Dr. Norman Geisler has been impugned, ridiculed, maligned, and made to look like a buffoon, not by people who deny the faith, but by Brothers in Christ. Dr. Geisler is a leading apologist in Evangelicalism, one of several framers of of Evangelical documents found in the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy, Founding President of the International Society of Christian Apologetics and member of many other scholarly societies. While all of these credentials are above what many have even accomplished, one thing stands out above all of these credentials–Dr. Geisler is a believer. As such he deserves better than what he has been receiving from up and coming apologists.
Dr. Geisler revealed the Dr. Mike Licona inerrancy issue publicly after two months of private correspondence. This open letter was made public only after Dr. Licona suggested the public route was the only one Dr. Geisler had available. Dr. Licona did express to Dr. Geisler that he did not have time to work on the issue at present and he would be glad to review it when he wrote the revision for the book. Dr. Geisler, being an accomplished scholar/author knew a revision for a voluminous book of this nature would not become reality in the near future. Also, Dr. Geisler was aware this book was not a book of devotional reading but a reference book for a pastor’s shelf secondary, but primarily it would be a text book used to teach aspiring pastors and scholars. Thus, Dr. Geisler presented the public letter calling on the evangelical community to examine Dr. Licona’s flawed results.
What has this public letter gotten Dr. Geisler for his efforts? He has been attacked by young scholar/apologists that disagree with him. Please do not misunderstand. Good men can always disagree. However, the way those whom disagree with Dr. Geisler on this issue cross the lines of descency and Christian charity. Just one example is the cartoon caricature YouTube video produced by, J.P. Holding who was the impetus behind the video with proud participation by Dr. Licona’s daughter and her husband Nick Peters. These attacks have been sophmoric and absolutely beneath Brothers in Christ that call themselves apologists. In his latest post J.P. Holding has now compared Dr. Geisler to a 4th century inquisitor who is rememberd as destroying over 8000 lives. Thus, we have an apologist advocating that Dr. Geisler has the same moral outlook as a murderer. What is even more amazing is these men have dealt with issues in the past and have dealt with them without using ad hominem approaches. However, it seems that respect of a Christian Brother, especially one who has “fought in the trenches of worldview warfare for over 50 years”, has been lost on those who agree with Dr. Licona. What is truly amazing to me is the response of Dr. Licona to the video. Instead of saying something concerning the poor taste of the video he does nothing but commend his son-in-law and even expressed the video was in “good taste”.
Some may call on Dr. Geisler as the one who began all of this. I certainly would not disagree that Dr. Geisler did expose this discrepency of methodology to the evangelical world. However, no one can point to any place that Dr. Geisler has referred to Dr. Licona as anything but a great scholar and one that he respects. At no place has Dr. Geisler put down Dr. Licona’s views as “actually generally low-level…basic quality of his apologetics”. At no time has anyone who has agreed with Dr.Geisler’s views ever posted something as non-Christian as the following; (Warning the following content may contain statements that are outside normal Godly conversation)
Oh yea, get a freaking sense of humor! Holy crap, these guys are little wusses. Your vid cracked me up! Remember when that one cartoonist drew that pic that somehow made fun of Muslims and they took to the streets rioting? I swear, I’m thinking of that with these pitiful butt hurt Geisler-zombies. They want to kick it off Youtube for inciting violence???? HAHAHHAAAHAHAAAA Oh please never let these losers in any Church leadership!! Please!
Oh, and if he is really doing this to promote his book, he’s a piece of you know what. Maybe he is getting senile with old age, or something . . .
However, as one observes the above statement and may believe I am cherry-picking items to make those that support Dr. Licona in this debate to look bad, you are not even close. Go to this site or this site and you will see exactly what I mean about the ad hominem attacks that are common practice. Much of the material is great resource and sound observations. But when someone disagrees, look out because the ad hominem begins.
How does Dr. Geisler respond? He just keeps placing in the public eye the discrepencies of Dr. Licona and does so with a scholarly aptitude that is not returned by those who are in disagreement. However, neither is Dr. Licona answering Dr. Geisler’s questions. Some may respond that Dr. Geisler has not answered the charges leveled at him by Dr. Licona’s supporters that present how Dr. Geisler has misunderstood Dr. Licona’s case. That would be a fair argument if the positions were in Dr. Licona’s writings. However, Dr. Licona has moved to a position that he is 50% convinced it could be a historical passage. He also issued a statement where other scholars gave Dr. Licona’s position when they signed a statement that read:
“We the undersigned are aware of the above stated position by Dr. Michael Licona, including his present position pertaining to the report of the raised saints in Matthew 27: He proposes that the report may refer to a literal/historical event, a real event partially described in apocalyptic terms, or an apocalyptic symbol.”
First, Dr. Licona expresses his position in the book is based on outside resources other than the text. This very statement places one outside the realm of inerrancy. Notice his statement: “Further research over the last year in the Greco-Roman literature has led me to reexamine the position I took in my book”. It isn’t the research of the text that has caused him to “reexamine the position”, but that of the “Greco-Roman literature”. Second, Dr. Licona allows blogger/apologists Nick Peters, Max Andrews, and J.P. Holding to state and argue his positions with no answer from him. Dr. Geisler makes the statement and then is attacked by these three with nothing more than Dr. Licona encouraging more of the same treatment. ( “I have received numerous emails from highly respected evangelicals who enjoyed the video as well. Keep up the good work, son. I truly believe you’re going to be one of the leading Christian bloggers within the next few years.”)
Dr. Geiselr, in his humble attitude and soft manner just keeps shining light on the darkness revealing where truth can be found–The Bible. He has not been mean nor mean spirited in his public writings. However, as for Dr. Licona and those who are supporting him that is another story.
Not all are accepting the antics of Dr. Licona’s supporters as a Christian charitable response to a debate. Allow me to reveal to you what the interim President at Southern Evangelical Seminary has to say about the video, that was produced by J.P. Holding and affirmed by Dr. Licona, and how it promotes disunity in the Body of Christ.
“It has come to the attention of the President of SES that a student has made a video about the controversy between Dr. Licona and Dr. Geisler. We believe this video was totally unnecessary and is in extremely poor taste. At SES we demand a high standard of conduct in the way we interact with others. Whenever there is a disagreement on any issue, there is a respectful way to handle it. As Christians, as brothers in Christ, there are occasions when we may have differences, but as members of one Body, we need to resolve our differences according to Scripture. Publicly embarrassing anybody is totally unacceptable….” — Acting President of Southern Evangelical Seminary
Great words and thoughts we need to observe. Debate the points but don’t call each other names just because we cannot win the argument on merit.