DVD can be purchased for only $5.00 by clicking here.
Apologist Lee Strobel has graciously made ‘The Case for Christ’ available to watch on YouTube.
Retracing his own spiritual journey from atheism to faith, Lee Strobel, former legal editor of the Chicago Tribune, cross-examines a dozen experts with doctorates from schools like Cambridge, Princeton, and Brandeis who are recognized authorities in their own fields. Strobel challenges them with questions like: How reliable is the New Testament? Does evidence for Jesus exist outside the Bible? Is there any reason to believe the resurrection was an actual event?“
To view ‘The Case for Christ’ on YouTube click here.
One of the most common objections brought forth by atheists is the “lack of evidence” argument. The line of thinking is, since God cannot readily be accessed or experienced by our senses, then he must not exist. If you dig a little deeper into this line of thinking, you will find the problem isn’t lack of evidence, it’s truth suppression.
We have heard…and seen…and felt…
We have all heard and seen enough to have a proper knowledge of Gods existence. He has revealed his divine power through:
1) His creation, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” Romans 1:20
2) Within the hearts of man, “He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Eccles. 3:11
You are literally breathing in the evidence for a Creator. The wind on your face, the clouds that bring you rain, and the mountaintops you admire speak of the majestic power of a Creator. Even the breath you use to blaspheme God is evidence that you were created by His hand. The provision God has given to you, the house over your head, the food you will enjoy today, and the drink that has been put in your hand are meant to point you to a greater eternal reality, but instead you choose to exalt the temporal gift above the Giver. So the problem isn’t lack of evidence, it’s that you suppress the origin of that evidence out of a wicked heart. Romans 1:21, “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools…“, Psalm 14:1, “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.“
The problem is…
God has revealed himself sufficiently through his creation and in the hearts of man, so all can perceive him. The only problem is…we don’t. We reject this knowledge of God and instead make our own selves as god, choosing to do what we want. Romans 1:18-19 puts it this way, “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.“
It’s not that people haven’t heard of God or haven’t seen enough evidence, it’s that they’ve rejected what they have already heard and seen. We do this continually. Here are a couple more texts revealing man’s nature towards God:
“there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.” Romans 3:10
“We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6
“All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” Romans 3:11-12
Don’t fool yourself into thinking all you need is more evidence or a sign. The bible is filled with instances where God clearly demonstrated his power through miracles, yet people still refused to believe. (See Hebrews 11:6 & Matthew 28:17) Before you demand more evidence, think about this…why would God give you more evidence when you have already rejected what he has graciously given to you?
Steve Hays and Jason Engwer have written an e-book in response to John Loftus’ book, “The End of Christianity”. They have graciously made this project available to all and it can be downloaded in PDF format.
Go visit Triablogue and take advantage of the e-books, links, and articles they have available.
To view examples 1-14 of the “Did Christ Claim to Be God” series, click on the “Did Christ Claim to be God” tag at the bottom of this post, or in the categories section of the web site.
When dealing with the claim that Jesus never said he was God, it’s always important to point out how the crowd reacted to what Jesus said. One thing is for sure, claiming to be the Son of God, sent from the Father, eternally existing, with the power to resurrect and give eternal life will get a reaction from people. Were people unclear about what Jesus was saying?
They wanted to kill him.
In Mark 14, Jesus is brought before the High Priest and is asked, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” To which Jesus rightly replies, “I am“. How does the High Priest respond to Jesus?
“The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked. “You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?”
“They all condemned him as worthy of death.” Mark 14:63-64
Not only does Jesus point blank answer the question that he is the Son of God, but the High Priest accuses him of blasphemy. All those who were in the room and heard Jesus’ words condemned him as worthy of the death penalty. There is no ambiguity in this passage.
In John 5 the Jewish leaders began to persecute Jesus because he was healing on the Sabbath. Jesus speaks out in his defense and says, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” How did they react to Jesus’ words?
“For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.” John 5:18
The Jewish leaders wanted to kill Jesus, because he was “making himself equal with God” and “calling God his own Father“. There was no doubt in their eyes about what Jesus was saying. Jesus was claiming to be the Son of God and they reacted as such. Jesus even expounds on his relationship as the Son of God in the following verses, giving even more evidence that the Jewish leaders understood him rightly.
