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Evidence for the Resurrection

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Authorized use:

This presentation is for use by non-profit organizations (non-profit would be considered any entity possessing a 501(c)3 designation; churches, some private schools, denominational entities, etc).  The ministry of "Confident Christianity" asks that you please include an acknowledgement if you should choose to utilize this presentation for more than personal viewing.

Thank you

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Evidence for the Resurrection

Prepared by

Mary Jo Sharp

for

Confident Christianity Apologetics Ministry


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“There’s actually no historical evidence that isn’t a hotly disputed item within the field of history to prove that he ever was even a man, much less the Son of God.”

– Kelly, Rational Response Squad

ABC’s Nightline Face-Off


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Is belief in Jesus Christ comparable to the belief in:

Not Even Close!


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Resurrection …

Foundation

of

Christianity


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Resurrection …

If Christ was not raised than your faith is useless

I Cor. 15:14


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Resurrection …

If Christ was not raised we are false witnesses

I Cor. 15:15


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Resurrection …

The resurrection is the best explanation for the available facts


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The Minimal

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Using the Bible as a historical document

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Definition:

They must be strongly evidenced.

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They must be strongly evidenced:

1) multiple, independent sources

2) enemy testimony

3) principle of embarrassment

4) eyewitness testimony

5) early testimony

The Minimal

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Definition:

They must be acknowledged by the vast majority of scholars.

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They must be acknowledged by the vast majority of scholars.

Dr. Gary Habermas, Liberty University

Complied 1400* scholarly sources of resurrection writings from 1975 to the present, whether the scholar was atheist, skeptic, liberal, or conservative.

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Not saying:

these facts prove historically the resurrection.

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I am saying:

the best explanation of these historical facts, when combined, is a resurrection.

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The Minimal

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Minimal Fact #1

Jesus died by Roman Crucifixion

1) Recorded in all four Gospels

2) Non-Christian sources

- Josephus, Jewish Historian

- Tacitus, Roman Historian

- Lucian of Samosata, Greek Satirist

- Mara Bar-Serapion, Syrian prisoner

- the Jewish Talmud


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Minimal Fact #1

Jesus died by Roman Crucifixion

3) Jesus’ death is one of the most well-attested events of ancient history

“That he was crucified is as sure as anything historical can ever be.”

- John Dominic Crossan, “Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography” pg.145


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Minimal Facts Approach

Review: The Facts

1) Jesus died by Roman Crucifixion

Gary Habermas, Mike Licona. The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus. Kregel Publications. pgs. 70-74


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Minimal Fact #2

Jesus’ tomb was empty

1) Jerusalem factor

2) Enemy testimony

3) Testimony of women

Gary Habermas, Mike Licona. The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus. Kregel Publications. pgs. 70-74


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Minimal Fact #2

Jesus’ tomb was empty

1) Jerusalem factor

- Why not go get the body, drag it through the streets, and shut down the Christian movement?

- No defense of a body in the tomb by the early church fathers

- It would have been impossible for Christianity to begin in Jerusalem if the body were still in the grave


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Minimal Fact #2

Jesus’ tomb was empty

2) Enemy Testimony

- If testimony about an event or person is given by a source who does not sympathize with the person, message, or cause then there is reason to believe the testimony is true


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Minimal Fact #2

Jesus’ tomb was empty

2) Enemy Testimony

Sources:

  • Justin Martyr’s Dialogue with Trypho 108

  • Tertullian’s Spectacles 30

  • Jewish Toledoth – “he was not in his grave”

  • Matthew 28: 11-15 "You are to say, 'His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.‘”


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Minimal Fact #2

Jesus’ tomb was empty

3) Testimony of women

- Principle of embarrassment

- Testimony of a woman not as highly regarded as a man, especially the more serious the issue

- Odd invention for the writers of the New Testament to make women the first witnesses


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Minimal Facts Approach

Review: The Facts

1) Jesus died by Roman Crucifixion

2) Jesus’ tomb was empty

Gary Habermas, Mike Licona. The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus. Kregel Publications. pgs. 70-74


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Minimal Fact #3

Jesus appeared to the disciples

1) Jesus’ disciples sincerely believed he rose and appeared to them

2) The disciples transformed from frightened, hiding individuals to bold witnesses of the resurrection


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Minimal Fact #3

Jesus appeared to the disciples

1) Jesus’ disciples sincerely believed he rose and appeared to them

- Established by primary evidence: Peter, Paul, and John wrote what they personally witnessed

- Established by Paul who wrote about the appearances to the disciples: 1 Cor. 15:10-11 (some of the earliest material)

  • Established by the written tradition, including the Gospels and works of the apostolic and early church fathers (Origen, Polycarp, Tertullian)


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Minimal Fact #3

“Written Tradition”

Are there any writings that follow the Gospels, and the writings of Peter, John, and Paul?

Yes...

And these writings help confirm our facts!


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Didache, Clement of Rome, The Shepherd of Hermas, Ignatius, Polycarp, Diognetus

Papias, Quadratus of Athens, Aristides, Justin Martyr, Claudius Apollinaris, Minucius Felix, Melito of Sardis, Hegesippus, Dionysius of Corinth, Athenagoras of Athens, Irenaeus of Lyons, Rhodon, Theophilus of Caesarea, Theophilus of Antioch, Maximus of Jerusalem, Polycrates of Ephesus, Pantaenus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Serapion of Antioch, Apollonius, Caius, Hippolytus of Rome, Origen


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Minimal Fact #3

Jesus appeared to the disciples

2) The disciples transformed from frightened, hiding individuals to bold witnesses of the resurrection

- Willingness to endure suffering, persecution, martyrdom

- Jim Jones, David Koresh, Muslims versus the disciples’ post-resurrection proclamation of Jesus as God

  • Nearly all scholarship agree that the disciples had experiences of the risen Jesus that transformed their life….now we have to explain why


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Minimal Facts Approach

Review: The Facts

1) Jesus died by Roman Crucifixion

2) Jesus’ tomb was empty

3) Jesus appeared to the disciples

Gary Habermas, Mike Licona. The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus. Kregel Publications. pgs. 70-74


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Minimal Fact #4

Jesus appeared to skeptics and foes

1) Paul - Saul of Tarsus, a Pharisee

2) James - Jesus’ brother

- Both were unbelievers before the resurrection of Jesus

  • Both became believers after an experience of the risen Jesus, following Jesus’ crucifixion

- Neither had good reason to convert!


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Minimal Facts Approach

Review: The Facts

1) Jesus died by Roman Crucifixion

2) Jesus’ tomb was empty

3) Jesus appeared to the disciples

4) Jesus appeared to skeptics/foes

Gary Habermas, Mike Licona. The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus. Kregel Publications. pgs. 70-74


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Historians look for the hypotheses that best fit the available facts.


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The hypothesis that fits all the facts is the best explanation.

The hypothesis that fits all the facts is the best explanation.


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Once all the hypotheses have been weighed against the facts, we have confidence in the explanation that outweighs the rest.

Once all the hypotheses have been weighed against the facts, we have confidence in the explanation that outweighs the rest.


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The resurrection of Jesus is the best explanation of the facts!


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Gary Habermas: Skeptics must provide more than alternative theories to the Resurrection; they must provide first-century evidence for those theories.

Norman Geisler, Frank Turek. I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be An Atheist. Crossway Books. Wheaton: 2004. pg. 299.


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May I suggest for further reading:

The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus

Gary Habermas, Mike Licona

I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist

Norman Geisler, Frank Turek


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May I suggest for getting started:

The Case for Christ

Lee Strobel


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Mary Jo Sharp

Seek and proclaim Truth


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