Course Study by: Grady
Discussing the need for possessing a personal apologetic stance in your Christian life.
As a Christian it is my responsibility to know, understand, or at least know where to find the answers to questions asked of the unsaved. A portion of true love toward God is displayed in the fact that we use our mind and intelligence to their fullest capacity. Being convinced about what you believe gives a person confidence in sharing the gospel message. Christ became full man and was full God at the same time. We either believe this or we do not. He brought to our attention the necessity of partaking in communion, which represents His body and His blood. We either believe this or we do not. If we believe both of these statements thus far, then we must believe Him when He said His flesh became the word Jn.1.1. The Book of Revelation states the word is the sword, sharper than a two edged physical sword.
My present approach to apologetics is to acquire as much knowledge as I can about the things of God and His word. My technique, which I sincerely believe did Jesus use the technique, is to approach all discussions from the original writings in their original languages. The next step is to approach each question as to what the scripture says, what the scripture means, how the scripture applied at the time written and how the scripture applies to you today. Quite different from most presenters, I love to be side tracked. This allows the person questioning to allow me to use his or her text to prove eternal salvation.
As a teacher I have found that many times I do not know the answer, but through the exegetical method of research, the answer can be found quickly. One must “study to show yourselves approved” and then depend on the Holy Spirit. We must always just simply be willing to present the gospel; the words will be given to us. The technique I use simply makes each presentation very easy. I have learned over the years that the proof for the existence of God is the cornerstone for a proper apologetic.
Discussing Agnosticism and Rationalism
Agnosticism literally means “without knowledge”. It specifically relates to our knowledge of God. T.H. Huxley coined the term in 1869, but David Hume and Immanuel Kant laid the philosophical groundwork many years prior.
The agnostic position is one of the negative approaches to the question of God. There are fundamentally two kinds of agnosticism. The first says that the existence and nature of God are unknowable. It is limited in the sense that this brand of agnostic would say we “do not” know God fully due to our sinfulness state. This type of agnosticism is possible, even the apostle Paul said he knew “only in part” (1 Cor 13.12).
The second brand of agnosticism would declare that God is unknowable. It is unlimited agnosticism in that, whereas the first position states we ‘do not” know God, the second says we ‘can not “ know God. It is the agnostic belief that is opposed to Christianity. The weakness of the agnostic position is basically twofold. First, it is self-defeating. This position states that it knows enough about reality to know that it cannot know reality. This is a contradictory statement. Secondly, it is self-deifying. Since finite men are not omniscient, agnostics do not have any right to declare that reality is unknowable. Only God can say that.
When presented with the gospel a true agnostic would not deny it, he would claim ignorance in regards to God’s existence. Since Jesus is declared to be God’s Son and the Bible to God’s Word the agnostic would claim ignorance since they are part and parcel of his original question of God’s existence.
The rationalistic position is one that declares that what is knowable and demonstrable by human reason is true. The rationalist believes that there are certain truths that are innate to all human minds. These truths are derived apart from experience. This school of thought stresses the mind over the sense. The rationalists would argue for the existence of God from the ontological view, that is, they would believe in it because they deducted and comprehended it. To them it is a mathematical certainty.
The weakness of this position is threefold. First, logic or what is rationally comprehended only demonstrates what is possible, not actual. Secondly, contrary to their belief, there are no rationally inescapable arguments for God’s existence. Rationalism does not have a rationalistic beginning, each rationalist has irrational presuppositions.
The rationalistic position would disallow the gospel message. Since truth would be what could be known and demonstrated by human reason, special revelation and miracles would be unacceptable. God’s Word and Jesus Christ would be denied. Since in their mind they could not be proven to be either God’s Word or God’s Son. Even at that, Jesus could not have been raised from the dead since it is not logical that a dead man could rise.
Discussing Fideism and Experientialism
The term fideism was coined in Paris by two Protestant modernists. Since that time the theory has been used against Christian “irrationalism.” The fideists base their understanding of the Christian faith upon religious experience alone. To them, human reason is not capable of establishing either faith’s complete confidence or reliability. The fideists believe that there are certain tenets of faith that we just have to accept.
Pascal’s belief in fideism served as an existential shock to those who rejected God’s revelation. He wanted a restoration of “faith in faith” and the destruction of “faith in reason.” In short, his, as well as other fideist would believe in heart over mind.
The fideist would say that reason hinders faith, which is the only way to God. Truth is basically subjective and personal, not objective and prepositional. Reason is not absolute and might not lead a person to God. His truth test is basically existential and is tested in one’s life as he submits to God. The source of all truth is God’s grace and revelation. Fideism describes an excessive emphasis upon the subjective dimension of Christianity. As far as what a fideist would say regarding the gospel message, he would say to much of it that there is no need to explain (reason hinders) it, one must only believe (have faith). As the believer submits to God, he will know the truth.
Experientialism is similar to fideism except that fideism offers no test for truth. But experientialism offers subjective experience as the final absolute test of truth. Among the more prominent of those that hold to experientialism are Plotinus, Schleiermacher, and Otto. To them, experience is neutral; it is neither true of false. Truth is something one has gained through experience either externally or internally. The philosophic view has given rise to such movements as pietism, revivalism, Pentecostalism, and the Holiness Movement to name just a few. Although each might differ on the nature of the religious experience, they all have similar features.
First, the essential ingredient of religious truth is the subjective religious experience. There is no truth from God, without an awareness of Him. Second, the only standard for determining truth is experience. Ideas, principles, or propositions are absolutely useless (including God’s word) unless experienced. Third, religious experience is verified by one’s s’ if. There is no outside source to validate it (that is secondary). Finally, God cannot be described, only felt. The experientialism would say, without having a personal experience or encounter, there was nothing real.
Discussing Evidentialism and Pragmatism
First, truth is based totally on facts and events not ideas or theories. These are experientially based on what one can observe. Second, there is a difference between fact and interpretation. Third, although the facts stand alone they need interpreting and this is done naturally. Fourth, evidentialists draw from some special facts to determine truth. It could be a past event as the incarnation, resurrection, or a present subjective experience or the final bliss of heaven. Finally there is a strong emphasis on the public nature of the facts. The truth must be observable.
The evidentialist’s view of the gospel message is based on observable facts. Although he has not proven that there is a God, he presupposes His existence because of the empirical facts such as the incarnation and the resurrection. God’s Word and history substantiate his message.
Pragmatism believes that the sole test of truth is its practical consequences. If it
works it is right. There is no absolute truth and the truth is relative. Religion is not to be valued for religion’s sake, but because of what it does to the way men act and think. The three prominent figures of pragmatism are William James. Charles Pierce and John Dewey. This is one philosophical area that is purely American. Pierce saw his view as a theory of meaning (which is not acceptable), while James used his as a test for truth (which is sometimes used in biblical Christianity).
To the pragmatist, Christian faith is a calculated move. There is no absolute truth, the meaning of an idea is found in how it works. An individual can only find truth by living it, he cannot think or feel it. If it works, then it must be correct.
The distinguishing marks of pragmatism are first; the test for truth is human experience. Second, only long-term observation will determine if it was true. Finally, there are no absolutes. A good reminder for Christians in regards to pragmatism is that all truth works, but all that works is not necessarily true. To the pragmatist, the gospel message is only as good as to how it affects the human mind and the ethic for the good. His response will be “if it worked for you, that’s good”, but “it has not worked for me.” Any way a pragmatist responds to the gospel is all right to him since there is no real truth. The only thing that makes a difference is what works.
Discussing what Combinationalism and the Testing of Truth-Claims
Combinationalists seek to combine factors of may/some truth test that prove inadequate, in order to create a true truth test. Although they vary, each will be consistent, coherent, factual, and relevant. Among the more prominent combinationlists are Ian Ramesy, Frederick Ferre, and E.J. Carnell. While some begin at different places (such as revelation in Scripture or observable experience) the test for truth is basically the same and has several commonalties.
