What is Apologetics?

Apologetics may be simply defined as the defense of the Christian faith. The word “apologetics” derives from the Greek word apologia, which was originally used as a speech of defense or an answer given in reply. In ancient Athens it referred to a defense made in the courtroom as part of the normal judicial procedure. After the accusation, the defendant was allowed to refute the charges with a defense or reply (apologia). The word appears 17 times in noun or verb form in the New Testament, and both the noun (apologia) and verb form (apologeomai) can be translated “defense” or “vindication” in every case.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Did the Gospel Writers Make Up the Gospel Records?

Over the last few years people and even academic (secular) scholars have tried to show that the early church had corrupted the early Christian texts in order to portray Jesus as one of another kind of "messiah" or a phony Messiah at worst.  If we think of this for just a little bit, there are a few problems with this objection attempting to make the gospels a fable.

Problem #1:  Why didn't the early church make the people and adherents more heroic in their writings?  What we see instead is the followers of Jesus misunderstanding Him, doubting what He is saying.  We find them questioning Him on His teaching in parables, falling asleep while He was praying at Gethsemane,  and finally fleeing from Him when He is arrested and taken to trial before His crucifixion.

Problem #2:  To open this problem let me ask a question.  Who wrote the gospels? Jewish men in a male dominated culture wrote the gospels.  You see, one of the easiest things to overlook is that the culture was a   male dominated culture,  and these Jewish men are actually made into a laughing stock as Jesus appears first to women after His resurrection before He appears to the disciples. That's right, the women were the first eyewitnesses to Jesus' resurrection.   Also if you look at the gospels, the women in the gospels believed more readily than men and in particular the apostles.  If you look around the world today, in many cultures, women are believing more readily than men (i.e., India).

Problem #3:  The disciples of Jesus were not too smart.  You say what?  They were really smart!  Oh really.  We have the words of the disciples showing their foolishness in tact.  Take for example Peter's denial.  Why would the early church, which Peter was a part of, preserve this story?  Take another example  of Peter's "foot in mouth" participation.

You have Peter in the gospels making a great confession of who Jesus by stating to Jesus, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!" Jesus commends him for his profession of faith.  Shortly after this great confession, Jesus tells of his future arrest, being handed over to sinful men and being beaten and crucified, but also three days later rising from the dead.  Right after these words by Jesus, Peter blurts out "God forbid it Lord!"  Jesus responds to this with "Get behind Me Satan!  You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests but man's!"  Jesus calls Peter Satan and a stumbling block. If the early church were making things up, why is this in there?  Unless. . . it is an actual historical account.

Problem #4:  Probably the biggest problem for accusers saying that the disciples (gospels writers) made up the gospel accounts is the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus.  You see, if Jesus did not die on the cross and if He did not rise from the dead, why did the disciples not escape the death of a martyr? Why did the disciples produce the body of Jesus so as to escape their own deaths?

You see, Jesus could have made an irrefutable claim.  He could have said, "You kill Me, and will raise spiritually from the dead."  You and I cannot refute that!  But He didn't say that and the disciples did die brutal deaths (crucifixion, even crucified upside down, drawn and quartered, beheaded, dragged behind horses in the streets, skin removal, speared, thrown off of a building, stoned, et al).  All of this could have been avoided if they only recanted, called Caesar "Lord", and told their torturers where they hid the body of Jesus.

Not even the enemies of Jesus could produce the body.  The body is nowhere to be found because the grave is empty, and Jesus is risen.  And He will give eternal life to those who will call upon His name and believe in Him as their only means for redemption, repenting of their sins and following Him in faith, until the end.

These four problems make it unavoidable to say that the gospels are authentic, and they are not made up.  What do you say? 

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