Having Too Many Choices?

confused_choices

I have once read, or heard, it said, “If you have too many choices, then you have no choice, at all.” I believe it was a Christian author reiterating something that a psychologist had spoken. In fact, I came across an article about the top ten quotes on this very subject. It is very odd how that works out. As mentioned in the article, “having more options does not necessarily help us make better choices.” As odd as that sounds, it is very true.

Think about it for a moment. How often have you gotten on the television with the channel changer in one hand just flipping the channels. Only, to your dismay, finding nothing to your liking on the television…despite the fact that you had just cycled through500 to 750 channels, twice. I was such a television aficionado, or televisionaholic, that I could actually cycle through the channels at such speed and accuracy that two-three hours would pass me by and I did not watch anything of knowledge or substance.

TVaholicThe ability to watch the news 24/7 is absolutely ludicrous! Think about it…regardless of what happens, outside of some travesty, you can watch the same things being spoken by the same, or different, faces for those 24 hour periods. And it does not help when you add politics to the mix, because then you will be adding an additional dynamic to the mix. Which, by the way, only increases the tension in your heart and mind, regardless if it were a conservative or liberal twist.

My wife and I use to have the news on all day long and tensions ran hot and heavy. TVaholic1Within the last two, or three, years we have changed to listening to the radio. Still political/news punditry, but not quite as bad as watching the news all day long. Quite honestly, I liked the good old days when you had the news on in the morning in time for the morning rush hour and in the evening at or after dinner time. I am to the point of wanting to get rid of cable, all together, and just use a digital antenna and go back to the good old days of 13 channels.

The same choice that prevents us from choosing something to watch can also afflict us with respect to religious practice. Those of you who came from an atheistic, or theistic-lite, backgrounds sought out the One True God based upon truths that were made evident to you. However, there were too many religious choices. And then when you finally got to Christianity you found there were upwards of 34, 000 variations of Christian beliefs. Sooner or later, you whittled it down to the top 35 denominations within the Christian faith system.

WhichDenominationAmI

And, of course, YOU may not truly find out which denomination you are until you try out the church itself…YES, you do have to go and see if it is a fit for you and for them!

BUT, of course, YOU are a trooper. So, YOU do your research on the denomination and you go to the church to visit. You visit several churches and research their beliefs, the denomination, etc. Remember this, you will also need to research the bible and all that it promotes. As a good Christian you will also be mentally comparing what your Pastor preaches against what the bible states and what Jesus taught. Many of the denominations will fall off of the personal list you have made.

My siblings and I were brought up Roman Catholic. Had I a Priest of the likes of Robert Barron (Bishop)  or a mentor of the likes of Scott M. Sullivan, I would probably still be or would have returned to the Catholic faith. I grew up in West Caldwell, New Jersey under the Archdiocese of Newark (Notre Dame Church.) We were taught, at that time in the 1970s, that we were not to read the bible, but the Priest would read the bible for us and teach us what it said. Being a teen, with a great amount of angst, surely did not go over very well for me. God gave us a mind to think, and logically reason…not to be spoon fed and indoctrinated. At that time in my life, spoon feeding was not on my mind. But, believe it or not, my oldest sibling had paved the way for me to escape the snare of religiosity. Although it took about another 8 years to find my way to God – amidst numerous hiccoughs along the way. Eventually, regardless of who you are or what you are facing, you will have to reconcile  what you do with your core values and beliefs. Whether it be habits you desire to rid yourself of, honing in on the religion of choice or of truth, or a career path to follow. You must reconcile with your core values & beliefs.

>>>>Sorry, I got a little off track…again…my bad!<<<<<

Watching television or picking the religious faith that God desires you to be associated with…it is truly tough to wade your way through all of the “addictiveness” of it all. But with much prayer and research and continued faith in God and listening to the Holy Spirit guiding you…you will find your way!

Biblically speaking, you could gather together with others in your own house to create a church.

Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”~Matthew 18:19-20 NKJV

Taking to heart the above quotation of Jesus, the church is the people, not the building. As a matter of fact, the church I presently attend, Calvary Christian Church, started in the house of one of the original pastors. It is now a primary church with four satellite locations and I foresee it expanding even further…God willing!

