Defending the Historical Credibility of the Gospels and Acts

In a talk originally presented to the Reasonable Faith chapter in Belfast, Timothy McGrew, Professor of Philosophy at Western Michigan University, explores five tests for the historicity of ancient works and applies these to the Gospels and the book of Acts.

Download the audio here and the powerpoint slides here.

Source: Brian Auten

The stone has been rolled away

Resources for Easter

Easter is a time to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ and how God’s work in rescuing humanity through the cross and death of Jesus was powerfully and decisively vindicated. No other season in the Christian calender is as important or as crucial to the Gospel message as Easter. With the historical events of the death and resurrection, Christianity stands or falls.

With that in mind, here are a few resources that might be useful in our reflection and proclamation of the fantastic, life-changing truth of these events.


The Cross

Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross: Experiencing the Passion and Power of Easter Edited by Nancy Guthrie, Crossway, 2009.

Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus (RE: Lit) by D. A. Carson, Crossway Books, 2010.

Redemption Accomplished and Applied, John Murray, Eerdmans, 1955.

The Death of Death in the Death of Christ, by John Owen, Banner of Truth, 1959.

The Cross of Christ by John R.W. Stott, InterVarsity, 2006

The Truth of the Cross by R. C. Sproul, Reformation Trust Publishing, 2007.

The Resurrection

The Christ of the Empty Tomb by James Montgomery Boice, P & R Publishing,  2010.

The Resurrection of the Son of God by N. T. Wright, Augsburg Fortress Publishers, 2003.

Jesus’ Resurrection: Fact or Figment?: A Debate Between William Lane Craig and Gerd Ludemann edited by William Lane Craig, Ronald Tacelli, Paul Copan, and Gerd Ludemann InterVarsity Press, 2000.

Assessing the New Testament Evidence for the Historicity of the Resurrection of Jesus by William Lane Craig, Edwin Mellen Press, 1989.

The Resurrection, An Interdisciplinary Symposium on the Resurrection of Jesus edited by Stephen T. Davis, Daniel Kendall, and Gerald O’Collins, Oxford University Press, 1999.

Risen Indeed: Making Sense of the Resurrection by Stephen T. Davis, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1993.

The Son Rises: The Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus by William L. Craig, Wipf & Stock, 2000.

Raised with Christ: How the Resurrection Changes Everything by Adrian Warnock, Crossway Books (January 31, 2010)

Christopher Price & John Sabatino of CADRE (the Christian Colligation of Apologetics Debate Research & Evangelism) have helpfully posted a review of many of the above books on their site.

Online Articles and E-Books

Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die by John Piper (Free book made available by Desiring God Ministries)

This Joyful Eastertide: A Critical Review of The Empty Tomb by Steve Hays (Free online book by the bloggers at Triablogue)

The Argument from Miracles: A Cumulative Case for the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth by Timothy and Lydia McGrew (75 page pdf article)

Resurrection: God Saves by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshear (Free 24-page chapter from their new book, Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe)

He is Risen Indeed by Ben Witherington III (Reproduced from Witherington III’s New Testament History: A Narrative Account)

Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus by Shandon L. Guthrie

Can the resurrection narratives be harmonized? Articles by J.P. Holding and Glenn Miller

Articles by William Lane Craig:

Contemporary Scholarship and the Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ

The Bodily Resurrection of Jesus

The Disciples’ Inspection of the Empty Tomb

The Guard at the Tomb

The Historicity of the Empty Tomb of Jesus

Reply to Evan Fales: On the Empty Tomb of Jesus

Articles by Gary Habermas:

Explaining Away Jesus’ Resurrection: The Recent Revival of Hallucination Theories

Jesus’ Resurrection and Contemporay Criticism: An Apologetic: Part 1 and Part 2

The Late Twentieth-Century Resurgence of Naturalistic Responses to Jesus’ Resurrection

Experiences of the Risen Jesus: The Foundational Historical Issue in the Early Proclamation of the Resurrection


The Evidence for the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth – William Lane Craig

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ: Some Historical Considerations Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 –  Gary Habermas

Radical Effects of the Resurrection – John Piper

Christ’s Resurrection – Sinclair Ferguson

Jesus is Alive – Mark Dever

The Good News of the Resurrection – Alistair Begg

The Doctrine of the Resurrection Part 1 and Part 2 – Wayne Grudem (Systematic theology class)

Why Does Jesus’ Resurrection Matter? and Q & A at The Vertias Forum- N T Wright


William Lane Craig and Robert Cavin: Did Jesus Rise From The Dead? (1995)
William Lane Craig and Gerd Ludemann: Did Jesus Rise From The Dead? (1997)
William Lane Craig and Robert Price: Did Jesus of Nazareth Rise From The Dead? (1999)
William Lane Craig and Gerd Ludemann: Jesus’ Resurrection: Fact or Figment? (2002)
William Lane Craig and Hector Avalos: Did Jesus Rise From The Dead? (2004)
William Lane Craig and John Shelby Spong: Did Jesus Rise From The Dead? (2005)
William Lane Craig and Bart Ehrman: Is There Historical Evidence For The Resurrection Of Jesus? (2006) (Transcript also available)
William Lane Craig and James Crossley: Was Jesus Bodily Raised From The Dead? (2007)
William Lane Craig and Roy Hoover: Should We Believe that Jesus’ Resurrection is Historical? (2008)
Bart Ehrman and Michael Licona: Is the Resurrection of Christ Provable? (2008)
Gary R. Habermas and Arif Ahmed: Did Jesus Rise Bodily From the Dead? (2008) PART I PART II PART III PART IV PART V PART VI PART VII PART VIII PART IX
Gary Habermas and Kenneth Humphreys Resurrection – Religious Fiction or Historical Fact? (2008) PART I PART II PART III PART IV PART V PART VI

Have we got it right? New DVD on Jesus, history and the NT

Earlier this year, the Tyndale House sponsored a conference at the Westminister Chapel, in London, to both address contemporary objections to the historicity of the New Testament and show why the Bible can be trusted. With the goal in training Christians to be able to share their faith with confidence, the conference brought together some of the foremost evangelical scholars around today. The DVD of the sessions has now become available. You can purchase it online here.

Information about the three lectures included on the DVD, from the Bible and Church website:

Have we got the history right? Dr. Peter J. Williams

A widely held idea is that Christian beliefs arose over a long period of time through a mixture of gullibility and conspiracy. Early Christian records are held to be legend, myth or fabrication.

However, when we consider the earliest accounts of Christianity by non-Christian writers we see that Christians were never in a position to fabricate the accounts of Jesus, and that the core Christian beliefs must have been held very early

Dr Peter (P.J.) Williams is the Warden of Tyndale House. He was educated at Cambridge University, where he received his MA, MPhil and PhD, in the study of ancient languages related to the Bible.

Have we got the text right? Dr. Dirk Jongkind

Another popular idea is that the Bible has been corrupted, either by deliberate falsification or simply lost through passage of time. Such ideas are promoted in the British media.
This session will explain what New Testament manuscripts are and compare the manuscripts we have of the New Testament with what we have for other ancient writings.

It will also show how little evidence there is for deliberate change within New Testament manuscripts. The scribes of the New Testament manuscripts would not have been good conspirators because they were interested in copying not in changing.

Dr Dirk Jongkind is a Dutch biblical scholar who finished his PhD at Cambridge University on Codex Sinaiticus, the oldest complete copy of the New Testament.

Have we got Jesus right? Dr Simon J. Gathercole

Probably the most popular idea in relation to the Bible is that books have been missed out or put in due to political pressure and various media have been full of talk about ‘other gospels’.

Here some of the most famous ‘other gospels’ are considered: the gospels of Thomas, Judas and Mary. But first it is important to establish two facts about the very earliest Christians and their beliefs:

* they believed that Jesus had died as a ransom for our sins.
* they believed that Jesus had fulfilled the Old Testament.

It is found that while Matthew, Mark, Luke and John agree with these two Christian beliefs, the apocryphal gospels generally do not. They do not fit the pattern of earliest Christian belief precisely because they were written later.

They are less reliable than the canonical gospels both in their picture of history and in their picture of Jesus’ message. For real pictures of Jesus, based on eyewitness testimony, you need to read the New Testament.

Dr Simon Gathercole is Editor of the Journal for the Study of the New Testament. Having studied Classics and Theology at Cambridge University.

(Source: Justin Taylor)