Is Christianity just a myth or fairy story? “Apologetics” means dealing with the defense of the Christian faith. So is there a God and did Jesus really exist? Did Jesus rise from the dead? If so, there must be reasoned historical evidence for this that goes beyond pure belief alone. Indeed there is – and these half-hour talks present intelligent, reasoned arguments for Jesus’ existence and deity as well as why the Bible has more original manuscript authority than any other historical document.
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Is Jesus the Son of the Creator? - APOLOGETICS
IS IT TRUE THAT JESUS CHRIST ROSE FROM THE DEAD? Transcript of a clip taken from the talk, IS JESUS GOD’S SON? by Rev. Ernest O’Neill No man or woman has left our earth and said they would come back when they wanted to and actually come back and persuaded everybody that they were alive and then have disappeared off the earth forever. No one has ever done that, but do you realize that the resurrection of Jesus is an incident that is better substantiated and better reinforced with evidence than any other incident in our history? I mean I am talking about history beyond 100-200 years. There is no incident in our history that is more variously and more substantially narrated and reported than the resurrection of Jesus. And no event has been subjected to so much questioning — legal questioning, historical questioning, theological questioning, and geological questioning. No event has so often been questioned, criticized and examined carefully and has come out so absolutely untouched by it, as the resurrection of Jesus. You know the arguments and I will not draw them out but there isn’t one that stands. If Jesus only swooned,(and hadn’t really died) then how, bleeding from the wound in his side and from the wounds in his hands, could he have come back into consciousness so strongly that he could appear on 13 different occasions at 13 different places, sometimes within an hour of each other even though they were miles and miles apart? How could he have done that if he had only swooned? He could never have done it. If the disciples stole his body, why then did they die for a lie? If the Romans stole the body, why didn’t they parade it through Jerusalem and say, “This man was a fraud”? Even if you examine those twin facts of the resurrection appearances and the empty tomb, there is just no way in which you can reject their historicity and their authenticity. You tackle the resurrection appearances with the whole theory of hallucinations and it falls apart, the whole theory of hallucinations falls apart. A hallucination demands that people experience it personally themselves; it’s a subjective experience. He appeared to more than 500 people at one time. A hallucination has to be experienced by a people who want to experience it, who are hoping it will happen. These people said, “Listen, we have given up. We thought that he would have been the one to redeem Israel but he is dead now and gone.” They hid themselves in the upper room. They were so convinced that he was finished with. None of the laws of hallucinations fit the appearances of Jesus. Loved ones, you’re bound by the history in this book and by almost every critical theory you can produce. For its interpretation, you’re bound to admit finally that this Jesus must have been the son of our Creator. He must have been the son of the one who made your face and your hands. That’s the only conclusion you can come to, if you allow your mind to work logically and to examine the evidence in detail.
Happy Important And Secure - APOLOGETICS
HAPPY IMPORTANT AND SECURE Transcript of a clip from the talk WHY ARE WE ALIVE by Rev. Ernest O’Neill Wall Street shakes and we all shake. Iran stops exporting oil and we all run scared. We know that there’s great uncertainty in this life. We feel it ourselves. We feel it in our own waywardness and our own lack of tenacity. So you know what we do? We try to get that stability. We try to get that security. We try to take the attributes of a purely temporary mental and physical life and we try to parlay them into the attributes of life as we think it should be. So you know what happens. We get the education and we try to exchange the degree for the best job possible. Not so that we can serve humanity most of us or so that we can make the world a better place but so that we can get more money so that we can live with some kind of stability and some kind of security. Then you know as the years pass we try to trade up our cars and our houses to somehow try to get some security into our life and some sense of stability. Then we try to get the best life insurance and medical package that we can, hoping that somehow we will be able to guard against these uncertainties that make life so shaky and uncertain. Then we try to get a good position in our jobs. We try to establish a position as to where those underneath us can’t undermine us. We try to establish our stability in relationship to our colleagues or against the interest of our rivals. So of course life becomes a very anxious process because you’re always trying to make yourself stable and secure. You know it’s the same with the whole business of happiness. Somehow we feel we were made for an eternal experience. We feel we were made for the serenity, the peace and the exhilaration of eternity. We feel that somehow we should experience that serenity and peace of Walden Pond and then it should be combined with all the wild excitement of the Arabian Nights. Somehow it should be possible to get a south sea island where we could feel all that. So we try to feel it. You know we do. We try to use experiences and try to use relationships to somehow extract from life that mixture of wild excitement and a great serenity and peace that we feel we were made for. Yet however many relationships we use, however many people we prostitute, however many experiences we try to produce, however how much we try to calm our anxiety chemically yet at the end of it all we are left with a sense of emptiness and loneliness. Instead of the sense of conviviality and excitement and exhilaration that we think we should have. We’re left with a kind of anticlimax and you might almost say a sense of desolation instead of the happiness and excitement of eternity. It is the same with who we are. I don’t know that there’s one of us here that doesn’t feel a bit like Milton, you know, that we were born for some great thing. We do. We feel it deep down don’t we? Every one of us, you see you think you’re the only one that feels it. The person beside you feels it. You think you’re more individual than me but you’re not. I feel I’m more individual than you. We all feel the same. We all feel we are very different and we all have different little twists that make us special. We feel we are special and we are significant and we are important and somebody must know we’re here. Somebody must know that we passed through this veil of tears. Somebody must know what we’ve done. Somebody, somewhere, somehow must know us, ourselves. Yet we have a terrible feeling that nobody does. The gold watch on retirement day is a kind of sweet sorrow thing. We joke about it yet we have a funny feeling that’s probably all we’ll mean to those that we work with over 30 or 40 years. Of course what Jesus says is you see those feelings that you have, those aspirations, those feelings that you should have the security of an eternity. Those feelings that there is a happiness beyond what you’ve experienced. Those feelings that you have that you should be able to break out of the earth bound existence that you’re in. Those feelings are there because that’s right, that’s true. You were made to live forever. You were made to be important. You were made to be happy beyond your dreams. You were made not to have to fear whether Iran cuts off the oil or whether you lose your job. You were made for eternity. That’s what Jesus says. He says it’s a gift. It’s a gift. You have this body this physical life. And inside it you have your psychological being, your mind and emotions and your will. Inside that again, if you can talk about inside at all in regard to this subject, you have spirit. You have a part of you that is sending up all those aspirations. That spirit is at the moment dead. That’s why you feel such emptiness. The reason you can’t feel it is that you are trying to get at it from a mental, emotional and physical level and you can’t. What Jesus said was the only way that spirit can come alive and give life to your mind and emotions and to your body so that you live forever is, if the person who made you brings that spirit of yours alive by the action and the energizing of his own eternal life. That’s the only way it will ever come about. Jesus said that’s a gift. That gift of life from my Father is something that God has to give you. When he gives you it everything comes alive inside you. Your mind and emotions begin to work right. Your body begins to operate right. You stop trying to squeeze out of people and other things life. You begin to have life inside. You begin to sense the real joy of the love of the one significant other in the whole universe. That he is your own personal Father. That he knows your name and that he has put you here for a special purpose. You begin to sense your identity in this universe. You begin to feel most of all of course that he will not see you go down in the dirt. That he will be right there every moment whatever Iran does or whatever the stock market does.
You Are Unique - APOLOGETICS
