This online institute is designed to give a brief analysis and discussion of all scientific disciplines through the lens of a biblical world view. +++ SDG +++

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Lesson #81 Early Church

Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
(Est. 2009) Lesson #81

Last time we ended with the martyrdom of Peter and Paul circa 68 AD. I am not sure how big a piece we can break off of the remaining 1948 years of history but let’s take a bite and see how much we can chew on in this month of elections and turkey dinners.

            Let’s start with one of the single most significant events in the first century, in the fall of 70 AD. This was the point at which Rome had had enough of the zealots and their rebellion and decided to squash this irritating little region and make an example of them. The troubles started in 66 AD but by fall of 70 AD, under Tacitus, the Romans had destroyed the 500-year-old second temple.  For centuries many historic things and events were actually dated based on the number of years ‘since the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem’.
            Some other things going on in the world in the first and second centuries were: Rome reached its greatest geographical size under Emperor Trajan, who ruled from 98 to 116 AD; Emperor Hadrian built his wall to protect his British colonies from 122 to 127; Afghanistan is first invaded by the Huns around 200 AD; Tacitus writes his history around 117; Pope Victor the First, Bishop of Rome, is officially the 15th Pope (but it was not until near the end of his time in 199 that the Roman pontificate claimed the predominate position that it still claims today); Some of the oldest known Mayan monuments date back to around 168 AD; Ptolemy drew maps of 26 countries around 170 AD; and Rome suffered a great plague, one of the first on record from 134 to 180 AD.

            We will keep it short this month and next month we will make our way up to around 300 AD. We will also discuss how what we know as the 66 books of the Bible came together in the first three centuries of Christianity. That will leave us about 1700 years to cover in 2017.     

Till next month Pastor Portier                         

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Lesson #80

Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
(Est. 2009) Lesson #80

Last time we ended with Ascension Day on Mt. Olivet near Bethany, May 14th, 33 AD. So let’s press on. We only have 1983 years left to cover but over 90% of recorded history is in the last two millennia. For that matter actually the last 500 years probably account for half of all historic materials. Mankind gets better at recording history and saving that record from the ravages of time so that the more recent a historical event the better chance it has of being well documented. (P.S. the dates that follow are all AD)

So let us enter the age of the early church with that in mind. In its first few years the young church starts to structure itself and suffers a few blows from the evil one. Matthias is chosen to replace Judas shortly after Jesus death and resurrection. After Pentecost, in May of 33, they go out spreading the Gospel and even performing miracles in Jesus’s name. The apostles suffer trials, beatings, the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira and the martyrdom of Stephen. In mid-36 Paul went from being one of the church’s greatest persecutors to one of its greatest champions. For the next decade the apostles are busy preaching and teaching the faith; in 36 & 37 Philip preaches and plants churches in Samaria & Judea, in 37 & 38 Paul is in Arabia, Damascus, and Jerusalem.  Peter sees and reports the conversion of Cornelius and other gentiles in 39 & 40. At that time Barnabas and Paul are in Antioch. In 43 Peter travels to Rome and Paul and Barnabas return to Judea with relief resources for the other churches. In late 42 early 43 Agrippa the First executes James and imprisons Peter. Later in 43, Agrippa the First dies and Paul, Barnabas and John-Mark go to Antioch.

The rest of the datable events in the first century church can be structured around Paul’s missionary journeys. His first journey was with Barnabas from 45-48 when they visited Cyprus, Pisidan, Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, Derbe, and Perga. During this trip Paul establishes churches and helps to organize and give guidance to new churches. In 49, between Paul’s first and second journey, a church council was convened in Jerusalem. That spring Peter went to Antioch and treated gentile Christians as poorly as the Judaizers did. He later got an ear full from Paul. As they reconciled, they set into practice Christ’s teaching that in His universal church, all were to be treated without favoritism or cultural separation but as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Paul’s second journey was from 49 to 51. His companions for this journey, in whole or in part, were Barnabas, Mark, and Silas. This trip takes him to Cyprus, Cilicia, Syria, Galatia, Troas, Philippi, Thessalonica, Brea, and Athens. Paul spent about half of this trip in Corinth where he wrote 1 Thessalonians and went before a Gallio’s tribunal. His journey ended in Caesarea in the winter of 51 and just a few months later in 52 his third missionary journey began from Syrian Antioch (where a lot of today’s conflict is taking place). His companions for parts of this journey were Apollos, Timothy and Erastus. This trip went to Galatia, Phrygia, Corinth, Ephesus (while here he wrote 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Corinthians and possibly Galatians, some believe Galatians was written during the first journey), Macedonia, Greece (while here he wrote Romans), Philippi, Troas, Miletus and finally back in Jerusalem in 55.

