Prophecy in the News Discusses Petrus Romanus

I recently traveled to Oklahoma City to film a couple episodes of Prophecy in the News, I really enjoyed meeting Gary Stearman and Bob Ulrich and discussing our new book. Here is the first episode:

Quake Reveals Day of Jesus’ Crucifixion

New geological data confirms the date arrived at by my historical research.

Jesus, as described in the New Testament, was most likely crucified on Friday April 3, 33 A.D.

The latest investigation, reported in the journal International Geology Review, focused on earthquake activity at the Dead Sea, located 13 miles from Jerusalem. The Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 27, mentions that an earthquake coincided with the crucifixion:

I find this confirmation encouraging because I came to this same dating using much older data and historical research over a year ago and even made a video.

See my original post here:

Hoagland & Bara’s Dark Nonsense

By Cris D. Putnam
In researching various paranormal and UFO lore, I recently came across Dark Mission by Richard C. Hoagland and Mike Bara. In the book the authors make a case for an occult agenda behind NASA. According to the authors, Dr. Farouk El-Baz, an Egyptian geologist working at NASA helped high ranking freemasons land on the moon on July 20th, the date of the Egyptian New Year, to perform an arcane Egyptian rite to invoke Osiris. While the evidence of high ranking NASA officials and astronauts having masonic ties is strong, the so called ritual they expose is nothing dark at all. I personally saw the masonic flag which was taken to the moon during my recent tour of the Hall of the Temple. Sure it is possible there was a masonic agenda afoot but the incoherence of a crucial element of their thesis makes the entire account seem fanciful. Their argument centers on Buzz Aldrin’s taking of communion in the lunar module, described by Aldrin in his book Men From Earth:

During the first idle moment in the LM before eating our snack, I reached into my personal preference kit and pulled out two small packages which had been specially prepared at my request. One contained a small amount of wine, the other a small wafer. With them and a small chalice from the kit, I took communion on the Moon, reading to myself from a small card I carried on which I had written the portion of the Book of John used in the traditional communion ceremony.[1]

Sounds awfully scary doesn’t it? Dark Mission makes the dubious leap of asserting that Aldrin’s intent was not to worship Jesus Christ but to preform some sort of nefarious Masonic ritual based on Egyptian magic.

Hoagland next discovered that Aldrin’s ceremony (which was taken from Webster Presbyterian Church rituals, in Houston, which, in turn, “borrowed” it from the much older Catholic communion ceremony), in fact, had its real roots in ancient Egypt— as an offering to Osiris (naturally). [2]

This is a radical assertion! Egypt is juxtaposed against Israel in the biblical narrative. From Moses’ showdown with Pharaoh’s magicians forward, the Egyptian deities are represented as antagonists to Yahweh. Yet, the authors brazenly assert that a major sacrament of a two thousand year old religion is really an offering to a hostile god while providing no scholarly documentation and expect the reader to simply accept it? Most astonishing, the allegation that the communion ceremony has “its real roots in Egypt as an offering to Osiris” is merely footnoted with a wikipedia article on Osiris. The footnoted article makes no such connection. Looking at the wiki article on 5/20/2012, the word “communion” is not even mentioned. What a joke! This radical assertion at least requires a coherent argument and historical documentation. But neither is forthcoming. The closest thing to evidence comes later:

Once again, it was Ken Johnston who provided a key insight. After discussing with Johnston the now infamous “communion ceremony that Aldrin had conducted, Ken pointed out that Aldrin—like Johnston himself—had at the time been a 32o Scottish Rite Freemason. He also noted that a recent book by two Masonic scholars (Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas) had concluded that virtually all of the Masonic rituals were derived from the story of Isis and Osiris. [3]

It’s hard to fathom why anyone would find this compelling. This argument is what logicians call a non-sequitur meaning it “does not follow.”  Hoagland and Bara’s reasoning is that 1) Aldrin took communion; 2) Aldrin was a freemason 3) Most Freemasonic rituals are derived from Osiris lore; therefore communion is an Egyptian Osiris ritual. I suppose if a freemason puts his hand on his heart while singing the National Anthem then that too is a form of Osiris worship? It does not follow.

The fact that Aldrin was a mason says nothing about Christian communion. Freemasonry advocates a form of pluralism that accepts members of any religion. Does that make the practices of Islam and Hinduism also derivative of Egyptian Osiris worship? Of course not, this sort of incoherent reasoning is ubiquitous in Dark Mission. It seems they pulled most of their alleged Egyptian connections from one single poorly supported piece of pseudo-historical research called the The Hiram Key.

