Thursday, April 06, 2023

The Audience Of Heaven

"when thou hearest these things, and seest thy Lord bound and led about, deem present things to be nought. For how can it be otherwise than strange, if Christ bore such things for thy sake, and thou often canst not endure even words? He is spit upon, and dost thou deck thyself with garments and rings, and, if thou gain not good report from all, think life unbearable? He is insulted, beareth mockings, and scornful blows upon the cheek; and dost thou wish everywhere to be honored, and bearest thou not the reproaching of Christ? Hearest thou not Paul saying, 'Be ye imitators of me, even as I also am of Christ'? [1 Corinthians 11:1]...delight thyself in the audience of heaven. For there all will praise and applaud and welcome thee." (John Chrysostom, Homilies On John, 83:5)

Tuesday, April 04, 2023

Categories Of Prophecy To Cite As Evidence For Christianity

You can find a collection of links to many of our articles on prophecy issues here. But I want to provide a few examples of categories of prophecy that are good to cite as starting points for making an argument from prophecy fulfillment.

In a post late last year, I discussed some examples of prophecies fulfilled by the Roman empire.

Another post addressed prophecy fulfillments accomplished or corroborated by non-Christian sources more broadly.

That post includes prophecies fulfilled in the modern world, which is another category that would be a good starting point.

Here's something I wrote about a geographical argument for prophecy fulfillment.

And here's something Steve Hays wrote about the fulfillment of non-Messianic prophecies.

Sunday, April 02, 2023

The Gospels And Acts' Polymodal Resurrection Accounts Corroborated In The New Testament Letters

The comments about hearing, seeing, and touching in 1 John 1:1 aren't limited to resurrection appearances, but surely included them and included them prominently. The passage is about the Word of Life, a context in which including resurrection from the dead makes more sense than not including it. The author is writing as one among the "we" of apostolic eyewitnesses, in contrast to the "you" of his audience. The apostolic experience wasn't limited to witnessing the resurrected Christ, but did include witnessing him in that context (Acts 1:21-22, 1 Corinthians 9:1). It could be argued that the resurrection experiences only included the seeing mentioned in 1 John 1:1, not the hearing and touching, but that's a less likely interpretation for multiple reasons. It's more complicated, and it involves an unlikely scenario in which a witness like the letter's author would be so interested in hearing and touching for the large majority of Jesus' life, but not so interested or unable to obtain hearing and touching in the resurrection portion of Jesus' life. The simplest and best understanding of 1 John 1:1 is that the author is appealing to the apostolic polymodal interaction with Jesus throughout his life, including his resurrection appearances. Given the emphasis placed on witnessing Jesus' resurrection in particular in order to qualify as an apostle (Acts 10:40-41, 22:14-15, 1 Corinthians 9:1), it would go against the context of apostolicity to make the apostolic experience in 1 John 1:1 so much more limited in the resurrection context than in the pre-resurrection context. Notice, also, that even in a scenario in which the author happened to never get an opportunity to hear or touch Jesus in the resurrection context, the passage would still be another example of the witnesses' interest in such interactions with Jesus. Given the large number of resurrection appearances that were reported and how many people were involved (e.g., 1 Corinthians 15:5-8), it's highly unlikely that few or none of the hundreds of people involved attempted to interact with Jesus in the way described in 1 John 1:1 or that they kept trying and failing to do so without realizing they were hallucinating, imagining things, or whatever. And 1 John 1:1 is a "we" passage. So, the critic who wants to appeal to the possibility that the author himself happened to only think he saw the risen Jesus, without thinking he heard or touched him, still has to address the other resurrection witnesses included in the "we".

1 Timothy 5:18 is also relevant. For more about the likely reference to Luke's gospel as scripture in that passage, see here.