Podcast – Undesigned Coincidences in the Gospels and Acts

Dr. McGrew holds a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University and is an analytic philosopher. She is also the author of the book Hidden in Plain View: Undesigned Coincidences in the Gospels and Acts. She is wife to Dr. Tim McGrew. Join us today as she describes what “undesigned coincidences” are, how they compare to other theories, and how they strengthen the historical reliability of the NT biblical texts.

Outline for Discussion

  1. Lydia, as we ask all our first-time guests, could you talk about the time when you first accepted Christ as your Savior?
  2. You recently wrote a book entitled Hidden in Plain View: Undesigned Coincidences in the Gospels and Acts. Could you explain what you mean by “undesigned coincidences?
    1. Can you provide a few more examples? I found the example of the “green grass” (66-67) and the example of Joseph of Arimathea’s courage (76-79) fascinating.
  3. How do these undesigned coincidences strengthen the integrity of Gospels’ and Acts narrative?
  4. How does your view help one to work through the so-called inconsistencies of the Gospels and Acts?
  5. We have listeners from various educational backgrounds who listen to the podcast. Could you explain the literary device theory? What is this theory and how does this contrast with the undesigned coincidence theory?
  6. What are some of the problems you see with the literary device theory?
  7. How has your research strengthened your belief in the historical reliability of the Gospel-Acts narrative?
  8. Do you have any closing thoughts you would like to share?

Go to: https://bellatorchristi.com/2018/05/04/podcast-5-4-18-undesigned-coincidences-in-the-gospels-and-acts-w-dr-lydia-mcgrew/


The Problem of Superstitious Christianity

“Mingled vanity and pride appear in this, that when miserable men do seek after God, instead of ascending higher than themselves as they ought to do, they measure him by their own carnal stupidity, and neglecting solid inquiry, fly off to indulge their curiosity in vain speculation. Hence, they do not conceive of him in the character in which he is manifested, but imagine him to be whatever their own rashness has devised…With such an idea of God, nothing which they may attempt to offer in the way of worship or obedience can have any value in his sight, because it is not him they worship, but, instead of him, the dream and figment of their own heart.” (Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 1.4.1)

Clearly Calvin had in mind non-Christians when he penned these words. And he was right, for “the world did not know God through wisdom” (1 Cor. 1:21) “for although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools” (Rom. 1:21-22).

However, the sad reality is many in our churches have such a shallow understanding of God as revealed in Scripture, that their “Christian” theology might be better referred to as Christian “superstition.” Every Sunday, we rub shoulders with men and women who have professed faith in Christ, but continue to hold a “vague and wandering opinion of Deity” (Institutes, 1.4.3) that just happens to include Jesus.

Every pastor can probably relate to having someone in their church enthusiastically sharing with them what the “Holy Spirit” has taught them, even though it has zero resemblance to biblical teaching, even, at times, outright contradicting it. This is truly a sad and dangerous place for the Christian to live. J.I. Packer wrote, “To follow the imagination of one’s heart in the realm of theology is the way to remain ignorant of God, and to become an idol-worshipper – the idol in this case being a false mental image of God, ‘made unto thee’ by speculation and imagination” (Knowing God, 42). Considering that “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24), superstitious Christianity is dangerous both to the life of the individual Christian and to the life of the church as a whole.

Causes of Superstitious Christianity

Continue: https://ftc.co/resource-library/1/3604

I AM: The Aseity of God

A Broadcast with R.C. Sproul

The Christian faith is constantly under attack in the secular world. From his series Moses and the Burning Bush, R.C. Sproul considers how far fallen human beings will go to try to banish God as their judge.

Is Unbelief an Intellectual Issue?

“Now, therefore, fear [reverence] the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and truth…. If it is  disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve … but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”1

“I don’t believe in God,” say some, “because to do so means committing intellectual suicide.” Really?

There is nothing wrong with having honest doubts about God, asking intelligent questions, and examining evidence. This is good for one’s growth. Furthermore, most of us struggle with doubts from time to time. I certainly do. And there are many things I don’t understand and probably won’t be able to this side of heaven. However, is belief in God an intellectual issue?

Partially yes, but I wonder if it’s not more a moral issue. For example, if I choose to believe in God, I know that I am morally responsible and accountable for my life and actions. This is a demanding path to choose and follow. If, on the other hand, I choose not to believe in God, I don’t have to follow his directives. I then deceive myself into thinking that I am not responsible for my life and actions and am only accountable to myself. This way I can live and do as I please—a very easy path to follow. This, however, is not only self-deceptive but also ultimately self-destructive. For as God’s Word clearly states, in the end “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ,” 2 and again, “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.”3

And, by the way, if I say I believe in God but disregard his directives, do I really believe in God? Belief may have many facets but one thing is certain, it is also a moral issue and a moral choice. And it’s not what we say that counts, but what we do.

Furthermore, choice needs to be based not on emotion but on an act of one’s will. As another has wisely said, “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.”

Remember too, “It is choice, not chance that determines destiny.” This includes our eternal destiny. And as Joshua said to the ancient Israelites, “Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve.”

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, please open the eyes of my understanding so that I can see my true motives in all the choices I make. Help me to see truth from your perspective and give me the wisdom and courage to choose your way and not my own. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’ name, amen.”

1. Joshua 24:14-16 (NIV).
2. 2 Corinthians 5:10.
3. Hebrews 9:27 (NKJV).

Comment at: Click HERE

Where Did the Bible Come From?

The Bible is a collection of 66 books believed to have been written by more than 40 divinely-inspired authors. It’s thousands of years old, and Christians still place their trust in it today. So where did the Bible come from? How did we end up with these 66 books?

In his online systematic theology course, Dr. Wayne Grudem explores the origins of the biblical canon to answer questions like these. The following post is adapted from his course.

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The formation of the Bible began with the 10 Commandments

The earliest collection of written words from God was the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments form the beginning of the biblical canon. God himself wrote on two tablets of stone the words which he commanded his people:

“And he gave to Moses, when he had made an end of speaking with him upon Mount Sinai, the two tables of the testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God” (Exodus 31:18). Again we read, “And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables” (Exodus 32:16, see also Deuteronomy 4:13 and 10:4). The tablets were deposited in the ark of the covenant (Deuteronomy 10:5) and constituted the terms of the covenant between God and his people.

10 Most Significant Discoveries in the Field of Biblical Archaeology


Cross-Examining the Bedrock for What We Believe

Let’s take a look at the strongest objections to the claim set forward in my previous post: that Jesus’ resurrection is the bedrock for what we believe (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tomhobson/2018/03/the-bedrock-for-what-we-believe-jesus-resurrection/).

Rotunda of the Holy Sepulchre church. Patheos Media Library.

Jesus’ resurrection has survived even the toughest attempts of critics to explain it away. For me, the toughest issue is: How do we know that Jesus’ body wasn’t stolen and destroyed without a trace? That’s the Number One alternative. Unauthorized removal of the body is the automatic conclusion to which all of the earliest persons on the scene jump. The vast majority of scholars are agreed that the eleven disciples are too dispirited and too fearful to pull off such a heist. Men who ran away from their Master and denied they ever knew him? The idea has never crossed their minds.


Read more at: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tomhobson/2018/04/cross-examining-the-bedrock-for-what-we-believe/