Ways to fight the temptation of pornography

KEEP your EYES on JESUS !!! photo credit  blog.febc.org

From TheResurgence.com written by BJ Stockman, written in 2012, but very insightful. Please click to read through the bullet by bullet points Stockman makes as he elaborates on these 9 points.

  • 1. Fight lustful images with the knowledge of God’s written Word.

  • 2. Realize that viewing porn unleashes insatiable craving but kills genuine satisfaction.

  • 3. Treat all women who are not your wife like sisters and mothers (1 Titus 5:2).

  • 4. Sever the sources of temptation to view porn.

  • 5. Think about the eternal result of lust.

  • 6. Enjoy the pleasures of purity more than the pleasures of porn.

  • 7. Avoid accountability groups. (Please read why)

  • 8. Stare at Jesus, not at porn.

  • 9. Fight as sons and daughters of God.

Read the entire article here – http://theresurgence.com/2012/03/10/9-ways-to-fight-the-temptation-of-pornography

Reclame

Defending the Ressurection (via) Justin Holcomb, the Resurgence

by Justin Holcomb at the Resurgence

Of all the teachings of Christianity, no doctrine is more central than the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Put bluntly, if Jesus Christ claimed to be the savior but remains dead in a tomb after a brutal crucifixion, his claims were, and are, meaningless. However, if Jesus did rise from death, then his claims to deity, his bearing the penalty of our sins in our place on the cross, and his statements about the afterlife are vindicated.

No future without the resurrection

Without the resurrection, Christians have no savior and are left without hope of a future resurrection, since Christ himself did not rise. Paul writes in 1 Cointhians 15:14 and 17, “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain…And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” On this basis alone, it is fair to say that Paul saw the resurrection as the lynchpin of the Christian faith.

Throughout the history of the church, the truth of the resurrection has been attacked from every angle. New books and television media appear questioning the truth of the resurrection, by re-hashing old theories about what happened to Jesus’ body. Since the resurrection is crucial to Christianity, Christians ought to be concerned with giving an apologetic defense of it.

Historically credible accounts

The first step is defending the resurrection from the detractors is to establish the fact of the historical events that took place as conveyed in the Gospels.  As William Lane Craig notes in his book Reasonable Faith, “The issue is whether the gospel narratives are historically credible accounts or unhistorical legends.”

The resurrection can be defended by showing that the Gospel accounts were:

  1. authentic—that they were written by the authors who claimed them
  2. pure—that they were not changed from their original form
  3. reliable—that the apostles were neither deceived nor deceivers

Even Bart Ehrman, the notorious New Testament critic, says that “we can say with some confidence that some of his disciples claimed to have seen Jesus alive.”

Not only an empty tomb

In his impressive book The Resurrection of the Son of God, N. T. Wright establishes the fact of the historical events that took place as conveyed in the Gospels. He sketches a map of ancient beliefs about life after death in both the Greco-Roman and Jewish worlds. He then highlights the fact that the early Christians’ belief about the afterlife belonged firmly on the Jewish spectrum, while introducing several new mutations and sharper definitions. This, together with other features of early Christianity, forces the historian to read the Easter narratives in the Gospels, not simply as late rationalizations of early Christian spirituality, but as accounts of two actual events: the empty tomb of Jesus and his appearances.

Since the resurrection is crucial to Christianity, Christians ought to be concerned with giving an apologetic defense of it.

The Gospel accounts are historically credible, not merely mythological legends embellished over time.

In the next two posts, we will see that the resurrection is the best explanation of the historical events, over and against rival hypotheses.

A defense of the resurrection must give evidence for the historical validity of the events described in the New Testament, and it must show how the resurrection of Jesus provides the best explanation for this historical data. In this post we will focus on the empty tomb of Jesus Christ.

The empty tomb

One of the easiest parts of the resurrection data to establish is the fact that the tomb is empty. Because the location of Jesus’ burial was known to those living in Jerusalem, it would have been unlikely that they would have believed the Apostolic preaching of the resurrection of Christ if there was not an empty tomb. Jesus’ burial is widely attested in early, independent testimonies, both biblical and extra-biblical.

Furthermore, as is often noted, women were not considered reliable witnesses in first century Jewish culture, so it would have been foolish for the authors to have fictionally constructed an account involving women in order to gain credibility.

The person who wishes to deny the resurrection of Christ is left with the unexplained mystery of the empty tomb that existed three days after his death.

