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Easter reading - gargantuan fraud or greatest feat?

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  • Easter reading - gargantuan fraud or greatest feat?

    Not trying to start a debate.. I just wanted to wish everyone a happy Easter, regardless of your beliefs.

    As a believer in Christ, I enjoy studying apologetics.. knowing what I believe and why I believe it. I just wanted to post this to remind other believers that Christianity is not at all about "blind faith"..




    FEAT that Demonstrates the Fact of Resurrection

    by Hank Hanegraaff

    Gargantuan Fraud or Greatest Feat?

    If liberal scholars, adherents of world religions, or devotees of the kingdom of the cults are correct, the biblical account of the resurrection is either fiction, fantasy or a gargantuan fraud. On the other hand, if Christianity is factually reliable, the resurrection is the greatest feat in human history.

    The apostle Paul made it crystal clear that no middle ground exists:

    "And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead" (1 Corinthians 15:14-15).

    The resurrection elevates Christianity above all other world religions. Jesus Christ is utterly unique. He had the power not only to lay down his life but also to take it up again.



    Because of its centrality to Christianity, those who take the sacred name of Christ upon their lips must be prepared to defend the reliability of the resurrection. To make the process memorable, I've developed the acronym F-E-A-T. Each letter serves to underscore an undeniable fact of the resurrection:
    Fatal torment
    Empty tomb
    Appearances
    Transformation
    Fatal Torment

    The fatal suffering of Jesus Christ is one of the most well-established facts of ancient history. Even in today's modern age of science and technology, there is a virtual consensus among New Testament scholars, both conservative and liberal, that Jesus died on the cross, that he was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea and that his death drove his disciples to despair. The best medical minds of ancient and modern times have demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that Christ's physical trauma was fatal.

    To believe that Jesus merely swooned stretches credulity beyond the breaking point. It means that Christ survived six trials, lack of sleep, the scourge, being spiked to a cross and a spear wound in his side.

    We now turn to the "E" in the acronym F-E-A-T, which will serve to remind us of the second undeniable fact supporting the resurrection: The Empty Tomb.

    Empty Tomb

    The year 1985 marks the beginning of a coalition of "scholars" who dubbed themselves "the Jesus Seminar." These scholars were determined to demolish the biblical Jesus in the public arena, rather than in private academia. Cofounder Robert Funk declared, "We want to liberate Jesus. The only Jesus most people know is the mythic one. They don't want the real Jesus, they want the one they can worship. The cultic Jesus."

    Tragically, multitudes have uncritically accepted the assertions of the Jesus Seminar, failing to recognize that they fly in the face of well-established facts. Unlike a consensus of credible scholarship, Jesus Seminar scholars are famous for making dogmatic assertions while failing to provide defensible arguments.

    As the reliability of the resurrection is undermined in the media it is crucial that Christians are prepared to demonstrate that on Easter morning some two thousand years ago the tomb was indeed empty.

    Instead of denying that the tomb was empty, the antagonists of Christ accused his disciples of stealing the body. Their response to the proclamation, "He has risen--He is risen indeed" was not "His body is still in the tomb," or "He was thrown into a shallow grave and eaten by dogs." Instead, they responded, "His disciples came during the night and stole him away."

    In short, early Christianity simply could not have survived an identifiable tomb containing the corpse of Christ. The enemies of Christ could have easily put an end to the charade by displaying the body.

    We now turn to the letter "A" in the acronym F-E-A-T. This will serve to remind us of the third pillar supporting the resurrection: The Appearances of Christ.

    Appearances

    In the Acts of the Apostles, Dr. Luke writes that Jesus gave the disciples "many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God" (Acts 1:3).

    Likewise, Peter in his powerful Pentecost proclamation declared that many credible eyewitnesses could confirm the fact of Christ's physical post-resurrection appearances (Acts 2:29-32).

    Like Peter, the apostle Paul exudes confidence in the appearances of Christ. In his first letter to the Corinthian Christians he provides details and descriptions (1 Corinthians 15:3-8).

    Peter, Paul and the rest of the apostles claimed that Christ appeared to hundreds of people who were still alive and available for cross-examination (1 Corinthians 15:6). It would have been one thing to attribute these supernatural experiences to people who had already died. It was quite another to attribute them to multitudes who were still alive.

    No one has ever come up with a credible means to explain away the post-resurrection appearances of Christ. Thus, skeptics are often reduced to pawning them off as mere hallucinations.

    In reality, hallucinations are subjective and scarce. Yet Christ appeared to many people over a long period of time. In addition, hallucinations are typically relegated to people with certain personality disorders, are stimulated by expectations, and do not stop abruptly. In the case of Christ, he appeared to all kinds of personality types with no expectations, and then the appearances stopped abruptly.

    We now move to the final letter in the acronym F-E-A-T, which represents the word Transformation.

    Transformation

    What happened as a result of the resurrection is unprecedented in all of history. In the span of 300 years, a small following of seemingly insignificant believers succeeded in turning an entire empire upside down and conquering it.

    While it is conceivable that they would have faced torture, vilification and even cruel deaths for what they fervently believed to be true, it is inconceivable that they would have been willing to die for what they knew to be a lie.

    As Christian philosopher J.P. Moreland points out, within weeks of the resurrection not just one but an entire community of at least ten thousand Jews was willing to give up the very sociological and theological traditions that had given them their national identity.

    To this day, Christ's resurrection continues to transform lives. Every day people of every tongue, tribe and nation are being baptized in the name of the risen Christ.

    Yes, Christ is risen indeed! In the inspired words of the apostle Paul, "He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification" (Romans 4:25).

  • #2
    Thanks for the post, dooz. Happy Easter to you as well.

    Comment


    • #3
      Great post, link please?

      Comment


      • #4
        http://www.equip.org/site/apps/nlnet...123&ct=3615249

        also, it is expaned on in the following books:

        Third Day by Hanegraaff:
        http://www.amazon.com/Third-Day-Hank.../dp/B000H2M62Q

        Resurrection by Hanegraaff:
        http://www.amazon.com/Resurrection-C...356899-3363054

        Case for Christ by Strobel:
        http://www.amazon.com/Case-Christ-Jo...105903&sr=1-10

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        • #5
          This is the same thourough fact finding that brought us the wonder that is Scientific Creationism.
          "There is an old saying that goes 'no matter how good you are, there is always someone better.' That someone is me." - Chiun

          I require the lubrication to successfully handle some of them. *sigh*- Sunuvanun

          Matrem tuam pedicavi

          "I kinda dig Johnson" -Triggercut

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          • #6
            Happy Easter
            Be passionate about what you believe in, or why bother.

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