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

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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

The Argument of Sufficiency of Scripture

Sufficiency of Scripture

See chapter 8 Systematic Theology

God has granted us sufficiency of His word throughout history. Man has enough in God’s word in order to learn and understand what God desires of us and we have enough information how to live the Christ following life we need. Furthermore, there is sufficient information for each of us to hear the word of God, understand we are sinners, to confess our sins before God, and be saved unto Christ! What is the legitimate definition of  “The Sufficiency of Scripture”?

sufficiency

What is the purpose of scripture? Well, in the second letter to the Apostle Timothy by the Apostle Paul it was stated:

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.~2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV

Hence the purpose of scripture is to teach those who already believe and have accepted Jesus as the Son of God, who rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. Now, can it be used by those who do not believe? Yes, yet we do not even need the bible, or scripture, to prove the existence of God.

We can find everything that God has spoken on, ultimately, any given topic; either directly or indirectly or inferred. For example, in the sixth commandment “You shall not murder.” (Deuteronomy 5:17 NIV) Blatantly states that we are not to murder anyone. But what is murder?

There are many definitions of murder include murder committed with malice aforethought, characterized by deliberation or premeditation or occurring during the commission of another serious crime, as robbery or arson and murder by intent but without deliberation or premeditation. However, the nuts and bolts of murder is unlawful killing of another, whereas killing is an act by which someone dies due to an accident without forethought or malice as part of the equation.

But by way of inference we can deduce that we are not to harm another in any physical way. Jesus spoke on this, in fact, Jesus stated emphatically that we are subject to judgement if we are angry with our brother. Furthermore, we are subject to the fire of hell if we even say, “You fool!” to our brother. (ref: Matthew 5:20-22 NIV) This is but one example of inferring from scripture and all we can learn from the same.

The sufficiency of scripture also promises us that the amount of scripture given to us at each stage in our history is and was sufficient for us to learn what was being taught to us and that it is proper and sufficient for our redemption through Christ. We learned in the Mosaic teachings this basic understanding:

The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law. ~Deuteronomy 29:29 NIV

God has this tendency to reveal to some people more than the rest of us. Just look throughout history and this will be an understood fact. You may be one of those who believe that the bible, while being canonized was a severe censure of the word of God, but in reality, if you believe God is all powerful, all knowing and all present…then He has the ability to protect His message to all the world from the likes of those who believe they must control the thoughts of men. And in so doing, those same men will change the contents of the books of sacred scripture, but God will get His message through to all His children.

sinful1God gave each of us the same brain, but it is up to each of us to love God with all of our minds. And how do we do such? Great question…and here is an answer! We must take charge of our mind and subject our thoughts to godly things, subject our eyes to godly things, and subject our bodies to godly things. We must bask in God’s word by learning all we can, we must also subject our minds to understand the godly words and understanding all that is good. Reading good books, wholesome and truthful. We must subject ourselves to those who have studied God’s word before us and learn what they have had to say in order to understand. Of course, that does not mean that we must agree with their assessments but it will help us to be of one mind and heart!

There is the problem of those who are health and wealth preachers who tend to preach heretical teachings. They tend to obfuscate the true word of God through smoke and mirrors allowing you to misunderstand the true nature of God through the all deceptive pattern of wealth…that always catches a person’s attention. Because if they believe that God truly wants us to be rich and wealthy…they are hooked and are in for the long haul.

Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you.~Deuteronomy 4:2 NIV

See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it.~Deuteronomy 12:32 NIV

Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar. ~Proverbs 30:5-6 NIV

Does God desire us to be rich? Yes, but He wants our wealth to be in His kingdom. We temptation-gardenwere warned by Jesus not to be so attached to wealth and riches on this earthly plane. Jesus was very clear on this. God does want us to be rich and many who do great things are rewarded in earthly riches. But we all need to remember that:

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.~Matthew 5:44-45 NIV

We are equal in God’s eyes, in that, not one of us is righteous.  But getting back to the point is we are not to add to scripture, nor take anything away from it. By doing so you clearly intend to mislead those you are teaching and you will be held accountable for such teachings. The prophet Ezekiel warned us:

When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.~Ezekiel 3:18-19 NIV

We are reminded throughout, that we are not commanded to believe in anything outside of the scriptures about God Himself or His redemptive works. Everything is within the confines of the 66 books of the bible. We are also taught that there is nothing sinful that is not forbidden by the scriptures. As written by the Apostle Paul, on the Believer’s Freedoms:

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others. ~1 Corinthians 10:23-24 NIV

We can do all things, but is it wise to do all that we desire to do? As children of God we should be desires and have a passion for those around us. Helping and aiding all those near us…our neighbors! Our brothers and sisters in Christ!