The next 13 years are very tumultuous for Paul. He is imprisoned and spends the next two years going through legal proceedings with Governor Felix, Drusilla, Governor Festus, and the chief priest Herod Agrippa & Bernice, all playing a part in his long litigation. Finally, his appeal to Cesar is granted and is sent to Rome. He leaves Caesarea in September of 57. After a stop in Crete he survives a ship wreck in Malta and spends the winter there, cared for by the kind natives. He leaves in February of 58 and arrives in Rome in March of 58. Paul was released in 60 and that is when many believe he made a trip to Spain (a fourth missionary journey) which he mentions in his third journey. We have no record of the actual trip. James the half-brother of Jesus and Bishop of Jerusalem was martyred in 62. Then in 65, Paul leaves Titus in Crete and Timothy in Ephesus.  Paul’s final church visits are Macedonia in 65, Nicopolis & Ephesus in 66 and the last in Troas in 67 where he is again arrested. This time he and Peter are martyred in Rome in late 67 early 68.

            All of these names, dates, and locations are important because they speak to the historicity and the truth claims of the Apostles, the early church and Scripture.
Till next month Pastor Portier                                           

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Lesson #79 Post Resurrection Appearances

Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
(Est. 2009) Lesson #79
As I mentioned last time, the first Easter was probably April 5th, 33 AD. This month I would like to briefly discuss the 40-day period between Easter Sunday and Ascension Day; two very important dates on the church’s calendar. The article at Answers in Genesis which is linked below does a good job of summarizing and addressing any supposed conflicts in the biblical accounts. There are some historical facts that must be dealt with by those who claim Christianity is just a big hoax.

First, there was an empty tomb. There were also many witnesses not only to the empty tomb, but also to the multiple appearances of the man who was laid in that tomb, walking talking, and even eating. Second, if one were going to make up a story to support a false religion, would it not make sense that they would in some way benefit from the hoax? Keep in mind that the list of reliable witnesses I am about to summarize for you were for the most part persecuted and martyred for their bold witness.

On Easter day Jesus appeared to no fewer than 5 women, 4 of whom we know by name: 2 named Mary, Salome, Joanna, and at least one other unnamed woman. He appeared also to no fewer than 12 men, including 10 of the apostles (Simon & Peter twice), and the two disciples headed to Emmaus: Clopas and his un-named companion. On April 12th you can add Thomas to the list. So already in the first week we have 6 separate appearances and 18 firsthand witnesses.

Additionally, sometime in the following weeks, recorded for our benefit, was an appearance at the sea of Tiberius (which is what the sea of Galilee was called in the coastal area around the town of Tiberius). This appearance included 5 named apostles and two other disciples. In Matthew 28, the resurrected Jesus appears to the Apostles on a mountain in Galilee. He then institutes what is often called “The Great Commission”, instructing them to baptize and teach the faith to all nations. This is also from where the church draws the “baptismal formula” under which all Christians are to be baptized into the triune name of God. There was one more pre-ascension appearance recorded for us in 1 Corinthians 15, in which over 500 brethren witnessed the resurrected Christ.

       Lastly came Ascension Day on Mt. Olivet near Bethany, May 14th, 33 AD. We do not know how many of Jesus’ disciples were there, but we do know he had more than 70, and after 40 days, many if not most would have been (I am guessing of course) on sort of high alert; a “where will he appear next?” sort of mind set. Suffice it to say there were a lot of disciples there. A small chapel stands on the spot at which this is traditionally thought to have taken place. Historic traditional locations for things are, the result of generations of individuals witnessing to the importance of that location.

