Book Plunge: Investigating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ: A New Transdisciplinary Approach

What do I think of Andrew Loke’s book published by Routledge? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

If I were to use one word to describe this book, it would be thorough. Loke leaves practically no stone unturned and he deals with numerous obscure objections to the resurrection in a logical format. He lists out the possibilities in each case at the start and in the end all the evidence points to Jesus being raised from the dead.

He starts with what the earliest Christians claimed. This is the natural place to start as all we have at the beginning as many skeptics will say is a claim. Meticulously, he goes through piece by piece answering most every possible step you could think of. That includes scholars well known and respected in the field, like Ehrman, to those on the fringe, like Richard Carrier. I was extremely pleased to see this as while most scholars don’t really bother with Carrier, someone does need to and Loke is the kind of guy to do it.

On and on Loke will go looking at each section of the chain and sometimes you will be left wondering how he can write any more on the topic and lo and behold, he does. Loke wants to make absolutely sure that he has left no stone unturned.

If you want to read a chapter on its own, you can go and read the chapter relevant to what you’re studying. Do you want to know if the disciples’ experience of seeing something was something extramental or purely in their heads, go to that chapter. Do you want to know the details surrounding the burial of Jesus? Go to that chapter.

While this is a historical book, there is philosophy covered as well. Loke has apparently written earlier on the existence of God so he doesn’t make that case, but it’s good to know that foundation is there. He does have a chapter here on the question of miracles for those who want to know about that. He is just as thorough in this area as he is in other areas.

There’s also a chapter on combination hypotheses. After all, maybe you say to yourself, “Okay. My case against the empty tomb isn’t that good, but it makes more sense when you combine it with these other arguments.” Don’t be so sure. Loke has this covered.

Now for the bad part. At the time of this publishing, to get a hardcover copy of this book is awfully expensive. It will cost you a little over $100. That’s the bad news.

Here’s the really good news. If you want to read this on your Kindle or computer, you can get a somewhat better price. How does free sound? Yep. Completely free. I checked just today to make sure and it has been free for years. That means you really have no excuse to engage with this book. You can get it here.

This is my challenge then to those who don’t believe in the resurrection. Give this free book a try. Don’t have a Kindle? You can either get one or you can read it on an Amazon app on your computer or even get the app on your phone. Try to even do something like fifteen minutes a day with the book. You could say you will lose time, but how many of us would spend that time watching Netflix or playing video games? We all have time for entertainment. Just give some of it to this.

It’s free. Face this book and see what you think and if you disagree, at least have an informed disagreement.

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

Book Plunge: Raised on the Third Day

What do I think of Mike Licona and David Beck’s work published by Lexham Press? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Gary Habermas has done more in defending the resurrection of Jesus in scholarly work than anyone I can think of save going back to the apostle Paul. Not only that, he keeps doing more. Also, he has the character of one who is meant to be an apologist. He not only deals with the resurrection, but especially deals with doubters and will invest plenty of time on them and answers all of his own emails and phone calls.

This is a work dedicated to Gary Habermas with a range of scholars coming together, all of whom have been impacted in some way by Gary and his work. The book has some of everything. Some chapters I didn’t understand at first, such as Francis Beckwith’s chapter on legal issues involving the redefinition of marriage, until I found out that Gary has an interest in that area as well.

Want to know about substance dualism? J.P. Moreland delivers. What to know about the Shroud of Turin? Barry Schwortz is here. You can discuss the moral argument and purity in the Gospel of John in relation to the empty tomb.

Veterans and novices alike will find something in this book that can greatly help them. Those with legal challenges will find Francis Beckwith’s work fascinating. Those interested in the Shroud again will enjoy the chapter by Schwortz that discusses the history. Mike Licona’s chapter will be of interest to those who hear the argument about the authorship of the texts being in question with what he says about ancient historians.

The book also has personal looks at Gary Habermas. The two that are in this field are Alex McFarland and Frank Turek. I want to take some time to personally expound on this issue from my own personal position.

Many of you know that I know Gary Habermas personally. If I send him an email, I can normally expect that within 24 hours, he will respond to that email. There have been times that I have called him on the phone and he said that he only had ten minutes he could give, but he ends up giving an hour.

