June 2006 E-mail Mark Go to markdroberts.com Subscribe to newsletter

What's the Point of This Newsletter?

Thanks for checking out the first edition of the markdroberts.com newsletter. Since I already put up so much material on my website, you may be wondering why I'm adding a newsletter.

This newsletter will allow me to communicate a little more personally with regular readers of my blog. It will also let me talk about some things that go beyond the usual scope of my blog. (Thanks to Lee Strobel for giving me this idea. He's got a fantastic website and a monthly newsletter.)

Once a month (or so) I'll e-mail a newsletter to my subscribers. Subscribers will also get weekly (or so) updates on my current blog topics.

You can subscribe to this newsletter by clicking here. You can also unsubscribe through the same link, if you decide you've had enough of my rambling.

Reviews and Recommendations

 Reinventing Jesus:
What The Da Vinci Code and Other Novel Speculations Don't Tell You

by J. Ed Komooszewski, M. James Sawyer, Daniel B. Wallace (Kregel: 2006).

This book is not simply one more Da Vinci debunking book. Rather, it's a basic introduction to many issues related to the reliability of the New Testament. In particular, Reinventing Jesus provides a readable and scholarly response to Bart Ehrman's book, Misquoting Jesus.

Though I don't agree with everything in this book, I highly recommend Reinventing Jesus to anyone interested in the historical reliability of the gospels.

 The Benchwarmers

Starring Rob Schneider, David Spade, Jon Heder, and Jon Lovitz.

Even a cast of fine comedic actors can't save this movie from an abominable script. Though there are about three laughs in this film, I can't remember when I've seen such a poor movie. It's not even worth renting, unless you're a junior high boy with an unbelievably crude sense of humor and your parents are out of town.

Personal Stuff

One of the things I love to do in summer is to go hiking with my kids. Recently my son, Nathan, and I did several hikes in the San Jacinto Wilderness of Southern California. We couldn't do much hiking in the Sierra because the snowpack is still too heavy in the higher elevations.

The San Jacinto Wilderness is about three miles (as the eagle flies) from Palm Springs, a desert community with summer temps around 110 degrees. But because the wilderness is 8,000 feet and higher, the air is about 30-40 degrees cooler. The forest is lush for Southern California, and the views are mighty fine.

In the photo below, Nathan enjoys an alpine rest after we hiked up about 2,500 feet.

Last Month's Blogging Review

May was filled with posts in my 50+ part series on The Da Vinci Opportunity. How could I write so much about the book/movie? As you probably know, I didn't put up 50,000 words on Dan Brown's thriller. Rather, I used the references of his story to address lots of historical and theological issues.

I continue to be amazed that my graduate studies, in which I spent a large percentage of my time studying the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi Library, have turned out to be so relevant to pop culture. If, in 1983, when I was studying the Gospel of Philip with other New Testament doctoral students at Harvard, you'd have told me that someday this would be of widespread interest, I'd have thought you were crazy. Well, sometimes life itself is crazy!

Future Blogging: Summer Plans

As we move into the summer months, my blogging tends to be a little lighter than during the rest of the year. In the past, vacations have posed a particular challenge, since I do like to have a break from blogging every now and then, and since I'm often cut off from the Internet when I'm in the woods. Yet I try to put up something almost every day.

I've recently come up with a way to keep on blogging and to get a vacation break. It involves augmenting markdroberts.com with another, automated site that I'm calling: markdroberts . . . afoot and afield. You don't have to visit this other site, however. When I'm away and you visit markdroberts.com, you'll automatically view what's new on my automated site. This way you get regular blogging, and I get a break. (Yes, it is true that I do markdroberts.com by hand, as it were, using Dreamweaver. This gives me maximum control over the site, but it makes certain functions, like putting up material for future posting, very difficult.)

Reader Comments

In The Da Vinci Code, the claim is made that nothing in Christianity is original, and that it is all borrowed from paganism. Is this true?

                                         -  M. N.

MDR Response: Thanks for this question. I'll answer it this month.


Thanks a lot for writing these blogs. I have been greatly blessed by your write ups on Jesus and Bible (different blogs). . . .
I want you to know that I have used your materials in many different places I preached. The coming Friday I will be speaking in a Methodist Church, Sunday in a Church of South India and next Sunday in a Marthoma Church. In all these places, I will be speaking on Da Vinci Code and your blogs has been a speical blessing to me and in turn to the larger Christian community in South India.
Hope this helps  you to see how much your effort has been used for the Kingdom of God. Please continue to write on these subject. If you can write on Trinity, Incarnation, Sin and Salvation, it would be of great help.

                                         -  J.T.

MDR response: Sometimes I marvel at what the Internet is able to facilitate!


I wonder about the designation “Christian” is relation to second century and later Gnostics that I read in your above referenced piece.  It seems to me that the Gnostics rejected the essentials of the Christian faith, so I just am curious as to why one would describe them as such.  This is not meant as a trap (aha!) type question – I was just struck by what seemed an incongruous adjective.

                                         -  D.N.

MDR Response: Good observation. I've wrestled with this myself. Partly I use "Christian" as shorthand, since it's easier than "heretical Christian" or "sort-of Christian." Partly I use "Christian" as a historical designation, referring to those who stand in the tradition that follows Jesus, even though they aren't orthodox in theology. Many Gnostics were Christian in this sense.


Note: Comments are edited for length and to preserve the confidentiality of the writer.