When Los Angeles Homicide and then-convinced atheist Detective J. Warner Wallace was nearing decision time in his investigation of Christianity following his wife’s conversion, he realized there were three key issues he needed to resolve.
First, were the Gospel accounts of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ written during the lifetimes of eyewitnesses who saw and heard the Lord?
Second, were those eyewitnesses’ Gospel accounts corroborated in some way by independent sources, and, third, did their accounts change in the several centuries after they died?
Wallace, the cold-case expert featured on NBC’s “Dateline” and author of “Cold-Case Christianity” and “God’s Crime Scene,” discusses the evidence he considered and why he concluded the Bible is trustworthy in the following video:
Then Jesus said (to the believing thief on the Cross):
“I assure you: Today, you will be with me in Paradise.” — Luke 23:43
And C.S. Lewis said:
“A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell.
“You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse.” – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity.
I’ve never been to Italy — two weeks in Scotland and England many years ago being my only experience of Europe —but Elizabeth Prata has been, specifically to Tuscany.
As you may know, there is something about the light in Tuscany. It’s different, somehow. Prata looks at the light in Tuscany and from there to the light of life itself, Jesus Christ.
It’s an interesting meditation and a good one with which to launch a new week, so I commend it to you:
“During this Pandemic time, I’ve had opportunity to go through and look at and scan some of my old 35mm photos. I went to Italy a few times in the ’90s. I’d always heard that the light in the region of Italy called Tuscany was unique. My grandmother was from Lucca. Tuscany is deemed by Italians to be the ‘best’ region. One reason is that it’s considered the cradle of Italy, since the Etrucscan Civilization was founded there in 900 BC.”
Mike Shreve followed a guru before his life was transformed and he became a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. Mike had for many years before believed in Karma and Reincarnation, two of the cornerstone myths of Hinduism.
“Most teachers of the doctrine of karma agree that any negative or positive thing we do in life produces either bad or good karma that will inevitably be reaped, either in the same life or a future life. The object of the soul’s sojourn in this world is to walk in such righteousness, love and devotion to right religious principles that only good karma is sown,” Shreve writes.
So, you’re jawing with a friend on the cell and happen to mention that you had a really odd dream the other night during which you were driving a sporty Tesla Model S through Hollywood.
Then your friend says, “right, it was a red convertible and we had the top down.” Would that freak you out? What if the next thing he said was “the blonde was in the back seat with me and the redhead was up there with you” and he was right!?!? (Yes, I know Tesla doesn’t make a convertible Model S, but work with me here, ok?)
Now you’re really freaked out because two people just don’t independently have the same dream like that. But, as Cold-Case Christianity’s J. Warner Wallace (the Tesla illustration was actually his, not mine) explains in this video, something like it did happen after Jesus was resurrected. And that makes all the difference in the world for all of us:
It’s an oft-heard tale these days that Jesus was just a “copy-cat” god, thanks to multiple characteristics of existing pagan deities of His day that the fabricators of the Christian myth allegedly “borrowed.”
Such claims have a whisk of credibility, thanks to the apparent depth of historical knowledge wielded by those making them. Probe just a little deeper into the historical facts, however, and the claims’ flaws soon become clear.
Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary” found an empty, open grave this morning. They saw no Roman guards there but they claim they saw Jesus Christ, alive.
Do you believe them? Here are eight solid reasons you should indeed believe:
The first witnesses to the empty tomb and the living Jesus were women:It’s a sad reality, but women only counted as half as reliable witnesses as men. So the fact all four of the Gospels present women as the first witnesses to the Risen Jesus is a strong indicator Matthew, Mark, Luke and John reported the facts, not what they thought would be the most credible claims.
That question in the headline above might well seem like an odd one to ask in a world in which the Bible is by far the most-read, best-selling book of all human history. Imagining our world without it is like imagining it without the Sun.
But it being Easter and all, what if we didn’t have the Bible to tell us what the events of this most significant of all weeks mean to each of us as individuals and to all humanity?
That’s a question former NBC “Dateline” cold-case detective J. Warner Wallace addresses in the following video. It’s all about inferences and evidence. He’s writing a book about the resurrection of Christ based on this question and preparing to teach a course on it, so his thoughts here are not mere off-the-cuffisms:
Billions of people down through history have called upon the name of Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, memorized His words and followed His teachings even though they never met Him in person.
Do you have any idea how amazing it is that we in the third decade of the 21st century even know His name, much less any of the unbelievable things He said about Himself and about us?
Think about these facts about Jesus:
He came from an obscure village, Nazareth, in a remote region, Galilee, of a backwater nation, Israel, that had been conquered and re-conquered repeatedly by the major powers surrounding it throughout ancient history, culminating in His lifetime with the imperial domination by Rome.
