Christ is risen. He is risen indeed.

April 17, 2019

Rector’s weekly letter to the congregation for Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019

God took a long route …

God took a long route to fight rebellion against Him by the chief of bad angels, which rebellion the same chief of bad angels enticed human beings to join. That chief of bad angels, whose name is Lucifer or Satan, thought he had God in a tight corner, that either God arbitrarily forgave the human beings and the bad angels as well, or forever His plan of elevating human beings to high places in the heavenlies would be eternally punctured.

Unknown to the enemy of God and of all good, God wasn’t taken by surprise by the defection of human beings to Lucifer’s side, abandoning their greatest Lover and Friend, God. God had a plan already in place to come down to earth, He Himself, take on a human body, and suffer and die to pay the penalty due to human beings for their rebellion and idiosyncrasies against Him. 

Lucifer and his cohorts are angels alright, but they are not God. They are not omniscient, meaning that they don’t know everything there is to know as God does. They do not know the future, although they can guess it pretty well. But often they guess wrong. They are a lot of the time in the dark as to what God is doing or is going to do.

When God called Abraham to follow Him in Genesis 12:1 – 3, the demons didn’t understand why. However, as avowed disrupters of any plan God puts into place, Lucifer and his demons went straight to work to cause Abraham to defect from God and instead follow their cues about how to do life. They made Abraham’s life difficult and tried to get him to die without an heir. They failed. Abraham had a son, Isaac. And Isaac had two sons, Esau and Jacob. Jacob who was the younger of the two was chosen by God to be the progenitor of the people of God, the Israelites.

Lucifer attacked Israel left and right all through history, almost succeeding in derailing them off God’s set course. They committed apostasy after apostasy compelling God to come down hard on them on several occasions. But things continued going according to God’s plan until the ripe moment arrived and God became a human being, being born of a woman in Bethlehem of Judah in the person of Jesus Christ. Heaven stood still, perplexed in wonderment, as God took on human flesh to redeem his wayward creatures, the human beings. Lucifer and all hell were aghast.

Lucifer upped his tactics and went after God’s plan with fury. He tried to have baby Jesus killed. That plan failed. He incited the religious leaders of the day to kill Jesus before the appointed time. That plan failed. He caused Jesus to be accused of treason to the Romans, so the Romans themselves kill Him. That plan too failed. At last, they committed the greatest injustice and manipulated their own legal system and had Jesus killed by crucifixion. The crucifixion took place on Friday. On the third day, Sunday, Jesus rose from the dead and defeated death. Hell was distraught, while heaven applauded.

But guess what. All this was foreseen by God and superintended by Him every step of the way. Jesus’ death on the cross is the penalty for human sin. All the wrongs any person has ever done against God, have been paid for already by Jesus. All anyone needs to do is to swallow one’s pride, bow the knee to Jesus, and appropriate His accomplishment on the cross for oneself.

Are you skeptical about Jesus’ resurrection? That’s a welcome state if it’s genuine. If you genuinely doubt, come and talk to me. Let’s have a cup of coffee or tea together and look at the overwhelming evidence for Jesus’ resurrection. But right here let me offer a piece of circumstantial evidence. What happened to the body of Jesus? Did the disciples hide it and then proclaim a deliberate lie that their master had risen from the dead? Really? And then they gave themselves up to suffer the most brutal deaths on account of a thing they knew was a lie concocted by them. Human beings don’t behave like that. Or, did the Jewish religious leaders hide it? That can’t be. Because as the same leaders battled the disciples who were spreading the word everywhere that Jesus rose from the dead, they would have just produced the body of Jesus and the whole thing would have been silenced forever into the oblivion of history. Did the Roman’s hide the body? Not likely. To what purpose? The explanation of the long story is that Jesus rose from the dead, and since He rose, He is worthy of my and your worship. Alleluia! Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Happy Easter.

Protestant Christian Evidences

by Bernard Ramm (1953:13 – 14)

CHRISTIAN EVIDENCES is a discipline within the boundaries of the Christian religion. Christian theology is the Christian religion adequately stated, systematically interrelated, and appropriately defended. It works with the data provided by exegetical theology on the one hand and philosophy on the other. Christian theology assumes the truthfulness of the Christian religion.  It is the function of Christian apologetics to show that this assumption is defensible.  It is the function of Christian theology to construct the Christian system, it is the function of Christian apologetics to verify it.  Apologetics is not always so named. Sometimes it is called Christian theism or philosophical theology or philosophy of religion. However, apologetics be labeled its function is still clear, namely, to show that Christianity is the true religion of God.

Christian evidences is a subdivision of Christian apologetics.  Christian apologetics is the comprehensive philosophical, theological, and factual demonstration of the truthfulness of our Christian religion. Christian evidences, as we conceive of it, is especially concerned with the demonstration of the factuality of the Christian religion. That there have been wider definitions than this is evident from study of the contents of books on Christian evidences. Van Til, for example, defines evidences as “the defense of Christian theism against any attack that may be made upon it by science.”

Other authors fuse together philosophy of religion, apologetics, and Biblical introduction, e.g., F. Hamilton, The Basis of the Christian Faith. We shall not be able to isolate Christian evidences from these disciplines but a division of labor now obtains. Theism is turned over to the Christian philosopher, and matters of introduction to the Old and New Testament scholars. However, it must be admitted that it is still a matter of taste as to what material a scholar will include under such captions as theism, apologetics, and Christian evidences.

If it can be demonstrated that Christianity is a religion that actually obtains in the universe by showing its factuality, we have also proved its truthfulness. This is not the total evidence of Christianity, but that it is indispensable cannot be controverted. Religious liberalism has no real doctrine of Christian evidences.  The reason is not far to seek. In that it makes religion essentially the function of man’s religious nature—after Schleiermacher, Ritschl, Troeltsch, and Harnack—it has no need for the supernatural nor for the relevance of religion to create fact. But religious liberalism, though fond of ridiculing Christian evidences, has failed to see that in the measure that religion is isolated from fact, it by the same measure is removed from reality. Thus, religious liberalism tends to be a system of religious beliefs based essentially upon a philosophy or psychology or history of religion, but not on concrete data. But orthodox Christianity by demonstrating the factuality of the Christian religion by means of Christian evidences has gone a long way toward proving the truthfulness of the Christian religion, and in a manner and method religious liberalism can offer no valid parallel.

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