The case for Christianity

The case for Christianity

from

https://www.ebc-bracknell.org/Publisher/File.aspx?ID=151409

pages 3-5

 

Over the past few years, I have
become increasingly interested in
Christian apologetics. I wonder
if you are familiar with Christian
apologetics? Although apologetics
sounds like the word “apologise”,
Christian apologetics is not the art
of telling somebody that you’re
sorry you’re a Christian! The word
apologetics comes from the Greek word
apologia, which means a defence of
one’s opinions or conduct. Therefore,
Christian apologetics is all about clear
and logical reasons and explanations
for the truth of the Christian faith.
In fact, the bible tells Christians to
be ready to give reasons for their faith
to those who ask why they believe
what they do about their faith. Peter,
one of Jesus’ disciples, wrote this in
a letter to early Christians, “Always
be prepared to give an answer to
everyone who asks you to give the
reason for the hope that you have.
But do this with gentleness and
respect.” (1 Peter 3:15)
Unfortunately, some Christians
forget the last line in this verse, to be
gentle and respectful. Apologetics is
not about making somebody sorry
that they have met a Christian!
Christians need to make a defence
of their faith without becoming
defensive, and they need to present
arguments without becoming
argumentative. And of course,
they should never quarrel with a
nonbeliever about their faith; that
only makes people annoyed and
drives them away.
However, having said that, they
do need to be ready and prepared to
answer the questions posed from an
increasingly non-Christian culture.
There are many questions that may
arise, but the three crucial questions
regarding the evidence in the case for
Christianity are:
Was Jesus crucified, and did he really
die through the process?
Was Jesus body really missing from
the tomb in which he was buried?”
Was Jesus seen alive after his death?
Following is a summary of the
best explanation when answering
each of these questions. (There are
a number of books that have been
written answering these three specific
questions [and many other questions]
in far greater detail, and I have listed
some of them at the end of this
article.)
Was Jesus crucified, and did he really
die through the process?
There is a great deal of clear and
unequivocal evidence for the death
of Jesus on the cross. However, some
of the detail is so gruesome and
upsetting that I won’t go into all the
facts in this article. (The books listed
at the end have more detail.)
However, medical experts agree
that the flogging that Jesus had,
4 insight May/June 2015
using braided leather thongs with
metal balls woven into them, before
the crucifixion, would have caused
Hypovolemic Shock. (H.S. is a lifethreatening
condition that results
when a person loses more than 20
percent of their body’s blood or
fluid supply.) In this weakened and
traumatised condition, Jesus was then
nailed to the cross where he died with
two convicted criminals. To make
sure that Jesus was dead, the Roman
soldiers confirmed it by thrusting a
spear into his side.
Keep in mind that these Roman
soldiers were experts in killing people;
that was their job and they did it
very well. They knew without doubt
when a person was dead. Also, if
a prisoner somehow escaped, the
responsible soldiers would be put to
death themselves, so they had a huge
incentive to make absolutely sure that
each and every victim was dead when
they were removed from the cross.
It is true that there are those
who claim that Jesus somehow
escaped death on the cross, but they
are at odds with modern medical
knowledge. They need to offer a
more plausible theory that fits the
facts. That Jesus was crucified and
died through the process is agreed by
virtually 100 percent of scholars who
study the subject.
Was Jesus body really missing from
the tomb in which he was buried?
Paul became a follower of Jesus
and he started a small church in
Corinth (Greece) around 51 AD. He
wrote a letter of encouragement to
the Corinthians, and in it he stated,
“If Christ has not been raised, your
faith is futile; you are still in your sins”
(Bible ref. 1 Cor 15:17). This makes
it clear that the resurrection is the
very linchpin of the Christian faith.
Therefore, Christians need to know
the reasons for thinking that the
empty tomb is a historical fact, and
there are several.
First, all four accounts of Jesus’ life
record that women found the tomb
empty. In first century Jewish society,
women’s testimony was regarded as
so worthless that they weren’t even
allowed to serve as legal witnesses
in a Jewish court of law. In view of
this, it is astonishing that the chief
witnesses to the empty tomb are
recorded to be women friends of Jesus.
If the story were made up, then we
should expect Peter or John (Jesus’
disciples) to have made the discovery.
The fact that it was women is most
plausibly explained by the reality that
they really were the discoverers of
the empty tomb. This also shows that
Jesus’ biographers (Matthew, Mark,
Luke, John) faithfully recorded what
happened, even if it was embarrassing!
Second, the site of Jesus’ tomb was
known to Christian and Jew alike.
When the Christians claimed that
Jesus was alive and not in the tomb,
all the Jews had to do was produce the
body. They couldn’t do that because
obviously it wasn’t there. Later, the
Jews proposed the ridiculous story
that the guards had fallen asleep.
Why would they do that? Because of
course, they knew that the tomb was
vacant.
Third, the very earliest Jewish
records following the crucifixion
presuppose the historicity of the
empty tomb. In other words, there is
no record that anybody was claiming
that Jesus’ body was still in the tomb.
Fourth is Mark’s account of Jesus
life, which records that the tomb was
empty. Most scholars accept that this
account was written far too early to
allow any legends of an empty tomb
to have arisen.
May/June 2015 insight 5
There is more evidence for the
empty tomb, but these facts alone
mean that the best resurrection critics
in the world have been unable to
put Jesus’ body back in the tomb. In
fact, the very best explanation for the
empty tomb comes with the evidence
that answers the next question.
Was Jesus seen alive after his death?”
The ancient creed from the Bible
book, 1 Corinthians, Chapter 15,
mentions specific individuals who met
with Jesus after his death. The writer
of the book, Paul, even challenged
first-century sceptics to talk with these
eyewitnesses personally to determine
the truth of Jesus resurrection
themselves.
In the Bible book of Acts,
ratification of Jesus’ resurrection is
recorded many times, while the four
accounts of Jesus’ life (Matthew,
Mark, Luke, John) describe numerous
eyewitness encounters in detail.
In addition to these eyewitness
encounters with Jesus after his death
on the cross, there are a number of
supporting facts for his resurrection.
First, when Jesus was crucified,
his followers were discouraged and
depressed, even denying that they
knew him. Then, after a short time,
they regroup and commit themselves
to spreading a very specific message
– that Jesus was the Messiah of God
who died on a cross, returned to
life, and was seen alive by them.
And they spent the rest of their
lives proclaiming this, without any
reward from a human point of view.
They often went without food, were
ridiculed, beaten and imprisoned. And
finally, most of them were executed in
tortuous ways. Without a doubt, they
were convinced that they had seen
Jesus alive from the dead. Nobody
knowingly and willingly dies for a lie.
Second, there can be no other
explanation apart from Jesus
resurrection, why sceptics completely
changed their whole “world view”
and died for their Christian faith. For
example the Pharisee Saul (later to
become the apostle, Paul). He hated
anything that disrupted the traditions
of the Jewish people, and he worked
out his frustrations by executing
Christians when he had a chance.
Suddenly, he completely changed
and joined the Christian movement!
In the letter that he wrote to the
Galatian Christians, he explained
what had caused this amazing change.
Specifically, he wrote that he saw the
risen Christ and heard Jesus appoint
him to be one of his followers.
Third is the emergence of the
Christian Church. There is clear
evidence that it began shortly after
the death of Jesus and spread so
rapidly that within a period of around
20 years it had even reached Caesar’s
palace in Rome. And who could
possibly have predicted that a ragtag
group of people from an obscure
village in Judea, with a message
about a crucified carpenter who had
returned from the dead, would outlast
the mighty Roman Empire? Yet they
were so successful that today we name
our children Peter and Paul and our
dogs Caesar and Nero!
I have listed just some of the
evidence that answers the three
questions listed above, but there is so
much more. In fact the evidence is
so compelling that it convinced one
of the most successful lawyers of all
times to become a Christian.
Sir Lionel Luckhoo is in the
Guinness Book of World Records
as the “World’s Most Successful
Advocate,” with 245 consecutive
murder acquittals, and he was
knighted by Queen Elizabeth – twice!
He was challenged by someone to take
his monumental legal analysis powers
and apply them to the evidence of
the resurrection of Jesus and come to
a conclusion. He did just that over
several years and then declared,
“I have spent more than 42 years
as a defence trial lawyer appearing
in many parts of the world and
am still in active practice. I have
been fortunate to secure a number
of successes in jury trials and I say
unequivocally the evidence for
the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is
so overwhelming that it compels
acceptance by proof which leaves
absolutely no room for doubt.”
I think that even Chief Inspector
Morse would have approved of that!
Christian apologetics can:
1. Help Christians, and in particular
their children, to provide clear
and logical reasons for the truth
of the Christian faith in today’s
increasingly non-Christian
culture.
2. Help followers of Jesus to keep
the faith in times of doubt and
struggle. (Emotions will only carry
people so far and then they’re
going to need something more
substantial.)
3. Help to persuade unbelievers.
I am convinced that when
apologetics is persuasively presented
and sensitively combined with a
gospel presentation, a personal
testimony, and practical applications,
the Holy Spirit will use it to bring
people to Himself.
I wrote this article because I wanted
to encourage people to find out more
about Christian apologetics. If they
do that, they will then be equipped
and ready to answer today’s cultural
questions, and better prepared to give
an explanation for their faith.
I particularly recommend that you
read,
‘The Case For Christ’ – Lee Strobel,
‘The Case For Faith’ – Lee Strobel
‘On Guard’ – William Lane Craig,
‘The Reason for God’ – Tim Keller
‘Mere Christianity’ – C. S. Lewis,
‘Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus’ –
Nabeel Qureshi.
However, there are many other
excellent resources available, and
some are listed in this magazine.
And don’t forget;
“Always be prepared to give an
answer to everyone who asks you to
give the reason for the hope that you
have. But do this with gentleness and
respect.”
Rob Lea
6 insight May/June 2015
from

https://www.ebc-bracknell.org/Publisher/File.aspx?ID=151409

see pages 3-5

I came across this link ‘per chance’

“Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Author: craig lock

About the Author Craig has a 'passion' for writing books that tell stories about people doing positive things in this often so hard, sometimes unkind world, occasionally cruel, yet always amazing world - true stories that leave the reader feeling uplifted, empowered and hopefully even inspired. Craig Lock loves to encourage and empower people to be the best they can possibly be, and to create what they want in life. Craig has learnt plenty from the "school of life" (still "battered and bruised") and also from a few "hard knocks on the head". He is an extensive world traveller (on a "shoestring budget") and failed professional emigrater who has spent most of his life’s savings on airfares. He is still sliding down the razor blade of life on the beautiful undiscovered island that is New Zealand, somewhere near the bottom (rude!) of the world near Antarctica. There he talks to the 60 million sheep! Craig has been involved in the corporate world (life assurance) for "many moons". However, through a rather strange (and unique) set of circumstances and finding himself in a small town near the bottom of the world ...and with nothing else to do, he started writing. That was five years ago. Five published books later and having written another twenty manuscripts (now 300 + on widely differing subjects - well what else is there to do here?)... this is where Craig is in the "journey/adventure" that is life. Craig has run a run a successful creative writing course (not teaching sheep!) at the local Polytechnic. He was the author of (as far as we know) the first creative writing course on the internet. He has many varied interests and passions and is particularly interested in the field of psychology – studying the human mind and what makes different people "tick-tock grandfather clock". He is fascinated by the "overlap between psychology and the dimension of spirituality". One of his missions in life is helping people make the most of their hidden potential and so finding their niche in life... so that they are happy. Craig’s various books probably tell more about his rather "eventful" life best (no one could believe it!). He writes books with serious messages and themes, then as a contrast "rather crazy, wacky stuff"…to keep him sane here. As an ‘anonymouse’ person wrote: "All of us are born mad; some of us remain so." Well nothing else much happens in quiet provincial New Zealand, other than headlines like "Golf Ball Thrown at Policeman" and "Beach Toilet Closed for Season.". True! from http://www.selfgrowth.com/experts/craig_lock.html For Craig’s books see AMAZON at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005GGMAW4 ... but rather GO to www.creativekiwis.com ?? When the writer is no more, the value of your purchase will soar." www.johnsphotopics.wordpress.com www.craigsquotes.wordpress.com All proceeds go to the needy and underprivileged… and a charity (most worthy-Bill and I) “When the writer is no more , the value of your purchase will soar! “ “Together, one mind, one life (one small step at a time), let’s see how many people (and lives) we can encourage, impact, empower, enrich, uplift and perhaps even inspire to reach their fullest potentials…and strive for and perhaps one sunny day even achieve their wildest dreams.” PPS Don’t worry about the world ending today… as it’s already tomorrow in scenic and tranquil ‘little’ New Zealand

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