Two Guys Who Know Explain Why Jesus Must Have Died On The Cross

One of the most common objections to the New Testament account of crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is that He didn’t actually die, but rather somehow survived.

There are variations in the argument but they essentially go on to claim Jesus was mistakenly assumed by his Roman executioners to be dead, He was buried and then revived in the coolness of the tomb and somehow escaped.

From there, according to the skeptics, Jesus lived an anonymous life in India or Japan or somewhere, anywhere but Heaven at the right hand of God the Father, as claimed by the New Testament (see, for example, the Gospel of John).

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NBC’s ‘Cold Case Detective’ Explains Why He Is A Christian

Imagine that you are veteran congressional investigator with years of experience digging into documents, probing witnesses, weighing evidence and sifting claims and counter-claims.

Would that be a good background for evaluating the credibility of the claims of Jesus Christ to be the only way to Heaven and the reliability of the Bible as the word of God? You would certainly have many of the most critical skills required for such an investigation, no?

Meet J. Warner Wallace. No, Wallace is not a former congressional investigator, but he is one of the world’s most respected experts at solving the toughest crime cases, the ones that have gone unsolved for years.

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No, Jesus And Mithras Weren’t Both Born Of Virgins (Myths About Christianity Debunked)

Unless there is some way to determine if the rock from which sprung Mithras — the ancient mythical god at the heart of the mystery cult known as “Mithraism” — was a virgin, that is.

Mithras petra genetrix Terme

That Jesus’ virgin birth was stolen from the Mithras myth is one of the many allegations raised by Christianity’s critics, ancient and modern. They contend the New Testament authors borrowed heavily from multiple pagan religions to elevate an obscure itinerant preacher named Jesus to divinity.

Not so, contends Dr. Timothy Paul Jones, an expert on such matters who teaches at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS). Jones addresses a bunch of the supposed parallels.

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Here’s Why Even Critical Scholars Now Say The Gospels Are Reliable

One of the effects of working on Capitol Hill for any length of time is how it tends to capture your focus within the narrow confines of Washington politics and policy.

There’s a whole world out there in the “real world” beyond the Potomac River, one small but immensely significant part of which is the community of scholars who study things like whether the New Testament are reliable records of ancient history, especially the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Now, here’s what is likely a shocker for a lot of folks who spend their working lives toiling away in Congress: Beginning in the early 1970s and continuing today, scholars who once declared the New Testament was not reliable have now come to the conclusion that the Gospels are indeed authoritative and trustworthy.

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Wasn’t The Resurrection Really Just A Conspiracy?

“Conspiracy” is a word one hears regularly on Capitol Hill and it’s almost always in the context of somebody doing something they don’t want somebody else to know about.

After all, as Scripture says, darkness hates the light.

So there is invariably a sinister association with conspiracies, as well as with other words that can mean the same thing, including “plot,” “scheme” and “collusion.” The true purpose behind of any of these can actually be good or bad, but they are usually thought of as representing criminal or otherwise unpleasant purposes.

Which brings us to Jesus. People in high places and low have for millennia tried to dismiss the claim that Jesus was resurrected on the third day after his death on the cross as representing nothing more than a conspiracy among His disciples to fool the world to protect their own hides.

Cross-Examined’s Dr. Frank Turek often hears the claim, as he was recently by a Maryland college student. His response makes it clear that nobody needs a subpoena to get to the truth about the Resurrection:

If Jesus Wasn’t Resurrected … Who Got His Dead Body?

Here are three rock-solid bottom-line facts you can trust to be true about Jesus

Jesus told His disciples repeatedly before He was arrested, tried, tortured and crucified that those things would happen. He also told them He would be resurrected on the third day after His death.

They didn’t understand any of it before it all came down but within a few days of His death and burial, they were telling the world they had seen and talked to Him, that He was alive, that He had been resurrected.

Here we are 2,000 years later and a bunch of theories have been proposed to explain away the disciples’ claim that Jesus was resurrected. One of those theories is that Jesus didn’t come back to life, and the reason the tomb was empty was because somebody stole His body.

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Which Are More Reliable, Aristotle and Plato, or Matthew, Mark, Luke And John?

One of the most frequently mentioned myths about the Gospels (the first four books of the New Testament, written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) is the claim they cannot be historically accurate because they were written decades after the events they purport to report.

Several of the commenters to yesterday’s post here — “Are Christians The Biggest Fools Of All Time?” — repeated variations of the claim the Gospels are unreliable because so much time elapsed between the events and the writing of the individual books. The actual facts, the critics argue, were lost to the myths and legends that grew up around the events related in the Gospels.

The German higher critics of the 19th Century made this claim a standard argument in the conventional wisdom scholarship of the 20th century among those who reject the literal resurrection of Jesus Christ and His claim to be the incarnate creator of the universe and everything in it. And the argument continues in popular culture and debate to this day, as seen in the comments to yesterday’s post.

There has been a tremendous amount of scholarship on the accuracy and reliability of the Gospels in recent decades. Below is a link to a recent podcast of Frank Turek’s interview with Dr. Craig Blomberg, who is one of the most respected scholars in the world on this issue. I highly commend it to anybody on any side of the debate.

But more immediately, let’s address the question posed in the headline above. Nobody today doubts when they read Plato’s “Republic” or Aristotle’s “Nicomachean Ethics” that they are reading what the Greek philosophers actually wrote, even though what they hold in their hands are copies of copies of copies … stretching back centuries.

Even so, when was the last time you heard anybody say Plato’s discussion of the shadows on the wall of the cave cannot be trusted as what Plato actually wrote or believed because so much time elapsed between his original manuscript and the earliest copies used by copyists in the millennia before Mr. Gutenberg invented the printing press? Or that Aristotle’s Golden Mean as the key to human virtue was a creation of a later copyist and thus was not the philosopher’s original view?

Nevertheless, that’s a commonly expressed argument whenever the Gospels are under discussion.

But guess what? There are far more copies of the Gospels, written much closer to the original authors, than there are for any other of the ancient classics, including Plato and Aristotle.

Aristotle’s works were written between 386 B.C. and 322 B.C. The first copies came along in about 1,100 A.D., or roughly 1,400 years after Aristotle did his thing. As for Plato, he wrote between 427 B.C. and 347 B.C, and the first copies date to 900 A.D., for an interval of roughly 1,200 years.

Compare that to the New Testament, which, regarding the Gospels, the critics claim were written, at the earliest, around 70 A.D., with copies first appearing around 130 A.D.

In other words, if the same standards of reliability and accuracy are applied to the New Testament that have long been accepted without question for other ancient authors, then the Gospels must be viewed as among the most reliable of the ancient classics. You can check out this post by Matt Slick of Christian Apologetics and Research for more specifics on this angle.

And as I always say, a great place to start in assessing these issues is “More Than A Carpenter” by Josh and Sean McDowell. Just tell me your address and I’ll get a copy of MTAC for free.

Now, here’s Frank Turek’s extended audio conversation with Dr. Craig Blomberg:

https://crossexamined.org/?powerpress_embed=72550-podcast&powerpress_player=mediaelement-audio