Dr. Clay Jones is an Assistant Professor at Biola University. (A school that boasts faculty members Dr. William Craig, Dr. J.P. Moreland and Dr. Gary Habermas.) Dr. Jones holds a Doctorate in Ministry from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He teaches post-graduate level courses on Apologetics Research and Defense of the Resurrection. And he has a personal blog.
I happened to notice he wrote an entry, giving a defense of the Resurrection in 200 words or less. This is a fellow who teaches on apologetics and the Resurrection (arguably the lynchpin of Christianity) at a post-graduate level. This is no internet hack! (like me.)
And he is going to summarize his defense in just 200 words. One would think it to be a powerful punch; a veritable knock-out delivery of condensed apologetic argument. And he goes with……..”Not willing to die for a lie.”
Really? Well…O.K. As both of my regular readers will know, I have done a bit of study and dialoguing on this particular claim. So I join in and somehow we end up on the subject of Peter’s death. I point out how Peter was condemned to die because he pissed off the local constabulary by convincing their wives and concubines to abstain from sex.
At this point, Dr. Jones asks what my best evidence is for this claim.
I’ll admit some concern over this question. Look, I don’t expect the average layperson to know Second Century Christian writings…but Dr. Jones holds a doctorate. Dr. Jones teaches on two (2) primary topics: Apologetic Research and Defense of the Resurrection. I believe I am somewhat justified in expecting him to know some of the various sects of Christianity during this time—particularly those holding to ascetic lifestyles, decrying sex.
This is prevalent through a number of works.
More importantly, if his defense of the Resurrection--THE defense to use when one is limited to 200 words--involves the death of alleged eyewitnesses…I would be justified in believing he knew the source of those claims. Not to mention, this is a pretty big name; I’m not asking for the source of Thaddeus’ death.
This is Peter. Arguably the biggest name of them all.
And Dr. Jones doesn’t know Acts of Peter?
Perhaps you can understand my consternation.
But I press on, quoting the relevant passage from Acts of Peter.
At this point Dr. Jones asks, why should we rely upon the Gnostic Acts of Peter as compared to “other works.” Having looked, I am uncertain as to what “other works” he could mean; more importantly, what earlier works he could mean.
I want to point out triumphantly, in Perry Mason style, “Precisely, Sir! Why would we trust this claim about Peter being martyred upside down? The defense rests.” Harumph.
This is why the entire field of Christian apologetics is suspect to me. The very teachers themselves, teaching at post-graduate level, appear unfamiliar with the counter-arguments to their own position. Why would a lay person ever know any better?