Apologetics Roundup 04/13 – 04/19

Philosophical and Theological Essays on the Trinity Review – Apologetics 315

How Do I Share What I believe? – J. Warner Wallace

Answering Nine Objections to the Resurrection of Jesus – Eric Chabot

Defending the Resurrection in Everyday Conversation – Apologetics Guy

Life Beyond the Grave – Ravi Zacharias

From My Blogs

Good Friday is My Good News

Should Christians Celebrate Easter?

People-Pleasing Pastors Review

 

 

 

 

 

Good Friday: Mystery or History?

Some people claim that the death and resurrection of Jesus is simply a classical theme that appears in most ancient religions, especially the mystery religions. These motifs were simply translated in Jewish terms with Jesus. How much truth is there in that?

First I would like to say that the claim of many dying and rising gods is very exaggerated. There are very few ancient religions that have this. It is more about people trying to force Christian concepts on unrelated religions.

Let us assume for a minute (even though it is not true) that there were many contemporary religions that had a crucified god-man similar to Jesus. Would that be evidence against Christianity? There is a huge difference. The story of Jesus is the only one that is firmly placed in history. We can date the crucifixion of Jesus. We can name some of the historical figures that were involved. Written accounts were recorded during the lifetime of some of the people involved. There is nothing else like that. The other religious accounts took place in the mythical past. They were never meant to be seen as history. In comparison, the authors of the Gospels went out of their way to get their readers to see this as history.

The crucifixion of Jesus is most definitely history rather than mystery.

William Lane Craig explains the doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement

Originally posted on Wintery Knight:

Probably one of the most common questions that you hear from people who don’t fully understand Christianity is this question: “why did Jesus have to die?”. The answer that most Christians seem to hold to is that 1) humans are rebelling against God, 2) Humans deserve punishment for their rebellion, 3) Humans cannot escape the punishment for their rebellion on their own, 4) Jesus was punished in the place of the rebellious humans, 5) Those who accept this sacrifice are forgiven for their rebelling.

Some people think that humans are not really rebellious at all, but it’s actually easy to see. You can see it just by looking at how people spend their time. Some of us have no time for God at all, and instead try to fill our lives with material possessions and experiences in order to have happy feelings. Some of us embrace just the parts of…

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Tackling Tough Tales: Elisha and the Bears

Originally posted on A Young Man's Theology:

There are many reasons why skeptics choose not to believe the Bible. After all, if one can convince himself not to believe the Bible, than one can live un-beholden to the morality imposed by scripture. Many of the reasons for this disbelief are emotional, “I don’t like this” responses. Often an Old Testament story is blasted, “How can you want to follow a God who did…?” fill in the blank. With that objection in mind let’s look at one of these passages and see if we can counter the skeptics attack.

“From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some boys came out of the town and jeered at him. “Get out of here, baldy!” they said. “Get out of here, baldy!” He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears…

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Good Friday (2014)

Originally posted on NEAR EMMAUS:

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When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “Listen, he is calling for Elijah.” 3And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!”

There were also women looking on from a distance; among…

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Jesus, the Resurrection and the Clarity of Scripture

In a recent post on CNN, Jay Parini talks about the resurrection. He notes that there are some differences between the Gospel accounts and that the actual resurrection is not described. These observations are true as far as they go. I actually think the differences help to show that the Gospels have independent testimony rather than being straight copies of each other. It is true that, unlike the Gospel of Peter, the canonical Gospels do not describe the actual resurrection.

Parini concludes, “For the most part, his appearances retain a dreamlike quality, suggesting that Jesus didn’t want anyone to assume that whatever happened to him occurred in ordinary time and space.” Whatever the resurrection was, it was not about Jesus physically walking out of the tomb. It was more about the disciples thinking with a resurrection paradigm.

Just because the actual resurrection is not described does not mean that there was no physical resurrection. Despite Parini’s claim that Scripture is not clear, it is clear that Jesus died and that Jesus was alive a couple of days later. That seems to lead naturally to a real resurrection. The list of eyewitnesses, which Parini points to, also suggests that there was a physical resurrection. It is far from just a vision based on grief of a few friends. Jesus did indeed rise form the dead in time and space.

 

Should Christians Celebrate Easter?

Every year it comes up about whether Christians should celebrate Easter or not. People have seen parallels in pagan religions and have concluded that Easter should be forgotten. I think that some of the parallels have been overstated, but for the sake of argument, let us assume that all the claims are true. Let us say that it was named after a pagan goddess, was timed according to a pagan date, that it originally was a celebration of pagan hopes of renewal and that it was filled with all kinds of other pagan stuff. Does this make Easter something to avoid?

I think we need to get some perspective. Does any Christian attempt to celebrate the original pagan elements? Since most Christians don’t even know about the parallels, that is unlikely. What is it that most Christians are consciously thinking about at Easter? Most would be thinking of Jesus’ death on the cross, his atoning sacrifice, the mourning of the disciples and the resurrection of Jesus. I cannot see anything sinful in celebrating our hope in Christ. As far as I am concerned, biblical truth of the crucifixion and resurrection trumps any supposed pagan origins that have been buried for centuries. The church has long been active in Christianizing what was there before and I hope we keep doing it.