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The Reasons to Believe

This podcast is designed to equip Christians to do what the Holy Scriptures command, and that is to, “earnestly contend for the faith” and to “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh us a reason of the hope that is in us.”

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The Resurrection, Part 10 (Reasons to Believe #157)

Welcome to The Reasons to Believe podcast, episode #157. My name is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International.

Our Reasons to Believe Scripture Passage for today is John 20:19-20. It reads, “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.”

Our Reasons to Believe quote for today is from William Lane Craig. He said, “When we turn to the Gospels, we find multiple, independent attestation of this burial story, and Joseph of Arimathea is specifically named in all four accounts. On top of that, the burial story in Mark is so extremely early that it’s simply not possible for it to have been subject to legendary corruption. When you read the New Testament, there’s no doubt that the disciples sincerely believed the truth of the resurrection, which they proclaimed to their deaths. The idea that the empty tomb is the result of some hoax, conspiracy, or theft is simply dismissed today.”

Our Reason to Believe powerpoint today is titled “The Resurrection, Part 10” from “The Handbook of Christian Apologetics” by Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli.

The authors continue with the fifth part of this chapter subtitled, “Refutation of the Conspiracy Theory: Seven Arguments.”

Why couldn’t the disciples have made up the whole story?

Pascal gives a simple, psychologically sound proof for why this is unthinkable:

The apostles were either deceived or deceivers. Either supposition is difficult, for it is not possible to imagine that a man has risen from the dead.

While Jesus was with them, he could sustain them; but afterwards, if he did not appear to them, who did make them act?

The hypothesis that the Apostles were knaves is quite absurd. Follow it out to the end, and imagine these twelve men meeting after Jesus’ death and conspiring to say that he had risen from the dead. This means attacking all the powers that be. The human heart is singularly susceptible to fickleness, to change, to promises, to bribery. One of them had only to deny his story under these inducements, or still more because of possible imprisonment, tortures and death, and they would all have been lost. Follow that out. (Pascal, Pensées 322, 310)

The “cruncher” in this argument is the historical fact that no one, weak or strong, saint or sinner, Christian or heretic, ever confessed, freely or under pressure, bribe or even torture, that the whole story of the resurrection was a fake, a lie, a deliberate deception. Even when people broke under torture, denied Christ and worshiped Caesar, they never let that cat out of the bag, never revealed that the resurrection was their conspiracy. For that cat was never in the bag. No Christians believed the resurrection was a conspiracy; if they had, they wouldn’t have become Christians.

If they made up the story, they were the most creative, clever, intelligent fantasists in history, far surpassing Shakespeare, or Dante or Tolkien. Fishermen’s “fish stories” are never that elaborate, that convincing, that life-changing, and that enduring.
The disciples’ character argues strongly against such a conspiracy on the part of all of them, with no dissenters. They were simple, honest, common peasants, not cunning, conniving liars. They weren’t even lawyers! Their sincerity is proved by their words and deeds. They preached a resurrected Christ and they lived a resurrected Christ. They willingly died for their “conspiracy.” Nothing proves sincerity like martyrdom.

The change in their lives from fear to faith, despair to confidence, confusion to certitude, runaway cowardice to steadfast boldness under threat and persecution, not only proves their sincerity but testifies to some powerful cause of it. Can a lie cause such a transformation? Are truth and goodness such enemies that the greatest good in history—sanctity—has come from the greatest lie?

Use your imagination and sense of perspective here. Imagine twelve poor, fearful, stupid (read the Gospels!) peasants changing the hard-nosed Roman world with a lie.

And not an easily digested, attractive lie either. Aquinas says:

In the midst of the tyranny of the persecutors, an innumerable throng of people, both simple and learned, flocked to the Christian faith. In this faith there are truths proclaimed that surpass every human intellect; the pleasures of the flesh are curbed; it is taught that the things of the world should be spurned. Now, for the minds of mortal men to assent to these things is the greatest of miracles…. This wonderful conversion of the world to the Christian faith is the clearest witness…. For it would be truly more wonderful than all signs if the world had been led by simple and humble men to believe such lofty truths, to accomplish such difficult actions, and to have such high hopes. (Summa Contra Gentiles I, 6)

Lord willing, we will continue this topic in our next episode.

—PRAYER—

Now, if you are listening today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, allow me to show you how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, my friend, please keep in mind these reasons to believe. God bless!

