Paganism provides the theme for the first half. Even in ancient times, Roman philosophers claimed that Christians had “used pagan myths in fabricating the story of a virgin conception.” So is it possible that the miraculous conception of Jesus was plagiarized from pagan parallels to Christianity? That’s Garrick and Timothy’s excellent adventure in the first half of this week’s program.
In the second half, Garrick and Timothy search for spiritual truth in the song “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel. In the process, everyone is shocked to discover that Billy Joel’s piano playing makes Garrick a cultured person and–as the truth is revealed about Garrick’s first dance with his wife–maybe even slightly romantic. And then, as if things couldn’t get any more awkward, the question from the Infinity Gauntlet is mostly about cuteness.
Timothy has expertise in family ministry and in history and in movies where lots of things explode; he also knows about guitars and Greek.
But Timothy has no expertise whatsoever in cuteness.
And thus, because the Infinity Gauntlet has malfunctioned by spawning a question about cuteness, it must be given away. Otherwise, it might attempt at some point in the future to make Timothy answer questions about topics like My Little Pony and Rainbow Brite, which could irreparably rip the space-time continuum.
This terrible recognition forces Garrick and Timothy to formulate one of the most daring giveaways ever attempted in the history of podcasting: Your intrepid cohosts are giving away the Infinity Gauntlet, along with at least ten copies of the new edition of Timothy’s book Perspectives on Family Ministry. Listen to this week’s episode to find out how to win.
If you listen all the way to the end, you’ll also hear a song written by Timothy Paul Jones and recorded with his band Encomia during the infamous illegal recording sessions in an abandoned house in Manhattan, Kansas in the spring of 1993. The title of the song is “The Lottery.” This particular song was partly inspired by Shirley Jackson’s short story of the same name, and the lyrics were written from the perspective of a dying victim of abortion.
In this Episode about Pagan Parallels
Timothy Paul Jones, Ph.D., is C. Edwin Gheens Professor of Christian Family Ministry at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He teaches in the areas of family ministry and applied apologetics. He has authored or edited more than a dozen books, including Why Should I Trust the Bible?; The God Who Goes Before You; Perspectives on Family Ministry; and, Christian History Made Easy. Follow Dr. Jones at @DrTimothyPJones.
Questions to Discuss about Pagan Parallels
1. What do we mean when we say that the pagan parallels aren’t really parallel?
2. What about the supposed parallel of Mithras?
3. In what ways do pagan parallels sometimes confuse the historical claims of the New Testament with later Christian practices?
4. Let’s suppose that some patterns that were present in the life of Jesus could be found in some previous religion. Would this weaken the historical foundations of the Christian faith?
5. Why shouldn’t we worry if the date of Christmas might have had pagan origins?
Links to Click
If you want to learn more about pursuing kingdom diversity and racial reconciliation, one great place to start is For God So Loved the World: A Blueprint for Kingdom Diversity, by Walter Strickland and Dayton Hartman. To download a sample chapter, visit http://www.bhacademic.com
The Religion of the Mithras Cult in the Roman Empire: book by Roger Beck
The Roman Cult of Mithras: book by Manfred Clauss
God in the Dock: book by C. S. Lewis
Myth Conceptions: book by Thomas Lee Snyder
Contra Celsum: book by Origen of Alexandria
“We Didn’t Start the Fire“: song by Billy Joel
“She’s Got a Way“: song by Billy Joel
“Piano Man“: song by Billy Joel
“Smells Like Teen Spirit“: song by Nirvana
“November 10, 1989: Celebration at the Berlin Wall“: clip from ABC News
If you are interested in earning a master’s degree online or on campus that will equip you with the most comprehensive apologetics training available anywhere, go to http://www.sbts.edu/bgs/degree-programs/mdiv/apologetics/
How to Make Three Chords and the Truth More Amazing than It Already Is
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The Closing Credits
Three Chords and the Truth: The Apologetics Podcast thanks B&H Academic for their sponsorship.
Brief excerpts of music played in each program are included solely for the purposes of comment and critique as allowed under the fair-use provision of U.S. copyright law. “The fair use of a copyrighted work … for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, … scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright” (U.S. Code § 107, Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use).