How Jesus Subverts the Kingdoms of this World

Jeremy Bouma on 11 months ago. Tagged under ,,,.

9780310328612He was born in the Roman Empire over two thousand years ago, growing up to command the loyalty of thousands. During his thirties he was seen as the fulfillment of national hopes and founder of an endless kingdom.

His achievements were considered signs of divine authority. Official proclamations of these acts, known as “gospels,” were published in his honor. In fact, an inscription on a stone was uncovered in southwest Turkey describing him in this way:

God sent him as a savior for us to make war to cease, to create peaceful order everywhere. And the birthday of this “god” was the beginning for the world of gospels that have come to men through him.

Who was this “god”? If you said Jesus, you’d be wrong. The “savior” described is Gaius Octavius, otherwise known as…

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What History Tells Us About Jesus

Jeremy Bouma on 11 months ago. Tagged under ,,,.

9780310328612Christianity is unique among the world religions because it claims to be historical. It revolves around a series of events that are believed to have occurred in modern Israel between 5 BC and AD 30.

Which makes it open to historical scrutiny.

As John Dickson explains in his new book A Doubter’s Guide to Jesus: “If you claim that something spectacular took place in history, intelligent people are going to ask you historical questions.”

How has it fared in the face of such critical observation? Surprisingly well! Particularly because Jesus is mentioned several times outside of the New Testament.

One lucky outcome of this flurry of ancient literary output [about the Roman Empire] is that a small-town Jewish teacher, named Yeshua ben Yosef, or Jesus son of Joseph, happened to…

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Work, Play, and Worship – An Excerpt from A Doubter’s Guide to the Ten Commandments

ZA Blog on 2 years ago. Tagged under ,,.

“If you’re someone who enjoys a weekend, you owe it to Moses” says John Dickson in A Doubter’s Guide to the Ten Commandments. In today’s excerpt, Dickson explains the fourth commandment and reveals how a weekly day of rest was a completely unique idea in the ancient world and that it was especially designed for our benefit.


doubters-guide-ten-commandmentsIn the fourth commandment we find a little relief from the seriousness of the first three. In fact, it is all about relief, or rest from work. If you’re someone who enjoys a weekend, you owe it to Moses:

(Exodus 20:9 – 11; see also Deuteronomy 5:12 – 15)


The Sabbath day of rest is…

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How Jesus’ Murder-Is-Wrong Ethic Is Deeper than Atheists’ Ethic

Jeremy Bouma on 2 years ago. Tagged under ,,,.

doubters-guide-ten-commandmentsFor the past few months, my pastor has been preaching the Ten Commandments. Though the first four gave me pause, causing me to consider my singular worship of God, and the fifth one about parent honoring resurfaced vivid childhood memories, I sighed in relief at the sixth: “You shall not murder.” I could safely say I’d never murdered anyone.

Not so fast! Because as John Dickson explains in his new book A Doubter’s Guide to the Ten Commandments, “For Jesus, the command about murder is a shadow of a deeper reality in which God calls on us to revere people so much that we will refuse even to denigrate another…” (125)

Jesus’ murder-is-wrong ethic is a strong one. Even stronger than atheistic, secular notions. Because as Dickson reveals, his logic…

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Can You Be Good without God? – An Excerpt from A Doubter’s Guide to the Ten Commandments

ZA Blog on 2 years ago. Tagged under ,,,.


The Ten Commandments are perhaps one of the most well-known and vexed verses of the whole Bible. They have found their way into our art, monuments, literature and culture.

But whether you are a believer or a doubter, this book will provide more than an interesting account of the influence of the Ten Commandments over the millennia. In today’s excerpt from A Doubter’s Guide to the Ten Commandments, John Dickson demonstrates how the first commandment is actually the foundation for the way of life envisioned for all humanity.


doubters-guide-ten-commandmentsThe first commandment is a call to take God seriously.

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me. (Read more

3 Keys to Help Doubters Make Sense of the Ten Commandments

Jeremy Bouma on 2 years ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

doubters-guide-ten-commandmentsThe greatest cultural icon of the West isn’t American (Declaration of Independence). It isn’t British (Magna Carta) or French (The Social Contract). Instead it’s Judeo-Christian.

I’m speaking of the Ten Commandments.

Though some have tried to transcend it, offering alternative lists in its place, there is no denying—or escaping—its enduring attraction and influence. John Dickson hopes to recapture both in his new book A Doubter’s Guide to the Ten Commandments. In it he explores how these ten verses have changed our world and how they show us what the Good Life looks like.

The social impact of this ancient moral charter is so great that most people living in the West…are living by the Ten Commandments, pretty much. These rules…

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Flash Sale: “A Doubter’s Guide to the Bible” and “Raised?” eBooks Just $1.99

ZA Blog on 3 years ago. Tagged under ,,,,,.