Hundreds of reliable witnesses have given us reports of at least 10 post-resurrection appearances. The question now becomes, “what evidence exists to refute the claims of scripture?” I contend that there is none, and disbelief that resurrection from the dead is possible is not a valid argument!

see the link below for a graphic time line that I could not past here

Link to article:

Saturday, August 27, 2016

#78 The Life of Christ

Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
(Est. 2009) Lesson #78
By the estimation of Paul Maier and Andrew Steinmann, two of our best biblical history scholars, Jesus was born sometime between late 5 and early 2 BC. Maier calls this the “un-datable date” in his book “In the Fullness of Time”, where he examines, in-depth, the first Christmas and Easter, as well as the early Church.
Before we start discussing the life of Christ, let’s look at some of the other things going on in the world during the first 50 years AD (Anno Domini / the Year of our Lord). Cymbeline, King of Catuvellauni (a tribal region in southeast Britain) was recognized by Rome as the King of Britain around 5 AD. In the same year, Ovid finished “Metamorphoses”, a poetic collection of some 250 myths. The first definite reference to diamonds appears in records from 16 AD, and the Han Dynasty began in China around 22 AD. London was founded in 43 AD, and after conquering Gaul (modern-day France & Germany), the Romans learned how to use soap. (Thank goodness for that; soldiers can get really smelly!)
We finished up last month with Jesus and his family returning to Nazareth in mid to late 1 BC. Of course, Matthew & Luke are our primary sources for the early life of Christ, but after he gets to Nazareth we only get 12 more verses regarding his youth; “The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him.” (Luke 2:40.) Verses 41-51 are the account of Jesus being accidently left by his family at the temple for three days, and Luke closes by saying in verse 52, “Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” We might like to know more about the early life of Christ, but there are no other reliable sources. The Koran repeats a second-century gnostic myth from the gospel of Thomas about Jesus turning clay pigeons into real birds, but there is no credible source for it, so it remains a myth.
Besides scripture, there are no other written sources that even mention Nazareth until around 200 AD. Some claim it did not exist, however, archeology and most scholars say that in the first century, Nazareth was home to thousands of people, including many “tecknons” (Greek for builder, contractor, carpenter, stone mason, etc.), and was a place of relative peace and prosperity. Jesus probubly spent most of the first 30 years of his life there. We can even speculate that he would have been following the 4th commandment by being a good son. 
All four gospels record the start of Jesus’ ministry at his baptism, which according to the best estimates, was around the summer of 29 AD. This was immediately followed by Jesus’ 40 days of temptation in the wilderness. In the fall of that year, Jesus turned water into wine at the wedding in Cana, and called the first of his apostles. On April 6th of 30 AD, Jesus celebrated his first Passover with his disciples in Jerusalem. Towards the end of that year, John the Baptizer was arrested, and Jesus traveled throughout Samaria. In the fall of 31 AD Jesus celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem, and in the winter of 31/32 AD, he traveled throughout Galilee. John the Baptizer was executed in the winter of 32. Jesus was busy that year finishing up his time in Galilee, feeding the 5000 & 4000, walking on water, healing, and casting out demons in places like Tyre, Sidon, the Decapolis, Caesarea Philippi, Samaria, Juda, and Perea. He was then in Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles and the Feast of Dedication in 32 AD.
This is, of course, a very rough sketch of Jesus’ three-and-one-half-year ministry, which included some 36 recorded miracles and over 350 fulfilled prophecies, and which came to a close at passion week. March 29th 33 AD was Jesus’ triumphal entry (what most Christians celebrate as Palm Sunday), April 2nd was the Last Supper, April 3rd, Good Friday, and April 5th, the first Easter. While the date of Jesus’ birth is known only within a 3 to 4-year window, thanks to the detailed accounts of Good Friday and holy week, along with evidence from external sources, archeology, history, and astronomy, they are among the most certain of dates we have in the life of Christ. Of course, we must acknowledge that events 2000 years past cannot be known with 100% certainty, but all known evidence supports this timeline and none contradicts it.

