All posts by Darris Brock

Darris Brock is an ordained minister in the Christian Church. He is a past professor at Johnson University (Johnson Bible College) and is an elder and worship minister at Lighthouse Christian Church.

An Apologetics Christmas Gift

When Lawrence Krauss received a surprise Christmas gift from William Lane Craig, he was initially elated. “I opened the gift,” Krauss said, “to find nothing was in there! You can imagine my surprise that such a contentious debate opponent would send such a thoughtful gift.” The noted physicist was taken aback at the amount of nothing Craig had given him. “How he got so much nothing to fit into a box is beyond me. He must have had help from Santa Claus. Only a professional could have put this much nothing in such a small space”, he said. When questioned as to what made nothing such a great gift, Krauss explained, “It’s the most wonderful gift! After all, nothing can become anything so Dr. Craig gave me everything when he gave me nothing. It is the most appropriate gift a physicist could receive. I just want to say to Dr. Craig, ‘Thanks for nothing.’”

After admiring nothing for a time, Krauss took it around to show his friends and family. “But,” he said, “then I began to think, ‘where am I going to keep nothing’? ‘how should I store nothing?’ ‘how do I care for nothing? ‘what is good for nothing?” These became troubling questions as Krauss pondered the gift more deeply. “Nothing is unstable”, Krauss recalled. “I wrote about it in my book. It can suddenly become something. What if it becomes something in my living room? What then? It would be all right if it became a sofa or hardwood floor, or even that new TV I was admiring at Walmart. But what if it becomes something else? We’ve learned over the past one-hundred years that nothing is much more complicated than we would have imagined otherwise. It’s a boiling, bubbling brew of virtual particles that are popping in and out of existence at every moment. What if it became a horse that defiled my carpet? Oh, Craig would really love that!’

Krauss began to get creative in his thinking about nothing. “I began to wonder if I could seed nothing so that it would turn into something that I wanted. So I put six peanut M&Ms into the box. Nothing happened, I thought. But then one of the children picked up my box and said, ‘Look! There’s something in there! It’s candy.’ When I looked again, there was no longer nothing in my box, there were six peanut M&Ms. It was a pretty amazing moment.”

After reflecting on the gift of nothing, Krauss became more cynical. “I’ll bet this is Craig’s way of trying to destroy me. It’s like a white elephant gift. He probably thought a wormhole would open up and swallow me. He’s crafty, you have to give him that. But I thwarted his diabolical plan with six peanut M&Ms.”

When contacted at his home in metro Atlanta, Dr. Craig explained, “I had picked out a nice plastic salt and pepper shaker set for Dr. Krauss when Jan suggested that we send him a new buzzer. He apparently wore out his last one in Australia at that first dialogue. He didn’t use it for the final two talks, so it must have been broken. But in the flurry of wrapping gifts, his gift got wrapped but we forgot to put the buzzer inside. How was I to know that such an oversight would turn out to be such a great gift? It really is symbolic of his philosophical arguments, they bubble, boil, come in and out of existence, are very erratic, and you hope they turn into something sometime. I really should have thought of this earlier.”

In closing our conversation, Dr. Craig said, “There is a very practical side of nothing that I hope Dr. Krauss learns to enjoy. You see, when you go, you can take nothing with you, so it is great for travel. You never have to check it at Customs. I hope Lawrence enjoys nothing for many years to come.”

Dr. Craig spoke warmly of his frequent debate partner. “When I think of nothing I think of Dr. Krauss. In fact, I think it is fair to say that there’s no one I think less of when I think of nothing than Dr. Krauss. Merry Christmas, Larry.”

This was philosophical satire. Merry Christmas!

Flash! Dawkins Stunned!

FLASH! Richard Dawkins was stunned this Halloween when William Lane Craig showed up at his door dressed as a rational argument.

Dawkins complained of dizziness and shortness of breath and was taken to hospital for observation. A hospital spokesperson said that Dawkins was “evolving nicely” from his encounter. “It’s ‘survival of the fittest’, you know. We can see that Dawkins is pretty fit.”

Dawkins has a previous history of being allergic to logic and has had adverse reactions to cogent, well-formed arguments which have caused him to stammer and ramble on incoherently. He has suffered frequent bouts of writers delusion, which manifested themselves in 1976, 1986, 2006, 2009, 2011 with his literary publications. “Publication is one of the treatments for severe cases of reality disconnect,” said a highly trained source who wished to remain anonymous.

