Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Da Vinci Code Blog Series
01/30/2006 - James WhiteWith a little help from MarieP, I've put all my Da Vinci blog articles into a single file, accessible here (note it is linked in the ad column as well). Please feel free to print out, format, distribute, memorize, yammer about, etc., freely. I will hopefully find a way to put up my PowerPoint presentation on the same topic in such a way as to thwart the inevitable lamers who try to crash your servers today as well.
Why I Haven't Blogged Today
01/20/2006 - James WhiteI intended to have a blog article up on the bankruptcy of Islamic apologetics with reference to John 20:28. However, as I have been chasing down references and URLs I have found some simply fascinating stuff, and with a major article for the CRI Journal due Monday, I may have to provide only the start of the series this weekend and put the rest off until I get the article finished. In any case, the study has once again brought me face to face with the wholesale, uncritical utilization of anything Bart Ehrman says by every enemy of the Christian faith, in this case, the Muslim citation of an almost laughable portion of Ehrman's main work regarding John 20:28. More as time allows. Stay tuned!
In looking into this subject, however, one of those wonderful folks in #prosapologian happened to notice on Ehrman's page at UNC that his anti-Christian crusade rolls on: coming in just a matter of weeks (March) from Oxford: The Transformation of Jesus: How a Jewish Prophet Became God. And the beat goes on. I'm sure we will get the best of his Jesus Seminar style presentation yet once again, and you will see it being mimicked by Islamic apologists all over the Internet. Sadly, it seems the "code of conduct" of "scholarship" keeps many sound Christian scholars from identifying Ehrman for what he is and openly exposing his giant leaps for the prostitution of sound scholarship they are. I guess that's why God has kept A&O nice and small and lean and mean: I have nothing to lose from those circles in speaking the truth. Of course, very few true believers in the "Academy" wander outside often enough to run into the real world of apologetics, so, they might be excused for not seeing the damage someone like Ehrman can do with the willing assistance of an unbelieving publishing industry, NPR, etc. I had better close this down now before I start preaching...
Craig and Ehrman to Debate
01/17/2006 - James WhiteJust saw Jason Engwer link this: a debate between William Lane Craig and Bart Ehrman on the resurrection. Now this fascinates me. Aside from the textual questions I would expect Ehrman to raise [btw, lest I forget: www.bible.org has a paper by Dan Wallace responding to Ehrman on John 1:18 that includes reference to a Master's thesis done in response to Ehrman's The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture by Stratton Ladewig that I need to order!], maybe, just maybe, getting Ehrman out of the strictly textual field will force him to reveal his Jesus Seminar like presuppositions with sufficient clarity to further document his bias in this field. Those in the area may wish to make plans to attend this one.
The Da Vinci Code XX: Finale
01/17/2006 - James WhiteThis past Lord's Day I once again had the opportunity of speaking to a congregation about The Da Vinci Code. At the end I made a point I want to make here at the end of this series of blog articles. We have two ways in which we can view the advent of Brown's novel, its deeply anti-Christian rhetoric and falsehoods, and the upcoming film. We can either wring our hands and mourn over the decline of our society, or, we can recognize that this is the context in which we have been called to witness and instead view this as an opportunity--a wide open door, in fact--to give testimony to our faith and the truthfulness of the Scriptures as the Word of God. Many will be talking about the film and accepting its unfounded, thoroughly false attacks upon the Christian faith and Scriptures: will we be ready to "step up to the plate" and give a meaningful response, using this as a platform from which to present the gospel? Or will we just close ourselves ever more off into our own enclave? This is the choice left to us.
Books like The Da Vinci Code thrive because we have become a society dependent upon external sources of information. We no longer learn things directly: we learn how to find out the data we need. Part of this is necessary: the body of human knowledge is now so much larger than it was in the past that there can no longer be a true "Renaissance man" who masters all fields of knowledge. While that is true, we have likewise become a people disconnected from history; we no longer are disciplined to learn, to memorize, to remember. And as we have ceased valuing honesty, integrity, accuracy, indeed, all aspects of truth, it is easy to understand how other values, like simple entertainment, have rushed in to fill the void. The result is not only sloppy thinking that cannot see two steps down a logical pathway (and hence identify errors in argumentation), but ignorance of history as well. The combination allows men like Dan Brown to amass millions of dollars on the basis of a pack of lies so inane, so silly, no person could possibly make a meaningful case for them in the face of cross-examination and rebuttal. Which is why, of course, he refuses to put himself in a position of being cross-examined by the very people who would expose his falsehoods without hesitation. ...
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The Da Vinci Code XIX
01/10/2006 - James WhiteIn our last segment we read Brown's assertions about secret documents that somehow he knows a lot about (but, since they are secret, doesn't have to prove). His last claim was an inaccurate comment on the Q source. We continue,
"Writings by Christ Himself?"Here we see one of those areas where Brown's thesis is wildly removed from that of more notorious critics of Christ such as the Jesus Seminar. How so? Because the Jesus Seminar theories would preclude any meaningful recording of anything about the life of Christ during his life itself. Jesus was barely a local "splash," let alone one who had thousands of devoted followers, as Brown has already intimated. And as those who have listened to my debate with John Dominic Crossan from last August know, Crossan believes Christ would have to have been illiterate, incapable of reading or writing anything at all. So the idea that Jesus wrote a chronicle of His own ministry is not only a theory without a scintilla of historical evidence, it is not the viewpoint of any portion of scholarship at all. In the same way, the fanciful Magdalene Diaries once again cause us to wonder how anyone can know anything about secret documents that are so...secret. But we entered into the arena of the utterly a-historical a very long time ago, so we should not be overly surprised at almost anything by this point. ...
"Of course," Teabing said. "Why wouldn't Jesus have kept a chronicle of His ministry? Most people did in those days. Another explosive document believed to be in the treasure is a manuscript called The Magdalene Diaries---Mary Magdalene's personal account of her relationship with Christ, His crucifixion, and her time in France." (255-256)
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The Da Vinci Code XVIII
01/04/2006 - James WhiteWe have been examining the biblically relevant claims of Dan Brown in The Da Vinci Code. We are currently examining his claims regarding the alleged documents contained in four trunks, hidden together with the sarcophagus of Mary Magdalene, and what they allegedly contain. We are dealing with pure fiction here, of course---despite Brown's claim that the references to historical documents in his book are based upon serious research. In the immediate preceding section we saw Brown once again excusing the utter lack of historical basis for his assertions on the idea that the "other side won" and got rid of all the documents...except the ones he won't show us, but somehow knows something about anyway. We continue,
"The Sangreal documents simply tell the other side of the Christ story. In the end, which side of the story you believe becomes a matter of faith and personal exploration, but at least the information has survived. The Sangreal documents include tens of thousands of pages of information. Eyewitness accounts of the Sangreal treasure describe it as being carried in four enormous trunks. In those trunks are reputed to be the Purist Documents---thousands of pages of unaltered, pre-Constantine documents, written by the early followers of Jesus, revering Him as a wholly human teacher and prophet. Also rumored to be part of the treasure is the legendary "Q" Document---a manuscript that even the Vatican admits they believe exists. Allegedly, it is a book of Jesus' teachings, possibly written in His own hand."...
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The Da Vinci Code XVII
01/02/2006 - James WhiteWe are nearing the end of our examination of the biblically relevant claims of Dan Brown's best-selling novel, soon to be a major motion picture (here's the trailer), The Da Vinci Code. We have thus far seen that Brown's "fiction based upon fact" presentation is purely fiction, even when it pretends to present facts. The number of simple, gross errors paraded before the reader thus far regarding Jesus, Constantine, the Bible, etc., has destroyed every bit of possible credibility Brown might claim for himself and his "research." We have entered into the final portions of this presentation, which, since they are based upon all the falsehoods that have come before, only grow the more fantastic and outrageous. Teabing, Langdon, and the ever innocent Sophie, are still in Teabing's home, and Teabing and Langdon are busy informing her about the Grail legend. We read,
"According to the Priory," Teabing continued, "Mary Magdalene was pregnant at the time of the crucifixion. For the safety of Christ's unborn child, she had no choice but to flee the Holy Land. With the help of Jesus' trusted uncle, Joseph of Arimathea, Mary Magdalene secretly traveled to France, then known as Gaul. There she found safe refuge in the Jewish community. It was here in France that she gave birth to a daughter. Her name was Sarah."...
Sophie glanced up. "They actually know the child's name?"
"Far more than that. Magdalene's and Sarah's lives were scrutinously chronicled by their Jewish protectors. Remember that Magdalene's child belonged to the lineage of Jewish kings---David and Solomon. For this reason, the Jews in France considered Magdalene sacred royalty and revered her as the progenitor of the royal line of kings. Countless scholars of that era chronicled Mary Magdalene's days in France, including the birth of Sarah and the subsequent family tree." (255)
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