It seems like everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon of Paul hijacking Christianity and turning it into something different than what Jesus Christ intended. Another way people have presented it to me is that Paul “invented” Christianity. Others say that Paul was a “dupe” … Continue reading What Paul Knew and When He Knew It – Part 1
We have recently looked at the discovered Greek manuscripts that date to the 2nd century AD, quotes from early Christian writers that date from the late 1st century to early 2nd century and at translations of New Testament texts into other languages that date to … Continue reading Convince Me There’s A God: The New Testament Part 7
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
“But He answered and said, ‘It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”
Before we continue looking at the writings of early Christian apologists, I’d like to share something important for us to remember as we read post-Scriptural Christian writings.
Christians believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. In fact, the resurrection of Jesus is a MUST for the Christian worldview to be true. If Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead, then our faith in Him is empty and we are without hope in this world.
“Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.” 1 Corinthians 15:12-19
What are some of the best arguments for the resurrection of Jesus Christ? As we approach another celebration of the Resurrection, we will look at some of the strongest arguments for the reality of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection.
“Rediscovering Jesus: An Introduction to Biblical, Religious and Cultural Perspectives on Christ” (IVP Academic, 2015) will get you thinking seriously about how both Christians and non-Christians view Jesus Christ.
The authors (David B. Capes, Rodney Reeves and E. Randolph Richards) present a variety of views about Jesus from both biblical and non-biblical perspectives. They include the views of several individuals and groups including each of the Gospel writers (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John), the Apostle Paul, the Gnostics, Muslims, Mormons, Liberals, Jesus Seminar, and Americans. Which one is right? Which view answers this question best: “Who is your Jesus?”
It’s sometimes helpful to remember why we start things. We get so deep into a project that we can forget why we’re doing what we’re doing.
As I began to write this post I thought about why I started this series a year ago. Here’s how I explained it then:
“Some pastors I’ve talked with through the years about emphasizing apologetics in their church (especially with children, teens and young adults) either chuckle, roll their eyes or get upset with me at some point in our discussion. They tell me that apologetics should not take the place of evangelism. It’s unfortunate they see apologetics that way because biblical apologetics is evangelistic – thus the name of this series of studies.”
After writing this series for a year, let me strengthen that statement a bit by saying that the discipline of apologetics MUST have evangelism, the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the salvation of eternal souls, at the center of its purpose. Anything less than that misses the primary message of the Bible – Redemption.
We are currently answering seven questions about the spiritual battle Christians find themselves fighting every day and have answered questions 1 and 2:
We’ll now look at question 3 – Are you really involved in fighting this spiritual battle?
Jesus chose Saul of Tarsus for a big task – take the Gospel of Christ to the Gentile world. Why did Jesus choose Saul? Why select a deeply devoted Pharisee from Tarsus to take Christianity to a world of pagans, idol worshippers and lovers of philosophy?
Saul viewed the Lord’s calling as extremely personal: “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles” (Galatians 1:15-16).
As the authors point out in this excellent book (be sure to read Book Review 1 which looks at the first four chapters of The Gospel in the Markeplace), Saul of Tarsus, Paul the Apostle, was well qualified to take the Gospel of Christ to the philosophers on Mars Hill:
“Paul was knowledgeable about the philosophical and religious beliefs of the Athenians. One prominent Athenian school was Stoicism, founded by Zeno of Cyprus and developed by a later Zeno from Paul’s hometown–Tarsus, another of the three great centers of learning in the Roman Empire (the third being Alexandria in Egypt). Paul would have had plenty of opportunity to learn about Stoicism and competing worldviews. No wonder, then, when Paul was challenged to explain the new foreign gods that the Athenians thought he was proclaiming, he brought together his knowledge of Scripture and Jewish traditions and theology with the practices of Gentile idolaters and philosophers.” (p. 13).