THE ETERNAL BUS RIDE Transcript of a clip from the talk WHY ARE WE HERE ON THIS EARTH? by Rev. Ernest O’Neill A Greyhound bus draws up just outside there on University Avenue. We all get into it and it goes down University Avenue onto Interstate 35 and out onto the freeway. After we all get to know each other for 15 or 20 minutes, somebody says, “Now, where are we going?” And somebody else says, “Bring out the food, there’s food back here. I’m hungry. Let’s have lunch.” And so we all get into lunch and have some food and then somebody says, “But what are we all doing in the bus here?” And somebody else says, “Look, let’s have some songs and play some games.” And so we all start singing and playing some games. Then after three hours, a kind of neurosis sets in because we all begin to realize that nobody is answering the question. Everybody is pretending that we’re having such a great time that it doesn’t matter where we’re going as long as we just keep doing it. Then imagine that situation three weeks later. Imagine the kind of uncertainty and insecurity that begins to spread among us all. Now, take it on 20 years. Some of us are not so happy as we once were, because some of us are getting sick. Some of us have died and been thrown off the bus and we don’t know what happened to us. Others are having children and the children are beginning to ask the question, “But daddy why? Where are we going? Why are we here?” And everybody keeps saying, “Don’t bother about that. Just keep singing. Keep laughing. Keep cleaning the windows of the bus.” Well, after a while, you’ll do anything to get off that bus. You’ll do anything to get out of such a meaningless situation. Some are crowding into one corner in order to protect themselves from another group in another corner. Some have too much food and some haven’t enough food. Eventually one guy starts writing the only book that we’re all interested in then, it’s the only way to get off the bus, “How to Commit Suicide”. Do you know such a book has already been written? Really you can’t blame a person doing it. Because we’re on a space ship that is going far faster than any Greyhound bus would be able to go on an American freeway and we are spinning very fast through space. Loved ones, there has to be some reason why we’re here. There has to be. It has to be a basic concern of education to find out why — otherwise everything is meaningless. Who cares what the windows are made of or what the cushions on the seats are made of or how to live happily with each other? Who cares about that if nobody actually knows why we’re here or where we’re going or what we’re going to end up as. Of course, the problem in it we all know. The problem is we’re all in the bus. Nobody’s coming from outside to tell us why we’re all here. The only people we know are the people on the bus. That’s why that London musical was written, ‘Stop the world, I want to get off’. We have a feeling if we could get off it or if we could get somebody onto it who wasn’t on it at the beginning, he might be able to tell us what it’s all about. He might be able to tell us why we’re alive. It’s interesting. One guy comes along called Mohammad and he says, “I can tell you”, but he’s on the bus. What does he know? He never was off the bus. He came onto it like the rest of us. He was born on it. Another fellow called Buddha comes along and he says, “I’ll tell you why we’re here”, but he was born on the bus. He doesn’t know either and another fellow called Zoroaster comes along and he says, “I’ll tell you why.” The difficulty with them all is, they’re all limited by the fact that they were born on the bus. They were never off it. There’s only one man that came onto the bus from beyond. There’s only one man that has ever left the bus and come back to show us that he was able to come back and to leave it when he wanted. That was the man Jesus of Nazareth whose historicity we studied last Sunday. If you ask Him, “Why are we alive?” he’ll begin like this. He’ll say, “Well, first of all whatever is of flesh, whatever is born of flesh is flesh. You are born of flesh. You’re born of the same kind of substance as your mother and father. I want to tell you this, you’re not going to last any longer than they are. It doesn’t matter what you do. The physical life that you have and the mental life and the emotional life that you have, it’s only going to last about 70 or 80 years. It’s not going to last any longer. It doesn’t matter what you do to make that life better. That life is not going to go on more than 70 or 80 years.” Jesus would say that to us this morning, “Get this clear. The way you’re moving at the moment is towards extinction. It’s a temporal life that you have. That flesh life that you have is not going to last more than 70 or 80 years.” The strange thing that you and I face is we feel that’s wrong. We feel it’s not true. There’s something in us that says, “No, I wasn’t made to go out like a light after 70 years. I wasn’t. There’s something in me that I feel goes on. I feel it goes on.” This book says God has put eternity into man’s mind. There’s something inside us, isn’t there, that makes us rebel against the idea that we won’t last more than 70 or 80 years. Actually, we go to a funeral and it’s a deceptive thing. We’re absolutely convinced that that will never happen to us however close we get to it. There’s something in us that makes us feel, “Yes, but the person is still alive.” We’re not made to just die and be nothing. We feel all that frustration and try to overcome it. The gold watch at the end of the 30 or 40 years seems to signify the end, but we feel it can’t be the end. There must be something more. WHY ARE WE HERE ON THIS EARTH?