We are also reminded that God does not command any of us to do anything that is not explicitly in the biblical text, or implied by the same! Because God is all good, He will not command us to do what is evil. He will not guide us to lie. Because the seed of God is truly righteous.

Do-what-God-has-told-you-4We are taught, implored to do really, that we should emphasize what the scriptures tell us and to be content with what God has told and taught us within the scriptures. We are to touch the lives of those around us with God’s word, because God desires all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. And more often than not, we are the only connection that others will have to God. Trust me, God will open those opportunities to you to touch the life of another.

Until We Meet Again, Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

While Breathing, Man Forgets His Breath Is From God

breath of life

We all seem to forget one of the greatest gifts we possesses, the breath of life which is within each of us by the grace of God! We each continue to waste our time and lives on such trivial things to debate if or whether or not that God exists…despite this great gift!

What are the Odds?:

And what something even more basic – say, your own existence?  A couple of months ago, a “probability chart” produced by Harvard Law School blogger Ali Binazir went somewhat viral, encouraging people to contemplate this very question.  In the chart, Binazir calculates just how improbable it was that the right sperm from your father hooked up with the right egg produced by your mother – by his estimate, it’s about one chance in 400 quadrillion (that number seems only slightly more tame in scientific notation: 4 x 10^17).  And that’s hardly the whole battle:  To even get to that stage, all of your ancestors, going all the way back to the beginning of life on Earth, had to survive to reproductive age.  Multiplying the string of probabilities together, he concludes that the odds of your existence are an astronomical one in 10^2,685.000.  (As you can imagine, not everyone in the blogosphere was kind to Binazir; one asked if it was painful to pull those numbers out of you-know-where.) (“Life, the Universe, and Everything: What are the Odds?“, 12/2011, Dan Falk)

Let us consider mathematical a understanding:

improbable = something that can happen, but its probability is comparatively low, but not zero. The distinction between probable and improbable is not, as far as I know, exactly defined.

if you roll one hundred dice, it is very improbable that all of them will land as sixes.

almost impossible = something that can happen, but its probability is exactly zero

if you roll a frictionless die, it is almost impossible that it will end up on its edge.

if you keep rolling a die until a six lands, it is almost impossible that you will never stop rolling.

impossible = something that cannot happen.

if you roll one hundred (standard) dice, it is impossible that at least one of them will land as a seven.

probable

if you do get one hundred sixes in a row, it is probable that the casino will kick you out.

almost definite

if you attempt to balance a frictionless die on its edge, it will almost definitely topple to one of its faces

definite

I think you will definitely try to balance a die on its edge. If you do succeed – remember it’s due to friction.

~cited work: John Dvorak (https://math.stackexchange.com/users/49851/john-dvorak), Improbable vs Impossible?, URL (version: 2013-10-05): https://math.stackexchange.com/q/515620

We are each in a physical existence, unless you believe life to be an illusion…but that is another story. The odds of us evolving to the point where we are (individually) today is an astronomical one in 10^2,685.000, if not more so. I say that because this number was the odds for either you or myself…not all of us on this earth. Which means that the odds would drastically and astronomically increase by an exponential factor.

 Accordingly, probabilities can be approximately 1010^23, give or take a few billion orders of magnitude.
cited work:Vincent (https://math.stackexchange.com/users/332815/vincent), Can something be statistically impossible?, URL (version: 2016-12-08): https://math.stackexchange.com/q/2049730
In order to show that something is impossible, the possibility of it happening must be less than zero. To the average man, woman or child getting much less than 10*-10^23 is not necessary…I believe that for the rest of us that this is sufficiently lass than zero to be impossible. Now let us look at the odds for something being probable to happen: One in 10^2,685.000. This is 1 chance in 10^2,685.000 (10 followed by 2,685 zeros.) Can it happen? Yes. Is it likely to happen? No. Consider the likelihood that we (any one of us) are able to win the Powerball. What are the odds? Last I checked into that it was one chance in 248, 000, 000. To me that is astronomical. So, when looking into it we have a greater chance of winning the Powerball than evolution producing you or I and having the breath of life in either of us.
Talk about chance and odds! We have been given a great gift, this thing we call life. We each need to hold dearly the idea that life is precious. This world has all but gone to hell in a hand-basket if it were not for those of us who hold dearly to the idea that God gave each and everyone of us a precious and beautiful gift…LIFE…THE BREATH OF LIFE!
we are dying

