Beginning With Moses

Our family sat together this evening and found this gracious message from Dr. Steve Lawson. What an incredible testimony of the grace of God that points clearly and unequivocally to the centrality of the Lord Jesus Christ in the entire Scriptures.

The Resurrection Fact

a book review by Stuart Brogden

Fellow Christian, do you doubt the fact that Christ Jesus was raised from the dead? Truth be told, nobody who has been born of the Spirit of God should doubt this fact. Reality is, many who deny God do. How do you and I respond when a well-educated reprobate throw up man’s wisdom that appears to crumble the foundation of our faith? If we well versed and studied up in what the Bible says about the centerpiece of its theme – the propitiating death of the Son of Man and His resurrection from the dead – we will be on firm footing. Understanding the arguments that will be thrown up against us is of benefit, and that’s the reason for this book.

The Resurrection Fact – Responding to Modern Critics, is a compendium detailing the elements and weaknesses of the enemy’s assaults and the reasoning that gives thinking Christians more confidence in this core aspect of our theology. The 8 chapters first examine the importance of the resurrection of Christ and facts recorded about it, followed by a helpful rehearsal of the impotence of the scientific method regarding historical events. The last 6 chapters review various attacks by people – some claim to be inside the camp of Christ, some deny there is reason for a camp.

Chapter 3 takes a look at an apostate Roman Catholic – but I repeat myself. One former apologist for Rome, John Dominic Crossan, has gone further off the reservation by embracing what the editors of this book call “progressive Christianity.” Typical of this movement is the idea that Christ Jesus’ resurrection was spiritual only, not physical. The editor for this chapter (John Bombaro)  call this “unbelief masquerading as “faith.”” (page 61) In a platonic scheme of dismissing the physical for the spiritual, these progressives write off the physical as unimportant, obscuring the meaning, often embracing the gnostic gospels for support. “Progressive Christianity believes it can skirt the pitfall of establishing the historicity of the resurrection because “the truth of a parable – of a parabolic narrative – is not dependent on its factuality.”” (page 66 & 67)

When facts are not important to one’s religion, any collection of stories will suffice. And that’s why spurious documents no one takes seriously are held up as authoritarian by these new style heretics. Contrary to what Crossan and his fellow-travelers claim, “God redeems the totality of a human being according to a Hebraic (not Platonic) anthropology.” (page 69) The result of the progressives’ view is the lack of eschatological hope – if Christ be not raised from the dead, bodily, neither will we be! “Crossan makes the parable primary and the person and work of Jesus secondary. This distinction is akin to the difference in importance between Jesus showing the way and Jesus being the way.” (page 69) This is related to the error many evangelicals make in reducing the life of Christ to an example for us to follow. It is that – and much more! If Jesus had not lived without sin, compliant to the law of the Old Covenant, if He had not submitted Himself to take our place under the wrath of God, propitiating that so we would be judged righteous, then all the good examples in the universe would be nothing more than a cruel hoax.

Bombaro closes out this chapter observing that, “while Crossan may claim that it is the meaning that matters, that meaning has ceased to be exegetically derived and has become altogether eisegetical. There is no Christ risen from the dead, not really, not historically. … Crossan, it turns out, is really that cynic he makes Jesus out to be.”

You can have all the riches in the world, just give me Jesus – the biblical Jesus. None other will do ruined sinners good.

It’s About The Cross

While many will discuss whether Christians should even participate in Christmas celebrations (which is discussion worth having) one thing thing we all agree upon is that almost 2,000 years ago Christ took on human flesh and was born into this world. The Incarnation is truly one of the greatest miracles of God. Divinity took on humanity, He became like us. But He did not do this for a parlor trick, or because He was bored. Christ became man so that He could die for us. God took on flesh so that He could be executed in our place, to pay the price for our sins. Then He rose three days later, proving His power of death and giving a promise of eternal life to those who would repent and trust in Him.

As we consider the season of Christmas, and whether we should or should not celebrate it, let us dwell on the miracle of the Incarnation. Let us be in awe of His death and resurrection. And let us share with everyone, “It’s about the cross.”

BUT…Christ IS risen from the dead… (1st Corinthians 15:1-58)

Over the last few decades, in America, the gospel has been twisted and distorted by all kinds of false teaching. Most of these false gospels have to do with our self-esteem or our comfort. There is the false gospel of Robert Schuller:

“What does it mean to be saved? It means to be permanently lifted from sin (psychological self-abuse) and shame to self-esteem and its God glorifying human need-meeting, constructive, and creative consequences…To be born again means that we must be changed from a negative to a positive self-image—from inferiority to self-esteem, from fear to love, from doubt to trust.” (Schuller, R. Self-Esteem: The New Reformation, p. 99).

Then there is the Joel Osteen gospel:

“He said, ‘Because I live, you shall live also.’ He wasn’t just talking about breathing. He was talking about living an abundant life. Not a barely-getting-by life. Not a life filled with lack and mediocrity. No, because of the price He paid, we have a right to live in total victory. Not partial victory where we have a good family and good health—but we constantly struggle in our finances. That’s not total victory…He has paid the price so that we may be totally free…Free from poverty and lack. Free from low self-esteem…” (Osteen, j. Sermon entitled, Living in Total Victory)

Then there is the prosperity gospel which promises health and wealth if you believe—and if you don’t have health and wealth, then your faith just isn’t strong enough. More recently we have been exposed to the Purpose-Driven gospel, which is nothing more than a gospel of “good works.” That meeting physical needs is the number one goal of the church, and is more important than the gospel.

Thing is, the apostle Paul said some harsh words about those who preach false gospels. Galatians 1:8 (John Darby Translation)But if even we or an angel out of heaven announce as glad tidings to you anything besides what we have announced as glad tidings to you, let him be accursed. So what is the “true gospel?” The true gospel is this, 1st Corinthians 15:1-5Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. That is the gospel. That is the “good news.” That even though we are born sinners, that we were cut off from God because of our sins, Christ died to pay for those sins, so that anyone who believes—and keeps on believing—will have eternal life. He didn’t die to rescue our self-esteem, He didn’t die to open up some Heavenly ATM. He died because we were wretched sinners headed for Hell. Period. Paragraph.

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