We will kick things off at Easter next month.

Till then in Christ,

Pastor Portier

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Lesson #77

Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
(Est. 2009) Lesson #77
Last month we covered the time between the testaments and while we touched on some things on the AD side of history let’s start this month with the birth of Christ. The exact date of Jesus birth is not known for a number of reasons so let’s address that question. When was Jesus born? Chapter 11 of Andrew Steinmann’s book “From Abraham to Paul” gives the question a very thorough treatment, what I will try to do here is give a summary overview of the many historical elements that affect how we understand the date of Jesus birth.

First the traditional view based on a biblical chronology has Jesus birth falling somewhere between 3 and 1 BC, while the modern consensus view dates the birth before 4 BC. The consensus view is primarily based on the estimate of Herod the Grate’s death in 4 BC. There are a number of dating contradictions and inconsistencies between ancient sources when trying to nail down a reliable chronology of Herod the Great. Without getting into any great detail I will give a summary of datable events in Herod’s reign based on Steinmann’s well-argued chronology.

            Late 39 BC Herod is appointed King.
            38 BC Herod begins his first full regnal year.
            36 BC Herod conquers Jerusalem.
            35 BC Herod begins his first full regnal year in Jerusalem.
            31 BC The battle of Actium takes place on September the 2nd .
            20 BC Caesar is in Syria and Herod begins work on the Temple.
            Late 19 Early 18 BC Work on the Temple complete.
            12 BC Work on the temple precincts completed.
            11 or 10 BC work completed on Caesarea Sebaste also known as Caesarea Marittima.
            5 BC Magi observe the star.
            4 BC Pheroras murdered, Antipater deposed, Archelaus named Herod’s heir.
            3 or 2 BC Tax Revolt of Judas.
            Mid 3 BC John the Baptist is born.
            Late 3 Early 2 BC Jesus Born.
            40 to 50 days later Jesus family escapes to Egypt.
            First quarter of 1 BC Herod dies.
            Later in 1 BC Jesus family returns to Nazareth.

            Because of the fragmented and conflicting nature of the ancient evidence associated with the life and times of Herod the Great. No chronology can assert with absolute certainty the accuracy of their time line. However, we can affirm the sound scholarship that lays behind such a chronology. We can also say the with all the evidence in consideration that Jesus was born Somewhere between 6 and 2 BC. In my mind it is quite amazing that we can have such a small window of time for an event two millennia in the past.

            Next month we will examine the Chronology of the life of Christ

Till Then
Pastor Portier

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
(Est. 2009) Lesson #76
We left off last month at the end of the Old Testament chronology in 428 BC. The prophets and scripture fall silent at that time, so we must rely on ancient texts other than scripture to learn of the historical events between 428 BC and the birth of Christ. There are a number of good sources if you want to go deeper into this time period, but I think the best synopsis can be found in The Apocrypha: the Lutheran Edition with notes, from CPH. The introductory matter in this book covers the period of 538 BC to 135 AD in about 40 pages, and gives a great overview.