First, they all agree that no test for truth is adequate. Truth tests must be logical and factual. Second, Combinationalists are usually prepositional in their starting points. The combinationalist ends where the starts. Third, experience is not self-interpreting. There must be presuppositions or an individual cannot even speak. Finally, truth, to be truth, must be consistent and fit the facts.
The combinationalist’s view is inadequate for a defense of the gospel for several reasons. First, the combinationalist cannot prove his presuppositions. He seeks to prove his worldview by using his worldview. Second, if a test for truth is inadequate on its own it will be inadequate even if it is combined with some other test for truth 9a leaky bucket will still leak). Third, facts are based on the context they are in. Finally, at best combinationalism can only be used to prove a worldview false.
Geisler believes that if the apologist can find no adequate, then the apologist has no leg to stand on. Geisler proposes a twofold means of testing. He proposes undeniability as a test for truth and unaffirmability as a test for falsity of a worldview.
Geisler’s test for falsity (unaffirmability) is simply stated as: if a statement is unaffirmable, it is untrue. He believes that statements are either directly or indirectly unaffirmable. In direct unaffirmability the statement defeats itself. In indirect unaffirmability the statement defeats itself by a logical process.
Geisler’s test for truth is undeniability. Undeniability defined means if affirmable, then it is correct. He breaks his undeniability test into two categories; definitional undeniability and existential undeniability. Of the two, the former deals with reality and is true by definition, but does not have to exist. The latter only pertains to possible reality; if something exists, it must have those attributes. If a square exists it must have four sides).
After a worldview is tested and established, Geisler proposes using combinationalsim (systematic consistency) as a test for truth within a worldview. His test then, is based on consistency; what is consistent is true and what is not consistent is false.
Geisler may be correct, but one wonders whether he needs to go to the lenghts he does to prove his point. Although he may be right in what he sets out to prove as the basis, it seems that most apologetic encounters can be solved by the evidentialsim of Butler, Paley and J.W. Montgomery. If history demonstrates the resurrection as true, then Christ and His Word is true also.
Summarizing Deism, Pantheism, and Panentheism
Deism is the opposite of theism and in direct conflict with theism. The Deist’s religion is a natural religion and is a body of knowledge acquired through reason, not revelation. Loosely defined, deism is viewed as the relationship between God and the World. Some of the more notable deists include Lord Herbert of Cherbury, the Earl of Shaftesbury, John Toland, and Voltaire. Deism was popular in 18th century America and among the movement were Isaac Newton, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, and Thomas Paine.
The basic doctrines of deism as set forth by Lord Herbert are: 1) Belief in a supreme being, 2) The obligation to worship, 3) Obligation of ethical conduct. 4) Need for repentance from sins, and 5) divine rewards and punishments in this life and the next. As a worldview, deism stands in direct contradiction to orthodox Christianity. It denies direct intervention by God into the natural order. This denial would rule out for them the Trinity, the incarnation, divine authority of the Bible, the supernatural redemptive act in history.
Pantheism believes that everything is God. The term “pantheism’ was coined by John
Toland. It stands in direct opposition to deism, in that, deism stresses the transcendence of God and pantheism stresses the immanence of God. In fact, it is a radical immanance because God and the world are the same (monism). In a pantheistic worldview there is no time and no freedom. Of course biblical Christianity believes that God is eternal, the world was created and He oversees all. Some pantheist of note is Spinoza, Parmenides, Plotinus, and Radhakrishnan.
Panentheism is a combination of theism and pantheism. God and the world are not
the same thing, but God is in the world (like the mind is the body). Since the world grows and changes, this means that God grows and changes (he is not immutable). Panentheism is found today in the Process Theology movement. Noted proponents are Alfred North Whitehead, Charles Hartshorne, John Cobb, and Shubert Ogden.
