary evidence or attestation in support of a fact or statement; hence, any form of evidence or proof.

b.  Any object or act serving as proof or evidence. [7]

Websters College Dictionary:

testimony, n.:

1. The statement or declaration of a witness under oath, usu. in court.

2. Evidence in support of a fact or statement; proof.

3. Open declaration or profession, as of faith. [8]

Experts in the science of jurisprudence acknowledge the eyewitness value of the testimony of the evangelists.  These include Dr. John Ankerberg, Richard J. Bauckham, Dr. Tim McGrew of Western Michigan University; Principal Ross Clifford of Morling College, Australia; Francis Bowen of Harvard; Thomas Arnold of Rugby; William Paley; John Warwick Montgomery, Emeritus Professor of Law and Humanities at the University of Luton; Simon Greenleaf, Royall Professor of Law at Harvard, “Upon the existing Law of Evidence more light has shone from the New World than from all the lawyers who adorn the courts of Europe,” according to the London Law Magazine; and many others listed here.

F. F. Bruce, M.A., D.D., F.B.A., of the University of Cambridge, wrote, “The evidence indicates that the written sources of our Synoptic Gospels are not later than c. A.D. 60; some of them may even be traced back to notes taken of our Lord’s teaching while His words were actually being uttered. The oral sources go back to the very beginning of Christian history. We are, in fact, practically all the way through in touch with the evidence of eyewitnesses. The earliest preachers of the gospel knew the value of this firsthand testimony, and appealed to it time and again. ‘We are witnesses of these things,’ was their constant and confident assertion. And it can have been by no means so easy as some writers seem to think to invent words and deeds of Jesus in those early years, when so many of His disciples were about, who could remember what had and had not happened. Indeed, the evidence is that the early Christians were careful to distinguish between sayings of Jesus and their own inferences or judgments. Paul, for example, when discussing the vexed questions of marriage and divorce in I Corinthians 7, is careful to make this distinction between his own advice on the subject and the Lord’s decisive ruling: ‘I, not the Lord,’ and again, ‘Not I, but the Lord.’ And it was not only friendly eyewitnesses that the early preachers had to reckon with; there were others less well disposed who were also conversant with the main facts of the ministry and death of Jesus. The disciples could not afford to risk inaccuracies (not to speak of willful manipulation of the facts), which would at once be exposed by those who would be only too glad to do so. On the contrary, one of the strong points in the original apostolic preaching is the confident appeal to the knowledge of the hearers; they not only said, ‘We are witnesses of these things,’ but also, ‘As you yourselves also know’ (Acts 2:22). Had there been any tendency to depart from the facts in any material respect, the possible presence of hostile witnesses in the audience would have served as a further corrective." [9]

At his website (and in his book), police detective J. Warner Wallace of Cold Case Christianity provides a thorough analysis of why the eyewitness testimony of the evangelists is reliable:

Why does Perkins believe the evangelists were not eyewitnesses?  Because, she says, “Scholars generally agree that the Gospels were written forty to sixty years after the death of Jesus.”  How would witnessing the miracles of Christ—the feeding of thousands of people, the healing of multitudes of people, calming a storm and walking on water, resurrecting Lazarus and himself—be forgotten forty to sixty years later?

Principal Drummond of Oxford said: “If we suppose that the Synoptic Gospels were written from forty to sixty years after the time of Christ, still they were based on earlier material, and even after forty years the memory of characteristic sayings may be perfectly clear. ... I have not a particularly good memory, but I can recall many sayings that were uttered forty, or even fifty, years ago, and in some cases can vividly recollect the scene." [10]

The Honorable Justice Ken R Handley, AO OStJ QC, observed, “This is a remarkable piece of historical evidence written at a very early date, when eyewitnesses were still alive. Anzac Day this year has reminded us that there are still survivors of the First World War, 81 years after it ended, who remember what happened. I had first-hand experience as a judge of a remarkable parallel. In February 1964, HMAS Melbourne sank HMAS Voyager. In October 1996, over 32 years later, I sat on the Court which heard the appeal by the Commonwealth from the award of damages by a jury to a Mr. McLean who had been a sailor on Melbourne and claimed to have suffered post traumaticstress disorder. Our decision is in the official Law Reports.  (Commonwealth of Australia v McLean (1996) 41 NSWLR 389.)  Survivors gave evidence at the trial and had the clearest recollection of what had happened. Under the Evidence Act 1995, Mrs. McLean was able to say in court in 1996 what her husband had told her in 1964 shortly after the collision. (Evidence Act 1995 (NSW) s 64.)   Hearsay evidence, such as Luke has incorporated in his Gospel and Paul included in his letter to the Corinthians, is now accepted in court in civil cases if it was fresh in the memory of the original speaker. The 32 years in this case was longer than the interval of 20 years or so to the date of 1 Corinthians." [11]

Actor Mark Hamill, best known as Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars series, has been able to recall dialogue after nearly 40 years almost verbatim.

