In Jesus on Trial, David Limbaugh applies his lifetime of legal experience to a unique new undertaking: making a case for the gospels as hard evidence of the life and work of Jesus Christ. Limbaugh, a practicing attorney and former professor of law, approaches the canonical gospels with the same level of scrutiny he would apply to any legal document and asks all the necessary questions about the story of Jesus told through Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. His analysis of the texts becomes profoundly personal as he reflects on his own spiritual and intellectual odyssey from determined skeptic to devout Christian. Ultimately, Limbaugh concludes that the words Christians have treasured for centuries stand up to his exhaustive inquiry—including his examination of historical and religious evidence beyond the gospels—and thereby affirms Christian faith, spirituality, and tradition.
Then comes Holy Week. The triumph of Palm Sunday. The humility of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. His slow march up that hill, and the pain and the scorn and the shame of the cross. And we’re reminded that in that moment, he took on the sins of the world — past, present and future — and he extended to us that unfathomable gift of grace and salvation through his death and resurrection. In the words of the book Isaiah: “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” This magnificent grace, this expansive grace, this “Amazing Grace” calls me to reflect. And it calls me to pray. It calls me to ask God for forgiveness for the times that I’ve not shown grace to others, those times that I’ve fallen short. It calls me to praise God for the gift of our son — his Son and our Savior.
This volume highlights points of agreement and disagreement between two leading scholars on the subject of the textual reliability of the New Testament: Bart Ehrman, James A. Gray Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and author of the best-selling book Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why, and Daniel Wallace, Professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary and Executive Director of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts. This conversation between Ehrman and Wallace allows the reader to see in print how each presents his position in light of the other’s. Contributions follow from an interdisciplinary team featuring specialists in biblical studies, philosophy, and theology. The textual reliability of the New Testament is logically prior to its interpretation and thus important for the Christian religion. This book provides interested readers a fair and balanced case for both sides and allows them to decide for themselves: What does it mean for a text to be textually reliable? How reliable is the New Testament? How reliable is reliable enough? ~ Product Description
In 2004 philosopher Antony Flew, one of the world’s most prominent atheists, publicly acknowledged that he had become persuaded of the existence of God. Not long before that, in 2003, Flew and Christian philosopher Gary Habermas debated at a Veritas Forum at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Habermas, perhaps the world’s leading expert on the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, made a case for the reliability of the evidence. Flew argued for alternative understandings of the data presented. For two-and-a-half decades Flew and Habermas have been in friendly dialogue about the plausibility of the resurrection and the existence of God. This book presents the full content of their third and final debate, as well as transcripts of the Q & A session with the audience afterward. Also included are a 2004 conversation between Habermas and Flew shortly after Flew’s much-publicized change of position, as well as editor David Baggett’s assessment and analysis of the full history of Habermas and Flew’s interactions. Listen in on a conversation with two of the greatest thinkers of our era about one of the most pivotal events in human history. Follow the evidence wherever it leads. And decide for yourself whether a man really rose from the dead. ~ Product Description
My own return to faith has surprised no one more than myself. Why did I return to it? … And it is true to say that no one can ever prove – nor, indeed, disprove – the existence of an after-life or God, or answer the conundrums of honest doubters (how does a loving God allow an earthquake in Italy?) ¶ Easter does not answer such questions by clever-clever logic. Nor is it irrational. On the contrary, it meets our reason and our hearts together, for it addresses the whole person. ¶ In the past, I have questioned its veracity and suggested that it should not be taken literally. But the more I read the Easter story, the better it seems to fit and apply to the human condition. That, too, is why I now believe in it. ¶ Easter confronts us with a historical event set in time. We are faced with a story of an empty tomb, of a small group of men and women who were at one stage hiding for their lives and at the next were brave enough to face the full judicial persecution of the Roman Empire and proclaim their belief in a risen Christ.
