Christianity is either established or destroyed by whether or not a single historical event actually happened, as claimed in the four Gospels concerning the resurrection of Jesus.
If Jesus was indeed resurrected three days after being crucified dead and buried, then was seen and heard by a multitude of witnesses in the 40 days thereafter, as claimed by the Gospel authors, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, then every human being who ever has or ever will live must decide whether to accept or reject His claim to be God Incarnate and the only way to Heaven.
If Jesus was not physically resurrected as claimed by the Gospels, then, as Paul writes in I Corinthians 15:17-19, “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile … and we are of all people most to be pitied.”
But how can we know if the eyewitness testimony of the Gospels can be believed? That’s where NBC “Dateline” cold-case detective expert and “Cold-Case Christianity” author J. Warner Wallace comes into this discussion.
Perhaps the most frequently heard objection to the Gospels, and indeed to the authenticity claim of the Bible as the Word of God, is that they don’t all tell the same story. Or, as is it is often put by critics, there are “contradictions” in their accounts.
But that is not the powerful show-stopper objection that its users invariably seem to think it is. In the following video, Wallace gives seven tests he used to evaluate the reliability of witnesses in solving hundreds of crimes, including murders committed years before he came on the scene.
“I noticed right away, for example, that witnesses never, ever agree. On any case I’ve ever worked, there were always what would appear to be contradictions between the eyewitness accounts,” Wallace explains, describing his experience investigating cases and reading case reports.
“On any case I’ve ever worked, there were always what would appear to be contradictions between the eyewitness accounts.”
Three of the Wallace tests concern figuring out if a witness has a motive to lie: Does the witness get money for lying; does the witness get sex for lying, and does the witness get power for lying. If any of those three factors are involved, a witness may not be trustworthy.
Wallace describes the remaining four and how he used them to conclude that the Gospels include reliable eyewitness testimony that Jesus really was crucified, dead, buried and then resurrected. And if that’s true, it’s the single most important fact in history.
Even if you work on Capitol Hill but aren’t a follower of Jesus, this should be a useful video because it’s especially important that you have the skills needed to evaluate the reliability of what you hear from witnesses before congressional committees, constituents, lobbyists, journalists and legions of other folks who come to Congress every day:
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