I did get a little off track and continued to do so, but I believe I made a point…although, it may not have been the one I intended to make! LOL Keep smiling and keep praying! Godspeed to you all!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy

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The Big Bang & “Let There Be Light”

LetThereBeLight

We all have our opinions on the Big Bang and on God, as well as, the Bible. Since this is my blog…these are my opinions. [No arrogance, just a statement of fact.] I found the movie “GOD’S NOT DEAD” to be an interesting movie. While in some cases the movie had good arguments, although much of the demeanor of the Professor was out of sorts, in my opinion, with respect to his power and position. But the movie showed some interesting arguments and their responses. That said, let us move on.

So let’s look at theoretical physicist and Nobel Prize winner Steven Weinberg’s description of what the big bang would have looked like. And since he’s an atheist, we can be sure there isn’t any believer bias in his description.

“In the beginning there was an explosion, and in three minutes, 98% of the matter there is or ever will be was produced. We had a universe.” [On-screen animation of the big bang]

For 2,500 years most scientists agreed with Aristotle on the idea of a steady-state universe—that the universe has always existed with no beginning and no end. But the Bible disagreed. In the 1920s, Belgian astronomer Georges Lemaitre, a theist, who was actually also . . .He said that the entire universe, jumping into existence in a trillionth of a trillionth of a second, out of nothingness in an unimaginably intense flash of light, is how he would expect the universe to respond if God were to actually utter the command in Genesis 1:3, “Let there be light.” In other words, the origin of the universe unfolded exactly how one would expect after reading Genesis, and for 2,500 years the Bible had it right, and science had it wrong.

You see, in the real world we never see things jumping into existence out of nothingness, but atheists will make one small exception to this rule; mainly the universe and everything in it. ~God’s Not Dead Revisited, by Roger Patterson on August 5, 2014, 

While during the advent of the atheist in philosophy and science movement was running strong, back as early as the 1950’s, within the academic circles…there seems to be a resurgence of Christians within both science and philosophy.

Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.” ~Genesis 1:3-4 NKJV

IF God exists, as the Christian believes Him to exist (i.e., outside of time, space, and matter), then to say “that (you choose the miracle that God accomplished) is impossible!”  Is a bit ironic. Yet, as an atheist, you choose to believe that all things came from nothing while proposing that you cannot create something from nothing (the First law of Thermodynamics.) Up to the Big Bang nothing existed, is one such assumption. However, the Christian is not saying that something is coming from nothing, but that God created something by His word. If God does in-fact exist outside of time, space and matter, then does He not have command over such things? Especially if He created all things?

There are also arguments as to what illuminated the world after God created it on the First Day. Well, let’s look at the Biblical text:

This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” ~1John 1:5 NKJV

If God is Light, then wouldn’t it make sense that He illuminated the world prior to the Fourth Day?

The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light.” ~Revelation 21:23 NKJV

IF God is “Light” and the Lamb is “Light” and the Lamb is Jesus; therefore, Jesus and God are one and the same, and that initial light that was mentioned in the Bible prior to the creation of the Sun and the Moon was the Light that God and Jesus illuminated across the vastness of this planet OR it was the light that was created from the explosion due to the Big Bang. Personally I will lean toward the light being illuminated from God and Jesus; however, I would posit if not so, then the Big Bang was created by God. Also, consider this…if the world was already created, what need was there for the Big Bang explosion?

As a general scientific principle, it is undesirable to depend crucially on what is unobservable to explain what is observable, as happens frequently in Big Bang cosmology.  — Halton Christian Arp

The funny thing is, in my opinion, when you see such a thing as the Big Bang, or observe such a happening, that you are indeed observing God at work. A miracle, if you will, as it is something that defies the natural laws of physics and yet it is apparent that it has happened, sometime in our past.

We, as theists or atheists, can argue the points over and over again. The problem being that neither will budge due to the fact that each has a position. Whether that position is based upon indoctrinated information or based upon researched information is a key concern. My position is based upon researched information and studied facts. Do I argue my points well…that is up to you to decide. However, I do leave to you to decide for yourselves by challenging my words. You research and study the points made and decide for yourselves, do not rely on me or others to think for you.