Their book The Hiram Key showed that, contrary to Masonry’s own lore, the Craft was not founded in London in 1717, but in fact traced its roots all the way back to ancient Egypt. They followed a trail back through time, to the Templars, to Jesus and the Temple of Jerusalem, then on to the builder of the first Temple of Solomon, Hiram Abiff. They concluded that the ritual of the third-degree of Freemasonry was a re-enactment of Abiff’s murder for refusing to reveal the high secret of the Craft, and that this same ritual was in fact derived from the ancient Pharaohaic rituals that paid direct homage to Isis and Osiris. They also asserted that Jesus himself was an initiate of this quasi-Masonic order, and that his real teachings had been usurped and distorted by the Catholic Church millennia before. They viewed Jesus as a martyred prophet, but not a divine being as the Church came to ultimately insist. None of this made them very popular with either the Christians or their own fellow Masons. [4]

Nor are they popular with scholars of ancient literature because the conclusions of The Hiram Key are not supported by historical evidence. The argument fails because we have copies of the New Testament which predate Roman Catholicism and there are no “suppressed teachings” of Jesus rather gnostic writings which appeared centuries after the canonical Gospels. The scholarship in The Hiram Key ( and collaterally Dark Mission) is, frankly, sloppy as there is a sophomoric lack of critical assessment of sources and they naively accept the use of masonic symbolism for evidence of historic facts. For instance, the connection of modern masonry to Hiram Abiff from the Old Testament is widely agreed to be concocted mythology designed to give masonry an ancient veneer. I challenge Hoagland and Bara to produce a single credentialed Ancient Near Eastern scholar who believes it. Even the Freemasons have issued rebuttals here and masonic libraries catalog The Hiram Key as a work of fiction.

As far as communion being some sort of dark ritual to Osiris, the authors never make that case. The practice predates the origin of masonry by over 1600 years and has nothing to do with Osiris. According to Erickson, “It may be defined, in preliminary fashion, as a rite Christ himself established for the church to practice as a commemoration of his death.”[5] Indeed, communion was instituted by Jesus (Matt. 26:26–28; Mark 14:22–24; Luke 22:19–20). The earliest extant written account of a Christian eucharistia  which is simply Greek for “thanksgiving” is that in the First Epistle to the Corinthians (dated around AD 55), in which the Apostle Paul relates the celebration to the Last Supper of Jesus some 25 years earlier (1 Co 11:23–29).

Paul argues that in celebrating the commemoratory rite they were fulfilling a mandate by Jesus to do so. The book of Acts (dated prior to AD 70) also presents the early Christians as meeting for “the breaking of bread” as some sort of ceremony (Acts 2:46). Also other very early writings like the Didache,1 Clement and Ignatius of Antioch provide examples of the thanksgiving sacrament. In the second century, Justin Martyr gives the oldest explicit description of the ceremony. In fact, Justin specifically refutes any connection to paganism when he refutes the Mithra cult who were copying the Christians!

Which the wicked devils have imitated in the mysteries of Mithras, commanding the same thing to be done. For, that bread and a cup of water are placed with certain incantations in the mystic rites of one who is being initiated, you either know or can learn. [6]

In the tradition of Justin, I argue that if freemasons have adopted communion as a masonic ritual then the same charge applies. Hence the burden of proof is on Hoagland and Bara to show evidence predating the first century which connects Jesus and the communion rite to Osiris. Of course, there is no such evidence. Hoagland and Bara admit their entire case is based on the dubious work The Hiram Key:

If Knight and Lomas were right, then Aldrin’s communion ceremony had no conventional Christian significance at all; it was, in fact, a direct offering by a Freemason to “the ancient Egyptian gods” that his Craft most revered. (underline added)[7]

But if Knight and Lomas are wrong, then Hoagland and Bara’s Dark Mission is a work of dark nonsense.


[1] Buzz Aldrin and Malcolm McConnell, Men from Earth (New York: Bantam, 1989), 248.

[2] Richard C. Hoagland and Michael Bara, Dark Mission: the Secret History of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Port Townsend, Wash.: Feral House, 2007), 207-208.

[3] Richard C. Hoagland and Michael Bara, Dark Mission, 222.

[4] Richard C. Hoagland and Michael Bara, Dark Mission, 223.

[5] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1998), 1116.

[6] Justin Martyr, First Apology ; chapter 66 Of the Eucharist.

[7] Richard C. Hoagland and Michael Bara, Dark Mission, 223.


What Place Do Miracles Have in Apologetics?

