Did Jesus Rise From The Dead?
The late skeptic Carl Sagan thought he was condemning Christianity when he said that “Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence.” Though my skeptic friends try to use this comment against Christian claims, I think Sagan’s statement is actually in full agreement with what the Bible is telling us.
Extraordinary claims do demand extraordinary evidence. The Bible openly admits that if Jesus is dead, Christianity is also dead with him (1 Cor. 15:14).
Any human can claim to be God. The real question comes in whether or not they can back it up. To do so effectively, they would need to pull off something dynamic. Christians claim that Jesus backed up his extraordinary claim with an extraordinary resurrection.
If Christians are right; that is, if Jesus is alive, it would be a historical game changer. If we can show the historical evidence that the resurrection of Jesus happened, we can safely conclude that a resurrection is the sort of extraordinary event that could satisfy Sagan and other skeptic’s demand. In this essay, I want to highlight some of the compelling evidence that Christians are right; that Jesus is alive and that Christianity is true. The backbone for these evidences will be the defense of the resurrection taken from Paul’s first letter to a church in Corinth. Scholars believe that Paul wrote this around 55AD. I will then look at a few other pieces of evidence that should be considered and then look at some common naturalistic objections to this miraculous Christian claim.
THE CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE
In 1 Corinthians 15:1-9 the apostle Paul builds a case for the resurrection appealing to authorities, testimonies, eyewitnesses, and his own experience as evidence for his Corinthian readership to consider. This circumstantial evidence will provide the structure for the first part of my argument. I believe that Paul’s reasons still hold valid today as no skeptic has been able to refute.
"Here’s the truth about telling stories with your life. It’s going to sound like a great idea, and you’re going to get excited about it, and then when it comes time to do the work, you’re not going to want to do it. It’s like that with writing books, and it’s like that with life. People love to have lived a great story, but few people like the work it takes to make it happen. But joy costs pain."
Great to see Clear Minds & Dirty Feet at House of James. In the presence of great books. (at House Of James)
I am excited to announce that I’ll be teaching two Spiritual Formation classes as an adjunct faculty member at Pacific Life Bible College.
It is an amazing opportunity to be able to teach future leaders at an institution I have been recommending to students for many years.
Camp Imadene Teen Camp All Done
I just completed an awesome week at Camp Imadene on beautiful Mesachie Lake on Vancouver Island. It was a fun filled but also spiritually intense week for both staff and campers.
One of my favourite moments was on Thursday night after students stood up to commit or rededicate their lives to Christ, we each took a rock, wrote our confessed sin on it and then threw it to the bottom of Mesachie Lake. This was a symbol of what God promised in Micah 7:19:
"You will cast all our sin into the depths of the sea."
What an amazing promise! Campers said that they felt a burden lifted like they had never experienced before.
Just wanted to thank the staff at Imadene. I was blessed by your friendship, prayers and tireless heart to serve Jesus by serving the campers. To the campers, you guys were a lot of fun and I am proud of the commitments that you made this week.
The journey of the rest of your life begins. You go with Jesus now. He will lead you. Get a good start with the Dirty Feet Devotions, get involved in a church and embrace the role as a messenger of the good news we have been talking about all week.
I look forward to seeing you all again someday.
I also look forward to seeing Hayley now…but you all already know that.
The Dirty Feet Devotional
I’m pleased to release a new one week devotional that I am using as a follow up for campers once they complete a week at summer camp.
The Dirty Feet Devotional digs into topics such as prioritizing the gospel, rejoicing in suffering, embracing the lifelong discipleship journey, engaging in the mission, loving the church and understanding the importance of servanthood.
It is my hope that this devotional will springboard campers into a lifelong journey with Jesus. May dirty feet lead to devoted lives.
"D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: “We must contemplate men in sin until we are horrified, until we are alarmed, until we are desperate about them, until we pray for them, until having realized the marvel of our own deliverance from that terrible state, we are lost in a sense of wonder, love and praise.”"
Why I Wrote Another Book On Apologetics
My five years of being a student pastor shaped me immensely. I was asked questions from students that I need to help as their pastor but also as a disciple of Jesus myself. To find these answers, I went on a journey to find truth that involved writing a book with my friend, Chris Price. It was a book of answers to questions, namely titled, “Questions.” That book was well received but is now out of print and will hopefully be re-published in the coming years.
I wanted to write a new book that included more of my journey and a more comprehensive explanation of what Christians believe and why they offer a resource our world so desperately needs to discover.
My Journey Continues
In the summer of 2011, I resigned from a really fun and fruitful young adult ministry at a healthy church in a beautiful city. I left for the University of Oxford in order to get some training in how to help youth and young adults become strengthened in their faith and equipped to defend it with others.
Two years later, I have collected arguments, analogies and my favourite stories. After the many dollars spent, papers written, conversations had and time spent burning my eyes out staring at a laptop screen, I have a book that, I believe, fills a huge need in the church today. It’s an apologetic book that people (so far) actually enjoy reading!
Clear Minds & Dirty Feet offers timeless content in a timely way.
The Timeless Content
I wanted to take the major topics that people are struggling with today and present a rational case for historic Christianity. I have a chapter on faith and science, three chapters on evidences for the existence of God, a good response to why God allows suffering and evil; the trustworthiness of the Bible; the Christian doctrine of hell; the exclusivity of Christianity and the reasons to believe that Jesus is really alive today.
The Timely Way
Studies show that people will still read books if they are books worth reading. That is why throughout every page of my new book, I have worked hard to mix in my own personal struggles, stories and, of course, a few cartoons to help keep things novel.
I wrote this to serve the church as a book people can hand to someone struggling in their faith or to keep for themselves in order to answer some of their own questions. Clear Minds & Dirty Feet will encourage Christians that the truth of Christianity is a message worth sharing with everyone. You can pick up a copy for yourself by contacting me personally or through Amazon.
Gary Habermas lectures on the Shroud of Turin. One of the best lectures I have ever taken in. (at Biola University)
Do You Know When You’re Being Suckered?
You probably remember the ad campaign that Apple ran a few years ago. There were two guys, one was cool, casual and represented the face of an emerging movement of Apple consumers. On the other side was a pudgy, nerdy-looking guy in a business suit who was adamant that Microsoft products were superior to anything Mac could throw at them. The point of the commercial was easy to spot:
"Look at the old-school, old way of doing things. What a joke! You do not want to be like these kind of guys, do you?"
The campaign was effective because we all bought into the idea that being cool and progressive is better than being a dork. Apple stock skyrocketed.
Humbly, I admit that I am writing this post on my Macbook, a product I purchased at the same time as the ads were being run. If I’m honest, I bought the computer because I think it is better machine, not because of the cool ads. If I’m honest again, I often showed these funny new commercials to my dad as gasoline to fuel our “Mac vs. PC” rivalry. I used them to make fun of him and his stubborn refusal to climb aboard the Apple-train.
I reference this campaign to highlight a popular, yet fallacious argument tactic that Apple used to sway us. It is called “Ad Hominem” and it is used when someone dismisses an idea by attacking the character of one who holds it. You can use it when you call a person out of fashion, too traditional, “fundamentalist” or “what bad people believe” and then dismiss their position on something.
An ad hominem can used in many ways from the obvious,
"I don’t believe what my teacher is saying because he is dressed poorly."
to the more subtle,
"Since Christians are hypocritical, I could never be a Christian."
Somewhere in the middle, is the premise that an old fashioned belief should be dismissed because its time has passed or because it was embraced by a community you do not happen to like (or, if you are more clever, you know your audience will not like). Rob Bell has made his millions doing this.
Where The Conflict Lies
A discussion about what is true has to happen along the lines of ideas. Something can either be false or true regardless of what I am wearing or how I am behaving. Here are two things to be aware of when it comes to ad hominems:
First, be careful not to commit ad hominem fallacies yourself. We do this all the time with other worldviews or religions. It’s lazy but it is effective. Politicians thrive off of it. As do Christians. Richard Dawkins may be wrong but he is not wrong because he is always grumpy. A particular idea in Christian literature may be wrong but it is not wrong because the book was poorly written.
Second, be aware of ad hominems you see in discussions with others. They can be used to intimidate you and are really nothing more than another form of bullying. Learn to spot ad hominems and you eliminate many of the attacks against you or the gospel you stand for. As a general rule, remember that the abuse of a certain doctrine does not negate the truth of that doctrine. Nor is the truth of Christianity negated because Christians fail to live like Jesus.
Let’s be aware of this next time. Apple may be a better product but it will not be evaluated because its advocates dress better than others. Have the discipline to keep the argument to the idea being discussed and you will find that the historic, orthodox gospel will emerge as the truth.
Not because we live like it is true, but rather, because it is true.
This was originally posted on Grounded In The Gospel
A Fantastic Weekend At Bonnyville Alliance
On June 14-16, I got the chance to hang out with old friends and make new friends up in Northern Alberta. The congregation of Bonnyville Fellowship Alliance church was a joy to work with.
It once again reminded me of the importance of bringing apologetics to the local church level. I saw people equipped to reach their friends, family members and whoever else they encounter on mission in Northern Alberta.
Just wanted to say thanks to Pastor Steve McLean, his family, the Driedgers and everyone else in the community for all their support and encouragement. It was a wonderful weekend of ministry and I hope to return again.
After years of studying and a year of writing, editing, writing, praying, trashing, writing, editing, drawing and pleading for help, I am pleased to announce that my new book, Clear Minds & Dirty Feet is officially ready for release.
I have drawn from my database of apologetic resources, illustrated with my experiences, tapped my network, and am ready to share it. Here are some of the topics that I cover in it:
- Understand why everything starts with a person’s worldview.
- Cultural misconceptions about faith and science.
- Evidences for the existence of God.
- How God is love and not all will be saved.
- The exclusivity of Christianity.
- The Christian response to the problem of suffering and evil.
- How can we know there is life after death?
- Why the Christian message is worth sharing.
I have provided a a sample chapter called “Faith And Science: What All The Fuss Is About”.
