Saturday, August 29, 2015

Friday, August 28, 2015

Article: Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead? by Mike Licona

This article was taken directly from the Apologetics Study Bible for Students:

Science has taken us to the moon, allowed us to see DNA, and show us that people who are assuredly dead do not return to life by natural causes. Since the apostle Paul wrote that Christianity is a false religion if Jesus was not resurrected (1 Co 15:17), has science disproved Christianity? Is there any good evidence that Jesus' resurrection actually occurred? Despite the hesitation of skeptics concerning the four Gospels, nearly all Bible scholars are confident that there are at least three sure facts concerning what happened to Jesus.

1. Jesus was crucified on the orders of the Roman governor and died as a result.

2. Jesus' disciples honestly believed that He rose from the dead and appeared to them beginning on Sunday morning.

3. A sworn enemy of the Christians named Saul (later called Paul) had an experience that he believed was an appearance of the risen Jesus, prompting him to become a Christian. This would be similar to Jesus appearing to a Muslim who then leaves Islam and becomes the next Billy Graham! Saul become the opposite of what he'd been because of the risen Jesus (see Ac 9).

Unbelieving scholars form theories that attempt to explain away the above facts. Some used to claim that Jesus' disciples lied about the resurrection appearances or that the reports of Jesus' resurrection were legends that developed over time. But once the second fact above was admitted, that Jesus' original disciples sincerely believed He had risen and appeared to them shortly after His death, the legend and fraud theories fell apart. Today they have been largely abandoned.

Now the theory most commonly held by non-Christian scholars is that the appearances of the risen Jesus were hallucinations resulting from the disciples grief over Jesus' death. But this theory does not explain the third fact (Saul's conversion experience) since, rather than grieving over Jesus' death, he hated Jesus so much that he arrested and killed Christians. And while a hallucination could conceivably explain an appearance of Jesus to an individual like Peter (Lk 24:34; 1 Co 15:5), it does not explain the appearances to Jesus to groups, such as the Twelve, more than 500 at one time, and to all of the apostles when they were together (1 Co 15:5-7). Why not? Hallucinations are like dreams. Just as a friend cannot actually join you in one of your dreams, friends cannot join others in their hallucinations.

In contrast to the theories of skeptics, Jesus' genuine resurrection from death explains how Jesus' devastated disciples and, later on, one of the his best-know enemies, came to devote their lives to proclaiming that Jesus had risen from the dead. By far, this is the best explanation of the three commonly accepted facts listed above.

So, while science has proved that the dead do not return to life by natural causes, historical investigation suggests that Jesus rose supernaturally three days after His execution. Since there are many religions competing for your devotion, Jesus' resurrection verifies that His promises are words upon which you can bet your life and soul.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad A. Gross

For more of Mike Licona's work, see here.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Quote: Lenny Esposito on Apologetics and the Christian Life

"The idea of apologetics as a necessary part of one's faithful walk is new to most Christians. They understand the need to worship God, to live a set apart life, and even the command to evangelize given by Jesus in the Great Commission. However, learning apologetics isn't something preached from most pulpits today. Yet, in the first few centuries, apologetics and evangelism were inter-reliant. In fact, when you look at the writings of the early church fathers, you see how big a role apologetics played in their interaction with the outside world… Just as the Christians in the second century faces a culture hostile to the teachings of Christ, so Christians today find themselves in a post-Christian (and post-pagan) culture. Apologetics is therefore necessary to fulfill our faithfulness to The Great Commission. We see it in the examples of the Church Fathers. We would do well to follow them." [1]

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnote: 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tough Topic Tuesday: God, Government, and Gospel

This is Pt. 3 of our posts working through this work by Pastor Wayne Grudem.  The purpose of the series is to explore the relationship between God, the Government and the Gospel.

Pt. 1 is here.  Pt. 2 is here.


C. Wrong view #3: All Government Is Evil and Demonic 

According to this third view, all use of government power is deeply infected by evil, demonic forces. The realm of government power is the realm of Satan and his forces, and therefore all governmental use of “power over” someone is worldly and not the way of life that Jesus taught.

1. Support from Luke 4:6 

This viewpoint has been strongly promoted by Minnesota pastor Greg Boyd in his influential book The Myth of a Christian Nation (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005). Boyd’s views in this book have had a large impact in the United States, especially on younger evangelical voters.

Boyd says that all civil government is “demonic” (p. 21). His primary evidence is Satan’s statement to Jesus in Luke 4:

"And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours” (Luke 4:5–7).

Boyd emphasizes Satan’s claim that all the authority of all the kingdoms of the world “has been delivered to me” and then says that Jesus “doesn’t dispute the Devil’s claim to own them. Apparently, the authority of all the kingdoms of the world has been given to Satan.”

Boyd goes on to say, “Functionally, Satan is the acting CEO of all earthly governments” (p. 22). This is indeed a thoroughgoing claim!

