What’s Wrong with the World

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What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

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January 2020 Archives

January 13, 2020

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?


There is much cause for worry concerning the entire US Navy SEAL command. The strength of this proposition I draw from some of the deeper reporting, and wider commentary, which has accompanied the President’s pardon of Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher, combined with long interest in the fabled Navy unit in which he served, until his recent retirement concomitant with said pardon.

Good summaries of the details of Gallagher’s trial can he found in various places, including the Navy Times and the fascinating special ops blog SOFREP.com. In brief outline, Gallagher was accused by his former SEAL comrades of terrible crimes; investigated and brought to trial by the Navy’s internal police unit; cleared of all but the most minor charge in a dramatic courtroom reversal, when an immunized prosecution witness introduced reasonable doubt; then pardoned of the remaining charge by Trump. Following this came a bureaucratic wrestling match among the Navy, the DOD and the White House, which after several intriguing surprises, ended up costing the Navy Secretary his job.

Continue reading "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" »

January 23, 2020

John--The Man Who Saw, now at RC

I have a new blog post on John's reliability as a guest blog post at Ratio Christi. In the interests of time, I'm not going to cross-post the entire thing, with links, but I will post the beginning here and put it under the "John" tag so that readers who browse the "John" tag here at W4 will find it.

In case you haven’t heard, the Gospel of John is different from Matthew, Mark, and Luke. But then again, maybe you’ve noticed this already! The other three Gospels often tell the same stories, sometimes even in similar words, while John goes his own way, often giving us information about what Jesus did and said that is found nowhere in the three Synoptic Gospels. Most of us who think of ourselves as evangelical Christians, especially if we self-identify as conservative Christians, never thought that that made John less historical, though. Not even a little bit. But you might be surprised at how widespread that view is, even among some scholars normally thought of as evangelical. For example, Craig A. Evans has said, when challenged by skeptic Bart Ehrman,

I suspect we don’t have too much difference on John. My view is the gospel of John is a horse of another color altogether. It’s a different genre.... So, I don’t disagree with you too much on that point. I think John is studded with historical details. Maybe you called them nuggets. That’s not a bad way of describing John. But I think the Synoptics are more than just some nuggets.

Evans has also said,

The principle source for material from which we may derive a portrait of the historical Jesus are the three Synoptic gospels--Matthew, Mark and Luke. They are called Synoptic because they overlap a lot, and we can see them together, which is what the Greek word means, see them together in parallel columns. John’s Gospel is another matter. What genre is it? It’s not another Synoptic Gospel, as some would like to think. All agree that there is some history in John, but is it primarily history, or is it something else?

See more here.

These questions about John’s robust historicity are understandably troubling to Christians for whom the Gospel is no less beloved than the other three, and often regarded as a great favorite. Do we really have to place these kinds of brackets around John because he might be of a partially non-historical genre?

For that matter, the Synoptic Gospels haven’t fared all that well when it comes to scholarly claims that they contain deliberate historical alterations. I have documented and rebutted such claims extensively, some of them from evangelical scholars whose names might be surprising, in my most recent book, The Mirror or the Mask. But John definitely comes in for an extra helping of doubt.

The wonderful thing is, though, that all this skepticism is misplaced. In fact, John demonstrates his historical intention constantly, both in his explicit statements (e.g., John 19:35) and in many subtle details.

Rest of the post is here.