So, in the words of Clarence the Angel to George Bailey on “IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE” rings true about now…

“You see (George), You really had a wonderful life. Don’t you see what a mistake it would be to throw it away?” When you step back from a situation and place all things in their proper perspective, we are able to see without all of the other distractions of life – objectively. We all do this at times in our lives. And I hope and pray that you see such is the case for yourself, my dearest friends, brothers and sisters.

 

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

A Special Kind of Faith

Microsoft Word - Document1

We tend to wait to accomplish things until the right time or when we become more confident. But our confidence is built upon many of our past failures. Failures which teach us how to do things the proper way. Those failures create future successes, which also create our confidence and self-belief. So, we should DO what must be done and the confidence and esteem will be fruitful and multiply within our hearts and souls.

Why are there so many weak and stumbling Christians? The answer is clear: they are not living by faith. Why are there so many unhappy Christians? The answer is clear: they are not living by faith. Why are there so many confused Christians? The answer is clear: they are not living by faith.” ~Donald Grey Barnhouse, Exposition on the Book of Romans, Vol. I, page 212-213

Why are there so many weak and stumbling, unconfident and faith challenged, passionless and desireless Christians in our midst? Partly it is due to their upbringing, also another problem is their lack of understanding as to what is expected of them, and we are in that age where boys/men are seen as being either rapists or sexual harassers by virtue of their sex and based upon extreme generalities. Let us not forget that boys are being enticed to see themselves as  trans-sexual, trans-racial, trans-species, and whatever other trans-sycophantic manner pleases this particularly “Politically Correct” culture we now live in. It is sad and it is disgusting. But it is our Sodom & Gomorrah, our City of Babylon waiting for the whore to make her choices and do her deeds!

There are a plethora of reasons as to why things are the way they are, but the lack of guidance, lack of wisdom, and lack of faith are at the top of the list in my personal opinion! We have a distinct problem where we are misguided due to the fact that we have been brought up as cynical people. Also, within the liberal culture, that has grown to be rather paramount, within our educational institutions which has a tendency to throw logic and reason out the door right along with common sense, in many aspects. In so doing, our children (and we also, as many of us were at the very beginning of these changes) tend to be miseducated and misguided in how to think as an individual. The entire purpose of the education of our children is, specifically, to teach our children to think, think wisely, think independently, and to think with an educated reasoning process in a logical fashion. More often than not, our kids our being brow beaten into thinking in a liberal manner and indoctrinated what to think as opposed to how to think.

Don’t get me wrong, there are times when children should be quiet and listen in order to learn, but the above student (while his language did get a bit bad, did maintain his demeanor without being disrespectful of the teacher) did a very good job of debating his belief and debunked the teacher’s assertions which were essentially a liberal mantra pushed for by the mainstream media. And also keep in mind that this is but one incident out of many, on both sides; although, listening to some of my grandchildren, this is happening in greater number of incidents with respect to liberal teachers pushing a liberal agenda against a child who did his research and had his data together.

This is but a small picture of the broader scale of things within life where we reap what we sew due to the fact we have kicked God out of our schools. What was expected? Did you really expect your kids to follow and have faith in a God who only was taught to them in a part time fashion? God needs to be a part of our children’s lives at all times throughout their day. Just based upon my experiences growing up, I lost out because my faith was lukewarm at best. We need to be exposed to God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit at all times throughout our day in order to recognize and remember that we are but a small piece of the bigger puzzle and also to be reminded that God is ever present in our lives.

Our faith grows through testing and learning. This is how we learn why we believe what we believe…through an ever present testing of our character and integrity. What we stand for on any given day and at any given time. Do we stand for those who cannot defend themselves? Or just our friends and the clique which we are a part of?

