The Resurrection of Jesus Christ demonstrates the power of the Son of God in conquering death, in atoning for mankind's sins, and in fulfilling prophecy.
The great Jewish rabbi and Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:
3For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 5And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: 6After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. 7After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. 8And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. 9For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 11Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed. 12Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 14And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 15Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. 16For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 17And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 20But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. 24Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
Here, theologians throughout the ages discuss the historical fact of the Resurrection, reflect upon the power of the Resurrection, and what it means for all of us.
English clergyman. Read more about Arnold here and here.
It assures us of God, that He loves us, and will love us for ever. To those who think upon it fully, it does become the real sign from heaven which
was required; for it brought God into the world, and the world near to God. " He that hath seen me," said Christ, " hath seen the Father, and how
sayest thou then, shew us the Father?"
But it is the remarkable part of this our Christian sign, that it speaks to us more and more strongly according as we are better and holier. It speaks
strongly as a matter of fact to all of us: the evidence of our Lord's life and death, and resurrection, is of the same sort as that which we rest on in
human matters. Whoever has heard the summing up of a judge on any great trial, will be able to understand what I mean; the jury have heard a
great many witnesses; some of them have perhaps contradicted others, some have stated things very improbable; in a long cause, if the jury are un-
accustomed to what are called the laws or rules of evidence, they may be utterly puzzled what to believe. But it is their business to pass a judgment
in the matter, and therefore they must make up their minds one way or the other. In order to do this, they are glad to listen to the summing
up of the judge. He goes clearly through all the mass of evidence which seemed so contradictory and perplexing; he gives them reasons why such a
witness is to be believed rather than another; how he had better means of knowing the truth, and less temptation to depart from it; how his evidence is
in itself consistent when examined carefully, and has a look of truth about it; and so he shews the jury that they have very good grounds for making
up their minds, and for giving their verdict. Now in this same way the evidence of our Lord's life and death and resurrection may be, and often has
been shewn to be, satisfactory; it is good according to the common rules for distinguishing good evidence from bad. Thousands and ten thousands of persons have gone through it piece by piece, as carefully as ever judge summed up on a most important cause: I have myself done it many times over, not to persuade others, but to satisfy myself. I have been used for many years to study the history of other times, and to examine and weigh the evidence of those who have written about them; and I know of no one fact in the history of mankind, which is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort to the understanding of a fair enquirer, than the great sign which God has given us that Christ died and rose again from the dead.
But where the evidence of other facts ends, that of our great sign of Christ crucified and Christ risen may be said only to begin. I might convince your understandings, as my own has been convinced long since, that the fact is proved according to the best rules of testimony; - but if our belief rest here, we do not yet know the full richness, the abundant and overflowing light of our Christian faith. The evidence of Christ's apostles, preserved to us in the writings, is very strong, very full, very irresistible; hear it fairly, and we cannot believe that Christ is not risen. But the evidence of Christ's Spirit is much more strong, more full, more penetrating our whole
nature. He who has this evidence, not only believes that Christ rose, and was seen of Peter, and of the other Apostles; Christ has manifested Himself to him also; he knows in whom he has believed. Life and death are no longer a great mystery, beyond which our faith dimly catches the light of resurrection; Christ is with us now, and life is clear, and death is peaceful, and resurrection is the natural end to which both lead us. There are thousands and ten thousands who have gone through this blessed evidence also; who, doing Christ's will daily, have learnt by experience the manifold riches of His grace, who have received His Spirit, and live in a continued
consciousness of His presence and His love; to whom there is no need that they should pray for the sky to be opened, that they may see and hear
God. God dwelleth in them already, and they in God. The heaven is opened and the angels of God are every hour ascending and descending on that son of man, who, through a living faith in Christ, has been adopted through Him to be a son of God. So perfectly may the sign of the Prophet Jonah, the sign of Christ's death and resurrection, be rendered to each one of us all that we could desire in the sign from heaven. It may be rendered such by our own prayers and careful living, by which we should draw near to Christ more and
more. This may be done without our going out of the world; what we need is not that, but rather that we should bring Christ's Spirit into the world
to us." pp. 14-17. Sermon II: "The Sign of the Prophet Jonah." January 7, 1838.
(fl. 2nd century)
Apologist. Read more about Athenagoras here and here.
The Apologeticks of the learned Athenian philosopher Athenagoras. I. For the Christian religion. II. For the truth of the Resurrection. Against the scepticks and infidels of that age. Together with a curious fragment of Justin Martyr; And two other fragments: the one attributed to Josephus: the other to Methodius; Done into English, with notes. To which are prefix'd two dissertations by David Humphreys. London, 1714.
The Miraculous element in the Gospels. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1899. 4th edition. 391 pp.; 23 cm.
(TM): This late 19th century work by a prominent scholar provides a careful statement and defense of the supernaturalist position. Bruce frequently addresses the arguments of Strauss and Renan, Schleiermacher and Lessing, and provides both a critique of their positions and a defense of the orthodox position against their objections. With Westcott's Gospel of the Resurrection, it is a useful supplement to the older work of writers like Paley and Chalmers since Bruce is able to take full account of work that became prominent only in the 19th century.
American philosopher, theologian, New Testament historian, and Christian apologist. Read about Craig here and here.
Visions of Jesus: A Critical Assessment of Gerd Lüdemann's Hallucination Hypothesis. "Gerd Lüdemann's provocative hypothesis that early Christian belief in Jesus' resurrection was the product of hallucinatory experiences originally induced by guilt-complexes in Peter and Paul is assessed and contrasted with the traditional resurrection hypothesis in terms of the usual standards of hypothesis testing: explanatory power, explanatory scope, plausibility, ad hoc-ness, accord with accepted beliefs, and superiority to rival hypotheses."
Reply to Evan Fales: On the Empty Tomb of Jesus. From Philosophia Christi, n. 3 (2001): pp. 67-76. "Evan Fales' curious hypothesis that the gospel narratives of the empty tomb are of the genre of mythology and so were not taken to be historical accounts by either their purveyors or their recipients is critically examined. Then Fales's responses to eleven lines of evidence supporting the historicity of the discovery of Jesus' empty tomb are considered."
From Easter to Valentinus and the Apostles' Creed Once More; Examination of James Robinson's Proposed Resurrection Appearance Trajectories. "James Robinson argues that parallel trajectories, springing from primitive Christian experiences of post-resurrection appearances of Christ as a luminous bodily form, issued in the second-century Gnostic understanding of the appearances as unembodied radiance and in the second-century orthodox view of the appearances as non-luminous physical encounter. Examine his four arguments in support of these hypothesized trajectories and find them unconvincing. There is no reason to think that the primitive experiences always involved luminosity or that if they did, this was taken to imply non-physicality. Nor does the evidence support the view that Gnostics rejected corporal or even physical resurrection appearances of Christ."
The Guard at the Tomb. "Matthew's story of the guard at the tomb of Jesus is widely regarded as an apologetic legend. Although some of the reasons given in support of this judgement are not weighty, two are more serious: (1) the story is found only in Matthew, and (2) the story presupposes that Jesus predicted his resurrection and that only the Jewish leaders understood those predictions. But the absence of the story from the other gospels may be due to their lack of interest in Jewish-Christian polemics. There are no good reasons to deny that Jesus predicted his resurrection, in which case the second objection becomes basically an argument from silence. On the positive side, the historicity of the story is supported by two considerations: (1) as an apologetic, the story is not a fail-safe answer to the charge of body-snatching, and (2) a reconstruction of the history of tradition lying behind Jewish-Christian polemic makes the fictitiousness of the guard unlikely."
