October 02, 2014
Did Jesus Really Exist?
Two articles I read this week vindicate my decision to write my new book, "Jesus on Trial: A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel." It's not just Christianity's values that are under attack but its core claims.
I was well aware when undertaking this project that some Christians would be put off by the very idea of Christian apologetics. According to them, we don't need to defend the faith. Respectfully, that's not what the Bible says.
Peter tells us, "Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect" (1 Peter 3:15).
I think obedience requires us, then, to attempt to answer the challenges asserted against the faith, when appropriate, including the two lodged in the articles I read this week. I'll deal with one of those in this column, a piece in the Daily Mail by writer Michael Paulkovich, who argues that "Jesus never existed." He says there is no extra-biblical evidence that Jesus was a historical figure.
Few, if any, serious scholars make this claim anymore, as there are numerous non-Christian references to Jesus, from Jewish historian Josephus to first-century Greek historian Thallus to early-second-century Roman legate Pliny the Younger to Roman historians Tacitus and Suetonius to Greek writer Mara bar Serapion to Greek rhetorician Lucian of Samosata to pagan critic Celsus.
September 29, 2014
Obama's Narcissism AThreat To National Security
We mention President Obama's narcissism not as an exercise in name-calling but because it continues to be relevant to how he conducts himself in office, and it's not pretty.
This undeniable character trait was on full display in his interview with Steve Kroft of "60 Minutes," in the sense that he simply cannot entertain the possibility, much less - infinitely less - admit the possibility that he has made a mistake or exercised poor judgment.
If anything remotely positive happens on his watch, he presumes to take full credit for it - way more than the normal opportunistic politician. With the killing of Osama bin Laden, for example, Obama boasts as if the raid were his initial idea and he delivered the kill shot. Most people in his position would play down their role in such an event and give credit to our special forces personnel who made it happen.
But when things are going poorly, Obama either candy-coats the reality or pretends he's an outsider powerless to do anything but complain about it. No president has ever been so committed to eschewing accountability.
September 25, 2014
Holder's Ugly Legacy
Eric Holder has announced his resignation from his position as U.S. attorney general after almost six years of turning the Justice Department into a partisan political vehicle instead of a law enforcement institution.
It's too early to tell as of this writing what prompted his resignation. One would like to think his legacy of scandals and corruption finally caught up to him, but we have no reasonable expectation that this is the case, given this administration's agility at escaping accountability for any and all wrongdoing.
No, I doubt it's his malfeasance in connection with the Fast and Furious gunrunning scandal, his obstruction of the congressional investigation into the Internal Revenue Service scandal or any other of a number of legitimate reasons warranting his repentance and resignation.
Republicans and other lovers of the rule of law also have little reason for optimism as to the character of Holder's eventual successor, for anyone President Obama selects will doubtlessly be of the same bent - strong on partisan politics and weak on justice.
During their tenure, both Holder and Obama have also used the Justice Department as a vehicle to promote racial grievances, and they've made no secret of their obsession. It's hard to miss that they both view the United States justice system as deeply tainted by institutional racism.
They would have us believe that the system routinely and habitually discriminates against blacks and that law enforcement officials throughout the nation target blacks across the board, from traffic stops to drug charges to criminal assault and other violent crimes.
September 22, 2014
Student Bullies Trump 1st Amendment
Well, the wild and crazy 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is at it again, this time ruling that in a conflict between bullies and the First Amendment, bullies win.
The court let stand a previous ruling by a three-judge panel of the court that school officials of Live Oak High School can prohibit American students from wearing to school clothing featuring the American flag because of threats made against the American students. You read that right: not threats made by the American students but threats directed at them by others.
Admittedly, it's hard to surprise sane people anymore with all the wrongheaded things going on in this country, but this just won't do. It's one thing to insist, for example, that English be the official language; it's one thing to forbid American students from heckling Mexican students for celebrating Cinco de Mayo, a Mexican holiday. But it's altogether another thing for the school administration - and then the courts - to prevent peaceful American students from wearing flag apparel because it might provoke some rowdy students who don't approve of American students demonstrating and displaying their patriotism.
September 18, 2014
The Bible: Product Of A Divine Conspiracy
In my new book, "Jesus on Trial," I explain how the Bible itself serves as its own apologetic. Holy Scripture, if we'll give it a chance, can bring us to faith. So one of the main goals I have with my book is to encourage people to crack open this amazing book and give it a chance to work in their lives. They may be surprised.
"So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ" (Romans 10:17). "From infancy, you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 3:15).
I must say that I didn't always have this high opinion of the Bible. When I was a young lawyer, in my skeptical days, I was visiting my friend Peter Kinder, now Missouri lieutenant governor, at Christmastime. He had brought some of his law school classmates home to stay at his parents' home during the Christmas break.
September 11, 2014
Christianity Grounded In The Fact Of The Resurrection
Jesus' apostles and other disciples were willing to die for him. But so what? Haven't the followers of other religious leaders and even some political leaders been willing to die for them, as well? What makes Jesus' followers so unique in this regard?
I address this very question in my new book, "Jesus on Trial: A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel," because I used to wonder about this, too. What, if anything, distinguishes the Christian martyrs?
New Testament scholar Gary Habermas offered an insight that I hadn't considered before, and I find it enormously probative.
"One grand distinction," he argues, "makes all the difference in the world. Like other examples of religious or political faith, the disciples believed and followed their leader's teachings. But unlike all others, the disciples had more than just their beliefs; they had seen the resurrected Jesus. This is a crucial distinction. Their faith was true precisely because of the Resurrection."
September 08, 2014
Why I Wrote "Jesus On Trial"
In case you haven't heard, despite all the noise we've been trying to make about it, I have a new book out, "Jesus on Trial: A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel," and I'm excited about it.
It is on Christian apologetics, which means it defends the Christian faith and its truth claims, but it also includes my personal journey from skeptic to believer and a discussion of basic Christian doctrine. What good is it to believe that Christianity is true if you don't have some idea what it stands for?
Why would I, a lawyer and political columnist, change course in this book and write about religion instead of politics? Well, to be honest, I wasn't sure I should write about this subject when I first considered the idea, because I wasn't sure that as a layman, I had the required credentials to undertake such a task.
September 04, 2014
Column: You Have To See a Threat Before You Can Have a Strategy
Do you remember the left's chants about President George W. Bush: "Have you had enough yet?" Well, I could easily ask that about President Obama, but instead I'll ask: "Do you believe us now?"
Some of us have been saying from the beginning that something just isn't right about Obama. Something is very different about this man -- something that distinguishes him from every U.S. president in my lifetime.
All the talk about his birth certificate aside, I have long believed he really doesn't think like an American. Before you jump on me for suggesting there is an American way of thinking, let me assure you I'm not referring to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or any of the other identifiers liberals routinely use to bludgeon conservatives into psychological submission. Oh, sorry, I shouldn't have used a metaphor involving violence, as the left also turns those around on us, disingenuously implying we mean them literally.
It's been obvious from the start that Obama doesn't think like an American, by which I mean he doesn't embrace the American idea. You are free to disagree with that, but I doubt you'll ever explain to our satisfaction his desire to fundamentally transform a nation whose ideas he endorses.
Not only does Obama have major issues with America, as founded, but he also appears to have a remarkable naivete concerning evil in the world. As low as his boiling point is concerning conservative opposition to his agenda, he seems not to have one for Islamic terrorism. From designating the Ft. Hood terrorist shootings as workplace violence, to insisting on closing Gitmo, to treating enemy combatants as innocent-until-proved-guilty criminal defendants, to calling the war on terror an "overseas contingency operation," to deliberately omitting the terms "Islam" and "Muslim" from any description of Islamic jihad, to behaving as though Muslim terrorists can be pacified through rational negotiations, he clearly does not get it.