While the bulk of ancient written histories during this time period still cover the happenings in the fertile crescent of the Middle East, we begin to see datable events in cultures all over the world. If the Tower of Babel event took place around 2242 BC, 106 years after the flood and just after the birth of Peleg (Gen 11:16-19), then by 428 BC, ~1800 years had passed for the earth to be populated, and that is exactly what had happened. In the Americas, in the central region pyramids were built in like the ones at Monte Alban or Chitzen itza. The famous Mayan calendar was created during this time, around 580 BC (this was the civilization the preceded the classical period in North America which began around 50 BC).
In South America, the Tiahuanaco civilization began around 600 BC until the dominant culture of the Paracas in the Andes took hold around 100 BC. In the Orient, Japan’s city states began to take shape around 260 BC, while in China, the Zhou Dynasty came to a close, the Quin Dynasty followed with its first uniting emperor, and the Han Dynasty followed that. Russia was in the middle years of their Scythian period, and during that time India was part of a few empires including both Persian and Greek invasions, as they entered their classical period around 200 BC. The Greek republic peaked somewhere between 650 and 350 BC, building the Parthenon, and giving birth to the western idea of a democratic republic along with philosophers like Plato, Socrates & Aristotle.
Greece entered its Macedonian period when Alexander the Great began his reign at the age of 20 in 336 BC. Much has been written about his famous conquest of the kingdoms of North Africa and the Middle East. To summarize, he became Pharaoh of Egypt in 332 BC, the first King of Asia in 331 BC, and King of Persia in 330 BC. After his death in Babylon in 323 BC, his four Generals divided up his kingdom. Africa entered the Ptolemaic period until conquered by Rome in 30 BC. Mesopotamia entered the Seleucid period until conquered by Rome around 65 BC. Greece stayed in its Macedonian period until conquered by Rome around 150 BC.
Rome was founded as a city state around 625 BC and would be in control of most of the Mediterranean countries of North Africa, Europe, and Asia by the time Christ was born. It would be better stated that Rome conquered what was left of the three kingdoms listed above, because what it conquered in many cases were towns and cities that were part of kingdoms that no longer existed or had dwindled to only a few cities.

Finally, let’s discuss “the time between the testaments” in the Levant. The “Levant” is a geographical term that refers to a large area in Southwest Asia, south of the Taurus Mountains, bounded by the Mediterranean Sea in the west, the Arabian Desert in the south, and Mesopotamia in the east. The term is also sometimes used to refer to modern events or states in the region immediately bordering the eastern Mediterranean Sea: Cyprus, Palestine, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, and Syria. This general area was Part of the Persian empire until conquered by Alexander the Great in the late 330s BC. From around 310 to 200 BC the Ptolemaic empire controlled most of the region. From 200 to 160 BC the Seleucid Empire controlled most of the region. For about 100 years the Jewish Maccabeans had primary control of the region.
The Roman period for this region around Israel, (called Syria by the Romans) began in 63 BC. However, it was through alliance rather than conquest. Rome first become an ally then later its ruler. The Idumean or Edomite dynasty lasted from 63 to 6 BC. Herod the Great, who ruled from 37 to 4 BC (consensus view) is called “the Great” primarily for his building projects, not the least of which were the temple mount improvements that stand today, and a complete renovation in 20 BC of the second temple finished by Zerubbabel in 515 BC. Sadly, that temple was destroyed in 70 AD only years after the finishing touches were put on the surrounding structures. The Al-Aqsa Mosque was built on that location in 705 AD.
I think we have sufficiently filled your head with names dates and locations for one session and covered the time between the testaments. Next month we will begin to look at the time into which our Lord and savior was born.

Till next month,
Pastor Portier

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
(Est. 2009) Lesson #75
            The Assyrian Babylonian Exile begins, for our purposes, in 587 BC with the fall of Judah to King Nebuchadnezzar. There are three empires we need to be familiar with in order to understand Jewish history over the next 250-year period.

            First the Assyrian Empire, which reached its peak between 880 BC & 612 BC. In 722 BC Assyria conquered the northern 10 tribes often identified in scripture as Israel.

            Second the Babylonians took the capital of Assyria in 612 BC and after defeating Egypt in Carchemish in 605 BC controlled the area around Judah. This led to the eventual fall of Judah after Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem in 586 BC.

            Finally, around 50 years later in 539 BC, Persia captured Babylon and took over the empire. The following year in 538 BC the Jewish people were repatriated, encouraged by the Persian King Cyrus II to practice their faith and culture, restoring Jerusalem and the temple. The Persians ruled the region for another 200 years although they struggled with the Greeks for supremacy from 513 BC until around 333 BC when Alexander the Great swept through the region.

            On this exterior framework we can now hit some of the highlights of the history of God’s people during this time of great struggles over the Levant (historical geographical term for a large area of the Eastern Mediterranean).