People, primarily atheists, complain that Christians are ignorant of the facts. Well, to a certain extent they are right in that. But not the way they think. Christians, more often than not, are ignorant and remain ignorant because they rely on the indoctrinated information of their parents. Quite honestly, Christians have an obligation, if not a mandate, to study the word and the facts of the matter in order to answer anyone who asks them to respond to the “…reason for the hope that is in them!

While I may not argue well, I do believe I can hold my own. I do study and read, rather voraciously. At any given time I have roughly over one hundred ideas for blog writing ideas. I bid you Godspeed my friends and happy reading and studying!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy

7 Writing Tips from Charles Spurgeon

 

I came across this article and thought for those of you that either write, ordesire to write, would enjoy it. Hopefully as much as I have!

Sorry, this post is less than the average of 1000 words, but from a great sermonizer as Mr. Spurgeon, I thought you would forgive me for fewer words. (Unless of course you have been falling a sleep?)

Godspeed!

MK Murphy

*****

Charles-Spurgeon

lucidbooks

Charles Haddon Spurgeon is the most prolific Christian author of all-time.

Prior to the standardization of typewriters—let alone the development of computers—Charles Spurgeon literally penned a boatload of content. He’s considered to be the most widely read preacher and he produced more written material than any other Christian in history. Here’s a sampling of his production:

  • Wrote over 140 books
  • Penned up to 500 personal letters per week
  • Published a monthly magazine called The Sword and the Trowel
  • Transcribed his weekly sermons that today fill 63 volumes and total between 20–25 million words

Charles Spurgeon’s work has been translated into multiple languages and has sold millions of copies worldwide.

He can make you laugh, cry, and become awestruck with God with the stroke of his pen and eloquent prose. Here are seven writing tips taken from his life for aspiring writers.

1. Write to Help others

“We are very mistaken, if our work does not prove to be of the utmost value to purchasers of books…no object in view but the benefit of our brethren…it will be remuneration enough to have aided the ministers of God in the study of his word” (Sword & Trowel, March 1876).

2. Write Short

“Long visits, long stories, long essays, long exhortations, and long prayers, seldom profit those who have to do with them. Life is short. Time is short.…Moments are precious. Learn to condense, abridge, and intensify…In making a statement, lop off branches; stick to the main facts in your case. If you pray, ask for what you believe you will receive, and get through; if you speak, tell your message and hold your peace; if you write, boil down two sentences into one, and three words into two. Always when practicable avoid lengthiness — learn to be short” (Sword & Trowel, September 1871).

3. Write for God

“Courteous reader, throughout another year we have endeavored, month by month, to provide for your entertainment and edification. For both, because the first is to the most of men needful to produce the second, and also because God hath joined them together, and no man should put them asunder” (Sword & Trowel, Preface, 1875).

4. Write Clearly

“So I gathered that my sermons were clear enough to be understood by anybody who was not so conceited as to darken his own mind with pride. Now, if boys read The Sword and the Trowel it cannot be said to shoot over people’s heads, nor can it be said to be very dull and dreary” (Sword & Trowell, November 1874).

5. Write to Compel

“It was an ill day when religion became so decorous as to call dullness her companion, and mirth became so frivolous as to demand the divorce of instruction from amusement. It is not needful that magazines for Christian reading should be made up of pious platitudes, heavy discourses, and dreary biographies of nobodies: the Sabbath literature of our families might be as vivacious and attractive as the best of amusing serials, and yet as deeply earnest and profitable as the soundest of divines would desire” (Sword & Trowel, Preface, 1875).

“If the writer had possessed genius and literary ability, this might have been a highly interesting work; but as the writers’ sole qualification is his honesty of purpose, the work is most reliable and dull” (Sword & Trowel, November 1882).

6. Write, Write, & Write

“Many of our hours of pain and weakness have been lightened by preparing the first volume of our book on the Psalms for the press. If we could not preach we could write, and we pray that this form of service may be accepted of the Lord” (Sword & Trowel, January 1870).

7. Read to Write

“Read good authors, that you may know what English is, you will find it to be a language very rarely written nowadays, and yet the grandest of all human tongues” (Sword & Trowel, August 1871).

 

Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying…

Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows.” ~Michael Landon, Jr.