Gary’s personal investment in taking the time to meet with people he doesn’t know and invest in them, even hardened skeptics, is a testament to his character. I was never a hardened skeptic, but he took the time to invest in me once and has helped me tremendously. With the trouble that is going on in my own marriage right now, Gary has been an invaluable help to me.

When I in the past had been caught in the throes of extreme depression over the situation, Gary was right there willing to help. I could call him feeling utterly miserable and hang up feeling good. As one can expect, I would not be filled with joy, but Gary is a good listener who knows the psychology of what he speaks and knows how to talk to people who are suffering. This is fitting for him since he himself went through that with the death of his first wife, Debbie.

That having been said then, that is about the only lack in this book is a chapter on dealing with doubt. This has been an emphasis of Gary Habermas for a long time and it is something that any great thinker will deal with. I know many skeptics reading this will say it as a smear that an apologist can have doubt, but if anyone who is a serious thinker doesn’t ever have doubts about their position, I consider them NOT taking that position seriously.

Thus, if I would have changed anything about the book, I would have included one chapter on the different kinds of doubt and how to deal with them. It would have included an emphasis on emotional doubt since that is the one most common on a personal level. Such a chapter would be a benefit to many apologists and to any seekers reading the book.

Still, this is a fine book to read. It is an excellent tribute to an excellent man. Gary Habermas is a gift to the Christian apologetics community and we can be thankful for what he has done.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
Support my Patreon here.

Book Plunge: Time and Despondency

What do I think of Nicole Roccas’s book published by Ancient Faith Publishing? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Sometimes when I have been struggling with something, I will talk to my wife’s priest. While I am not Orthodox, that is not a problem with us as he’s more than happy to help me with things. I also think wisdom can be found outside of one’s own tradition (And even religion) and if we as Christians ever think it’s only people of our theological heritage that have true wisdom worth gaining, that is a very sad state.

Right now with some present circumstances, I have been in normally a state of seasonal depression. When I mentioned the word depression to him, he turned it into despondency. At that moment, I remembered I ordered for my wife who is a catechumen in the Orthodox Church the book Time and Despondency. I decided to get it out and give it a try.

Let’s start with one excellent thing about this book. The author does not come out as someone high and holy and thus you read the book and think “I will never reach this level.” Nope. Roccas is a fellow traveler on the journey and she too would prefer at times to do something like binge watch Netflix.

She definitely writes from an Orthodox perspective, but that does not overwhelm the book so much that others won’t benefit. As a Protestant, I found much of the advice helpful. The advice of great saints is found as there is wisdom to be found in many places.

She also writes of goals that are doable. She never tells you to go and pray for an hour or so. Instead, just work on matters bit by bit and learn and grow in them. There’s even a place advocating quick prayers. Those are fine many times. When I am out in public and I hear sirens and see a first responder going by, I always pray for that situation. (Definitely not with eyes closed if driving.)

Her advice to deal with despondency is also not just purely spiritual matters. She talks about St. Antony who was scolded by someone for playing with his fellow monks when surely he should have been praying and how Antony responded to justify his actions. She talks about the use of humor, which at this point, I couldn’t help but think of Harry Potter and the spell to deal with boggarts.

For those who don’t know, boggarts are creatures that take on the image of your worst fear. The way to deal with them is to use a spell with the word “Ridiculous!” and turn them into something you can laugh at. I think Rowling at this point hit on something with the nature of fear.

Roccas also shows that this is a problem that is not just modern in nature. Monks from well over a thousand years ago dealt with this. They had times they didn’t want to pray either or work on the Scriptures. Apparently, some could have even committed suicide from sorrow. It was even called the noonday demon. The condition is the same, but today we probably have more means to encounter it.

There is also definitely good theology in here. Roccas brings out the reality of the resurrection and what it means. God being the God of all time is there to redeem every moment of time, including the moment that we are in. Again, just like before, none of this though is spoken in terminology that is over the layman’s head.

If you’re struggling with depression, or despondency if you prefer, this is a really good book to read. The advice is practical and doable and not over your head. Most of the chapters are short enough to read in one sitting and even the longest one can be broken down into manageable pieces. Give it a try. It beats living in despondency after all.

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

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)

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)

Book Plunge: Heaven and Hell

What do I think of Bart Ehrman’s latest published by Simon and Schuster? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Generally, I have enjoyed reading through Bart Ehrman books. I thoroughly disagree, but I like the books. However, when I read the one before this, The Triumph of Christianity, I found myself walking away disappointed. There just didn’t seem to be anything there like the last ones. I started reading Heaven and Hell when it came out, got caught up in other books, and it was just awhile before I came back. Perhaps it seems more like Ehrman is moving away from Jesus to an extent and going to other areas in history and philosophy and there just doesn’t seem to be as much there. I can’t say entirely.

This book is a look at the formation of the doctrine of the after-death, as I prefer to call it, in Christian thought. Ehrman starts with the way the pagans in the world viewed death. From there, he goes to the Old Testament and then to Jesus and on to Paul and looks as well at Revelation. From then on, he looks at the church throughout history and then gives some concluding remarks on how he views heaven and hell.

This also leads to questions of the nature of heaven and hell. Again, these are more theological and philosophical questions so it could be that this just isn’t Ehrman’s area and so it seems more like just personal opinion at that point. However, there are some interesting points worth noting in the book.

Ehrman does show that in the pagan world, generally speaking, resurrection was not a good thing. The body was a prison to be escaped. Thus, resurrection in the Jewish or Christian sense also did not fit in.

For many skeptics who think that resurrection was the Jews copying from Zoroastrianism, which shows up on the net at times, Ehrman cannot agree, which is refreshing. As he says:

More recently scholars have questioned a Persian derivation for the Jewish doctrine because of certain problems of dating.1 Some experts have undercut the entire thesis by pointing out that we actually do not have any Zoroastrian texts that support the idea of resurrection prior to its appearance in early Jewish writings. It is not clear who influenced whom. Even more significant, the timing does not make sense: Judah emerged from Persian rule in the fourth century BCE, when Alexander the Great (356–323 BCE) swept through the eastern Mediterranean and defeated the Persian Empire. But the idea of bodily resurrection does not appear in Jewish texts for well over a century after that.

Ehrman, Bart D.. Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife (pp. 104-105). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.

Also, on a humorous note, he gives the story of how in an account Jesus said people would hang by their teeth in Hell over fires. Some disciples asked “What if someone has no teeth?” Jesus would then reply, “The teeth will be provided!” This was a joke done by a professor not to be taken seriously.

Also, for those discounting the Gospels as sources for Jesus, Ehrman has the following:

Even the most critical scholars of the New Testament agree that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are by far our best sources of information for knowing about the historical Jesus.

Ehrman, Bart D.. Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife (p. 150). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.

Unfortunately though, at times he lapses back into his more fundamentalist days of reading the text. As commenting about Mark 9:1 where Jesus says some standing here would not taste death before they saw the Kingdom of God come in power:

Jesus is not saying that people will go to heaven. He is saying that some of his disciples will still be alive when the end comes and God’s utopian kingdom arrives on earth. Or, as he says elsewhere, when his disciples asked when the end of the world would come: “Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away before all these things take place” (Mark 13:30, emphasis added).

Ehrman, Bart D.. Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife (p. 154). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.

As I have argued, Jesus nowhere says when the Kingdom comes, it will be a utopia immediately. Jesus does not speak of the end of the world either, but of the end of the age. As an Orthodox Preterist, I’m convinced Jesus’s prediction was stunningly accurate.

Interesting also is what Ehrman says about 1 Cor. 15.

And so, for Paul, there will indeed be a resurrection. It will be bodily. But the human body will be transformed into an immortal, incorruptible, perfect, glorious entity no longer made of coarse stuff that can become sick, get injured, suffer in any way, or die. It will be a spiritual body, a perfect dwelling for life everlasting. It is in that context that one of the most misunderstood verses of Paul’s entire corpus occurs, a verse completely bungled not just by many modern readers but throughout the history of Christianity. That is when Paul insists: “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 15:50). These words are often taken—precisely against Paul’s meaning—to suggest that eternal life will not be lived in the body. Wrong, wrong, wrong. For Paul it will be lived in a body—but in a body that has been glorified.

Ehrman, Bart D.. Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife (p. 182). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.

Ehrman also thinks the beast in Revelation 17 is the same as the beast that came out of the sea in Revelation 13. I disagree with this. Looking at the passage, it talks about a great harlot and the beast himself actually attacks this harlot after a time. Who is the harlot? Look at your Old Testament. One nation is repeatedly referred to as a harlot and that’s Israel. Israel would work with the Beast for a time, (Being Nero) in killing Christians, but in turn, the Roman Empire would eventually turn on the harlot, as Israel was destroyed in 70 A.D.