Here is his audition, in which he speaks the line, “Fear is their greatest defense. I doubt if the actual security there is much greater than it was on Aquilae or Sullust and what there is is most likely directed towards a large scale assault.'

The line is never used in the movie.  Yet, he is able to recite it 22 years later for the BBC programme, Omnibus: [12\

Twenty-nine years after the audition, Hamill recalled in the documentary, Empire of Dreams, [13] “I can remember a line from the screen test which I don't think ever will leave me.  Luke says, 'But we can't turn back.  Fear is their greatest defense. I doubt if the actual security there is any greater than it was on Aquilae or Sullust and what there is is most likely directed towards a large scale assault.'
“And I read that line and I thought, 'Who talks like this?'  So I just did it sincerely.”

The documentary played both the audition and Hamill recalling the dialogue 29 years later.

On June 6, 2014, thirty-nine years after his screen test, Mark Hamill recalled his screen test thirty-nine years after the fact, and once again recited the “Fear is their greatest defense” line. [14]

Hamill—as well as Handley and Drummond—demonstrate that it is possible to recollect minutia decades in the past.

What the evanglists believed was more than minutia.  What they believed was the Gospel, with the power to change lives.

Jesus commissioned his disciples to, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” [15] Henceforth, the disciples did exactly that, presenting the Gospel orally in the beginning, and in written form years later.

Again, in Acts 1:8, Jesus said, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

Do you see the word, “witnesses”?

Jesus had also told his disciples, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." [16]

So for the evangelists, memory would not be a problem.  And how could the miracles of Jesus Christ be forgotten, or for that matter, the miracles God did through the disciples?

Perkins also claimed, “Neither the evangelists nor their first readers engaged in historical analysis." [17]

The eminent legal scholar Dr. John Warwick Montgomery points out, “Far from avoiding contact with secular history, the New Testament is replete with explicit references to secular personages, places, and events. Unlike typical sacred literature, myth, and fairytale (“Once upon a time...”), the Gospel story begins with 'There went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.'“

He adds, “Modern archaeological research has confirmed again and again the reliability of New Testament geography, chronology, and general history. To take but a single, striking example: After the rise of liberal biblical criticism, doubt was expressed as to the historicity of Pontius Pilate, since he is mentioned even by pagan historians only in connection with Jesus' death. Then, in 1961, came the discovery at Caesarea of the now famous 'Pilate inscription,' definitely showing that, as usual, the New Testament writers were engaged in accurate historiography." [18]

After many years of research, Oxford archaeologist Sir William M. Ramsay concluded, “Luke is a historian of the first rank; not merely are his statement of fact trustworthy; he is possessed of the true historic sense; he fixes his mind on the idea and plan that rules in the evolution of history, and proportions the scale of his treatment to the importance of each incident. He seizes the important and critical events and shows their true nature at greater length, while he touches lightly or omits entirely much that was valueless for his purpose.  In short, this author should be placed along with the very greatest of historians." [19]

Such is the trustworthiness—and reliability—of the New Testament accounts.

For more details on the topic, see J. P. Holding, “Dates and Authorship of the Gospels.”

[1] Richard Dawkins, The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True, Free Press, 2012, pp. 254-255.

[2]Townley is identified here.

[3] Stated online here.

[4] Perkins, The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books: New Revised Standard Version, Oxford University Press, 2007 edition, “Introduction to the Gospels,” p. 4.

[5] “testament.” The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. 11 Aug. 2009.

[6]Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition, 1989. Accessed online August 11, 2009.  © Oxford University Press, 2009.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Websters College Dictionary. © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

[9] The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?, Fifth edition, Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1960.

[10] Cf. Marcus Dods, The Bible, Its Origin and Nature, 1921, p. 184.

[11] Ken Handley, A Lawyer Looks at the Resurrection”. Reprinted from Kategoria: A Critical Review, v. 15. 1999, pp. 3-4.  Handley’s copious credentials are listed here.
[12] Omnibus--George Lucas: Flying Solo,” BBC-1, March 23, 1997.

[13] Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy, 2004 documentary on A&E Network and DVD supplement. 

[14] In the first of three interviews by James Arnold Taylor, the voice of Ben Kenobi in The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels.  Hamill was visiting Disneyland promoting “Star Wars Weekends.”

[15] Matthew 28:16-20.

[16]  John 14:26.

[17] Perkins, The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books: New Revised Standard Version, Oxford University Press, “Introduction to the Gospels,” 2010 edition, p. 1744.

[18] Montgomery, Human Rights and Human Dignity, pp. 143-44.

[19] Ramsey, Luke the Physician, pp. 177-79, 222.