The Role Of The Resurrection In Christian Apologetics: An Answer From Presuppositional Apologetics -- By: Kevin D. Zuber

Journal: Journal of Dispensational Theology
Volume: JODT 11:33 (Aug 2007)
Article: The Role Of The Resurrection In Christian Apologetics: An Answer From Presuppositional Apologetics
Author: Kevin D. Zuber


The Role Of The Resurrection In Christian Apologetics: An Answer From Presuppositional Apologetics

Kevin D. Zuber, Ph.D.

Professor of Theology, Moody Bible Institute

In 1 Corinthians 15:14, the apostle Paul left little doubt about the centrality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ for the Christian faith. He asserted bluntly and unequivocally, “if Christ has not been raised then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.” As Gordon Fee has noted, “There seems to be little hope of getting around Paul’s argument, that to deny Christ’s resurrection is tantamount to a denial of Christian existence altogether.”1

The Resurrection As Something “To Be Proven”

Sensing the crucial significance of the resurrection, Christian apologists have typically approached the resurrection as a problem to be solved or its denial a challenge to be addressed.2 In short, the resurrection of Jesus is understood as “something to be proven,” or short of proven, that which is the “best explanation of the evidence” 3 such that any rational person ought to believe it.4 This procedure usually involves seeking some “neutral” ground or commonly accepted criteria upon which to build an empirical argument based on the historical facts or evidences found in the resurrection narratives. Typical in this

regard is the work of William Lane Craig.5 Craig began by establishing “the factors that historians typically weigh in testing a historical hypothesis.” He identified seven of these6 and then proceeded to apply them to the “hypothesis” of the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, specifically “God raised Jesus from the dead.” The evidences used to test the hypothesis are three: the empty tomb, the postmortem appearances of Jesus, and the origin of the disciples’ belief in the resurrection. His conclusion is that the “hypothesis” of the resurrection is “the best explanation of this body of evidence.” In another work he stated the point simply:

The historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus consists primarily in the evidence supporting three main facts: the empty tomb of Jesus, the appearances of Jesus to his disciples, and the origin of the Christian faith. If it can be shown that the tomb of Jesus was found empty, that he did appear to his discip...

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