By Cris D. Putnam
Do miracles prove God or does the existence of God prove that miracles happen? What place do miracles have in apologetics? In discussing miracles, the “value project” is a discussion of the evidential merits of miracles.  This can be subdivided into the “basis” question which looks at the evidence that miracles have indeed occurred and the “use” question which asks what religious beliefs are supported by said basis.  There are two principle approaches to addressing the value project: the bottom-up approach and the top-down approach.  While there are winsome and compelling advocates of both approaches in Christian apologetics, this essay will argue the case that the latter, the top-down, is preferable.

The bottom-up approach (miracles prove God) argues from the occurrence of miracles to God’s existence.  This approach uses various forms of evidence as a basis to believe in miracles. For instance, the historical evidence for Jesus resurrection is well attested and represents an event that does not conform to natural laws. Because there are no coherent natural explanations it follows that it must have been a miracle. The “use project” argues from this basis that we have a reason to believe that God exists. Skeptics invariably dispute the historical evidence and offer up naturalistic explanations like the “swoon theory” and legendary development for why people came to believe it. The resurrection is one of the arguments employed by William Lane Craig for God’s existence.

Craig employs this evidence as an argument for God’s existence. However, it is important to note that he does not use this approach alone but in conjunction with the cosmological and moral arguments for a cumulative argument. In this way, his comprehensive approach is effectively top-down.

The top-down approach argues for the occurrence of miracles based on the existence of God.  Philosopher Alvin Plantiga argues that one can assume theism as a properly basic belief.  A properly basic belief does not depend upon justification of other beliefs, but on something outside the realm of belief. For instance we simply assume that other people are like ourselves as conscious rational beings rather than zombie like automatons merely posing. We do not need fancy philosophical arguments to believe we exist and that other minds exist.  Thus, Plantinga argues, “if believing in other minds is rational though unsupported by argument, so might believing in God be rational, even if similarly unsupported.”[1] In other words, we have rational warrant to accept God’s existence as foundational.  It is also important to note that the Bible simply assumes the existence of God as the basis for creation. It seems best we model our approach on the Bible.

Even so, we can still offer evidential arguments that strongly support theism. The fine tuning of the Universe and Big bang cosmology which demands that the Universe began to exist give the cosmological argument force. The top-down method starts with independent reasons for God’s existence like the existence of moral values and even reason itself (laws of logic) also evidence the handiwork and mind of God. Albert Einstein once marveled, “The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible.”[2]   It is not merely the fact that that the universe is intelligible that is amazing, rather it is the mathematical nature of that comprehensibility which is even more miraculous. Oxford mathematician and philosopher of science John Lennox writes:

Our answer to the question of why the universe is rationally intelligible will in fact depend, not on whether we are scientists or not, but on whether we are theists or naturalists. Theists will say that the intelligibility of the universe is grounded in the nature of the ultimate rationality of God: both the real world and the mathematics are traceable to the Mind of God who created both the universe and the human mind. It is therefore, not surprising when the mathematical theories spun by human minds created in the image of God’s Mind, find ready application in a universe whose architect was that same creative mind.[3]

It appears that discovered immaterial realities like mathematics and the laws of logic give us very compelling warrant to believe in God. The Bible also confirms that the “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!”(Ps 111:10).  Thus, a top-down approach is preferable. Because we believe in God, we think miracles are plausible.

Because we have such strong warrant to believe God exists, we are justified to believe that He would want to get a message to us and provide a means for our redemption and spiritual growth. Jesus’ resurrection did not happen in a vacuum but rather in the context of His claim to be the Jewish Messiah and the Son of God. One can also trace a stream of predictive prophecy through the Old Testament supporting his mission and resurrection (e.g. Isaiah 53).   Furthermore, the evidence of biblical prophecy serves to authenticate the inspiration of the Bible as God’s word.  With the foundational premise that God exists then there is no need to repeatedly address naturalistic prejudice against the historical evidence for miracles. In light of the ample warrant for God’s existence and the context of Jesus’ life and ministry, the likelihood of a miracle is much more compelling than with a strictly bottom-up argument. The existence of the God of the Bible provides a rational basis to believe miracles happen.

[1] Alvin Plantinga, God and Other Minds: a Study of the Rational Justification of Belief in God (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1990), 187 ff.

[2] Albert Einstein, Letters to Soloivine: 1906-1955 (Yucca Valley: Citadel Publishing. 2000), 31.

[3] John C. Lennox, God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God? (Oxford: Lion Publishing, 2007), 61.

Coming Soon: Ancient Aliens Debunked

This film by Chris White will be examining the Hysterical Channel show “Ancient Aliens” from a skeptical viewpoint exposing the many errors and inconsistencies of “Ancient Astronaut” theory. It is is set to be released in September 2012. Chris always releases his films free over the internet (as do I) and funds his projects out of his own pocket and by your donations. Here is a trailer: