The Historicity Of The Resurrection Of Jesus Christ, Part One -- By: Gary R. Gromacki

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 29:1 (Winter 2016)
Article: The Historicity Of The Resurrection Of Jesus Christ, Part One
Author: Gary R. Gromacki


The Historicity Of The Resurrection Of Jesus Christ, Part One

Gary R. Gromacki

Introduction

Something happened over 1,970 years ago that changed the course of world history. This event turned men of fear into men of faith. This event explains the existence of the Church and changes in the lives of millions of believers. It is an event that Christians remember each Sunday as they gather together for worship. This event is the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Josh McDowell was a skeptic before he examined the gospels for himself. A student asked Josh, “Professor McDowell, why can’t you intellectually refute Christianity?” Josh McDowell responded, “For a very simple reason. I am not able to explain away an event in history—the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” After studying the subject for a long time, Josh McDowell was forced to the conclusion that either the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the greatest hoax ever given to man or it is the most fantastic fact of history.1

Is it possible to verify the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus? What is the correct historical method to approach the accounts of the resurrection of Jesus in the gospels? What criteria should be used to determine the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus? What historical evidence do the gospels present for the resurrection of Jesus? This article is the first in a two-part series that will attempt to answer these questions and summarize the main arguments for the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Testing Historical Explanations

Historiography

Historiography is the “narrative presentation of history based on a critical examination, evaluation, and selection of material from primary and secondary sources and subject to scholarly criteria.”2

Why is historiography important? In this day of historical revisionism, it is important for evangelical scholars to defend the historicity of events described in the Bible. Many liberal scholars would have us believe that the gospel writers invented various events in the life of Jesus (i.e., his miracles and resurrection) to encourage people to believe that Jesus is the Son of God. They would reject the historicity of these events and say that they never really happened. Instead they would describe these events as “legends” or “myths.” Evangelical scholars who accept the literal interpretation of the Bible reject this liberal historical revisionism. We believe that the miracles performed by Jesus and the bodily resurrection of Jesus were literal events in history.

How can evangelical s...

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