The Problem Of Miracles; Historical And Philosophical Perspective. "Modern skepticism concerning the gospel miracles first asserted itself by denying the miraculous nature of the events. Soon, however, the historicity of the events themselves was denied. Behind this skepticism lay the broad conception of a Newtonian world-machine, the arguments of Spinoza against the possibility of miracles, and the arguments of Hume against the identification of miracles. Counterpoised to these attacks were the defenses of miracles written by Le Clerc, Clarke, Less, Paley, and others. An assessment of the debate shows that, contra the Newtonian conception, miracles should not be understood as violations of the laws of nature, but as naturally impossible events. Contra Spinoza, admission of miracles would not serve to subvert natural law, and the possibility that a miracle is a result of an unknown natural law is minimized when the miracles are numerous, various, momentous, and unique. Contra Hume, it is question-begging or invalid to claim that uniform experience is against miracles."
The Historicity of the Empty Tomb of Jesus. "An examination of both Pauline and gospel material leads to eight lines of evidence in support of the conclusion "that Jesus's tomb was discovered empty: (1) Paul's testimony implies the historicity of the empty tomb, (2) the presence of the empty tomb pericope in the pre-Markan passion story supports its historicity, (3) the use of 'on the first day of the week' instead of 'on the third day' points to the primitiveness of the tradition, (4) the narrative is theologically unadorned and non-apologetic, (5) the discovery of the tomb by women is highly probable, (6) the investigation of the empty tomb by the disciples is historically probable, (7) it would have been impossible for the disciples to proclaim the resurrection in Jerusalem had the tomb not been empty, (8) the Jewish polemic presupposes the empty tomb."
The Bodily Resurrection of Jesus. "It has been argued on the basis of Paul's testimony that Jesus's resurrection body was spiritual in the sense of being unextended, immaterial, intangible, and so forth. But neither the argument appealing to the nature of Paul's Damascus Road experience nor the argument from Paul's doctrine of the resurrection body supports such a conclusion. On the contrary, Paul's information serves to confirm the gospels' narratives of Jesus's bodily resurrection. Not only is the gospels' physicalism well- founded, but it is also, like Paul's doctrine, a nuanced physicalism."
The Disciples' Inspection of the Empty Tomb. "There are three alternatives concerning the relation of Luke and John's stories of the disciples' inspection of Jesus's empty tomb: (1) Luke is dependent upon John, (2) John is dependent upon Luke, or (3) Luke and John are dependent upon a common tradition. (1) is not a plausible hypothesis because in light of Luke 24:24, a later scribe borrowing from John would have had another disciple accompany Peter. (2) is not plausible in view of the non-Lukan elements in 24:12 which are characteristic of Johannine tradition. Moreover, good grounds exist for positing pre-Lukan tradition. (3) is most plausible in view of its ability to explain all the relevant data, the improbability of Luke's dependence on John, and the improbability of John's dependence on Luke."
A Discourse Concerning the Resurrection of Jesus Christ:In three parts. Wherein I. The consequences of the doctrine are stated hypothetically. II. The nature and obligation of moral evidence are explain'd at large. III. The proofs of the fact of Our Saviour's resurrection are propos'd, examined, and fairly demonstrated to be conclusive. Together with an appendix concerning the impossible production of thought from matter and motion. The 4th edition. London: Printed for J. Batley and T. Cox, 1727. vi, viii, 430 pp.; 21 cm.
Farrar, Adam Storey
A Critical history of free thought in reference to the Christian religion; Eight lectures preached before the University of Oxford, in the year 1862. On the foundation of the late Rev. John Bampton. By Adam Storey Farrar. New York, D. Appleton, 1863. xlvi, 487 pp. 21 cm. Text-searchable. PDF version here. Review here.
(TM): Adam Storey Farrar, fellow of Queen's College, Oxford, delivered his Critical History of Free Thought as a set of eight sermons preached under the auspices of the Bampton Foundation in 1862. The work is a contribution to the history of apologetics and only secondarily to apologetics itself. But for the student of the subject it is an exceptionally valuable performance. Farrar covers the history of attacks on the Christian religion from Lucian, Celsus and Porphyry in the third century through Strauss and Renan in the nineteenth. His erudition is visible on almost every page, particularly with respect to the German literature, and he makes a serious attempt to understand the philosophical systems that lie behind some of the forms that "free thought" have taken across the centuries.
The only modern work in English comparable in scope and execution to Farrar's Critical History is William Lane Craig's The Historical Argument for the Resurrection of Jesus During the Deist Controversy (1985). Anyone with a serious research interest in the history of apologetics needs to obtain these works.
I Believe...In the Resurrection of the Flesh. "Down through the centuries orthodox Christians have always confessed with the Apostles' Creed: 'I believe...in the resurrection of the flesh.' This affirmation of faith in the believer's resurrection is grounded in faith in Christ's resurrection. A major purpose of the latter resurrection was to make possible the former; thus they are both of the same nature (2 Cor. 4:14; 1 Cor. 15:20-23, 48; Phil. 3:21). The two doctrines are therefore interdependent, and will be treated as one doctrine in this article."
Royall Professor of Law, Harvard University, 1834. Doctor of Laws degree by Harvard in 1834, Doctor of Laws by Amherst in 1845, and again from the University of Alabama in 1852. H. W. Howard Knott, Dictionary of American Biography: "While engaged in tutorial work he prepared what was originally intended as a text-book on evidence, published in 1842 as A Treatise on the Law of Evidence. The profession at once hailed it as the ablest extant work on the subject, distinguished alike for its deep learning, clarity of style, and practical utility. He added a second volume in 1846, and a third in 1853. In its completed form it came to be regarded as the foremost American authority, and passed through numerous editions under successive editors." Learn more about Greenleaf here. The Law Magazine: or Quarterly Review of Jurisprudence. London: W. Benning and Co., Law Booksellers, 1845. Events of the Quarter, p. 350. "It is no mean honor to America that her schools of jurisprudence have produced two of the first writers and best esteemed legal authorities of this century-the great and good man, Judge Story, and his worthy and eminent associate, Professor Greenleaf. Upon the existing Law of Evidence more light has shone from the New World than from all the lawyers who adorn the courts of Europe." Disclaimer: Greenleaf is known to have been associated with Freemasonry and was author of A Brief Inquiry into the Origin and Principles of Free Masonry (1820).
The Testimony of the Evangelists. New York: 1874. Text-searchable. HTML version of his primary essay, with hyperlinks to his references. (TM): We are indebted to Simon Greenleaf (1783-1853), professor of Law at Harvard University, for one of the most interesting in the series of apologetic works by lawyers-a tradition that stretches back to Hugo Grotius's Truth of the Christian Religion. Greenleaf's work begins with a short, thought-provoking monograph on the application of the rules of evidence to the gospel accounts, stressing the canons of the ancient document rule and the principles of cross-examination in the evaluation of the testimony of the witnesses to the resurrection. Following this, and filling the bulk of the book in the online editions, there is a very extensive harmony of the gospels, drawn up according to the scheme of Edward Robinson's Harmony of the Four Gospels in Greek, with running commentary in the footnotes dealing with various skeptical objections and doubtful points in the narratives. The book is rounded out with Greenleaf's abridgment of Robinson's essay on the harmonization of the resurrection narratives and an examination of the trial of Jesus. A translation of M. Dupin's response to the critical arguments of Salvator is contained in all editions from the second onward. The copy of the second edition linked here contains Greenleaf's signature.
