Book Plunge: Too Good To Be False

What do I think of Tom Gilson’s book published by DeWard Publishing? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Sometimes we hear some news and we think it would be wonderful, but then we conclude that it is too good to be true. Rarely do we ever consider the opposite. What if something was too good to be false? What if Jesus was just someone like that?

Tom Gilson has an interesting hypothesis that not much has been done with in history, but I think needs some serious looking at. In it, he points out that the character of Jesus is really one unlike anyone else in history either fictional or non-fictional. There are some people that could come close, but we realize many of their faults and failures and they themselves do.

Jesus is someone who shows up and never asks for advice, never claims to be learning something new from a dialogue, seems to know everything that is going on, never apologizes for anything, never relies on anyone else for any claim that He makes, etc. Now if you take anyone who is like that on paper you would consider them insufferable to be around and you would not want to be around them. However, Jesus is not like that. Many people who read the Gospels love the figure of Jesus. They think He’s incredible. Bart Ehrman in his latest book refers to Jesus as one of the three great figures He wants to meet.

Not only that, but Jesus is also claiming to be God incarnate in the Gospels and yet still, we don’t see Him acting in such a way that we might expect. We don’t see Him raining down judgment or acting aloof to the culture. We still see attributes that are remarkably human.

This is Gilson’s fascinating hypothesis. If Jesus did not exist as presented in the Gospels, we should be seeking to meet the people who created Him because they are the greatest geniuses of all time. How is it also that if the skeptics are right, all these stories changed drastically over time, but they came together to show this figure of remarkable insight and character that is unparalleled in all of fiction and history? Note the inclusion of fiction in there. No one has created a figure like Jesus. Possibly the closest is Aslan in the Chronicles of Narnia, but perhaps he is also given limited time for just that figure. If Lewis had to write a whole story where Aslan is acting on most every page, I suspect it would be impossible for even him.

If we could not create this figure, then there is only one conclusion. We did not create Him. Jesus is real. Not only is He real, we need to hold Him in the proper awe He deserves. We have become so familiar with the figure of Jesus that we haven’t considered just how shocking He is.

Gilson’s thesis is an amazing one and I hope to see more engagement with it. It would be incredible to see what someone like Bart Ehrman would say to it. I hope it gets out in the world of academia all the more.

One thing I would like to see added for future editions of the book if they come is that the idea is fascinating, but I would like to see something on how to present it in a debate. Perhaps it could even be a mock written debate that has been set up. How would Gilson use this in evangelism and how would he suggest that I use it? If we use it, how should we use other arguments alongside it, such as arguments about the resurrection and the dating and veracity of the Gospels?

This is a book to be taken seriously by Christian and skeptic alike. I look forward to seeing more that comes out concerning it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Forgive Us Our Sins

What does it mean to forgive? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

C.S. Lewis has a brilliant essay in the Weight of Glory where he talks about our idea of forgiveness and what it means. When we talk about forgiveness, he thinks we more often mean not forgiveness but excusing. We want God to understand the circumstances behind what we did and say, “No big deal. You’re off the hook.”

It is a big deal though. Every sin to some extent is a form of divine treason. It is a denial of God’s knowledge because you act like He doesn’t know it. It denies His omnipotence because you say He doesn’t have the power to judge. It denies His omnipresence because you say He doesn’t see it. It denies His goodness because you say He won’t do anything against you. It denies His truthfulness because you think He’s holding out on you. We could go on through the list. Every one of them is this.

So what do we want God to do? We want God to say “I know you didn’t mean any of that. Let’s still be friends.” Now there are unintentional sins to be sure, but let’s face it. We all have times that we do the wrong thing and we know it’s the wrong thing and we do it anyway. Those times, we don’t really care. There are times we want to do the wrong and then ask for forgiveness later.

But there is no excusing what we do. It cannot be done. There is no justification ever for doing the wrong thing. That’s why it’s the wrong thing. There are circumstances where it’s understandable why one did it and one can always point to good motivations or good results from doing it, but if it is wrong, then the good that can come and the good motivations do not matter.

Not only that, there will always be something seen to be good in it. “Well, my wife wasn’t fulfilling my sexual needs, so I turned to pornography.” “Well, my family was going broke, so I decided to mess with the books a little bit when doing our taxes.” “Well, I’ve been incredibly lonely in my marriage, so I decided to have an affair.”

Having needs met or providing for your family or overcoming loneliness are not bad things, but there are good ways to deal with those issues and wrong ways and if you go the wrong way, then it is a sin. There is no excusing it. There may be things around it that can be excused, but the sin itself is still wrong.

It doesn’t need to be excused because it can’t be. It needs to be forgiven. It needs to be seen that first off, it is a big deal. It needs to be shown that real damage has been done to a relationship. In human terms, it could be marriage and family, friendship, co-workers, or just your neighbor you don’t even know.

You did something wrong. That’s it. No justifying it. It needs to be faced that you have caused harm in a way that has no justification for it. You have done something against God Himself and undone the goodness of redemption in some way.

You participated in what led to the crucifixion.

Yes. This sin needs to be seen in all of its wickedness. Only then can you realize what forgiveness means. Forgiveness means you realize God could throw the book at you. He could sentence you to hell forever. He could banish you from His loving presence. I don’t care what your doctrine of hell is at this point. Everyone who is a Christian agrees that whatever happens, it’s something you don’t want. God does not owe you forgiveness like that. He does not owe you His loving presence. You owe Him everything.

And yet, that is what makes forgiveness so incredible. God still looks at you and makes it clear that you don’t deserve forgiveness. He is not improved by forgiving you. If anything, forgiveness was a cost to Him. Still, despite all of that, He says He’s going to forgive you and restore you to proper relationship with Him. You are still a child of His.

Forgiveness means that God is telling you you are still in the family. There may be consequences still, but none of those consequences include you losing your place in the family. You’re still one of His. You are forgiven. God does not owe it to you, but He has promised it to you if you come and sincerely repent.

It’s still there today. You can be forgiven. It is truly a big deal.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Deeper Waters Podcast 8/8/2020

What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

It’s been said that the Shroud of Turin is the most studied artifact ever. This could be so and it would be a fascinating relationship. Jesus Christ is the most written about and talked about figure ever in history so what is claimed to be His burial shroud would be the most talked about item in history as well.

But is the Shroud the real deal? It’s certainly an impressive work, real or not, but hasn’t it already been shown to be a fake? Didn’t we do tests to demonstrate that the Shroud actually originates in medieval times? For many people, that’s a done deal. For some, perhaps there were some problems with the test.

My guest thinks so. He began his walk not really caring so much about religious questions until he came upon a book about the Shroud. From that point on, he was inherently fascinated with it and even joined a monastery where he became an authority on the Shroud and began lecturing on it and attending every conference he could on it.

His path actually got stranger still when he encountered a lady who was interested in the Shroud and thinking they had a destiny together, he ended up leaving the monastery life and marrying her. Together, they did research and spoke on the Shroud. I have even been told that they were instrumental in raising up concerns about the veracity of the Carbon-14 tests.

His name is Joseph Marino and he’s my guest this Saturday.

So who is he?

According to his bio:

Joseph Marino has a B.A. in Theological Studies from St. Louis University
and is a long-time sindonologist (one who studies the Shroud of Turin). He has researched, written and lectured extensively on the Shroud since 1977. He currently works at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.


In 1977, he saw a book on the Shroud of Turin, which he had never heard
of before, even though he was raised as a Catholic. He read the book in one
sitting and became fascinated by the subject and proceeded to collect any
material on it that he could find. In January 1980 he started living at the
Benedictine monastery St. Louis Priory, which later became known as the St. Louis Abbey. In 1986, he attended his first Shroud conference and met for the first time, many of the top scientists and researchers involved. In the early 1990s he felt drawn to the priesthood and was subsequently ordained in 1994.


In 1997 Marino received a call from M. Sue Benford who informed him of
her spiritual insights about the Shroud. After many discussions via phone and emails about the Shroud and other spiritual matters, he began to experience God in a whole new way. Joseph felt powerfully drawn to leave the monastery to pursue Shroud research and other spiritual paths with Benford.

Marino believes the Shroud can be shown to be the burial cloth of Jesus,
then it would be an interesting archaeological object, however he believes that it’s more important for the spiritual message it can bring. As a former Benedictine monk, and Catholic priest Joseph believes that organized religion has often depicted Jesus as an unreachable deity, whose standards we can never reach. With his work he hopes to show that the Shroud represents a more human Jesus, who is someone we can not only approach, but, as indicated in the Gospel of John, a person we can even surpass in doing great things.


”It is my hope and desire that our work can get this message across, and,
it is my belief that this is the destiny to which I’ve been called, which is why I have been given the passion I possess for the Shroud.”

Again, we are catching up on past shows. I hope you’ll be watching your podcast feed. Please also keep supporting the Deeper Waters Podcast any way that you can.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Wrapped Up In The Shroud

What do I think of Joe Marino’s book published by Cradle Press? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Joe is your normal teenager years ago who loves his music and really has no interest in religion. That all changes one day when he’s in a bookstore and gets a book on the Shroud of Turin out of curiosity. Before too long, he winds up in a monastery lecturing on the Shroud where he is said to be “wrapped up in the shroud.”

If that part seems strange, it’s not over yet. Sometime in his correspondence he comes across a lady named Sue Benford, who is also fascinated with the Shroud. Then, this monk winds up leaving the monastery life and marrying her and being a team with her talking about the Shroud. I have been told that their research is what really called into question the veracity of the C-14 dating that placed the Shroud in medieval times.

This book is mainly Marino’s journey into the Shroud of Turin. A lot of it can be really fascinating. Some stuff, I’m still skeptical of. That’s okay as well. You can be skeptical of some of the experiential stuff and the material about the Shroud can be entirely valid as it doesn’t rely on that. Marino doesn’t even fault you if you’re skeptical of that stuff.

There are also several appendices. This is a rare book in that the appendices altogether are almost as long as the book prior is. I read through them and found them interesting, but if you want just the story you only need to read through the first part.

Sometimes, the language gets technical, but it isn’t too technical, though the appendices can be an exception. You also get a look at the inner politics going on at Shroud meetings. While it is true that politics isn’t everything, everything is sadly politics.

There were times that something would seem to get picked up and I wondered what happened with it later. Marino mentions being a big brother to a kid named Greg at the start through the Big Brothers program. I found myself wondering at the end of the book if Marino ever spoke with Greg any more and knew how he was doing. I would have liked to have seen that covered.

I also would have liked something on the more theological perspective of the Shroud. Suppose we demonstrate the Shroud is authentic to someone. So what? What does that mean? What difference does it make? Why should we care if it is authentic? What does it matter today if Jesus rose from the dead? Marino is a former monk, but it would have been nice to get some of his theology on this topic, especially since he talks about how seeing the Shroud is life-changing for some people. Why? What hope does it give? I have my answer, of course, but maybe others need one.

If you care about the history of the modern period on the Shroud, this is likely the best book to go to. If you are skeptical of some of the experiences, that’s fine. They aren’t really essential to the research on the Shroud. You can still get a lot out of this. In the end, you might find yourself wrapped up in the Shroud as well.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Daily Bread

What does it mean to ask for daily bread? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

My family and I aren’t rich. Growing up, we never were either. Today, I know what it definitely means to live on a balanced budget more than ever. We have money that we can store up to an extent, but it’s still very rough. Any time we get a donation, I get personally very excited.

That’s probably nothing compared to the average person in the times of Jesus though. You were to ask for your daily bread. In that day, you didn’t have plastic to wrap your bread in. The temperature in your house could not be managed by a thermostat. You didn’t have any freezers to preserve food or any refrigerators.

Want some food? Sorry. You have to work. There’s no going down the street to the local supermarket where there’s an abundant supply of food. I grew up in a rural town, but not too far from us was the city where we could go to supermarkets. My roommate in seminary was not like that. When he first walked into a supermarket in Charlotte, he was shocked at all that he saw.

In Jesus’s day though, you had to work things off and if your neighbor gave you some food, well, you were in his debt then. You would owe him. There was no give for the sake of giving like that. If only honor was expected back, that was a big deal and the person would get honor.

Jesus still tells us to ask for daily bread. We don’t ask for weekly or monthly or yearly bread. We ask for daily bread. We trust in God to provide for us day by day.

Does that mean we can’t store up things today or have savings or manage wealth? Not at all. Yet even still, we have to realize we could lose it all at any time. The richest man in the world could possibly have all his money hacked away from him.

Regardless of how rich or poor you are, you are still to rely on God. You are to trust Him. Jesus tells us this later in the sermon. Birds get fed and the flowers are dressed. Seek first the Kingdom and His righteousness and we’ll get everything else.

Daily bread reminds to rely on God daily. I may go and get bread from on top of our refrigerator today to fix a sandwich, but I should be grateful that today I don’t have to go out and do all the work to make that bread. It’s a gift and I should be thankful to God who provides all the knowledge to make bread and the resources and for the people willing to do the work.

Tomorrow will take care of itself somehow.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

COVID and end times

Is this a judgment from God? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

It’s bound to happen. I’m sure it was going on before this, but I just hadn’t seen it. I’m talking about the idea that we are in the end times and that this is a sign of judgment and that the rapture is about to take place.

Now readers of my blog know that I think the rapture idea has no biblical basis whatsoever, but even if I did, this is the wrong way to present it. So many people start thinking that as soon as any crisis hits, that must be it. Jesus must be coming. I mean, Europe went through the Plague and we had the Spanish Flu a century ago that killed far more people, but as soon as COVID hits, boom. That’s it. It’s judgment.

Not only that, but you get the conspiracy theories flying around. Here’s one I saw last night that’s going around Facebook now.

“The vaccine that is coming…
As many of you heard Moderna is in stage 3 of their vaccine testing. If all goes well it’ll become federal law to get the vaccine.
Here’s something many of you don’t know, guess who the first CEO of Moderna was? A Cornell graduate by the name of Anthony Fauci, who was a roommate with none other than Bill Gates. Are you paying attention? It was at Cornell that Bill Gates designed the RFID (Radio-frequency identification) and patened it under US2006257852. Are you awake yet?
Now let’s really go down the rabbit hole. Moderna was a pharmaceutical company that started in Germany under the name IG Farben. IG Farben is infamous for it’s mass production of Zyklon-B, the primary gas used to kill millions during the Holocaust. After Germany fell, IG Farben was dissolved and its assets sold off by a Nazi turned American by the name of, you guessed it, George Soros. Soros rebranded the company as Moderna.
And who was the primary stockholder of Moderna until his death? Jeffrey Epstein. His role in Moderna is where he made his fortune and established his connections. Let that sink in.
Wake up people! You are being conditioned and controlled.”
Please copy and paste this, I did!

Yes. You did copy and paste it and apparently without researching it. Many of you know I think we’re being more hysterical about this virus than we need to be, but that doesn’t matter. I still want even intellectual opponents to be treated fairly.

Let’s look at a few things. Fauci was never a CEO of Moderna and he and Bill Gates went to separate schools anyway. They weren’t roommates. Gates also never designed the RFID. His company could use it, but he is not responsible for it.

As for IG Farben, I am skeptical of that claim entirely especially considering the idea of George Soros. I am not saying I support him, but when World War II ended, he was 14 years old. Really? A 14 year-old was given all that power to decide what to do with a company like that?

As a conservative, I find it irritating to see people do this. As a Christian, I find it shameful. Someone just saw this and hit copy and paste without bothering to check. The Bible has a term for that. It’s called bearing false witness.

Sometimes my wife reads the Bible around me and reads it out loud. Recently, she was reading Exodus 23. What did she come across? Don’t spread false rumors. One good way to make sure you don’t do that is to check on the rumors. If you are not sure, you can ask someone who knows better than you, but don’t just blindly share.

Of course, there was end times stuff with this. Every recent generation has been convinced Jesus will return in their lifetime. They have all been wrong. Prophecy experts keep being wrong over and over but this time, this time they’re correct. I don’t know why people keep listening to these experts over and over. It leaves me thinking about the scientist Jeff Goldblum’s character talks to in Jurassic Park 3: The Lost World.

Keep in mind you can disagree with me on my assessment of COVID and it doesn’t change the point. You can also, thankfully, be a dispensationalist and not go down this route, and if you are one who doesn’t go down this route, please do something about your fellows who do this.

Try and be a bit more sane people. This fear is not of God. Spreading false rumors definitely isn’t.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

On Earth As It Is In Heaven

How does God rule? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

When Jesus finished the sermon, either a centurion in Israel or his servants, and I suspect the latter, came to Jesus. The centurion wanted a paralyzed servant to be healed and requested Jesus to do it. Jesus offered to see him, but if my suspicion is correct, this guy had told his servants what to say. He’s not worthy to have Jesus in his house, but he is a man of authority and understands how authority works. If he says something to a servant in his house, it gets done.

What does this man understand? He knows what Jesus’s house is. Jesus’s house is all of creation. If He says something, it gets done. If He says “Be healed”, Jesus doesn’t have to be present. It just gets done. This is truly a very high view of Jesus and Jesus rightly says this is greater than even the people of Israel.

Maybe the centurion heard about the Sermon on the Mount.

Maybe the centurion heard that Jesus had said that God’s will should be done on Earth as it is Heaven. What that means is in God’s domain, what He says goes. No angel talks back to God or offers a rejoinder. “Did you think about this part?” Nope. He says it. It’s done.

When we pray for God’s will to be done on Earth as it is in Heaven, we are saying we want the same thing. We want it to be that if God says it, it happens on Earth as well. Now here’s the concern. When we pray this, do we really mean it?

Let’s face it. If we’re Christians, we all know the “Christian answer.” We all know what we’re supposed to say, but talk is cheap. I recently saw someone on Facebook said that they are honestly scared to suffer even if it means suffering for Christ. I admired that. It’s honest. It’s easy for us to say, “If I had to die for my faith in Jesus, I would do it.” It’s easy to say that until the gun is pointed at you or you’re about to be thrown to the lions or something of that sort.

Want an example? Consider Peter. Peter bragged that he was willing to die for Jesus. What happened a few hours later? “Never heard of Him!” Peter had the talk, but he didn’t have the walk and he suffered for it.

So when we say that we want God’s will to be done on Earth as it is in Heaven, let’s see if we really want it. Do we really want to sacrifice our sins so God’s will can be done? Do we want to be willing to give up everything for God’s will to be done? Do we want to do the work of loving our neighbor as ourselves so God’s will can be done?

If we don’t, then when we say God’s will be done, then we do not really mean it. What we might mean is we want all the goodies that come with a Christian life, but we don’t want the pain and sacrifice required on our end. We don’t want to have to make ourselves uncomfortable or exert ourselves where we don’t have to. Please let the will of God be done, provided it doesn’t interfere with my Netflix time. Okay?

But if you want the will of God to be done, you will have to demonstrate that. That means sacrifice on your end. It means forgiving your neighbor even if they don’t deserve it, and they don’t. You don’t either. It means loving your neighbor even if they’re often a pain, because you’re often a pain as well to those around you. It means going through suffering regardless, because Jesus went through suffering for you and He definitely didn’t deserve it. It means not thinking about what you deserve, but thinking about what is good for the kingdom first.

If you can’t say those things, and that applies to me as well as it’s a struggle, then you don’t want the kingdom to come on Earth as it is in Heaven. Perhaps you are still more invested in your own personal kingdom. Perhaps you want your will on Earth more than you want God’s will.

Only you know that one.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Deeper Waters Podcast 8/1/2020

What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Throughout history, the Jewish people really haven’t seemed to care much for Jesus. He’s been branded as a traitor in their history and many ancient writings from Jewish circles about Jesus were far from friendly. Jesus could be depicted as suffering in the very worst circles of hell.

Then later on you have strong streams of anti-Semitism, sadly even including Martin Luther. The Jews are often so disregarded that in the last century, you had the holocaust take place. That really opened our eyes to how we need to get at the Jewishness of the New Testament and that of Jesus as well.

And the interesting thing is that the Jews are actually joining in this search. There is a resurgence of scholarship that is coming from a Jewish perspective and looking at the New Testament. It also isn’t an entirely antagonistic look either. For many Jews, Jesus is now seen as a respected and admired figure, even if they’re not Messianic Jews who do hold that Jesus is the Messiah.

What about a question like the resurrection? In this area, it is quite interesting that we have scholarship on the Jewish side that not only studies the resurrection of Jesus, but also affirms it, and even non-Messianic. Pinchas Lapides was a Jewish scholar who came to the conclusion that Jesus was raised from the dead even though he never became a Christian.

Where have other Jews come down on this question? For that, we’ll be discussing with my guest this Saturday. We will be discussing this question and also looking into the Jewish roots of the Christian faith. Not only that, we’ll also be talking about the Israel College of the Bible. So who is this guest? He is a Messianic Jew himself named David Mishkin.

So who is he?

According to his bio:

David Mishkin holds degrees from Northeastern Bible College, Fuller Theological seminary, and the University of Pretoria. He has authored three books (including Jewish Scholarship on the Resurrection of Jesus), and with Craig Evans he co-edited A Handbook on the Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith. He has served on the faculty of Israel College of the Bible in Netanya, Israel for over a dozen years.

We’re still working on getting caught up on past shows, but I hope you’ll be watching for this one. Please also consider supporting us on our journey. Deeper Waters works thanks to people like you.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Tips On Research

How can you better do research? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

So in the discussion portion of my blog on research recently came a discussion on what to do about it. There really is no easy answer. This is especially so since it requires the masses do research and most people can’t maintain focus for less than a minute on something. That’s why so many shows have soundbites instead so you can get a quick grab.

For those of us who do care, here are some tips I recommend.

First, always if possible go with books. Now note that this is talking about serious topics and not entertainment topics. I like to watch YouTube videos about video games and pop culture. If you were doing an academic study of pop culture, that wouldn’t work, but for popular interest, going to popular sources is fine.

However, if you want to learn about a topic in-depth, unless you know the source very well and know them to be accurate, do not go to YouTube videos. Naturally, if it’s the author of a book himself talking or something of that sort, that’s fine, but don’t go with the YouTube expert. They might know what they’re talking about or it might be a bunch of bunk. You don’t know.

Second, even with a book, you need to get the information that is from a good source. With Kindle, many people can self-publish easily. You can get some good material, but like with YouTube, you can also get garbage. You need to consider the source. However, publishing houses don’t want to publish books they think they will lose on and if a book doesn’t look good, it won’t be published. (Consider all the publishing houses kicking themselves who got the first Harry Potter novel and never published it.)

So, when you’re looking for a book, go with the publishing house you think has the best credentials as well. The more academic the better. Now let’s talk about the author some.

For the author, go with someone who has a degree, preferably a doctorate, in a field related to the topic. Richard Dawkins is just fine if you want to do zoology and biology. He is not fine when he stumbles into philosophy or history or Biblical studies. Thus, you can read a book like The Blind Watchmaker and learn stuff about biology and evolution, but when he pulls it over into philosophy in the book even if it is subtle, Dawkins is then speaking out of his area of expertise.

Meanwhile, take someone like N.T. Wright. N.T. Wright is just fine if you’re talking about religion, the Bible, church history, New Testament, that sort of thing. However, he is not an expert on scientific matters and is not the person to consult on evolution. If you meet someone who thinks they know something on everything, they don’t.

This is also something important to do period. So many people come to me and think that since I’m an apologist, I must know something about everything and will ask me questions about science. Sorry. I don’t answer those. I will gladly point you to friends who do, but I am not an authority in those areas.

Another tip to follow is when it comes to recent discoveries in something like science or archaeology, don’t jump on a bandwagon immediately. For me, it mostly happens in archaeology. I have many friends who will jump on the latest finding that supports Scripture. I get it. It makes sense. However, I recommend that you wait until the material gets peer-reviewed and then share it. This could take a couple of years, but it beats going out triumphant only to have a flaw with the data be shown. The same can apply to scientific findings.

This also goes for atheists. Don’t be so quick to jump on something because you think it’s a disproof of the Bible or something like that. Give these discoveries time.

Also, please don’t go with those people who are sensationalist and go to the press before going to the scholars. This happened with Joseph Atwill who many reporters claimed was a Bible scholar when he just had Jesus mythicist garbage. No. He wasn’t a scholar. He never went to the scholars because none of them would have taken him seriously.

This is also a problem with conspiracy theories. If you think you alone know something that all the experts out there think there is zero evidence of, then you are likely wrong. If you hear a strange story you can honestly wonder why no one in the news has covered it. This can range all the way from conservative news sources to liberal news sources. If no one is covering it, there’s probably a reason for that. Keep in mind also, there are crackpots on all sides.

For atheists, it’s often Jesus mythicism. So many atheists have fooled themselves into thinking they’re in the know on this great secret scholars have missed. I still laugh thinking about someone saying to me in a debate on the Facebook page of a local news channel when I lived in Knoxville that scholars don’t even know if Jesus existed. Yeah. They do. Mythicism seems to come with a bit of arrogance. I personally have a mathematical theory that the arrogance of many internet atheists is in direct proportion to their ignorance.

For Christians, it can more often be arguing against evolution. Now readers know I don’t say yea or nay on evolution because I am not a scientist, but I have a problem with Christians who go out and argue against evolution and yet have never read a scientific book in their life. If you do that, you will get embarrassed, but more than that, you will make Jesus look like an embarrassment.

By the way, this is also an important point. Read both sides as much as possible. Naturally, you can’t read everything, but I have found in the past few years an interesting question to ask people is “When was the last time you read something academic that disagreed with you?” Very few people seem to answer this question. I am sure there’s a reason for that.

Also, realize the other side can always teach you something. If you are an atheist and read William Lane Craig or Edward Feser and learn nothing, you are not paying attention. If you are a Christian and read Bart Ehrman and Richard Dawkins and get nothing out of it, you learn nothing. For me, Ehrman has sometimes given me interesting ideas on how to read a passage that have been enlightening. With Dawkins, while the guy knows nothing about areas outside of his expertise, when he writes about animals and nature, it is simply beautiful and amazing.

Of course, also learn good logical reasoning. Learn how to make a syllogism and logical fallacies. Learn what it takes to demonstrate a point or at least provide good evidence as not all cases can be demonstrated. They can just have really good evidence. It’s a mistake today to insist on “proof.” In many cases, it doesn’t exist.

Those are some of my recommendations and naturally, it will just depend on us. What people have to ask themselves is if they want to be informed or not. Even if you disagree, try to have an informed disagreement. If you don’t, then those who do know something will look at you like you don’t know what you’re talking about, and rightly so.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
And I affirm the virgin birth.

You Are Not Safe

Can you avoid suffering? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Many of us have been shocked recently to hear about the news of the death of Mike Adams. It gets even more saddening when the reports indicate that it looks like a suicide. When I first heard he had died, I was suspecting foul play. After all, Adams is a warrior type and he really enjoys being in the heat of controversy.

If there was ever a time I would have hoped that I was right….

As I thought about that, I thought about what my friend Clay Jones says about evil and suffering. You are not safe. This morning, I remembered what he has said before that in your life, you will see everyone around you die of murder, accident, or disease. There is one thing aside from the return of Christ that can prevent you from seeing this. That is your own death from murder, accident, or disease.

Years ago, we also saw Nabeel Qureshi pass away. He was just 34 and had stomach cancer strike him. Many of us around the world were praying for him and were confident God would not let this one pass away. This would be a miracle for the world. It was not to be.

You are not safe.

We have this strange idea that we are to avoid suffering and evil. When it hits us in our lives, we act like we have been dealt an unfair hand. Why should we be the ones who receive this? The real question to ask is why should we receive anything different?

We often want to act like life is great for us. Most of us on Facebook want to put on a happy face and act like everything is okay. Many of us thought the same thing about Mike Adams, and yet apparently underneath that warrior spirit, there was a deeply hurting individual and it really hadn’t been seen.

I have seen people I respect greatly go through sudden crises in their personal lives that come out of nowhere. I then wonder “Why didn’t they ask for help?” Then I think, “The same reason I normally don’t.” I want to be a man in part and say “I can handle this.” There’s also great pride in admitting many struggles one has.

I’m not saying be an open book entirely on a place like Facebook and share everything, but I am saying to be willing to be open to a certain group of people and tell them what’s going on. I have a personal mentor I email every night who knows a lot about what’s going on in my own world. I am sure if many of you saw the correspondences over the years, you would be stunned.

Churches sadly are not the best place because many churches have it that you show up and put on your Christian face that life is great. My wife and I were at a small group years ago at a church we definitely no longer attend when Allie talked about how she was struggling with doubt in prayer request time. She was actually told that they don’t talk about that there. Yep, church. That’s how you help the wounded.

You all know I’m not going to back down on Christian morals, but we can hold to Christian morals in the right attitude such that someone living a lifestyle they know we see as sin will not be afraid to come to us. How is that possible? Well, they weren’t afraid to come to Jesus. If they are afraid to come to us and not to Jesus, we are doing something wrong.

We need to be there because after all, no one is safe. Years ago a book was written about Jim Morrison called “No One Here Gets Out Alive.” That’s a description of us too. We don’t like to think about that, but unless Christ returns first, it’s true.

That event could happen for you even today, even if you’re in perfect health. You could die in a crime or a car accident. Remember the story of Ghost Rider where the main character’s Dad has a disease and he makes a deal with the devil to heal him? The deal is set so the Dad will live a long life. Right? No. He is healed, but the next day he dies in an accident.

It could happen at any time.

Suffering is inevitable for all of us and that’s why as Christians, we need the message of hope, but not just the message of hope, but the living of hope. We need to come alongside and help one another out as best we can. It means so much to still get a kind message from someone out of the blue offering prayers or encouragement or to get a gift in the regular mail or email from someone just because.

I remember years ago after Allie and I were married, we were in financial straits, which we are still in. I remember praying and asking God to please send a little bit to help us. Shortly after I went to the mail and a friend from California had mailed us $100 saying she had just been thinking about us.

Friends. You have no idea how much hope something like that gives. It’s a way of getting the message of “You matter to us.” That’s something we all need to hear. We all want to matter. We all want to know we’re important to someone.

There are too many people in this world who have gone the way of Mike Adams and will go that same way. It is a tragedy every single time. Please get help. Don’t be ashamed to see a therapist. For many of my own struggles, I also see a therapist. There is no shame in it. Please also reach out to the suicide prevent hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

Something I enjoy doing is watching YouTube videos about gaming. One video I watched recently was something along the lines of dumb ways to die in video games. The video was humorous and out of the blue, at the end the speaker says “While we’ve all wasted our lives this way in games, there’s no need to waste your own life.” He then goes to give a positive message about the dangers of suicide and about the good in the world and to please get help if you’re struggling.

It was great to see that message. We need to hear it more often. Maybe you should tell it to someone today.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)