Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Declare and Defend: Quick Reference Handout the Sequel

The following outline comes from the Declare and Defend seminar series at Redeemer Lutheran Church, Huntington Beach led by Pastor Mark Jasa of University Lutheran Chapel UCLA and Seminarian Mark Pierson. This is the second in a series of handouts from or inspired by this seminar on evangelism and apologetics that will be re-posted here for those who are interested. This handout is designed primarily to address intellectual questions of truth claims as well as to provide an outline of the basic historical argument. Thank you, John Warwick Montgomery! If you enjoy these resources, let me know. Thanks for reading and for contending for the faith (Jude 3). For audio of this phenomenal series please visit

  • How does one know which religious truth claim, if any, is true?
    • Simple logic: IF Jesus is the one true God and the only Savior, THEN all claims to the contrary are necessarily false.
    • 3 types of truth claims:
      • Analytic: 100% true based on definitions.
      • Synthetic: Probable, based on tangible evidence.
      • "Meaningless": Can't be shown to be true or false; no way to test.
    • Only Christianity is synthetic, because its central claim is inseparably linked to history. It can be falsified by making a strong case that Jesus never rose from the dead. This is a good thing. It separates Christianity from both analytic and meaningless claims to truth. This is also how Paul argues in 1 Corinthians 15.
  • Outline of the Historical Argument:
    • Are the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) trustworthy records of history? A: Yes.
      • Bibliographical test:
        • Authorship of MSS (Manuscripts); dating of MSS; accuracy of MSS.
      • Internal test:
        • Aristotle's dictum; are there any contradictions?
      • External test:
        • Contemporary writings; geography; archaeology.
    • What does Jesus claim in the Gospels? A: God Almighty in human flesh come to save the world by His death on the cross.
    • How does Jesus prove it? A: By physically rising from the dead.
      • If Jesus didn't rise from the dead, what happened to his dead body?
        • Does Jesus' body still sit in a grave somewhere?
          • Wrong tomb visited? Placed in an unknown tomb? Hallucinations/visions? Spiritual resurrection?
        • Did someone remove the body of Jesus?
          • Stolen by disciples? Taken by Roman/Jewish authorities? Passed out? He faked death?
      • The evidence simply does not support these theories.
    • What is Jesus' view of the Old and New Testament? A: It is/and will be God's Word.
Stay tuned for a longer sketch of the historical argument coming soon to E-nklings.  For a more thorough examination of the historical argument, try reading History, Law and Christianity and Tractatus Logico Theologicus by John W. Montgomery.  Or for a similar, shorter, albeit no less scholarly and well reasoned argument, see Religion on Trial by Craig Parton.

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