Last Sunday I began my series on why and how Christian faith is founded on facts, not myth. A slightly abbreviated version of April 7's message is here: "Truth and Christian Faith."
This Sunday's message is, "The Facts of Faith." Here is a preview of the historical facts under girding the factual event of the resurrection of Jesus:
- The founding of the Church has never been explained on any basis that leaves Jesus unresurrected.
- Jesus’s tomb was discovered empty on the Sunday after he died on the cross.
- The first person to claim that Jesus rose from the dead was a woman.
- Many other people also said they saw Jesus risen from the dead. These accounts are dated to very soon after Jesus’s death.
- The apostles who proclaimed Jesus’s resurrection and who founded the Church were all killed for doing so, except John, who died in exile. None recanted even when it would have saved their lives. We know it would have because Roman officials’ letters of the day say so.
- Paul actively persecuted early believers but then suddenly ceased and soon after became a vigorous apostle for Jesus. Jesus’s own brother, James, never followed Christ until after Jesus’s death and then James became the head of the Jerusalem church.
Skeptics have never explained any of these facts in a way that both leaves Jesus dead and results in the Church being established in the way that it was.
None of these facts reply on supernatural authority. They are historically-based claims of no different nature than accounts of other ancient figures or events. I'll explain the import of them in more detail this Sunday.