Saturday, September 24, 2016

ANSWERING OBJECTIONS AGAINST THE GOSPEL, Part 2

OBJECTION #2: "Adding 1 Corinthians 15:5 'And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:' to the Gospel is based on a misunderstanding of Biblical faith since faith is never seen. If one needs historical visual proof that Christ rose from the dead, then they do not have Biblical faith. Hebrews 11:1 'Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.' Faith provides the proof or evidence not one's eye. The proof is that the promise from God is made real to you by the work of the Holy Spirit. This is an important distinction since if you include verse five why not verse six too, or seven or eight or the whole Bible?"1

ANSWER: I have several concerns with what is stated above. First, no one is "Adding 1 Corinthians 15:5 . . . to the Gospel" like the objector wants us to believe. The truth is: 1 Corinthians 15:5 is part of the Gospel. When we look at the sentence structure of 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 in the original Greek as well as in the English language, we see that 1 Corinthians 15:5 is grammatically connected to the previous two verses by the coordinating conjunction "and" so that we could outline the Gospel like this:

            that Christ died for our sins . . .
     and that He was buried . . .
     and that He was raised . . .
     and that He was seen . . .
                                          (1 Corinthians 15:3-5)

     The grammar and sentence structure of this passage in 1 Corinthians 15 is extremely important because Biblical theology should be based on exegesis, or getting our understanding of the Bible out of what the text actually says (as opposed to eisegesis which is reading our own ideas into the text). Charles Ryrie affirms: "Biblical theology stands in the closest connection to exegesis, for it builds directly upon it."2  
     The second concern I have is that if "faith is never seen" like the objection says, then why did the resurrected Jesus appear to doubting Thomas and say to him, "Reach your finger here, and LOOK AT MY HANDS; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing" (John 20:27, NKJV). Clearly, seeing Jesus does not invalidate believing in Him or nullify one's faith in Christ. Remember how the resurrected Jesus appeared to Saul on the road to Damascus. Actually, that's how Saul got converted! You can read all about it in Acts chapters 9:1-19, 22:1-21, 26:1-18, and 1 Corinthians 15:8.
     The third point I'd like to make is in response to when the objector asks, "if you include verse five why not verse six too, or seven or eight or the whole Bible?" There are several reasons why 1 Corinthians 15:5 is part of the Gospel, but not verse 6, 7, or 8.

7 Reasons Why 1 Corinthians 15:5 is Part of the Gospel3
(but not 1 Corinthians 15:6, 7, or 8)

  1. The coordinating conjunction "and" at the beginning of 1 Corinthians 15:5
  2. The use of the content conjunction "that" at the beginning of 1 Corinthians 15:5
  3. The "third day" theme continues to the end of 1 Corinthians 15:5
  4. The grammatical break at the end of 1 Corinthians 15:5
  5. The non-Pauline language of 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 indicates an earlier tradition
  6. The preaching of the apostles included Christ's resurrection appearances to them 
  7. 1 Corinthians 15:5 depicts a bodily resurrection which is an essential element of the Gospel

To be continued . . . 


FOOTNOTES:

1 This objection is found online on the Grace Life Baptist Church website in their "Plan of Salvation" statement under the heading "Common Errors Perpetrated on the Gospel".

2 Charles Ryrie, Biblical Theology of the New Testament, p. 16.

3 For more information and elaboration on these seven reasons, see my article "Getting the Gospel Right," pages 7-10 in the PDF file. In the article, I actually give fifteen reasons why 1 Corinthians 15:5 is part of the Gospel.

Friday, July 15, 2016

ANSWERING OBJECTIONS AGAINST THE GOSPEL, Part 1

The following objections were stated to me several years ago by a pastor who I'll simply call Pastor Small-Faith, because he did not believe the truth of God's Word on the Gospel (cf. Mark 16:14). I'll cite his objections as accurately as I can remember, and then set forth my answers from the Bible. My answers here are the same answers I gave to Pastor Small-Faith except that I have elaborated on them more here in writing. 

OBJECTION #1: While discussing the gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:1-5, Pastor Small-Faith said: “First Corinthians 15 is not a list of what a person has to believe for salvation.” 

ANSWER: In 1 Corinthians 15:1 the apostle Paul is talking about “the gospel” and we know that the Corinthians were begotten or born-again (i.e. saved) through this gospel because Paul told them, “I have begotten you through the gospel” (1 Corinthians 4:15, NKJV).1 
     Looking outside the book of 1 Corinthians, the apostle Paul says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). And in 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 (NKJV) Paul writes: "in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction [away] from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power".2
     So we see that in 1 Corinthians 15:1 the apostle Paul is talking about "the gospel", and the gospel is what a person has to believe for salvation from sin, death, and Hell.

To be continued...


FOOTNOTES:

1 Concerning the word "begotten" in 1 Corinthians 4:15, Greek scholar W. E. Vine writes: "It is used metaphorically...of one who by means of preaching the Gospel becomes the human instrument in the impartation of spiritual life, 1 Cor. 4:15; Philm. 10". (Vine, The Expanded Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, pg. 101.)

2 People "obey the gospel" by believing it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Defining the Gospel - Where to start?

Scot McKnight writes:

"...a point I have made repeatedly on this blog and in my writing: the proper method for defining the gospel in the NT is to examine where the NT is defining gospel, not by making our theological center the gospel and explaining our theology as gospel. The place to begin is I Corinthians 15:3-5 (3-8, 3-28), the gospeling sermons in Acts, and the Gospels as the gospel." (McKnight, "The Gospel of Acceptance," JESUS CREED blog, April 2, 2012, italics his)