In John chapter 10, Jesus is walking among the Jews and they ask him, “If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” Jesus immediately tells them that he has told them plainly, and then goes on to say he will give eternal life to all who hear his voice and he and God the Father are one. As if claiming to be able to bestow eternal life and being one with God wasn’t enough evidence Jesus was claiming to be God, watch how the crowd reacts:
“Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him…” vs. 31
“We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” vs. 33
Once again Jesus is accused of blasphemy, and condemned as worthy of being killed. His accusers even make it clear, “you a mere man, claim to be God.” Does Jesus stop them and say, “hey that’s not what I was saying”? No, Jesus replies, “do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?
They acknowledged Jesus was God.
In John chapter 11 we read Jesus talking with Martha after the death of her brother Lazarus. Martha says to Jesus, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus then says to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” So what is Martha’s response to Jesus claiming to bestow eternal life and claiming to be the resurrection and the life?
“Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.” John 11:27
Was Jesus unclear to Martha? Was Martha confused about what Jesus was claiming? Absolutely not. She affirms in her own words Jesus was claiming to be the Son of God and that she believes Jesus was who he said he was.
Earlier in John chapter 6, Jesus is talking with his disciples and some Jews who had gathered to hear him teach. Jesus lays out for them that he has been sent from heaven, to give eternal life, and he is the true bread of life who eternally satisfies men. Jesus gives a litany of the most blatant examples of attributing to himself deity found in the scriptures. After the disciples and Jews grumble about what Jesus has claimed, Jesus says:
“Does this offend you? Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”
From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.” John 6:61-66
After Jesus gives reference to being eternally preexistent and speaking the words of eternal life he says, “yet some of you don’t believe”. Believe what? What was Christ claiming that they wouldn’t believe? It even says many of those who were following Jesus completely left him. Peter makes it plain what Jesus was claiming in the next verses:
“You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.
Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” John 6:67-68
Perhaps one of the most point blank examples of people being clear about what Jesus was claiming can be found in Matthew 16. Jesus asks Peter, “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
“Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16:15-16
Notice what Jesus says after Peter confesses this. Does Jesus say, “whoa whoa, I’m just a great teacher” or “hold on Peter I’m just a prophet”. If Jesus is a mere man and isn’t claiming to be God, does he stop Peter from blasphemy when he claims Jesus is the Son of God? No, he affirms that what Peter has said is correct.
“Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.” Matthew 16:17
The argument from bystanders and witnesses.
If you are going to make the argument that Jesus never claimed to be God, you have to ignore or come up with a way to explain Jesus’ claiming the attributes of deity, claims of being eternally pre-existent, calling God his Father, implicating himself as the Son of God, saying he was sent down from heaven, with the mission of bestowing eternal life, calling himself the Son of Man a clear reference to deity found in Daniel 7, and a myriad of other unavoidable statements, attributes, and actions.
One of the most important aspects of Jesus’ claims to deity is seeing how the people around him reacted. It is clear from scripture that those who were with Jesus and heard his words:1. found them so difficult to swallow that they abandoned him; 2. confessed that he was the Son of God; or 3. they wanted to kill him for claiming to be the Son of God which is ultimately what got him crucified. Simply put, without Jesus’ repeated claims of deity and attributes of deity, there is no charge for blasphemy. An accusation which is leveled against him over and over again in the Gospels by those who were eye witnesses to his teachings.
How can God judge us for acting out in the free will he gave us?
All arguments for or against the free will of man aside, the answer is simple…because none of us choose rightly in our supposed “free will”. No one lives his or her life apart from tainted choices or motives. There are no non-predatory sins. Each sin is inescapably wrapped tightly together with other sins. Each sin has multiple victims involved, no matter how secretly you’ve kept them hidden. At the core of each transgression is your unspoken declaration, “I am my own God and I will worship creation, rather than the Creator God.”
“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned” Romans 5:12
“there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.” Romans 3:10
“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” Isaiah 64:6
“All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” Romans 3:11-12
“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” Romans 1:21
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9
“Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you.” Psalm 143:2
Just from a practical standpoint, do you personally know of anyone who hasn’t lied, stolen, cheated, manipulated, back stabbed, gossiped, slandered, committed adultery, or treated his parents with contempt, etc? Of course you would say everyone you have ever met has willfully chosen to commit these on a daily basis. Including yourself. In light of a lifetime spent willfully choosing evil, the question isn’t “how can God judge us”, but rather “why wouldn’t God judge us”.
How can God be a God of both love and wrath?
If we say God overlooks and doesn’t care about our sin, then we make him out to be insufferably wicked. Who would want a God who trivializes man’s atrocities? If we say God is wrathful and void of any love, then we make him out to be a tyrant. Who wants a God who executes justice without love or care? Each of these erroneous caricatures of God is equally wrong and render him unloving and wicked.
The question we should be asking is:
“how can God be both loving and just towards us?”
Is there a way that he can uphold his standard of holiness and justice in the face of our bold rebellion against him, and yet love us and save us from the execution of that justice?
God did make a way, by sending his own son Jesus Christ to live the life of obedience that we couldn’t, to die the death for our sin that we should have, and give us his righteousness in place of our sin. In this, we escape the wrath of God against our sinful rebellion against his holiness, and God is immeasurably glorified. As it is written:
“For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” 2 Cor. 5:21
The cross of Jesus Christ should explain to us just how serious God is about upholding his holy standard and at the same time show just how much he loves us. God is going to rightly judge our rebellion against him, the only question is, “have you rejected his loving way of escape for you?” We will all stand before God with nothing but rebellion in light of his perfect standard. If you have chosen to stand with Jesus Christ as your payment for that rebellion, then God’s execution of judgment has already been poured out. Jesus absorbed the punishment for you and gave you his righteousness in return.
However, if you have rejected God’s way of escape for you, then you will stand guilty in your rebellion. Who else has volunteered to stand for you? Who else will speak out and pay for what you cannot? You rejected Jesus Christ, the one who could have absorbed the punishment on your behalf. God will then rightly and fairly judge you by what you have freely chosen to do.
“Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation…” Colossians 1:21
Is God a God of justice? Absolutely, he will uphold his standard of righteousness or he’s not God. Is God a God of love? Absolutely, he crushed his own son so that you would have a way out from underneath his justice.
“Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.” Isaiah 53:10
Brian Auten of Apologetics 315 has posted a fantastic reminder for all who seek to defend the Christian faith. Whether you’re an amateur apologist or a professional, this article hits home for all believers in Christ.
Apologetics 315 is one of the most comprehensive apologetics sites on the internet. Make sure to visit frequently and take advantage of the many resources they have available.
“A Christian ambassador desires to be tactful, persuasive, sensitive, and thoughtful. Being a good apologist and being able to give good reasons for the truth of the Christian view takes prayer, patience, study, and persistence. For those who have made it their goal to become good defenders of the faith, there are certain positive disciplines and character traits that one would do well to develop. These help you become a wise apologist.
But on the other hand, there are certain pitfalls that can appear that, when left unchecked, can become character traits and make you a foolish apologist. Although there are surely more, here are Ten Pitfalls of the Foolish Apologist:”
Author and former atheist Lee Strobel discuss the question, “Did Jesus clearly claim to be the Son of God?”
To view examples 1-14 of Frontline’s “Did Christ Claim to Be God” series, click on the “Did Christ Claim to be God” tag at the bottom of this post, or in the categories section of the web site.
CNN ran a great article adapted from Larry Alex Taunton’s book, “The Grace Effect: How the Power of One Life Can Reverse the Corruption of Unbelief.” In the book and adapted article, Taunton reflects on his friendship with world renown atheist Christopher Hitchens.
By Larry Alex Taunton, Special to CNN
(CNN)– I first met Christopher Hitchens at the Edinburgh International Festival. We were both there for the same event, and foremost in my mind was the sort of man I would meet.
A journalist and polemicist, his reputation as a critic of religion, politics, Britain’s royal family, and, well, just about everything else was unparalleled. As an evangelical, I was certain that he would hate me.
While there is certainly a vast amount of internal evidence for the credibility of Christianity’s claims, it’s always beneficial to look at what credible extra-biblical sources have to say. In this video Dr. Peter Williams and Dr. David Instone-Brewer of Tyndale House look at the Munich Talmud and discover how the Talmud and deleted texts provide evidence for Jesus’ crucifixion.