Wright, one of the greatest, and certainly most prolific, Bible scholars in the world, will touch a nerve with this book. What happens when we die? How should we think about heaven, hell, purgatory and eternal life? Wright critiques the views of heaven that have become regnant in Western culture, especially the assumption of the continuance of the soul after death in a sort of blissful non-bodily existence. This is simply not Christian teaching, Wright insists. The New Testament’s clear witness is to the resurrection of the body, not the migration of the soul. And not right away, but only when Jesus returns in judgment and glory. The "paradise," the experience of being "with Christ" spoken of occasionally in the scriptures, is a period of waiting for this return. But Christian teaching of life after death should really be an emphasis on "life after life after death"-the resurrection of the body, which is also the ground for all faithful political action, as the last part of this book argues. Wright’s prose is as accessible as it is learned-an increasingly rare combination. No one can doubt his erudition or the greatness of the churchmanship of the Anglican Bishop of Durham. One wonders, however, at the regular citation of his own previous work. And no other scholar can get away so cleanly with continuing to propagate the "hellenization thesis," by which the early church is eventually polluted by contaminating Greek philosophical influence. ~ Publishers Weekly
The cross was not God’s last word in Jesus Christ. The tomb did not hold him fast: he is risen, and God speaks to us through the Risen One. The rich glutton in hell asked that Lazarus might appear to his brothers and warn them lest they share his dreadful fate. He thinks: “If someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent” (Lk 1627ff). But the true Lazarus has come. He is here, and he speaks to us: This life is not everything. There is an eternity. Today, it is very unmodern to say this, even in theology. To speak of life beyond death looks like a flight from life here on earth. But what if it is true? Can one simply pass it by? Can one dismiss it as mere consolation? Is it not precisely this reality that bestows on life its seriousness, its freedom, its hope.
The historian is bound to face the question: once Jesus had been crucified, why would anyone say that He was Israel’s Messiah? ¶ Nobody said that about Judas the Galilean after his revolt ended in failure in AD 6. Nobody said it of Simon bar-Giora after his death at the end of Titus’s triumph in AD 70. Nobody said it about bar-Kochbar after his defeat and death in 135. On the contrary, where messianic movements tried to carry on after the death of their would-be messiah, their most important task was to find another messiah. The fact that the early Christians did not do that but continued against all precedent to regard Jesus Himself as Messiah, despite outstanding alternative candidates such as the righteous, devout, and well-respected James, Jesus’ own brother, is evidence that demands an explanation. As with their beliefs about resurrection, they redefined messiahship itself and with it their whole view of the problem that Israel and the world faced and the solution they believed God had provided. They remained at one level a classic jewish messianic movement, owing fierce allegiance to their Messiah and claiming Israel and the whole world in His name. But the mode of that claim and the underlying allegiance itself were drastically redefined. ¶ The rise of early Christianity, and the shape it took in two central and vital respects, thus presses upon the historian the question for an explanation. The early Christian retained the Jewish belief in resurrection, but both modified it and made it more sharp and precise. They retained the Jewish belief in a coming Messiah but redrew it drastically around Jesus Himself. Why? ¶ The answer early Christians themselves give for these changes, of course, is that Jesus of Nazareth was bodily raised from the dead on the third day after His crucifixion.
Habermas, who has written several apologetic works on the resurrection, and Licona, a speaker and budding New Testament scholar who was once Habermas’s student, offer a comprehensive and far-reaching argument for the historical veracity of Christ’s resurrection. In fact, at times it is too far-reaching, as when the authors digress into refutations of Mormonism, alien activity and Elvis sightings; this book would be much improved if it had been trimmed by about a third. Many evangelicals will appreciate the authors’ broad evidentiary claims and marshaling of historical, theological, archaeological, biomedical and literary data to support their belief in the resurrection. Yet despite its strong content, the book is poorly written, and is organized in a workmanlike outline format that seems more appropriate for a seminary
lecture than a seamless book. A closing chapter offers practical tips for evangelical Christians who wish to share their faith with others. ~ Publishers Weekly
Strobel, a former journalist for the Chicago Tribune, affirms that Christ really did die on the cross, and not just faint from exhaustion; that he experienced a bodily, and not just a spiritual, resurrection; and that he was seen alive after his death. In journalistic style, he interviews several experts like Gary Habermas, corrects inaccuracies (the nails would have been driven through Jesus’ wrists, we learn, and not his palms) and tells stories. But at its heart, this is an editorial rather than a journalistic account, as Strobel most definitely has an opinion and wants readers to share his own pilgrimage from doubt to rock-solid faith. ~ Publishers Weekly
Whether or not Jesus rose bodily from the dead is perhaps the most critical and contentious issue in the study of Christianity. Until now, scholars have concentrated on explicit statements in the New Testament to support their views, but Richard Swinburne argues for a wider approach, asking instead whether the character of God and the life of Jesus support the probability of the Resurrection. His book will be of great interest not only to academics but to anyone with an interest in religious philosophy and doctrine. ~ Publisher’s Description
If, further, God’s purpose of identifying with our suffering and providing an example and instruction of how to live is to be fulfilled, he must show us that he is doing this. For God to bring to life someone condemned for certain teaching would be to express his approval of that teaching. And since belief in the Resurrection … was clearly the force which led to the spread of the Gospel throughout so much of the world, if God brought this about, his doing this constituted and intervention in history to make the life of Jesus successful. If God raised Jesus and thus gave impetus to the Church which centrally thereafter taught that Jesus was God Incarnate (which there are also independent grounds for supposing Jesus to have implied), he showed that it was God himself who identified with our suffering. While the Resurrection would vindicate that and all the other teaching of Jesus, since a crucial element of that teaching concerned the availability for us ordinary humans life after death, it would provide the first example of that to which it witnessed. Jesus was the forerunner. If God raised Jesus from the dead, he accepted his sacrifice and vindicated his teaching.
