Tuesday, July 26, 2016


There are people who say that Jesus never existed.  A couple of them even have Ph.D.'s (though they do not hold any kind of scholarly position). If that were true, then he certainly never died for our sins and he certainly never rose from the dead. If that were the case, Christianity would be meaningless. 

As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:14-20: "And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead...."

But the reality is that Jesus most certainly did exist. More than that, he most certainly taught truths that have transformed the world, lived as an unsurpassed example of love and compassion, healed large numbers of people and performed all kinds of extraordinary miracles, cast out demons, lived a sinless life, fulfilled dozens of ancient prophecies, was crucified and rose from the dead three days later. And he chose apostles to speak for him and to be bear witness to all of this.

Since the beginning of the year, I have been working on an extensive blog page to present this evidence, which is currently a 34-point outline--a small book. I hope to be able to post an initial publication of it it in the next few weeks. The amount of evidence is staggering. Nothing could be more certain than the Jesus who is revealed in the New Testament.

And that is the reason that scholars who know and understand the evidence of history readily dismiss the wild notion that Jesus never existed. Thanks to Nick Peters of Deeper Waters Ministries for this list of quotes from scholars from 1922 to 2015 (plus a couple from my friend Jacob Franklin):

"There is, lastly, a group of writers who endeavour to prove that Jesus never lived—that the story of his life is made up by mingling myths of heathen gods, Babylonian, Egyptian, Persian, Greek, etc. No real scholar regards the work of these men seriously. They lack the most elementary knowledge of historical research. Some of them are eminent scholars in other subjects, such as Assyriology and mathematics, but their writings about the life of Jesus have no more claim to be regarded as historical than Alice in Wonderland or the Adventures of Baron Munchausen." - George Aaron Barton, Jesus of Nazareth: A Biography, Macmillan, (1922)

"An extreme view along these lines is one which denies even the historical existence of Jesus Christ—a view which, one must admit, has not managed to establish itself among the educated, outside a little circle of amateurs and cranks, or to rise above the dignity of the Baconian theory of Shakespeare." - Edwyn Robert Bevan, Hellenism And Christianity, 2nd ed., G. Allen and Unwin, (1930), p. 256

"Of course the doubt as to whether Jesus really existed is unfounded and not worth refutation. No sane person can doubt that Jesus stands as founder behind the historical movement whose first distinct stage is represented by the oldest Palestinian community." - Rudolf Bultmann, Jesus and the Word, Collins, (1958), p. 13

"A hundred and fifty years ago a fairly well respected scholar named Bruno Bauer maintained that the historical person Jesus never existed. Anyone who says that today—in the academic world at least—gets grouped with the skinheads who say there was no Holocaust and the scientific holdouts who want to believe the world is flat." - Mark Allan Powell, Jesus as a Figure in History: How Modern Historians View the Man from Galilee, Westminster John Knox, (1998), p. 168

"The data we have are certainly adequate to confute the view that Jesus never lived, a view that no one holds in any case." - Charles E. Charleston, Prologue from Bruce Chilton & Craig A. Evans, eds., Studying the Historical Jesus: Evaluations of the State of Current Research, Brill, (1998), p. 3

"Most scholars regard the arguments for Jesus' non-existence as unworthy of any response—on a par with claims that the Jewish Holocaust never occurred or that the Apollo moon landing took place in a Hollywood studio." - Michael James McClymond, Familiar Stranger: An Introduction to Jesus of Nazareth, Eerdmans, (2004), p. 8, 23–24

"A phone call from the BBC’s flagship Today programme: would I go on air on Good Friday morning to debate with the authors of a new book, The Jesus Mysteries? The book claims (or so they told me) that everything in the Gospels reflects, because it was in fact borrowed from, much older pagan myths; that Jesus never existed; that the early church knew it was propagating a new version of an old myth, and that the developed church covered this up in the interests of its own power and control. The producer was friendly, and took my point when I said that this was like asking a professional astronomer to debate with the authors of a book claiming the moon was made of green cheese." - N. T. Wright, Jesus' Self Understanding, from Stephen T. Davis, Daniel Kendall, Gerald O’Collins, eds., The Incarnation, Oxford University Press, (2004), p. 48

