Thursday, August 24, 2023

Why Some Bad Arguments Are Hard To Refute

"It may be easier to obviate an objection which has some force in it than to overthrow another which has positively no force at all; in fact, the most difficult arguments to answer are [those] which are insane at the core, for you must be insane yourself before you can quite catch the thought which insanity has uttered, and as you do not wish to qualify for controversy with fools, by becoming a fool yourself, you may not be able to reply to your antagonist." (Charles Spurgeon)

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Why Matthew Would Use Mark's Gospel

I've written a lot about the evidence for the apostle Matthew's authorship of the gospel attributed to him. See here for a collection of some relevant posts. One of the most prominent objections to his authorship of the document is the notion that Matthew wouldn't have used the gospel of Mark as much as critics think the author of the gospel attributed to Matthew did. Somebody like Matthew shouldn't have been so dependent on Mark. I've addressed that objection before. I think the most likely scenario is that Matthew oversaw the production of his gospel, but delegated most of the work to one or more other individuals who composed the document under his supervision. But Lydia McGrew provides a good overview of another possible scenario, in which Matthew produced the gospel directly himself. This is from her recent book Testimonies To The Truth (Tampa, Florida: DeWard, 2023):

"Suppose that Mark wrote before Matthew, but that Matthew doesn't want to reinvent the wheel. There are no concerns about plagiarism in that time. It's perfectly fine for him to borrow some of Mark's wording. Mark has, let's suppose, already written a Gospel in Greek based on the memories of Peter, and Matthew decides to use it. It can help with parts of Jesus' ministry before he was personally called as a disciple. It can prompt his memory, and it can give him convenient wording to use, though of course he reserves the right to use his own words as well. So, he starts. But he finds in various places that he remembers or knows something that varies from the story as it is told in Mark. In these places he feels entirely free to supplement Mark from his own memories or from the memories of other people whom he spoke to about the events." (56-57)

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Better Than To Reign Over All The Ends Of The Earth

"Let fire and the cross; let the crowds of wild beasts; let tearings, breakings, and dislocations of bones; let cutting off of members; let shatterings of the whole body; and let all the dreadful torments of the devil come upon me: only let me attain to Jesus Christ. All the pleasures of the world, and all the kingdoms of this earth, shall profit me nothing. It is better for me to die on behalf of Jesus Christ, than to reign over all the ends of the earth." (Ignatius, Letter To The Romans, 5-6)