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by David Roach, posted Thursday, March 29, 2018 (15 hours in the past)


NASHVILLE (BP) — Did Jesus actually rise from the useless?

It’s a query requested and answered every Easter in information studies, tv documentaries and private conversations. This yr, two Southern Baptists who prepare others to defend the religion have supplied their ideas on the easiest way to reply.

Rob Phillips, who leads apologetics for the Missouri Baptist Convention, pointed to the “minimal facts argument,” which defends the resurrection utilizing solely evidence “considered virtually undeniable,” even by skeptics. Stephen Wellum, a theology professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, mentioned evidence for the resurrection at all times have to be coupled with a proof of the resurrection’s significance throughout the Christian worldview.

Phillips informed Baptist Press the minimal info argument is “a compelling case for the resurrection” within the 21st century as a result of “there appears to be such a high level of skepticism today about the Bible in general and about its recorded miracles in particular.”

Citing Liberty University apologist Gary Habermas, Phillips famous two necessities for a “minimal fact”: “First, each fact must be confirmed by several strong and independent arguments, typically 10 or more historical confirmations. Second, the vast majority of scholars — even liberal Christian scholars, non-Christian scholars and atheists — must recognize the occurrence’s historical nature.”

Phillips recognized six such “minimal facts” that assist a perception in Christ rising from the useless bodily:

— “Jesus died by crucifixion;

— “Very quickly after His demise, His followers had actual experiences that they thought had been precise appearances of the risen Jesus;

— “Their lives had been remodeled consequently, even to the purpose of being prepared to die particularly for his or her religion within the resurrection message;

— “These issues had been taught very early, quickly after the crucifixion;

— “James, Jesus’ unbelieving brother, turned a Christian resulting from his personal expertise with whom he believed to be the resurrected Christ;

— “The Christian persecutor Paul … turned a believer after an identical expertise.”

Phillips concluded, “These ‘minimal info’ come not solely from a number of eyewitnesses as recorded in Scripture, however from quite a few non-biblical sources — even sources hostile to Christianity. While there may be overwhelming evidence to assist these historic occasions, our purpose as followers of Jesus will not be essentially to win a debate or to get within the final phrase.

“Rather, it is to offer a winsome testimony of the resurrected Christ with whom we have an unbreakable relationship, and to encourage our listeners to trust Him for everlasting life,” Phillips mentioned in written feedback.

Houston Baptist University apologetics professor Lee Strobel defined in his ebook “The Case for Christ” why the info Phillips cited are nearly indeniable. In February, Strobel offered a few of his analysis for an HBU apologetics simulcast.

In “The Case for Christ,” Strobel reviewed the medical evidence for Jesus’ demise on the cross with doctor and analysis scientist Alexander Metherell, who concluded the concept that Jesus did not really die on the cross is “a fanciful theory without any possible basis in fact.” Strobel additionally famous a “staggering” quantity of first-century testimony from individuals who claimed to have seen the risen Christ — an excessive amount of testimony for it to have been hallucination.

“If you were to call each one of the witnesses to a court of law to be cross-examined for just fifteen minutes,” Strobel wrote, “and you went around the clock without a break, it would take you from breakfast on Monday until dinner on Friday to hear them all. After listening to 129 straight hours of eyewitness testimony, who could possibly walk away unconvinced?”

After additionally noting circumstantial evidence for the resurrection and evidence that Christ’s tomb was empty on Easter morning, Strobel concluded Jesus really did rise from the useless. “If my conclusion in the case for Christ is correct,” he wrote within the ebook, “your future and your eternity hinge on how you respond to Christ.”

Wellum, professor of Christian theology at Southern, mentioned “the evidence for the resurrection is well known and it consists of three interlocking pieces: 1) the fact of the empty tomb, 2) the resurrection appearances of Christ and 3) the transformation of the disciples and the establishment of the church. This data is interlocking since one piece of the data without the others would not provide a good case.”

However, Wellum informed BP in written feedback, “it is not the mere fact of the resurrection alone that is important but the meaning.”

“The skeptic can still always admit that Christ may have been risen from the dead without thinking that His resurrection has universal significance,” Wellum mentioned. “Maybe Christ’s resurrection is one of those strange events that occur from time to time in history. After all, given the non-Christian’s worldview, they will look at even the ‘fact’ of the resurrection within their overall worldview.”

Within the Christian worldview, Wellum mentioned, Christ’s resurrection “demonstrates at least three truths”:

— “By Christ’s death and resurrection, death has been destroyed because as the Lord and Messiah, He has come to reverse the effects of sin, death and destruction (e.g., Hebrews 2:14-18).”

— “Christ’s resurrection demonstrates that salvation has been accomplished … that sin[‘s penalty] has been paid and thus the power of death has been broken.”

— “Christ’s resurrection demonstrates that judgment has come and will come to this world (Acts 17:31). Because of the resurrection, all humanity will be judged by Jesus Christ.”

Christians should present that their clarification of the resurrection makes extra sense than different explanations, Wellum mentioned.

“The significance of the resurrection of Jesus cannot be properly understood as simply an isolated phenomenon of brute power, or a freak accident of nature which belongs to Ripley’s Believe It or Not. The resurrection is not a strange or isolated event which has no intelligible links to the past and no relationship to the future,” Wellum mentioned.

“Rather, the significance of the resurrection and the context in which to understand the death and resurrection of Jesus is the Old Testament Scriptures,” he mentioned. “For Jesus’ Messianic death and resurrection is the fulfillment of the plan of God to bring about both redemption and judgment. It is not an accident of nature, but the result of God’s plan, purposes and intention.”

Images courtesy of the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives

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