Archive for April, 2014

SUMMER!

Posted: April 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

I hope everyone had a great last week of school, if you went on spring retreat, I know you did! I personally really enjoyed getting to know some of yalls stories. To see the way that God has worked in many of yalls lives and to reflect on the way He has worked in mine was extremely refreshing.

As we move into the summer, my prayer is that our stories will tell of a time that we got closer to God and used the time off from school to rest in Him and pursue His glory. I know many times our tendency during summer is to not only rest from school, but to also rest away from God instead of resting in Him. I pray that we do not get sucked into that mindset, but rather that our souls would “rest in God alone; [our] salvation comes from him,” (Psalm 62:1).

Many of us are going back home to work, taking summer classes, traveling on a maymester, or going various places on mission trips. Whatever it may be, I implore you to spend time with God, fellowship with other believers, get involved in a local church, and reach out to the lost. I started a  facebook group called “Summer Prayer” so that we can stay connected over the summer. If you have any prayer over the summer or want to post stories of what God is doing in your life, please post them in the group. Even though we will be all over the place, let’s make sure we are still living and staying connected as the brothers and sisters that we are. To join the group follow the link below: (join, post, invite friends!)

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Hey y’all I hope everyone had a great Easter, reflecting on the sacrifice that God made on our behalf and His victory in that! If you were at Shandon for Easter, Dr. Lincoln went through the evidence for the resurrection and the foundation for the hope that we have in our risen Lord. He touched on many things that we have looked at over the past couple of weeks, including the theory that the disciples stole the body and made up the whole story and the theory that they were all just hallucinating.

This week, I would like to look at the swoon theory. The swoon theory is that Jesus didn’t actually die on the cross, but instead was very close to death. This may be one of the most ridiculous theories of them all. Crucifixion was one of the most inhumane forms of punishment. In fact, after a relatively short time the Romans stopped using it as a form of execution. Jesus was beaten forty minus one lashes, a crown of thorns was forced on his head, six-inch spikes driven through his hands and feet, and He was hung on a cross where He would hang until He could no longer pull himself up to breathe. The soldiers went around breaking the other two criminals legs so that they could not pull themselves up any longer, “but coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs,” (John 19:33). Just to make sure Jesus was dead “one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out,” (John 19:34). There a few propositions as to why there was “water” that flowed out of His side, one theory is that it was a buildup of the pleural and pericardial fluid, which hints to a cardiac rupture. This is also supported by the fact that Jesus was able to cry out and then died shortly after. No matter the real cause of His death, the evidence all points to the death of Jesus.

For argument sake let us say that hypothetically Jesus didn’t die on the cross. He was beaten, nailed to a cross and hung there to die, stabbed into the side with a spear, yet was still alive, only appearing to be dead. His ripped mangled flesh was then wrapped with bandages and 75 pounds of spices, placed in a tomb where He miraculously regained his strength and walked out of the grave three days later. If is absolutely absurd to believe this, even if He did not die He would not have barley had the strength to breathe, let alone roll back a stone that was more than likely over 2000 pounds.  All the evidence that we see points to the fact that Jesus did in fact die on the cross.

I hope that these last few weeks have encouraged and strengthened your faith in the fact that we have a loving, merciful, and all powerful God, that came to die as a substitute for us, so that we might be reconciled to Him and three days later He rose from the grave, defeating death and sin, proving his divine power and giving us hope for the future, when we will share in His resurrection and glory.

 

Hope everyone is excited this about Easter as it is approaching quickly. I would like to echo Pastor Lincoln’s encouragement for us to prepare and get excited for a great Easter weekend, wherever you may be spending it.  I know many of you may be going back to your home church and spending Easter with your family’s, but for any and all of you who are staying in town, let’s make sure we invite friends and family that we know to Shandon for this Easter! Also, don’t forget that we are having Go and Tell this Friday, we will be meeting at 3:30pm on the 3rd floor of Russell. I hope to see many of yall there, as we spread the gospel throughout campus of Good Friday.

Last week, we talked about five possible theories when it comes to the resurrection of Christ, which include: Christianity, hallucination, myth, conspiracy and swoon. We focused on the possibility that all the people that claimed to have seen the risen Christ were merely delusional and hallucinated these occurrences.  If you didn’t get the chance to read it and would like to simply click on the link here: https://evangablog.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/the-game-changer-resurrection/ .

This week we are going to look at the possibility that it was all a conspiracy and the disciples lied about Jesus resurrecting. To start out, how would the disciples have stolen the body? How did the disciples “get past the elite Roman guards, who were trained to guard the tomb with their lives?” (Geisler, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist).   It seems implausible to believe that the disciples would be able to steal Jesus’ body from soldiers who were assigned to guard the tomb in order to prevent someone from stealing the body.

However, let’s just assume for argument sake that the disciples did somehow manage to steal the body. They then continued in the lie with radically transformed lives. Take Peter for example, before Christ death denied even knowing Christ three time and after his death becomes one of the founding fathers of the church, was imprisoned, beaten, and eventually crucified upside down because he felt unworthy to die in the same way that Christ did. What could have possibly been the cause of this radical transformation? The disciples’ lives themselves are testament to the truth of the resurrection, which they proclaimed. The change from “fear to faith, despair to confidence, confusion to certitude, runaway cowardice to steadfast boldness under threat and persecution, not only proves their sincerity but testifies to some powerful cause of it” (Dr. Peter Kreeft, Evidence for the Resurrection of Christ).

Why in the world the disciples make up this lie? What do they get out of it, persecution, poverty, hatred, torture, stoned, imprisoned, ect. This does not sound like things on my bucket list and yet these men lived hard lives and died horrible deaths with joy and peace in their hearts. Let’s look at the ultimate fate of some of the apostles.

Luke-hanged in Greece.

John- boiled in oil, which he miraculously survived, sentenced to prison where he wrote the Book of Revelation and was later the only apostle to die peacefully.

Bartholomew-flayed to death by a whip.

As Dr. Kreeft says “Nothing proves sincerity like martyrdom.” Even under torture and in the face of death, not one of the disciples ever confessed to making up the resurrection, rather they held strong to the end with joy and hope looking forward to the glory to be had in Christ and in the future resurrection. I pray that we would be fueled in the same way for Christ, ready to give up everything for Him and the furtherment or the gospel, even our own lives.

If you have been at church for the past two weeks, you know that Pastor Lincoln has been going through a sermon series called the Game Changer. The resurrection is the Game Changer and is the foundation of everything that we believe. As Paul says, “and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:14). As we learn how the resurrection is so crucial to our faith, we need to make sure we have a solid foundation for why we believe in the resurrection and “be ready to give a defense [to others] for the hope that we have,” (1 Peter 3:15).

There are five possible theories when it comes to the resurrection: Christianity, hallucination, myth, conspiracy and swoon. Christianity states that Christ died and was resurrected, the hallucination theory suggest that the apostles were deceived by hallucinations, the myth theory proposes that the apostles were myth-makers and didn’t mean any of it literally, the conspiracy theory states that they apostles were deceivers and lying about the whole thing, or finally the swoon theory, that Jesus didn’t actually die to begin with. Over the next couple of weeks, I would like to go through some of these theories and look at the evidence for the foundation that we have that Christ, our Lord, did in fact die on the cross and rise in the third day.

In I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist Norman Geisler points out that are many non-Christian sources, such as Josephus, Celsus, Tacitus, and the Jewish Talmud that all point out the facts that that Jesus was a real man that lived in the time of Tiberius Caesar, was acclaimed to be the Messiah, was crucified under Pontius Pilate on the eve of the Jewish Passover, there was darkness and an earthquake when he died, his disciples believed that he rose from the dead and were willing to die for their belief, that Christianity spread rapidly as far as Rome, and that the disciples denied Roman gods and worshiped Jesus as God. Therefore, if the disciples believed and claimed that Christ rose from the dead then they were either delusional, myth-makers or liars. This week I would like to look at the possibility that the disciples were delusional and what they thought they saw was really a hallucination.

There are a couple of things that are wrong with the theory that the disciples were all just hallucinating. To start, hallucinations are private to an individual mind. However, Christ appeared to over five hundred people. Christ appeared to Mary Magdalene, James, the disciples, the fisherman on the shore,  the two disciples at Emmaus, and even to five hundred people at once (1 Cor 15:3-8). So if the hallucinating theory is true, we must believe that five hundred people all had the same hallucination at the same time. It is not reasonable to believe so many qualified witnesses had hallucinations of physical interactions with the resurrected Jesus, especially five hundred people at one time. Many even thought they were “seeing things” and made Jesus eat something to prove he was really there in the flesh.  C.S. Lewis also make the point that even if it was in fact a hallucination then why did those he knew not recognize him? He states:

Any theory of hallucination breaks down on the fact (and if it is invention [rather than fact], it is the oddest invention that ever entered the mind of man) that on three separate occasions this hallucination was not immediately recognized as Jesus (Lk 24:13-31; Jn 20:15; 21:4). (Miracles, chapter 16)

The hallucination theory also has some major missing pieces. Dr, Peter Kreeft makes the point that even if there was a hallucination, that a “hallucination would explain only the post-resurrection appearances; it would not explain the empty tomb, the rolled-away stone, or the inability to produce the corpse. No theory can explain all these data except a real resurrection.” When we look at the facts, hallucinations do not hold up. Next week we will look at the possibility that the disciples lied and pulled off one of the greatest cons in history.