Yet at the end of this look on Revelation, Ehrman gives a paragraph that aside from the opening remark could easily be said in any evangelical church. As many preachers I know would say, “That’ll preach!”

Even if parts of the vision are difficult to unpack and explain and others simply do not cohere, the author’s main points are clear. His overarching message is that God is ultimately sovereign over this world, even if it doesn’t seem like it. We may live in a cesspool of misery and suffering, and things may be getting progressively worse. But God is in charge, and it is all going according to plan. Before the end, all hell will indeed break loose, but then God will intervene to restore all that has become corrupt, to make right all that is wrong. Good will ultimately prevail.

Ehrman, Bart D.. Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife (p. 230). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.

In the end, where does Ehrman fall? While he rightly tells us to try to avoid emotional reasoning, it’s hard to not see this in his response.

Even though I have an instinctual fear of torment after death—as the view drilled into me from the time I could think about such things—I simply don’t believe it. Is it truly rational to think, as in the age-old Christian doctrine, that there is a divine being who created this world, loves all who are in it, and wants the very best for them, yet who has designed reality in such a way that if people make mistakes in life or do not believe the right things, they will die and be subjected to indescribable torments, not for the length of the time they committed their “offenses,” but for trillions of years—and that only as the beginning? Are we really to think that God is some kind of transcendent sadist intent on torturing people (or at least willing to allow them to be tortured) for all eternity, a divine being infinitely more vengeful than the worst monster who has ever existed? I just don’t believe it. Even if I instinctually fear it, I don’t believe it.

Ehrman, Bart D.. Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife (pp. 293-294). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.

Of course, this would all depend on how you view heaven and hell. I have written about my views elsewhere. Ehrman does say he doesn’t think this is what God is like. While I don’t think it’s accurate to say God is actively torturing people or even allowing it, seeing as I think torture and torment are two different things, I have to wonder that it’s incredible that Ehrman is willing to take the risk. Seriously, if Heaven is possibly there to gain and Hell is possibly there to avoid, I think it behooves anyone to seriously consider the question and when you decide, it needs to be more than “I just believe it” or “I just don’t believe it.” Some might think Christians should then read other religions as well. I have personally read the Mormon Scriptures and other of their books, the Koran, the Tao Te Ching, and the Analects of Confucius.

Overall, there is some good stuff in the book, but there seems to be something missing. I can’t help but see an Ehrman who I think after all these years is still searching. Perhaps a book on the afterdeath is coming as Ehrman is seeing himself getting older and thinking about these questions a lot more. I still hold out hope that one day he will return to the Christ he has since rejected. I am pleased when in the end he says three of his great heroes are Dickens, Shakespeare, and Jesus. He would love to get to meet them in an afterdeath.

I am sure Jesus would love to meet Ehrman also.

Hopefully, it will happen, and on good terms.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Immortal

What do I think of Clay Jones’s book published by Harvest House? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Most of us growing up have some idea that somehow we are going to live forever. I sometimes wonder if that could be what is behind our big obsession with our generation has to be the one Jesus will return in. It’s natural to long for that, but could it also be that if He returns, we get to avoid that death thing?

In this book, Clay Jones shows us how the fear of death drives everything. As I write this, our country is experiencing a pandemic that has kept people in the grip of fear in a way I have never seen in my lifetime. People seem to be constantly afraid they will either get the disease or give it to someone else.

So Jones takes us through a number of sections in this book. He writes about how people are in a desperate bind to learn how to live forever. It could be through virtual uploading to a computer or freezing your body through cryogenics. Either way, so many people want to do all they can to avoid death. It’s irony that so many that come up with health systems to avoid death wind up dying at what can be considered a younger age than expected despite this.

Well, if those don’t work, what about symbolic immortality? One of the biggest ways we often try to do this is to have kids. Surely that will make us live forever symbolically? Not really. Most of us don’t know much about our great-great-great-grandparents. For mine, I couldn’t even tell you their names.