Saint Thomas

Until July 3, 2015, these two eBooks are just $1.99 apiece:

1. A Doubter’s Guide to the Bible by John Dickson: SALE Price $1.99 | Regular Price $11.99 (83% off!)

Doubter's GuideAmazon

Barnes & Noble


“A wonderful tour guide through the high points [of the Bible], dealing directly with the questions people have while explaining the gist of what is going on in Scripture. It is a tour well worth taking because it is led by such a competent guide.” –Darrell Bock, Senior Research Professor of New Testament, Dallas Theological Seminary


2. Raised? Finding Jesus by Doubting the Resurrection by Jonathan Dodson and Brad Watson: SALE Price $1.99 | Regular Price $5.99 (66% off)

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Is It OK to Doubt Your Faith? A World-Class Doubter Says ‘Yes!’

Jeremy Bouma on 3 years ago. Tagged under ,,.

(Can’t see the video? Watch it here)

A Doubter's Guide to the BibleWhat aspects of the Christian faith that you believe today have you at some point doubted?

Perhaps the reliability of the Bible or the historicity of Jesus. Maybe the existence of God himself.

“Doubt’s are a normal part of life,” John Dickson says, author of the book A Doubter’s Guide to the Bible. The book is his tribute to doubt. In it he helps people who aren’t quite sure about the Bible, God, Jesus, and faith see how their doubts don’t have to be avoided.

Dickson describes himself as a world-class doubter, which makes him the perfect person to explain why it’s OK to doubt your faith.

Watch the above video as he share the place doubt has…

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Why is the Bible Always the Number One Bestseller?

Jeremy Bouma on 3 years ago. Tagged under ,,.

(Can’t see the video? Watch it here)

A Doubter's Guide to the BibleExcept for 2007, when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows sold 40 million copies, every year the Bible has been the number one bestseller.

Why is the Bible so popular? In today’s video John Dickson, author of A Doubter’s Guide to the Bible, explains two possible reasons:

“The Church imposes it on the world; it makes this Book the popular book.” “The Bible tells a story from the first book, Genesis, to the last book, Revelation, that people long to be true.”

Dickson goes on to explain what he says in his book: “[the Bible’s] account of humanity and the world we live in rings true. Reading the Bible can be like meeting someone you don’t know who, oddly, somehow…

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A Doubter’s Guide to the End of Cancer & Other Existential Pains

Jeremy Bouma on 3 years ago. Tagged under ,,,.


One year ago today I had surgery to remove a malignant tumor that had stolen itself into my thyroid. Thankfully, I had the good kind of cancer, and I’m (still) free and clear. Yet the dreaded “c” word will always be part of my story, both as patient and survivor.

I can’t wait for the day when cancer is no longer part of our world! Same for drive-by shootings, divorce, and snow (OK, snow will probably be part of the new creation, but this Michigander can hope, can’t he?)

It’s fitting, then, I write this column today, because in it we are exploring the ending of John Dickson’s excellent, ambitious new book, A Doubter’s Guide to the Bible. His ending happens to be the Bible’s ending, for he outlines how everything will be good again through…

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A Skeptic’s Guide to the Paradox of Humanity — Excerpt from “A Doubter’s Guide to the Bible” by John Dickson

Jeremy Bouma on 3 years ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

Doubter's Guide to the BibleHuman nature is a bundle of contradictions.

In the words of Scot McKnight, we are both brilliant and bad: we give our time to the local PTA and cheat on our spouses; we donate to disaster relief funds and cheat on our taxes; we shovel our elderly neighbor out of a snow storm, and cheat our employers out of an honest forty-hour work week.

In his brilliant new book, A Doubter’s Guide to the Bible, John Dickson agrees:

“Despite the unpopularity of the word ‘sin, the Bible’s premise that humanity is the glory and refuse of the universe, as Pascal put it, does resonate…we see examples of this human paradox all around us.” (36)

While we still bear God’s image,…

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A Skeptic’s Guide to Life’s Ultimate Questions — Excerpt from “A Doubter’s Guide to the Bible” by John Dickson

Jeremy Bouma on 3 years ago. Tagged under ,,,.

Doubter's Guide to the BibleJohn Dickson’s new book A Doubter’s Guide to the Bible is an important one because of what he ultimately offers skeptics of the Bible: answers to life’s ultimate questions.

“[T]he real human pursuit,” he writes, “has been to understand why we are here, what purpose it serves, what direction we’re heading in, and what significance it all has.” (201)

Where do modern skeptics turn for such answers? Science. And yet Dickson insists, “Science, for all its wonders, is incapable of approaching such questions, and we dishonor science by imagining it is otherwise.” (201)

Ultimately, what Dickson’s book offers is what the Bible offers: answers to their questions about faith, life, and everything in between.

In the excerpt below he explains how…

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