Posts Tagged ‘Christ’

Refuting the “Christ Myth” Theory

April 27th, 2011

 

It’s back! Just when you thought it was dead, the corpse of the 19th century “Christ Myth” hypothesis has emerged from its grave to haunt the living. Popularized online by the “Zeitgeist” movie, it purports that Jesus never actually existed. Instead, ancient pagan myths and deities became mixed with first century Jewish expectations of a messiah; It was from that fire that the Christ character was forged.

Once the idea gained traction, the early church embraced this legendary “god man”, the long expected messiah, creating around him a new Jewish sect called later called Christianity. Given a legendary history by the Apostles, this pagan-turned-Jewish “god man” character went from god-man to god … and so pagan ideas were slowly morphed from Roman and Greek deities into a Christian character called “Jesus the Christ”.

Drawing out the real facts about both ancient pagan deities and the first century church, Dr. Fernandes thoroughly refutes this newly revived 19th century hypothesis.

Each 45 minute video represents a segment of the talk. Feel free to enjoy both at once or individually at your convenience.

Part 1

Part 2

Christ the Rock

November 7th, 2009

Originally posted by IBD Vice President Matt Coombe on mjcoombe.com

In the mist of my morning studies as I was reading a book concerning the resurrection of Christ I realized how Christian view of Christ (and more importantly Christ himself) has not waivered for 2,000 years. The early followers of the resurrected Christ were put to death and tortured because they would not cry “Caesar is LORD” but rather maintain, “Jesus is LORD.” For the initial 250 years of Christianity two things were certain, the Christians would not think of Christ as anything else other then God, and they were willing to die for this belief.

Some early disputes arose concerning the deity of Christ and the bodily resurrection of Him among early believers but they were quickly refuted by eye witness accounts. As latter disputes arose, once the eye witnesses were dead, the apostolic fathers (the disciples of the disciples) were likewise easily able to refute claims that Jesus was not God.

For the most part, views concerning Christ were in no way refuted with any source of evidence until the turn of the 18th century when German Higher criticism arouse.  I am not going to respond to this now, because I don’t have space though, I do have a lecture on the subject on www.sermonaudio.com. From this, people had a new criticism, Jesus was not who He claimed to be. This view was met with a barrage of responses, but none better the simplistic response of the logician C.S Lewis, who singled the argument to, Jesus was either a liar, a lunatic, or LORD. The attacks on Jesus ceased.

The attacks moved from Jesus to the people that wrote about Him, the apostles. They had turned him into an unwilling icon of their religious revolution. Jesus never claimed to be God. So the responses turned to the apostles as well, “if the first 250 years were marked by disciples for dying for the refusal of calling Christ anything other then God, then the question remains, ‘do people die for what they know to be a lie.”

Running out of cards to play, the criticisms returned to Jesus, “He never really existed.” By far the most laughable of all the claims, because there is neither any evidence to support this and not one scholar who is dedicated to first century history holds to it.
Attacks have come and gone for the last 2,000 years and the Christian response has yet to change, “Jesus is LORD.” And we back this up not with a fist but with words. We eagerly anticipate the next objection so that we can refute that as well!

Who is This Christmas Babe?

April 10th, 2009

Dr. Phil Fernandes
Pastor of Trinity Bible Fellowship
President of the Institute of Biblical Defense

Once again, Christmas is here. As usual, this holiday will be accompanied by last minute shopping, the giving of gifts, the singing of carols, and a festive meal. However, in the midst of our holiday preparations, we rarely stop to think what Christmas is all about. We seldom contemplate the identity of the babe born in a Bethlehem manger 2,000 years ago. Christmas has become so commercialized and so hectic, that we often forget why we are even celebrating in the first place.

We find out about the first Christmas in the pages of the Bible. But the Bible also tells us the true identity of the Christmas babe, for though this child is a man, He is much more than a mere man. The Bible tells us that the Christmas babe, a man named Jesus, is not only fully man, but also fully God.