Clear Minds & Dirty Feet has been published by Apologetics Canada Publishing and is available on Amazon today.
A Few Things I Learned About Dating
On May 31, 2013, Hayley and I, after dating a short while, decided we should get married. That is, I asked and she agreed. It was an amazing moment and we are excited to prepare for the rest of our lives together.
As I reflect on my journey to this point, there are a few half-baked ideas I want to share about dating. I’m sure more will be published in a book one day. There is a lot to be said. Here’s are three points I’ve learned:
1. Dating Can Be A Wonderful Experience
Even though you don’t really know the person, there can be a lot of excitement getting to know a member of the opposite sex. Thank God for this. When you think of how comfortable and intimate couples get with each other after many years of marriage, it is great that God has put excitement and “fun” into these early, awkward days of getting to know each other. Everything is interesting. Everything is new. It’s fun.
I have thoroughly enjoyed dating Hayley. I love opening doors for her, surprising her with flowers, leaving notes on her car, peppering her with silly and deep questions, listening to her dreams and praying for her. Though those things will never stop at engagement, our time dating was a season of discovery that I will always look back on with joy.
Dating can be very exciting. Dating can also be very broken. Since the life-long commitment is not yet there, sometimes dating goes horribly awry.
2. Dating Can Be A Very Broken Experience
I have thought a lot that if someone can design a process that doesn’t involve the pain caused by dating, I think they could become very rich, very quickly.
If you have dated much, you know it can be an awful experience.
At the fall of humanity in Genesis 3, Adam and Eve became aware of their nakedness. Now exposed for their true selves, they became ashamed of who they were, lost trust and hid from each other. The Bible says that they sewed fig leaves together in an effort to cover up their shame.
We all do the same today. Dating even encourages this kind of behaviour. Sometimes we hide who we are in light of promoting our best accomplishments, travel experiences, flattering character traits and everything else that we are proud about in ourselves. We say things we don’t really mean. We mean things we do not really say.
The process of dating is getting the courage to be who you really are; to slowly peel away the metaphorical fig leaves (with your clothes still on) in an effort to see if you can one day trust the other person with your naked self. To summarize what Tim Keller says in The Meaning Of Marriage, “To be fully known and accepted is our deepest desire. To be fully known and rejected is our greatest fear.”
In dating, you are essentially holding your heart out to a stranger and saying, “Here, you can take a look at this and do what you want with it.” Often we offer our hearts like this to people at an age when they are completely unable or unwilling it to cherish it with the care it deserves. Some will trample it. One will cherish it. It is no wonder the Bible says, “Guard your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life” (Prov. 4:23).
I learned that you can abstain from sexual sin, do your best to honour Jesus with all your heart and yet still hurt another person very deeply, even while maintaining the best of intentions while doing so.
Dating is entering the risk of trying to sort out who is who: Is this the person who will trample or cherish my heart? Dear friends, proceed here with caution.
Since I have not come up with a better alternative that will work in Western culture, we are stuck with dating. If you can find an alternative and you will sell a lot of books and make millions. Thankfully, there is redemption available.
3. Dating Can Be A Redemptive Process
God is a redemptive God. He can make anything good. He promised the prohet Joel,
"I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten" (Joel 2:25).
You can claim that verse over your past. God redeems history. He knows how broken all of us truly are. He can make good of any bad situation. He promises it.
I learned most about the redemption in the gospel because of my experiences dating. I learned how broken I am and how to interact with broken people. I learned that my biggest problem was not that I had not found “the one” but that I was a sinner. I learned that I, the winsome, Jon Morrison, was capable of really hurting God’s precious daughters. I was the common denominator whenever a relationship did not work out. I could blame no other than the person staring at me in the mirror. Owning your sin and sinful nature is the first step to repentance and restoration. This is because it is the first step towards Jesus.
I learned that the only solution for my sin problem was that I needed a Savior. Dating led me to Jesus. I could turn nowhere else.
While my friends were learning about their sinfulness and need for the gospel through their preaching, marriage, alcoholism, porn addictions or through raising kids, I was learning about it through dating. I learned the importance of being Grounded In The Gospel. I learned to renew my love for Jesus whose fountain filled with his shed blood for me never ran dry.
The Present Redemption
Thankfully and ironically, through the broken process of dating, that process I had grown to despise, God surprised me with a gift of grace at a time I would have never expected.
He slammed a door to do further studies at Oxford and then opened another for me at Apologetics Canada. That brought me to Northview Community Church which led me to meet Hayley. I chased her for awhile, we dated and then we got engaged. One day we will get married and seek to be a picture of Jesus’ relentless love for the church. She is a picture of redemption that I will always thank God for.
Once again, God has shown he is willing to give amazing grace to even a wretch like me. This gift of grace came as a result of my very own achilles heel, dating.
If you are single or wading through the murky waters of dating, may God can use this to teach you some amazing truths about himself and the good news that Jesus is good, sufficient and faithful. Remember that God knows you better than anyone and he fully loves you. He will redeem anything the locusts have eaten in your past.
For me, he has even redeemed the wonderfully, broken process of dating.
I could think of little else to write about today.