In an earlier post, I had said that I found the testimony of the disciples, even to their death, to be one of the more convincing evidences of the reality of the resurrection of Jesus.
Needless to say, I was greatly interested when I found reference to the use of this argument which dated back to the early 300’s AD. It was then that Eusebius of Caesarea wrote his Demonstratio Evangelica (Proof of the Gospel) in which he provided many positive arguments for the truth of Christianity, including the credibility of the disciples’ testimony.
He fleshes out his arguments in this area in the fifth chapter of the third book, including one portion where he imagines the conversation that would have been needed had the disciples and others determined to enter into a conspiracy to lie about the teachings and resurrection of Jesus. It goes like this (in part):
… we [the disciples] must insist that he really did and said what we never saw him do, or heard him say. But since his last end was a notorious and well-known death, as we cannot disguise the fact, yet we can slip out even of this difficulty by determination, if quite shamelessly we bear witness that he joined us after his resurrection from the dead, and shared our usual home and food. Let us all be impudent and determined, and let us see that our freak lasts even to death. There is nothing ridiculous in dying for nothing at all. And why should we dislike for no good reason undergoing scourging and bodily torture, and if need be to experience imprisonment, dishonour, and insult for what is untrue? Let us now make this our business. We will tell the same falsehoods, and invent stories that will benefit nobody, neither ourselves, nor those we deceive, nor him who is deified by our lies. And we will extend our lies not only to men of our own race, but go forth to all men, and fill the whole world with our fabrications about him.
None of us must fail in zeal; for it is no petty contest that we dare, and no common prizes lie before us – but most likely the punishments inflicted according to the laws of each land: bonds, of course, torture, imprisonment, fire and sword, and wild beasts. We must greet them all with enthusiasm, and meet evil bravely … what could be finer than to make both gods and men our enemies for no reason at all, and to have no enjoyment of any kind, to have no profit of our dear ones, to make no money, to have no hope of anything good at all, but just to be deceived and to deceive without aim or object?
Not only does Eusebius provide some great arguments in this work but, in the case quoted above, he provides us with a great example of how creative elements can be used effectively to make an apologetic point.
On incorporating creativity and apologetics, Craig J. Hazen wrote:
If you have creative gifts and a passion for Christ and for lost people, and if you are willing to drink deeply at the well of timeless Christian knowledge, the impact of your fresh apologetic work will be felt far and wide – perhaps for generations to come. (Apologetics for a New Generation, p. 108)
Perhaps this is something we tend to overlook, but creativity and the arts have definite a place in communicating the truth; yes, even in apologetics.