I recently came across a discussion between Dr. Michael Licona and Laura Robinson. I had never heard of her before I watched this video from Capturing Christianity. I don’t normally post reviews on talks like this but this one caught my attention.
(Please note: I write this out of concern because I get emails from people who are concerned about these ideas.)
The discussion was about what can history reveal about Jesus. As always, Dr. Licona delivered a concise 10-minute presentation on Paul along with other reliable contributors to New Testament reliability. Next, the host, Cameron Bertuzzi asked Laura to respond to Licona’s statements.
She describes herself as a Christian but it seemed odd to me that she didn’t believe in an actual physical (bodily) resurrection of Jesus amongst other things. She was not clear on her theological position in any way as if she was afraid of offending someone. She even went as far as stating that a bodily resurrection wasn’t central to Paul’s teaching. We have extra-biblical sources talking about Jesus and what his followers believed and they don’t talk about a spiritual resurrection of Jesus. That would make no sense when you look at the doctrine of atonement.
She kept responding to Dr. Licona’s points by saying, “it’s possible” or “we really don’t know.” She didn’t really take a clear position on anything besides the fact that she doesn’t agree with Licona on much. If I didn’t know better I would of guessed she was more of an agnostic than a Christian. By the end of the discussion I was confused as to why she was a christian at all. Then I perused her social media pages and noticed she had grown up in an evangelical home but has since grown to hate evangelical Christianity and conservatives. If this sounds harsh, please go read her Twitter and Facebook posts. She recently went on a harsh twitter rant about how she doesn’t like christian apologists.
I’m not trying to throw her under the bus because she is our sister in Christ. I just think her subjective desires and political views are in the drivers seat of her faith. Clearly, Laura is an intelligent individual but I just find it to be sad that her anger towards evangelicals and conservatives forces her to have unreasonable views on life and the Bible.
At one point Licona pointed out the accounts of appearances of the risen Jesus:
-The 12 Disciples
-The 500+ people of believers and skeptics
-All of the apostles
Licona then asked Laura what further evidence would she need to believe these accounts. She responded with “just one more.” Again, I hear this response from radical atheists who claim there isn’t evidence for Jesus but if there was just one more piece of evidence they would consider Christianity. Even though they say these things, it wouldn’t stop with just one more, it will spiral into ‘I want more and more evidence’. They will never be satisfied.
It was clear by the end that she is a progressive Christian or at least a very liberal Christian. It seemed that she wanted to debate Licona because she was so contrarian to everything he said. I’ve personally sat in on Licona’s talks on biblical reliability as well as Gary Habermas. This is their field of expertise and I trust them over a PhD candidate. I feel sad for Laura that she is so confused about the history and cultural references of Christianity and the Bible. Her objections and doubts is nothing new to scholars.
My main issue with this conversation was that she acts as if we don’t have enough evidence to make a decision on Jesus and the New Testament. She even admitted that she has taken classes by Bart Ehrman who is an atheist-agnostic, New Testament Scholar and highly respects him. Interestingly, she is a doctoral candidate of New Testament studies. People who haven’t studied the evidence for the New Testament could be easily persuaded to think she is bringing up valid concerns. Most of her concerns were that of a young Christian who has not taken the time to look at the issues at hand. She also over analyzed many issues such as Jesus’ resurrection as if she isn’t familiar with Jewish culture. Never did the Jews think that resurrection was just a spiritual resurrection. They always understood a resurrection meant a bodily resurrection. You can find additional information on this in J.P. Moreland’s book, “Scaling the Secular City.” It covers the evidence we have for people seeing the risen Jesus as described by Licona above.
Evidence for a bodily resurrection of Jesus is something that a 1st year undergraduate bible student learns as I did. Since she has 2 M.A. degrees I’m concerned with people listening to her and reassessing their faith in Jesus and the bible. It’s also clear she thought she was smarter than Licona who has been a PhD, New Testament Scholar, and Historian for 11 years. Further, Licona referenced Dr. Gary Habermas who has amassed over 4,500 pages of sources regarding the resurrection which hopefully will be published in the new few years.
Like any skeptic I don’t think she is sincere in wanting to look at the evidence. She is confident in her intellectual ascension assuming that she has looked at all the evidence and has concluded that it isn’t good enough for her. My hope is that she will one day sincerely look at the evidence that we do have.