Friday, February 10, 2012

Read Along: Christian Apologetics Ch22

Today we continue with chapter twenty-two of Read Along with Apologetics315, a weekly chapter-by-chapter study through Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Christianity by Douglas Groothuis. Please leave a comment on your reading below. This is where you can interact with others reading the book, ask questions, or add your own thoughts. Series index here. Click below for the audio intro, chapter 22 study questions PDF, and summary:

[Audio Intro] - Dr. Groothuis introduces this chapter.
[Chapter 22 Study Questions] (with kindle locations) - PDF study guide.
[Podcast Feed RSS | Podcast in iTunes] - Click to subscribe to the audio.

Chapter Twenty-Two: The Resurrection of Jesus
(pages 527-563)

Chapter twenty-two is relatively lengthy, dealing with the focal point of history: the resurrection of Jesus. Groothuis describes the significance of the resurrection to Christianity, then lays some groundwork for a case for the resurrection of Jesus. He notes that theism as a worldview increases the probability of miracles and the resurrection. After this, Groothuis looks at miracle claims themselves, defining miracles, looking at their credibility, and addressing David Hume's famous objections to miracles.

The author then describes what can be called a "minimal facts" approach to arguing for the resurrection. However, in addition to these facts, Groothuis offers additional evidence to support the resurrection, making an even more robust case that incorporates more data. Each of the four facts are supported, then defended against common objections. Once a case is made, other naturalistic explanations are put to the test and shown to fail in various ways.

Notable quotes:
A biblical miracle is an act of divine agency whereby a supernatural effect is produced for the purpose of manifesting God's kingdom on earth.Biblically, miracles are signs of the in-breaking of God's kingdom. They are never merely extravagant or spectacular episodes, but rather reveal God's supernatural character(Christian Apologetics, p. 532)  
The evidence for the resurrection is better than for claimed miracles in any other religion. It's outstandingly different in quality and quantity, I think, from the evidence offered for the occurrence of most other supposedly miraculous events. (Antony Flew and Gary Habermas, "My Pilgrimage from Atheism to Theism: A Discussion Between Antony Flew and Gary Habermas," Philosophia Christi 6, no. 2 (2004): 209, quoted in Christian Apologetics, p. 539)  
The affirmation of the death and resurrection of Christ was so firmly established just a few years after his death that it was formulated in a creed, a brief summary and confession of the community's essential beliefs. (Christian Apologetics, p. 549)
When taken together, these multiple lines of evidence, both documentary and circumstantial, lead us to a Christless tomb, a dead man found supernaturally alive and a dynamic group of followers who turned the ancient world upside down. (Christian Apologetics, p. 555)    
  1. What evidence for the resurrection is most persuasive for you, and why?
  2. What would you say to someone who claimed that the resurrection was simply a myth; a copycat of other pagan religions?
  3. How would you respond to the claim that the appearances of Jesus were just hallucinations?
Next week
Chapter Twenty-Three: Religious Pluralism


Vicki McGrew said...

Another great chapter. Groothius writes that the apostle Paul is perhaps the strongest witness of the resurrection (p. 548). This comment reminded me of an excellent work titled "Observations on the Conversion and the Apostleship of St. Paul" written by Lord George Lyttleton (1709—1773). Lyttleton makes the case that Paul could have had no rational motives to convert to Christianity as an imposter and that even if he did convert as an imposter, he could not have carried out his mission successfully by the means he used. Another argument Lyttleton makes explains the unlikelihood that Paul converted to Christianity because of religious enthusiasm. Next, Lyttleton makes the case that Paul did not convert because he was deceived by the fraud of others. The conclusion and best explanation then is that Paul converted to Christianity because God had intervened in his life. I highly recommend reading this book which can be found for free at It’s not much over 100 pages and would make a great Sunday school or small group apologetics study.

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