5 Reasons to Believe Jesus Christ Rose from the Dead

What? Are you serious? Who’d believe this in our modern world? You’d have to think the gospels are inspired by God or something like that, and they’re a bunch of myths!”

To the contrary, I will assume nothing special about the New Testament writings whatsoever. I will use only the historical information that is accepted as historical by virtually all scholars who have studied this material today — no matter how skeptical or liberal they are. That means, for example, that I will only cite New Testament passages, ones that pass the customary skeptical standards and are recognized as such.

Using only these “minimal facts,” I will still maintain that Jesus’ resurrection is the most likely explanation for what we know.

Consider just the following details that the vast majority of skeptical scholars allow:

1. Most scholars agree that Jesus’ tomb was discovered empty shortly afterwards.

With almost two dozen reasons favoring this report alone, what best explains this? Other hypotheses do not account for all the data.

2. Many eyewitnesses assert that they saw the risen Jesus, both individually and in groups.

Even apart from the Gospels, we can establish this totally from just two passages in Paul’s “undisputed writings”:

–Paul told the Corinthians that he had received the  resurrection report from others (1 Corinthians 15:1-8).

–The consensus critical view is that Paul probably obtained this material in Jerusalem, when he visited the eyewitness apostles Peter and James, the brother of Jesus (Galatians 1:18-24).

–Paul returned to Jerusalem 14 years later and specifically checked out the nature of the Gospel message, again with eyewitnesses Peter, James, and now John (Galatians 2:1-10).

–All the apostles agreed that Jesus appeared to them after his death (1 Corinthians 15:11).

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3. Scholars also agree that Paul received this material from the other apostles at an exceptionally early date — only about five years after the crucifixion.

But since the others knew the reports before Paul did, we are right back to the events themselves. Even one of the best-known critical scholars today, non-Christian specialist Bart Ehrman, dates several Christian traditions as early as just a year or two after the crucifixion!

4. But why should we believe that these eyewitnesses were being honest? We have first century sources that the three apostles mentioned above were all martyred: Paul, Peter, and James the brother of Jesus.

Of course, people die for all sorts of ideas, but only for what they are convinced is true. But unlike others, the apostles were in a position to know whether or not they had seen Jesus Christ alive after his death. By being willing to die, scholars agree that they were convinced that Jesus had indeed appeared to them. At the very least, this addresses their honesty and conviction.

5. Of these eyewitnesses, Paul was a persecutor of the early Christians, and James was an unbeliever.

Skeptical scholars accept this in both cases. But why did they become believers? Again, they were certainly in a position to know whether the risen Jesus had appeared to them.

But aren’t the gospels full of myths? I don’t think that claim can be substantiated at all, but that’s another subject. Notice that we didn’t use the gospels here. We only used texts that are accepted by virtually all scholars who have studied these events in detail. As Ehrman points out, the pagan dying and rising gods motif has many serious problems and cannot be used to argue some sort of copycat theory by the early Christian apostles.

Altogether, these five reasons are each based on a well-evidenced foundation, built on texts that are accepted as historical by virtually all scholars, whatever their religious persuasion. Readers who choose to reject them must consider whether they are doing so for other than factual reasons.

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Failure within the Christian Life

William Lane Craig

Personal reflections on how God can use failure in your life.

I have been a Christian for over thirty years. I estimate that in my Christian lifetime I have attended upward of a couple of thousand church services, hundreds of chapels at Wheaton College, and scores of Christian meetings at retreats, conferences, and so on, held by Campus Crusade and other groups. Yet during this entire time I have never once—not a single time in the thousands of meetings over some thirty-odd years—heard a speaker address the subject of failure. In fact, I probably would not myself have reflected seriously on the topic if it had not been for a crushing failure that drove me to face the problem personally.

The lack of treatment of this subject on the part of Christian speakers is not due to any lack of importance in the subject. Any Christian who has failed at some time knows how devastating the experience can be and the questions it raises: Where is God? How could He let this happen? Am I outside His will? What do I do now? Does God really care or exist?Those are agonizing questions. What is the meaning of failure for a Christian?

In addressing this problem, it seems to me that we need first to distinguish two types of failure: failure in the Christian life and failure in the life of a Christian. By failure in the Christian life, I mean a failure in a believer’s relationship and walk with God. For example, a Christian might experience disappointment and failure due to a refusal to heed God’s calling, or by succumbing to temptation, or through marrying a non-Christian. Failure of this type is due to sin. It is essentially a spiritual problem, a matter of moral and spiritual failure.

By contrast, failure in the life of a Christian is unrelated to spiritual considerations. It is not due to sin in the life of a believer. It is just some defeat a person who happens to be a Christian experiences in his day-to-day life. For example, a Christian businessman might go bankrupt, a Christian athlete might see his boyhood dreams shattered when he fails to make the major leagues, a Christian student might flunk out of school despite his best efforts to succeed, or a Christian workingman might find himself unemployed and unable to find a job. Such cases are not instances of failure in a person’s walk with God but instances of failure in the ordinary course of life. They just happen to occur in the lives of people who are Christians.

In his best-selling book Failure: The Back Door to Success, Erwin Lutzer deals with the distinction I am trying to make here. He attributes failure in the Christian life to lust of the flesh (sexual gratification), pride of life (egoism), or lust of the eyes (covetousness). Failure in the life of a Christian that is not related to those elements is just part of life. Lutzer finds no particular difficulty with the second type of failure, but he does find the first kind of failure problematic. He writes:

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Hugh Ross on FOX NEW's "Spirited Debate" with Lauren Green


 

Watch Dr. Ross' recent interview with Fox News Channel’s chief religion correspondent Lauren Green on her show Spirited Debate. Hugh and Lauren address the question "Does science support the Book of Genesis?" Click here to watch this exciting interview now!

God, Evil, and the Rules of Logic

Dr. Craig,

I love your work and all that you do! I believe you are one of the chief defenders of our faith today. I am a missionary about to begin living in England and am preparing myself for the questions I may be asked.

As a mental exercise I like to ask myself questions about my faith that I feel may one day be asked by an atheist or agnostic. I sometimes run down a rabbit trail of thought that I myself cannot come up with a satisfactory answer. Today, I bring you one of those rabbit trails. In your discussions on the problem of evil you often argue that a world of beings with free-will that choose to follow God and negate all suffering may not be "feasible" for God to create. Although, it does seem logically impossible to create a being that is free but only chooses the correct path, it occurs to me that God himself created logic. Why should he be subject to the rules of logic? Can God not do anything? As far as I understand God created all things that exist. He is the ultimate entity. Thus, can he not create a free being that follows him no matter what? Sure, to my human understanding that is impossible. But with God all things are possible. Could he not have created a world where freedom of choice and ultimate happiness co-exist?

This is a question that keeps me up at night. God himself created reason and logic. Why is he subservient to it? Am I missing something here? I hope you can take the time to respond to this question that currently plagues me. Either way, thank you for all that you do and I pray that you know you have made a great difference in many lives!

Dylan

 

United States


Click HERE to read Dr. Craig's answer

"HUMAN BIOLOGY - Darwin or Design?" - A Downloadable Presentation!

Take a look at a presentation I recently gave to a group of about 20 doctors, medical students, and hospital faculty.  It is an examination of the scientific viability of Darwinism (materialistic evolution) as compared with Design (intelligent engineering of biological life).

Each section was interspersed with videos from "The Case for a Creator" (not included) and afterwards there was a 30 minute Question and Answer time.  Download it and customize it according to your liking....and then YOU go share it with someone too!  Email it, Facebook it, or show it to some one on your phone or tablet over coffee.

We have the evidence and the proof of God's existence and reality....go share the Truth!

Pastor J - IntelligentFaith315.com