The North American Review, v. 53, n. 133, October 1846, pp. 382-432. "It is the production of an able and profound lawyer, a man who has grown gray in the halls of justice and the schools of jurisprudence; a writer of the highest authority on legal subjects, whose life has been spent in weighing testimony and sifting evidence, and whose published opinions on the rules of evidence are received as authoritative in all the English and American tribunals; for fourteen years the highly respected colleague of the late Mr. Justice Story, and also the honored head of the most distinguished and prosperous school of English law in the world."
New York Observer, October 24, 1846, p. 170. "The author is a lawyer, very learned in his profession, acute, critical, and used to raising and meeting practical doubts. Author of a treatise on the law of evidence, which has become a classic in the hands of the profession which he adorns, and teacher in one of the Law Seminaries which do honor to our country in the eyes of Europe, he brings rare qualifications for the task he assumes. That he should, with the understanding and from the heart, accept the Gospel as the truth, avow it as his Hope, and seek to discharge a duty to his fellow-men by laying before them the grounds on which he founds this acceptance and this hope, are cheering circumstances to the Christian, and present strong appeals to the indifferent.
The Steam Ship President. From the New York Herald; Philadelphia Inquirer, published as Pennsylvania Inquirer, v. XXIV, n. 134, June 8, 1841, p. 2.
The Steamer President. New Bedford Register (New Bedford, Massachusetts), vol. III, iss. 21; June 16, 1841, p. 1.
Sumner's Evidence of Christianity Derived From Its Nature and Reception -- ch. 10 extract.
Peregrine Bingham. New cases in the Court of Common Pleas, and other courts. With tables of the cases and principal matters. Meath v Winchester. Vol. 3. From Trinity term, 6 William IV. 1836, to Trinity Term, 7 William IV. 1837 ... both inclusive. London, Saunders and Benning, 1837. Extract.
Reports of cases argued and determined in the Court of King's Bench with tables of the names of cases and principal matters by Edward Hyde East. Morewood v Wood. Extract.
Horne's Introduction to the Scriptures -- extract.
Joseph Salvador. The Jewish Account of the Trial of Jesus, plus "The Trial of Jesus Before Caiaphas and Pilate" by M. Dupin, translated by John Pickering, LL.D., Counselor-at-Law, and President of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Magoun, G. F. Address Delivered before the Iowa State Bar Association, at Des Moines, May 17, 1877. Proceedings of the Iowa State Bar Association: Held at Des Moines, Iowa, 1874-1881
By Iowa State Bar Association, A. J. Small, Iowa State Bar Association, Iowa State Bar Association (1874-1881? Compiled by A. J. Small. Published by The Association, 1912. 262 pages. Address first published in 11 Western Jurist, vol. 11, 1877, p. 321.
"One profession in every generation influences everything into which evidence enters, because to itself the art of presenting it is integral. It came about, therefore, naturally, that an American authority in that branch of law, Professor Greenleaf, furnished my own profession an acute and sound treatise on the Testimony of the Four Evangelists to the Christian Religion. And it had come about as naturally that special theological truths should be established by methods not altogether alien to those pursued on secular themes. If there be, besides, any sound analogies between human relations and those disclosed by religion, if governmental relations run upward as well as laterally, - if law as "that rule of action which is prescribed by some superior, and which the inferior is bound to obey," exists in the universal realm of Him who could not be Creator without being Law-Giver and Executive, there could have been no mystery in its becoming "difficult to say whether the religious system of Calvin or the religious system of the Arminians, has been the more marked by legal character."
The Simon Greenleaf Law Review
A publication of the Simon Greenleaf School of Law. Orange, California. Vol. 1 (academic year 1981-82)- v. 7 (academic year 1987-88).; 7 volumes; 21 cm. Succeeding Title: Simon Greenleaf review of law and religion, Anaheim, Calif.: Simon Greenleaf University, Vol. 8 (academic year 1988-1989); 1 volume; 21 cm.
The Simon Greenleaf Law Review. 1986. Volume 6. Extracts.
John Warwick Montgomery. "Editor's Introduction to Volume VI," pp. 1-2.
Edward Carpenter. "The Theological Thought of Thomas Sherlock (1678-1781): Master of the Temple," pp. 31-64.
William Webster. "The Fitness of the Witnesses of the Resurrection of Christ Consider'd; In Answer to the principal Objections against them," pp. 65-98.
William Webster. "The Credibility of the Resurrection of Christ, upon the Testimony of the Apostles," pp. 99-146.
Research Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies at Phoenix Seminary, Arizona in 2001 after teaching at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School for 20 years. Read more about Grudem here.
With Dennis Rainey. Pastoral Leadership for Manhood and Womanhood. Good News Publishers, 2003. 304 pp. As the shepherd of the flock, a pastor has many responsibilities--few as great as leading and training families. The pervasive attitude and beliefs of the world have only added stress and confusion to this task. Sixteen highly regarded men and women help bring clarity and guidance to this important issue. They tackle practical topics such as how and why to preach on biblical manhood and womanhood, putting the Internet to use, church discipline, small groups, and handling domestic violence. They discuss the personal applications within the pastor's marriage, and they examine the biblical views of ministering to singles, homosexuality, leadership and submission, and much more. This compilation is thorough, potent, and a must-have for any pastor's library.
"First, concentrate on the resurrection of Christ. That is the central tenet of the Christian faith. If Christ is still dead in an unmarked grave somewhere, we are powerless to face the onslaughts of evil. But since He arose in great power, he can pour strength into us through the Holy Spirit so we can overwhelmingly conquer all kinds of obstacles (Rom. 8:37). By faith we have the resurrection power of Christ available to empower us (Eph. 1:19-20).
"God broke the bonds of death surrounding Christ like a toothpick. If he could break that mighty grip, He can break whatever binds you. He can break the chains of an illicit affair. His power can liberate you from addiction to sexual lust, whether that takes you to Internet porn or whatever. The Holy Spirit can give you courage to stand for righteousness when all your friends frequent sleazy bars. His guidance is available to establish healthy, moral, and satisfying relationships. His love is far more attractive than the superficial 'love' offered by selfish vultures. When you feel trashed by the world, he will assure you of His love for you and His good, acceptable, and perfect will for your life. You can rise up out of the ashes. Why? Because Christ arose too. His powerful resurrection guarantees you eternal life."
Modern apologist/scholar. Read more about Habermas here.
The subject of this dissertation is the resurrection of Jesus, which is perceived to be the central doctrine of the Christian faith. The subject is treated rationally in regards to the possibility of the resurrection being a historical event.
Research in this topic falls into the realms of three disciples--religion, history and philosophy. The entire question is admittedly most related to Christian theology, but there has also been an upsurge in the amount of interest from contemporary history and philosophy as well. Some of these trends in intellectual thought are also investigated.
This dissertation therefore deals with the problems encountered in a rational approach to the resurrection. As stated above, the main purpose is to endeavor to ascertain if this occurrence can be demonstrated to be historical or not. However, there are other definite implications involved beyond this immediate purpose, for if the resurrection actually happened (or if it did not) this is surely much significance for Christian faith and theology.
The method used is first to investigate some preliminary questions. After studying the importance of the resurrection in contemporary intellectual thought (especially in these three disciplines), the relation of this even (as a claimed miracle) to science an history is examined. Also included is a study of the philosophical problem of reason and faith.
The main format consists of an investigation of three possible intellectual approaches to the resurrection. The first possibility is that this even did not occur literally at all. The second possibility is that it did occur, but that it cannot be demonstrated as such. The third possibility is that the resurrection did occur literally and that it can be demonstrated. It is extremely important to note here that the word "demonstrate" is not used as a synonym for "absolute proof" in this study. To belief that the resurrection can be demonstrated is this a reference to probabilities--that the resurrection is the most probably conclusion in light of the factual evidence.
