Were Later Versions of Christianity Radically Different than Earlier Ones? Reflecting on Recent Scholarly Claims

I think it’s fair to say that the last decade has witnessed a bit of a resurgence of academic interest in early Christianity.

By “early Christianity,” I don’t mean the Christianity represented by the major figures in the fourth and fifth centuries when the church had risen to power—e.g., Athanasius, Constantine, Augustine. Rather, I am referring to the time period immediately after the apostles, mainly the second and third centuries, when Christianity was still in its infancy, struggling to find its way in a hostile Roman world.

Recent books covering this critical time period (and sometimes more periods) include Rodney Stark, The Triumph of Christianity (2011), Larry Hurtado, Destroyer of

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6 Ways that Christian Students Can Prepare for College: #2 You Won’t Have All the Answers

Last week I began a new 6-part series helping Christian students think through how to prepare for life at a big university. The series is based on a recent lecture I gave to the Regents School in Austin, Texas, where I laid out 6 principles designed to help rising college students think more clearly about what’s ahead. It’s also based on my book, Surviving Religion 101.

In the first installment my advice was simple: “Take this transition seriously.”  Yes, students can be overly skeptical about their future college experience—what I call a “martyr complex”—where they begin to think everyone is out to get them. But the opposite is a …

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How a Pagan Philosopher Came to Believe the Scriptures are from God

It probably comes as no surprise that the most common question I receive from both Christians and non-Christians is “How do I know the Bible is the Word of God?” And the reason this question is at the top of the list is not hard to determine.  The authority of the Bible is the foundation for everything that we believe as Christians.  It is the source of our doctrine and our ethics.  Thus, we need to be able to answer this question when asked.

Let me say from the outset that there is not just one answer to this question. I think there are many ways that Christians can come …

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How the 5 Solas Do More Than Respond to Catholicism

“What is Reformed theology?” This is the question I get asked all the time. Especially since I teach at a school called Reformed Theological Seminary!

While there are many ways to answer that question, I have found that the 5 Solas of the Reformation provide one of the best summaries of what it means to be Reformed: sola scriptura (Scripture alone), solus Christus (Christ alone), sola fide (faith alone), sola gratia (grace alone), and soli Deo gloria (glory to God alone).

Since the 5 Solas are borne out of the Protestant Reformation, then it would not be surprising to know that, in many ways, they reflect the circumstances of the …

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