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Apr-23-2011 14:50printcomments

He is Risen, Indeed!

Christianity itself would have died, along with its Founder, if it all ended at the cross


(WASHINGTON D.C.) - In the early Church, when one Christian would greet another, often he would say: “He is risen.”

And the other would respond, “He is risen, indeed!”

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the greatest fact in human history. Yet throughout the centuries to our present time, skeptics have argued against the historical reliability of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Recently, well-known atheist Richard Dawkins said, “Accounts of Jesus’ resurrection and ascension are about as well-documented as ‘Jack and the Beanstalk.’”

Recently, I had the privilege of interviewing Rene Lopez, author of the new book The Jesus Family Tomb Examined: Did Jesus Rise Physically? I was surprised when Rene told me about his background. His life used to be like an episode of Miami Vice. Back in the 1980s, he could well have been one of the bad guys on that show—selling drugs, using violence, robbing people, etc. Today, he is a Ph.D. candidate, pastor, and author.

When I interviewed him about the resurrection of Jesus, he said one reason he believes in the resurrection is the power of the resurrected Christ in his own life. If Jesus could change someone like him, with his 30-plus arrests and make him a new man from the inside out, then He could walk out of the tomb. Rene tells his story in his website and is currently working on a book about his conversion.

Rene says this about Dawkins’ notion that the resurrection of Jesus is about as historical as “Jack and the Beanstalk”: “The gospels are more reliable accounts in ancient history than any other document we have, before and after.”

Dr. Sam Lamerson of Knox Theological Seminary says this: “There are so many pieces of evidence for the truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ that if we reject the truth of the resurrection, I believe, we must then become total historical agnostics and reject virtually everything that we know about ancient history.” According to Lamerson, “There is no ancient historical event that is more certainly testified to both by number of witnesses and by evidence than the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

Let’s consider some of the evidence for the resurrection of Christ. We begin with the empty tomb. “Now, we often overlook the empty tomb,” says Dr. Paul Maier, professor of ancient history at Western Michigan University. “But I think the empty tomb is very important, because that is something that an ancient historian can get at.”

According to Liberty University professor Dr. Gary Habermas, “The fact that women reported the empty tomb is the best reason to believe it, ’cause it’s not a scenario anybody would make up.” The empty tomb was a fact of history.

Another piece of evidence for the bodily resurrection of Christ deals with the first eye-witnesses and the first to testify they had seen Him risen from the dead. Rene Lopez observes, “If the resurrection was to be a hoax, you would never use women to validate something like the resurrection, if you wanted to lie about it, because in the first century, according to the rabbinic writings, a woman’s testimony was as valid as a thief’s.”

Furthermore, the apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15 that Jesus appeared to 500 people at one time after His resurrection. Many of these were still alive at the time Paul wrote that. He basically encourages his readers to go talk with them.

Another reason Christians believe Jesus rose from the dead is that the whole Christian movement began in Jerusalem. Dr. Maier points out: “Where did Christianity first begin in terms of the organized proclamation that Jesus rose from the dead? Only one place on earth—Jerusalem. There, least of all, could Christianity ever have gotten started if the moldering body of Jesus of Nazareth were available any time after Sunday morning. That would have been a wooden stake through the heart of Christianity. There wouldn’t have been a Christian church ever organized.”

Perhaps the most compelling evidence for the resurrection of Jesus is the change in the disciples. Just as Rene was changed, so also were the disciples. Rene points out: “In the gospels, you have the disciples running scared. They were all hiding, and overnight you have them then making a radical turnaround and then going before the authorities and proclaiming the very resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

And they were not just changed, but willing to die for what they believed. Dr. Lamerson points out: “According to early church history, those 12 disciples all met horrible deaths, except for John. Judas, of course, went out and committed suicide. But of the remaining 11, every one of them, except for John, met a martyr’s death. That is, they were killed because they continued to preach the Resurrection of Jesus Christ….They died because they knew that Jesus really had risen from the dead in history.”

Finally, Rene Lopez observes that Christianity itself would have died, along with its Founder, if it all ended at the cross: “Christianity would have died, if Christ had not risen from the dead. There’s no possible way to explain the growth of the church…. That in itself must be answered by the critics today.”

He is risen.

He is risen, indeed!