We human beings are such curious beings. Consider for example how we often deal with subjects we’d rather, for whatever reason, avoid, delay or simply ignore. It’s called rationalization.
As we saw in Wednesday’s post, the vast majority of historians of the ancient world agree Jesus Christ was crucified, that his grave was found empty three days later and his disciples maintained to their deaths that they had seen and talked with the resurrected Jesus.
If those three facts are true, it means all of us then must decide what we’ll do with the claim of Jesus to be God and the only way any of us can be accepted into Heaven. The following video from reasaonblefaith.org addresses the four most common rationalizations for avoiding those three facts and the implications for each of us:
Critics typically dismiss the Bible as a credible source of history, but the more one knows about textual analysis, philology and archeology, the more the accuracy of Scripture is demonstrated and reinforced.
Dr. Sean McDowell of Summit Ministries and Biola University professor of apologetics looks at four major modern archeological discoveries that confirm key illustrations of the credibility and accuracy.
Why is McDowell’s presentation worth a few minutes of your time? Because, if the New Testament is an accurate account, then all of us should consider closely the claims of Jesus Christ to be the Son of God, the “Way and the Truth and the Light,” and thus the only way to Heaven:
“I decided to start with the Bible. I knew that if I could uncover indisputable evidence that the Bible is an unreliable record, the whole of Christianity would crumble …
“I took the challenge seriously. I spent months in research. I even dropped out of school for a time to study in the historically rich libraries of Europe.
“And I found evidence. Evidence in abundance. Evidence I would not have believed had I not seen it with my own eyes. Finally, I could come to only one conclusion:
“If I were to remain intellectually honest, I had to admit that the Old and New Testament documents were some of the most reliable writings in all of antiquity.
“And if they were reliable, what about this man Jesus, whom I had dismissed as a mere carpenter in an out-of-the-way town in a tiny oppressed country, a man who had gotten caught up in his own visions of grandeur?
“I had to admit that Jesus Christ was more than a carpenter. He was all that He claimed to be.” — Josh McDowell, *”More Than A Carpenter.”
Want a free copy? Send your name, “MTAC” and snail mail address to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Your free copy will be on its way!
If you and I meet in the Longworth Cafeteria and begin talking, what would happen if one of us claimed to be God Incarnate? The other would quite possibly call for those nice men in white with nets, right?
But what if the one of us claiming deity did something so miraculous that only God could do it? Would the nice men in white with nets be told to return to their offices?
In the following video (Part one of two) produced by Philosophy Professor William Lane Craig’s Reasonable Faith group addresses the facts about Jesus’ claim to be God. Give it a listen, then make up your own mind:
Don’t miss Part 2 here tomorrow. It will address the four major categories of theories advanced by critics and skeptics over the millenia to dispute the claim Jesus rose from the dead.
Here’s hoping you had an absolutely wonderful holiday and that you are revved up about being back on Capitol Hill “tanned, rested and ready” for the second session of the 116th Congress in 2020.
Here’s what you can expect to find on HillFaith in coming months:
First, what they didn’t tell you in college about Jesus Christ, including the intellectually challenging multitude of facts, evidence and logic from history, science, archeology, medicine and personal experience. Give it a fair hearing and then decide for yourself what it means for you. He changed my life and He can yours, too.
Second, when I say “been there, done that, let’s talk,” it’s a humbly sincere invitation. I’ve spent four great years on a congressional staff and another three decades covering Congress and the rest of the federal government as a journalist. I love the Hill and have profound respect for the people who work here. And I just might have some insights that haven’t occurred to you. And always off-the-record!
Finally, working on the Hill is tough, exciting, frustrating, rewarding and valuable. There are moves afoot aimed at making working for a senator, representative, committee or congressional agency more fulfilling, effective and perhaps even lucrative. You’ll find news about these developments, too, plus regular looks at who is moving up and who is moving out.
There’s no other web site in the world like HillFaith, so enjoy it and let’s all together work to make America a better place for everybody here.
If this post looks familiar, that’s because it appeared on the site a couple of days ago when yours truly forgot to change “2019” to “2020” on the WordPress publication scheduling function. Don’t worry, it’s still 2020, not 2021! 🙂
He’s the most famous person who ever lived, so all kinds of people have expressed opinions through the centuries since His death and resurrection about who Jesus Christ was, ranging from “great teacher” and “unique moral leader,” to “deluded fanatic,” “Jewish Messiah,” and “religious ascetic.”
But who did Jesus think and claim He was? When He entered Jerusalem a few days before His crucifixion, the crowd spread palm branches before Him, a sign of their expectation that He would liberate them from Roman domination and oppression.
But they were mistaken, as were so many others since then and even today. The far more important question is who did Jesus say and think He was? The following video produced by Reasonable Faith is an impressive, enjoyable presentation of the answers: