Greetings from Ketchikan, Alaska! I was informed that there is an Internet Cafe with reasonable prices in port, so I quickly put something together to let you all know how things are going up here in the Inner Passage of Alaska.
Yesterday was the second of the two debates in this series, this one a four-man discussion of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. I was joined by Dr. Jim Renihan of the Institute for Reformed Baptist Studies at Westminster Seminary in Escondido, California. We took the affirmative in confessing the historic doctrine of the resurrection of Christ over against John Dominic Crossan and Marcus Borg, both considered to be the leading “Historical Jesus” scholars in the world. The debate/discussion was less formal than the Saturday evening debate, and lasted right at two and a half hours.
There was a great deal of direct dialogue in this discussion. We each had ten minutes to make our opening presentations (Dr. Borg is speaking in the first picutre) and then we basically asked questions and dialogued for an hour thereafter. Then we had a period of audience questions. The dialogue was respectful and amiable, despite the many temptations that would exist for it to become otherwise in light of the deeply held convictions on both sides. Once again we have proven our critics less-than-honest when they seek to misrepresent the debates we have pursued for fifteen years now. Indeed, we now have fifty-eight examples of how the truth can be defended in a respectful manner.

I must confess that while I found the exchange very useful, it was so more for what wasn’t said than for what was. By that I mean that my opening presentation, focused upon the very primitive tradition found in Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 15:3ff, the lexical information and contextual usage of terms such as evgei,rw and avna,stasij, and Dr. Renihan’s discussion of passages in Acts where in Paul’s preaching the response always indicates that the apostolic message was clearly understood to be referring to physical resurrection, went basically untouched and surely unrefuted. It was odd to hear our guests in essence say that what happened to the corpse of Jesus is basically irrelevant; what will happen in the future regarding our own resurrection was likewise not considered central (Dr. Crossan does not believe in an afterlife anyway, and he refuses to argue about it). And so the discussion kept coming back, inevitably, to the reality of the foundational differences between us: the authority, perspecuity, nature, and inspiration, of Scripture.
Now, at first this discussion was not going to be recorded, but eventually it was agreed to allow that to take place, so some of the young men on the cruise with us (my son Josh, and Larry) worked to video record the debate so that we will be able to make it available as well. Though it was only a “one camera shoot” (and hence there is little we can do to make change camera angles, shots, etc.), the material will be there, and especially during the exchanges and dialogue, that will be helpful for those who are more “visually” oriented.
Last year on the cruise my son Josh could not attend but my daughter Summer was able to. This year the roles are reversed, so as point of personal privilege, here’s a nice shot we took during the break in the debate (my wife snapped all of these pictures of the debate itself) of my wife and son. They make me look good!
And so the events I have been preparing for literally for months have been completed, and I can take a big, deep breath. Notice I didn’t say relax. No, far too much on the plate for that, but at least I can move on to other issues. Once again, a great thanks to all who have been praying and supporting us in this effort. I’m sure Rich is working hard on getting the DVD and mp3 of the first debate ready, and we will be bringing the recording of the second back with us early next week.
That’s all from here in Ketchikan! The air is crisp and clean and cool, and the scenery gorgeous. While writing this blog article in my room I looked out and saw the sun had come out and was creating a gorgeous picture on the mountains, so I snapped this picture. Thought I’d share it as my farewell for this session. Not sure how many more Internet connection opportunities I will have, though I am going to try out a rumor I heard about a wi-fi hotspot on board (35 cents a minute) while at sea. If that works, you might hear more over the next few days. May God be praised and honored for His mercies toward us over these past few weeks. We have been greatly blessed.

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