While not biblical, Michael Landon, Jr.’s statement is a matter of importance and fact. Importance because we tend to get ourselves into a comfortable state in our lives when we can keep our heads above water; yet, we know darn well that there is so much we should be doing. It is a matter of fact because we also have a tendency to push things off one-dayuntil another time, by saying, “I’ll do it tomorrow,” “Some other day,” “Another time,” ” Some day, honey, we will get there, or do such and such…” We all have our special line to let us know that we want to do it, but someday never seems to arrive.

We all have our ways, we each have our blow off statement(s), and we all in the back of our minds know we will not ever get there, or do this or that. It is just in our nature to put things off because we have other things that rise higher on our scale of important things to do list. We are reminded by King Solomon:

For the living know that they will die…” ~Ecclesiastes 9:5 NKJV

Man inherently knows that he will one day, no longer be. It is a sad truth to our lives, but death is every bit a part of life, it is the finale…if you will. Where the time clock of our life has run out…the game is over…curtains are down…well, you get the point. As we grow older, we tend to look more toward the legacy we will leave behind. Of course, there are those who began to build up a legacy right out of college, high school, or even the LeavingLegacy.jpgmilitary.

People such as myself, who have taken far too long to mature and, therefore, delayed – without any fore thought toward the ramifications of their decisions – begins to look at their life and see that they have not developed any kind of a legacy to leave either family or the world. One could even apply the techniques from Napoleon Hill’s book, THINK AND GROW RICH and develop a low level or some grand legacy, to both family and the world. But as with any goal, you must first know what it is that you want to obtain, or develop. Legacies are no different.

We have this tendency to get caught up in the daily grind, the rat race, or the job. Often times, these are but menial things, in retrospect. We all too often allow ourselves to get Morestuffcaught up in the mental mind set of keeping up with the Joneses, or just find ourselves wanting more and more stuff. Which, by the way, will end up in our closets, sheds, basements, garages, or attics…never to truly be used at all. So, why do we do such things? Well, who really knows, but the underlying thought is that it makes us feel good in the end. A certain amount of happiness in an otherwise mundane life of work…work…work…and more work. 50 to 80, and with others even more hours each week. And we have the feeling we are getting no where, fast. Sometimes we just cannot help ourselves, until one day you wake up and make a firm decision…NO MORE!

Some of have more time than others in our lives. Someone I graduated with in High School, back in New Jersey, he died at the age of 49, another died in her twenties, and another while we were in our Junior year of High School. Some people just have less time than others. But you know, being armed with such information and understanding that we will all go some day can be a blessing. If you can embrace such a mind set, then you will be a cut above many others who are constantly playing things safe. While I am not promoting living unsafe lives I am suggesting that we need to go out on a limb in our lives. By placing ourselves on a limb we will start taking chances and start seeking the purpose for which we were created.

I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.” ~ Deuteronomy 30:19-20 NKJV

Sometimes that million dollar idea you get could be the legacy you leave behind. Others will leave hind a beautiful family and others will leave behind children to carry on their name who were endowed with the wisdom that God blessed them with. Our Founding Fathers, here in America, left behind a legacy of a republic with the blessing of inalienable rights…the Great American Experiment. I had two great great uncles who were in the Civil war on the side of the North. I also had a great great great uncle who fought on the side of the British Crown on one of Her Majesty’s Ships during the War of 1812. Talk about being caught in the middle, eh?? My father was in WWII in Germany and one of my Grandfathers was in the military just after WWI and an Uncle who was in Germany during the Korean War.

Life-itself-is-a-universally-fatal-sexually-trans

So, what is your legacy? What are you leaving for your family? What are you leaving the world? What are you leaving to testify that God was in your life while you walked this mortal coil, called earth? Search deeply in prayer and meditation on God’s Word…what does God want you to do? Keep in mind that you are dying, we are all dying, and what are you going to do to show the world that God was in your life?

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy

 

False Prophets & Teachers Among Us

false-teachers

But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber…For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who [i]have actually escaped from those who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage.” ~2 Peter 2:1-2,18-19 NKJV

false-prophetsSome time ago I had a bit of a disagreement with some Ghanaian friends on Facebook. They, the Ghanaian People or the Legislature, were proposing a law that you must have a bachelors degree in theology in order to be a minister/priest. I took umbrage with such an argument on several accounts. First as a matter of rights ordained upon us by God and secondly, as a matter of liberty which would be eventually taken away by the government. John the Baptist had no degree in such studies and yet he drove people to repentance. We were reminded by the Apostle Paul that,

For this reason God gave them up to vile passions.” ~Romans 1:26-27 NKJV

While this verse primarily discussed the vile passions as being those of homosexuality, the looser reading would be of the vile passions of our spiritual hearts. How many fallen evangelists have had degrees?