For his part, Dr. Craig remained calm and even-keeled during Dawkin’s emotional crisis. “Dr. Dawkins was at first befuddled when he saw my costume”, Craig explained. “He clearly didn’t know what it was. When I explained it to him, he became wide-eyed and pale. It was like he’d see a ghost or something. He then just handed me his bag of chocolates before he rang for help.” After reflecting on the event, Craig said, “I got a lot of candy dressed like this. Next year should be even better. I’m going as The Kalam Cosmological Argument. Don’t tell Krauss!”

This was satire.

Women in Paul’s Ministry

Guest blogger Melanie Hunley surveys the important roles of women in the ministry of the Apostle Paul.

God does not use men alone to accomplish His purposes. Both men and women are created in God’s image, and both have been used mightily by God throughout the Scriptures. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”. (Galatians 3:28) There are three traditional pairings, and they reflect the three basic social divides of hostility within the first century A.D. in the Roman Empire. Paul’s declaration would have had no less actual social impact than an American preacher’s statement in the 1950s that “in Christ Jesus there is neither Black nor White” would have had. (Martel 20)

The conflict between Paul and Peter in Galatians 2:11–14 demonstrated that the declaration of “neither Jew nor Greek” had social implications in the life of the church. Paul’s letter to Philemon has similar implications for “neither slave nor free” in asking Philemon to accept Onesimus as a brother in the Lord just like Paul. “So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me.” (Philemon 1:17) Paul’s declaration about male and female had implications too on the life of the church. The point is not that God created differences between male and female, but it is that one’s gender does not determine the participation in the kingdom because we are created in the image of God. “I don’t see Scripture ever calling for someone to apologize for how God made them in order for them to better fit into the body of Christ.” (Martel 20)

Paul states the equality of men and women in Christ in two passages in 1 Corinthians. “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” (1 Corinthians 7:3–5) Paul makes it clear that sexual relations between a husband and wife are mutual and equal in respect and in rights. Such a position grew out of the love of Christ and was directly opposite to the popular Jewish and pagan opinion in the Roman Empire that the husband had all the sexual rights over his wife. “In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.” (1 Corinthians 11:11–12)

Paul also includes a strong assertion of the mutuality of men and women in his discussion about head coverings.  The discussion of head coverings for women in 1 Corinthians 11 implies that women, as well as men, engage in prayer and prophecy.  The participation in prophecy is the highest gift in the Church because it is the means of edification, encouragement, and comfort in the Church (1 Corinthians 14:3). Such edification is the purpose of the Church’s life together and constitutes the exercise of authority and teaching in the Church. Paul concludes the first part of his discussion on head coverings by stating “For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head.” (1 Corinthians 11:10)

Paul’s letters also mention twelve women by names who were coworkers with him in his ministry. This evidence of women in the ministry is often neglected.  Four women are known as leaders of house churches: Chloe (1 Corinthians 1:11), Nympha (Colossians 4:15), Apphia (Philemon 2) and Lydia (Acts 16). Paul stated that four more women “work very hard” in the Lord’s ministry.  These included Mary whom Paul speaks of by saying, “Greet Mary, who worked very hard for you” (Romans 16:6); and Tryphena, Tryphosa, and Persis whom Paul says, “Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, those women who work hard in the Lord. Greet my dear friend Persis, another woman who has worked very hard in the Lord.” (Romans 16:12).  Although Paul does not tell us specifically what these women did, they obviously influenced the kingdom in a way that Paul felt they should be recognized as workers of the Lord in the divine writings.

In Romans 16:3–4 Paul greeted Priscilla and Aquila. This husband and wife team are mentioned six times in the New Testament. Many scholars believe it is significant that Priscilla is usually mentioned first, since the cultural pattern would be to name the husband first. (Kantrowitz 43) This may indicate that Priscilla was the more important or visible leader and may suggest that she had a higher social status and/or more wealth than Aquila. Paul indicated that he and the Gentile churches were indebted to the both of them. Paul designated Priscilla and her husband, Aquila, “fellow workers in Christ Jesus,” a term he used regularly for other leaders in the Church as well.

