Has anyone heard the idiom, to “muddy the water”?
The Free Dictionary
“to make something less clear; to make matters confusing; to create difficulty where there was none before.”
Politics and Christianity both suffer from this strategy to sway opinion one way or the other in lieu of actual factual opposing data. Maybe some of you remember former President Clinton strategy of defense when caught lying to Congress;
The same is true with the veracity of the bible and the authenticity of those who wrote it. First the argument was that the bible was fairy tails, myths and legends. Then when archaeologists began verifying places, people and events described in the bible, a new strategy was needed. The bible was now partially accurate but still rife with legend. Then when much older manuscripts were discovered, another strategy was employed by the skeptics. There are still a few fringers who stand opposed to the consensus in contemporary scholarship, other have turned to the “muddy the water” approach. Saying that it looks like some of the accounts are reliable, but the words don’t mean what they say, “Word Game”.
One such approach is the empty tomb of Jesus Christ. Did he rise or didn’t he? If he did rise was it bodily or spiritually? There is an argument today that what is meant by resurrection is not that he rose from the dead, but that he rose in spirit. Without the bodily resurrection of Jesus, there is no Christianity, and that is why it is the center of every attach on Christianity.
Even those who call themselves Christians are reinterpreting long standing belief under the guise of what the meaning of the word is, is. Retired Bishop John Shelby Sprong is one of these Christians.
In a previous post called, “Are You a Christian or a Christian“, I explained that the demarcation line between Christianity and the rest is who Christ is. Every other religion, including some heretics inside Christianity will attack the deity of Jesus Christ and keep most of everything else. It is the cross that is offensive to so many because it says we need God, we are not good enough on our own and that hurts our sensibilities and our pride. Sprong is no different. He dismisses the core of Christianity. He removes the virgin birth, the resurrection and the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.
“The view of the cross as the sacrifice for the sins of the world is a barbarian idea based on primitive concepts of God and must be dismissed.”¹
“Resurrection is an action of God. Jesus was raised into the meaning of God. It therefore cannot be a physical resuscitation occurring inside human history.”¹
“The virgin birth, understood as literal biology, makes Christ’s divinity, as traditionally understood, impossible.”¹
Sprong declares a need for a new interpretation of the word of God, a fresh modern look like so many though out the ages who have not liked the truth set forth in scripture. Man’s disagreement with scripture always results in a new interpretation to try and harmonize scripture with their perception of God must have meant, according to their own sense of morality. They are creating a God they want, not the God that is.
2 Timothy 4:3,4; “For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.”
Once you begin to undermine the clearly understood meaning of words and begin down the road of picking and choosing your own definitions, or meanings to suite your personal theology, your chasing after myths.
Media has done a very good job to muddy the water when it comes to the bible. We read often that there is much confusion over biblical reliability and authenticity. We are told by skeptics, that most scholars agree that the biblical accounts are myth. Boldly proclaiming inaccurate information for the consumption of the public until they are called on it. The above author is not an isolated incidence. Another highly visible atheist scientist who should know better, propagates the same misinformation in his books.
Ph.D Gary Habermas conducted an exhaustive survey of approximately 1,400 scholarly publications relating to Jesus and the resurrection since 1975. He found 75% argued for the historicity of the empty tomb. Also that there was almost universal agreement on the appearances and origins of Jesus Christ’s resurrection.²
We are told all the time by uneducated and educated scholarly skeptics, what we should and should not believe. My advice is to look deeper than the veneer of skepticism before you. Look beyond your own feelings and ideology. Take a more careful look at what those who study the subjects think, and check multiple sources. Because as we have seen above, not everyone claiming to be an expert, is arguing from data alone. Some are arguing on behalf of their own personal ideology.
Jesus Christ is a divider of people. He divided our ages, BC and AD, which was before the politically correct change to BCE and CE. In his 30 years or so he changed the world. Not something you would expect from a non issue, a myth or an insignificant, irrelevant man with a few deluded followers 2000 years ago. He (Jesus) demands a decision from each of us that we each alone will answer for.
The life and resurrection of Jesus Christ is far from fantasy for those whose lives are studying it. Given the plausibility of the resurrection account being accurate, the implication for your life is enormous. It doesn’t make sense to summarily dismiss the idea because of here say. Because the account doesn’t sound ridiculous to the majority of biblical scholars, even skeptic who are trained and educated on the subject.
- A Call for a New Reformation
- Resurrection Research from 1975 to the Present: What are Critical Scholars Saying?