But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.  1 Peter 3: 14-16

Cannon Fodder - Apologetic Report

Note:  I post the article below every year as seminary students arrive. I hope it will prove helpful for a new group of readers (or maybe even prior ones!)

A few weeks ago, a new crop of seminary students began the grueling month-long experience of Summer Greek.   And, like all...

Read more

As you now know, my book on the second century has just been released in the UK: Christianity at the Crossroads: How the Second Century Shaped the Future of the Church (SPCK, 2017).  It will be released in the US with IVP Academic in the Spring.

Since it has been released, folks have been...

Read more

I have argued in numerous places–articles, blog posts, books–that Scripture played a central role in the life of early Christians.  They not only read and preached from these books, but they copied and distributed them in great numbers.

An additional (and rather curious) example of...

Read more

For those reading this blog, I trust you’ve benefited from the variety of posts that deal with issues related to the origins of the NT canon. I have written those posts with a wide audience in mind, hoping they are helpful for just about anybody who wants to learn more.

At the same time, I...

Read more

As many of you know from prior posts (for example, see here), I have a forthcoming book on the second century entitled, Christianity at the Crossroads: How the Second Century Shaped the Future of the Church (SPCK, 2017).

image

I am excited to announce that it is now available! (technically July...

Read more

Next week, Aug 1-5, I will teach an elective at RTS Charlotte entitled, “The Origin and Authority of the New Testament Canon.

In this class, we will be covering not just the history and development of the canon, but also its theological meaning, and its epistemological foundation.  In other words, we will not only discuss when thes

Imagine this scenario. Your friend at church (who is a believer) comes to you and confesses an ugly sin they committed.  And they feel terrible about it.  What do you say?

No doubt this scenario is played out countless times a week in evangelical churches all over the country–particularly given the church’s fascination with

Ever since Krister Stendahl’s seminal essay, “The Apostle Paul and the Introspective Conscience of the West,” one of the foundational arguments for the New Perspective(s) on Paul (NPP) has been that the traditional protestant/reformed view of justification is largely due to the cultural influence of “the West” and its

Last year I posted an article entitled “What Is The Earliest Complete List of the Canon of the New Testament?”  In that post I argued, contrary to common opinion, that the earliest (nearly complete) list is not Athanasius’ Festal Letter in 367.  Instead, the earliest complete list occurs more than a century earlier in

Thursday, 07 July 2016 05:00

A Serious Challenge to the New Perspective on Paul Featured

Written by

As most readers know, there has been a long scholarly debate over what is known as the New Perspective(s) on Paul (NPP). This approach argues that “justification” in Paul does not mean what many Christians (especially Reformed folks) have always believed.

In short, NPP advocates (e.g., N.T. Wright, James D.G. Dunn) argue that (a)

In American evangelicalism over the last decade, there has been a resurgence of interest in what might be called “deed” ministry.  Christians should not be concerned only about evangelism, it is argued, but also about caring for the practical, day-to-day needs of our unbelieving neighbors.

This sentiment is captured in a phrase

This week I am off to the PCA General Assembly in Mobile, AL.  There are a number of interesting (and some controversial) overtures on the docket this year, so it should be a busy week. But aside from the formal business, one of the most profitable aspects of GA is connecting with old friends, classmates, and colleagues.

If you are a RTS

It has been a while since the so-called Gospel of Jesus’ Wife has been in the headlines.  It was originally unveiled by Karen King at Harvard (here), but quickly exposed as a likely forgery. I have also written on the fragment (here and here).

While this document’s status as a forgery is relatively certain, what has been uncertain

Over the last several years, I have been running a RTS Charlotte alumni series called “Where Are They Now?” (see the complete series here).  Since this is the time of year for alumni reunions at the various denominational gatherings, I thought I would add the latest installment.

This post highlights one of our best and brightest,

Over the last ten years, especially in Reformed circles, there has emerged a vision of the Christian life where one of  the defining characteristics of a believer has now become transparency.  A Christian is someone who is authentic, real, and open.

While prior generations might have suggested the essential mark of a Christian was

Last week it was announced that Reformed Theological Seminary has released the first installment of its new online journal.  It is entitled Reformed Faith and Practice (RF&P) and can be accessed here.

The launch of the new journal coincides with the 50th anniversary of RTS (the seminary opened its doors in 1966).  Other 50th

Wednesday, 01 June 2016 05:00

New Series: Taking Back Christianese

Written by

“Christians talk funny.”

This is a sentiment I’ve heard from many a non-Christian over the years.  The truth is that Christians have their own lingo and their own vocabulary.  Sometimes it can be alienating to folks. Sometimes it is quite hilarious–if we are honest enough to admit it (as in this video here).

But our

Preaching is hard work.

To those sitting in the pews, preaching can look relatively effortless–especially when it is done well.  But do not be fooled.  Preaching exhausts the body and the soul in ways that are incommensurate with its duration.  I could work in the yard all day in 90 degrees of heat and (somehow) feel less

I just received a Fed-Ex package that contained the latest volume I’ve been working on: A Biblical Theological Introduction to the New Testament (Crossway, 2016).

This volume collects together contributions from NT professors at Reformed Theological Seminary, both past and present. I edited the volume and contributed chapters on John and the

Evangelical Christians have been making the same point for so long, we are running out of ways to say it.

We’ve tried the following phrases/statements:

  • The intolerance of tolerance.
  • There is a lack of diversity in the push for diversity.
  • Those complaining the loudest about discrimination, are often the most discriminatory.
  • Liberals are not really

If one accepts the dating of some modern scholars, the earliest canonical gospel–the Gospel of Mark–was not written until 70 AD or later.

This means there was a gap of time of about 40 years between the life of Jesus and our earliest Gospel that records his words and deeds.

What happened to the stories of Jesus during this period of

One of the scariest aspects of pursuing a Ph.D. (aside from thesis defense) is the poor job prospects on the other side.  After slogging through many years of intense research, late nights writing, spouse working, and no money, it is a bit discouraging to realize the job opportunities are few and far between.

Of course, I always warn my own

Monday, 18 April 2016 06:00

Was Early Christianity Hostile to Women? Featured

Written by

Since we live in a culture that is obsessed with gender identity and gender issues, it is not surprising to find Christianity on the receiving end of serious criticisms regarding its view of women.

Christianity–particularly if it embraces a complementarian theology–is viewed by many in our culture as oppressive and harmful to

There’s even a term for it.  “Genetic Sexual Attraction.” GSA.

GSA is when a mother and her biological son, or a father and his biological daughter, and are in a sexual relationship.

I had never heard this term before, but I suppose it sounds better than the word that really describes such relationships: incest.

And now GSA

Monday, 04 April 2016 05:00

Did Papias Know the Apostle John?

Written by

I just received in the mail the latest issue of the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society.  And I noticed that it contained my review of Monte Shanks’ recent volume, Papias and the New Testament (Pickwick, 2013). (I can’t keep track of when my book reviews appear!).

Seeing this review reminded me of one of the key debates