No less than Western law, the civil rights movement, and Christianity itself rest on the historicity of the biblical event.
Does it matter whether or not the Exodus of Moses actually took place? In a recent screed in Newsweek, Kurt Eichenwald mocked the historicity of the Bible, questioning whether or not it was even possible to understand Scripture’s meaning at all. Rebuttals to the piece appeared immediately and forcefully. I, for one, noted the irony that such a poorly researched article passed muster at a magazine that once featured stellar religion reporting under legendary editor Kenneth Woodward. The controversy over Eichenwald’s article served to remind us that the Bible's truthfulness remains on the front burner of national debate.
And a new documentary will likely spur that debate. Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus, a film more than a decade in the making, appeared in about 700 US theaters last week. Directed and produced by Timothy P. Mahoney, it explores a central issue at the heart of the debate over the Bible’s historical reliability: whether or not Moses led Israel out of bondage in Egypt, through the Red Sea on dry ground, and into the wilderness of Shur (Ex. 15:22). Mahoney is not an Old Testament scholar, an archeologist, or a theologian. Rather, he is a lay evangelical Christian who admits he sometimes doubts that the Exodus was a real historical event. He appears on screen as himself, asking a difficult question: Can I trust the biblical text that I hold in my hands?
To answer this, Mahoney travels to the Middle East to interview prominent scholars such as Mansour Baraik, Director General of Antiquities at Luxor in Egypt, and Israel Finkelstein, a prominent archeologist at Tel Aviv University. These and other experts tell us that they see little if any correlation between the events described in ...
The former IVCF and Columbia Seminary president spoke with longtime friend Mark Labberton last fall.
Of the thousands of people affected by the ministry of Steve Hayner—the former president of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship who died Saturday after battling pancreatic cancer—Mark Labberton was one of the closest. Labberton, president of Fuller Theological Seminary, met Hayner while a freshman and brand-new Christian attending Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. The two ministry leaders went on to form a deep friendship as each grew in their respective roles and responsibilites.
In an intimate conversation with Hayner this October, when Hayner transitioned out of the presidency of Columbia Theological Seminary, Labberton said, "It would be hard to think of anyone other than my brother who has more fully bracketed my life as a person, a pastor, a leader, a disciple, a friend. There's hardly been a decision since I was 18 where your friendship or example or encouragement or invitation hasn't helped clear the ground for me to take the next step."
Hayner reflected on his cancer diagnosis, following Christ when death is imminent, and eternal life in one of his and Labberton's final conversations, which is edited below for clarity and length.
The Saturday before Easter, I remember calling you to wish you and Sharol a happy Easter, and you were feeling ill. The next three days, between that moment and Tuesday, life…
… changed virtually immediately. I went to the doctor first thing Monday, and by Tuesday we had a tentative, 95 percent diagnosis that I had pancreatic cancer. Normally the only thing they can do with this cancer is what they call a Whipple procedure. It basically means removing most of the organs in your upper abdomen, including the main tumor, then ...
That’s the question Thabiti Anyabwile, an African American pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist Church, asks when handwringing commences about young people leaving US churches.
“Researchers describe millennials as a fairly privileged and special group, which is so far from the reality of so many African Americans,” said Anyabwile. “When it comes to describing broad demographic trends, you’re woefully in danger of building a profile based on the assumed normative experiences of majority culture.”
At large, millennials are less religious than were earlier generations of Americans. In 2012, Pew Research Center released data showing that 32 percent of Americans ages 18 to 29 are religiously unaffiliated. This was an 11 percent increase over any other age group that year, and a 7 percent jump from the 25 percent of young people who responded this way in 2007.
Yet a deeper dive into Pew’s study suggests whites are overrepresented among those who are not religiously affiliated. Anglos make up 66 percent of the US population, yet they compose 71 percent of those with no religious affiliation. In contrast, blacks make up 11 percent of the population but only 9 percent of the so-called “nones.”
Black Protestants have retained the greatest number of millennials compared with Catholics, white mainliners, and white evangelicals, according to 2012 data from the Public Religion Research Institute and Georgetown's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. These traditions have seen their market share of millennials drop by 8.4, 7.3, and 2.2 percentage points, respectively. In contrast, black Protestant millennials have decreased ...