HAPPY EASTER!

Below is an excerpt from The Christ of the Empty Tomb
by James Mont­gomery Boice.

One of the great his­tor­i­cal evi­dences of the res­ur­rec­tion of Jesus Christ is the empty tomb. But the remark­able and quite star­tling fact is that when Peter and John arrived at the tomb on the first Easter morn­ing it was not quite empty. The body of Jesus was gone, but some­thing was still there. The grave­clothes remained behind. The Bible sug­gests that there was some­thing so strik­ing about them that John saw them and imme­di­ately believed in Jesus’ resurrection.

That is sig­nif­i­cant, for it marks the first time there was an indi­ca­tion of belief by one of the dis­ci­ples. As we saw ear­lier, Ernest Renan argued that faith in the res­ur­rec­tion was the result of the rumors spread by Mary Mag­da­lene who had suf­fered a hal­lu­ci­na­tion, think­ing she had seen Jesus. But that could not be. Mary suf­fered no hal­lu­ci­na­tion. The last thing in the world she expected was the res­ur­rec­tion of her Lord. And John, at least, tes­ti­fied that he believed some time before Mary ever returned to the tomb and met Jesus in the garden.

The time ele­ment is of great inter­est here. It pro­vides valu­able back­ground to the expe­ri­ences of Peter and John at the tomb. Crit­ics have made much of the so-called dis­crep­an­cies in the gospel accounts, but there are no dis­crep­an­cies when the accounts are cor­rectly understood.

Jesus had been cru­ci­fied either on Fri­day (as the church has gen­er­ally believed) or else on Thurs­day (which is less widely held but which seems to fit the evi­dence). Regard­less, Jesus lay in the tomb until the res­ur­rec­tion, which cer­tainly took place before dawn on Sun­day morn­ing. At that point the women came to the tomb from Jerusalem bear­ing spices to anoint the body. There were at least four women and prob­a­bly more. Matthew says that the group included Mary Mag­da­lene and the other Mary, that is, Mary the mother of James. Mark adds that Salome was present. Luke says that Joanna was also along and oth­ers. The women started out while it was still dark and arrived at the tomb in the early dawn while it was still dif­fi­cult to dis­tin­guish objects.

On reach­ing the tomb the women were aston­ished to find the stone removed from the entrance. We must imag­ine them stand­ing about, afraid to go too close, won­der­ing what had hap­pened. Who moved the stone? Had the tomb been pil­fered? Had the body of Jesus been stolen? Had Joseph of Ari­mathea removed it to another place? What were they to do? At last they decided that the dis­ci­ples must be told, and Mary Mag­da­lene was dis­patched to find them. Not one of them imag­ined that Jesus had been raised from the dead.

After a while it began to grow a lit­tle lighter, and the women grew bolder. They decided to look into the tomb. There they saw angels. The women were afraid. But an angel said, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are look­ing for Jesus, who was cru­ci­fied. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his dis­ci­ples” (Matthew 28:5–7).

Mary mean­while found the two chief dis­ci­ples, Peter and John, pre­sum­ably in John’s house where the beloved dis­ci­ple had taken Mary on the day of the cru­ci­fix­ion (John 19:27).

The two dis­ci­ples imme­di­ately started for the tomb, run­ning and leav­ing Mary far behind. John was the younger man. Con­se­quently he arrived at the tomb first, stooped to look through the nar­row open­ing and saw the grave­clothes. Then Peter arrived, out of breath and in a hurry as usual; he brushed John aside and plunged into the tomb. When John saw the grave­clothes, he saw them only in a cur­sory man­ner and from out­side the tomb. The Greek uses the most com­mon word for see­ing. But when Peter arrived he scru­ti­nized the grave­clothes care­fully. The Scrip­ture uses a spe­cial word (the­o­reo) for what Peter did. The Bible says that Peter “arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the bur­ial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, sep­a­rate from the linen” (John 20:6–7, ital­ics added). At that point John entered, saw what Peter had seen, and believed in Jesus’ resurrection.

That was the first moment of belief. In that moment John became the first Chris­t­ian. It was not until later that the first appear­ances of the Lord began. Jesus appeared first to Mary Mag­da­lene, who arrived back at the tomb after John and Peter had returned to the city. Next He appeared to the women who were then still on their way back to the city, then to Peter alone, then to the Emmaus dis­ci­ples, finally, later that night, to all the dis­ci­ples as they were gath­ered together in the upper room. All the dis­ci­ples who saw the risen Lord believed. But John believed first. And he did so before he actu­ally saw Jesus. What made him believe? What did he see that con­vinced him of Jesus’ resurrection?”

*Excerpt taken from pages 75–78 of The Christ of the Empty Tomb by James Mont­gomery Boice.

 

Author Interview with David Peterson

Since tomor­row is Good Fri­day and P&R will not be open, I am post­ing this week’s author inter­view, today. This week we get to learn a lit­tle more about David G. Peter­son, author of Encoun­ter­ing God Together.

  • Ques­tion #1 — Tell us a lit­tle bit about yourself.

I am an Aus­tralian pas­tor and the­olo­gian, who has spent most of his life train­ing oth­ers for min­istry, first at Moore Col­lege in Syd­ney and then at Oak Hill Col­lege in Lon­don. I am now an emer­i­tus fac­ulty mem­ber at Moore Col­lege, teach­ing a cou­ple of hours each week. I am also engaged in run­ning a preach­ing course and in writ­ing books. I have been mar­ried for over 40 years and have three adult sons and four grandchildren.

 

  • Ques­tion #2 - What inspired you to write Encoun­ter­ing God Together?

I have always been inter­ested in explor­ing bib­li­cal teach­ing about wor­ship and think­ing about the most help­ful ways to pre­pare and lead church ser­vices. I wrote a bib­li­cal the­ol­ogy of wor­ship called Engag­ing with God, which was pub­lished in 1992 and has been much used in sem­i­nar­ies for courses on the sub­ject. Many peo­ple have urged me to apply this teach­ing more specif­i­cally to con­gre­ga­tional gath­er­ings and to write at a more pop­u­lar level on wor­ship. So my lat­est book is the result and I hope it meets the need that has been expressed.

 

  • Ques­tion #3 — What book(s) are you read­ing now?

Recently, I was asked to write a com­men­tary on Paul’s Let­ter to the Romans and so this is occu­py­ing most of my spare time. I enjoy read­ing com­men­taries that oth­ers have writ­ten, but also books on some of the key issues in Romans such as jus­ti­fi­ca­tion by faith. Most of all, I enjoy read­ing Romans in the Greek text, pour­ing over the words and try­ing to eval­u­ate exactly what Paul has written.

 

  • Ques­tion #4 — What advice would you give to aspir­ing writers?

Start in a small way by writ­ing arti­cles or short pieces on your area of inter­est. Be sure about your tar­get audi­ence and write with them in mind. If pos­si­ble, try to teach what you are writ­ing to a group rep­re­sen­ta­tive of your tar­get audi­ence, to get feed­back and dis­cover how well you are com­mu­ni­cat­ing. Show what you have writ­ten to experts you trust and invite com­ments and crit­i­cism. Don’t be hurt if the crit­i­cisms mean chang­ing what you have writ­ten quite radically!

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If you would like to learn more about David Peterson,

visit his web­site: davidgpeterson.com.

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New Resources for Teens and Young Adults

1. The Story: The Bible’s Grand Nar­ra­tive of Redemption, One Year Daily Devo­tional for Stu­dents writ­ten by Jon Niel­son

384 Pages | $14.99 | Paperback

Sum­mary: This year­long, daily study of God’s Word guides stu­dents through five acts of his grand story of redemp­tion. Daily Scrip­ture and devo­tional read­ings will equip stu­dents to under­stand the unity and devel­op­ment of God’s story and to grow in their per­sonal dis­ci­pline of Bible study and prayer.

