Ankerberg Monthly Letter October 2013 - Ankerberg Theological Research Institute, John Ankerberg Show

Ankerberg Monthly Letter October 2013

This month, I’m thrilled to share with you two important events taking place at the John Ankerberg Show. First, we will present to you our TV series responding to Bill O’Reilly’s new book Killing Jesus. Second, we have received an amazing $100,000 matching gift opportunity that we hope you will help us reach to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to people in many languages around the world.

In popular books and the media, Jesus continues to attract more and more attention. Now, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly is getting into the game with his new book Killing Jesus. Why? He knows more than 2 billion people worship Jesus as God. They will be interested in this topic. But the question is, will O’Reilly present the facts about the life and death of Jesus truthfully, or will he sidestep some of them? It’s not a sure thing, as he has stated that Adam and Eve, Noah, and Jonah are fictional.

O’Reilly claims he is going to give us new information about what happened when the Romans crucified Jesus. We will examine whether O’Reilly’s information agrees with the four Gospels, and ask, “Does he believe the Gospels are the best historical sources we have for understanding Jesus’ life—including His death and resurrection?” We answer these questions in “A Response to Bill O’Reilly’s Book Killing Jesus” this month.

For this series I have invited two of the world’s foremost evangelical Jesus scholars to be my guests. First, you’ll hear from Dr. Darrell Bock, Senior Research Professor of New Testament at Dallas Theological Seminary. He has served as an advisor and translator of many English Bible translations, and is one of the world’s foremost authorities on the Gospel of Luke. A former president of the Evangelical Theological Society, he is a PhD graduate from the University of Aberdeen (Scotland) and has completed postgraduate research on the life of Jesus at the University of Tubingen in Germany.

My second guest is Dr. Gary Habermas, the Distinguished Research Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Theology at Liberty University. He holds a PhD from Michigan State University and has authored, coauthored, or edited more than 60 books on New Testament Studies. For many years Dr. Habermas has tracked more than 2,000 scholars of different backgrounds (including Jewish, European liberal and conservative Christian scholars, and atheists) on the life of Christ and is known as one of the world’s foremost scholars on the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus.

Our TV series will critique the main points raised in Bill O’Reilly’s new book Killing Jesus. We’ll look at both the New Testament and other secular accounts that help us understand what really took place on that history-changing day.

Why? Many times critics will say that Jesus was hardly mentioned outside of the New Testament, and we do not have a way of verifying what the four Gospels say. But Dr. Gary Habermas has documented 45 ancient sources for the life of Christ outside of the New Testament that include 17 secular writers, 4 archaeological sources, 19 early creedal statements, and 5 additional non-New Testament Christian sources which together substantiate 129 facts about the life, person, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus, plus the disciples’ earliest message that agree with the facts in the four Gospels.

Finally, many scholars attempt to argue that Jesus never claimed to be the Son of God. Yet this claim stands in complete contradiction to what the four Gospels report Jesus said. Here is one example:

In John 8:58 Jesus was talking to the Jewish religious leaders and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” After He said this, they tried to stone Him. Why? Because they knew Exodus 3 where Moses had asked God, “What is your name?” God had told Moses, “I am who I am.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent Me to you.’ And this is My name forever, and this is My memorial-name to all generations.”

All of the Jewish leaders knew God had told Moses that His name was “I Am.” When Jesus asserted that before Abraham was born He was the “I Am,” they knew He was claiming to be the very God who spoke to Moses and brought their forefathers out of Egypt.

Jesus was more than a good moral teacher, an honored prophet, or a miracle worker. John 1:1 claims He is God, the One with the ability to read the thoughts of people, to heal the sick, cast out evil spirits, raise the dead, forgive sins, and give eternal life. He ultimately proved these claims by resurrecting from the dead and appearing to over 500 individuals (1 Corinthians 15:6).

Our Offer This Month

1 Peter 3:15 teaches that we are to be prepared to give a reason for the hope within us. I want our offer to help equip you with the answers you will need in the days ahead regarding the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

First, I want you to have a DVD copy of this month’s two television series “A Response to Bill O’Reilly’s Book Killing Jesus—Part 1”and “A Response To Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Jesus—Part 2.” Both of these series feature Dr. Darrell Bock and Dr. Gary Habermas and come in both Blu-ray and DVD formats.

Second, I want you to have our five-program DVD series “Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?” featuring Dr. Gary Habermas debating Atheist Dr. Antony Flew. Dr. Flew was long considered the world’s foremost Philosophical Atheist. Do the facts of history lead to the conclusion that Jesus actually rose from the dead? How do we know that the disciples did not all have hallucinations about Jesus rather than actually seeing His physical body? Did Jesus claim to be God? You’ll learn the amazing biblical evidence that will strengthen your faith in Jesus and help you share it with others.

Third, we are making available “The Evidence for Jesus’ Resurrection” with apologist and New York Times bestselling author Lee Strobel, the author of The Case for Christ. In these four programs you will hear Lee Strobel’s own story of how as the former legal editor of the Chicago Tribune and an outspoken atheist, he was challenged to thoroughly investigate the two foundational questions of Christianity: “Did Jesus really claim to be God?” and, “Did Jesus really rise from the dead?” He presents the facts that proved to him that Jesus really did rise from the dead and also responds to the new views offered today by some that supposedly refute the resurrection of Jesus.

You can receive all four of these important series this month for only $100. These resources can also be requested separately. Please see the enclosed card for details.

Taking Jesus to the World

I’ve asked you to pray about our ongoing effort to take the Gospel to the world—and God has answered! New doors keep opening to us—as we expected they would. Each new step is expensive, yet God continues to provide. We have just received another wonderful matching gift of $100,000 to be used this month.

I need your help to maximize this amazing opportunity. With any gift you donate to the John Ankerberg Show this month, it will be doubled—dollar for dollar—up to $100,000. If you would like all four series I mentioned in our special package for only $100, your gift will still be matched and become $200. If you give a gift of $500, it will be matched and become $1,000.

Why is this important? Why am I asking for your help? Starting this month we are making available 750 language translations of the Bible at JAshow.org. For those who cannot read their own language there is also an audio version of the Bible they can listen to in these 750 languages. Because our television programs reach into 206 nations, we are using our program to inform viewers in those countries who understand English to spread the word so they know this is now available.

Further, we have laid the foundation for placing our more than 4,000 articles, transcripts, and other resources into 50 languages—including many new articles. We are releasing articles in the top ten languages right now and this will continue until we have completed all 50 languages. As you give we can accomplish this process more quickly.

A viewer from Sweden recently wrote and summarized the importance of all this. He said, “There is nothing like your ministry in Sweden, probably not in the whole world outside of the USA. It is a vital source to us for Christian teaching. We are very grateful to God for providing you. You are spreading the Gospel to the world.” We have heard the same thing from folks in China, Pakistan, Romania, and many other countries.

When this life is over and we give an account to God of our lives, we will all want to say we did all we could to persuade people to accept and follow Christ. Your gift this month—whether $25, $50, $100, or more—is vital to us being able to provide our TV programs, radio programs, books, articles, and sermons around the world. Please pray about what God would have you do. Again, this month your gift will be matched dollar for dollar up to $100,000—doubling the impact of your gift during this time. Would you help us reach the world for Christ?

For the sake of the Gospel,

Dr. John Ankerberg