My article “Does the Bible Require Jesus to be Buried for 72 Hours?” garnered some attention. It got people to think, and hopefully helped them deal with an objection that is often raised by skeptics. When I became a Christian, I was always interested in apologetics. My initial curiosity in the topic came by way of people who claimed there were contradictions in the Bible. Studying to find a solution helped me learn more about the Bible. I call it “Problem Solving Bible Study.” It’s the way I learn.
When someone raised an objection, I would ask, “If I answer your objection, will you then embrace Jesus as your Savior and Lord?” No one ever committed to an answer. Some would claim that there were several contradictions that troubled them. I would ask, “If I answer all of your objections, will you then embrace Jesus as your Savior and Lord?” This put them on the spot. Of course, such an approach, in C.S. Lewis’ British analogy, places “God in the Dock.” With this tactic, God is the one on trial and the accusers are the ones who will determine what constitutes legitimate evidence. Instead of seeing themselves as standing before God in judgment, they commit the high-hand sin of placing God on trial by acting as His Judge.
As a former atheist, Lewis understood the objections that were often raised against the Christian faith and approached them head on. Roger Nicole comments:
His first contribution to apologetics was entitled The Problem of Pain, published in October 1940 as part of The Christian Challenge Series (it was reprinted ten times by 1943). He dealt there forthrightly with the question: “If God is almighty and supremely loving, why does He permit pain in this universe?”
Lewis used his wit and perfectly executed rhetorical analogies to compactly strike a death blow to objections, for example, “Dealing with objections to the virgin birth of Christ,” Nicole writes, “he says that some opponents of it ‘think they see in this miracle a slur upon sexual intercourse (though they might just as well see in the feeding of the five thousand an insult to bakers).’”
This does not mean that we should not deal with objections. The goal in answering specific objections is to remove the flimsy props holding up their faulty arguments and flush out their operating presuppositions. The “three days and three nights” conundrum is just one objection that unbelievers use as an excuse not to believe and gets some Christians to doubt the accuracy of the Bible.
Thinking Straight in a Crooked World
Gary DeMar shows the power of biblical thinking and the desperate need for it in the church today. Thinking Straight in a Crooked World is designed to identify the bends in the road of ideas and repair them with biblical, straight thinking.Buy Now
The following was sent to me by my friend Robert Cruickshank.
In response to your article, and my email about 3 days and 3 nights, someone in a Facebook thread said it ultimately doesn’t matter when Jesus was crucified and resurrected, all that matters is that He was. This was my response:
I think it matters because we’re called to defend the hope that is within us (1 Peter 3:15), and this entails defending His Word because His Word is what our hope is based upon.
When critics attack the Bible, we need to be ready to defend it. And this is a BIG passage that critics use.
Ironically, Gary published an article … that starts off talking about the children of some prominent Christian leaders who’ve abandoned the faith.
What happens to the children of parents who espoused the Christian faith? Franky Schaeffer has repudiated his father’s work and much of his own work he did with and for his father. Josh Harris has denounced the faith of his father, Greg Harris. Jonathan Merritt is promoting same sex everything. His father is James G. Merritt, the Senior Pastor of Cross Pointe Church in Georgia.
I’ve seen the same thing happen with a number of families we know personally. Many of these families are from a Baptist Church that we attended for years.
I remember pushing [to teach] apologetics when we were at the Church. My children were friends with the other youth there, and I would hear about how some of them were questioning the validity of God’s Word. Some of the questions even had to do with the time statements [related to eschatology]. Neither the pastor nor the deacons were interested in apologetics. One of them told me: “God doesn’t need me to defend Him.”
That’s sort of why I think these things are important. When the validity of God’s Word is attacked, it creates doubts in the minds of professing believers who are vulnerable to such things. I think we need to be always ready to give a defense whenever, and wherever, God’s Word is attacked.
I know everyone is this thread believes in the importance of apologetics. I’m not in any way implying you don’t. So please don’t misunderstand me. I’m just trying to make the point that the 3 days and 3 nights thing plays into this.
Both approaches to this passage are plausible. I just think DeMar’s is a better and more straight-forward approach. Is a skeptic or doubter even going to be able to follow the reasoning of the other approach? From personal, first-hand experience, I’d say no, not at all.
Anyway, hope this made sense. These are, once again, early-morning, rambling thoughts.
Apologetics 101 is an in-depth study of defending the Christian faith. The Greek word apologia simply means ‘defense,’ and apologetics is the art and act of giving a defense. Christian Apologetics then is the art and act of defending the Christian faith, not a proof of God in general. The Christian apologist must be ready to answer truth claims about the Bible, not claims about Hinduism, Islam, or any other false religion. The Bible makes the bold claim that Jesus is the ONLY way, and the Christian apologist must set his sights on the Bible alone, not on a defense of arbitrary theism.Buy Now