The Case for the Resurrection

Over at the River Oaks Church website (where I serve as Associate Pastor), I have written up a fairly detailed examination of the historical reasons why it is rational to believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus.

It is well-known that only the NT and Christian sources indisputably record the claim that Jesus was resurrected from the dead. While many secular sources affirm his existence and his death, they are silent — apart from the disputed Testimonium Flavianum (attributed to Josephus) — on the empty tomb.

This is often a major stumbling block for skeptics (but also thoughtful Christians as well). In this post, I explore a handful of reasons why the NT claims about Jesus’s bodily resurrection are the most plausible explanation of the data. I am also providing a short overview on Easter Sunday (during our Adult Ed time), and the audio will be posted on the River Oaks site afterwards.

Click on the screenshot to view the post


Note: This writeup is derived from the material I teach in my Gospels course at RTS-Orlando, and it has been adapted for a layperson audience.

3 thoughts on “The Case for the Resurrection”

  1. The problem with your evidence is that it comes from unconfirmed sources. Most Bible scholars today reject the eyewitness/associate of eyewitness authorship of the Gospels. So if we can’t be certain that the four Resurrection Stories found in the Gospels are eyewitness accounts, how do we know that some of that material is not legend or invented fiction?

    1. Sure, that’s always an issue.

      It depends, in part, on your definition of “confirmed.” No one can “confirm” some of the details recorded in portions of Tacitus, Josephus, 1 Maccabees, or a host of other ancient documents for which a historical event is singularly narrated without other evidence. But we don’t automatically assume such things are made up. In the case of the resurrection, we have 4 accounts; even if you assume that the Synoptic authors stood in some sort of literary relationship to one another and, thus, only count as “one” witness, you still have John. If that’s all we had, then you could certainly say they are “unconfirmed” (though I’d still disagree). But one of the points of this article is that we have numerous other accounts of the resurrected Jesus from *pre* Gospel sources, specifically the early epistles of Paul. Why would that not count as “confirmation”? Did Paul not exist? Are the historical places/people/etc. he mentions in his epistles just invented fictions? In isolation, you may have a point. But the goal of the article was at least to marshal the cumulative evidence that at least should cause people to give the resurrection accounts a fair shake.

      Moreover, the “most Bible scholars” point you make is no longer true. Richard Bauckham’s *Jesus and the Eyewitnesses*, while not perfect or decisive, has caused a major paradigm shift in NT scholarship on the idea that all or at least portions of the Gospel writings are demonstrably from eyewitnesses. See also Francis Watson’s *Gospel Writings* and a host of other legit scholars on this point (Markus Bockmuehl, Richard Hays, Richard Burridge, Helen Bond, etc.). Sure there are people who disagree. But these folks are far from “fundies.”

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