See update here.
This is indeed very sad news. I really did not expect this at all. It has blind sided me. Just when Reclaiming the Mind Ministries was moving forward with such affectiveness. Just when I was getting settled in my faith. Just when my prayer life was taking a turn. I can’t believe that they actually found Christ’s remains. All this time we thought He was in heaven–the God-Man. Go figure that I would get this wrong. I guess I will be sending out my resume. Not sure what good a Th.M. does anymore though.
Sorry, enough with the sarcasm.
As many of you may already know, on March 4th the Discovery Channel will be airing a documentary that alleges to possibly have found Jesus’ family tomb. In short, the Discovery special will argue that a certian tomb contains the remains of Jesus Christ, Mary and Joseph (His parents), Mary Magdelene (His wife), Matthew (His brother), and Judas (His son). You can read more about it here. The producer of this special is Oscar-winning director James Cameron (director of largest grossing movie of all time, The Titanic).
As well, there is also a book called The Jesus Family Tomb: The Discovery, the Investigation, and the Evidence That Could Change History that will complement the Discovery Channel special. Interestingly, this book was only released today but is already #5 on the Amazon best seller list. Sadly, I have to recommend that you get this book to be prepared. (Hey, you got the Da Vinci Code didn’t you?)
The Christian blog world has been set a blaze with those attempting to respond to this. Ben Witherington has already written extensively on this with more to come.
Let me just give you a couple of words of caution as we move forward on this:
This is an opportunity. Let’s not have a knee-jerk reaction to this. I know it is very easy for Christians to get angered and emotional about such claims when they are presented to the public as truth, but think about the opportunity we have here. This is going to put the resurrection of Christ, the very cornerstone of our faith (1Cor 15) in the public eye. There is no single greater apologetic that Christians have for our faith than the historicity of the resurrection. Too often the media and tabloids are focused upon peripheral issues concerning our faith. Not this time. This has the opportunity for Christians to take the light that shines the brightest and carries the most weight and air it for all the world to see. There is nothing that I would like to see more than this. Pray for all the Christians who will be called on by the media to discuss these claims. Pray that the media treats them fairly. Pray that the media connects with the right people who are able to discuss this intelligently (like getting William Craig not Pat Robertson to discuss this).
Don’t respond to quickly or rashly. Right now, the forthcoming theories are still forthcoming. Let’s wait to see what they have to say and then respond to it in a calm and precise way. Often we can get so defensive that we emotionally engage with the evidence before we intellecually engage. My feelings are that classic resurrection apologetics will take care of these claims, but I want to wait and see what they are first.
On the lighter side, I am going to paraphrase Jay Leno tonight concerning this. “They say that they have discovered the remains of Jesus and His family tomb. They say that they know through DNA testing that Jesus had a son who was also in this tomb . . . Yeah right! They cannot even tell who the father of Anna Nicole Smith’s child is yet they can tell us this is Jesus’ child?”
Ed Komozewski and I talked about what scholars we could bring in to discuss this on Converse with Scholars. We have a few in mind. We will keep you up to date. (Athough, Ed Komozewski could handle this as well as anyone).
More to come on this soon.