Rhetoric & Homiletics: Easter & Making The Argument

There will be those who preach the resurrection using the arguments of Scripture, and those who will use “feasible and defeasible” (“D/F”) arguments.  A  F/D is more “apologetic” in its approach.  Here is an example of a F/D argument . . . .


Sorry to say, but Watergate proves nothing about the resurrection. 

I understand the point being made, but there have been greater lies told which have persisted for decades.[1] There have also been many men and women who have been tortured and put in prison, who denied the truth of what they said and continued to believe — we, as Americans live in such a sheltered world!

The resurrection is founded in these words  . . . . 

“Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.”

What had He said to them?

So the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?”

Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?”

But He was speaking of the temple of His body.”

It is the words of the Lord Himself, the testimony of the Scriptures (Old & New), and the testimony of the disciples and the apostles, which is the foundation of our sure and certain “hope” in the day of His return and our resurrection — the uniting of our soul and spirit with our body — the full-circle return to a new heavens and new earth which was the original design from creation. [2]

This is not only an example of a F/D argument, but illustrates the fact that an audience may well mentally challenge what a speaker-preacher-teacher is saying.  Apologetics is overrun with F/D arguments.  That does not make them illegitimate or ineffective, but it does mean that they can be mentally argued and dismissed.  

Sermon preparation involves asking what your audience is thinking. 
What are they saying to themselves as they listen?

  • What are some of the “visitors” thinking as they listen to what is being said?
  • If I were them, “sitting in church” this morning, what am I saying to myself?
  • Where would I be pushing back were I them this morning?
  • What would make me more open to listening and responding?
  • What wouldn’t be effective — at all — if I were him/her?

1. We could list out the lies which have been propagated for decades, even in our contemporary world.  As we were talking about something (of which I no longer remember), my son made the statement . . . . “Yea like the fake pictures of America landing on the moon.”  I was taken back that this was still going around and believed. “No, no, — It is a lie that it was a faked moon landing.  American astronauts did land on the moon,” I said.  Interestingly, I am not sure I convinced him at all.

2. Yes, the listener can also argue with the truthfulness, veracity, and authority of Scripture — but at least their argument is with the Word of God . . . .

“You don’t have to believe the Scriptures, but you cannot say that the Scriptures, Old and New, does not teach a day of resurrection founded on the literal, bodily resurrection of Jesus, who is the first-fruits of a coming day.  You cannot say that he never taught that truth or that his disciples and the apostles did not believe and teach it as foundational to the Gospel.  You are free to conclude that the apostles and His disciples were liars, and in fact, that He Himself was a complicit liar and fraud!”


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