            We get Nebuchadnezzar’s insanity recorded in Daniel chapter 4 somewhere between 573 BC and 569 BC. Daniel records some of the final visions for King Belshazzar of the Babylonian empire in chapters 7 and 8. Daniel reads the handwriting on the wall “mene, mene, tekel, upharsin” in chapter 5 on the eve of the fall of Babylon. While much can be said about that evening in history, I find it quite amazing that we can, with great certainty, date that event to Sunday October 11th 539 BC. (I will refer you to page 175 of Andrew Steinmann’s book “From Abraham to Paul” as my source for this date. Most of the dates in this series are drawn from that book)

            Ezekiel and Daniel are good sources for history during the exile while we look to Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, Ezra and Nehemiah for post exilic or return from exile information. We learn in the first chapters of Ezra that Cyrus decreed the return of the exiles in 538 BC in 533 BC. They arrive in the summer and in that same year they build a new altar and conduct their first sacrifice on it. The second temple construction begins in 532 BC, only to be halted the following year because of suspicious neighbors. It was not until Haggai and Zechariah prophesied in 520 BC that the second temple building resumed. We know of a number of events and their dates during the reign of Xerxes through the book of Esther. These are Jews who chose to stay in the Susa instead of returning to Jerusalem. Most of the events leading to deliverance of the Jews, allowing them to defend themselves, came in Mordechai’s edict in 474 BC. This edict leads to the celebration, of the first festival of Purim, on Friday April 6th 473 BC.

            Ezra and Nehemiah record a number of key events that close out the Old Testament chronology. In 445 BC, the wall of Jerusalem is built and a number of events reestablishing the Jewish culture and identity as God’s people take place. Nehemiah returns to Jerusalem in late 428, early 429 BC, and that is the last solidly datable event in the Old Testament.

            Next month we will examine the time between the testaments.

Till next month

Pastor Portier

Friday, March 25, 2016

#74 Back to History

Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
(Est. 2009) Lesson #74
We are back on the topic of History. In the last history lesson (#61), we discussed Solomon, who served the first two years as king in a coregent status until David’s death in 969 BC. Solomon began his reign in 971 BC and died in 932 BC, serving as Israel’s king for just over 40 years. In 2014, we covered the first 3000 years of human existence. This year, in a high-speed-flyover fashion, we will attempt to cover the past 3000 years. We will have to be very selective because most written histories cover this second half. I would like to finish history this year, so we will change up the format and try to cover about 300 years in each lesson. We will cover each segment in accordance with the following two principles: first, we will highlight things that are of historic significance to Christianity, and second, we will cover these things with regard to their roles in affirming the reliability of the biblical historical narrative. Of course, biblical history ends during the first century AD, so the remaining 2000 years will be covered in light of biblical truth.

The period of time from 932 BC to 732 BC is generally known as the time of the Divided Monarchy. Solomon’s son Rehoboam was clearly not as wise as his father, and was unable to keep the kingdom united. The northern 10 tribes broke off, and for the period between 931 BC and 732 BC, the northern kingdom is referred to as Israel, and the southern Kingdom is referred to as Judah. During this period, both kingdoms had 20 kings. Scripture identifies all of Israel’s kings as bad or evil, and it fell to the Assyrian empire in 732 BC. Judah, on the other hand, actually had 5 of their kings identified as good for at least some of their reign. They held out for 145 years longer before falling to the Assyrian empire in 587 BC.

            There were also some other interesting things going on around the world at that time. The Greeks were settling the coast of Spain, the city of Rome was established around 753 BC, the Celts were beginning to move into England, and the first recorded Olympic Games took place in 776 BC (they may have started as early as 1350 BC, but the 776 BC games are the first on record). Iron utensils began to pop up in some regions, and the first recorded Solar Eclipse (written in Chinese histories) occurred on Sept 6th 775 BC. There are also some biblical events and individuals from this time mentioned in extra-biblical sources. For example, the 853 BC Battle of Qarqar is recorded on a monolith inscription, and King Ahab the Israelite is listed as a participant. Also, Jehu’s 841 BC tribute to Shalmaneser III is recorded on a black obelisk. Some others include Azariah’s 743 BC tribute to Tiglath-Pileser III, Hosea’s 731 BC Tribute to Tiglath-Pileser III, Samaria’s 723 BC fall under the rule of King Hoshea to Shalmaneser V, the Egyptian & Assyrian defeat at Haran in 609 BC, and Nebuchadnezzar’s first and second capture of Jerusalem in 605 & 597 BC.

