Jesus of Nazareth
Investigation of the historical credibility of the New Testament records of Jesus' life with a focus on His resurrection.
The most distinctive claim about Christianity in relation to other world religions is that Christianity says that God has revealed himself in history. As British theologian, Alan Richardson, has stated: “The Christian faith…is bound up with certain happenings in the past, and if these happenings could be shown never to have occurred, or to have been quite different from the biblical-Christian account of them, then the whole edifice of Christian faith, life and worship would be found to have been built on sand.”
At this time of Christmas, we celebrate the central event in world-history that God became man in Jesus Christ. Today this claim is under assault in a variety of ways. Some claim it’s a myth; others assert that it’s a meaningless statement because it is impossible to really know the past. AP asked William Lane Craig, Research Professor in Philosophy at Talbot Theological Seminary, Los Angeles, what he thought about these views.
In this first part of a two-part article, the presuppositions and pretentions of the Jesus Seminar are exposited and assessed. It is found that the principal presuppositions of (i) scientific naturalism, (ii) the primacy of the apocryphal gospels, and (iii) the necessity of a politically correct Jesus are unjustified and issue in a distorted portrait of the historical Jesus. Although the Jesus Seminar makes a pretention of speaking for scholarship on the quest of the historical Jesus, it is shown that in fact it is a small body of critics in pursuit of a cultural agenda.
"Rediscovering the Historical Jesus: The Presuppositions and Pressumptions of the Jesus Seminar." Faith and Mission 15 (1998): 3-15.
Five reasons are presented for thinking that critics who accept the historical credibility of the gospel accounts of Jesus do not bear a special burden of proof relative to more skeptical critics. Then the historicity of a few specific aspects of Jesus' life are addressed, including his radical self-concept as the divine Son of God, his role as a miracle-worker, his trial and crucifixion, and his resurrection from the dead.
"Rediscovering the Historical Jesus: The Evidence for Jesus." Faith and Mission 15 (1998): 16-26.
Does it make sense to say that Christmas marks the birth of God? This question evokes the primary theological debates of the fourth and fifth centuries – how Jesus Christ can be considered both human and divine. Below, Dr. Craig offers his understanding of how Jesus’ divine and human natures join together in a single person, how His human frailties and experiences were deep and meaningful, and how one can cogently hold to celebrating “the birth of God” at Christmastime.
Panelists: Mark Ballin, Christian Dennis, Elliot Drallmeier, Alex Kim and Sunny Sidhu