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Part 3: In Defense of the Historicity of the Resurrection

This is the first reply in a formal written debate between Stuart McEwing and Malcolm Trevena. The question of the debate is “Is the resurrection of Jesus fact or fiction?”

Preliminaries

I would first like to thank Malcolm Trevena for his opening statement responding to my defense of the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus. I am grateful for the importance he places on the truth of the matter and that he chose to attack my arguments without attacking me. I hope to replicate this gentlemanly manner.

Introduction

To begin I would like to look back and recall my opening statement.

In support of my first contention that there are at least four facts which any adequate historical hypothesis must explain, I offered four facts, namely, the burial of Jesus after his crucifixion, the empty tomb, the post-mortem appearances, and that the disciples radically came to believe that Jesus rose bodily from the dead, and also outlined the reasons why each of those facts are commended to us by the majority of experts in the relevant fields.

In support of my second contention, the hypothesis that God raised Jesus from the dead  is the best explanation of the aforementioned facts, I assessed that hypothesis using the conventional criteria historians use for determining the best explanation.

I concluded that Trevena, in order to establish that the resurrection of Jesus did not occur, in the absence of some overwhelming proof of atheism, must propose an alternative naturalistic explanation of those facts which exceeds the resurrection hypothesis in fulfilling those criteria.

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Video and Audio: Ahmanson Lectures on the Reliability of the Bible

The Ahmanson Lecture Series is an annual apologetics seminar held at Saddleback Church in Southern California. This year’s topic was the trustworthiness of the Bible, with a great lineup of guests speakers including Sean McDowell, Paige Patterson, Frank Turek, and Douglas R. Groothuis.

I’ve embedded the video from the talks below. If you’re having trouble accessing the links, you can also get the lectures on iTunes.

Why Historians Take the Gospel Seriously: John Dickson
Audio | Video

Dr. John Dickson (PhD) is a historian, author, and public advocate for the Christian faith. As the director of the Centre for Public Christianity (publicchristianity.org), he regularly writes for secular newspapers and appears in the media promoting thoughtful Christianity. Dr. Dickson is also the presenter of the historical documentaries—The Christ Files and Life of Jesus, and is Senior Research Fellow of the Department of Ancient History at Australia’s Macquarie University.

The Reliability of the New Testament: Sean McDowell
Audio | Video

Sean McDowell serves as head of the Bible Department at Capistrano Valley Christian Schools where he teaches Philosophy, Theology, and Apologetics. He has co-authored several books, speaks at conferences in the United States and abroad, and has a passion for reaching the younger generation with the message of the gospel. Listed among the top 100 apologists, Mr. McDowell’s apologetics training was awarded Exemplary Status by the Association of Christian Schools International.

Top Ten Reasons We Know the New Testament Writers Told the Truth: Frank Turek
Audio | Video

Dr. Frank Turek is the founder of CrossExamined.org and the award-winning author and coauthor of three books: I Don’t have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, Correct, Not Politically Correct and Legislating Morality. He spends most of his time engaging skeptics and encouraging Christians by presenting I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist at universities and colleges across the nation. A former aviator in the U.S. Navy, Dr. Turek has a Masters from George Washington University and a Doctorate from Southern Evangelical Seminary.

Following Jesus on the Reliability of Scripture: Paige Patterson
Audio | Video

Dr. Paige Patterson presently serves as president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas and has served as a president of institutions of higher education for almost 37 years. The focus of Dr. Patterson’s leadership is an intense commitment to evangelism and the task of global missions, based on a foundational component of demanding research and rigorous academic preparation. He has served twice as president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

A Biblical View of Truth: Doug Groothuis
Audio | Video

Douglas R. Groothuis received his PhD in philosophy from the University of Oregon. He is a Professor of Philosophy at Denver Seminary since 1993. He is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society, Evangelical Philosophical Society, and Society of Christian Philosophers. Dr, Groothuis has written eleven books; most recently Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith and has published articles in several scholarly journals.

View the video from the 2010 Ahmanson lecture series here.

The Evidence for Easter

Tyndale House, a Christian community dedicated to researching all the primary evidence relevant to the study of the Bible, has produced three short introductory films on the evidence for the central events of the Easter narrative.

Evidence for Jesus’ Trial

[youtube width=”449″ height=”280″ video_id=”pyfR0AsRaX4″]

Dr Dirk Jongkind, a Research Fellow at Tyndale House, pieces together the earliest manuscript evidence for the New Testament and shows how it tells the story of Jesus’ trial before Pilate.

Evidence for Jesus’ Crucifixion

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Dr Peter Williams and Dr David Instone Brewer look at the Munich Talmud, which contains traditional Jewish teaching, and discover how even the deleted text provides evidence for Jesus’ crucifixion. Read more about the evidence of the Munich Talmud here.

Evidence for Jesus’ Resurrection

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Dr Peter Williams gives a summary of the biblical evidence for the foundation of the Christian faith – Jesus’ bodily resurrection.

[HT: Justin Taylor]

Should we trust the Bible or the Qur’an?

Brian Auten has posted a link to the audio from a recent debate between Jay Smith and Khalil Meek. The exchange was held at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary on March 17 with Smith, a Christian apologetist, defending the trustworthiness of the Bible and Meek defending the Qur’an.

Listen to audio here.

Jay Smith also has some good resources on debate.org.uk for those who might be wanting to reach Muslims: