Category: Columns

Are Jude and Peter plagiarists?

This is the second in a series of excerpts from the new MBC resource, “The Last Apologist: A Commentary on Jude for Defenders of the Christian Faith,” available at mobaptist.org/apologetics.

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History is rife with famous plagiarists. Primatologist Jane Goodall “borrowed” from sources ranging from Wikipedia to astrology websites to produce a 2013 book, Seeds of Hope: Wonder and Wisdom from the World of Plants.

Alex Haley’s epic Roots is now considered a mixture of facts, fiction, and thievery.

Joe Biden scuttled his own run for president in 1987 by stealing lines – and even whole pages – from other people’s speeches, including Neil Kinnock of the British Labour Party and American President John F. Kennedy.

And that’s not all. Martin Luther King Jr., rocker Led Zeppelin, and composer John Williams all stand accused in varying degrees of taking other people’s creative work and calling it their own.

So, how do we deal with the reality that portions of Jude and Peter’s second epistle are uncannily similar? Are we dealing with one or more plagiarists claiming divine inspiration?
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Jude: A slave of Jesus Christ

last-apologist-thumbThis is the first in a series of excerpts from “The Last Apologist: A Commentary on Jude for Defenders of the Christian Faith,” available in print and Kindle editions here.


My business card is standard fare. It identifies me and describes my role at the MBC. It also tells how to get in touch with me. That’s what most business cards do: serve as practical, brief, and efficient introductions.

Some people, however, use business cards more creatively. Take Guangbiao Chen, for example, a Chinese tycoon and philanthropist. His business card details illustrious titles and heroic accomplishments:

  • Most Influential Person of China
  • Most Prominent Philanthropist of China
  • China Earthquake Rescue Hero
  • Most Well-Loved and Beloved Chinese Role Model

We’re only halfway through Chen’s list, but you get the idea. This may be one of the cheekiest business cards ever produced.

But how would you respond if someone handed you a business card that simply read, “Jude, a slave”? That’s how the author of the Epistle of Jude opens his letter. With profound humility, he models the manner in which followers of Jesus should defend the Christian faith.
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Passing the point of no return

Red light on the automatic barrierDoes God draw a line in the sand when it comes to sin? That is, can unbelievers rebel against God so grievously, and reject His grace so persistently, that ultimately they pass a point beyond which they can never be saved?

It appears the answer is yes. Consider the following passages of Scripture.

Gen. 15:16 – “for the iniquity of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.” The Lord tells Abraham that his descendants are to be enslaved and oppressed for 400 years (in Egypt), after which God delivers them from bondage and brings them into the Promised Land.

Why the delay in fulfilling His promise to Abraham? Because the Amorites’ measure of sin is not yet full. The Amorites are engaged in degrading sin. God has determined to destroy them and to give their land to His chosen people.

In a similar manner, Noah proclaims judgment upon the wicked for 120 years, but God determines the day in which He closes the door of the ark and opens the floodgates of heaven.
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The humanity of Jesus

Birth_JesusEvangelical Christians often find it necessary to defend the deity of Christ, especially in conversations with those who vigorously deny this biblical truth.

For example, Muslims hold Jesus in high regard as a virgin-born, miracle-working, sinless prophet, but draw the line at the notion of a mere messenger being divine.

Jehovah’s Witnesses, by comparison, grant Jesus the status of “mighty god,” a created archangel who is recreated as a man and then, after dying on a first-century torture stake, is recreated once again as an exalted archangel.

In our efforts to defend the deity of Jesus, however, we also have to grapple with the unique challenges His humanity presents.
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Fake news and false prophets

Touching News On Mobile SmartphoneNews flash: Ireland is now accepting Trump refugees from the U.S.

From our Washington bureau: Hillary Clinton sold weapons to ISIS while secretary of state.

And in sports: The Chicago Cubs win the World Series.

Fake news is everywhere. (Okay, that last story might be true.) And one of the biggest breaking stories of 2016 was the widespread impact of verifiably false news hosted on bogus websites and amplified through social media.

“Yellow journalism” has long been with us — the use of sensationalism and exaggeration to increase a news outlet’s share of the market.

What’s new about today’s fake news is that anyone — not just journalists — can create and disseminate it. Thanks to the Internet and social media, nearly anyone with a smart phone and an imagination can say anything and make it look like reputable journalism.

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has announced plans to minimize the fake news running on his social media platform, while some media outlets are redoubling their efforts to more carefully vet stories, even at the expense of being first with the news.

Even so, consumers of today’s news content should view everything with discernment.
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