The New Age view, which says self, is God and is nothing but the “Old Age” view of pantheism. Since God and the world are the same thing, and since the pantheist (New Ager) is part of the world, the logical conclusion is that the New Ager is God. Of course this is absolutely ridiculous. As far as Grubb’s view, yes, “Christ in you the hope of glory” does show change from being a child of the devil to being in union with Christ.
Discussing Atheism and Theism
Atheism literally means “without God.” It would deny the existence of God or gods.
Divine law plays absolutely no role in human conduct. An individual’s conduct is molded by personal morality and circumstances. Whereas an agnostic is open to God’s existence if it can be proven, the athesist positively rejects God. The only accountability for atheists are themselves and their consciences. The atheist believes there is no God in the world (pantheism), beyond the world (deism), or of the world (panentheism).
Some notable atheists include Jean-Paul Srtre. Neitzxche, Altizer, Van Buren,
Bertrand Russel, and J.N. Findlay. Four different types of atheism are traditional, mythological, dialectical, and semantical. Traditional atheism (Jean-Paul Sartre) says there never was, is, or will be a God. Mythological atheism Nietzsche states that God was once alive, but only in myth form. Dialectical atheism (Altizer) believed that God died at the incarnation. Semantical atheism (Van Buren) views God talk as dead.
Atheism is weak for three reasons. First, one must assume there is a God to disprove Him. Second, most of their arguments can be used against them as proof for God. Last, atheism does not answer the metaphysical questions of the existence of the universe and the origin of humans. In a gospel presentation, since the atheist denies God. I would seek to prove the historicity of Jesus and His claims. Full dependence on the Holy Spirit would be essential, since the atheists rejects the savior and refuses to believe.
Theism is the belief in the existence of God. This system can stand alone following these logical reasons. First, something’s existence is undeniable; therefore I can begin the quest. Second, because I am limited and changing my nonexistence is possible. Third, whatever has the possibility for nonexistence is currently caused to exist by another (I am because of something else). Fourth, there cannot be an infinite regress of current cause of existence (I can not cause being there must be a necessary Being. Fifth, that uncaused cause (necessary being) of my existence exists. Sixth, this uncaused cause must have all the attributes of God (infinite, immutable, all-powerful, all-knowing, perfect). Seventh, this infinitely perfect being is “God” and because He is God, He should be worshipped. God, therefore, exists and is identical to the God of the Bible since there cannot be two perfect beings. In conclusion, the God of the Bible exists. Proof comes from the word of God that He promises the four seasons and for a fact, they are still here each year of our life.
Discussing Naturalism and the Supernaturalism
Naturalism is an atheistic view that affirms the existence of God. The “here and
now” is the only reality that there is. There is no such thing as immorality and since there are no spiritual beings it is basically a materialistic worldview. Any phenomena that exist in nature can be accounted for by science. The miraculous is denied (contrary to the evidence) on the basis of the naturalist’s faulty presuppositions.
Most objections for miracles have come from David Hume. He says that miracles are a violation of the laws of nature; therefore, they do not and cannot occur. Anthony Flew holds that miracles are impossible because they are unrepeatable (if it happens again it is natural). It seems that he is speaking with circular thinking, proven in his own argument, for unrepeatability is in some sense what makes a miracle a miracle. Guy Robinson believes that because an event is scientifically explainable, the miraculous element is removed. Yet even if the event can be explained scientifically, Robinson fails to tell why it occurred and why it occurred when it did. Alastair Mckinnon explains the miraculous away by allowing the event to be just an event in the actual course of affairs. The miracle is not divine intervention into the natural realm; it is what would have occurred anyway.
The gospel message would be absolutely meaningless to the naturalist. Special revelation (Christ and the scriptures) is not divine intervention. Since the incarnation and the resurrection are miracles, they are rejected or scientifically explained away.
Naturalism is simply not the answer to an open mind with the facts before him.
Naturalism begs the original question. In their system, miracles are affirmed to never happen in order to prove they never occur. This is nothing else but circular reasoning. Also, just explaining the “how” of an event does not deny that it is a miracle. Science cannot explain ‘why” it occurred.
While some miracles may not be explainable and can only be attributed to God (a
first class miracle), some miracles are explainable (a second class miracle). Even though some are explainable, that does not make it a natural event. The naturalist rules out the miraculous not because he cannot allow it, but because he will not allow it.
In a theistic worldview the possibility of miracles only naturally follows. If God exists and he is all-powerful and can do anything, miracles are not impossible, but can occur. Philosophically, it is possible for miracles to occur.
Discussing the Historically Objective Method
Even though miracles are philosophically possible, they have to occur in history
and some would deny their historicity. Objections include first, the subject matter of history puts his thoughts in it and deals only in statements about the past. Second, the fragmentary nature of the historical account are highly subjective.
Third, the historian’s methodology is seen as highly selective. He “picks and
Chooses” the documents he makes his interpretation out of .The facts do not speak, the historian does. Fourth, because the historian needs structure to his account he must fill in the gags with his own opinion. He does not have full knowledge of the account so he is often tempted to fill in with the “why”.
Fifth, historians cannot avoid value judgements. Much of what they say is
just the way they see it. Sixth, the historian’s worldview is bound to come through and the facts are dictated by that worldview. Seventh, in order to know the proper history, you must know the historian. He cannot be neutral, but is part of the historical process. Finally, the historian’s selection and arrangement of his data is highly subjective. Objectivity is lost before he ever begins to write.
First of all when considering the bible as history one must accept the records as accurate because the bible is the only records recorded at the time history was being made. All other history is evidence or writings of the past, but the bible was written as history was being made. I have no other comments on the subject of discussing history because the subject at hand here is the word of God.
I will comment on value judgments and how they are inevitable, that does not mean that they cannot be objective. Many have accused historians of being products of their time, but that does not mean that their history has to be less accurate than others, in fact thinking logically one has to believe just the opposite.
Discussing The Historical Reliability of Scripture
As I have put forth my view on biblical history as being recorded as events that took place. This is true more so of the Old Testament history. History that is recorded in the New Testament, author Geisler notes, the two steps in determining the historical reliability. He states are the documents authentic and are the writers reliable? There are three elements to establish the authenticity of the New Testament documents. One is an examination of the extant manuscript copies and a comparison of the New Testament manuscripts with those of ancient secular history and third, the dating of the original sources of these manuscripts.
The first argument for the authenticity of the New Testament documents is evidence from extant manuscript copies. There is more abundant and accurate manuscript evidence for the New Testament than any other book in the world. The total manuscripts for the New Testament number almost 5,000. The second argument details that there is more documented evidence for the New Testament than any other book of the ancient world. There is superior evidence in number, dating, and degree of accuracy. The average date gap for the earliest copy of the most known ancient works is about 1,000 years, whereas the earliest New Testament copies are within about 100 years. The authenticity of the New Testament is also confirmed by the fact that most of the New Testament works were written within a generation of the death of Christ including the Gospels, Paul’s epistles and most of John and Luke’s work.
The bible was written over 1,500 years, over 40 generations, by 40 authors from all walks of life, in different moods, on 3 continents, in 3 languages, and yet is harmonious from the beginning to the end with the theme being God’s redemption of man. It is also unique in circulation more than any other book.
First, there is the unquestionable integrity of the witnesses in both number and nature. There are a large number of eyewitnesses to the NT events. The direct eyewitnesses who wrote or dictated include Matthew, Peter, and John. Eyewitnesses relayed much of Luke and Paul’s accounts to them. John, Jesus’ mother, the crowd, the soldiers, and the women who had followed Jesus, witnessed the death of Christ. The 500, to whom He appeared, the disciples, and other followers, witnessed the resurrection.
Second, in regards to the reliability of the NewTestament writers are their sanity. Some suppose the disciples were hallucinating or having psychological delusions. These options are ruled out because first, their initial response was to disbelieve the resurrection. Second, , they knew Jesus. Third, many accounts were independent and over an extended period. Fourth, mass hallucination is ruled out since over 500 had it and finally, the number and repetition of Jesus’ signs as proof rule out delusion.
The last argument for the reliability of the New Testament writers is the verified accuracy of their testimony through comparison of external sources. There are two obstacles in the way of this argument: From Criticism and the “faulty memory” hypothesis. From Criticism is rejected for several reasons. It minimizes the early church’s biographical capability; it also rejects Luke’s testimony in his prologue (Luke 1.1-3) and gives insufficient time for classification and formation of form critical material. Also, the Gospels are different than myth and Form Criticism wrongly assumes and Jesus’ statements. From Criticism neglects the capability of the New Testament writers and finally, it is impossible for the Gospel to evolve by addition.
The “faulty memory” hypothesis is ruled out because the ancients had a more developed memory than our modern culture. The miracle of the incarnation left lasting impressions, and the number of eyewitnesses would cross check faulty memories. Also, there were many early notes on Jesus’ life and foremost, Jesus promised He would not let them forget.
In closing, secular history and archeology attest to the accuracy of the writer’s testimony. Secular historians such as Josephus, Tacitus, Lucian, and Pliny the Younger help confirm the NT writer’s accuracy. Many persons, places, and events recorded in the NT are confirmed by archeology.
Discussing The Claim to Diety Made by Jesus Christ
Christianity makes the claim that Jesus of Nazareth is God in human flesh. A Christian is saved by grace therefore a change in their heart and their actions. This alone is evidence in the lives of people all over the world today.
Jesus claimed to be the God (YHWH) of the Old Testament. The Tetragrammaton’s (YHWH) meaning is not exactly known, but is considered sacred by the Jews. So sacred that they will not even speak it, instead they substitute “Adonai.” YHWH of the Old Testament would not give His name, honor, or glory to another. It is little wonder the Jews charged Jesus with blasphemy. He claimed for Himself what YHWH claimed in Old Testament. He was the good Shepherd (Ps 23.1; John 10.11), the Judge of all (Joel 3.12; John 5.27), and the Light (Isa 60.19; John 8.12). John 8.58 was His strongest claim to equality with YHWH (Exod 3.14).
Jesus also claimed to be equal with God. He told the paralytic that his sins were forgiven (Mark 2.5), claimed He could raise and judge the dead (Joel 3.12; Ps 2.7; John 5.25, 29,21), and claimed honor for both (John 5.23). Not only did Jesus claim to be God, but He claimed to be the Messiah. The Old Testament both predicted and proclaimed the Messiah to be God and Jesus said He was the Messiah (Luke 24.27,44; Matt 26.54). Jesus also accepted worship as God. The Old Testament strictly forbid the worship of all men, only the worship of God was allowed (Exod 20.1-4).
The authorities speaking of Jesus’ gives confirmation to Jesus’ claim to deity. He placed His words on par with God’s (Matt 28.18-19; John 13.34). Jesus also asked men to pray in His name (1 Cor 5.4), they also prayed to Christ (Acts 7.59). Jesus asked them to believe in Him (John 14.1), obey Him (John 14.15), and that to get to the Father you would have to go through Him (John 14.6).
Several truths arise. Jesus accepted and encouraged attitude that should only be given to God. Jesus affirmed by His words and deeds characteristics that were only die to deity. Reaction to His claims shows that Jesus’ critics understood Him perfectly.
Not only did Jesus claim deity, he had the evidence to back it up. The three great miracles of His life; fulfilled prophecy, His sinless life, and His resurrection substantiate. Prophetically, there were dozens of prophecies about Christ in the Old Testament, born of virgin: Isa 7.14; Matt 1.21, born in Bethlehem: Mic 5.2; Matt 2.1; many predictions were hundreds of years in advance, and they were actually fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth. His life was miraculous from beginning to end.
Discussing The Historical Resurrection of Jesus Christ
The third miracle that confirms Jesus’ claim to deity is the greatest miracle of all, the resurrection. McDowell gives Jesus’ three credentials to deity as the impact of His life on history, the fulfilled prophecy in His life, and His resurrection. The resurrection of Christ is the cornerstone of Christianity. It is not just one of the many important doctrines of the Christian faith; it is the central and essential belief.
The proof for the resurrection is even strong because Jesus and the Old Testament predicted the resurrection. It was Jewish belief that only God could give life (Deut 32.39). Even the Egyptians recognized “the finger of God” when the dust was turned to gnats. Only God creates life and gives back life, therefore, the most convincing evidence of God is a resurrection from the dead.
Prior to the proving of the resurrection one must be comfortable that Jesus actually died on the cross and was buried. Jesus refused drugs on the cross (Mark 15.23). He had a heavy loss of blood from five wounds and hung on the cross from about 9.00am to sunset. Jesus was also heard to utter a death cry and when he was pierced in the side, blood and water poured out. Experienced Roman soldiers pronounced Him to be dead. Normally they would break ones leg, but they decided that was not necessary, Jesus was dead. He was embalmed, wrapped with l00 pounds of Aloe leaves. Pilate had made sure He was dead
There is ample proof that Jesus rose bodily from the dead. Joseph could not and did not remove the body. If he did, why, when, and where did he take it? The Romans and Jews did not remove the body or they would have produced it later. The disciples did not remove the body because they feared for their lives. Could it have been so dark that the women went to the wrong tomb? No, if it were dark the gardener would not have been working. They would not have all continually gone back to the wrong tomb. The authorities did not refute the claim of Jesus deity. They only resisted it. Finally, the bodily resurrection was confirmed by many proofs with 500 witnesses, his followers and disciples witnessed His resurrected body.
The Roman law stated that it was forbidden by the law to meddle in tombs. McDowell lists several things as further proof. The transformed life of the disciple cannot be explained. Men sometimes die for what they believe to be true, but men never die for what they know to be a lie. James, Jesus’ brother had a radical change after the resurrection. Individuals over the last 1,900 years have had transformed lives. The church could not have been founded on a theory and why Jews would change worship on the Sabbath to Sunday is nothing short of a miracle. Finally, the two sacraments are also proof of the resurrection. Baptism is a picture of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. The Lord’s Supper is also a picture of Christ’s shed blood and broken body, yet how could the church celebrate this if Jesus still dead? Jesus celebrated the Passover Supper and enacted the communion service, as we know it today. “THIS DO IN REMEMBRACE OF ME”.
Discussing Jesus’ View of the Scriptural Canon
One must understand that the Old Testament was fore telling the coming of Jesus Christ. Everything taught in the Old Testament was the fore shading of Jesus Christ. Jesus taught both directly and indirectly from and about the Old Testament. Jesus most assuredly taught the inspiration of the Jewish Scriptures.
Jesus cited many books; among them Genesis (Matt 19.4-5), Exodus (John 6.31), Leviticus (Matt 8.4); Numbers (John 3.14), Deuteronomy (Matt 4.4), and 1 Samuel (Matt 12.3-4). He also referred to Kings (Luke 4.25), 2 Chronicles (Matt 23.35), Ezra – Nehemiah (John 6.31), and frequently quoted from Psalms. Jesus prayed twice daily from Deut 6.
. Many of Jesus teachings began with “it is written”, or “that it might be fulfilled.” To Jesus the words of the OT, He taught about Adam and Eve (Matt 19), Noah’s flood (Luke 17.27), Jonah (Matt 12.40), Elijah’s miracles (Luke 4.25), and Moses’ miracles (John 3.14).
Jesus is the complete and completion of God’s revelation to man. Christ is declared to be the theme of the scriptures five different times. Jesus gave His apostles “all power and authority.” He promised to guide His disciples in all truth (John 14.26) and He said when the Holy Spirit came He would also guide them (John 16.13). Jesus told the apostles that He would remember all that He said (John 14.26) and that He would continue, “to do and teach” through them (Acts 1.1). By implication then, Jesus specifically, through apostolic means ceased revelation after they were dead. When the final apostolic eyewitness was dead, the canon was closed. Jesus confirmed all that was done by them prior to their deaths.
The New Testament contains twenty seven books and we can be sure that no false
books crept in or true ones were left out. There were several books that took longer to be accepted. The book of Hebrews, James 2 peter, 2 John, 3 John, Jude and Revelation.
The New Testament itself gives witness to a canon during the writing process. Only authentic writings about Christ (Luke 1.1-4) and books by the apostles (2 Thes 2.2) were chosen. Only those chosen by the apostles were recommended to churches. Many were compiled with the Old Testament and many older New Testament books quoted from earlier New Testament books (Jude (17) used Peter (2 Peter 3.27).
The early church accepted the teaching of the apostles as possessing the authority of Christ. They were guided in what they wrote and “all things” were brought to their remembrance. Direct association were books such as Matthew or John who were actual eyewitnesses of Jesus and His life. The church recognized some on the grounds of indirect association. For example, Mark’s gospel would hold up under Peter’s authority, Luke would be substantiated and with the death of the last apostle, John, the canon was closed with the book of Revelation. There is no need for more writings and one must remember the scripture, “The first will be last and the last will be first”, “I am the Alpha and the Omega”.
The Inspiration Discussing and Authority of the Scriptures
Jesus stood up against the devil and quoted scriptures from the Old Testament scriptures when tempted. He would not use words that were not both infallible and inerrant. Jesus knew the scriptures were scared (John 10.35) and were “from God”, literally “God breathed” (2 Tim 3.16). Because of their origin and substance Jesus taught the scriptures (the OT) were incapable of error and were perfectly accurate.
Some have sought to minimize Christ’s view of scripture by saying Christ only accommodated Himself to the Jewish view of the Old Testament. The devil would want you to think that Jesus never affirmed the authority or authenticity of scripture; he only used them as the basis of His teachings. Jesus cited the Old Testament with authority, and often compared Old Testament events with historical events. Much of Jesus’ doctrines hinge on whether the OT is historically accurate.
The devil would have you believe that Jesus was limited by His humanity in His view of the OT authority. The Word of God is quite clear though. Even as a human, Jesus had supernatural knowledge. Whatever limitations He had in knowledge, it was still superior to men. Just how Jesus’ deity and humanity worked together, the “limitation theory” is inadequate. Jesus claimed that whatever He taught was from God. He claimed that not one jot or tittle would pass from the law. He stood firm on the authority of the Old Testament.
Jesus quoted the Old Testament as inspired, therefore, He being on the scene for the making of the New Testament, how much more should one belief the New Testament to be the inspired word of God.
Discussing any possible Inerrancy In The Scripture
Those opponents of inerrancy would say that the scriptures are only true by personal revelation meaning an encounter, not by revelation. Opponents believe that we can trust the message of the Bible, but not the statements. They would say that the Bible is fallible, but Christ to whom it points is infallible. Limited inerrancy, views the Bible to be true only when it speaks on matters of faith and practice. This writer does not believe nor do I teach this type of belief. Yes Christ is infallible, so if we believe He is, then we must believe His words, when He quoted John 1.1. He is the word.
Partial or limited inerrancy believes some parts are inspired and some not. The question is, who decides what is inspired? The knowable the historical portions are uninspired. The content of the scripture is errant, but the intent is inerrant. Again this would make Jesus into a lie, he is the Word and is infallible. The Bible teaches its own inspiration (2 Tim 3.16). Which assures no error.
I would like to close this writing by asking the readers to trust in the Lord with all your might and strength. Always believing in the assistance of the Holy Spirit to help you understand and believe the truth the bible presents. The word of God my friends is God. I have one last thought for you. If the communion that Christ so preciously presented through Himself is accepted and sought after without negative thought, then why, why I ask should one think negative of His word. If he became the word, and his communion represents Christ also, then are they not one in the same?