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.” ~Matthew 28:18-20 NKJV

our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant” ~1Corinthians 3:5-6 NKJV

We have been charged by God, through Jesus, to minister to the people of the world, every nation. We each are called to do so. But, unfortunately, not all heed the call. Just as we were reminded that we will always have the poor among us, we will always have false teachers and prophets among us, as well. And I say this based upon the fact that “the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth…” For false-teachers1whatever their reason or desire, the evil in man’s heart will always strive to turn man from the spiritual blessings that God has to offer him in his life.

It is my opinion, that we can recognize these false teachers and prophets by the fruits of their actions and demeanor. We are suppose to be active learners and studiers of God’s Word by comparing our actions and the actions of our teachers to the Word we have. Anyone who varies the Word and changes the Word to suit his needs…is not a teacher or prophet of God. We are reminded by the Gospel of Matthew the following:

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. ~Matthew 7:15-20 NKJV

My greatest concern with such a situation as this, there are several situations which will create adverse problems with an enmeshing of government and religion.

  1. There will be a state sponsored church or religion and all others made illegal.
  2. If you do not meet the state requirements, you cannot be an evangelist, apologist, or pastor.
  3. Some European countries take your 10% tithes out when you claim a religion as part of your taxes.
  4. Though you meet the state mandated requirements, you are free to reassess the tenets of the religion; thereby teaching it wrongly.

The blind allegiance to a country’s governing authority over all matters within the country is very troubling to me. It is bad enough in America where all things religion and political are being reassessed all of the time and reinterpreted all of the time. Sadly, it is very hard to get the student of the Word of God to actually actively listen and discern what he or she is being taught while sitting in church. All the while thinking it was a great and appealing service. We are reminded by the Apostle Paul in the Book of Romans:

Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” ~Romans 1:24-25 NKJV

I believe God gave us not only the ability to discern right from wrong, truth from false, love for God and His Word and a reprehensible hatred of/toward it. God, by His Grace, gave us reason and logic to formulate an understanding in every situation, as well as, the ability to discern the proper path that we should take in any given situation. While the Apostle Paul’s statement in the Book of Romans was primarily geared toward sexuality, it can and is applicable in all matters of truth. God has, throughout the history of man, given man over to the lusts of his heart when he chose not to follow God’s Word. The term “lust” could be anything that man has placed higher in his own heart and mind above that of God.

The Word of God, the Bible, is a manual for our lives and should be used everyday in order to compare what people say (including pastors, ministers, and other people of God) against what the teachings of Christ are. In so doing, we can determine, through the gift of reason and logic, if a person truly is a man or woman of God. By comparing what they teach, say, and how they act we will know their intentions, because You Will Know Them by Their Fruits.

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. ~Matthew 7:15-20 NKJV

We, the species of man, should not be placing our governments above our abilities to reason and logic and entrust them is such a way that they will be our moral compass in our lives to protect us from all wrong doings. I have always say, and still believe to this day – despite how crass it may be, “The government is so inept that it can run a brothel into the ground.” [A brothel being an entity which is a self contained and revenue generating business since the beginning of time.] Refer to the article: That Time the U.S. Gov’t Tried (and Failed) to Run a Brothel.

While God has placed our governing authorities in their place for specific purposes, He did not place them where they are that we should place our governing authorities in a higher priority and position to God in our lives. WE must step up our game and strive to make those determining decisions as to what is right and wrong and choose to follow God’s Word and love. These teaching, which Christ promoted and carried forth throughout His ministry, were meant to guide us and lead us to God.

I will leave you with this final word: Read and Follow God’s Word! Rely on no one and nothing else in God’s place.

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy

 

10 REASONS TO ACCEPT THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS AS AN HISTORICAL FACT

TUESDAY, APRIL 11, 2017

By Brian Chilton

When I left the ministry due to my skepticism, one of the factors involved in my departure concerned the reliability of the New Testament documents and the resurrection of Jesus. The folks from the Jesus Seminar had me second-guessing whether I could trust what the New Testament said and if I could truly accept the literal bodily resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. In July of 2005, my life changed. I entered the Lifeway Christian Bookstore in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and read three books that changed my life more than any other book outside the Bible. I discovered Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ, Josh McDowell’s The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict, and McDowell’s A Ready Defense. I discovered that there are many reasons for accepting the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth as a historical fact.

