Eyes That See

“I Once Was Blind”

If the Resurrection Happened, Then What?

This is part two of what, Lord willing, will be a three-parter about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  In part one, “The Centrality of the Resurrection,” I argued that the Resurrection is central to Christian faith, and therefore should be central to any Christianity vs. Atheism debate.  This second part will be on the ramifications if the Resurrection did happen.  The third part will be my argument that the Resurrection really did take place.

If Jesus Christ were indeed resurrected from the dead, as I believe that He was, what does that mean for you and I?  The Bible is full of accounts of miracles, but there are arguably none as great and/or significant as the Resurrection.  If we are convinced that the Resurrection happened, then it lends great credibility to the Bible as a whole, and most imporantly to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Here I would like to look at the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as well as what verses twelve and thirteen of Jeremiah chapter two have to tell us about sin.

The Bible tells us that God created all of us, and that He will one day judge all of us.  We have all sinned against God.  The Bible tells us that blood and death are the only means that effectively atone for sins and ransom sinners from the wrath of God.  In the Old Testament, God mercifully gave His people a way to have a substitute pay for their sins with its blood and its death in both the Passover and the sacrificial system.  In both of these cases, an animal was a “propitiation” for sins.  This simply means that God reckoned the sins of the sinner paid for by the blood and death of the sinless animal, while at the same time reckoning the sinner righteous by the sinner’s faith that God would be faithful to His promises.

The Bible tells us that the passover lamb, the animals without blemish that were sacrificed, and the scapegoat of the day of atonement all pointed forward to the Messiah that would be once and for all the passover Lamb and the Scapegoat, sacrificed to atone for the sins of all who would have faith in Him and faith that God will be faithful to His promises.  And this Messiah would ransom sinners from the wrath of God, by taking His wrath upon Himself, if the sinners would believe in Him.

This Messiah was and is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  The apostle Paul tells us that, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).  The Bible teaches us that this “belief” that Paul mentions here is a belief that is obedient to the “law of the Lord” and the teachings of Jesus, and that perseveres until the end.  All who have obedient, persevering faith in Jesus and repent of their sins will be saved.

Let us now turn to the Word of God through Jeremiah the prophet in Jeremiah 2:12-13:

“Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the LORD, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.”

In the eyes of God, all sin is two evils.  All sin is both forsaking God and putting our faith in man-made “cisterns” that are “broken” and “can hold no water.”  Since the first sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve, all mankind has been forsaking God and foolishly putting their trust in man-made, broken cisterns.  God calls this evil, and says that the only reconciliation is by blood and death.  By faith in Jesus Christ, we become His, and the punishment for our sins is credited to Him.  He paid this penalty on the Cross, once and for all.  If we are His, then our sins are paid for and we receive His perfect righteousness:

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

If the Resurrection happened, then this is all true.  If it did not happen, then as the apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:32, “If the dead are not raised, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.'”

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July 16, 2008 Posted by | apologetics, Atheism, Christ, Christianity, Religion | Leave a comment

The Centrality of the Resurrection.

I believe that the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is very much central to Christianity.  This comes from both experience and Scripture.  In my experience, I was converted to Christianity in March of 2007 on the basis of the evidence that Jesus Christ indeed rose from the dead.  The apostle Paul talks about the centrality of the Resurrection to Christianity in 1 Corinthians 15:

“And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” -1 Corinthians 15:14

“And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.” -1 Corinthians 15:17-19

In 1 Corinthians 15:14, Paul makes a direct connection between the Resurrection of Jesus and our faith.  If He has not been raised, then our faith is in vain.  And this is not some atheist saying that the absence of the Resurrection would prove our faith to be in vain.  This is the man who wrote much of the New Testament. 

Then, in verse 17, he says that our faith is futile, “if Christ has not been raised.”  And in verse 18, he says that if the Resurrection didn’t happen, then the atheists (and the Sadducees) are right- when you die, you die, period.  Then in verse 19, he makes quite an interesting argument.  Verse 19 is the second half of an “if, then, if, then.”  The first half goes like this:  If Christ has not been raised, then in Christ we have hope in this life only.”  Then, you get verse 19: “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.”

So, in conclusion, “if Christ has not been raised,” then:
1) Preaching is in vain
2) Faith is in vain
3) Faith is futile
4) Dead people are dead, and not ‘in a better place’
and 5) Christians are, “of all people most to be pitied.”

Therefore, Christ having been raised is both central to Christianity and should be central to any Atheism/Christianity debate.

This is part one of what I see working out to be a three-parter, in response to a couple of comments to my recent posts.  This could change, but as I see it now, part two will be what the Bible teaches about the ramifications of whether or not Jesus was resurrected- namely what that means about God, what that means about our standing before God, what Jesus Christ did to reconcile us with and to God, and what we must do in response to these truths. And part three will be my argument that 1 Corinthians 15:4 is indeed true, namely that Jesus Christ, “was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.”

July 13, 2008 Posted by | apologetics, Atheism, Christ, Christianity, The Resurrection | 3 Comments

Should We Respect Atheism?

Much of what I post here also finds its way to my ‘notes’ section on my facebook profile.  My post last night, “The Atheist Delusion,” received a gentle rebuke from a friend on facebook.  I believe that this paragraph is what he was responding to:

Anyways, if you or somebody you know has been affected by silly, little publishers who allow silly, little atheists to publish their silly, little arguments that try to disprove God, then I would greatly suggest that you delve into David Robertson’s “The Dawkins Letters.”

He encouraged me to “remember to stay humble.”  The most obvious place where humility was lacking was in calling these publishers, these atheists, and their arguments “silly” and “little.”

I’m not sure who it is that he quotes, but in C.J. Mahaney’s book “Humility: True Greatness,” he provides a quote that says something along the lines of, “at every stage of the Christian walk, pride is our greatest adversary/enemy, and humility our greatest friend.”  I give that idea (I would say quote, but there’s a good chance I’m misquoting it) a hearty ‘Amen!’

However, I would just like to think out loud a bit here.  On one hand, I believe that it is totally possible to be right in the wrong way.  By that I mean that you can be communicating truth, but do so in a way that turns people away from the truth.  Not on the basis of whether or not they believe it to be true, but on the basis of the way it was communicated.  If this is what my friend meant, then his gentle rebuke was warranted.

On the other hand, if what he meant is that I should show more humility by way of respecting atheism, then he was flat out wrong.  I believe that we sinners often sin in two ways when it comes to common misconceptions with regards to pride and humility.  Because our worldviews are far too often shaped by things outside of the Bible, we have a worldly view of pride and humility that is skewed.  Because of that, we often are guilty of sinful pride toward God when we keep our mouths shut in the name of humility.  The other side of the same coin is that we do not act as we ought in humility toward God for fear of being perceived as acting pridefully towards others.

So my answer to the question posed in the title of this post is a resounding “no!”  We should not respect atheism.  The reason that I wrote what I wrote last night was that I was greatly encouraged by Robertson’s book.  He is, for all intents and purposes, a nobody.  Conversely, Richard Dawkins is, for all intents and purposes, a somebody.  Robertson is a Scottish Presbyterian minister that I had never heard of until I picked up his book, and a man that few know.  Dawkins is a professor at renowned Oxford, and could very well be considered the current ‘Emperor of Atheism.’  Robertson discusses the children’s fairy tale about the Emperor’s New Clothes in his book.  And in his book he makes a very compelling argument that Dawkins, the ‘Emperor of Atheism,’ indeed figuratively has no clothes. 

So to see a relative nobody so effectively disarm arguably the world’s greatest atheist was very encouraging to me.  And when it comes down to it, atheists and their arguments are both “silly” and “little,” as I said in yesterday’s blog post. 

However, as my friend said, we need to remember to stay humble.  I need to remember to stay humble.  But for the grace of God, I would still be in the blissful ignorance of my atheism.  Therefore, what we need is to find a way to manage the tension between loving the atheist and giving their “silly, little” atheism no respect.  And make no mistake about it, atheism deserves no respect.  And men like Richard Dawkins deserve no respect.  He wrote “The God Delusion” to support atheism.  He wrote this book to try to do away with religion.  What is at stake with this book?

Souls and their eternal destination are at stake.  His book is an outright attack on Jesus Christ and His Gospel.  Let us have compassion for Richard Dawkins, and let us pray for God to send somebody to him with the Gospel.  And let us pray for his salvation.  But let us also pray for the failure of his work.  Let us pray that the great number of souls that come into contact with his book will see that they are nothing more than the Serpent’s lies.

The First Part of what, Lord willing, will be a three-part discussion in order to oppose atheism by providing evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is called “The Centrality of the Resurrection.”

July 13, 2008 Posted by | apologetics, Atheism, Christianity, humility, respect | 6 Comments

The Atheist Delusion

At the beginning of my freshman year in college I saw a book in my college library called simply “There is no God” (I’m pretty sure that is what it was called, at least).  My faith was definitely fragile at the time, as I had really only started to think through things for myself that I had believed my whole life.  Until then I mainly believed them because my family and many people that I knew believed them.

This seems extremely foolish to me now, but at the time I remember thinking along these lines after I saw that book, which I didn’t even pick up much less read:
1) It is difficult to get a book published.
2) This book, “There is no God,” has been published.
3) Therefore, it is at least debatable whether or not there is a God.

I don’t recall these thoughts having a huge effect on my straying from the faith.  However, it at least played a small part, and it is worth noting that I remember it almost six years later.

I think that Richard Dawkins’ book “The God Delusion” could have a similar impact on others.  Today I started reading “The Dawkins Letters” by a Scottish Presbyterian minister named David Robertson.  In this great little book, Robertson has compiled a series of letters that he sent to Dawkins in response to “The God Delusion.”  He addresses the myths that Dawkins puts forth as proof that there is no God, and that those who believe that there is a God have been deluded.  There are many holes in Dawkins’ logic, and Robertson definitely hands him the berries in this brief little book (I got the saying “hands him the berries” from here; incidentally, Douglas Wilson has written “The Deluded Atheist: A Response to Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion“). 

Anyways, if you or somebody you know has been affected by silly, little publishers who allow silly, little atheists to publish their silly, little arguments that try to disprove God, then I would greatly suggest that you delve into David Robertson’s “The Dawkins Letters.”

July 12, 2008 Posted by | "The Dawkins Letters", "The God Delusion", apologetics, Atheism, Christianity, David Robertson, Richard Dawkins | 2 Comments

My “Case for Christ”

Four convincing pieces evidence for Christianity, in my opionion:  the spread of the early Christian church on the basis of eyewitnesses of Jesus’ resurrection in the face of brutal persecution, the willingness of all twelve of Jesus’ disciples to die for the belief that He was resurrected, the conversion of Saul/Paul, and the change in the life of Jesus’ brother James.
 
The founder and foundation of Christianity, Jesus Christ, was brutally murdered on the cross.  He was beaten to near death, forced to carry the crossbeam of His cross through town, had nails driven through His feet and wrists, the distance between the nails through His wrists would have forced His shoulders to be dislocated by the weight of His body, and His body weight would have eventually caused Him to suffocate when He could no longer push Himself up on the nail through His feet to be able to breathe.  I say that not to necessarily focus on the Cross, but to direct your attention to the people of that time.  This man claimed to be the Messiah of God.  There is historical evidence that He really lived and that He really performed super-natural feats, but this had to look like the end of His claims to be the Son of God.  His disciples were discouraged.
 
Add to that the fact that early Christians were persecuted by the Roman empire and others.  They were hung, crucified both right-side-up and upside-down, beheaded, and burnt at the stake.  And yet Christianity spread like wild fire in those days.  And the simple fact that there are still Christian churches almost 2000 years later, in spite of numerous efforts to nip Christianity in the bud, says a lot.  Early Christians had to simply renounce Christianity to save their lives, but they wouldn’t do it.  People who witnessed the murder of Christians became Christians.  Does that not defy all logic?  The man who was leading one of Jesus’ disciples to his execution professed Christianity and was beheaded with him.
 
All twelve of the disciples were willing to die rather than renounce their belief that Jesus was the Messiah, based on His resurrected appearance to them three days after the Crucifixion.  If it was all a lie or a hoax, would you not expect at least one of them to renounce and tell the executioners what they wanted to hear in order to save his life?
 
Then you have the apostle Paul, who was previously called Saul.  Saul was a Pharisee, on the rise in the Jewish elite.  He had fame, status, and power, and he was on the rise in large part because of his relentless persecution of Christians.  Then on the road to Damascus, the Bible says that Jesus appeared to Saul, blinded him, and told him that he would go by the name Paul from then on.  So Saul/Paul is converted and goes from being the most prominent persecutor of Christians to becoming a Christian himself and suffering all kinds of persecution himself, and he wrote a large portion of the New Testament.
 
Then you have James, the brother of Jesus.  He did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah while Jesus was alive.  Then Jesus is brutally murdered, as I described already.  Then the Bible says that Jesus appeared to James, along with over 500 others including the twelve disciples.  Remember Jesus has just been brutally murdered, and a similar brutal murder is all but promised to anybody who is a follower of Jesus.  James then becomes a ‘pillar’ of the Christian church, and he was writing and teaching in Jerusalem, and he was responsible for the conversion of an enormous number of people. 
 
So the Jews, the Pharisees, and the Scribes who did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah saw James as a problem.  They decided to put him on the top of the temple while there were a multitude of people in Jerusalem for the passover feast one year, so that they could persuade him to renounce Christianity with all those witnesses.  Instead of renouncing, James affirmed that Jesus was the Messiah and said that He ‘sits at the right hand of the Power that is in Heaven.’  They decided to throw him off the temple so that the people would be afraid to believe as he believed.  The fall did not kill him, and he rose to his knees and prayed for the men who had just thrown him off of a temple.  They proceeded to stone him, and he was finally killed when a man struck him over the head with a club.
 
We all have the idea of God, but we have also all sinned and our sin causes a seperation between us and God.  It is not a matter of living as good as we can and hoping that the good outweighs the bad, as other religions propose.  Jesus was and is God, and His death on the cross provides the only path to be reconciled with God.  Jesus taught that we had to be perfect and have perfect righteousness in order to enter the kingdom of heaven.  But none of us can attain perfection or perfect righteousness.  ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’
 
Thats where Jesus comes in.  He lived a perfect life and had perfect righteousness.  He knew no sin, but died the death for our sin.  We know no righteousness, but through His death on the Cross we can have forgiveness for our sins, His perfection, and His righteousness.  Our sin for His righteousness.  His death for our life.  That is the Gospel, and that is Christianity.

December 7, 2007 Posted by | Atheism, Atheist, Christ crucified, Faith, Jesus, Messiah, Resurrection | 1 Comment

“Without Excuse.”

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” -Romans 1:18-20

Looking back on the time in my life when I rejected God and Christianity, I see things that I didn’t really see then. I had reasons for suppressing the truth of Christianity and rejecting it. I thought that it was better to live as if there was no God and as if Jesus was not the Son of God and is not the King of the universe.

I think back to conversations with my brother, when he made perfect sense and I couldn’t come up with answers for his questions other than simply saying, “I don’t know.”

As I said, “I don’t know,” I had to fight to keep a sly grin from coming across my face, because I was thinking about the reasons I couldn’t buy into what he was saying. I didn’t think that he could provide evidence for what he told me, and even when he did provide evidence, I brushed it off. If he gave me anything from the Bible, my defense was that the Bible wasn’t credible. Those things happened too long ago. How could anybody live their life around something that happened 2000 years ago? But the reason that I rejected everything he said was that I had to reject those things to live the way that I wanted to live.

Then things started to change. God started pursuing me. Certain weird things started happening in my life- I was living farther away from my dad than I had ever been, and I started having this crazy longing to have a son and thinking about what it would take to raise him and all the things that I wanted to teach him. I had this longing for the closeness that I have with my dad, along with the longing to someday build a similar father-son relationship with a son of my own. I was very strangely emotional about father-son relationships in TV shows and movies.

I started thinking more about the Christian life, and decided that it would probably be good to somehow teach my children the values that I learned being brought up in a Christian home. I remember thinking that I would definitely rather live in a neighborhood full of Christians than a neighborhood full of atheists, because I thought Christians were more “virtuous” in general.

I realized that I was being an idiot pursuing the kind of girls that I was pursuing, and I thought about all the “good girls” that I passed over when I was in college because I was looking for girls that “wanted to have fun.”

I decided that I would like to marry a Christian girl, because Christian girls are likely to be more virtuous. And because I thought that would be a good way to arrange for my kids to be brought up with Christian virtues. I decided that if I married a Christian girl, then I would be okay with going to church with her and our kids if/when we had kids for the sake of their virtues.

All of these things came together to elevate the Christian life in my eyes. Then, I “happened” to move to Houston, TX.

My brother gave me the Biblical evidence for the resurrection, and the only think I had to cling to was that the Bible wasn’t credible.

Then I came to realize that there was an enormous difference in the way that I read things. I remembered reading “The Da Vinci Code,” and I couldn’t get enough of it. As ludicrous as the ideas that “The Da Vinci Code” puts forth were, just the idea that it provided an argument against Jesus and Christianity spurred me on and I finished it in 3 or 4 days.

So, when I “happened” to stumble across Lee Strobel’s “The Case for Christ,” I began reading it with a realization that I read things differently depending on whether they supported or rejected Christianity.

So, with an elevated view of the Christin life, with my brother’s arguments, and with Strobel’s evidence for the credibility of the Bible, I was convinced that Jesus really was resurrected from the dead, and that He really is the King of the universe.

I truly believe that if you do not believe, then you are in the same position that I was in. Just as I suppressed the truth so that I could live the way that I wanted to, as if there was no God, I believe that you are suppressing the truth as well.

God has made it evident to you, and you have decided to reject the evidence. The poetry of life screams that there was a Divine Poet who set it all in motion, and we will all come face to face with Him one day.

If you do not repent of your sins, and turn to Jesus and accept and treasure Him as the only way to be reconciled with God, then you will have no excuse on that day.

I hope and pray that God will pursue you in the same way that He pursued me, because I know that I do not deserve it any more than you do.

Whatever explanations or excuses you have cannot account for the perfection and righteousness that God requires of us. Jesus’ death on the cross bought you, whether you accept it or not. The God who created everything in this universe requires absolute perfection and absolute righteousness from us. None of us are anything close to absolutely perfect or absolutely righteous. But our infinitely just and loving Creator provides an absolute perfection and an absolute righteousness in the person of Jesus Christ, who was fully God and fully man. And that perfection and that righteousness are extended to all who will accept it. It is an open invitation to all who are willing to give up the filth of this world for the treasures that God has to offer, lose the life that they want, and find the better life and the satisfaction that are only possible in Jesus Christ, who sits at the right hand of the Power that is in Heaven.

December 1, 2007 Posted by | Atheism, Atheist, children, Christ, Christianity, family, God, grace, Jesus, Life, love, mercy, Religion, Resurrection, righteousness, spouse, testimony, the Bible, virtue | 14 Comments

“Misrepresentation of Alternatives”

I came across a book title that interested me yesterday:

“There is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind” by Anthony Flew and Roy Abraham Varghese

Flew is the “World’s Most Notorious Atheist” mentioned in the title.  He has written some of the more influential works on atheism, was the atheist side of some famous atheist vs. christianity debates, and has recently converted from an atheist to a theist, on the basis of intelligent design.  However, he does not believe in any of the available revelation theories- i.e. The Divine Creator revealed Himself in a way believed by major religious groups such as Christianity, Islam, etc.

I watched some videos on youtube yesterday of Flew, both before and after his conversion, and he is without a doubt a man of great intelligence.  He is 84 years old, and one criticism that I thought opponents might suppose is the “I’m at the end of my life, so I’ll hedge my bet and convert” theory.  Meaning that Flew doesn’t really believe there is a God, but just in case he is saying so and/or has convinced himself just in case there is.  However, I think the fact that he has not agreed with any major religion suggests against this.  What I mean is that if he was indeed just “hedging his bet,” he really hasn’t done so.  He says that Christianity is the most plausible of the revelation theories, mainly on the basis of the apostle Paul, but does not believe it likely that the Divine Creator has revealed Himself in the form ascribed to by any of the major religions.

I was doing some more research on Mr. Flew today, and came across a very interesting website.  I was searching for information on Flew, but I am not sure if there is any relationship or connection between Flew and the “Truth in Science” organization.

If you are like me, a product of American public schools, then you know about evolution.  You may have even struggled to some extent with evolution and creationism, as I have.  If so, then the Truth in Science website will be as interesting to you as it has been to me.

Of particular interest was the Evidence for Evolution page, which is a bit misleading. The evidence there is actually evidence against evolution, but I guess the implication of the title is that the information there addresses the evidence for evolution, albeit from the perspective of the opposition.

One of my favorites that I read there, which inspired this blog, was Misrepresentation of Alternatives.  This particular page proposes some reasons for the widespread teaching and acceptance of evolution.  I think this is very important.  Evolution has lost a lot of steam in recent years, but as far as I know is still being taught in public schools.  Everybody knows that it is a theory, but I don’t think it is necessarily presented as a theory, or at least it was not presented that way for me.  Yes I always heard it referenced as “The Theory of Evolution.” But was it presented as a theory?  Was it presented alongside other theories of similar levels of acceptance and evidence?  If alternatives were presented, were they presented as alternatives that were purely religious and had no scientific merit?  Was evolution presented as an all-or-nothing issue?

These are issues that are addressed on the “Misrepresentation of Alternatives” page by Truth in Science.  The page also points out that the common understanding of evolution vs creation as merely a science vs relgion debate is misleading.  The page also acknowledges that there is good evidence for small-scale evolution, but that this evidence is wrongly used as evidence for the entirety of the theory of evolution.

Here is the conclusion:

The ways in which some textbooks present evolution and its alternatives are neither fair nor scientific. Rather than teaching pupils to think critically,  these textbooks are indoctrinating them using poor arguments. School children should be given the opportunity to properly understand different views on our origins, so that they can come to well informed conclusions about this important issue.

I also think that Lee Strobel, in “The Case for Faith,” at least raises some serious doubts about the theory of evolution, if he doesn’t actually poke gaping holes in the theory, as I honestly thought he did.

(As I was writing that last sentence I almost said simply “evolution” rather than “the theory of evolution.”  I think that simplifying and shortening to simply “evolution” has at least a slight effect on our thinking; therefore I chose to say “the theory” rather than “evolution” there at the end.)

November 7, 2007 Posted by | Anthony Flew, Atheism, Charles Darwin, creationism, evolution, Intelligent Design, Lee Strobel, The Case for Faith, theism | 62 Comments

A Possible Center of the Christian/Atheism debate?

I have a new pastime…

I joined an atheist/agnostic group on myspace:  http://groups.myspace.com/atheistsagnostics

and I posted some comments here:  http://friendlyatheist.com/2007/10/09/when-i-say-i-am-an-atheist/

both with the intention of striking up some possibly fruitful conversations.  At first, I had high hopes that things might go well with these conversations.  I quickly realized that I was just striking up debates that were not going to get anywhere.  I would argue with something that somebody else said and give my 2 cents, and unbelievers would argue with what I said and give their two cents.  We all were holding stubbornly to our beliefs and I saw that there was little or no chance of these conversations going anywhere. 

Then I thought of a new approach, and posted a comment stating that I was willing to accept, for argument’s sake, that everything that I had said was wrong, if we could change our direction and they would answer these questions:

 “Do you agree that the center of the issue is whether Jesus conquered death three days after dying on the cross? Do you agree that if you were convinced that Jesus conquered death three days after dying on the cross, your beliefs and your life would have to change? Do you agree that the ramifications of this are huge? Do you agree that if Jesus conquered death three days after dying on the cross, and you do not acknowledge Him as the King of this universe and put your faith in Him and treasure Him, you will sentance yourself to an eternity in hell?”

 Perhaps it would be wise to wait and see how this approach turns out before blogging about it, but I am willing to take a chance.  I hope that there will be a lot of comments here… I would love to hear the thoughts of both believers and unbelievers on these questions and whether they are central to Christianity.

Also, my thinking is that if the people I have been conversing with accept that these issues are central and are willing to at the very least not refuse information that opposes their beliefs from the start, I will encourage them to read “The Case for Christ.”

“The Case for Christ” cut the final threads of my unbelief, and I was convinced first that the Bible was credible and that Jesus really conquered death.  The end of my unbelief and beginning of my belief happened when I was convinced that Jesus conquered death, which is why I see it as the center point.  I have probably given “The Case for Christ” a little bit more credit than it deserves; although I still believe that it deserves a lot of credit and is a GREAT book.  But to give it as much credit as I did and sometimes still do, undermines other things that took place leading up to the time when the book cut those final threads of unbelief.  Without my amazing brother (http://jimhamilton.wordpress.com), Baptist Church of the Redeemer (http://www.bcredeemer.org), and some great Christian influences at my then-employer Texas State Bank and in the group of guys that I was playing church league basketball with, I never would have been in the position that I was to a) actually read the book, and b) give it the open mind that it must have to have any impact. 

So, due to those outside factors, I was in a position to say “yes” to those questions that I listed above.  Once I was in that position, “The Case for Christ” did the rest.  So, if you are an unbeliever, and you can answer “yes” to those questions, I would encourage you to read “The Case for Christ” with as much of an open mind as you can, as I did.  And if you are a believer, and you are having conversations with unbelievers or would like to have conversations with unbelievers about Christianity, I THINK this could be a good course to take.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions?

October 17, 2007 Posted by | Atheism, Christ, Christianity, Faith, God, Religion, The Resurrection | 11 Comments