God in History

With Easter just a few days around the corner, I believe it is important that we remember the greater historical reality this day points to: that God became man, “made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant” (Phil. 2:7) and remained obedient to death – “even to death on a cross” (Phil. 2:8). This postulate (“God became man”) has incalculable historical, political, social, and even existential implications for our lives. Several reasons for this emerge.

To start, the nature of belief – when understood provisionally in terms of the human understanding – is a troubling notion to those who regard it in our modern age as a mere “holding of tradition,” a (1) trusting of that which is not visible and (2) an attitude towards things that don’t seem to really progress a rational society. The Christian in his attitude of the credo (“I believe”) – that unifying instant where his “I” matches the object of his “believe” – is going against his natural inclinations of the “visible”, but of course not contradicting them. As Pope Benedict XVI nicely explained it:

[Believing] means that man does not regard seeing, hearing and touching as the totality of what concerns him, that he does not view the area of his world as marked off by what he can see and touch but seeks a second mode of access to reality, a mode he calls in fact belief, and in such a way that he finds in it the decisive enlargement of his whole view of the world. [1]

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The Resurrection of Jesus: A Look at the Evidence

Resurrection-soldiers at the tomb

I can’t lay claim to being great at planning, as I had intended to finish this series some time ago. But with it being Holy Week, and with Easter just around the corner, it seemed a perfect time to conclude by looking at the evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus. [Read more...]

What Did the Disciples See?

 

Introduction

When it comes to the Christian faith, there is no doctrine more important than the resurrection of Jesus. Biblical faith is not simply centered in ethical and religious teachings. Instead, it is founded on the person and work of Jesus. If Jesus was not raised from the dead, we as His followers are still dead in our sins (1Cor.15:7). Explanations try to show how something happened. That is, what is the cause for something that has happened. As I have noted elsewhere, the resurrection story started very, very, early. Also, there is an excellent post on the empty tomb issue over at Wintery Knight’s blog.

Anyway, let’s take a look at what explains the resurrection appearances. First, let’s observe the list of appearances:

• Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene, shortly after his resurrection (Mark 16:9; John 20:11-18)
• Jesus appears to the women returning from the empty tomb (Matthew 28:8-10)
• Jesus appears to two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Mark 16:12,13; Luke 24:13-35)
• Jesus appears to Peter ( Luke 24:34, 1 Corinthians 15:5)
• Jesus appears to his disciples, in Jerusalem. (Mark 16:14-18; Luke 24:36-49; John 20:19-23).
• Jesus again appears to his disciples, in Jerusalem. At this time Thomas is present (John 20:24-29).
• Jesus appears to his disciples on the shore of the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 28:16; John 21:1,2)
• Jesus is seen by 500 believers at one time (1 Corinthians 15:6)
• Jesus appears to James ( 1 Corinthians 15:7)
• Jesus appears to his disciples on a mountain in Galilee (Matthew 28:16-20).
• He appeared to his disciples (Luke 24:50-53).
• He appeared to Paul on the Damascus road (Acts 9:3-6; 1 Corinthians 15:8).

I will go ahead and offer some comments from various scholars and what they say about the appearances and the experiences of the disciples: [Read more...]

Is Good Friday a Myth? What 5 Ancient, Non-Christian Writings Reveal

Is Good Friday a Myth?

“Good Friday? What’s the difference between Good Friday and a fairytale?”

Imagine a skeptical relative asked you this question at a family gathering. I know–Awkward. But really, what would you say?

Something similar happened to me when I was a teenager. But what was odd about it was that this lady just threw out a challenge that seemed to come out of nowhere. Not sure if she even expected a response. I actually had no clue what to say.

Still, it got me thinking, “What should I have said?” What is the different between the crucifixion of Jesus and a fairytale? I had to find some answers for myself.

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How 1 Peter 3:15 Teaches The Deity of Christ

It is a verse that all of us who are involved in apologetics have grown to love and cherish. 1 Peter 3:15 is the New Testament’s mandate for being always ready to offer a rational defense for the Christian worldview. It is unfortunate, however, that we have come to be so familiar with this verse that we miss its full significance, for the text teaches far more than the need to provide a defense of the faith. This is best seen when read in the context of verse 14 which precedes it. Here’s the text of 1 Peter 3:14-16. Take particular note of the underlined text.

“But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.”

Verse 14 in fact contains a quotation (the underlined text) from Isaiah 8:12, in which we read, “Do not call conspiracy all that this people call conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread.” Verse 15 of 1 Peter 3 continues the quotation into verse 13 of Isaiah 8, but with a subtle change. Isaiah 8:13 reads, “But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy.” Compare this to the start of 1 Peter 3:15: “…but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy.” Peter has replaced “the Lord of hosts” from Isaiah 8:13 with “Christ the Lord”, asserting that it is He whom we are to regard as Holy. In so doing, the Apostle Peter has here effectively identified Jesus as being of the same essence as Yahweh, another Biblical proof of the deity of Christ.