In this definitive work, popular Christian apologist Hank Hanegraaff offers a detailed defense of the Resurrection, the singularly most important event in history and the foundation upon which Christianity is built. Using the acronym F.E.A.T., the author examines the four distinctive, factual evidences of Christ’s resurrection-Fatal torment, Empty tomb, Appearances, and Transformation-making the case for each in a memorable way that believers can readily use in their own defense of the faith. Hanegraaff addresses a number of questions: 1) Will we really have tangible, physical bodies in the resurrection? 2) If heaven is perfect, won’t it be perfectly boring? 3) Are reincarnation and resurrection mutually exclusive?
The meat of the book is in two chapters, on the “Empty Tomb” and the “Appearances of Jesus”. Craig offers ten points supporting the historical fact of the empty tomb, beginning with “The historical reliability of the account of Jesus’ burial supports the empty tomb” to “The fact that Jesus’ tomb was not venerated as a shrine indicates that the tomb was empty.” Most of the arguments are persuasively presented, though I wish all apologists would leave the Shroud aside. But in the end, Craig adequately explains the reasons that most scholars, from diverse backgrounds, accept the empty tomb as historical fact. The section on the Appearances of Jesus begins by demonstrating their historicity and then examines their explanations. He first shows that Peter, the Twelve, the five hundred, James, the apostles, and Paul did indeed experience appearances by Jesus. Craig then moves through the potential explanations and concludes that the best explanation for these appearances is that they were indeed real events, interactions with a living and breathing restored Jesus. Craig caps off his argument with a discussion about the resurrection’s role as the best explanation for the Origin of the Christian Faith itself.
I stress the historical angle from the outset because it has of course been argued, indeed insisted upon, in many circles that whatever we mean by the resurrection of Jesus, it is not accessible to historical investigation. As Dominic Crossan remarked about the study of Jesus in general, there have been some who said it could not be done, some who said it should not be done and some who said the former when they meant the latter. Getting to the heart of these objections and answering them in detail would take us far too afield within a single chapter. I simply wish to assert that the historian, so far from being debarred from the investigation of Jesus’ resurrection, is in fact obligated to undertake such an investigation. Without it a large hole remains in the center of first-century history, no matter what presuppositions the historian may possess.
This exciting collection of papers is an international, ecumenical, and interdisciplinary study of Jesus’ resurrection that emerged from the “Resurrection Summit” meeting held in New York at Easter of 1996. The contributions represent mainstream scholarship on biblical studies, fundamental theology, systematic theology, philosophy, moral theology, and homiletics. Contributors represent a wide range of viewpoints and denominations and include Richard Swinburne, Janet Martin Soskice, Peter F. Carnley, Sarah Coakley, Willian Lane Craig, William P. Alston, M. Shawn Copeland, Paul Rhodes Eddy, Francis Schussler Fiorenza, Brian V. Johnstone, Carey C. Newman, Alan G. Padgett, Pheme Perkins, Alan F. Segal, Marguerite Shuster, and John Wilkins. Combined, they offer a timely, wide ranging, and well balanced work on the central truth of Christianity. ~ Product Description
Crucifixion demands entombment. And entombment generates drama. Who is hiding in the cupboard of French farce? Who is behind the screen on Blind Date? What is the bran tub, or the cracker, or the long awaited letter when it drops in the letter-box? Open the box! The drama of entombment is there literally in the stage illusionist’s repertoire. It might have died with Harry Houdini, but it hasn’t. I saw it only the other day on television: the comedian Freddie Star, bound and shackled and then submerged in a fish tank. Curtains drawn round the tank. Lights dimmed. A roll of drums, the lights flash, and then the lights go up and the curtains are drawn back to discover… an empty fish tank. And a few minutes later, Freddie is discovered somewhere else, damp but unharmed and smiling, the Starr reborn. … I come back to death, ‘nothing more terrible, nothing more true’. We go to Shakespeare’s tragedies, go to sit in the dark in our boxes at the theatre, to confront what ‘we can’t escape’. And Shakespeare shows us the mutilated bodies in a stage spectacle. And he portrays death as final, ‘the sure extinction that we travel to and shall be lost in always’. But the ritual of theatre-going won’t allow it to rest there. We are obliged to remain incarcerated while another stage-spectacle is enacted, the resurrection before our eyes of the actors who are dead. The curtain call. It is a cheat. Like death. Something I know I can’t escape, yet can’t accept. Tirez le rideau.
