The facts that make for a compelling argument
It is true that we are to “walk by faith and not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7), but God in His mercy has provided an abundance of evidence to help the skeptical to believe. Yes, in our spiritual walk faith must prevail, but with our easy access to scholarly research and historic records, it is possible to carefully consider the archeological evidence, the textual evidence, the historical evidence and the prophetic evidence and make a reasoned, intelligent decision regarding whether or not the Gospel record is true.
I believe God has provided this evidence not only so that we can be confident in our faith, but also so that we can provide a powerful defense for the faith. There is a growing tide of skepticism and hostility toward Christianity in our world. Yet, Christians are called to impact the world for Christ and persuade individuals to believe. (2 Cor. 5:11). it is not enough to simply state what we believe—it is important to be able to articulate why we believe what we believe.
God created humanity with the ability to reason, and has provided compelling reasons to believe. God helps humanity to believe. Further, God expects believers to defend the faith (Philippians 1:16), to study and know how to share His truth (2 Timothy 2:15), and to be prepared to give “every man an answer…” (1 Peter 3:15).
My prayer is that this teaching video, and the study notes presented below, will embolden faith and better position God’s people to be powerful defenders of the faith.
STUDY NOTES FOR THE TEACHING ON EVIDENCE FOR THE RESURRECTION
A great fallacy or a great fulfillment of prophecy?
“…The things whichGod announced beforehand by the mouth of the prophets, that…Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled.” (Acts 3:18)
- The probability of one person fulfilling less than have of the prophecies is in in a trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion…Equal to the number of atoms in a trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, billion universes the size of our universe.” (From the Case For Christ by Lee Strobel)
- 1 Cor. 15:3-7
THE UNIQUENESS OF THE STORY
- There were others who claimed to be the Messiah
- Theudas:At some point between 44 and 46 AD, Theudas claimed to be the Messiah and led several thousand in a short-lived revolt.
- The Egyptian(52-58 AD): Josephus writes, “There was an Egyptian false prophet…and [he] got together 30,000 men that were deluded by him; these he led…to the Mount of Olives. He was ready to break into Jerusalem by force…and conquer the Roman garrison…”
- John of Gischala(67 AD): Some note that he led more than 6000 in an uprising against the Romans—enlisting support with Messianic-type rhetoric. He and his followers were killed during the siege and fall of Jerusalem (70AD).
- Parallels in mythology
- Adonis and Attis
Argument #1 (There is no God or higher power)
- Victor J. Stenger, author of Not By Design, and Emeritus Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Hawaii promotes the idea of creation ex nihilo
- Intelligent design is accepted in the science community
- Nobel prize winners Albert Einstein and Donald Page
- Nobel Laureate Arno Penzias
- Astrophysicist Hugh
- MIT Physicist Lisa Dyson
- Stanford Physicist Leonard Susskind
Argument #2: Jesus, by himself or aided by a group, lived a kind of scripted life designed to put him in the right place at the right time in order to fulfill prophecy.
- Triumphal Entry (the crowd response)
- The Betrayal (The Sanhedrin’s offer of 30 pieces of silver)
- Place of his birth and census
- Soldiers gamble for his clothing
- No bones broken
- The probability of one man fulfilling less than have of the Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament is one in a trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion.
- Acts 3:18
Argument #3 (There was no crucifixion)
- Crucifixions were generally mass events.
- Crucifixions of Jews were not done on or near religious Festivals.
- On Emmaus road (Luke 24:13-18).
- The book of Acts notes phenomenal responses to early invitations to, at great cost, become followers of Christ.
- Non-Christian testimonies:
- Mara Bar-Serapion,
- Josephus: “He was the Messiah. And when upon the accusation of the principal men among us, Pilate had condemned him to a cross…He appeared to them spending a third day restored to life, for the prophets of God had foretold these things…”
Argument #4 (Jesus was crucified, but did not die on the cross)
- Celsus wrote that Jesus was put into a drug-induced coma to simulate death and that the teachings of Scripture are absurd (178AD).
- The Gospel of Barnabas: Someone was crucified but it was not Jesus.
- The Koran suggests that Jesus never really died on the cross.
- In the 19th century, Karl Bahrdt and Karl Venturini suggested Jesus fainted and was later revived.
- Adherents of this position point out that the Gospels note Jesus was given some liquid on a sponge while on the cross (Mark 15:36) and that Pilate seemed surprised at how quickly Jesus had died (Mark 15:44).
- Roman knew how to kill
- Jesus was scourged
- Jesus manifested signs consistent with hypovolemic shock
- The “blood and the water flowed” (John 19:34)
Argument #5 (Jesus died but there was no resurrection)
- Historians note that the general rule was to NOT remove individuals from crosses, and that many were tied to crosses.
- Professor Guigneberg (Jesus).
- John Dominic (The Jesus Seminar).
- “Jewish leadership, fearing Jesus’ promise of resurrecting on the third day, petitioned Pilate to place guards at the tomb, and on the third day, paid guards to say they fell asleep and that the disciples removed the body.”
- Polybius notes the punishment for a Roman soldier falling asleep at their post was death.
- The crucifixion and resurrection were central, foundational tenants of the New Testament Church (Acts 2:22, 32; 26:26).
- Paul quotes an early creed (1 Cor. 15:3-7)
- Clement (59)
- Polycarp (69-155)
- Irenaeus (185)
- Tertullian (200)
- Eusebius (285)
- In all, 42 authors, nine of them secular, mention Jesus, the cross and the resurrection within 125 years of the cross.
Argument #6 (All that happened, was an accident or miscalculation)
- The Gospel Of Judas suggests that Jesus longed for death, wanted to be a martyr, and appointed Judas to be the new leader. ‘You will exceed all of them. For you will sacrifice the man…’
- Jesus spoke often and clearly about the events of this weekend
- 12:38-40, 16:21, 17:9,22-23, 20:18-19, 26:32, 27:63
- Mark 8:31-9:1, 9:10,31, 10:32-34, 14:28,58
- Luke 9:22-27
- John 2:18-22, 12:34, chapters 14-16
Argument #7 (Many lives were fundamentally changed)
- Peter is a different man after the resurrection.
- Saul/Paul, Luke, CS Lewis, Josh McDowell, Lee Strobel.
- Ignatius: Thrown to wild beasts in the colosseum at Rome in 115 AD.
- By the end of the first century there were 25,000 martyrs. By the end of the fourth century, there was 1.95 million martyrs.
With regard to differing accounts of resurrection day events…
- Michael Martin of Boston University wrote, “In summary, the accounts of what happened at the tomb are either inconsistent or can only be made consistent with the aid of implausible interpretations.”
- Number of women at the tomb: (2), Mark (3), Luke (5), John (1)
- Information regarding who was at the tomb does not seem to be consistent in the biblical narrative.
- Consider: When and where the encounter took place
- Variation on secondary issues increases validity
- Emphasizing the testimony of women increases validity
- Acts 2:32 / John 16:31
- Believe (Romans 10:9-10)
- Acknowledge (Rom. 3:23)
- Confess (1 John 1:9)
- Give God your heart (Proverbs 23:26 / Matthew 22:37)
- Obey (1 John 5:3, 13:17)
- Live a life worthy of your calling (Eph. 4:1)
- New Evidence That Demands A Verdict by Josh McDowell
- The Case For Faith by Lee Strobel
- The Case For Christ by Lee Strobel
- The Case For The Resurrection by Gary Habermas & Michael Licona
- A Ready Defense by Josh McDowell
- When Skeptics Ask by Geisler Brooks