The Resurrection, Part 9 (Reasons to Believe #156)

Welcome to The Reasons to Believe podcast, episode #156. My name is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International.

Our Reasons to Believe Scripture Passage for today is Matthew 28:11-15. It reads, “Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done. And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you. So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.”

Our Reasons to Believe quote for today is from Kyle Butt. He said, “It is at this point in our study that some would suggest that Hugh Schonfield’s infamous “Swoon Theory” should be considered. Schonfield (1965) postulated that Christ did not die on the cross; rather, He merely fainted or “swooned.” Later, after being laid on a cold slab in the dark tomb, He revived and exited His rock-hewn grave. Such a theory, however, fails to take into account the heinous nature of the scourging (sometimes referred to as an “intermediate death”) that Christ had endured at the hand of Roman lictors, or the finely honed skills of those Roman soldiers whose job it was to inflict such gruesome punishment prior to a prisoner’s actual crucifixion. To press the point, in the March 1986 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, William Edwards and his coauthors penned an article, “On the Physical Death of Jesus Christ,” that employed modern medical insight to provide an exhaustive description of Jesus’ death (256:1455-1463). Sixteen years later, Brad Harrub and Bert Thompson coauthored an updated review (“An Examination of the Medical Evidence for the Physical Death of Jesus Christ”) of the extensive scientific evidence surrounding Christ’s physical death (2002). After reading such in-depth, medically based descriptions of the horrors to which Christ was exposed, and the condition of His ravaged body, the Swoon Theory quickly fades into oblivion (where it rightly belongs). Jesus died. Upon this, we all most certainly can agree.”

Our Reason to Believe powerpoint today is titled “The Resurrection, Part 9” from “The Handbook of Christian Apologetics” by Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli.

The authors continue with the fourth part of this chapter subtitled, “Refutation of the Swoon Theory: Nine Arguments.”

6. How were the Roman guards at the tomb overpowered by a swooning corpse? Or by unarmed disciples? And if the disciples did it, they knowingly lied when they wrote the Gospels, and we are into the conspiracy theory, which we will refute shortly.

7. How could a swooning half-dead man have moved the great stone at the door of the tomb? Who moved the stone if not an angel? No one has ever answered that question. Neither the Jews nor the Romans would move it, for it was in both their interests to keep the tomb sealed; the Jews had the stone put their in the first place, and the Roman guards would be killed if they let the body “escape.”

The story the Jewish authorities spread, that the guards fell asleep and the disciples stole the body (Mt 28:11-15), is unbelievable. Roman guards would not fall asleep on a job like that; if they did, they would lose their lives. And even if they did fall asleep, the crowd and the effort and the noise it would have taken to move an enormous boulder would have wakened them. Furthermore, we are again into the conspiracy theory, with all its unanswerable difficulties (see next section).

8. If Jesus awoke from a swoon, where did he go? Think this through: you have a living body to deal with now, not a dead one. Why did it disappear? There is absolutely no data, not even any false, fantastic, imagined data, about Jesus’ life after his crucifixion, in any sources, friend or foe, at any time, early or late. A man like that, with a past like that, would have left traces.

9. Most simply, the swoon theory necessarily turns into the conspiracy theory or hallucination theory, for the disciples testified that Jesus did not swoon but really died and really rose.

It may seem that these nine arguments have violated our initial principle about not presupposing the truth of the Gospel texts, since we have argued from data in the texts. But the swoon theory does not challenge the truths in the texts which we refer to as data; it uses them and explains them (by swoon rather than resurrection). Thus we use them too. We argue from our opponents’ own premises.

Lord willing, we will continue this topic in our next episode.

—PRAYER—

Now, if you are listening today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, allow me to show you how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, my friend, please keep in mind these reasons to believe. God bless!

The Resurrection, Part 8 (The Reasons to Believe #155)

Welcome to The Reasons to Believe podcast, episode #155. My name is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International.

Our Reasons to Believe Scripture Passage for today is John 19:31-33. It reads, “The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs:”

Our Reasons to Believe quote for today is from Kyle Butt. He said, “It is at this point in our study that some would suggest that Hugh Schonfield’s infamous “Swoon Theory” should be considered. Schonfield (1965) postulated that Christ did not die on the cross; rather, He merely fainted or “swooned.” Later, after being laid on a cold slab in the dark tomb, He revived and exited His rock-hewn grave. Such a theory, however, fails to take into account the heinous nature of the scourging (sometimes referred to as an “intermediate death”) that Christ had endured at the hand of Roman lictors, or the finely honed skills of those Roman soldiers whose job it was to inflict such gruesome punishment prior to a prisoner’s actual crucifixion. To press the point, in the March 1986 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, William Edwards and his coauthors penned an article, “On the Physical Death of Jesus Christ,” that employed modern medical insight to provide an exhaustive description of Jesus’ death (256:1455-1463). Sixteen years later, Brad Harrub and Bert Thompson coauthored an updated review (“An Examination of the Medical Evidence for the Physical Death of Jesus Christ”) of the extensive scientific evidence surrounding Christ’s physical death (2002). After reading such in-depth, medically based descriptions of the horrors to which Christ was exposed, and the condition of His ravaged body, the Swoon Theory quickly fades into oblivion (where it rightly belongs). Jesus died. Upon this, we all most certainly can agree.”

Our Reason to Believe powerpoint today is titled “The Resurrection, Part 8” from “The Handbook of Christian Apologetics” by Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli.

The authors continue with the fourth part of this chapter subtitled, “Refutation of the Swoon Theory: Nine Arguments.”

Nine pieces of evidence refute the swoon theory:

Jesus could not have survived crucifixion. Roman procedures were very careful to eliminate that possibility. Roman law even laid the death penalty on any soldier who let a capital prisoner escape in any way, including bungling a crucifixion. It was never done.
The fact that the Roman soldier did not break Jesus’ legs, as he did to the other two crucified criminals (Jn 19:31-33), means that the soldier was sure Jesus was dead. Breaking the legs hastened the death so that the corpse could be taken down before the sabbath (v. 31).
John, an eyewitness, certified that he saw blood and water come from Jesus’ pierced heart (Jn 19:34-35). This shows that Jesus’ lungs had collapsed and he had died of asphyxiation. Any medical expert can vouch for this.
The body was totally encased in winding sheets and entombed (Jn 19:38-42).
The postresurrection appearances convinced the disciples, even “doubting Thomas,” that Jesus was gloriously alive (Jn 20:19-29). It is psychologically impossible for the disciples to have been so transformed and confident if Jesus had merely struggled out of a swoon, badly in need of a doctor. A half-dead, staggering sick man who has just had a narrow escape is not worshiped fearlessly as divine lord and conqueror of death.

Lord willing, we will continue this topic in our next episode.

—PRAYER—

Now, if you are listening today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, allow me to show you how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, my friend, please keep in mind these reasons to believe. God bless!

The Resurrection, Part 7 (The Reasons to Believe #154)

Welcome to The Reasons to Believe podcast, episode #154. My name is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International.

Our Reasons to Believe Scripture Passage for today is Luke 23:46-47. It reads, “And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man.”

Our Reasons to Believe quote for today is from Thomas R. Schreiner. He said, “When we read the New Testament, we see that credible historical reasons exist to support the resurrection of Christ, but many scholars refuse even to consider the evidence, for they are antecedently convinced that resurrections cannot happen. This fundamental bias, i.e., naturalistic philosophy, is all too often cloaked as “objective history.””

Our Reason to Believe powerpoint today is titled “The Resurrection, Part 7” from “The Handbook of Christian Apologetics” by Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli.

The authors continue with the third part of this chapter subtitled, “The Strategy of the Argument for the Resurrection: Five Possible Theories.”

We believe Christ’s resurrection can be proved with at least as much certainty as any universally believed and well-documented event in ancient history. To prove this, we do not need to presuppose anything controversial (e.g., that miracles happen). But the skeptic must also not presuppose anything (e.g. that they do not). We do not need to presuppose that the New Testament is infallible, or divinely inspired or even true. We do not need to presuppose that there really was an empty tomb or post-resurrection appearances, as recorded. We need to presuppose only two things, both of which are hard data, empirical data, which no one denies: the existence of the New Testament texts as we have them, and the existence (but not necessarily the truth) of the Christian religion as we find it today.

The question is this: Which theory about what really happened in Jerusalem on that first Easter Sunday can account for the data?

There are five possible theories: Christianity, hallucination, myth, conspiracy and swoon.