"...only the shallowest of intellects would dare to deny Jesus' existence. And yet this pathetic denial is still parroted by 'the village atheist,' bloggers on the Internet, or such organisations as the Freedom from Religion Foundation." 
- Paul L. Maier (distinguished professor of ancient history), Did Jesus Really Exist?, 4truth.net, 2007,
http://www.4truth.net/fourtruthpbjesus.aspx... (Accessed February 4th 2016)

"In the academic mind, there can be no more doubt whatsoever that Jesus existed than did Augustus and Tiberius, the emperors of his lifetime." - Carsten Peter Thiede, Jesus, Man or Myth?, Lion, (2005), p. 23

"I think the evidence is just so overwhelming that Jesus existed, that it's silly to talk about him not existing. I don't know anyone who is a responsible historian, who is actually trained in the historical method, or anybody who is a biblical scholar who does this for a living, who gives any credence at all to any of this." - Bart Ehrman, interview with David V. Barrett, The Gospel According to Bart, Fortean Times, (2007)

"The very logic that tells us there was no Jesus is the same logic that pleads that there was no Holocaust. On such logic, history is no longer possible. It is no surprise then that there is no New Testament scholar drawing pay from a post who doubts the existence of Jesus. I know not one. His birth, life, and death in first-century Palestine have never been subject to serious question and, in all likelihood, never will be among those who are experts in the field. The existence of Jesus is a given." - Nicholas Perrin, Lost in Transmission?: What We Can Know About the Words of Jesus, Thomas Nelson, (2007), p. 32

"Frankly, I know of no ancient historian or biblical historian who would have a twinge of doubt about the existence of a Jesus Christ - the documentary evidence is simply overwhelming." - Graeme Clarke, quoted by John Dickson in Facts and friction of Easter, The Sydney Morning Herald, (2008)

"To describe Jesus' non-existence as 'not widely supported' is an understatement. It would be akin to me saying, "It is possible to mount a serious, though not widely supported, scientific case that the 1969 lunar landing never happened." There are fringe conspiracy theorists who believe such things - but no expert does. Likewise with the Jesus question: his non-existence is not regarded even as a possibility in historical scholarship. Dismissing him from the ancient record would amount to a wholesale abandonment of the historical method." - John Dickson, Jesus: A Short Life, Lion, (2008), p. 22-23

“I should say at the outset that none of this [mythicist] literature is written by scholars trained in New Testament or early Christian studies teaching at the major, or even the minor, accredited theological seminaries, divinity schools, universities, or colleges of North America or Europe (or anywhere else in the world). Of the thousands of scholars of early Christianity who teach at such schools, none of them, to my knowledge, has any doubt that Jesus existed.” - Bart D. Ehrman, Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument For Jesus of Nazareth, Harper Collins, (2012), p. 2

“…the whole idea that Jesus of Nazareth did not exist as a historical figure is verifiably false. Moreover, it has not been produced by anyone or anything with any reasonable relationship to critical scholarship. It belongs in the fantasy lives of people who used to be fundamentalist Christians. They did not believe in critical scholarship then, and they do not do so now. I cannot find any evidence that any of them have adequate professional qualifications.” - Maurice Casey (atheist), Jesus: Evidence and Argument or Mythicist Myths?, T&T Clark, (2014), p. 243

"No serious historian, of any religious or nonreligious stripe, doubts that Jesus of Nazareth really lived in the first century and was executed under the authority of Pontius Pilate, the governor of Judea and Samaria. -- Jesus and the Remains of His Day, Craig Evans (2015), p. 147

Recommended Reading
*Jesus Is No Myth by David Marshall
Still looking?....
*Check out my blog article: "Jesus' Historicity: Resources for Study."

No comments:

Post a Comment