In a footnote (#5) on this piece I published November 10th, 2011, I wrote, "departing from the North American Mission Board [NAMB] as head of apologetics, Dr. Licona now teaches at Liberty University, a paradoxical maneuver for LU in itself" (italics added). Reliable sources have corrected a misleading statement I made which could imply that Dr. Licona left the North American Mission Board only to be hired by Liberty University. Such a conclusion would be false >>>
In a full trustee board meeting, LU apparently made it clear that Dr. Mike Licona has not been offered a contractual faculty position at Liberty either in the seminary or graduate school nor was he contracted as an "online" professor after news was made public pertaining to the recent controversy over his latest book, The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach.
Leading the criticism against Dr. Licona's innovative but incorrect view of the "resurrected saints" in Matthew 27:53 is renowned Christian apologist, Norman Geisler, who publicly criticized Licona in a series of "open letters" beginning here. Out front in Southern Baptist scholarly circles in criticizing Licona has been Southern Baptist Theological Seminary president, Al Mohler. Baptist Press's Erin Roach also did Licona no favors by publishing a response to Dr. Licona’s interpretive approach to Matt. 27:53 by Dr. Henri Blocher. In responding to BP, Blocher suggested Licona undermined inerrancy with his particular view of the “resurrected saints,” and that in the face of Licona insisting Blocher’s approach to biblical inerrancy was similar to his own! (i.e. Licona’s)
In addition to LU's clarification that Dr. Licona had not been offered a faculty position at their institution, LU also made it clear that Dr. Licona did not become an "online" professor after his departure from NAMB. Instead Dr. Licona was already a contracted "online" professor for LU prior to both his views on Matthew 27:53 raising a firestorm of controversy and his subsequent NAMB departure. In fact, sources tell us, LU made it very clear that their understanding of inerrancy was not sympathetic to Licona's questionable interpretation of Matthew's "resurrected saints," and that regardless of whether some of Licona's scholarly friends at Liberty have come to his aid in support of him. Consequently, according to sources close to the LU leadership team, Dr. Licona will not receive any further contractual assignments once his present contract expires.*
With this clarity in mind, I want to publicly apologize for wording the footnote in my recent post in such a way that false implications could be drawn from my sloppy language. In addition, I encourage Dr. Norm Geisler, for whom I have the utmost respect as a scholar, a Christian gentleman, and eminent evangelical leader to reword his statement on his website which may bear the very same false implications as did my wording, perhaps even more extreme implications given Dr. Geisler's more embolden assertion.**
This is a sad day for both Christian apologetics generally and Southern Baptists particularly. No room for gloating or boasting exists. Indeed only heart-break. Dr. Mike Licona is sunk in both Southern Baptist circles and most conservative evangelical circles. His only future lies in what Millard Erickson once dubbed, "the evangelical left". What an undeniable tragedy.
On a better note, it makes one feel much better about Liberty University. With "Daddy Falwell" passed on, changes inevitably come. But, so far as the integrity of Scripture is concerned, biblical inerrancy still rules.
With that, I am...
*there's reason to believe Licona's contract will expire relatively soon
**Dr. Geisler writes, "Liberty University has offered Licona a position on their faculty—thus placing its approval on a view denying the historic view on inerrancy!" (embolden original). Either my source is completely incorrect, Dr. Geisler's is completely incorrect, or LU is not being honest. For my part, I encourage Dr. Geisler to soften his statement and wait it out. After all, we'll know which source is correct in a few months when Dr. Licona's contract expires.