Matthew 28:11–15 speaks of a myth that was spread among the Jews concerning the body of Christ. Apparently the Jews were saying the disciples stole the body of Christ. This is significant because the Jews did not deny the tomb was empty, but instead sought an alternative explanation to the resurrection. The emptiness of the tomb is a widely attested historical fact.

Just because the tomb of Christ was empty does not necessarily mean the resurrection happened. Indeed, there have been four alternative hypotheses to resurrection that have been advanced over the years.

Conspiracy theory

First, some offer the conspiracy hypothesis, which says the disciples stole the body of Christ and continued to lie about his appearances to them. On this account, the resurrection was a hoax.

This hypothesis is not commonly held in modern scholarship for several reasons:

  1. This hypothesis does not take into account that the disciples believed in the resurrection. It is highly unlikely that numerous disciples would have been willing to give their lives defending a fabrication.
  2. It is unlikely that the idea of resurrection would have entered the minds of the disciples, as such an event was not connected to the Jewish idea of a Messiah. The scholar William Lane Craig writes, “If your favorite Messiah got himself crucified, then you either went home or else you got yourself a new Messiah. But the idea of stealing Jesus’ corpse and saying that God has raised him from the dead is hardly one that would have entered the minds of the disciples.”
  3. This hypothesis cannot account for the post-resurrection appearances of Christ.

Apparent death

The second hypothesis attempting to explain away the resurrection is the apparent death hypothesis. This view says Jesus was not completely dead when he was removed from the cross. Once in the tomb, Jesus was revived and escaped, thus convincing the disciples of his resurrection.

This view is difficult to hold for a few reasons:

  1. It is unlikely that a half-dead man would have been capable of even getting up to walk, much less moving the stone that sealed the tomb, over-powering Roman guards, and fleeing from sight.
  2. This theory cannot account for the disciples’ attribution of resurrection to Christ, for if they had seen him after he was revived, they would have merely thought he had never died.
  3. It is also foolish to think the Romans, who had perfected the art of killing people, would have let one slip by without ensuring he was dead.
  4. Finally, given the physical torture described in the Gospel accounts, it is highly unlikely that Jesus could have survived.

Wrong tomb

Third, the wrong tomb hypothesis suggests the women had gotten lost on their way to the empty tomb and accidentally stumbled upon the caretaker of an empty tomb. When the caretaker said, “Jesus is not here,” the women were so disoriented they fled, their story later being developed into a resurrection myth.

Like the other theories, virtually no one holds to this view. There are at least three reasons:

  1. First, this theory does not explain the post-resurrection appearances, and it is spurious to think that such a simple mistake would have led a first-century Jew to think a resurrection had happened.
  2. In light of the early evidence that is available concerning the location of Jesus’ tomb, it is almost impossible that the women would have confused its location.
  3. This hypothesis emphasizes that the caretaker of the tomb said that Christ was not there, but it passes over the next phrase: “He is risen!”

Displaced body

Fourth, some propose the displaced body hypothesis to explain Jesus’ resurrection. This theory says Joseph of Arimathea placed Jesus’ body in his own tomb but later moved it to the criminal’s graveyard. The disciples were not aware that Jesus’ body had been moved and therefore wrongly inferred that he had risen from the dead.

Because of the spurious nature of this theory, virtually no modern scholars hold to it:

  1. This theory cannot account for the post-resurrection appearances of Christ or the origin of the Christian faith.
  2. It is uncertain why Joseph would not have corrected the error of the disciples by simply showing them where he had moved the body of Jesus.
  3. The criminal graveyard, most likely, was quite close to the crucifixion site, so it would have made little sense why Joseph would not have simply buried Jesus there in the first place. In fact, it was against Jewish law to allow a body to be moved after it had already been buried.

The resurrection really happened

In light of these failed hypotheses that attempt to disprove the resurrection, the person who wishes to deny the resurrection of Christ is left with the unexplained mystery of the empty tomb that existed three days after his death.

A defense of the resurrection must give evidence for the historical validity of the events described in the New Testament, and it must show how the resurrection of Jesus provides the best explanation for this historical data.

The Post-Resurrection Appearances

In 1 Cor. 15:3-8, Paul says that Jesus appeared to Cephas, the Twelve, more than five hundred people at once, James, all the apostles, and finally to Paul himself. 1 Corinthians, an authentic letter composed by a man acquainted with the first disciples, actually claims that people saw Jesus after his death.