Eternal Bus Ride - APOLOGETICS
YOU ARE UNIQUE Transcript of a clip from the talk WHY ARE WE HERE ON THIS EARTH? by Rev. Ernest O’Neill There’ll never be anybody like you in the whole world. There won’t. You actually know that in your heart, don’t you? Even if you are an identical twin, you know you’re not an identical twin. You know there’s a difference in your personalities between you and your brother or you and your sister. There’s nobody like you in the whole world. There has never been anybody like you in the whole world and there will never be anybody like you in the whole world. You are unique and actually you know that in your heart of hearts. You know the business of fingerprints and how important that is. There are no two fingerprints alike. But beyond that, there are all kinds of differences that make you absolutely unique. Jesus is saying to us, “You’re unique and you have been put here by My Father, who is the Creator of the world, to do something and be something that nobody else can ever be or will ever be. My Father has made you so that you can show some of His nature that nobody else can show.” That’s the first reason you’re here. You are unique. There’s nobody like you in the whole universe. Do you realize there is nothing you do, there is nothing you think, there is nothing you say that God does not see, every second of your life? He knows what you do and say and think, every second of your life. He is watching you like a dear gentle father every moment of your existence. And He is working constantly to bring you into His own character and nature and to bring you close to Himself because He wants to explain to you what He put you here to do and to be. That’s it. You’re not just a number. You’re not just somebody who has mechanical ability. You’re not just somebody who has artistic ability. Your Creator has put you here to do and be something that nobody else can do or be. And the only way you’ll ever find that out, Jesus says, is to get to know His Father. In fact, He said that’s eternal life. Eternal life is not trying to produce the attributes or qualities that you think eternity has. Eternal life is actually knowing the person who made you. It’s getting to know Him personally and getting from Him an explanation of why He put you here, what He wants to do with your life and most of all, what He wants you to be. Some of us say, “Well, I see that. At times I’ve glimpsed it or thought I have. But I’ve been dissatisfied with the things I’ve been trying to do to make eternity real to myself. I’ve seen what an egotistical monster I’ve become as I’ve tried to draw people’s attention to me so I could get a sense of self-worth. I’ve seen how I’ve used other people to try to get all the money that I need or all the clothing that I need. I’ve seen that and have tried to change but I find that there’s something in me that keeps on doing that. I keep on being covetous and I keep on being greedy. I see what you’re saying that I’ve to get to know the Creator and he will explain to me why I am here, but I find that even when I’ve glimpsed that, I can’t be what I believe He wants me to be.” We’re alive to get to know our dear God that put us here. You have to get to know Him personally. You have to be changed by Him otherwise you won’t be able to be what He wants you to be. That you can do. “How?” Well you start off by believing these things that I’ve shared with you. They’re not things that I made up. They’re the things that Jesus told us in this book. He’s the only one that has ever been off the bus and he explained this to us. You have to start by believing it. You start by believing on the basis of the historical evidence and by believing on the basis of the words that He speaks here. This is no ordinary man. This is the Son of the Maker of the world and what He’s telling us about life is true. You’ve got to believe that. Secondly, you’ve got to turn away from your own attempts to reproduce eternity. That’s what repentance is. You’ve got to turn away from all the attempts you make to reproduce the stability of eternity. Does that mean no possessions, no jobs, and no bank account? No, that’s foolishness. It doesn’t mean that. But it does mean that you stop looking to those things for your security. It means you stop looking to the money that you’ve built up for security. The money is going to go with the rest. It’s going to burn up with everything else. You turn away from trying to establish the security and stability of eternity from this temporal life. Instead you look to God, your Father and you start talking to Him and asking Him, “Lord God, why did you put me here? What do you want me to do? What do you want me to be? What of yourself do you want to show to this world through me?” You start saying that. First you believe that these things are true. Then you repent by stopping doing that. If you say to me, “Does it mean everything?” Yes, it does. It means those moments when you throw in a little boast to get respect from your peers — that has to stop. You have to stop being envious of the other person because they’ve got all the attention this past week. You just stop doing it. You stop looking to the praise of men to try to get a sense of self-worth. You start looking to your Creator, your God and you start asking Him to give you a sense of His love and a sense of His appreciation and His knowledge of you. As soon as you do that, your Creator will start coming through to you, that’s it. First you believe, and then you start actually living like that. That’s why it says, ‘you believe and repent’, and that’s what enables you to be born again or to start all over again. If you are in the situation where this has come home to you for the first time today, then I would encourage you to act on it. I wouldn’t bother about anything else. I would act on it. If you don’t act on it and make a commitment today, the week will drag on through and you’ll find yourself back in your own old kind of frustrating life. You do need to make a definite break. Then the next step is to commit to turning from all the manipulations and methods you’ve used to try to reproduce eternity. God’s Spirit will bring those things to you. You just have to repent of them and stop them. And you have to ask God to give you the Spirit, the life of His own Son. If you do that in honesty, God will come through. That’s His whole purpose in putting us here. The whole thing is meaningless if He doesn’t come through. He will come through to you and He will give you strength to begin to live a life with Him during this coming week and during the rest of the weeks in your life. Then you’ll be able to give those dear dads and moms of yours some answer if they ever ask that question. Why are we here? Why are we alive? WHY ARE WE HERE ON THIS EARTH?