The view of one primary scholar from each of three categories will be investigated, supplemented by several others who take a similar position regarding the occurrence of this event. One historian (David Hume), one philosopher (Soren Kierkegaard) and one theologian (Wolfhart Pannenberg) are the primary scholars. It is not the overall philosophies of these scholars which are studied, but rather their approach to this occurrence.
Lastly, an evaluation of each of these three possibilities is given. The object here is to ascertain the approach which is best supported by the facts.
The major findings of this study are difficult to summarize briefly because the argument here is a closely-knit one. However, it is concluded first that science and history cannot rule out the miraculous with an investigation. A priori rejections are not possible in view of the modern concepts of science and history. In addition, it is found that an investigation of the facts is needed in order to ascertain if miracles such as the resurrection actually occurred or not. An inductive study of the facts based upon the probability of the findings is thus the proper procedure and the one used here.
The results show that the literal resurrection of Jesus is in all probability a historical fact. Alternate theories are thoroughly investigated as part of the three major possibilities outlined above. It is found that there are no naturalistic views which adequately explain the facts. In addition, there are several strong historical facts which also point to this even. Based upon such probabilities, the resurrection is affirmed as a historical even. There are also certain implications for Christian faith and theology because of this conclusion.
Ancient Evidence for the Life of Jesus. Revised edition. College Press Publishing Company, Incorporated, May 1996. 298 pp. Buy this book here.
This essay concerns some of these most recent scholarly trends regarding the historicity of Jesus' resurrection. I will note the emergence of almost a dozen different alternative theses that are variously suggested or favored by more than forty different scholars, some of whom endorse more than one theory. While some of these works are lesser known or more popularly written, others contain suggestions or assertions held by highly influential authors. There is an interdisciplinary flavor here, as well. Most of the critics are theologians or NT scholars, while a number of them are philosophers, along with a few others from diverse fields.
My effort here will attempt to categorize and list these natural hypotheses, including naming two alternative proposals that have so far eluded any generally recognized appellation. Hopefully, even this broad scholarly demarcation will serve the purpose of calling attention to the current skeptical trend, which may become more helpful if the recent trickle becomes a torrent.
* I have critiqued several versions of these recent naturalistic theories in a number of journal articles. For a detailed response to Evan Fales's rendition of the legend theory, see "On the Resurrection Appearances of Jesus," in Philosophia Christi 2d series/3 (2001): 76-87. Concerning G. A. Wells's form of the legend theory, see "A Summary Critique: Questioning the Existence of Jesus," Christian Research Journal 22 (Spring 2000): 54-56. (For a more detailed critique of both Wells and Michael Martin, see my The Historical Jesus, chap. 2.) On the hallucination theory, see "Explaining Away Jesus' Resurrection: The Recent Revival of Hallucination Theories," Christian Research Journal 23 (2001): 26-31, 47-49. For a response to a chief proponent of the illumination theory, see "The Early Christian Belief in the Resurrection of Jesus: A Response to Thomas Sheehan," Michigan Theological Journal 3 (Fall 1992): 105-27.
Introduction: While Christian beliefs are presumably much more widely known, especially in the Western world, some adherents to the major non-Christian religions also make claims that some of their historical rabbis, prophets, gurus or 'messiahs' rose from the dead. Judging from the relevant religious literature, it appears that such non-Christian claims are often ignored, perhaps because there is little awareness of them. Even if the existence of such beliefs is recognized, almost never is there any in-depth answer to the question of whether such claims could possibly be grounded in supernatural events of history.
This essay is an examination of several sample resurrection-claims in non-Christian religions from ancient to modern times. The primary emphasis will be placed on whether these claims can themselves be said to be historically based on supernatural occurrences. To pursue this goal, historical and other critical criteria will be applied to these religious beliefs. Lastly, a few comments will be addressed to the issue of whether these resurrection claims provide any apologetic basis for non-Christian belief systems.
Introduction: ...Since 1975, more than 1400 scholarly publications on the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus have appeared. Over the last five years, I have tracked these texts, which were written in German, French, and English. Well over 100 subtopics are addressed in the literature, almost all of which I have examined in detail. Each source appeared from the last quarter of the Twentieth Century to the present, with more being written in the 1990s than in other decades. This contemporary milieu exhibits a number of well-established trends, while others are just becoming recognizable. The interdisciplinary flavor is noteworthy, as well. Most of the critical scholars are theologians or New Testament scholars, while a number of philosophers and historians, among other fields, are also included.
This essay is chiefly concerned with commenting on a few of these most recent scholarly trends regarding the resurrection of Jesus. I will attempt to do four things here, moving from the general to the specific. This will involve 1) beginning with some tendencies of a very broad nature, 2) delineating several key research trends, 3) providing a sample interpretation of these research trends from the works of two representative scholars, and 4) concluding with some comments on what I take to be the single most crucial development in recent thought. Regarding my own critics over the years, one of my interests is to ascertain if we can detect some widespread directions in the contemporary discussions-where are most recent scholars heading on these issues? Of course, the best way to do this is to comb through the literature and attempt to provide an accurate assessment.
For a variety of reasons, contemporary scholars widely conclude that after his death, Jesus' followers at least thought that they had seen appearances of the risen Jesus. Do the disciples' beliefs that they had witnessed resurrection appearances provide any clues as to what may really have occurred? The answer depends on how one accounts for these experiences. Here, where scholarship differs widely, three chief options prevail. In spite of these differences, it is my contention that this is the single most crucial aspect of the historical question.
Recent Perspectives on the Reliability of the Gospels. Originally published in the Christian Research Journal / vol. 28, no. 1, 2005.
Synopsis: "The usual attempts to defend the historical reliability of the New Testament are often fairly general in nature. These arguments are typically based on the quantity, quality, and early date of the available New Testament manuscript copies, additional considerations that favor the traditional authorship of the books, plus extra-biblical confirmation, along with a few archaeological discoveries. This case for the trustworthiness of the New Testament is often contrasted with ancient, classical Greek and Roman writings, which do not exhibit the same wealth of data. However, much less-known among conservatives is one of several, more recent and specific paths that is usually applied by critical scholars to the Gospel texts. Proceeding in a more analytic manner, one of these methods applies certain critical criteria of authenticity to particular texts, namely, to events and sayings that are reported in the four Gospels. These contemporary techniques have mined many gems that indicate the historical richness of the Gospel accounts, while illuminating many aspects of Jesus' life. After a brief overview of some traditional paths, our chief purpose in this essay is to outline several of these criteria of authenticity as applied to the Gospels. Many examples will illustrate the application of these principles."
"Seldom have recent scholars questioned or denied the historical existence of Jesus. Of the very few who have done so, G. A. Wells is probably the best known. In this article, I will outline and then respond to some of his major tenets.
"Before turning to this topic, I will first note that the vast majority of scholars, both conservative and liberal alike, generally disdain radical theses that question the very existence of Jesus. For example, theologian Rudolf Bultmann asserted, "By no means are we at the mercy of those who doubt or deny that Jesus ever lived." A[i].
"Historian Michael Grant termed the hypothesis that Jesus never lived an "extreme view." He charges that it transgresses the basics of historiography: "if we apply to the New Testament, as we should, the same sort of criteria as we should apply to other ancient writings containing historical material, we can no more reject Jesus' existence than we can reject the existence of a mass of pagan personages whose reality as historical figures is never questioned." Grant summarizes, after referring to Wells as an example: "modern critical methods fail to support the Christ-myth theory." These positions have been "annihilated" by the best scholars because the critics "have not succeeded in disposing of the much stronger, indeed very abundant, evidence to the contrary." A[ii] .
