Posts Tagged ‘Links’

Link on the Mass Resurrection

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

“And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.  The tombs also were opened.  And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.” (Matthew 27:51-53)

We tend to view this as an odd passage–and skeptics like to point to it to discredit the biblical record.  After all, they say, it’s only mentioned in Matthew–not in any of the other Gospels, not in any other early Christian writing, and especially not in any non-Christian writing.  Why don’t any Roman historians talk about this spectacular event?  I’ve wondered about this, myself.

Jason Engwer over at Triablogue has a recent entry called, A Bad Argument Against The Resurrection That’s Often Repeated, in which he addresses the issue.   He brought some interesting insights to bear.  An excerpt:

Sometimes critics suggest that the raised individuals would have been naked, would have been wearing deteriorated clothing, would have been similar to zombies, etc. But as I wrote in response to one such critic in my article linked above, “The concept that God would raise people from the dead, but leave them with no clothing or deteriorated clothing, is ridiculous. It’s consistent with the imagery somebody might get from a horror movie, but it’s absurd in a first-century Jewish context. People wouldn’t have been walking around nude, and assuming that bodies would be restored without restored clothing is dubious. Did Jesus have to travel nude for a while, looking for clothing, after His resurrection? Does God raise a person, but then leave him on his own to find some clothing to wear?

[...]

What leads you to view it as something more like a horror movie is your desire to criticize the passage….You don’t ignore the implications of a context just because the text doesn’t spell out every implication. What does a term like ‘raised’ mean in a first-century Jewish context? Does it imply a zombie who walks around in the nude with a partially decomposed body?

[...]

Given that so many other Jewish and Christian documents imply that God provides such things [clothing] (angels in human form are clothed, the risen Jesus is clothed, etc.), and given other factors such as ancient views of public nudity, the idea that risen people would be left naked is less likely.

That makes me wonder.  If you were in Jerusalem at the time, and you didn’t happen to know any of these resurrected people, and you didn’t see them come out of the tomb, how would you know that you were looking at a resurrected person?  How many people in Jerusalem would even be aware that something spectacular had happened?  And of those who did see, how many became believers because of it?

Wouldn’t this event become another rumor about the strange things claimed by Christians?

Something I still wonder about:  What happened to them afterward?  Were they taken up by God, like Elijah?

Infant Baptism in the Early Church, & Rebaptism

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

I’m pretty much done with my recent entries on infant baptism, but I found a couple more resources on the subject–about infant baptism in the early church.  They come from Triablogue.

Enjoy!

  1. The Catholicity of Infant Baptism v. The Owen
  2. The Alleged Catholicity Of Infant Baptism

On a related subject, the Internet Monk has been writing about rebaptism lately.

  1. Rebaptism: What Is It?
  2. Rebaptism: How Did We Get Here?
  3. Rebaptism: Where to from here?

Baptism Resources

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008

I wrote my two entries on infant baptism because I’ve been encountering the subject in a few different places lately.  If you’re interested in thinking about the issues, you might check some of them out:

John Piper’s recent sermons

John Piper’s church, Bethlehem Baptist, is dealing with a question of church membership.  Baptism is a standard requirement for membership–so Baptist churches have to decide, “Should we allow people to become members who were baptized as infants and will not be baptized as an adult, professing believer?”  (Piper would like to widen the existing policy to allow it.)  He has recently preached on How Important Is Church Membership?, and What Is Baptism, and How Important Is It?

The latter is a pretty good basic case for believer’s baptism.  If you only have time for one thing to listen to/read, I would recommend that.

Update: Also, the former is a pretty good case for why Christians ought to be committed to a particular local body of believers.

Debates

Dr. James White (a Reformed Baptist) and Pastor Bill Shisko debated baptism a couple years ago.  I’ve listened to it multiple times since I first downloaded it last year.  It’s a fairly accessible, if you’re studying the issue for the first time.  It’s a well-structured, pleasant debate.  It has some good back-and-forth, some cross-examination, and some audience questions. I would recommend this, if you’re willing to devote a couple hours. Here are the mp3s.

Dr. Robert B. Strimple (a paedobaptist) and Dr. Fred Malone (a Reformed Baptist) debated the subject at Westminster Seminary.  I think Dr. Strimple’s arguments are deeper than Pastor Bill Shisko’s–but I think Dr. White’s may have deeper than Dr. Malone’s.  Dr. Strimple presents a fairly strong case for the covenantal aspects of the paedobaptist view.   (But this debate has less interaction between the two, so I think it’s less useful in some ways.)  Here it is:  The Proper Subjects of Baptism

Some blog discussions

Sparked by Piper’s sermons, there has been some discussion lately in the blogosphere.  Frank Turk (aka centuri0n) has had some entries, with some challenging discussion in the comment sections.  (You’ll find some comments by me.) You can check them out at:

  1. First Up, Lutherans
  2. Kobra Konquest
  3. Corresponds to What?

Segment from Issues, Etc.

Here’s the segment that I mentioned in the previous entry, from Issues, Etc.

“Answering Objections to Infant Baptism” with Pastor Tim Pauls

A New Series on Eastern Orthodoxy

Sunday, March 9th, 2008

I want to point you all to a new series on Eastern Orthodoxy over at Parchment and Pen. (I’ve posted some comments, asking questions about his statements on the canon of Scripture.)  Dr. Bradley Nassif, who contributed to the book Three Views on Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism, describes the content of the first three posts:

it is my conviction that there was and is a continuous and consistent tradition of apostolic faith passed down through the centuries, and that the Orthodox Church most faithfully embodies it – at least on a formal level. I’d like to share just two examples that illustrate how the Orthodox Church has maintained its unbroken succession with Christian antiquity, and reveal why it is particular attractive to an increasing number of Christians. Today I’ll speak of Scripture; next blog, I focus on the role of history. The third blog to come, however, will put the Orthodox Church under the microscope of an evangelical critique.

I’m looking forward to the third blog. I’ll be quite interested to see how he articulates the issues, and responds to them.

The posts so far are:
Upcoming Posts on Eastern Orthodoxy [note: this link is expired; the post disappeared] (by Michael Patton)
Why Eastern Orthodoxy? Part 1: Introduction (by Dr. Nassif)

The comment section of Dr. Nassif’s first post has the questions I asked him about the canon. (As before, I used the name Jugulum.) It’s an interesting subject–I think it’s one of the hardest for Christians to wrestle with, and it may be the most neglected subject in evangelical teaching in general. (Update: To clarify, I actually asked him some probing questions, rather than simply questions for information.  I asked him a bit about his view, how he handles the OT canon, and whether he’s be consistent in the claims he makes about the Orthodox Church and the NT canon.)

Update: Here are the rest of the posts from the series, now that it’s complete.

Why Eastern Orthodoxy? Part 2: History
Why Eastern Orthodoxy? Part 3: A Gospel Critique of Eastern Orthodoxy