Dr. Jerry Newcombe is the senior producer and host of The Coral Ridge Hour. He is also producer of the television documentary, Who Is This Jesus: Is He Risen? and co-author, with Dr. D. James Kennedy, of the companion book by the same title.

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Natalie April 27, 2011 3:40 pm (Pacific time)

Don't worry about that unicorns stuff. After all, it's not as extreme as believing in Big Bang theory. Big deal... a horn between 2 eyes. Ask around - half the male population prefers to ignore their 2 horns, clearly seen by their friends and relatives.

The Big Bang theory is widely but not universally accepted by physicists as part of the Standard Model. I personally have my doubts about the BB theory, myself. Some notable cosmologists, like Sir Fred Hoyle, have taken this position. 

Natalie April 26, 2011 11:35 pm (Pacific time)

DJ, I don't think you would believe even if Jesus appeared in front of you today. You would probably assume that you are having symptoms of delirium tremens, and would try to stick your fingers into the wounds just to make sure that the blood is not blue. Isn't it true?

If he had appropriate photo ID. But, then, I don't believe in unicorns, either.

Natalie April 25, 2011 5:44 pm (Pacific time)

It's a rhetorical question, DJ. Isn't the answer obvious, based on my post?

So, your argument is "Nobody knows for sure, but I know that you're wrong, because fishermen are not trustworthy. They are not a reliable source." Is that your argument? Really?

It's about the reliability of any evidence. Fishermen, per se, are trustworthy (except perhaps when they describe the size of the fish that got away) but these fishermen are not quoted directly or even second hand. Don't forget that the first versions of the NT were not written down until several centuries after J's alleged life. My point is that there is no historical or archeological support for anything in the NT.

Natalie April 25, 2011 4:04 pm (Pacific time)

DJ, choose a stronger argument. If the news didn't spread throughout the world, how do you know about it - had personal spiritual visions? Another thing that you don't want to believe it... well, that's your personal choice. BTW, I learned my lesson: if I'm not mistaken, you base your argument on another fallacy - Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc. Nice try.

Natalie: How do I know about it? I don't. That's the point. No one knows about it except by believing biblical revelations that have zero historical credence and must be accepted 100% on faith. No PHEPH about it. Assuming that Jesus was a real person (no assurances on that, either) do you believe that he was killed and came back to life? (That's a personal question and you don't need to answer it if you'd rather not.) 

Daniel Johnson April 25, 2011 12:46 pm (Pacific time)

Jesus rising from he dead is a great hoax. Think about it. All through history, the greatest concern for almost everyone is what happens, if anything, after we die.

If Jesus had died and come back to life that would have been the greatest event in the history of mankind, bar none. The news would have spread through the region in a matter of days; through the Mideast in perhaps a matter of weeks and would have been public knowledge throughout the civilized (at the time) world in a matter of months at the most. There is no historical record anywhere of such an event happening.

Ergo: It did not happen.

Douglas Benson April 24, 2011 4:40 pm (Pacific time)

Anon,you cant wrap dogma in a cloak of empathy and morality and sell it here. Peace brother

Anonymous April 24, 2011 3:11 pm (Pacific time)

Actually Douglas, there are probably many things in the Bible that are not true. The vatican, the khazars etc, made sure it got edited. But go to the book of Job. There were certain things that God allowed in regards to what happened to Job, BUT, Job's soul was not allowed to be touched. Same with the Bible. Those who edited it to their own liking, could not touch the soul of the Bible. Stay where you are, or branch out. For those who want to branch out, its easy. Proverbs: Ask for wisdom and it will be given without reproach. Without reproach means, there is nothing required of you but to ask. Try it, its free, you dont have to change your life, you dont have to go to church, you dont have to do ANYTHING. Simply ask.How beautiful is that?

Douglas Benson April 24, 2011 9:03 am (Pacific time)

Hold the freaking phone ! Proof of resurrection from the same book of fairy tales? Historicaly factual? I know its easter but come on . This book "inspired by god" according to its own test of what is inspired by god means that if one little thing it says is untrue its all garbage. Im out Peace

Anonymous April 23, 2011 3:34 pm (Pacific time)

the globalists hate least in its true form. Great article. Thanks for printing it salem news.
Check out what israeli mainstream news teaches.

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