In Philippians Paul mentioned two more women, Euodia and Syntyche.  “I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.” (Philippians 4:2–3)  These women had their names written in the book of life which meant they had accepted Christ as their Messiah and we presume were working to spread the gospel.  In view of Acts 16:11–40 it is not surprising that two such women leaders emerged in the Philippian church.

Phoebe is usually assumed to have been the one who delivered Paul’s letter to Rome.  She was designated as “a servant of the church in Cenchrea.”  She is warmly commended by Paul to the Roman church (Romans 16:1–2).   “Servant” may refer to a deacon, a term that sometimes designated administrative responsibility in the Early Church. In his epistles, Paul most frequently applied the term to any minister of God’s Word, including himself (1 Corinthians 3:5; 2 Corinthians 3:6; 6:4; Ephesians 3:7; 6:21). He also called Phoebe a “scorer” or “helper” of many (Romans 16:2); this term technically designated her as the church’s minister or leader, most likely the owner of the home in which the church at Cenchrea was meeting. (Keener 12)  Paul regularly used this term “servant” to refer to persons clearly understood to be ministers of the gospel such as Christ (Romans 15:8) and himself (1 Corinthians 3:5; Ephesians 3:7; Colossians 1:23, 25).  With that in mind, Phoebe should be understood as the minister or leader of the church in Cenchrea.

Paul identified Andronicus and Junias as “outstanding among the apostles” (Romans 16:7), an expression that includes them within the apostolic circle. Junias is a male name in English translation, but there is no evidence that such a male name existed in the first century AD. In early translations of the Bible, Junia was used in a feminine manner. “Indeed some scholars even see Paul’s instruction to ‘greet one another with a holy kiss’ as an innocuous way of forcing these subgroups to acknowledge each to the faith.” (Capes 173) The Greek grammar of the sentence in Romans 16:7 means that the male and female forms of this name would be spelled the same. (Harney 68) Thus, one has to decide on the basis of other evidence, whether this person is a woman (Junia) or a man (Junias). This topic is highly debated.  I would strongly like to believe Junia is a female, but I struggle with the verse where Paul says, “Greet Andronicus and Junias, my relatives who have been in prison with me.” (Romans 16:7) It would not have been socially acceptable for a male and female to be in prison together.  However, it was not until the later translations that Junia’s name changed to Junias.    “Paul is making it clear that Junia is a minister of the Gospel in her Church.” (Wright 11)

These thirteen women surveyed Lydia, Chloe, Nympha, Apphia, Mary, Persis, Tryphena, Tryphosa, Priscilla, Euodia, Syntyche, Phoebe, and Junia provide clear evidence from Paul that women did participate in the gospel ministry, as did men. Paul’s common terminology made no distinctions in roles or functions between men and women in ministry. (Harney 17)  “Today we should affirm those whom God calls, whether male or female, and encourage them in faithfully learning God’s Word. We need to affirm all potential laborers, both men and women, for the abundant harvest fields.” (Keener 13)




Capes, David B., Rodney Reeves and E. Randolph Richards. 2007. Rediscoverying Paul. InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove, IL.

NIV/The Message Parallel Bible. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House. 2002.

Harney, Sherry. 2010. Real Women Real Faith; Life Changing Stories from the Bible for Women   Today. Zondervan: Grand Rapids, MI.

Martel, Sarah. “The Role of Women in the Church.” Relevant Magazine. June 18, 2003. Page        20-21.

Schnabel, Eckhard J. 2008. Paul the Missionary. InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove, IL.

Kantrowitz, Barbara. “The Bible’s Lost Stories.” Newsweekly. December 7, 2003. Page 42-45.

Keener, Craig S. “Was Paul For or Against Women in the Ministry?” Enrichment Journal. June    2012. Pages 12-13.

Wright, Jared. “Sabbath Sermon – Junia: Inside Out.” Spectrum. August 4, 2012. Page 11-14.

Is Faith in God Reasonable?

The debate between Dr. Craig and Dr. Rosenberg on Feb. 1 was so lopsided as to be laughable. Not only did our group laugh out loud at Dr. Rosenberg, we realized he gave up at the beginning of the debate! No one thought he won, tied, placed and barely showed. The judges voting was as follows: 4-2 for the panel; among the Purdue audience it was 1390-303; and among the Internet voters it was 734-59.  What is disturbing is that ANYONE thought Rosenberg won. He didn’t even COMPETE and he said as much in his opening statement. When I ran the numbers 33% of the judges thought Rosenberg won, 17% of the Purdue audience and 0.07% of the Internet audience. It just shows you that higher education (judges) doesn’t produce accurate results. The real score was 100% to 0%. It was a TKO. Only the twisted mind of a liberal academic could find any reason to vote in favor of Rosenberg.