Through the years, the evidence has increasingly mounted for the historicity of Jesus’s resurrection. This article will provide 10 of the most fascinating arguments for the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. This list is not exhaustive and my dealings with each argument is extremely brief. Nevertheless, I hope this list will provide a starting point for you to consider the authenticity of Jesus’s resurrection.

  1. The First Eyewitnesses were Women. The first eyewitnesses of the resurrection were women. All the Gospels note that the first individuals to discover the tomb empty were women. Matthew notes that “After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to view the tomb…The angel told the women, ‘Don’t be afraid, because I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here. For he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the play where he lay” (Matthew 28:1, 5-6).[1] Women were not held in high esteem. In Greco-Roman culture, a woman’s testimony was not admissible in court. In Jewish circles, it took the testimony of two women to equate that of one man. If one were to invent a story, the last people one would place as the first witnesses would have been women, unless it were otherwise true.

  1. Minimal Facts Concerning the Resurrection. Gary Habermas has popularized the so-called minimal facts argument for the resurrection. The minimal facts are those things that are accepted by nearly all New Testament scholars. The minimal facts are “1. Jesus died by crucifixion. 2. Jesus’ disciples believed that he rose and appeared to them. 3. The church persecutor Paul was suddenly changed. 4. The skeptic James, brother of Jesus, was suddenly changed. 5. The tomb was empty.” [2] These facts are nearly universally accepted by New Testament scholars, including liberals.

  1. Transformation of the Early Disciples. As noted in the minimal facts, James, the brother of Jesus, was changed from a skeptic to a believer because of the resurrection. James along with his brothers did not believe in Jesus during Jesus’s early ministry (see John 7:5). However, Jesus appeared to James (1 Corinthians 15:3-9) and James became a leader in the early Jerusalem church. His death is recorded by Josephus.[3] Paul is another example of one who was completely transformed by the resurrection of Jesus. Paul had been a persecutor of the church. After witnessing the risen Jesus, Paul became a proclaimer for the church.

  1. Embarrassing Details of the Resurrection. Historically speaking, embarrassing details add veracity to a historical claim. The fact that women were the first witnesses, that a member of the Sanhedrin (the same Sanhedrin that executed Jesus) had to give Jesus a proper burial, and that the disciples were fearful and fled all serve as embarrassing factors for the resurrection account.

  1. Willingness to Die for What Was Known. Many people will die for what they believe to be true. But no one will die for something they erroneously invented. The disciples knew if they were telling the truth. Yet, one finds that the disciples were willing to die for what they knew to be true. Stephen died by stoning (Acts 7:54-60), James of Zebedee died by the sword at the hands of Herod (Acts 12:2), James the brother of Jesus died,[4] and Peter and Paul died at the hands of Nero.[5]

  1. Documentary Evidence. The documentary evidence for the resurrection of Jesus is quite good. The historian seeks to find how many primary and secondary sources[6] can be gathered for an event to determine the event’s historicity. Concerning primary sources, the resurrection has Matthew’s account, John’s account, and Paul’s account in 1 Corinthians 15, including the additional references by James (if one accepts that James wrote the letter attributed to him) and Jude. The following are secondary sources for the resurrection: Luke, Mark, Clement of Rome, and to a lesser degree Ignatius and Irenaeus.

  1. Circumstantial Evidence. Douglas Groothius notes that circumstantial evidence for the historicity of the resurrection is “namely, the practice of the early church in observing baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and Sunday worship.”[7] Baptism is based upon the analogy of Jesus’s death, burial, and resurrection. The Lord’s Supper is a symbol of Christ’s sacrificial death. In addition, it is quite odd that faithful Jews would move their worship from a Friday evening into Saturday to a Sunday morning unless something major had occurred on a Sunday morning. The major Sunday morning event was Jesus’s resurrection.

