Challenge Response: Jesus Wasn’t Crucified or Resurrected

Here's my response to this week's challenge:


0:01 This week's challenge:

0:07 Jesus wasn't crucified or resurrected.

0:10 Now if you read the challenge on the

0:12 blog, you'll notice that there are a

0:14 number of claims that are made in this

0:16 challenge. And so, one of the things you

0:19 have to do with something like this,

0:20 where a bunch of things are thrown out...

0:22 you just have to carefully walk through

0:25 it. Of course, we don't have enough time

0:26 to go through all the details and

0:28 marshall full argument in a short video

0:30 like this, but let me at least show you a

0:33 way forward on this. So let's take the

0:35 first claim: Jesus was an innocent man

0:38 who was, I know, who died this death of

0:41 agony and so we want to start with that

0:44 claim first. And probably ask some

0:47 clarification there on, you know, what's

0:50 wrong with that?

0:52 In particular, now knowing what most

0:55 skeptics are going to say. They're going

0:56 to say, well God punished an innocent man

0:59 for the sins or the crimes of other

1:01 people. This is unjust. Right? So you

1:04 wait to get that kind of clarification.

1:07 Now if that's the objection

1:10 well that's really for usn kind of

1:11 theological right? There's a theological

1:14 answer that's going to come into play

1:15 there. Because we don't think that Jesus

1:18 was just an innocent man like you or me.

1:22 Of course this is where our theology of

1:25 the Trinity comes into play.

1:27 Jesus being the second member of the

1:29 Trinity God Incarnate.

1:32 He is the one who comes and takes the

1:34 punishment for us. So actually, it's God

1:36 Himself who takes the punishment for us.

1:39 He, God, doesn't just grab an innocent man,

1:41 punish him and say, you know, and then

1:43 says, okay now you're free to go. But you

1:46 know this guy, well too bad for him.

1:48 So there's a theological response to

1:50 that first a claim in this challenge.

1:53 Now there's a second claim, right? That

1:55 the crucifixion and resurrection are

1:56 absurdities. And one of the reasons why

1:59 is because there's inconsistencies in

2:02 the stories. Now with this claim, we've

2:05 got to do a couple things. Number one, we

2:07 want to address the claim itself. But you

2:09 first need clarification. You need to ask

2:11 what inconsistencies are, you're talking

2:14 about?

2:14 Can you give me the specifics? Because I

2:16 can't really deal with that claim unless

2:18 I have the specific. So put the burden of

2:20 proof back on the person who's making a

2:22 claim that there are inconsistencies in

2:24 the narratives about the crucifixion.

2:25 That's step one. And then we

2:30 can deal with the specifics. So let's

2:32 take an example: so in mark 15:25, you

2:35 have Jesus crucified in the third hour.

2:37 In John 19 you have Jesus crucified at

2:39 the six-hour right? Here's an

2:41 inconsistency. Is that a contradiction

2:43 though? Right. So when we look into the

2:47 details there are some plausible

2:50 explanations for this. So if Mark is

2:52 working with the Jewish reckoning of

2:54 time and you've got time segments kind

2:57 of starting with sundown,

3:00 this makes sense that he's talking about

3:03 the third hour. If you have John writing

3:06 from the perspective maybe

3:07 a Roman time and a Roman reckoning

3:10 of time, where you go from sunrise to

3:12 sunset, and broken up into different

3:13 segments. Time is broken up into

3:16 different segments for the Romans, then

3:18 you may see why there's an apparent

3:21 contradiction or an apparent

3:22 inconsistency here. But that when you

3:25 look at the details, you can see, okay

3:27 this is from one perspective, here's

3:29 another perspective, and they actually

3:30 can harmonize. And so what it

3:33 shows us is that there are possible

3:36 plausible explanations that

3:39 demonstrate that these quote-unquote

3:41 inconsistencies actually aren't

3:43 inconsistencies but they there can be

3:45 some a harmonization. Now that is not a

3:49 cop out. That is just simply doing good

3:53 careful work and being fair to the

3:56 author's themselves and this happens all

3:58 the time right?

3:59 Even today when you and a friend have a

4:01 different perspective and you say things

4:03 you think oh that where there's a

4:04 disagreement but you come together and

4:05 you kind of get the details. When you get

4:07 into the details you can relieve those

4:09 kind of inconsistencies.

4:11 So that's the kind of thing that's going

4:12 to have to be done with this particular

4:13 claim. But then secondly, we also want to

4:17 ask what follows? Let's just grant the skeptic that there

4:22 are in consistencies in the Gospel

4:25 accounts. There is inconsistencies about the

4:28 number of times Peter denies Jesus.

4:30 There is inconsistencies about what

4:31 time Jesus was crucified.

4:33 What follows from that? Does it follow

4:35 that Jesus wasn't crucified? Is that the

4:38 conclusion we can draw? Well of course

4:40 not.

4:41 And let's just take a modern-day example.

4:42 I recently I was in Dallas, and I was at

4:44 the Books Suppository overlooking the

4:48 street where JFK was assassinated and as

4:53 I'm going through the museum

4:54 I'm seeing the film, right, of the

4:59 assassination. But then if you're going

5:01 through the the museum, you see there's

5:04 all these different kind of theories and

5:07 conspiracies about what happened and who

5:09 actually did the killing. And all

5:11 these kinds of things. But never did the

5:15 museum display, never did it communicate

5:19 that people have concluded therefore, that

5:21 JFK was not assassinated.

5:23 So, even if there are discrepancies

5:24 within a story, it doesn't undermine all

5:28 of the historical detail. In fact, this

5:31 really gets to the issue of inerrancy

5:32 right? Are the Gospel accounts inerrant?

5:36 Well that's a separate question. And we

5:38 do not need inerrancy to demonstrate the

5:42 reliability of the Gospels. That we can

5:45 have some core historical truth. And so

5:48 just because they're inconsistency that

5:50 doesn't follow that Jesus was not

5:51 crucified. That's just not good history.

5:53 Another objection here is that there's

5:55 no independent sources on these things...

5:59 on the crucifixion. And of course this is

6:02 just simply not true.

6:04 Some examples might be mara bar serapion.

6:07 You have the jewish Talmud. You

6:10 have Tacitus. All independent sources

6:14 from the Gospels that confirm the

6:17 crucifixion of Jesus. And of course you

6:19 can't discount the Gospels as

6:21 independent sources as well. In fact, the

6:25 historical data on the crucifixion of

6:27 Jesus is so solid that you have radical

6:32 skeptical scholars like John Dominic

6:34 Crossan and Gared Ludeman who conclude

6:37 that the

6:39 the crucifixion of Jesus is historical

6:42 bedrock. Its certainty. This is you

6:45 know, in fact Ludeman says that the

6:47 crucifixion is indisputable, and this is

6:50 an atheist. And so when you actually look

6:53 at the historical data on this you'll

6:54 look what historians conclude. The

6:56 crucifixion of Jesus is well attested.

6:58 Another claim that's made here is that

7:00 many early Christians didn't believe in

7:03 the crucifixion. Again this is a

7:06 statement that needs to be backed up.

7:08 Ok which ones? Because when I look at

7:10 early church fathers, it's near unanimous.

7:13 They'll believe in the crucifixion so

7:15 which ones are you talking about? And if

7:16 you can point to one or two examples,

7:18 what does that establish when you have

7:20 hundreds of others that would establish

7:23 something different? So again, we need to

7:25 clarify that.

7:26 So those, that's the way we

7:28 proceed with something like this when

7:30 someone, the skeptic, kind of throws up

7:32 all of these different objections. We

7:33 gotta walk through them carefully and

7:35 then, then we have to do our

7:36 investigative work, but we can see that a

7:40 challenge like this, that may be

7:43 intimidating at first can be answered.

7:45 For those of you who want some good

7:47 historical research on the crucifixion

7:51 and the resurrection of Jesus let me

7:53 just give you a couple of resources. Our

7:55 good friends Gary Habermast and Mike Licona

7:57 have an excellent book called

7:59 The Case For the Resurrection of Jesus,

8:01 which is accessible. But if you are

8:03 someone who wants to go a lot deeper or

8:05 maybe you're a skeptic. Then you owe it to

8:07 yourself to go for this one this. This is Mike

8:11 Litcona's book The Resurrection of

8:12 Jesus. 700 pages of historical

8:16 investigation, thorough, historical

8:18 investigation on the evidence for the

8:21 resurrection of Jesus. Check out those

8:23 resources and you'll see that we can

8:25 answer these kinds of challenges.


video |
Brett Kunkle