Eyewitness Testimony is Unreliable – NOT!

One of the frequent complaints raised by skeptics focuses upon the claim that there were eyewitnesses to the resurrected Jesus. People are taught that eyewitness testimony to an event is unreliable. Examples such as a car accident are given with ample demonstrations that eyewitness testimony is conflicting at best and not good evidence in court. But this fails to recognize the vast difference between eyewitness testimony to an event versus a series of events.

The case of the resurrected Jesus is not a momentary, one-time event to which eyewitness testimony is subject to fallibility. The apostle Paul recounts a list of appearances to different people at different times over a 40 day period. Consider the following list from 1 Cor. 15:

  1. he appeared to Cephas [Peter]
  2. and then to the Twelve.
  3. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.
  4. Then he appeared to James,
  5. then to all the apostles,
  6. and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

This is an incomplete list of all of Jesus’ appearances, but Paul tells us that more than 517 people saw Jesus alive and some of those on multiple occasions. Cephas [Peter] for example would be included as one of “the Twelve”. Exactly who “all the apostles” are is unclear. It seems to be a different set than “the Twelve” and we don’t know how many of them there were or if it included “the Twelve” and/or James as well, but for my figures I simply use 2 as the number since it was the least I could get in the plural.

Others are reported to have seen Jesus as well. They include the following:

  1. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (Matthew 28:9)
  2. The Eleven (Matthew 28:16)
  3. If Mark 16:9-14 reflects history accurately, then Mary Magdalene, “two . . . walking in the country”, and the “Eleven” all saw Jesus.
  4. Luke 24:13-16 records the appearance to two men on the road to Emmaus (probably the “two . . . walking in the country”).
  5. Luke 24:33-36 says the same two men who had been with Jesus on the road to Emmaus returned to tell the Eleven and that Jesus appeared to all of them at that time.
  6. Luke 24:49-50 has an unmentioned time lapse between the two verses because Acts 1:3 records the fact that he appeared to them over a forty-day period of time. So the ascension in v. 50 is actually another appearance to the same group of disciples.
  7. In fact, Acts 1:3 tells us that not only did Jesus appear, but he gave signs that he was alive. “After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days . . .” This is important because the eyewitness testimony was not just to a single appearance event but multiple events. In addition to the appearances, he also intentionally demonstrated to them that he was alive. Again, these are eyewitness events.
  8. Acts 1:4 mentions the fact that Jesus was eating with his disciples on at least one occasion: “On one occasion, while he was eating with them . . . .” So an appearance coupled with the physical act of eating was considered eyewitness proof of Jesus’ vitality.
  9. Acts 1:21-23 also records a bit of information about others who were not part of the Eleven who saw Jesus. When choosing a 12th disciple to replace Judas, Peter lists these qualifications: “Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among us, 22 beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection. 23 So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias.” These two men were apparently disciples of Jesus but not part of the Twelve. Here it is noted that they saw the risen Jesus at least once and likely on many occasions since they were part of the group of disciples.
  10. John 20:11-18 recounts an appearance to Mary of Magdala.
  11. Luke 24:34 mentions that Jesus appeared to Simon (aka Cephas, Peter)
  12. Luke 24:36-53 to the Eleven in the upper room. Here is another proof of his being alive demonstrated by eating. “‘Do you have anything here to eat?’ 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate it in their presence.” Additionally, he invited them to touch him to see that he had flesh and bone as they have. “‘Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.’ 40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet.”
  13. John 20:19-23 records a first-day-of-the-week appearance to Ten of the Eleven, Thomas being absent.
  14. John 20:24-29 records the Ten testifying to Thomas that they had seen Jesus. Thomas doubts and Jesus appears to the Eleven a week after his first appearance. Thomas is invited to inspect the physical body of Jesus. “Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.'”
  15. John 21:1-25 records an appearance to Seven of the disciples who had gone fishing. The text also notes that this was the third time Jesus appeared to them. 13 “Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.”
  16. Acts 9 & 21 recount the appearance to Paul on the way to Damascus.
  17. 1 Cor. 9:1 Paul claims again to have seen the risen Jesus.

So by a very conservative count, Jesus appeared to a minimum of 520 people after his resurrection. And this number does not attempt to guess how many people were in some of the groups such as “all the apostles”.
Cephas-Peter-Simon (1 Cor. 15; Luke 24)
The Twelve (1 Cor. 15)
500+ (1 Cor. 15)
James (1 Cor. 15)
All the apostles (1 Cor. 15)
Paul (1 Cor. 9 & 15; Acts 9 & 21)
Mary Magdalene/of Magdala (Matt 28; Mark 16*; John 20)
the other Mary (Matt 28)
The Eleven (Matt. 28; Mark 16*; Luke 24 [plus the 2 at Emmaus])
Two in the country (Mark 16*; Luke 24 two going to Emmaus*)
Group at his ascension including the Eleven (Luke 24)
Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias (Acts 1)
Ten of the Eleven (John 20)
Ten of the Eleven plus Thomas (John 20)
Seven of the Eleven (John 21 the “third time” he appeared to them)
*Mark 16:9-18 is not found in the earliest manuscripts we have of Mark. Nevertheless, this material reflects the early church tradition of appearances to Mary Magdalene, the two on the road to Emmaus, and the Eleven that is confirmed in other sources.

From the list above we can calculate that Jesus appeared at least 13 times, not counting subsequent visions of Paul, Stephen, or John and assuming only one appearance for a group mentioned, such as the 500.  In all likelihood, these appearances had significant overlap in attendance. For example, Peter saw Jesus at least 7 times by a conservative count. At least seven of the Eleven saw Jesus at least 6 times. The two men on the road to Emmaus saw Jesus at least twice, once with them and once when they reported to the Eleven.

Acts 1:3 “many convincing proofs that he was alive”
Acts 1:4 he ate with them
Luke 24 Jesus ate broiled fish
Luke 24 Jesus invited them to touch him (So also Thomas, John 20)
Luke 24 Jesus claimed to have flesh and bones
Luke 24 Jesus showed them his hands and feet (Thomas hands, John 20)
John 20 Jesus invites Thomas to touch his pierced side

At the least, Jesus ate twice with his disciples.  He invited people to touch him on at least two occasions. He showed them his wounds on at least two occasions.

Multiple Attestations
The skeptic will challenge the number of appearances, people, and signs by claiming that we only have one source for this information: the Bible itself.  This simply tells us that the skeptic doesn’t know anything about how the New Testament was compiled. It was written by different authors over time and later collected and preserved by the church which eventually put it into one compiled book as we know it. Skeptics are also usually unaware of the complex relationship of the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) and the independent nature of the Gospel of John.

If we take the lists above and only count those that have multiple and independent attestations we get the following:

Multiply Attested Appearances: Peter 2, Paul 2, Mary Magdalene 3, The Eleven 3, Two on the road to Emmaus 2. So we have at least five of the 13 appearances confirmed by multiple, independent sources.

Multiply Attested Persons: At least 16 people are confirmed to have seen Jesus by this reckoning.

Multiply Attested Signs: Jesus invited touch and demonstrated showed them his wounds according to two different sources.

So the internal historical evidence has a sound core and there is no real reason to doubt some of the other occurrences either. Those listed by Paul in 1 Cor. 15 are listed as proof of his credibility and were open to investigation at the time the letter was written. So whether or not we have additional evidence of these things, Paul’s readers were expected to know of them. The skeptic should understand that simply because a historical fact is recorded in only one location and cannot be confirmed by a second source that it does not immediately discredit the fact mentioned. History is replete with examples of one-source bits of information so this is nothing new to the historical investigator. The plausibility regarding the accuracy of the fact is determined by other means. Pauline scholars do not doubt that Paul’s list of appearances in 1 Cor. 15 is a true list that he believed to be accurate and reliable when the letter was written.

The skeptic’s claim that eyewitness testimony is not reliable is simply misapplied. For a single, momentary event we can have discrepancies among eyewitnesses. The New Testament’s evidence about the appearances of the resurrected Jesus are not of that nature. These were appearances that had duration. There were conversations that took place, eating events, teaching and questioning of Jesus. These did not happen one time but multiple times, to different people in different locations as well as to a number of the same people over this 40 day period. Such eyewitness testimony would be highly reliable and regarded by historians as extremely valuable because of its credibility.