What Must Be Shown

What is required to give the good news to someone? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Recently, I’ve been given a column in the local newspaper here in Knoxville, that will be a monthly feature. It’s not much of a shock that when it is published, all the trolls come out to play. A friend on Facebook had recommended I not check the comments but personally, the comments are a good deal of fun!

It amazes me when I see what we’re up against. I have the claim that if I had done some real research, I’d know that Jesus never even existed. Most people just make assertions and don’t have any arguments to them. Interestingly, none of them seem to want to go after the resurrection itself.

Instead, it’s a desperate hope to hit it from another angle. If we can show miracles never take place, then we can disprove the resurrection! True, but that is a tall order and attempts to do so today only succeed at begging the question. Not to mention that since Keener has written his work on this, there’s a whole lot more evidence to deal with.

Also is the idea that if we can demonstrate one story is false, then all the stories are! If we can show a problem with the virgin birth, then we have no reason to accept the resurrection! If we bring up Matthew 27 as hard to believe, then we have no reason to believe Matthew 28!

Yet to directly go after the resurrection? Not happening.

What is happening is in fact our fault largely.

When we are out there teaching Christian doctrine, we are out there trying to demonstrate that Jesus rose from the dead. That is what one believes in order to be saved. One is to trust that God has given His support to Jesus of Nazareth and has demonstrated this by His resurrection.

Let us state some things the gospel is not.

It is not “You must believe in a 6-10,000 year old Earth in order to be saved.”

It is not “You must believe in a pre-trib rapture to be saved.”

It is not “You must believe the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. was the fulfillment of the Olivet Discourse to be saved.”

It is not “You must believe in the Inerrancy of Scripture to be saved.”

It is not saying “You must believe in speaking in tongues to be saved.”

It is not saying “You must believe in predestination or free-will to be saved.”

Now that is not to say these other issues are unimportant, but they are not essential. We can and should discuss them, but we make a mistake if we present them as if they’re part of the gospel. They are aspects that matter if the gospel is true, but they are not the message.

If there is no resurrection, these opinions don’t matter for salvation or they’re outright false. It is only if the resurrection matters that either these can be true or that they matter. If we make them part of the message, then we are adding to the gospel.

This harms believers in that we convince them they have to believe one of these in addition to the resurrection. When the lesser belief is knocked down, then the resurrection also goes down with it. How many Christians have apostasized because they concluded the Earth was old or that there was an error in the Bible?

It also harms our testimony to unbelievers. After all, they too are of the opinion that every Christian has to believe this and if you can knock down this belief, you don’t have to take the resurrection seriously. Why should someone go after the resurrection when they can just keep tossing out Bible contradictions left and right and know that if any one of them hits, then their case is made?

By all means of course, have opinions on these other issues. Feel free to study them and make a case for them, but don’t confuse them with Christianity! The truth of Christianity does not depend on these claims! The truth of Christianity only depends on the claim that Jesus is risen! That is the claim that is absolutely essential that we must defend. Let us make sure we are majoring in the majors and minoring in the minors and not going the other way.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

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3 Responses to “What Must Be Shown”

  1. Dave Richards Says:

    Nick,

    You had better tell them the rest of the “fundamentals of Christianity”. Also, salvation may be a gradual process involving increasing knowledge of the requirement of Lordship.

    Dave

  2. theologyarchaeology Says:

    I have a problem with 2 of your ‘it is not…’ comments as they are needed to learn the truth. #1. Concerning your 6-10,000 year remark Jesus said in John 5:45-47 that if you do not believe Moses then how will you believe His words? So getting Moses correct is esential in getting the NT correct.

    #2 Then your inerrancy remark. It seems you are saying that people do not have to believe God is telling the truth without error and that he can sin. Or that ou think eople can pik and choose what is true and what is not.

    If you say one passage is true and inerrant but another is not how can you be sure you piked the right one to be inerrant? what do you have to rely upon to support that choice? Then if God’s word was errant say in the Flood acount how can you be sure it is not errant in John 3:16-17?

    Sounds like you want to pick the benefits of the Bible and easy passages to be true while saying the difficult ones or the ones that disagree with modern secular science are in error.

    I think you are on dangerous ground in those two points

  3. Michel Says:

    ” Then your inerrancy remark. It seems you are saying that people do not have to believe God is telling the truth without error and that he can sin. ”

    Nick obviously has a different understanding of inspiration than you…so in his view, if there would be an error, this error wouldn´t account as an error at God´s part. So no, if there would be an error, this wouldn´t mean that God did err and so it woulnd´t mean that God sinned. Correct me if I´m wrong, Nick.
    But even with your understanding, if there was an error, it wouldn´t follow that God did err, it would follow, because God cannot err, that the part where the error occured wasn´t said by God.
    From this, of course, we can´t go to: Therefore everything in the bible is not from God.

    “Or that ou think eople can pik and choose what is true and what is not. ”

    I don´t think that this is what he is saying. He said that it´s important to convince someone of what is needed to pursuade: The resurrection. He wants to lower the bar as much as possible to save someone.

    “If you say one passage is true and inerrant but another is not how can you be sure you piked the right one to be inerrant? what do you have to rely upon to support that choice? Then if God’s word was errant say in the Flood acount how can you be sure it is not errant in John 3:16-17?”

    Interesting question, but all Nick is saying is: If it were shown that something is wrong, it wouldn´t follow that everything is wrong. If Christ is resurrected then he is resurrected and we can go from there.

    “Sounds like you want to pick the benefits of the Bible and easy passages to be true while saying the difficult ones or the ones that disagree with modern secular science are in error.”

    Nick does even say often that he thinks that inerrancy is true. And he surely would defend this difficult passages. So this is not what he is saying. He just says: If there is an error in X doesn´t mean that everything in X is wrong.

    “I think you are on dangerous ground in those two points”

    I think you are on dangerous ground in respective to your whole thinking pattern.

    Remember what I said about “not grasping it”, Nick ?

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