 

2. Chris­tian­ity and World Reli­gions: An Intro­duc­tion to the World’s Major Faiths writ­ten by Derek Cooper

240 Pages | $19.99 | Paper­back | Text­book Lay­out with Color Illustrations

TABLE OF CONTENTS | SAMPLE CHAPTER

Sum­mary: Derek Cooper exam­ines the rival world­views found in Hin­duism, Bud­dhism, Con­fu­cian­ism and Tao­ism, Judaism, Islam, and irre­li­gion. He engages these world­views from a Chris­t­ian per­spec­tive, first by show­ing how the bib­li­cal authors engaged other reli­gions and then by sur­vey­ing the way Chris­t­ian the­olo­gians have done so. Each chap­ter con­tains six parts: (i) a cre­ation story, (ii) the religion’s his­tor­i­cal ori­gin, (iii) its beliefs, (iv) reli­gious writ­ings, (v) wor­ship prac­tices, (vi) as well as Chris­t­ian reflec­tions on the reli­gion. For those who would like to read more, the appen­dix includes lists of help­ful pri­mary and sec­ondary books.

 

3. Bible Study: A Student’s Guide writ­ten by Jon Niel­son

224 Pages | $12.99 | Paperback

TABLE OF CONTENTS | SAMPLE CHAPTER

Sum­mary: Have you ever been to a “Bible study” that didn’t have much “Bible” or “study” at all? With­out a proper under­stand­ing of how to do it, stu­dents can be dis­ap­pointed or scared away from study­ing the Bible. So what is Bible study—and can it work for high schoolers?

No stranger to teach­ing the Bible to teenagers, Jon Niel­son con­firms that real, mean­ing­ful Bible study is not only pos­si­ble for stu­dents, but impor­tant. He takes stu­dents seri­ously and expects them to take their faith seri­ously. Unpack­ing five truths about the Bible—that it is God speak­ing, is pow­er­ful, is under­stand­able, is lit­er­ary, and is one story—he demon­strates how the Bible should be stud­ied and how teenagers them­selves can lead that study.

 

4. The Hud­dle: Becom­ing A Cham­pion for Life writ­ten by Shawn Brower

224 Pages | $14.99 | Paperback

VIDEO | TABLE OF CONTENTS | SAMPLE CHAPTER

Sum­mary: Noth­ing can moti­vate, chal­lenge, and inspire a team to great­ness more than team­mates who are fully ded­i­cated to each other. But this rela­tion­ship doesn’t hap­pen on its own. Shawn Brower calls on his 20 years of high school and club coach­ing expe­ri­ence to demon­strate the secrets to train­ing and build­ing bet­ter per­for­mance as a team. In this guide­book, teams will find:

  • True accounts and quotes from famous Chris­t­ian athletes
  • Per­sonal eval­u­a­tion ques­tions to help play­ers focus on both their indi­vid­ual and team performance
  • Scrip­ture quo­ta­tions that have inspired real athletes
  • Exam­ples from a wide vari­ety of sports, apply­ing the lessons to any team

Learn from Coach Brower how to develop the dis­ci­pline you will need to suc­ceed both as an ath­lete and in the rest of life.

 

5. The Doc­trines of Grace: Stu­dent Edi­tion writ­ten by Shane Lems

144 Pages | $10.99 | Paperback

TABLE OF CONTENTS | SAMPLE CHAPTER

Sum­mary: A guide for young teens explain­ing in twelve lessons the bib­li­cal and his­tor­i­cal basis of TULIP (Total deprav­ity, Uncon­di­tional elec­tion, Lim­ited atone­ment, Irre­sistible grace, Per­se­ver­ance of the saints). Includes appli­ca­tion, dis­cus­sion ques­tions, and class resources.

 

6. We Became Men: The Jour­ney into Man­hood writ­ten by Shawn Brower

240 Pages | $14.99 | Paperback

TABLE OF CONTENTS | SAMPLE CHAPTER

Sum­mary: Life is a jour­ney — a jour­ney of adven­ture, dis­cov­ery, risk, and rev­e­la­tion. Yet, if you are like most young men, you have never been invited to set out on this jour­ney — have never been guided to dis­cover who you are, what you should pur­sue, and who you can become.