Theories 2 and 4 constitute a dilemma: if Jesus didn’t rise, then the apostles, who taught that he did, were either deceived (if they thought he did) or deceivers (if they knew he didn’t). The modernists could not escape this dilemma until they came up with a middle category, myth. It is the most popular alternative today.

Thus either (1) the resurrection really happened, (2) the apostles were deceived by a hallucination, (3) the apostles created a myth, not meaning it literally, (4) the apostles were deceivers who conspired to foist on the world the most famous and successful lie in history, or (5) Jesus only swooned and was resuscitated, not resurrected. All five possibilities are logically possible, and therefore must be fairly investigated—even (1)! They are also the only possibilities, unless we include really far-out ideas that responsible historians have never taken seriously, such as that Jesus was really a Martian who came in a flying saucer. Or that he never even existed; that the whole story was the world’s greatest fantasy novel, written by some simple fishermen; that he was a literary character whom everyone in history mistook for a real person, including all Christians and their enemies, until some scholar many centuries later got the real scoop from sources unnamed.

If we can refute all other theories (2-5), we will have proved the truth of the resurrection (1). The form of the argument here is similar to that of most of the arguments for the existence of God. Neither God nor the resurrection are directly observable, but from data that are directly observable we can argue that the only possible adequate explanation of this data is the Christian one.

We shall take the four nonbelieving theories in the following order: from the simplest, least popular and most easily refuted to the most confusing, most popular and most complexly refuted: first swoon, then conspiracy, then hallucination and finally myth.

Lord willing, we will continue this topic in our next episode.

—PRAYER—

Now, if you are listening today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, allow me to show you how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, my friend, please keep in mind these reasons to believe. God bless!

The Resurrection, Part 6 (The Reasons to Believe #153 with Daniel Whyte III)

Welcome to The Reasons to Believe podcast, episode #153. My name is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International.

Our Reasons to Believe Scripture Passage for today is Luke 24:2-3. It reads, “And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.”

Our Reasons to Believe quote for today is from Thomas Arnold. He said, “I have been used for many years to study the histories of other times and to examine and weigh the evidence of those who have written about them, and I know of no one fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort, to the understanding of a fair inquirer, than the great sign which God hath given us that Christ died and rose again from the dead.”

Our Reason to Believe powerpoint today is titled “The Resurrection, Part 6” from “The Handbook of Christian Apologetics” by Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli.

The authors continue with the second part of this chapter subtitled, “The Meaning of the Resurrection: Ten Confusions.”

9. Resurrection is also not a myth. If we wish to distinguish myths from legends we may say that myths are symbolically true. For instance, the religions of the ancient Near East are full of grain gods and corn gods and vegetation gods who rise from death every spring. These gods do not exist, but the new life of vegetation does. So does the new life of Christ, which these myths, in the providence of God, seem to have confusedly foretold. But Christ’s resurrection, unlike myths, is pinned down to a real, specific, concrete time and place in history, and certified by eyewitnesses. The New Testament explicitly distinguishes Christ’s resurrection from myths and legends: “For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty” (2 Pet 1:16).

Modern demythologizers who say they believe the resurrection, but only as a myth, are altering the claim, fudging the data—as if one were to claim to be a Nazi and believe in Aryan racial superiority in some mythic sense while denying that the Aryan race is really superior. You’re not a party member if you deny the essential planks in its platform.

The demythologizers try to get around this by distinguishing heilsgeschichte (“sacred history”) from ordinary, secular history, saying that the resurrection really happened in the first, not the second. This seems to us either sheer obfuscation or downright deceit. This “sacred history”—did it ever happen or not? If not, don’t call it “history” but fiction, like Santa Claus. If it did, then it happened just as crudely and literally as births or wars happen, and we don’t need the distinction.

10. The resurrection of Christ must be clearly distinguished from what the modernists put in its place: a “resurrection of Easter faith” in the hearts and lives of the disciples. “Easter faith” without a real Easter is a self-contradiction or a self-deception. It is faith in what is not rather than faith in what is. And if it is a faith in faith, then we ask: faith in faith in what? Faith is like knowledge; it is essentially intentional. It needs an object other than itself. Otherwise, it is a hall of mirrors. Faith in faith is also perverse and unnatural. It is the attempt to get the taste of the meat without eating it, and is related to faith in facts as masturbation is related to copulation. It is spiritual auto-eroticism. There is no other. The disciples could never have experienced such a resurrection of faith and hope without a literal resurrection. If it wasn’t the risen Jesus, then who transformed them and converted the world?