Geivett and Habermas have collected some of the best available scholars around today to present a case for the actions of God in human history. The book begins with David Hume’s work on miracles along with a response from Antony Flew (the eminent Humean scholar). Then, a barrage of Christian philosophers and theologians tackle the issue of miracles in each chapter. Some of the chapter titles include – “Defining Miracles” (Richard Purtill), “Miracles and the Modern Mind” (Norman L. Geisler), “History and Miracles” (Francis J. Beckwith), “Recognizing a Miracle” (Winfried Corduan), “Science, Miracles, Agency Theory, & the God-of-the-Gaps” (J.P. Moreland), “The Evidential Value of Miracles” (Douglas Geivett), “Miracles in the World Religions” (David K. Clark), “The Incarnation of Jesus Christ” (John S. Feinberg), “The Empty Tomb of Jesus” (William Lane Craig), “The Resurrection Appearances of Jesus” (Gary R. Habermas), and more.
Are the traditional answers to these questions still to be trusted? Did the early church and tradition "Christianize" Jesus? Was Christianity built on clever conceptions of the church, or on the character and actions of an actual person? These and similar questions have come under scrutiny by a forum of biblical scholars called the Jesus Seminar. Their conclusions have been widely publicized in magazines such as Time and Newsweek. Jesus Under Fire challenges the methodology and findings of the Jesus Seminar, which generally clash with the biblical records. It examines the authenticity of the words, actions, miracles, and resurrection of Jesus, and presents compelling evidence for the traditional biblical teachings. Combining accessibility with scholarly depth, Jesus Under Fire helps readers judge for themselves whether the Jesus of the Bible is the Jesus of history, and whether the Gospel’s claim is valid that he is the only way to God. ~ From the Publisher
The origin of Christianity owes itself to the belief of the earliest disciples that God had raised Jesus from the dead. That belief cannot be accounted for in terms of either Christian, pagan, or Jewish influences. Even if we grant, for the sake of argument, that the tomb was somehow emptied and the disciples saw hallucinations — which we have seen to be false anyway — the origin of the belief in Jesus’ resurrection still cannot be explained. Such events would only have led the disciples to say that Jesus had been translated, not resurrected. The origin of the Christian faith is therefore inexplicable unless Jesus really rose from the dead.
Philosopher Davis argues that Christian belief in the resurrection is rational on historical, philosophical, and theological grounds. Each of the book’s ten chapters takes up a different aspect of the Christian concept of bodily resurrection and subsequently deals with such matters as preservation of personal identity and soul-body dualism, issues in biblical scholarship, and the reliability of New Testament accounts. ~ Synopsis
English journalist Frank Morison had a tremendous drive to learn of Christ. The strangeness of the Resurrection story had captured his attention, and, influenced by skeptical thinkers at the turn of the century, he set out to prove that the story of Christ’s Resurrection was only a myth. His probings, however, led him to discover the validity of the biblical record in a moving, personal way. Who Moved the Stone? is considered by many to be a classic apologetic on the subject of the Resurrection. Morison includes a vivid and poignant account of Christ’s betrayal, trial, and death as a backdrop to his retelling of the climactic Resurrection itself. Among the chapter titles are: “The Book That Refused to Be Written”, “The Real Case Against the Prisoner”, “What Happened Before Midnight on Thursday”, “Between Sunset and Dawn”, “The Witness of the Great Stone”, “Some Realities of That Far-off Morning”.
Basinger responds to Anthony Flew’s contention that: “the historian must maintain with respect to any alleged miracle that the event did not in fact occur as reported”. Basinger concedes that Flew’s argument has merit, but argues that it ultimately fails. And by the way, to save a trip to dictionary.com, “nomology” is the science of laws. Basinger concludes: “The fact that an alleged occurrence is incompatible with current nomologicals must indeed be seriously considered when the historian rules on its historicity. However, Flew has failed to demonstrate that a seeming counterinstance must be shown to be consistent with current nomologicals before the historian can justifiably rule that it can be known to have occurred. Alleged ‘miracles’ cannot be dismissed this easily.”
The most extraordinary Roman soldiers that Rome ever heard of were those soldiers that were set to watch the tomb of Jesus. They managed to fall asleep simultaneously in order to allow Jesus to pass unseen, and when they awoke, for a bribe they deliberately committed suicide by admitting that they had slept — an admission that meant instant execution. Was ever invention so stupidly desperate and mendacity so recklessly absurd as that invention and that mendacity upon which rests the story of the Resurrection, upon which the whole fabric of the Christian faith has elected to stand or fall? The basis is too puerile to support a story told by an idiot for the purpose of imposing upon a fool.