We can also try to do a great work like a book or art or get a building built in our name. In some way, we want our legacy to live on. Sadly, another way many people try to do this is through evil. Commit a great evil and all of a sudden people know who you are. This is one reason I don’t favor giving the names of mass shooters out when they happen. It just gives them more of something they want.

If the fear of death is driving us though, how do we cope with it? We often turn to pleasure and amusement or even just sad acceptance in depression. We can get addicted to sex and to drugs and alcohol. We can even go the route of suicide. Wait. How is it that suicide deals with our fear of death? Because if death is coming and it’s inevitable, might as well go ahead and get it done with. Right? (Please do not go this route. Call the suicide hotline if you or someone you know is considering this. 1-800-273-8255. Your life is worth living.)

Jones then follows this up by first giving a brief case for the resurrection of Jesus. From there, he goes on to talk about our future life in Heaven which is something Christians do not think about enough. It has been said some Christians are so Heavenly minded that they’re no Earthly good. It is just the opposite. Too many Christians are so Earthly minded that they’re no Heavenly good. If we focus on eternity and what it will be like, then we are more prone to take things seriously here.

I remember when I was engaged to Allie and I had the realization come in of what was going to happen to me soon in marrying and the Scripture of “As Christ loved the church.” That was what I was called to do. I was called to love my wife that way. That was scary. Someday when I stand before God, the first questions will not be about Deeper Waters or my ministry. I suspect one of the first questions will be “How did you treat your wife?”

I have said before to guys, and women can alter it for themselves, that I don’t care if you have a worldwide ministry. I don’t care if atheists are scared to confront you. I don’t care if you win every debate. I don’t care if your books are all best-sellers. If you are not a husband to your wife and a father to your children, I count you a failure in ministry. I stand by that.

If there’s anything I would alter in Jones’s book, it would be how we are to live life now exactly. Jones wants us to be focused on Heavenly things, but rightly says he takes time for joys of this world too like going to superhero movies, prime rib apparently, and indicates he wouldn’t mind recreating his honeymoon. (And who can blame him guys. Am I right?) I would like to know how this is done. Do I need to feel guilty if I start to play a game in my private time? I would like to see more on this.

At any rate, this book is an important one to read. Death drives us more than we realize and this will make you think more seriously about your mortality and what you are doing with your life. This is only the second book I have seen from Clay Jones, and yet both of them I consider important reads.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 6/20/2020

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

Mormonism is a strange religious movement. While there are noted differences between it and Christianity, even those of us who know it is not Christian have some difficulties from it. Namely, there are many skeptics who like to point out supposed parallels between Christianity and Mormonism. Why is it you believe the former and not the latter? Isn’t that special pleading?

We wouldn’t want to be doing that would we? Paul claims to see Jesus appear on the Damascus Road. Joseph Smith claims to see the Father and the Son in a heavenly vision. 500 people are said to have seen the risen Jesus at one time. Several people also saw the golden plates of Joseph Smith didn’t they? Shouldn’t we be consistent? Shouldn’t we either accept both or reject both?

It’s really sad that this is a neglected area of apologetics. We have two accounts of claims of seeing something and both of them are foundational to the religion. No one has really done an in-depth look at both of these accounts as far as I know.

Until now.

Thankfully, someone stepped up to the plate and wrote an excellent book on the topic. I’ll be discussing with him this Saturday about it. I sometimes think of him as one of the best apologists you’ve never heard of. Some of you have, of course, but to many people, he’s not as well-known which is a shame. I find all of his material to be excellent. His name is Rob Bowman and he’ll be joining me Saturday.

So who is he?

According to his bio:

Robert M. Bowman Jr. is the president of Faith Thinkers, a Christian apologetics ministry (www.FaithThinkers.org/). He holds MA and PhD degrees in biblical studies from Fuller Theological Seminary and South African Theological Seminary. Rob has taught undergraduate and graduate students at Biola University, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Southern Evangelical Seminary, and elsewhere. He is the author of some 60 periodical articles and the author or co-author of 15 books including Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the Deity of Christ (with J. Ed Komoszewski), Faith Thinkers: 30 Christian Apologists You Should Know, and Jesus’ Resurrection and Joseph’s Visions: Examining the Foundations of Christianity and Mormonism.

I hope you’ll be joining us this Saturday. We are again working on getting the shows done and uploaded. There has been a lot going on and I personally apologize for that.

In Christ,
Nick Peters