Because of the specificity of the list that Paul puts forth, it is fairly indisputable that Jesus actually appeared to the people that Paul mentions. The gospels all speak of post-resurrection appearances of Christ. It would be quite ridiculous to suggest that each of these events was a hallucination. Few scholars argue, therefore, that on different occasions different groups of people had experiences of seeing Jesus. They therefore question whether the experiences were actual physical, bodily appearances of Christ. However, Paul leaves no room for a merely psychological experience. His theology of the resurrected body ensures that he meant that Christ actually, physically appeared. This is confirmed by the gospel accounts. In light of this evidence, one can be certain of the fact that Jesus appeared to the people mentioned in 1 Cor. 15 after his bodily resurrection.

A Plausible Explanation

The resurrection is the most plausible explanation for the postmortem appearances of Christ. The alternative—the hallucination hypothesis—says nothing to explain the empty tomb. Nor does it explain the disciples’ belief in the resurrection. In typical psychological postmortem experiences, the person having the experience rarely would think that a dead person actually returned physically to life. As N.T. Wright argues, postmortem appearances in the ancient world would be more evidence that the person was dead than that he was alive.

Because of the diversity of appearances catalogued, it is highly unlikely that the hallucination theory can be held. Therefore, the physical resurrection of Jesus proves to be the best explanation for the postmortem appearances described in 1 Cor. 15.

The Origin of the Christian Faith

The fact that Christianity started and grew is evidence for the resurrection. William Lane Craig writes: “Even skeptical New Testament scholars admit that the earliest disciples at least believed that Jesus had been raised from the dead.” For Jews, the Messiah was viewed as a figure that would be triumphant and rule on David’s throne, not a figure that would be crucified and die.

The resurrection undid the catastrophe of the crucifixion. The Messiah, who had died, is risen! The resurrection validated and verified the claims that Christ had made about his own identity. The origin of Christianity rests solely on the fact that Jesus Christ rose from the dead.

The resurrection validated and verified the claims that Christ had made about his own identity. 

To deny that the resurrection was the cause of the Christian faith, an alternative explanation must be given.  But there is no plausible alternative. Therefore, “Even if we grant, for the sake of argument, that the tomb was somehow emptied and the disciples saw hallucinations—suppositions which we have seen to be false anyway—the origin of the belief in Jesus’ resurrection still cannot be plausibly explained” (Craig).

Come Let Us Reason…

It stands to reason that Jesus Christ did in fact rise from the dead victoriously on the third day after his death. No alternative hypothesis can adequately explain the empty tomb, the postmortem appearances of Jesus, and the origin of the Christian faith. For this reason, one has no good reasons why not to accept this most central element of Christianity.

Mark Driscoll on Fox News – What the Bible Really Says About Sex

Pastor Mark Driscoll preaches at Qwest Stadium, Seattle on Easter 2011

First, Mark Driscoll debated Deepak Chopra on Nightline News and did a fantastic job explaining the Gospel. Today I came across this article while visiting an Assemblies of God Youth Page on Facebook. Apparently, while Pastor Mark Driscoll has been criticized in the past for having used coarse language, and more recently for talking about sex in a non conventional way from his pulpit, yet he has struck a very needed chord with the christian youth of this nation, who are not timid in discussing what used to be considered taboo and asking questions and asking for direction. Here, now, at Fox News he is being given a national platform to give an (theologically orthodox) christian perspective to more than just Christians. And this is a very good thing. Mark Driscoll pastors a church in downtown Seattle, Washington called -Mars Hill and is also the founder of ACTS29 network, a world wide church planting ministry that has planted 400 US churches and additional ones in 13 other countries. He also has a (much read) website at theresurgence.com/. His website receives 6 million hits a year and his preaching sermons are consistently #1 on iTunes . That is an impressive number when you consider that it consists mainly of sermons and theological pieces vs. opinion pieces that populate the blogs. Read his bio here.

Here is the article. Read more at: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/01/03/what-bible-really-says-about-sex/#ixzz1iYyscHtD

Pastor Mark Driscoll:

Sex is a selfish act, a conquest of personal fulfillment.

That’s the mindset of most people in our culture regarding sex—even if it’s only subconscious. For the most part, our society celebrates the process of hook up, shack up, and break up.

All you have to do is take a moment to observe the way sex is communicated in our culture.

Thousands of articles are churned out on how to cope with a past of multiple partners and how to find the next one.

Porn is a massive industry, generating $10 to $14 billion annually in revenues.

Nearly every sitcom on the air seems to make light of sleeping around, and films like „No Strings Attached” and „Friends with Benefits” lure young eyes to the theater, while a sex-crazed Tucker Max boasts about his conquests and skyrockets to the top of the New York Times bestseller list, becoming a cult hero for young slackers everywhere.It also explains why sex trafficking is a $32 billion global industry, 45,000 to 50,000 young girls are trafficked in the United States every year, and why one in 12 youths experience sexual victimization, including sexual assault and attempted or completed rape.

The problem, however, is not sex.

It’s us.

In order to understand this, we must first understand the underlying cause of all the problems in this world: sin.

In the Bible, Paul says of the human condition:

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

„Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever!” Amen (Romans 1:21-25).

And in case you think Paul is on some self-righteous kick to condemn sinners, he makes clear in the same letter that all of humanity is in the same boat, writing, „Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things” (Romans 2:1).

And to drive the point home, he writes, „For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Thankfully, he also adds, „and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.” (Romans 3:23-25).

The point is this: as humans, we’re all sinners and all in need of God’s grace, given freely through Jesus. And apart from Jesus, we all pervert God’s good gifts, such as sex.

Thankfully, God is also merciful and loving. This is why he sent us Jesus to save us from our sin, and it is also why he gave us the Bible to help us understand his plan for a life that honors him and as a result leads to true fulfillment.

The Bible has a lot to say about sex—including that it’s good and that it glorifies God when we enjoy sex in the context for which He created it.

...hitting issues other Christian books won’t

So, I thought I’d share seven sex essentials from the Bible that my wife Grace and I included in our new book, „Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, & Life Together”:

1. God created us male and female in His image and likeness with dignity, equality, value, and worth. Men and women are different and complement one another (Genesis 1:27-28).

2. Love is more like a song than a math equation. It requires a sense of poetry and passion to be any good at it, which is why people who are stuck in their heads struggle and are frustrated by it, and lovers prefer songs to syllogisms (Song of Solomon, all of it).

3. Marriage is for one man and one woman by God’s design. This is the consistent teaching of the Bible from the table of contents to the appendix and the teaching of Jesus Christ Himself (Genesis 2:24-25, Matthew 19:4).

4. God created sex. God made our bodies “very good” with “male and female” parts and pleasures. When our first parents consummated their covenant, God was not shocked or horrified, because He created our bodies for sex. The reason that sex is fun, pleasurable, and wonderful is because it is a reflection of the loving goodness of God who created it as a gift for us to steward and enjoy (Genesis 2:24-25).

5. Sex outside of marriage is a sin.
Sinful sex includes homosexuality, erotica, bestiality, bisexuality, fornication, friends with benefits, adultery, swinging, prostitution, incest, rape, polygamy, polyandry, sinful lust, pornography, and pedophilia (I Corinthians 6:9-11,18-20, Hebrews 13:4).

6. Sex is to be done in such a way that there is no shame
(Genesis 2:25; Proverbs 5:18-23). Many people experience shame in regard to sex. Sometimes shame is a gift from God in response to our sexual sin, sometimes it is the devastating feeling we bear because we have been sexually sinned against, and other times we have not sinned or been sinned against sexually but feel shame because we have wrong thinking and feelings about sex in general, or a sex act in particular.

7. Your standard of beauty is your spouse. God made one man and one woman. He did not ask them if they wanted someone tall or short, light or heavy, pale or dark skinned, with long or short hair. In short, He did not permit them to develop a standard of beauty. Instead, He gave them each a spouse as a standard of beauty (Genesis 2:23, Proverbs 6:20-35).

I understand that I’m writing to an audience that may not consist entirely of  Christian believers, including some who may even be hostile to Christianity. I also understand that many of these points will either rub some of you the wrong way or even enrage you. But, I make no apologies for the Bible and what it says.

I will say this, however… I don’t write them to condemn you, nor does the Bible. Rather, I ask you to consider your motivations for sex.

Have you ever truly given yourself to someone selflessly to love them, explore them, and cherish them until death do you part? Have you spent your life pursuing pleasure instead of seeking to give pleasure to a lifelong spouse? And, are you truly happy and fulfilled with your sex life?

The problem isn’t our partners. It’s us. We’ve perverted sex and misused it. God’s way is the best way, and I encourage you to humbly pray and think about what he has to say about us and sex in his word, the Bible.

As someone who was sexually active before becoming a Christian, I don’t consider myself more holy than anyone else. But, after experiencing Jesus’ forgiveness, becoming a Christian, understanding what the Bible teaches about sex, having massive change in my thoughts and actions about sex, marrying, and today, happily and faithfully married to the same woman for what is approaching 20 years, I sincerely want you to experience the fullness of what God has for you in Jesus Christ.

Mark Driscoll is the founding pastor of one of America’s largest, fastest-growing and most innovative churches (Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington). He was recently named one of the “25 Most Influential Pastors of the Past 25 Years” by Preaching magazine. Driscoll is also co-founder of the Acts 29 Network (which has planted over 500 churches in the U.S. and 13 other nations around the world). He is the author of 15 books, including the newly-released „Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship and Life Together” (Thomas Nelson 2012).

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/01/03/what-bible-really-says-about-sex/#ixzz1iYyscHtD
Here is a short video clip of Pastor Mark Driscoll preaching at Qwest Stadium in Seattle, WA where he not only held the Easter service last year (2011) but he also held water baptisms, baptizing approx. 600 people. To view entire service please click here
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Overcoming Sexual Sin, Mark Driscoll

Mark Driscoll has an excellent post on The Resurgence which was part of his Religion Saves and Nine Other Misconceptions sermon series. You can also catch the sermon online. He writes:

it is helpful to begin by noting the epidemic nature of sexual sin.

Driscoll goes on to cite the staggering numbers:

In Paul’s day, he accused some people of worshiping their stomachs as their god, and in our day it appears that our god has simply moved a short distance south. Americans spend more money each year on pornography than country music, rock music, jazz music, classical music, Broadway plays, and ballet combined. Additionally, some researchers have even said that we spend more money on pornography than we do on professional baseball, basketball, and football combined. Clearly, perversion is officially America’s favorite pastime and a ten-billion-dollar business.

The National Council on Sexual Addiction Compulsivity estimated that 6 to 8 percent of Americans are sex addicts, which is 16 to 21.5 million people. Their numbers include young people.

Undeniably, people are worshipers and will worship someone or something.

He then lists „eleven ways to worship God that will help to replace the desire for sin with a deeper and more passionate desire for holiness.”

Speaking in terms of worshiping God our Creator and enjoying His creation (including the human body) instead of acting like the pagans denounced in Romans 1:25 who worship creation instead of the Creator…

Click here to read entire post and for some book recommendations from Mark Driscoll at The Resurgence.

(VIA)Overcoming Sexual Sin | The Mars Hill Blog


Defending the Ressurection (via) Justin Holcomb, the Resurgence

by Justin Holcomb at the Resurgence

Of all the teachings of Christianity, no doctrine is more central than the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Put bluntly, if Jesus Christ claimed to be the savior but remains dead in a tomb after a brutal crucifixion, his claims were, and are, meaningless. However, if Jesus did rise from death, then his claims to deity, his bearing the penalty of our sins in our place on the cross, and his statements about the afterlife are vindicated.

No future without the resurrection

Without the resurrection, Christians have no savior and are left without hope of a future resurrection, since Christ himself did not rise. Paul writes in 1 Cointhians 15:14 and 17, “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain…And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” On this basis alone, it is fair to say that Paul saw the resurrection as the lynchpin of the Christian faith.

Throughout the history of the church, the truth of the resurrection has been attacked from every angle. New books and television media appear questioning the truth of the resurrection, by re-hashing old theories about what happened to Jesus’ body. Since the resurrection is crucial to Christianity, Christians ought to be concerned with giving an apologetic defense of it.

Historically credible accounts

The first step is defending the resurrection from the detractors is to establish the fact of the historical events that took place as conveyed in the Gospels.  As William Lane Craig notes in his book Reasonable Faith, “The issue is whether the gospel narratives are historically credible accounts or unhistorical legends.”

The resurrection can be defended by showing that the Gospel accounts were:

  1. authentic—that they were written by the authors who claimed them
  2. pure—that they were not changed from their original form
  3. reliable—that the apostles were neither deceived nor deceivers

Even Bart Ehrman, the notorious New Testament critic, says that “we can say with some confidence that some of his disciples claimed to have seen Jesus alive.”

Not only an empty tomb

In his impressive book The Resurrection of the Son of God, N. T. Wright establishes the fact of the historical events that took place as conveyed in the Gospels. He sketches a map of ancient beliefs about life after death in both the Greco-Roman and Jewish worlds. He then highlights the fact that the early Christians’ belief about the afterlife belonged firmly on the Jewish spectrum, while introducing several new mutations and sharper definitions. This, together with other features of early Christianity, forces the historian to read the Easter narratives in the Gospels, not simply as late rationalizations of early Christian spirituality, but as accounts of two actual events: the empty tomb of Jesus and his appearances.

Since the resurrection is crucial to Christianity, Christians ought to be concerned with giving an apologetic defense of it.

The Gospel accounts are historically credible, not merely mythological legends embellished over time.

In the next two posts, we will see that the resurrection is the best explanation of the historical events, over and against rival hypotheses.

A defense of the resurrection must give evidence for the historical validity of the events described in the New Testament, and it must show how the resurrection of Jesus provides the best explanation for this historical data. In this post we will focus on the empty tomb of Jesus Christ.

The empty tomb

One of the easiest parts of the resurrection data to establish is the fact that the tomb is empty. Because the location of Jesus’ burial was known to those living in Jerusalem, it would have been unlikely that they would have believed the Apostolic preaching of the resurrection of Christ if there was not an empty tomb. Jesus’ burial is widely attested in early, independent testimonies, both biblical and extra-biblical.

Furthermore, as is often noted, women were not considered reliable witnesses in first century Jewish culture, so it would have been foolish for the authors to have fictionally constructed an account involving women in order to gain credibility.

The person who wishes to deny the resurrection of Christ is left with the unexplained mystery of the empty tomb that existed three days after his death.

Matthew 28:11–15 speaks of a myth that was spread among the Jews concerning the body of Christ. Apparently the Jews were saying the disciples stole the body of Christ. This is significant because the Jews did not deny the tomb was empty, but instead sought an alternative explanation to the resurrection. The emptiness of the tomb is a widely attested historical fact.

Just because the tomb of Christ was empty does not necessarily mean the resurrection happened. Indeed, there have been four alternative hypotheses to resurrection that have been advanced over the years.

Conspiracy theory

First, some offer the conspiracy hypothesis, which says the disciples stole the body of Christ and continued to lie about his appearances to them. On this account, the resurrection was a hoax.

This hypothesis is not commonly held in modern scholarship for several reasons:

  1. This hypothesis does not take into account that the disciples believed in the resurrection. It is highly unlikely that numerous disciples would have been willing to give their lives defending a fabrication.
  2. It is unlikely that the idea of resurrection would have entered the minds of the disciples, as such an event was not connected to the Jewish idea of a Messiah. The scholar William Lane Craig writes, “If your favorite Messiah got himself crucified, then you either went home or else you got yourself a new Messiah. But the idea of stealing Jesus’ corpse and saying that God has raised him from the dead is hardly one that would have entered the minds of the disciples.”
  3. This hypothesis cannot account for the post-resurrection appearances of Christ.

Apparent death

The second hypothesis attempting to explain away the resurrection is the apparent death hypothesis. This view says Jesus was not completely dead when he was removed from the cross. Once in the tomb, Jesus was revived and escaped, thus convincing the disciples of his resurrection.

This view is difficult to hold for a few reasons:

  1. It is unlikely that a half-dead man would have been capable of even getting up to walk, much less moving the stone that sealed the tomb, over-powering Roman guards, and fleeing from sight.
  2. This theory cannot account for the disciples’ attribution of resurrection to Christ, for if they had seen him after he was revived, they would have merely thought he had never died.
  3. It is also foolish to think the Romans, who had perfected the art of killing people, would have let one slip by without ensuring he was dead.
  4. Finally, given the physical torture described in the Gospel accounts, it is highly unlikely that Jesus could have survived.

Wrong tomb

Third, the wrong tomb hypothesis suggests the women had gotten lost on their way to the empty tomb and accidentally stumbled upon the caretaker of an empty tomb. When the caretaker said, “Jesus is not here,” the women were so disoriented they fled, their story later being developed into a resurrection myth.

Like the other theories, virtually no one holds to this view. There are at least three reasons:

  1. First, this theory does not explain the post-resurrection appearances, and it is spurious to think that such a simple mistake would have led a first-century Jew to think a resurrection had happened.
  2. In light of the early evidence that is available concerning the location of Jesus’ tomb, it is almost impossible that the women would have confused its location.
  3. This hypothesis emphasizes that the caretaker of the tomb said that Christ was not there, but it passes over the next phrase: “He is risen!”

Displaced body

Fourth, some propose the displaced body hypothesis to explain Jesus’ resurrection. This theory says Joseph of Arimathea placed Jesus’ body in his own tomb but later moved it to the criminal’s graveyard. The disciples were not aware that Jesus’ body had been moved and therefore wrongly inferred that he had risen from the dead.

Because of the spurious nature of this theory, virtually no modern scholars hold to it:

  1. This theory cannot account for the post-resurrection appearances of Christ or the origin of the Christian faith.
  2. It is uncertain why Joseph would not have corrected the error of the disciples by simply showing them where he had moved the body of Jesus.
  3. The criminal graveyard, most likely, was quite close to the crucifixion site, so it would have made little sense why Joseph would not have simply buried Jesus there in the first place. In fact, it was against Jewish law to allow a body to be moved after it had already been buried.

The resurrection really happened

In light of these failed hypotheses that attempt to disprove the resurrection, the person who wishes to deny the resurrection of Christ is left with the unexplained mystery of the empty tomb that existed three days after his death.

A defense of the resurrection must give evidence for the historical validity of the events described in the New Testament, and it must show how the resurrection of Jesus provides the best explanation for this historical data.

The Post-Resurrection Appearances

In 1 Cor. 15:3-8, Paul says that Jesus appeared to Cephas, the Twelve, more than five hundred people at once, James, all the apostles, and finally to Paul himself. 1 Corinthians, an authentic letter composed by a man acquainted with the first disciples, actually claims that people saw Jesus after his death.

Because of the specificity of the list that Paul puts forth, it is fairly indisputable that Jesus actually appeared to the people that Paul mentions. The gospels all speak of post-resurrection appearances of Christ. It would be quite ridiculous to suggest that each of these events was a hallucination. Few scholars argue, therefore, that on different occasions different groups of people had experiences of seeing Jesus. They therefore question whether the experiences were actual physical, bodily appearances of Christ. However, Paul leaves no room for a merely psychological experience. His theology of the resurrected body ensures that he meant that Christ actually, physically appeared. This is confirmed by the gospel accounts. In light of this evidence, one can be certain of the fact that Jesus appeared to the people mentioned in 1 Cor. 15 after his bodily resurrection.

A Plausible Explanation

The resurrection is the most plausible explanation for the postmortem appearances of Christ. The alternative—the hallucination hypothesis—says nothing to explain the empty tomb. Nor does it explain the disciples’ belief in the resurrection. In typical psychological postmortem experiences, the person having the experience rarely would think that a dead person actually returned physically to life. As N.T. Wright argues, postmortem appearances in the ancient world would be more evidence that the person was dead than that he was alive.

Because of the diversity of appearances catalogued, it is highly unlikely that the hallucination theory can be held. Therefore, the physical resurrection of Jesus proves to be the best explanation for the postmortem appearances described in 1 Cor. 15.

The Origin of the Christian Faith

The fact that Christianity started and grew is evidence for the resurrection. William Lane Craig writes: “Even skeptical New Testament scholars admit that the earliest disciples at least believed that Jesus had been raised from the dead.” For Jews, the Messiah was viewed as a figure that would be triumphant and rule on David’s throne, not a figure that would be crucified and die.

The resurrection undid the catastrophe of the crucifixion. The Messiah, who had died, is risen! The resurrection validated and verified the claims that Christ had made about his own identity. The origin of Christianity rests solely on the fact that Jesus Christ rose from the dead.

The resurrection validated and verified the claims that Christ had made about his own identity. 

To deny that the resurrection was the cause of the Christian faith, an alternative explanation must be given.  But there is no plausible alternative. Therefore, “Even if we grant, for the sake of argument, that the tomb was somehow emptied and the disciples saw hallucinations—suppositions which we have seen to be false anyway—the origin of the belief in Jesus’ resurrection still cannot be plausibly explained” (Craig).

Come Let Us Reason…

It stands to reason that Jesus Christ did in fact rise from the dead victoriously on the third day after his death. No alternative hypothesis can adequately explain the empty tomb, the postmortem appearances of Jesus, and the origin of the Christian faith. For this reason, one has no good reasons why not to accept this most central element of Christianity.

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