2. The mistake of depending on Luke 4:6 

Greg Boyd is clearly wrong at this point. Jesus tells us how to evaluate Satan’s claims, for he says,

When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44).

Jesus didn’t need to respond to every false word Satan said, for his purpose was to resist the temptation itself, and this he did with the decisive words, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve’” (Luke 4:8).

And so we have a choice: Do we believe Satan’s words that he has the authority of all earthly kingdoms, or do we believe Jesus’ words that Satan is a liar and the father of lies? The answer is easy: Satan wanted Jesus to believe a lie, just as he wanted Eve to believe a lie (Gen. 3:4), and he wants us to believe a lie as well, that he is the ruler of earthly governments.

By contrast, there are verses in the Bible that tell us how we should think of civil governments. These verses do not agree with Satan’s claim in Luke 4:6 or with Boyd’s claim about Satan’s authority over all earthly governments. Rather, these verses where God is speaking (not Satan) portray civil government as a gift from God, something that is subject to God’s rule and used by God for his purposes. Here are some of those passages:

The Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men (Dan. 4:17).

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. . . . For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good . . . the authorities are the ministers of God (Rom. 13:1-6).

Peter sees civil government as doing the opposite of what Satan does: civil governments are established by God “to punish those who do evil,” but Satan encourages those who do evil!  Civil governments are established by God “to praise those who do good” (1 Pet. 2:14), but Satan discourages and attacks those who do good.

The point is that Satan wants us to believe that all civil government is under his control, but that is not taught anywhere in the Bible. The only verse in the whole Bible that says Satan has authority over all governments is spoken by the father of lies, and we should not believe it. Greg Boyd is simply wrong in his defense of the view that “government is demonic.”

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnote:
2. For example, echoes of Boyd’s writing can be seen at various places in Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw, Jesus for President (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008).

Monday, August 24, 2015

Will the Church Rise Up and Usher in Abortion's Demise?

In the subject piece, Online for Life President Brian Fisher writes the following regarding the recently released Planned Parenthood videos:

These undercover Planned Parenthood videos provide a phenomenal opportunity for the Church to help accelerate our mission of making abortion unthinkable and unavailable in America. Let’s not let it go to waste.

Fisher further expands upon the need for action from the Church and also answers the following objections:

“Abortion is a political issue. Churches shouldn’t talk about it.”

 “This just isn’t at the top of the list of issues for my church.”

“Are you suggesting that American churches should be activists?”

Stand firm in Christ and stand firm for the preborn,
Chase


Saturday, August 22, 2015

Article: The Problem with the Term "Pro-Choice" by Randy Alcorn

What is someone really saying when they claim to be "pro-choice" and how should we respond?  In this featured article, Randy Alcorn explains how to cut through the rhetoric of the pro-choice crowd and get to the main issue.

Alcorn writes:

"The term pro-choice obscures the subject we are talk­ing about, because it demands the explanation, “pro-choice about what?” If our attention is on the “right to choose,” we can be dis­tracted from the subject at hand."

You can checkout the article here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Friday, August 21, 2015

Book Preview: Keeping Your Kids on God's Side by Natasha Crain

About the Author

Natasha Crain's work is some of the most important in apologetics today and if you are not familiar with her work, you need to be.  I am not aware of another individual writing better content on apologetics and parenting than Mrs. Crain.

Crain writes a popular Christian parenting blog at ChristianMomThoughts.com.  She has an MBA from UCLA and has completed the Certificate Program in Christian Apologetics at Biola University. She and her husband, Bryan, have three children.


About the Book

Are your children being exposed to negative criticism of Christianity as they spend time at school, with friends, or online?

Perhaps they are already expressing doubts about God and the Bible. You can strengthen your kids' faith by helping to answer the questions that are challenging them. In Keeping Your Kids on God's Side, you'll find 40 of the most common challenges they face--along with clear, concise responses you can discuss together. This book will...

- encourage open dialogue on issues your kids might hesitate to talk about
- replace their doubts with the confidence only God's truth can give
- equip them to respond well to the tough questions others ask

The time you spend helping your children in this way is one of the greatest investments you can make! It will draw you closer together and benefit them for the rest of their lives.


Further, if that isn't enough, J. Warner Wallace, whom I consider to be another of today's most important apologists, has written the foreword!

You can pre-order the book here.

I also encourage readers to check out Mrs. Crain's excellent website here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Featured Resource: The Ultimate Apologetics MP3 Audio Page

Are you looking for some great apologetics audio?  Apologetics 315 offers a massive list of audio on their "Ultimate Apologetics MP3 Audio Page" found here.

You'll find audio from thinkers such as William Lane Craig, J.P. Moreland, Daniel Wallace, Greg Koukl, Kenneth Samples, John Frame, Gary Habermas, Ravi Zacharias and many, many more and it is all free!

There are also hundreds of topics to pick from!

I encourage you to check it out here today!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad