Monday, December 25, 2017

New Book Presents Evidence Christmas Story of Visit by Wise Men Was ‘Historically True’

For many years, skeptical scholars have tended to dismiss the Christmas story of the “wise men from the East” as pious legend.  Matthew’s gospel offers few details, but imaginative Christians filled out the story early on, giving us the three kings guided by a magical star who join the adoring shepherds in every Christmas crèche.

For many scholars, then, there is no reason to take the gospel story seriously.  But are they right?  Are the wise men no more than a poetic fancy?

In an impressive feat of detective work, Dwight Longenecker makes a powerful case that the visit of the Magi to Bethlehem really happened.  Piecing together the evidence from biblical studies, history, archeology, and astronomy, he goes further, uncovering where they came from, why they came, and what might have happened to them after eluding the murderous King Herod.

In the process, he provides a new and fascinating view of the time and place in which Jesus Christ chose to enter the world.

The evidence is clear and compelling.  According to Longenecker's research, the mysterious Magi from the East were astrologers and counselors from the court of the Nabatean king at Petra, where the Hebrew messianic prophecies were well known.  The “star” that inspired their journey was a particular planetary alignment―confirmed by computer models―that in the astrological lore of the time portended the birth of a Jewish king.

The visitors whose arrival troubled Herod “and all Jerusalem with him” may not have been the turbaned oriental kings of the Christmas carol, but they were real; and by demonstrating that the wise men were no fairy tale, Mystery of the Magi demands a new level of respect for the historical claims of the gospel.

Purchase Mystery of the Magi on Amazon.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Apocalypse Now?

You would’ve thought they were preparing for the apocalypse.

Former Obama White House Ethics Chief, Walter Shaub, tweeted that he was “stocking up” on gear to “take the streets.”  In his words, it was supposed to be a “defining moment for the Republic.”

Actor-turned-activist George Takei tweeted that Americans should “shut the country down.”

Cenk Uygur, the founder and CEO of far-left online news show “The Young Turks” prophesied that this should be an “uprising like we’ve never seen in America.”

Former Attorney General Eric Holder drew what he called an “absolute red line.”

Their message was clear: if President Trump fires special counsel Robert Mueller, the American people should act as if this country's 241-year-old experiment in democracy has come to an end.

But unfortunately for them, when asked about the firing on Sunday night, the president shut down all of the rumors (and all of their plans) by simply declaring, “no, I’m not.”  In an instant, he vanquished all the left’s dreams of sparking a “Tahrir Square like uprising” and made their hysterics over the potential firing appear foolish.

Make no mistake.  The left will soon find another issue (or rumor of an issue) to incense their base and stir up outrage in our country.  Eventually, they’ll draw a new red line and then pray that the president crosses it.  Their dream of widespread panic isn’t going away—it’s just deferred for a little while.

The real problem is this:

First, regardless of their empty assurances that their uprising will be peaceful—their rhetoric says otherwise.  They pay lip service to holding a peaceful protest while using inflammatory language like “stock up on gear” and “shut down the country.”  But if there is anything that “Antifa” has taught the United States, it’s that there are plenty members of the far-left with no intentions of keeping the peace.

You can’t spew alarmist, end-of-the-world rhetoric and then expect your base to respond with careful, dignified street protests.  It doesn’t work that way.  Leaders have a unique duty to dial down their followers’ radical impulses.  Instead, it seems that some culture leaders prefer to do exactly the opposite.

Second, the liberals’ selective outrage is appalling., the organization behind the protests, made their motto “nobody is above the law.”  Ostensibly, that’s an idea that both sides of the aisle could support.  Patriotic Americans would agree that all citizens are equal under the law.  But to many who hold progressive political views, that idea only applies to one end of the political spectrum.

These same activists made no calls for mass protests after former FBI Director James Comey cleared Hillary Clinton of criminal charges a year ago.  There was no indignation from these folks after it came to light that the FBI altered the language in Comey’s statement in Clinton's favor.  They have no outrage about a so-called "independent" prosecutor who employs team members who worked for the Clinton campaign and FBI agents whose e-mails reveal they had a plan to take down candidate Trump in case he was elected.  That’s why it’s difficult to believe that these activists are genuinely motivated to uphold the rule of law, and not just their own political ideologies.

One thing is true: the President’s words may have temporarily halted what the left saw as a “defining moment for the republic.”  But they will find new opportunities.  New pots to stir.  And new calls for chaos.