Explaining Away Jesus' Resurrection: The Recent Revival of Hallucination Theories - Christian Research Journal. Originally published in the Christian Research Journal / vol. 23, no. 4, 2001. Abstract: "After almost a century of virtual dormancy, a number of naturalistic alternative hypotheses regarding Jesus' resurrection have appeared in recent publications. Similar to the situation at the end of the Nineteenth Century, hallucination and related subjective approaches are again the most popular among critics. We will survey several of these recent formulations. Then we will offer numerous critiques, both of such subjective approaches as a whole, as well as a couple of inclusive issues. We will argue that these alternative strategies fail to explain the historicity of Jesus' resurrection appearances for a host of reasons, even when judged by critically-accepted standards."
Introduction: "Central to a Christian world view is the conviction that Scripture, both the Old and New Testaments, comprises God's word to us. What sort of basis can be produced to back this tenet? In this article, we will produce a major argument in favor of this doctrine. Then we will mention another avenue of defense that might be pursued. Interestingly, the latter might actually turn out to be the strongest argument.
"Before we begin, we must state a few crucial foundational truths that cannot be argued here and thus must be assumed for the purposes of this article. But they are well-established, as shown elsewhere in a host of publications.
1 It must be stated simply that Jesus was raised from the dead.
2 As a result, a strong case can be made in favor of the principle that God thereby verified Jesus' message.
3 Therefore, if Jesus taught the inspiration of the Scripture, then this would be a powerful argument for believers to do the same.
4 Further, the Gospel texts, in particular, are at least generally reliable documents when they relate Jesus' teachings.
5 We will now move on from here, outlining a couple of paths toward such a case for the inspiration of Scripture."
... "Today, most scholars think that Paul provides the key testimony for Jesus' resurrection. We have a number of unquestioned writings from his pen. In them he passionately explains that he was converted by an appearance of the resurrected Lord (I Cor. 9:1; 15:8; Gal. 1:16). Jesus also appeared to many others (I Cor. 15:3-7), and His apostles were giving the same report as was Paul (15:11-15). Later, Peter, John, and James specifically approved Paul's Gospel message (Gal. 2:1-10).
"In explaining the content of his Gospel preaching, Paul chose words from ancient Jewish tradition. The message he had "passed on" to his listeners was precisely what he had "received" (I Cor. 15:3). It is widely held that Paul obtained this material from Peter and James during his first trip to Jerusalem about 35 AD. Paul got "acquainted" with Peter while staying with him for fifteen days (Gal. 1:18). Paul's term here means that he questioned or examined Peter, and the immediate context indicates that the subject was the Gospel message.
... "If God raised His Son then there was an answer to Debbie's suffering, even if I didn't know what it was! But I did know this much: if Jesus was raised, then Debbie would be raised someday, too (I Cor. 6:14; Phil. 3:21).
"It was sufficient to know that, because of Jesus' resurrection, we would be together again, and for all eternity! This is the force of resurrection faith for all who trust in Jesus Christ. This answer was sufficient in 1995 and it remains so today. Through all of my pain, this truth has never failed to comfort me, providing tremendous peace."
On the Resurrection Appearances of Jesus. Response to Evan Fales's approach to the resurrection of Jesus. Published in Philosophia Christi, vol. 3, n. 1. 2001, pp. 76-87.
Hailsham, Lord [Quintin McGarel Hogg]
1st Baron Hailsham of St Marylebone, Lord Chancellor; son of 1st Viscount Hailsham. Read about Lord Hailsham here.
The Door Wherein I Went. London: Collins, 1975. 311 pp.,  leaf of plates: port.; 24 cm. Printed in Simon Greenleaf Law Review, n. 4. 1984. Introduction by John Warwick Montgomery.
Jesus of Nazareth Saviour and Lord. Cross-currents in contemporary theology / Carl F. H. Henry -- The new quest of the historical Jesus / Ralph P. Martin -- The authenticity and authority of revelation / Birger Gerhardsson -- Jesus Christ, the center of history / Adolf Köberle -- The last days in the Bible and Qumran / R. Laird Harris -- History and the Gospel / F.F. Bruce -- The teaching of Jesus and the Gospel records / Bastiaan Van Elderen -- The fourth Gospel and history / Leon Morris -- The historicity of the resurrection / Merrill C. Tenney -- "On the third day" / Clark H. Pinnock -- Gemeindetheologie: the bane of Gospel criticism / Everett F. Harrison -- Faith as historical understanding / James P. Martin -- Fact and faith in the kerygma / Paul Althaus -- Bultmann's historiography / Gordon H. Clark -- Toward a Christian philosophy of history / John Warwick Montgomery -- The Christ-revelation as act and interpretation / Kenneth S. Kantzer. Grand Rapids, Eerdmans 1966. viii, 277 pp. 24 cm. Buy this book here.
The Impossible Faith. Offers 17 reasons why Christianity could not have survived in the ancient world unless it had indisputable evidence of the resurrection of Jesus. Buy the expanded book version here.
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ
an historical fact, with an examination of naturalistic hypotheses. London: Religious Tract Society, 1881. xii, 176 pp. Also here.
"But it is admitted that none of those who were the witnesses of His resurrection to the world, actually saw Him rising. We hold, however, that the history is all the more worthy of credence, because it does not say that they did. If the history of the actual appearances of Christ after He was risen owes anything to legend or myth or invention, we may be sure that legend or myth or invention would have given us a great deal more. On the coming forth from the grave, it would especially have expended its fancy or its ingenuity. Our imagination could even now invent sights and sounds, words and impressions, natural to so august a scene and so august a conqueror over death. But we have nothing of this sort in the history, because it is a history and not a romance."
Kennedy's little book is remarkable for the breadth of argument compressed into one relatively short volume. He begins with a discussion of the nature of historical evidence, the illegitimacy of an a priori prejudice against the supernatural, and the basis upon which he will build his argument: four of Paul?s epistles (universally acknowledged) and the four Gospels, for which he will not insist upon an early date. (That Kennedy does in fact believe that they are of early date is a point demonstrated by another of his works, but you did not ask about that issue.) Then he goes on to build the case, not merely or even first from the Gospels, but beginning with what we find in Paul?s own account of his conversion (both directly in Galatians and as relayed in several places in the book of Acts). In the third chapter, he examines the record of witnesses found in 1 Corinthians 15?the testimony, that is, reported by Paul, as opposed to his own testimony of encountering the risen Lord. In the fourth chapter, Kennedy moves on to the evidence of the Gospels and Acts.
All of this might seem like a good deal to achieve in so short a book, but Kennedy is not done. In the fifth chapter he examines corroborative evidence, opening with a frank and fascinating discussion of the charge that so extraordinary a fact needs extraordinary evidence?a claim that Kennedy accepts. In chapter six he examines six objections to the evidence of the resurrection: that it was an age of ignorance and superstition, that no one saw Jesus coming out of His grave, that the record of the resurrection is fragmentary, that the witnesses were all friends of His, that He did not show Himself to his enemies, and that despite all of the evidence presented, still more is required. In the seventh chapter Kennedy examines the principal skeptical hypotheses that make some attempt to come to terms with the evidence: the swoon theory, the vision hypothesis, and the spiritual vision hypothesis. He concludes the book with a chapter that draws together the threads of the argument.
United States evangelical writer and minister, noted for his radio program entitled Grace to You. Read more about MacArthur here and his ministry, Grace to You.
The Resurrection and the Life: John 11:17-36.
The miracle of John 11 testified to the disciples that Jesus was the Son of God in spite of their doubts. He raised Lazarus to convince them of His power over death. It wasn't to be many days until they saw Him hanging on a cross. They needed the hope the miracle of chapter 11 could provide to prevent any doubts that He was the Messiah. In the process of increasing their faith, Jesus offered three levels of evidence for His power over death: First, He told them He would rise. In John 2:19, Jesus said this to the Jewish leaders in the presence of some of His disciples: "... Destroy this temple [a reference to His body], and in three days I will raise it up" (cf. Mk. 10:33-34). Second, He said, "Let me show you a little of My resurrection power" and proceeded to raise Lazarus. Finally, He rose from the grave Himself. Following His resurrection, the disciples were transformed into dynamic witnesses of the gospel. Most died as martyrs for proclaiming the truth. Having seen His resurrection power exhibited in Lazarus and Himself, they helped change the world. His power over death made such an impact on them that the central theme of their preaching was His resurrection.
The Hope of the Resurrection: 1 Corinthians 15:1-58.
Now, by way of introduction to this chapter, let me say this - that the resurrection from the dead is the cornerstone of Christian doctrine. It is mentioned at least 104 times in the New Testament. It was and is and always will be the absolute most prominent fact in the history of the world. When the apostolic company, for example, after the apostasy of Judas, set about to choose one to take his place, the first chapter of Acts record for us that they wanted to have one, that he might be a witness with them of the resurrection. The resurrection was the great emphatic point in the sermon of Peter on the day of Pentecost. He said, "This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we are all witnesses." When the apostles were later filled with the Holy Spirit, the one central result was that "with great power," the Bible says, "gave the apostles witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus." The central doctrine the Apostle Paul preached on Mars Hill in the city of Athens in Acts 17 to those philosophers was the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Later on, when the Jews caught Paul in the temple in Acts chapter 26 and sought to kill him, he received help from God, and he preached to them the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The resurrection is everything to Christianity. The crucifixion loses its meaning without the resurrection. The life of Christ is a waste without that resurrection. Without the resurrection, the death of Christ becomes the heroic death of a noble martyr. Or it becomes the execution of a fraud. Or maybe it becomes the pathetic death of a deranged madman. But with the resurrection, it becomes the death of the atoning Son of God. You see, it wasn't His teaching, and it wasn't His miracles, and it wasn't His dying that accounted for the church and accounted for Christianity. It was His resurrection. There would be no church if He had not risen. When He died, the disciples were scattered like chaff to the wind, and it was in His resurrection that He regathered Him, and it is by His resurrection that He continues today to regather His own from all over the world. We are products, my friend, of the resurrection. And because the resurrection of Jesus Christ is so important, Paul takes this entire chapter to detail out every part of it.
Resurrection: The Key to Everything.
The Lord Jesus Christ risen from the dead proves the truthfulness of the Word of God, the deity of the Son of God, the completion of the salvation of God, the establishment of the church of God, the inevitability of the judgment of God...and one last point, the eternal bliss of the people of God. His resurrection is the guarantee of our eternal heaven. Listen to these wonderful and familiar words, Jesus speaking, John 14, "Let not your heart be troubled, believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many dwelling places, of it were not so I would have told you for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, receive you to Myself that where I am there you may be also."
Right there Jesus is predicting His resurrection. He's headed to death but He says, "I'm going right through death into the Father's house to get a place ready for you and I'll be back to get you." If there's no resurrection, there's no place prepared for us. If there's no place prepared for us, there's no heaven for us. Everything depends on the resurrection.
Machen, J. Gresham
Biblical scholar. Learn more about Machen here and here
The Resurrection of Christ. This essay appears in the collection of Machen sermons and articles titled, "Historic Christianity," (A Skilton House Ministries - Sowers Publication, Philadelphia, 1997). The electronic edition of this book was scanned and edited by Shane Rosenthal for Reformation Ink. Original pagination has been retained for purposes of reference.
Maier on the secular theories of the empty tomb: "Other, even more fanciful flights of the imagination could be listed. But all these 'explanations' have three things in common: They all are illogical, raising more problems than they solve, and are easily disproven; they all contradict crucial points of evidence in the Resurrection accounts; and they all posit a missing body, an empty tomb."
... "The circumstantial evidence for the empty tomb is overpowering. It deals with the question: 'Where did Christianity first begin?'
"To this the answer must be: 'Christianity and its core proclamation of Jesus' resurrection could only have arisen at one spot on earth--the city of Jerusalem.' But this is the very last place it could have originated if the decomposing body of Jesus of Nazareth were still inside Joseph's tomb for all to see. That would immediately have snuffed out the flame of an incipient Christianity whose central claim was Jesus' resurrection!"
..."Accordingly, if all the evidence is weighed carefully and fairly--and using the canons of historical research--one cannot but conclude that the sepulcher of Joseph of Arimathea in which Jesus was buried on Friday was truly empty on the following Sunday morning. And no shred of evidence has yet been discovered anywhere that would disprove this statement."
Modern Christian apologist. Learn more about McDowell here.
The Resurrection Factor - Part 1. Now the basis of the resurrection and the importance of it is given by the apostle Paul. In 1 Corinthians 15, verses 13 to 17, Paul wrote, 'But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised and if Christ has not been raised then our preaching is vain. Your faith also is vain. Moreover, we are even found to be false witnesses of God because we witnessed against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact, the dead are not raised, for if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised, and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless'. What the apostle Paul does here is base everything that Christ taught, lived and died for upon the resurrection. That's why it is so crucial to study it and come to understand it.
The skeptic, Dr. David Frederick Strauss, made this point about how critical the resurrection is as a skeptic, not a believer. He said, 'The resurrection is a touchstone, not of only the life of Jesus, but of Christianity itself'. He says, 'It touches Christianity to the quick and is decisive for the whole view of Christianity'. [Strauss. New Life of Jesus, i. pp. 41, 397.]
Everything that Jesus taught, lived, and died for depended upon one thing: His resurrection, His burial, His ascent -- His resurrection and then His ascension. My conclusion was, if I can show that Christ did not rise from the dead then my case was one against Christianity, but I was not able to do it and I'm going to share with you some of the reasons why in these sessions that we will have together.
Episcopalian bishop and president of Kenyon College.
The Evidences of Christianity; in their external, or historical, division: exhibited in a course of lectures,/ by Charles Pettit McIlvaine. Revised and improved by the author, with the addition of a preface, by Olinthus Gregory. Philadelphia: Smith, English & co., 1861. Text-searchable. 408 pp. PDF version here. HTML online edition here.
(TM): McIlvaine explains that he composed these lectures on the occasion of being invited to give lectures on apologetics in New York. Like Paley and Chalmers, McIlvaine openly acknowledges his debt to Lardner; the sixth lecture gives an excellent thumbnail sketch of some of Lardner's research. Though McIlvaine did not disparage the internal evidences as Chalmers had, his work focuses exclusively on the "external division" of the evidences-the historical evidence for the authenticity and credibility of the New Testament documents, the evidence for the resurrection, the argument from prophecy, the argument from the propagation of Christianity, and the evidence of the fruits of Christianity in the lives of its genuine disciples.
McIlvaine's work is notable not only for the thoughtful arrangement of the divisions of the argument but also for his earnest discussion of the duty of all Christians who have the means to study the evidence for their faith and the spirit in which that study should be undertaken.
Ninth president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Read more about Mohler here, and his blog here.
Resurrection Essential to Christianity. Washington Post, March 24, 2008.
The literal, historical, bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the vindication of Christ's saving work on the cross. The issue is simple -- no resurrection, no Christianity. For this reason, belief in the resurrection of Christ is essential in order to be a Christian.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the central miracle of the Christian faith. As the New Testament reveals, the resurrection represents the Father's complete satisfaction in the obedience of the Son -- even unto death. Sin and death do not have the final word. Indeed, they are defeated through the saving work of Christ.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead separates Christianity from all mere religion--whatever its form. Christianity without the literal, physical resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is merely one religion among many. "And if Christ is not risen," said the Apostle Paul, "then our preaching is empty and your faith is in vain" [1 Corinthians 15:14]. Furthermore, "You are still in your sins!" [v. 17]. Paul could not have chosen stronger language. "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable" [v. 19].
... Those who would attack the Church and reject its gospel must direct their arrows at the most crucial truth claim of the New Testament and the disciples: That Jesus Christ, having suffered death on a cross, though sinless, having borne the sins of those He came to save, having been buried in a sealed and guarded grave, was raised by the power of God on the third day.
As Paul well understood, Christianity stands or falls with the empty grave. If Christ is not raised, we are to be pitied, for our faith is in vain. Those who would preach a resurrectionless Christianity have substituted the truth of the gospel for a lie. But, asserted Paul, Christ is risen from the dead. Our faith is not in vain, but is in the risen Lord. He willingly faced death on a cross and defeated death from the grave. The Resurrection is the ultimate sign of God's vindication of His Son.
The great good news of the resurrection is this -- those who come to Christ by faith will share in His victory over sin and death. Belief in the resurrection of Christ is clearly essential in order for one to be a Christian. The Christian church has understood this from the beginning, and the Apostle Paul left no room for doubt when he declared that those who are saved are those who confess with their lips that Jesus Christ is Lord and believe in their hearts that God raised Him from the dead [Romans 10:9].
Montgomery, John Warwick
World-class Christian apologist, philosopher and legal expert. John Warwick Montgomery is Distinguished Research Professor of Philosophy and Christian Thought, Patrick Henry College (Virginia); and Emeritus Professor of Law and Humanities at the University of Luton (England). Professor Montgomery holds ten earned degrees, including the LL.B.; LL.M. from Cardiff University, Wales; the A.B. with distinction in Philosophy (Cornell University; Phi Beta Kappa); B.L.S. and M.A. (University of California at Berkeley); B.D. and S.T.M. (Wittenburg University, Springfield, Ohio); M. Phil. in Law (University of Essex, England); Ph.D. (Univeristy of Chicago), and the Doctorat d'Université from Strasbourg, France. He told Contemporary Authors, "My world-view was hammered out at university; there I became a Christian. . . . Like the late C. S. Lewis (one of my greatest heroes), I was literally dragged kicking and screaming into the Kingdom by the weight of evidence for Christian truth."
Visit The John Warwick Montgomery website and read more about Montgomery here.
Faith Founded on Fact, by John Warwick Montgomery. 240 pages. A provocative and controversial book intended to encourage Christians to make the case for the truthfulness of Christianity based on factual evidence. Included are chapters on "The Place of Reason in Christian Witness", "Science, Theology, and the Miraculous", "How Muslims Do Apologetics", and "Dr. Johnson as Apologist". Contains the most sophisticated refutation available anywhere of the arguments of David Hume and Anthony Flew against miracles in general and the resurrection of Christ in particular. Buy this book here.
History, Law and Christianity, by John Warwick Montgomery. 131 pages. A re-issue of the classic History and Christianity expanded to include Dr. Montgomery's essay "Christianity Juridically Defended."
"For over three decades, Dr. John Warwick Montgomery has been a leading expert on questions about the historical reliability of the New Testament documents. This new edition is long overdue, and it is a joy to see it released."
- Dr. J.P. Moreland, Biola University
"I am one who knows what it is to doubt the fact of the resurrection of Jesus. It was Montgomery's writings that answered my doubts. This new edition is one of the best historical and legal defenses for the resurrection available."
- Ross Clifford, Principal, Morling Theological College;
former Lawyer and Barrister
Buy this book here.
The Resurrection: A Symposium. Revell, 1896. "The Resurrection of Jesus Christ" and "The Fifteenth Chapter of First Corinthians." Also, related essays by Alexander MacLaren, C. H. Spurgeon, T. DeWitt Talmage and Canon Liddon.
IT is granted on all sides that the Christian Church was founded on, or in connexion with, an energetic preaching of the Lord's Resurrection from the dead. The fact may be questioned: the belief will be admitted.
"In the faith of the disciples," Baur says, "the Resurrection of Jesus Christ came to be regarded as a solid and unquestionable fact. It was in this fact that Christianity acquired a firm basis for its historical development." *
Strauss speaks of "the crowning miracle of the Resurrection-that touchstone, as I may well call it, not of Lives of Jesus only, but of Christianity itself," and allows that it " touches Christianity to the quick," and is "decisive for the whole view of Christianity." *
* David Friedrich Strauss. New Life of Jesus, i. pp. 41, 397.
" The Resurrection," says Wellhausen, "was the foundation of the Christian faith, the heavenly Christ, the living and present Head of the disciples." *
"For any one who studies the marvellous story of the rise of the Church," writes Dr. Percy Gardner, "it soon becomes clear that that rise was conditioned-perhaps was made possible-by the conviction that the Founder was not born, like other men, of an earthly father, and that His body did not rest like those of other men in the grave. . . ." *
"The Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ," says Canon Henson, " has always been regarded as the corner-stone of the fabric of Christian belief; and it certainly has from the first been offered by the missionaries of Christianity as the supreme demonstration of the truth which in that capacity they are charged to proclaim." *
All which simply re-echoes what the Apostle Paul states of the general belief of the Church of his time. " For I delivered unto you first of all that which also I received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried : and that He hath been raised on the third day according to the Scriptures." *
* 1 Cor. xv. 3, 4.
Here then, is a conceded point-the belief of the Apostolic Church in the Resurrection of the Lord. It is well to begin with this point, and to inquire what the nature of the belief of the earliest Church was. Was it belief in visionary or spiritualistic appearances? Belief in the survival of the soul of Jesus? Belief that somehow or somewhere Jesus lived with God, while His body saw corruption in the tomb? Or was it belief that Jesus had actually risen in the body from the grave? That He had been truly dead, and was as truly alive again?
If the latter was the case, then beyond all question the belief in the Resurrection of Jesus was belief in a true miracle, and there is no getting away from the alternative with which this account of the origin of Christianity confronts us. Strauss states that alternative for us with his usual frankness. "Here then," he says, "we stand on that decisive point where, in the presence of the accounts of the miraculous Resurrection of Jesus, we either acknowledge the inadmissibility of the natural and historical view of the life of Jesus, and must consequently retract all that precedes, and so give up our whole undertaking, or pledge ourselves to make out the possibility of the result of these accounts, i.e., the origin of the belief in the Resurrection of Jesus, without any corresponding miraculous fact." *
* Ut supra, i. p. 397.
Now, that the belief of the Apostles and first disciples was really belief in a true physical Resurrection in other words, a Resurrection of the body of Jesus from the grave, it seems impossible, in face of the evidence, to doubt. Few of the writers above cited do doubt it, whatever view they may take of the reality lying behind the belief. We are happily not here dependent on the results of a minute criticism of the Gospels^ or of other New Testament texts. We are dealing with a belief which interweaves itself, directly or indirectly, with the whole body of teaching in the New Testament. If Harnack makes a distinction between the Easter " message "and the Easter "faith," it is certain that the first Christians made no such distinction. This admits of ample proof.
Take first the narratives in the Synoptics. There are three of these, in St. Matthew, St. Mark, and St. Luke, and the cardinal feature in each is the empty tomb, and the message to the women, and through them to the disciples, that the Lord had risen. "He is not here, He is risen." * The body had left the sepulchre. It is not otherwise in St. John. The Magdalene, and after her Peter and John, whom she brings to the spot, find the tomb empty.** It is to be remembered that there are several other miracles of resurrection in the Gospels,*** and these throw light on what was understood by Resurrection in the case of the Master. They were all bodily resurrections. The professed fear of the authorities that the disciples might steal away the body of Jesus, and say, "He is risen from the dead," points in the same direction. ****
* Matt. xxviii. 6 ; Mark xvi. 6; Luke xxiv. 6, 22, 24.
** John xx. 2-13.
*** Matt. ix. 18, 23-25 ; Mark v. 33-43 ; Luke vii. n15, viii. 49-56; John xi. ; cf. Matt. xi. 5, and Christ's repudiation of the Sadducean denial of the resurrection, Matt. xxii. 29-32.
****Matt. xrvii. 64.
What Thorburn does in detail for Schmiedel's criticisms, Orr does in broader strokes for a generous swath of critical writers. This work ranges over an enormous surface area, from Sabatier's "moral" objection to miracles to the obdurate maintenance of their impossibility by Strauss and Renan and Rashdall and Lake to the more open-minded but still critical agnosticism of Mill and Huxley, Orr painstakingly dismantles the objections to miracles as such. His chapter on "The Gospel Narratives and Critical Solvents" is particularly useful, because he attacks head-on the attempt to reduce the witness of the Synoptics to a single author (Mark) and then to dismiss Mark. The acuteness of Orr's discussion of the burial narratives, the Easter message, and the post-resurrection appearances will be evident to any thoughtful reader. Orr continues with a discussion visional and aparitional theories, theories that the story was borrowed, and the doctrinal implications of the resurrection.
Pastor for Preaching at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota.. Learn more about Piper here and his ministry, Desiring God.
Pastor serving in London and in the Hague. Read about Saurin
Sermon XXI: The Resurrection of Jesus Christ. From Sermons of the Rev. James Saurin: with a likeness of the author, and a General Index, Volume 1.
D. A. Borrenstein, 1827.
7. Observe the time of this testimony. Had the apostles first published this resurrection several years after the epocha which they assigned for it, unbelief might have availed itself ofthe delay: but three days after the death of Jesus Christ, they said, he was risen again, and they re-echoed their testimony in a singular manner at Pentecost, when Jerusalem expected the spread of the report, and endeavoured to prevent it; while the eyes of their enemies were yet sparkling with rage and madness, and while Calvary was yet dyed with the blood they had spilt there. Do impostors take such measures? Would not they have waited till the fury of the Jews had been appeased, till judges and public officers, had been changed, and till people had been less attentive to their dispositions?
(TM): Thomas Sherlock was an Anglican Bishop whose apologetic writings, in the tradition of John Locke's Reasonableness of Christianity, focus on the evidence for miracles and the use and intent of prophecy.
Learn more about Sherlock here and here.
The Trial of the Witnesses of the Resurrection of Jesus. Not only Mr. Woolston's objections in his sixth discourse on our Saviour's miracles, but those also which he and others have published in other books, are here considered. First published about the year 1729. Edinburgh: printed by J. Robertson. For W. Gray, 1769. 116 pp. 1800 edition. London: For F. and C. Rivington. 143 pp.
1729 edition available here. HTML version available here.
(TM): The Trial of the Witnesses of the Resurrection is a charming response to the deist Thomas Woolston, who had attacked the Christian miracles in six pamphlets published in 1727-8. The question at issue is whether the original witnesses of the resurrection were deceivers, and Sherlock frames work as a discussion among some lawyers who find themselves on opposite sides of the question. They decide to have it determined by a mock trial complete with a jury in which the skeptical arguments of Woolston, Anthony Collins, and Matthew Tindal are vigorously advanced by the counsel for the prosecution and rebutted by the counsel for the defense.
The Trial was wildly popular and went through nearly a dozen printings in its first year. The edition linked here also contains Sherlock's Sequel to the Trial of the Witnesses, a valuable work in its own right, written in response to an attack on the Trial by Peter Annet. The mode of argument adopted in the Trial has been an influence on many subsequent apologetic writers, and it has been conjectured that Hume had the Trial in view when he published his famous attack on the rationality of belief in miracles in 1748.
Charles Moss. The Sequel to The Tryal of the witnesses: wherein the evidence of the resurrection is cleared. In answer to a pamphlet, intitled, The Resurrection of Jesus considered by a moral philosopher. The third edition. London, Printed for J. Whiston and B. White, in Fleet-Street, 1757. 167 pp. Note(s): First published in 1744 under title: The evidence of the resurrection cleared from the exceptions of a late pamphlet, entitled, The resurrection of Jesus considered by a Moral philosopher, in answer to The tryal of witnesses.
A defense of the resurrection that rests on the Gospels will be challenged by those who maintain that the Gospel records are hopelessly contradictory. This view was raised to prominence by the work of Strauss in the early 19th century, but it was cemented as the mainstream position in New Testament criticism by the work of people like Paul Wilhelm Schmiedel, whose article on the "Resurrection and Ascension Narratives" in Cheyne and Black, eds., Encyclopaedia Biblica, vol. 4 (Toronto: George N. Morang & Co., 1903), columns 4039-87, is one long catalogue of accusations against the narratives.
Thorburn's sober and careful volume goes through every one of Schmiedel's criticisms. Thorburn has no objection to critical study as such, but as he says, there is criticism, and then there is criticism. Thorburn conclusively demonstrates that Schmiedel?s criticisms do not stand up to fair-minded scholarly investigation and that many of them arise only because of his demonstrable misreading of the text. There are difficulties, he admits, in the resurrection narratives as they stand. But these difficulties are chiefly due to the brevity and fragmentary nature of the accounts. Judged as a whole and taken on the main issues, there is no doubt as to the general conclusion to which the evidence points.
The Risen Jesus. Preached in the Chapel of Princeton Seminary on the text of 2 Ephesians 2:8, somewhere between 1910-1913. "Christianity is a 'historical religion,' and a 'Christianity' wholly unrelated to historical occurrences is just no Christianity at all. Religion, - yes, man may have religion without historical facts to build upon, for man is a religious animal and can no more escape from religion than he can escape from any other of his persistent instincts. He may still by the grace of God know something of God and the soul, moral responsibility and immortality. But do not even the heathen know the same? And what have we more than they? We may still call by the name of 'Christianity' the tattered rags of natural religion which may be left us when we have cast away all the facts which constitute Christianity, - the age-long preparation for the coming of the Kingdom of God; the Incarnation of the Son of God; His atoning death on the Cross; His rising again on the third day and His ascension to heaven; the descent of the Spirit on the Pentecostal birthday of the Church. But to do so is to outrage all the proprieties of honest nomenclature. For 'Christianity' is not a mere synonym of "religion," but is a specific form of religion determined in its peculiarity by the great series of historical occurrences which constitute the redemptive work of God in this sinful world, among which occurrences the resurrection of Christ holds a substantial and in some respects the key position."
The Gospel of the Resurrection: Thoughts on its relation to reason and history / by Brooke Foss Westcott. 7th edition. London: Macmillan, 1891. xxxvi, 307 pp.; 18 cm.
(TM): This popular work by the great 19th century textual scholar makes the argument for the resurrection in an interesting way. Westcott, who is well aware of (though not persuaded by) critical attacks on the authenticity of the texts of the gospels, builds his argument at first from information in the Pauline epistles, since he knows that even his most radical critics will find it difficult to cavil at this evidence. Only then does he turn to the gospels, arguing that the account we have in them is in perfect accordance with the account Paul gives in the opening verses of I Corinthians 15.