Friday, November 21, 2014

CCS SLEW -- "Can I Believe The Resurrection Actually Happened?"

The truth of the resurrection is a key -- if not the key -- central issue of the Christian faith. If it's not true, Jesus is a fraud, the New Testament is a fiction, and Christianity is a false religion that we would all be fools to believe in.

This isn't my opinion. It's Paul's:
[1 Corinthians 15:12-19] -- But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.
Sounds like it might be a pretty important point, doesn't it? No one wants to be a fool, and none of us should ever claim to be a follower of a false religion.

Here is a short summary of some important facts about the resurrection. Take a listen but know there is more to it than this:

The Minimal Facts Approach

First, understand that no contemporary civilization at that time believed in the idea that a single person could die and be resurrected in time. None of them. This point is made in a very powerful (and long) analysis done by theologian N.T. Wright in his massive volume, The Resurrection of the Son of God.

So, in that kind of environment, defenders of Christianity refer to a way to understand the truth and historical reality of the resurrection as "The Minimal Facts Approach" and it is this. There are five central facts about the historicity of the resurrection that even opponents of Christianity admit are true:

1.  Jesus died by crucifixion on a Roman cross
2.  Jesus disciples believed that he rose and appeared to them
  • They claimed it (Paul, oral tradition, written tradition)
  • They believed it (7 ancient sources attest to their willingness to suffer and die for it)
3.  The church persecutor Paul was suddenly changed
4.  The skeptic James, brother of Jesus, was suddenly changed and became the leader of the church in Jerusalem
5.  The Empty tomb

There is plenty of evidence to support each one of these facts. Something happened to cause each of them to occur and that something has to explain all of them, not just some. The only plausible explanation that fits all five is that Jesus really did resurrect bodily exactly as the Bible says He did.

This is a very powerful argument and you can read more about it in this very accessible book:
The Case For The Resurrection of Jesus, by Gary Habermas and Michael R. Licona

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