  1. The Missing Motive. J. Warner Wallace has noted in his lectures and books that when a conspiracy is formed, three motivating factors are behinds such a move—power, greed, and/or lust.[8] The disciples would hold no power behind claiming the resurrection as history. They were running around while often being threatened by the Jewish and Roman authorities. As far as greed, they taught that one should not desire earthly possessions, but spiritual ones. Lust was not a factor, either. They taught celibacy before marriage and marital fidelity after marriage. In fact, N. T. Wright notes in his classic book, The Resurrection of the Son of God, that the disciples had no theological motivation behind claiming that Jesus had risen from the dead as they were anticipating a military hero and a final resurrection at the end of time. What motivating factors existed for these disciples to invent such a story? None! The only reason the disciples taught the resurrection of Jesus was because Jesus’s resurrection had occurred.

  1. Enemy Attestation of the Resurrection. Historically speaking, if one holds enemy attestation to an event, then the event is strengthened. When one considers the claims of the authorities that the disciples had stolen the body of Jesus (Matthew 28:11-15), the testimony of the resurrection is strengthened. The early belief that the disciples had stolen the body of Jesus is strengthened by the discovery of the Nazareth Inscription that orders capital punishment for anyone who steals a body from a tomb.[9] In addition, several refences to Jesus and his resurrection include citations from Josephus,[10] Tacitus,[11] and Suetonius[12] among others (including the Babylonian Talmud).

  1. Multiple Post-Resurrection Eyewitnesses. Finally, there is multiple eyewitness testimony pertaining to the resurrection of Jesus. Several people had seen Jesus alive for a period of 40 days. The eyewitnesses include Mary Magdalene (John 20:10-18), the women at the tomb accompanying Mary (Matthew 28:1-10), the Roman guards (Matthew 28:4), the Eleven disciples (John 21), the two men on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35), an indeterminate number of disciples (Matthew 28:16-20); over five-hundred disciples (1 Corinthains 15:6), to James (1 Corinthians 15:7) and to Paul (1 Corinthians 15:8-9). I am certain that there were many other witnesses that are unnamed.

Conclusion:

Many other evidences could be given for the resurrection of Jesus. Thinking about the methods of history, one must understand that there is a reason why American accept the first President of the United States as George Washington and not Spongebob Squarepants. History backs up the claim that Washington was the first President. In like manner, history backs up the reality of Jesus’s resurrection. Now the question is this: what will you do with such information? Some will try to ignore the event. Some will try to dismiss it. Others will acknowledge the factual nature of the event and worship Jesus as the risen Lord. It is my prayer that you will do the latter.

Notes

[1] Unless otherwise noted, all quoted Scripture comes from the Christian Standard Bible (Nashville: Holman, 2017).

[2] Gary R. Habermas and Michael R. Licona, The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2004), 48-50, 64-69.

[3] Josephus, Antiquities XX.200.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Eusebius, Church History XXV.5.

[6] Primary sources are documents written by eyewitnesses. Secondary sources are documents written by individuals who know eyewitnesses. For instance, my grandfather was an eyewitness to the biggest naval battle in World War II history. From the information my dad gathered from him, he would be a secondary source, whereas my grandfather would have been a primary source.

[7] Douglas Groothius, Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith (Downers Grove; Nottingham, UK: IVP Academic; Apollos, 2011), 553-554.

[8] See J. Warner Wallace, “Rapid Response: I Think the Disciples Lied About the Resurrection,” Cold-case Christianity.com (October 17, 2016), retrieved April 11, 2017, http://coldcasechristianity.com/2016/rapid-response-i-think-the-disciples-lied-about-the-resurrection/.

[9] See http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2009/07/22/The-Nazareth-Inscription-Proof-of-the-Resurrection-of-Christ.aspx#Article.

[10] Josephus, Antiquities XX.9.1.

[11] Tacitus, Annals XV.

[12] Suetonius, Lives of the Caesars-Claudius 25 and Suetonius, Lives of the Caesars-Nero 16.

Original Blog Source: http://bit.ly/2ppUPKK

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Another post of apologetic information to aid in your understanding. I hope & pray you find it of value to your growth!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy

Why Do So Many Christians Dismiss Apologetics?

Posted June 14, 2016 by Sean McDowell [SEANMCDOWELL.ORG]

Why Do Many Christians Dismiss Apologetics?

SeanMcDowell.org

I love apologetics. It’s fun to teach apologetics, discuss apologetics, and offer reasons for what I believe to non-Christians who ask. Yet, quite clearly, not all Christians share my enthusiasm. Why not? Below are five common reasons why many Christians dismiss apologetics (thanks to my Twitter friends, acknowledged below).

Apologists have often failed to model gracious apologetics. Rather than blaming others, we apologists might do well to start by examining ourselves. Let’s be honest, we could probably all share a story where we failed to model the kind of evangelism and apologetics we see in Jesus, Paul, and the early church fathers. If you can’t think of a story, then you’re probably not even aware of your own blind spot! As I emphasize in A New Kind of Apologist, many Christians dismiss apologetics because they have seen apologists being arrogant, dismissive, and uncharitable to others. Many dismiss apologetics because of a bad experience.

Faulty understanding of faith and reason. Some time ago my father and I were speaking at a student conference in the southeast. Noticeably upset, a young female youth worker approached us afterwards and (essentially) said, “I wish you guys had a more biblical view of faith. We don’t need evidence. Real faith involves believing something without proof.” And then she stormed away. Sadly, this young lady had bought the idea that faith involves believing something blindly without evidence. If she were right, then apologetics would be frivolous. But the Bible both teaches and models a different view of faith. Simply put, evidence is offered to give people a confident faith (E.g., Exodus 14:31; John 20:30-31; Acts 1:1-3).

Mistaken view of apologetics. A couple years ago I spoke with an influential youth leader about the present state of youth culture. When I inquired about his views on apologetics, he quickly dismissed it, even though his own research showed that many kids were leaving the faith because they had unanswered questions. As I probed further, it became clear that he equated apologetics with a cage-match where people defend their hot-button issue without relationship or gentleness. If that is what apologetics is, then I would dismiss it too! What should apologetics be about? Dallas Willard Perhaps said it best:

Like Jesus, we are reaching out in love in a humble spirit with no coercion. The only way to accomplish that is to present our defense gently, as help offered in love in the manner of Jesus.[1]

Not being engaged in evangelism. Motivated by my friend Brett Kunkle, I have been taking high school students on apologetics mission trips for the past few years. Inevitably, whenever we meet up with atheists, Mormons, student freethinking groups, Unitarian Universalists or people of other faiths, students become highly motivated to study apologetics. Students often study theology and apologetics late into the evening getting prepared for the next day! In my experience, nothing motivates Christians to care about apologetics more than evangelism and spiritual conversations. After all, once you start sharing your faith, people will inevitably have questions about the Bible, evil, evolution, and more.

Apologetics is often motivated by fear. Something stood out to me a few years ago at an apologetics conference—virtually every speaker used the hook of “fear” to motivate people. We were told to fear changing sexual mores, the growth of atheism, the tactics of various “cults,” certain theological movements within the church, and more. While there is undoubtedly a place for healthy fear, apologetics should not simply be a reactive discipline to changing cultural mores. Rather, we ought to provide positive answers and reasons for the supremacy of the Christian faith. Insofar as we are primarily negative, apologists will fail to inspire people to stand up for the faith.

There are certainly other reasons many Christians dismiss the value of apologetics. If you want to see a few more, which were suggested by my friends on Twitter, check out this interesting Twitter exchange. Here are a few samples of their insightful feedback:

@rickwade55: Apologists focusing on true conclusions rather than on the individual they’re talking to and coming to believe.

@triciascribner: Some believe that apologetics undermines the gospel’s supremacy, diminishing the authority of the Word and of Christ.

@smlabonte: I’ve heard people say that Jesus doesn’t need us to defend him. (Not exactly what apologetics is)

@DynAggelos: some Christians think it is unnecessary since the Holy Spirit and the Word of God ultimately do the transforming of the mind.

@prashanthdaniel: I’ve been told that its pointless nitpicking, argumentative and therefore divisive, Sean. Naturally, I disagree.

Sean McDowell, Ph.D. is a professor of Christian Apologetics at Biola University, a best-selling author of over 15 books, an internationally recognized speaker, and a part-time high school teacher. Follow him on Twitter: @sean_mcdowell and his blog: seanmcdowell.org.

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I was reading through many saved posts on Facebook to clear them out and thought this was noteworthy.

Hope you enjoyed it!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy