Jurnal teologic 21.3 (2022)

Corin MIHĂILĂ, The Bodily Resurrection of Jesus. An Argument beginning from First Corinthians 15. Jurnal teologic Vol 21, Nr 3 (2022): 9-31.
Emanuel University of Oradea, Romania
Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Kansas City, Missouri, USA

Critical scholarship has, in the last decades, raised questions about the bodily resurrection of Jesus, on account of the fact that the apostle Paul does not mention the empty tomb in his writings. Moreover, his sermons, as recorded by Luke in the Acts of the Apostles, do not mention the empty tomb either. As a result, on the one hand, liberal theologians have concluded that Paul neither knew of the bodily resurrection nor he believed in it. Such a belief, it is claimed, is a latter invention of the church as reflected in the canonical Gospels. On the other hand, all references to Jesus’ resurrection or to seeing the resurrected Jesus speak of non-bodily resurrection and of visions. An investigation, however, of the writings of Paul, starting from 1 Corinthians, shows that Paul did believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus, in spite of the fact that he does not mention the empty tomb, that such belief is in agreement with the earliest ecclesiastical creed recorded in 1 Corinthians 15:3-5, and forms the basis both of his theology as well as of his eschatology. Jesus’ bodily resurrection forms the basis for the present metaphorical resurrection of the believer and anticipates the literal and bodily resurrection of the believer in the eschaton.
Keywords: resurrection, 1 Corinthians 15, eschaton, Paul, early Christian creed, critical scholarship.

Radu GHEORGHIȚĂ, The Epistle to the Hebrews: Reason and Faith at the Beginning of the First Millennium. Jurnal teologic Vol 21, Nr 3 (2022): 33-45.
Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Kansas City, Missouri, USA

The paper explores the relationship between faith and reason as expressed by the author of Ad Hebraeos, an astute and creative first century Christian theologian. His quest for understanding the right relationship between faith and reason, as well as the solution offered to this perennial human endeavor, form one of the clearest expressions of early Christian perspectives on these two quintessential dimensions of humanity.
Keywords: Book of Hebrews, faith, reason.

Darrell L. BOCK, Luke as Apologist. Jurnal teologic Vol 21, Nr 3 (2022): 47-62.
Dallas Theological Seminary, Dallas, Texas, USA

The apologetic purpose of Luke’s two-volume opus is well-known. However, the discussion of how this apologetic works, as well as how Luke presents his case for Jesus and the early Church, are the subject of much discussion in scholarly writings. This article sets forth four major themes in Luke’s apologetics. The first is an apologia for the promise: the events in the life of Jesus, starting with the announcement of His birth, which represent the fulfillment of God’s promises made to Abraham and his seed, as part of a divine plan. Luke not only defends the Christian faith to Theophilus; he also proclaims God’s promise to all nations, which means salvation for Jews and Gentiles alike. The second is an apologia for Jesus’ identity. Luke emphasizes the divine authority of Jesus as Lord, confirmed and conferred by his resurrection and ascension. These events are equally proof and guarantee that Jesus’ claims about His identity and His role are true. The third apologia concerns the emerging Church. Although the Church did not seek to become a new entity, it was forced to separate from Judaism because most Jews rejected the Christian message. The Church, however, is the expression of God’s eternal plan, attested by the Hebrew Scriptures, for the reconciliation of Jews and Gentiles, and the salvation of all people. Finally, there is an apologia for the reconciliation between Jews and pagans, through Jesus Christ. The Church is a trans-ethnic community, endowed with the ability to be one in Christ and to show whole world the way to peace.
Keywords: Luke-Acts, purpose, apologetics, promise and fulfillment, Jesus Christ, emerging Church, reconciliation between Jews and pagans.

Andreas J. KÖSTENBERGER, ‘In Order That You May Believe’ (John 20:31): The Apologetic Thrust of John’s Gospel. Jurnal teologic Vol 21, Nr 3 (2022): 63-76.
Theologian-in-Residence, Fellowship Raleigh, NC, USA
Co-Founder, Biblical Foundations

The purpose of John’s Gospel is often seen as either evangelistic or edificatory. Starting with the purpose statement of the gospel (John 20:30-31), the article advances the thesis that the evangelist’s purpose is, in fact, apologetic. John addresses a Christian audience facing multiple problems, including emerging doctrinal statements, particularly those related to Christological orthodoxy. He selects seven miracles performed by Jesus, to be considered as signposts to His identity: He was the Christ, the Son of God. These signposts, however, have also a role in the gospel’s theodicy, since the people who witnessed them no longer have an excuse for unbelief (12:27-40). John’s readers are called to believe in the Messiah, since eternal life is available only to those who believe in the Son of God. In Thomas’ encounter with the resurrected Jesus, the evangelist highlights the superior faith quality of those who believe on the basis of the apostolic testimony and not on seeing the risen Jesus. These will fully enjoy the blessing of Christ. The theme of faith runs through the entire gospel, culminating in the link between the Thomas pericope (20:24-29) and the statement of purpose (20:30-31). According to the John, whoever wants to be a disciple of Jesus must correctly understand His true identity and put all his or her trust in Him as the Son of God. The faith which the evangelist himself had and wanted to instill in his readers, is an enduring, regenerate, and victorious faith, culminating in the eternal life that is available in the Name of Christ.
Keywords: Gospel of John, purpose, apologetics, Christology, faith.

Amiel DRIMBE, ‘Enough is ‘Enough”: Positive Lessons from the Polemic Approach to Other Religions in Ad Diognetum. Jurnal teologic Vol 21 Nr 3 (2022): 77-98.
Baptist Theological Institute of Bucharest, Romania
Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Kansas City, Missouri, USA

This study emphasises some positive aspects from the polemic approach to other religions in Ad Diognetum, a second-century CE apologetic (i.e., polemical and protreptic) treatise written by an anonymous Christian author. The author employs a strategic bridge-building approach in addressing the pagan inquirer Diognetus, by minimizing negative criticisms, moderating the tone of discussion through the use of interrogative style, and avoiding ad hominem arguments. While inviting Diognetus to engage in innovative thinking, the author consistently seeks common ground as a means of building and sharing common faith. He prefers the rational approach, even above the more specifically biblical or Christian approaches. Christianity is fundamentally logical, seems to be his central argument in this polemic section (Diogn. 2.1–4.6). The appeal to reason lends validity to his arguments and confidence to his approach. Even if he may not have an in-depth knowledge of the religious systems criticised, his rational approach validates the critique. Likewise, he may not know the religious systems with which he engages directly, yet he is wise to follow in the footsteps of previous apologists that have argued effectively against the same systems. Above all, he is humble enough to let God “call” and “persuade”. Human reasoning is a prerequisite to defend and promote the Christian faith, but divine revelation is decisive. Thus, all the reasoning is done in prayerful dependence on God’s power to convince and convert.
Keywords: Ad Diognetum, reasoning, apologetic, protreptic, polemic approach to other religions, criticism, persuasion.

Dănuț-Vasile JEMNA, Influence of Apologists on Saint Irenaeus’s Anthropology. Jurnal teologic Vol 21, Nr 3 (2022): 99-116.
“Al. I. Cuza” University of Iași, Romania

The importance of the Apologists for the theological thought of St. Irenaeus is still a subject of debate for scholars interested in the early Christianity. In recent years, it has become increasingly obvious that the Bishop of Lyon was familiar with the works of St. Justin and St. Theophilus and that these authors played an important role in his theological vision. We believe, however, that this effort of evaluation has not sufficiently highlighted the importance of the two apologists for the development of St. Irenaeus’ anthropological perspective. In this paper, we aim to show that certain concepts essential to the Bishop of Lyons’ vision on human being, such as recapitulation, deification, growth from childhood to maturity, can be found in the works of St. Justin and St. Theophilus respectively. This ingraining of the anthropological thought of St. Irenaeus into the work of the early writers is important for a correct assessment of the Bishop of Lyons’ contribution to the development of Christian theology and for understanding the specifics of his method and his belief that true faith is built on Scripture and Church tradition.
Keywords: Apologists, Irenaeus of Lyons, Justin Martyr, Theophilus of Antioch, anthropology, recapitulation, deification.

Mark J. EDWARDS, Ancient Christianity and the End of Sacrifice. Jurnal teologic Vol 21, Nr 3 (2022): 117-143.
University of Oxford, United Kingdom

After the civic rituals fell into disuse, the book replaced the altar as the centerpiece of religious practice. This study explores this process of transition from altar offerings to word, by tracing the evolution of Christian thought on the topic of sacrifice. The first section argues that the church before Constantine was opposed to sacrifice on both philosophical and exegetical grounds. Early Christian authors such as Justin and Athenagoras vehemently rejected pagan sacrifices, claiming that they were the invention of fallen angels or demons lurking behind idols. The second section argues that the philosophic case against sacrifice was still endorsed by Christian writers of the Constantinian era. Various pagan philosophers have shown that beasts were not a fit offering to the gods, who would not have even expected anything from the humans. The third section gives reasons for attributing the rise of a sacrificial understanding of the eucharist to Constantine’s patronage of the Church. Although we cannot say that the Church in the age of Constantine saw the eucharist or the Easter festival as an offering rather than a commemoration, the privileges that the emperor granted to the bishops added to their prestige and, at the same time, made the liturgy increasingly sacerdotal in its character. In the final section, it is suggested that the eradication of sacrifice did not entail the eradication of violence from religious discourse and practice.
Keywords: ancient Christianity, age of Constantine, sacrifice, eucharist, violence, Christian writings.