This book is the invi­ta­tion you have been wait­ing for: a guide that affirms and val­i­dates young men and empow­ers them to pur­sue man­hood from a bib­li­cal per­spec­tive. It will give you clear vision and direc­tion for your life in vital, life-changing areas such as per­for­mance, temp­ta­tions, rela­tion­ships, idols, bore­dom with life, and much more. Take on the chal­lenge to be a coura­geous man of action and feel more free and alive than you have ever imagined.

 

FICTION:

The Dark Har­vest Tril­ogy writ­ten by Jere­miah W. Montgomery

1. The Dark Faith: Book One

368 Pages | $14.99 | Paperback

SAMPLE CHAPTER

Sum­mary: An epic strug­gle against evil com­mences as Moru­mus, a devout monk, seeks to unearth the truth of the Dark Faith. But while he seeks a weapon against it, dark cur­rents drag him toward a dan­ger­ous conspiracy . . .

2. The Scar­let Bishop: Book Two

304 Pages | $14.99 | Paperback

SAMPLE CHAPTER

Sum­mary: War looms as Moru­mus and Oethur, nar­rowly escap­ing the Red Order, seek Urien’s help to deci­pher the secret of the ancient Bone Codex. All the while the Dark Faith’s shadow con­tin­ues to spread . . .

 

3. The Three­fold Cord: Book Three

To be released July 2014...

 

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P&R Author Interviews with Kevin Boling on His Radio Program: Knowing the Truth

Know­ing The Truth” with Pas­tor Kevin Bol­ing is a live, call-in radio pro­gram pro­vid­ing Doc­tri­nal Dia­log, Cul­tural Com­men­tary and Insight­ful Inter­views with some of today’s fore­most Chris­t­ian authors and leaders.

Here are the links to some of his P&R author interviews.

Bar­bara Duguid (Extrav­a­gant Grace: God’s Glory Dis­played in Our Weak­ness)

Lis­ten here: http://www.sermonaudio.com/playpopup.asp?SID=22514127315

Matthew Bar­rett (Sal­va­tion by Grace: The Case for Effec­tual Call­ing and Regen­er­a­tion)

Lis­ten here: http://www.sermonaudio.com/playpopup.asp?SID=213141216332

Wayne Mack (God’s Solu­tions to Life’s Prob­lems: Rad­i­cal Change by the Power of God)

Lis­ten here: http://www.sermonaudio.com/playpopup.asp?SID=128141210132

Christo­pher Ash (Dis­cov­er­ing the Joy of a Clear Con­science)

Lis­ten here: http://www.sermonaudio.com/playpopup.asp?SID=123141211457

Anthony Sel­vag­gio (From Bondage to Lib­erty: The Gospel Accord­ing to Moses)

Lis­ten here: http://www.sermonaudio.com/playpopup.asp?SID=12114122144

Paul Yuelett (Jesus and His Ene­mies)

Lis­ten here: http://www.sermonaudio.com/playpopup.asp?SID=112113121594

Mark Jones (Antin­o­mi­an­ism: Reformed Theology’s Unwel­come Guest?)

Lis­ten here: http://www.sermonaudio.com/playpopup.asp?SID=111213121983

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Fol­low “Know­ing the Truth” on Twit­ter: @KnowingTheTruth

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Author Interview with Joseph W. Smith III

This week’s author inter­view is with Joseph W. Smith III, author of Sex and Vio­lence in the Bible: A Sur­vey of Explicit Con­tent in the Holy Book.

  • Ques­tion #1 — When did you first want to write a book?

I wrote my first book when I was 12 — a pro­fusely illus­trated sci-fi opus called Project Jupiter. (Still have this bedrag­gled ms.!)  This life­long dream then went on hold for var­i­ous rea­sons in my 20s, and only when I was near­ing 50 did I real­ize it was time to make the dream come true — even if I had to self-publish.  Thankfully, the good folks at McFar­land took a chance on a first-time author and released my book-length study of Hitchcock’s Psy­cho in 2009. Five years later, P&R was will­ing to take another chance with Sex and Vio­lence in the Bible; since I’m now work­ing on a third book, per­haps that 42-year-old dream has been real­ized at long last.