The_Brothers_Karamazov1Father Zosima says to the woman of little faith [who has lost her faith in God] (in the book THE BROTHERS KARAMANZOV), “Act as if there is a God and as if your neighbor has an immortal soul. Love him to death, truly love him. Don’t just love humanity – love your neighbor! Then that will open the eyes of your soul. And you will see the certainty and that the soul is immortal and that there is a God.” You will begin to see God when you begin to act in such a manner. Acting as though there is a God. Acting that your neighbor has an immortal soul. Acting in a manner of love toward your neighbor. If you lack belief, you will begin to see there is a God. We each have this problem at times throughout our lives. Some seek guidance and are reignited in such a belief.

In his book “Spirit Warriors: Strategies for the Battles Christian Men and Women Face Every Day”in chapter 11 “Run to the Guns.” Stu Weber, a former fear-12Green Beret Captain, puts forth the truism of any soldier who has been trained in the art of warfare: Running towards, not away from the danger. This is about charging toward and doing something practical, for the safety of your brothers-at-arms, thereby instilling and creating the faith you are lacking. The only way to overcome such fears is to recognize fear, grasp hold of yourself and do what you must, despite your fear. Outside of war or battle or a fight for life…fear is not truly real, excepting only in your mind. As with most people, the greatest fears (top three, more likely than not in this very order) an audit from the public speaking, IRS and death.

Our faith comes not by false hopes or desires, but rather the building up of courage by acting despite our fear and truly believing what we have researched to be true! We believe not just because we have been told so, but also because we have researched and hold the truth to the matter that we can do all things through Christ! It is seen daily where people overcomes such obscene odds against them, but they pull it off anyway, because they never give up that hope of truth that is instilled within each of us!

Godspeed my friends, until the next exciting episode!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

…the way, the truth, and the life…

There is but one way to enter in to heaven, and that is through Jesus the Christ!

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Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” ~John 14:6 NKJV

In the words of Dr. Michael Licona, or some variation as I recall, “If there is a true religion, then I owe it my allegiance. If there is the one true God, then I owe Him my true allegiance.”

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Now, there are great reasons to believe that Jesus is the true Son of the Living God. The historical aspect, archaeological aspect, textual reliance and other witness accounts, perhaps the witness accounts of those who are extra-biblical and non-Christians. Perhaps, in comparing the numerous different religions is enough for you and the claims. What of the numerous documentaries comparing Christ to those perceived and asserted other gods, which were supposedly risen from the dead in the same exact way and so on. Unfortunately, if you do the homework and make the comparisons yourself you will find that those assertions are false.

  • If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then why did not the Sanhedrin show His dead and mutilated body to the people?
  • If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then why did the Apostles preach the resurrection message to the people in Jerusalem? (Where the punishment was certain death by stoning.)
  • If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then why did the Apostles die cruel and inhumane deaths without denying their Lord and Savior?
  • There are those who believe in the “Swoon Theory,” but there is too much to discredit such a belief.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.~Romans 1:16 NKJV

So, what is salvation? According to Matt Slick, CARM.org, “Salvation is being saved from the righteous judgment of God upon the sinner…All who have sinned against God are under the judgment of God.  This judgment is known as damnation where God condemns to eternal hell all those who have offended Him by breaking His Law.” One allegorical representation of the weight of sin upon our soul is:

A Chinese evangelist was once preaching on salvation and the weight of sin. A heckler did what hecklers do best, attempt to shame or embarrass  the evangelist. The response was epic: “If you have a corpse lying in his coffin, will he feel a hundred pound weight on his chest any more than a fifty pound weight?” ~ROMANS, vol. 1, pg. 170, David Grey Barnhouse, (1989)

We are warned by the Apostle Paul for the benefit of our souls that, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23 NKJV) And at the same time we are promised eternal life being the gift of God, His gift of Salvation through His grace! All we have to do is ask for it and freely receive it. It is that simple, but people do not trust free or simple things. By considering the previously mentioned allegorical representation of sin upon our souls, this statement by the Apostle Paul should help solidify the matter. Our hearts should be weighted down AND we should be looking for the EXIT sign to get out of the cage/prison which we have cornered ourselves into, through every means of deceit, trickery, lying, deciding, etc. YES, we decided our way into a corner and must decide our way out of that very same corner. The decision should be easy and the solution is even easier! Accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, believing He is the Son of the Living God, that He died on the cross for our sins, that He rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven.

