Is Jesus Really the Only Way to God/Part 8

By: Dr. John Ankerberg with various Scholars; ©{{{copyright}}}
What are some specific examples of the evidence for Christianity?

Ed. note: This article is based upon the transcript from programs produced by the John Ankerberg Show. Additional material has been added for this print version.

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What are some specific examples of the evidence for Christianity?

Among many possible lines of evidence for Christianity, we have selected two we feel will command the attention of any open-minded person—specifically, fulfilled prophecy and the historical resurrection of Jesus Christ. First, the existence of specifically fulfilled prophecy in the Bible cannot be denied. For example, the internal and external evidence both clearly support a pre-neo-Babylonian composition for the book of Isaiah (seventh century BC) and a neo-Babylonian composition for the book of Daniel (sixth century BC).[1] Yet Isaiah predicts and describes what King Cyrus will do (by name) over 100 years before he even lived (Isaiah 44:28-45:6). Isaiah also describes the specific nature and death of the Jewish Messiah 700 years in advance (Isaiah 9:6; 53:1-12), and the Babylonian captivity of Judah 100 years in advance (Isaiah 39:5-7). Indeed, the Assyrian captivity is hinted at by Moses as early as 1400 BC in Deuteronomy 28:64-66.

Similarly, in 530 BC, hundreds of years in advance, the prophet Daniel (Matthew 24:15) predicts the Medo-Persian, Greek, and Roman empires so clearly that antisupernaturalists are forced, against all the evidence, to date this book at 165 BC and thus imply it is a forgery (cf., Daniel 2, 7, 11:1-35 in light of subsequent Persian, Greek, and Roman history and the dynasties of the Egyptians and Syrians).[2] First Kings 13:1, 2 predicts King Josiah 300 years before he was born, and Micah 5:2 predicts the very birthplace of Jesus 700 years before He was born. In the November 2003 issue of the ATRI Journal, we provided a great deal of additional evidence of supernatural prophecy in the Bible, and we show why this is impossible to explain apart from the divine inspiration of the Bible. How are we to account for such things if the Bible is not a book inspired by God? Nothing like this is found in other religions.

Second, nothing like the historical resurrection of Christ is found in other religions. As Newsweek magazine commented in its cover story for April 8, 1996 (p. 61), “By any measure, the resurrection of Jesus is the most radical of Christian doctrines… of no other historical figure has the claim been made persistently that God has raised him from the dead.” In light of the evidence, the resurrection cannot logically be denied and, if it is true, given the teachings of Jesus, it proves beyond a reasonable doubt that Christianity alone is fully true. (See our Knowing the Truth about the Resurrection.)

How? On the authority of accepted principles of historic and textual analysis, the New Testament documents can be shown to be reliable and trustworthy. That is, they give accurate primary source evidence for the life and death of Jesus Christ. In 2,000 years the New Testament authors have never been proven unethical, dishonest, or the object of deception. In the Gospel records, Jesus claims to be God incarnate (John 5:18; 10:27- 33); He exercises innumerable divine prerogatives, and fully rests His claims on His numerous, abundantly testified, historically unparalleled miracles (John 10:37, 38), and His forthcoming physical resurrection from the dead (John 10:17, 18). No one else ever did this.

Christ’s resurrection is minutely described in the gospels; it was subject to repeated eyewitness verification by skeptics; and over 2,000 years it has never been disproved despite the detailed scholarship of the world’s best skeptics. Nor can the resurrection be rejected a priori on antisupernaturalist grounds, for miracles are impossible only if so defined. The probability of a miracle is determined by the cumulative weight of the evidence, not philosophical bias.

To illustrate the quality of the evidence for the resurrection, a two-day public debate was held between Dr. Gary R. Habermas, a Christian scholar, and Antony Flew, a leading philosopher and skeptic of the resurrection. Ten independent judges, all of whom served on the faculty of American universities, were to render a verdict. The first panel of judges was composed of five philosophers who were instructed to evaluate the debate content and judge the winner. The second panel of judges was told to evaluate the argumentation technique of the debaters.

The results on content were four votes in favor of the Christian argument, one vote for a draw, and no vote in favor of the skeptical position. The decision on argumentation technique was three to two in favor of the Christian debater. The overall decision of both panels was seven to two in favor of the Christian position, with one draw. With one of the world’s leading philosophers defending the skeptical position, the judges were often surprised that the outcome resulted so heavily in favor of the resurrection. The details are given in Did Jesus Rise From the Dead? The Resurrection Debate (Terry L. Miethe, ed., Harper & Row, 1987). But the fact is that hundreds of such professional debates on the resurrection, the existence of God, the creation-evolution controversy, etc., have now been held. And Christians characteristically win the debates. If Christian truth claims withstand all counter arguments and win in scholarly debate, isn’t this compelling evidence Christianity is true?

Read Part 9

Notes

  1. Bruce K. Waltke, “The Date of the Book of Daniel,” in Roy B. Zuck (gen. ed.), Vital Apologetic Issues: Examining Reason and Revelation in Biblical Perspective (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 1995), pp. 194-203; for Daniel and Isaiah see Gleason L. Archer, Jr., A Survey of Old Testament Introduction (Chicago: Moody Press, Rev. 1974).
  2. See the commentaries on Daniel by John F. Walvoord, Charles Lee Feinberg, and H. C. Leupold.

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