Michael Bird injects reason, sound logic, and humor into many discussions on a variety of matters. He does it once again in a post he wrote yesterday on the Licona Controversy (which I’ve addressed in a few posts now) titled “Michael Licona on the Resurrection of Jesus”. I recommend reading it.
Lest people think that Geisler and Mohler are having a friendly intramural debate with Licona this post quotes some of the key statement that have been made as warnings against Licona. Bird concludes rightly that Mohler and Geisler are heresy-hunting. He states, “My gut feeling is that if you are gonna draw a line between the good guys and the bad guys and put Licona on the side of the bad guys, then your heresy targeting system needs to be seriously re-calibrated!”
What does Bird think about Licona’s interpretation? Well, let’s just say Geisler and Mohler may want to write him an open letter next. He states the following:
“In my chapter about the resurrection in How Did Christianity Begin: A Believer and Non-Believer Examine the Evidence, co-authored with James Crossley (London: SPCK, 2008/ Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2010), I said in a footnote about Matt. 27.51-53: “My understanding of this text is that it is not historical and it blends the present and the future together so that Matthew provides a cameo of the future resurrection at the point of Jesus’ death to underscore its living-giving power” (p. 69, n. 30). That was my off-the-cuff thought, but I stand by it, since Matt. 27.51-53 is a strange story that is reported nowhere else in Christian or non-Christian literature.
“I don’t see any reason why Licona’s or my interpretation of Matt. 27.51-53 does not conform to a view of scripture as infallible, inspired, and authoritative. I think it explains the text and it explains why you don’t hear Josephus or Tacitus talking about the day that many Jewish holy men came back to life.”
Anyways, go read his post. He frames the debate quite well, he stands behind Licona, and he provides some sound rebuttal. I am thankful for evangelicals like Bird who are willing to speak on Licona’s behalf.