The apostle John called Jesus “the Word” and said that “the Word was God” (John 1:1). The apostles Peter and Paul referred to Jesus as “our God and Savior” (2 Peter 1:1; Titus 2:13), while the apostle Thomas addressed Jesus as “my Lord and my God” (John 20:28). The Bible teaches that, before He became a man, Jesus created the universe (John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:15-17).

Jesus Himself claimed to be God. He said “I and the Father are one,” and that “before Abraham was born, I Am” (John 10:30; 8:58-59). Jesus acted as if He were God by accepting worship and forgiving sins (Matthew 14:33; 28:9; John 9:35-38; Mark 2:5-7). In fact, He was arrested for blasphemy, because, according to His accusers, “He being a man was making Himself out to be God” (Mark 14:64; John 10:33).

Even the Old Testament prophets who predicted the coming of Christ said that He would be God incarnate. Isaiah calls Him “Immanuel” (which means “God with us”) and “the Mighty God” (Isaiah 7:14; 9:6). Jeremiah speaks of Jesus as “Jehovah our Righteousness” (Jeremiah 23:5-6), while Zechariah refers to the coming Messiah (i.e., Jesus) as “the Lord my God” (Zechariah 14:5).

Therefore, it is clear that the testimony of Scripture declares the Christmas babe to be God. As God, the babe born in a manger could one day say, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). As we celebrate Christmas this year, let us never forget the true reason why we celebrate: God has become a man and has provided salvation for all who trust in Him. The Christmas babe is truly God, the only Savior this world will ever know.

The First Easter

April 10th, 2009

Dr. Phil Fernandes
Pastor of Trinity Bible Fellowship
President of the Institute of Biblical Defense

Once again, Easter is just around the corner. It will bring with it spring weather, the Easter bunny, and Easter egg hunts. More importantly, however, Easter is supposed to be a celebration of Christ’s resurrection but did that resurrection really occur? Did Jesus really rise from the dead? What occurred on that first Easter?

The Apostle Paul wrote his first letter to the Corinthians around 52 to 54AD. In that letter Paul repeats an ancient creed or hymn that was recited or sung in the early church (1 Corinthians 15:3-8). New Testament scholars tell us that this creed or hymn was originally written in Aramaic and it dates back to before 42AD when the church was primarily Jewish. This ancient creed or hymn lists some of the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus. It states that, after His death, Jesus appeared to Cephas (the Apostle Peter), the twelve apostles, over five hundred people (most of whom were still alive when Paul wrote this letter), James (the half-brother of Jesus), and Paul himself.

There are several reasons why this ancient creed or hymn is historically reliable. First, as a leader in the early church, it was unlikely that Paul would fabricate this account. Since most of the witnesses were still alive, if Paul had lied, his lie could be easily exposed. Second, Paul was himself a reliable eyewitness since he was sincere enough to die for his testimony. He was beheaded in 67AD. Third, the research of historian A. N. Sherwin-White shows that legends take several centuries to form. Legends do not gain a wide following until long after the eyewitnesses are dead. But the creed or hymn of 1 Corinthians 15 can be dated to within 12 years of the death and resurrection of Christ. Therefore, many of the eyewitnesses were still alive. In fact, some of them were leaders in the early church. Fourth, there was no reason for Paul to fabricate this account since it would not bring him any earthly gain; this testimony would only bring him suffering and persecution on earth.

In short, this ancient creed or hymn gives us historically trustworthy evidence for Christ’s resurrection. Skeptics can deny the resurrection 2,000 years after the fact; but, to do so, they must reject reliable eyewitness testimony. The witness of history proclaims that Jesus has indeed risen from the dead.

What does this mean for us as we enter the twenty-first century? It means that when one scans the pages of history, one finds that men and women, even great men and women, die and stay dead. But, there is one exception: Jesus of Nazareth, a carpenter who claimed to be God and the only Savior this world will ever know. For Jesus has conquered death and offers salvation to all who trust in Him. Easter is more than the return of spring weather, the Easter Bunny, or egg hunts. Easter is a celebration of the empty tomb, a tomb vacated by the risen Savior. Easter is a celebration because death, man’s greatest enemy, has been defeated. Easter means that there is hope for mankind because Jesus has risen from the dead.