It is easy to accept, but rather hard to believe, isn’t it? That is why we must seek for ourselves…researching and studying the word of God. Because we were mandated to:

‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ ~Matthew 22:37-40 NKJV

Which means we are to love God all our essence and being and by loving Him with all our mind, we are to love Him NOT with blind faith but rather with well informed, studied and researched faith. Loving Him with all our logic and reason! Many people, not just Atheists, believe that to believe in God we give up our reason and logic for blind faith upon the word of the bible alone. That is just not true at all!

God destined us to determine for ourselves through free will to guide our own paths. That includes turning off the primrose path by making mistakes and sinning, because God desired us all to love and honor Him with all of our heart by our free will choice. We will never be perfect, until God makes us so. But we must keep living the life as though we can be perfect by modeling the life of Jesus the Christ. By ascribing ourselves to the word of God and by living our lives accordingly. Not by the law, as presented in the Old Testament, but according to the simple teachings of Christ as presented by His Apostles & Disciples. Those words in the New Testament give a great representation of who Christ was and how He lived. If we use Jesus as the model, how could we go wrong?

Two final caveats:

  1. If the Apostle Paul was changed so dramatically on the road to Damascus from a Christian hating and torturing Jew to become one of Jesus’ greatest Evangelists and Apologists…how can we doubt such a change? How can we doubt such a drastic and dramatic change?
  2. The deaths of the Apostles were gruesome and heinous, to say the least. But no one recanted their faith or belief that Jesus was, in fact, the One True Son of the Living God, the Messiah, whom the Jews had been awaiting. That is another factoid which we must keep in mind. (Consider when the Watergate Scandal was plaguing the Nixon Administration each each of the major players involved made a plea deal and received felony indictments. Each turned on their master.) It defies logic and reason to discount their sincerity!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

 

Some other things you may enjoy from great teachers:

Is Jesus the Only Way? Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

Is Jesus the only way to be saved? (CARM)

We Get Attached To The Strangest Things

So Jonah went out of the city and sat on the east side of the city. There he made himself a shelter and sat under it in the shade, till he might see what would become of the city. And the Lord God prepared a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be shade for his head to deliver him from his misery. So Jonah was very grateful for the plant. But as morning dawned the next day God prepared a worm, and it so damaged the plant that it withered. And it happened, when the sun arose, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat on Jonah’s head, so that he grew faint. Then he wished death for himself, and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.” Then God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” And he said, “It is right for me to be angry, even to death!”  ~Jonah 4:5-9

jonah-and-the-gourd-vineA long mane can be just as emotional to cut off. (Reflections from my youth.) It was one year ago today (10/9/2016) when we had to put down our dog Bernie. Funny how you get attached to things. Jonah was attached to a gourd vine, we and many others were attached to dogs or cats, a neighbor of ours was so attached to her bearded dragon, my grandmother was attached to her parakeets. We are a species that desires to give and receive love and if we cannot receive it, we will just give it.

Jonah fell in love with that gourd vine, because it protected him from the hot sun during the day while he sat there on the hill just waiting for the Ninevites to fail God. Because Jonah knew that they would fail Him, as Ninevites could not be trusted. We all tend to have trust issues with respect to others, don’t we? My suspicion is that Jonah had witnessed the travesties of the Ninevites first hand and this is why he held them in such low report. Despite God was on His side and despite God’s mandate for Jonah. He did not care, Jonah just did not want those Ninevites saved.

Jonah knew that if he had gone and warned the Ninevites and if they would listen to the message from Jonah and if they sensed sorrow in their heart that God would forgive them. God is funny that way. Jonah loved the gourd vine for what it provided him and was angered when it withered away, despite the fact that he put no work or cultivation toward its growth. We on the other hand, tend to love the animals that we adopt as pets because we give up much time to train it up to do as we desire it to do for us, or to mind us. Other animals and creatures just kind of exist and we take their motions to be a form of love or caring toward us. But God loved the Ninevites NOT because of what they could do for Him, nor what they could provide for Him, but solely because of the fact that they were one of His creations and He could be a forgiving, compassionate, and loving God.

bernieJust something we need to remember is the fact that we are God’s creation. In God’s eye we are but a speck of sand, yet He knows our names. When you look at those who have done you wrong, what do you see? Do you see an enemy or a friend in the making? One truly kills and destroys an enemy by making him your friend. While we cannot destroy another man’s soul, we can surly be the impetus of saving it through the message of Jesus Christ and by living our lives as Christ lived His life.

This is a short message today as it touched a nerve when my wife reminded me of our dog Bernie going bye-bye for the final time.