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In our zeal to defend the Holy Spirit, we sometimes run the risk of defending wrong behavior. My recent op-ed and podcast talking about different people in the charismatic community brought a variety of feedback, as did a sermon I preached a few years ago. With over 110,000 views, the positive and negative emails flowed in for many months.
5 Proofs of the Resurrection Christianity is a unique faith for many reasons. One of the most remarkable is the fact that its spiritual truths are based on historical events. Christianity is not just a set of beliefs; it is a record of God's unfolding plan of redemption through real events. At the apex of all historical claims is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Here are five evidences that support this critical Christian belief:1. Conversion of CriticsPaul and James had very little in common early in their life. Paul's life seems to reflect first century privilege and the finest learning available. He grew to become an influential leader who was well-known and respected in his community. On the other hand, James was the son of a carpenter whose eccentric brother was executed for claiming to be the Messiah. Yet both Paul the Pharisee and James the brother of Jesus abandoned their disbelief once they had an encounter with Jesus after His death.2. Early Testimony to Christian BeliefBoth secular and religious writings confirm that the first century church boldly professed the resurrection.The preaching of the early church centered around the message that Jesus rose from the dead. See Acts 2:22–24; 3:26; 4:2; 5:30–32; 10:39–41; 13:29–34; 17:3; 23:6; 23:23; Romans 4:25; 8:11; 10:9; 1 Corinthians 15; Ephesians 1:20; Philippians 2:10–11; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 13:20; and 1 Peter 1:3.The resurrection is recorded in the gospels. See Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and John 20.Early church fathers, including Clement of Rome, Ignatius, and Irenaeus refer to the resurrection.Secular accounts of early Christianity written by Tacitus and Josephus also verify that first century Christians believed in the resurrection.Based on this evidence, any suggestion that the resurrection account was a myth added centuries later simply is not viable. While the fact that first-century Christians believed in the resurrection does not prove it happened, it does show that this is a core component of the gospel and was not a late addition.3. Women Were the First WitnessesMany aspects of the resurrection accounts found in Scripture would not make sense if the story were fabricated. There are just far too many embarrassing details. For instance, while the men were hiding for fear of the Jews, the women disciples were the ones to discover the empty tomb. Given the cultural disregard for the testimony of women in the first century, this would be unexpected unless it were true.4. Coverup by EnemiesMatthew records that the chief priests devised a plot to explain what happened to the body of Jesus. This account is collaborated by Justin Martyr and Tertullian. The Jews gave the Roman soldiers money to lie and say that the disciples stole His body while they were asleep. It has always struck me as strange that they would claim to know what happened while they were asleep! (Also, why were the grave clothes still there?) But beyond that, the very fact that there was coverup underscored the central point: the body disappeared.5. Empty TombNo single fact is more significant than the empty tomb. Christianity had many adversaries in the first century, both political and ideological. However, there is no record of anyone claiming that the tomb still contained His body. Many people believe 1 Corinthians 15:3–7 is the earliest creed of the Christian church. Here Paul writes, “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how 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 of Cephas, then of the twelve…”In conclusion, Paul understood the importance of the resurrection. If it didn't happen, we would be the most miserable of all men and still in our sins…But, it did happen—go tell someone about it today!
Christians end Holy Week shaken after coordinated attacks at three churches and three hotels across the island nation.The joy of Easter quickly turned into terror and grief for Christians in Sri Lanka this morning, where bombers conducted coordinated attacks on at least three churches and three high-end hotels, killing more than 200 people.The government has urged citizens to resist speculating whether radicalized Muslims are to blame for the violence, which mostly took place in or around the capital city of Colombo. Experts say if the bombings end up being religiously motivated, they represent the bloodiest sectarian attacks in decades in the island nation, located southeast of India, where civil war ended in 2009.At Zion Church, rows of Easter lilies remained in front of a sanctuary as victims fled the blast, leaving behind hymnals, Bibles, and debris across the floor. Initial reports indicated that 25 worshipers had been killed and another 27 injured at Zion—according to its website, a charismatic church belonging to the Fellowship of Free Churches of Sri Lanka and located on the opposite side of the island in Batticaloa.Other attacks took place at two Catholic churches, St. Anthony’s Shrine in Kochchikade and St. Sebastian’s Church in Katana, and three hotels in Colombo, all around 8:45 a.m. local time.St. Sebastian, where initial reports indicated that 50 worshipers had been killed, posted a brief plea on Facebook inviting the community to “come and help” after the bombing, along with photos of rows of disheveled pews covered in roof tiles, the church’s ceiling blown out, and blood splattered on the walls.“We are dismayed by this turn of events,” Prabodith Mihindukulasuriya, a faculty member at Colombo Theological Seminary, told CT. “After 10 years of carefree existence, we are ...Continue reading...
According to the gospel of John, the cross casts us into community.
Christians end Holy Week shaken after coordinated attacks at three churches and three hotels across the island nation.The joy of Easter quickly turned into terror and grief for Christians in Sri Lanka this morning, where bombers conducted coordinated attacks on at least three churches and three high-end hotels, killing more than 200 people.The government has urged citizens to resist speculating whether radicalized Muslims are to blame for the violence, which mostly took place in or around the capital city of Colombo. Experts say if the bombings end up being religiously motivated, they represent the bloodiest sectarian attacks in decades in Sri Lanka, where civil war ended in 2009.At Zion Church, rows of Easter lilies remained in front of a sanctuary as victims fled the blast, leaving behind hymnals, Bibles, and debris across the floor. Initial reports indicated that 25 worshipers had been killed and another 27 injured at Zion—according to its website, a charismatic church that belongs to the Fellowship of Free Churches of Sri Lanka, located on the opposite side of the island in Batticaloa.Other attacks took place at two Catholic churches, St. Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo and St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, and three hotels in Colombo, all around 8:45 a.m. local time.St. Sebastian posted a brief plea on Facebook inviting the community to “come and help” after the bombing, along with photos of rows of disheveled pews covered in roof tiles, its ceiling blown out, and blood splattered on the walls.“In three decades of war, this scale of attack has never happened,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, the South Asia director at Human Rights Watch, in The New York Times. “In terms of serious, religion-based violence, we haven’t really seen that.”The government has arrested seven people in connection ...Continue reading...
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