            Outside sources and biblical information contained primarily in Kings and Chronicles, along with information found in a number of the prophets gives us a fairly accurate chronology of this otherwise tumultuous period. Some kings from this time took the throne while still very young (Joash at 7), and some were relatively old (Rehoboam at age 41). Some ruled for only months, while Uzziah ruled for 52 years. Also, the start and end dates of the reigns of the last 4 Judean kings can actually be translated from the ancient Jewish calendar to a modern Gregorian BC date!

            Next month we will pick things up during the period known as the Assyrian Babylonian Exile starting in 587 BC, and we will see if we can get to the end of the Old Testament period in 430 BC. We may even begin to venture into the time between the testaments.

Till next month,

Pastor Portier

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Lesson # 73 Logical fallacy wrap up

Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
(Est. 2009) Lesson #73
Philosophy: what is it, and why does it matter? More importantly, as this is a Bible institute, why does it or even should it matter to a Christian?  We continue to looking at essential tools for intelligent debate by identifying and avoiding Logical fallacies.

Appealing to Extremes: A fallacy very similar to slippery slope, which involves taking an argumentative claim or assertion to its extreme, even though the arguer does not advocate the extreme interpretation. The difference between the two fallacies is that appealing to extremes does not necessarily involve a sequence of causal connections. Example: Debtor to creditor: Hey, you've already repossessed my car and my television. Why don't you just draw a quart of blood or carve a pound of flesh from my heart too? Paul uses a similar rhetorical extreme when speaking to the Judaizers suggesting if they continue to require circumcision why not castrate themselves, pointing out how wrong it was to continue require what God does not. 
Hypothesis Contrary to Fact: This fallacy consists of offering a poorly supported claim about what might have happened in the past or future if circumstances or conditions were other than they actually were or are. The fallacy also involves treating hypothetical situations as if they were fact. Example: If you had only tasted the stewed snails, I'm sure you would have liked them. Example: If Hitler had not invaded Russia and opened up two military fronts, the Nazis would surely have won the war.

Non Sequitar: (literally means "does not follow") in a general sense any argument which fails to establish a connection between the premises and the conclusion may be called a non-sequitar. In practice, however, the label non-sequitar tends to be reserved for arguments in which irrelevant reasons are offered to support a claim. Example: I wore a red shirt when I took the test, so that is probably why I did so well. Example: Mr. Boswell couldn't be the person who poisoned our pet, because he was always so nice to her. What shirt you where or how nice someone is does not make a factual connection to what took place. 

Red Herring: attempting to hide a weakness in an argument by drawing attention away from the real issue. A red herring fallacy is thus a diversionary tactic or an attempt to confuse or fog the issue being debated. The name of the fallacy comes from the days of fox hunting, when a herring was dragged across the trail of a fox in order to throw the dogs off the scent. A variation of this is shifting to a related topic in essence changing the subject. Example: accused by his wife of cheating at cards, Ned replies "Nothing I do ever pleases you. I spent all last week repainting the bathroom, and then you said you didn't like the color." Example: There's too much fuss and concern about saving the environment. We can't create an Eden on earth. And even if we could, remember Adam and Eve made a very bad choicer there as well.

Inconsistency: advancing an argument that is self-contradictory, or that is based on mutually inconsistent premises. Example: A used car salesperson says, "Hey, you can’t trust those other car salesmen. They’ll say anything to get you to buy a car." Example: A parent has just read a child the story of Cinderella. The child asks, "If the coach, and the footmen, and the beautiful clothes all turned back into the pumpkin, the mice, and the rags, then how come the glass slipper didn’t change back too?" while I know you might be saying with the child “yea why?” I will ask you back into what? J

              Ok enough philosophy, we have had a year break from history and left that endeavor during the time of King Solomon. So back to history next month.

Have a blessed Valentine’s day and may your Lenten season be rich and full of preparation for Easter.

In Christ Robert Portier