Lord willing, we will continue this topic in our next episode.

—PRAYER—

Now, if you are listening today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, allow me to show you how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, my friend, please keep in mind these reasons to believe. God bless!

The Resurrection, Part 5 (The Reasons to Believe #152)

Welcome to Episode #52 of Preparing for the Inevitable – A Podcast on How to Handle Trouble, Suffering, Pain, and Death.

I am your host, Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International. This podcast will help you get ready to face the inevitable unpleasant things that will happen in your life — things like trouble, suffering, sickness, and death — the death of people you love and your own death. Trouble, suffering, and death are common threads that run throughout all of humanity. They are inescapable. You will never meet a person who has not, is not, or will not experience these terrible things in life. Yet, we attempt to hide from these inevitabilities, to pretend they don’t exist or that they won’t happen to us. Our world is filled with news of people dying, children suffering, entire government systems and organizations enduring trouble and turmoil, but we tend to see these as things that only happen to “other people” and never to us. Trouble, suffering, and death come equally to all people, of all races, from every socio-economic status, of every religion, in every country of the world. It makes us all equal. This podcast will show you how to accept these realities of life, and not just cope, but face trouble, suffering, and death in your own life and in the world with confidence, courage, class, and most of all, with faith, hope, and charity.

The Bible says in Psalm 34:18: “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”

The featured quote for this episode is from an Unknown Author. He said, “Grief never ends. But it changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith. It is the price of love.”

Our topic for today is titled “Grief and Mourning, Part 4: The Process of Grief” from the book, “The Art of Dying: Living Fully into the Life to Come” by Rob Moll.

Lewis’s experience is not too different from that of many people today who have lost a loved one. Today, grieving is often a lonely, awkward experience. Nevertheless, grieving well is best done within a supportive community that is willing to suffer, wait and care for the person devastated by a loss, and who in many ways is a new person. It is a tragedy that, for many, such a community doesn’t exist. In our fractured society it is not our natural inclination to be this sort of community, and we may be past middle age before we need to become this sort of community.

Grieving well begins with dying well. Survivors have plenty to overcome as they mourn the loss of a loved one. A good death helps begin that process. This process is clinically and popularly described as occurring in stages. First comes disbelief, then yearning for the dead loved one, anger, depression and finally acceptance. In February 2007 the Journal of the American Medical Association published a report by the Yale Bereavement Study, which largely confirmed the popular notion of these stages during recovery from grief: including denial, anger, bargaining and finally acceptance. (It is important to note that the “stages” of grief may be better described as moods that come and go throughout the mourning process even if they occur more frequently at certain points.)

The Yale study found that feelings of yearning peaked four months after a loss, to be followed by anger. At six months came increased feelings of depression. Typically, the occurrence of the first four stages significantly declined after six months as the bereaved gained acceptance of the loss. Though the first six months are the most traumatic, the grieving process typically takes two years, though it may take twice as long before a survivor feels as though life has reached a “new normal.”

If the Lord tarries His Coming and we live, we will continue looking at “Grief and Mourning” in our next podcast.

Let’s Pray —

Dear friend, please understand that after you die, you will be ushered into one of two places to spend eternity, Heaven or Hell. Here’s how you can be sure that you will not go to hell and suffer eternal damnation forever and rather have a home in Heaven when you die. The Bible says, ”Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” Here’s how you can be saved from sin and hell and have a home in Heaven when you die in more detail.

1. Accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 7:20: “For there is not a just man upon earth that doeth good, and sinneth not.” Romans 3:23 reads: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” In fact, I am the chief of sinners, so don’t think that you’re alone.

2. Accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

3. Accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” The Bible says in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

4. Accept the fact that you cannot do anything to save yourself! The Bible states in Ephesians 2: 8, 9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

5. Accept the fact that God loves you more than you love yourself, and that He wants to save you from hell. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

6. With these facts in mind, please repent of your sins, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and pray and ask Him to come into your heart and save you this very moment. The Bible states in the book of Romans 10:9, 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Dear friend, if you are willing to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, please pray with me this simple prayer: Heavenly Father, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

Resurrection, Part 4 (The Reasons to Believe #151)

Welcome to The Reasons to Believe podcast, episode #151. My name is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International.

Our Reasons to Believe Scripture Passage for today is Matthew 28:5-6. It reads, “And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.”

Our Reasons to Believe quote for today is from Chuck Colson. He said, “The real cover-up [of Watergate], the lie, could only be held together for two weeks, and then everybody else jumped ship in order to save themselves. Now, the fact is that all that those around the President were facing was embarrassment, maybe prison. Nobody’s life was at stake. But what about the disciples? Twelve powerless men, peasants really, were facing not just embarrassment or political disgrace, but beatings, stonings, execution. Every single one of the disciples insisted, to their dying breaths, that they had physically seen Jesus bodily raised from the dead. Don’t you think that one of those apostles would have cracked before being beheaded or stoned? That one of them would have made a deal with the authorities? None did. Jesus is Lord: That’s the thrilling message of Easter. And it’s a historic fact, one convincingly established by the evidence—and one you can bet your life upon. Go ahead researchers—dig up all the old graves you want. You won’t change a thing. He has risen.”

Our Reason to Believe powerpoint today is titled “The Resurrection, Part 4” from “The Handbook of Christian Apologetics” by Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli.

The authors continue with the second part of this chapter subtitled, “The Meaning of the Resurrection: Ten Confusions.”

We also do not know exactly how Jesus rose. No one saw the act itself, only its consequences (the risen Jesus). No one knows what spiritual technology God used. In that sense we cannot define the resurrection. But we can distinguish it from ten alternatives with which it is sometimes confused.

1. First, the resurrected Christ is not a ghost. That was what the apostles first thought (Lk 24:36-43)-a notion Christ refuted by showing them his scarred hands and feet and by eating broiled fish. A ghost is a spirit without a body; the resurrected Jesus has a real body; therefore the resurrected Jesus is not a ghost.

2. The resurrection is also not just a resuscitation, like the resuscitation of Lazarus. The body Lazarus came out of his tomb with was the same old body with which he had gone into his tomb. He had his graveclothes on (Jn 11:44). Jesus’ graveclothes were neatly laid aside and folded in his tomb (Jn 20:6-7). Lazarus had to die again-indeed, C.S. Lewis calls him the first martyr for this reason-Jesus did not (Rom 6:9). Lazarus was more like the millions of contemporary resuscitated patients who have “near-death experiences” or “out-of-body experiences.” Whatever they are, they are temporary. Jesus’ resurrection is permanent.

3. Resurrection is also not reincarnation. Reincarnation like resuscitation (supposedly) only gives you another mortal body. Christ’s resurrection body was immortal. It was both more old and more new than the body you (supposedly) get in reincarnation. It was more old in that it was recognizable by his friends, and more new in that it was immortal.

4. But resurrection must also be distinguished from simple immortality as a Platonist or Gnostic would expect it; that is, the freeing of the soul from its bodily prison. Once again, C.S. Lewis is the clearest about this:

The Resurrection was not regarded simply or chiefly as evidence for the immortality of the soul. It is, of course, often so regarded today: I have heard a man maintain that “the importance of the Resurrection is that it proves survival.” Such a view cannot at any point be reconciled with the language of the New Testament. On such a view Christ would simply have done what all men do when they die; the only novelty would have been that in his case we were allowed to see it happening. But there is not in Scripture the faintest suggestion that the Resurrection was new evidence for something that had in fact been always happening. The New Testament writers speak as if Christ’s achievement in rising from the dead was the first event of its kind in the whole history of the universe. He is the “first fruits,” the “pioneer of life.” He has forced open a door that has been locked since the death of the first man. He has met, fought, and beaten the King of Death. Everything is different because He has done so….

From the earliest times the Jews, like many other nations, had believed that man possessed a “soul” or nephesh separable from the body, which went at death into the shadowy world called Sheol…like the Hades of the Greeks…. In much more recent times there had arisen a more cheerful belief that the righteous passed at death to “heaven.” Both doctrines are doctrines of “the immortality of the soul” as a Greek or a modern Englishman understands it; and both are quite irrelevant to the story of the Resurrection. The writers look on this event as an absolute novelty. (Lewis, Miracles, chapter 16)

Lord willing, we will continue this topic in our next episode.

—PRAYER—

Now, if you are listening today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, allow me to show you how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, my friend, please keep in mind these reasons to believe. God bless!