  • Ques­tion #2 — What inspired you to write this book, about this topic?

Nearly every­one is inter­ested in sex and vio­lence — yes, even Christians!  But we don’t talk about them much in church, do we?  Ever hear a ser­mon on Gen­e­sis 38, Judges 19, Song of Solomon 5–7 or Ezekiel 23:20?  No?  I didn’t think so!  Fortunately, the Bible has no such pub­lic reticence.  I was anx­ious to unpack these pas­sages that we so rarely study, and also to see exactly how the Bible treats graphic mate­r­ial — how much is “too much”? — and thus help Chris­tians learn where to draw the line when inter­act­ing with mod­ern culture.

  • Ques­tion #3 — What book are you read­ing now?

Ban­shee by Mar­garet Mil­lar (crime thriller); and P&R’s Recov­er­ing Eden by Zack Eswine.(“One book at a time is not enough.”)

  • Ques­tion #4 — Other than the Bible, do you have a favorite book?

If you put me on a desert island with the Bible, Dickens’s A Christ­mas Carol and Wells’s War of the Worlds, I could keep myself enter­tained for a pretty long time.

  • Ques­tion #5 — Do you have a favorite author? Who is it and why?

With a mix­ture of grat­i­tude and embar­rass­ment I admit that my favorite author is still Ian Flem­ing; I fell in love with his books as a teen and I still rel­ish them.  Also Nevil Shute, P. G. Wode­house, Robb White, H. G. Wells, Dawn Pow­ell & Patri­cia Highsmith.  As you can tell, though I write non­fic­tion, I really love novels.

  • Ques­tion #6 — Do you have a favorite movie? What is it and why?

Hitchcock’s Ver­tigo (1958) is the great­est movie ever made.  Music, act­ing, pho­tog­ra­phy, sto­ry­line — and that mes­sage, about the dam­age done (esp. to women) by roman­tic obses­sion! So far ahead of its time!  If only Hitch — who was hurt by the ini­tial luke­warm recep­tion — could be around to see how beloved this film has become.

  • Ques­tion #7 — Do you have a favorite quote? What is it and why?

Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” — Ben Franklin

  • Ques­tion #8 — At what time of day do you write most?

Like most writ­ers, I think most clearly and sharply in the morning.  8 — noon­ish (or 1) is good; and then out­doors, please!

  • Ques­tion #9 — What has been the tough­est crit­i­cism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

My first book con­tains a glar­ing error about Beethoven’s Third (which I bone-headedly called the Ninth) that has been brought rather painfully to my atten­tion by sev­eral readers.  Ouch.

When Leland Ryken — whose Lib­er­ated Imag­i­na­tion so influ­enced me — said my book was “a work of painstak­ing research and schol­ar­ship,” I was float­ing for days.

  • Ques­tion #10 — Favorite sport to watch? Why? Favorite sport’s team?

Grew up in Buf­falo; huge Bills fan.  Builds character!

  • Ques­tion #11 — Favorite food?

South of the bor­der!  With hot sauce, please.

  • Ques­tion #12 — Favorite ani­mal? Why?

Otters.  Why?  I wish I was one!

  • Ques­tion #13 — What famous per­son (liv­ing or dead) would you like to meet and why?

I would love to tell Her­man Melville that his work would stand the test of time, with Moby-Dick hailed as per­haps our great­est novel.  The poor guy died with most of his books out of print and must have thought it all in vain. *sigh*  That describes a lot of other artists, too, I’m afraid.

  • Ques­tion #14 — If you have a favorite book of the Bible, what is it and why?

Some­one once asked R. C. Sproul which book he would choose if he could have only one out of the entire Bible.  He picked Hebrews — a bril­liant choice.  But despite my fond­ness for Eccle­si­astes and Song of Solomon, I myself would have to go with Genesis.  I love the early por­trait of heaven in 1 & 2 (the way this world was sup­posed to be!) — and so many great promises and sto­ries, so much about human life made clear in this glo­ri­ous volume.  I espe­cially love the Joseph narrative!

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