How I Came To Believe In Jesus’ Resurrection

How I Came To Believe In Jesus’ Resurrection May 18, 2018

Resurrection Sunday changed history forever but people are still asking is there any proof of the resurrection?

The Historical Jesus

We know that Resurrection Sunday was part of history, but this epic event also changed history, but people still ask, “Is there any real proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ?” Could you prove it to anyone that asks you about it? You can talk to people about evidence for the resurrection, but many still won’t believe because they choose not to believe. They don’t even think about it, but it’s not a matter of physical or historical evidence that makes a person believe. It’s a matter of the heart. Jesus told His disciples, “For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven” (Matt 16:17), and concerning what is to come, the Apostle Paul writes, “God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God” (1 Cor 2:9), so Jesus won’t be known by empirical evidence, because “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor 2:14). Only God can change the human heart (Prov 21:1), but He may use us as a means to do so, especially when it comes to loving others (John 13:34-35). Christians already know that their hope in Christ is not a hope-so faith, but a know-so faith. God has shown it to them.

The Innocent

The great lineage of Jesus Christ is recorded at the beginning of Luke. The names of all these men are historical facts. Even the census that Joseph and Mary had to travel to Bethlehem for was registered in the king’s census (Luke 2:1-5), and besides that, thousands upon thousands of witnesses not only knew Jesus by sight, but they acknowledged that He was the Messiah and related to King David’s lineage (Luke 1:1-10, 18:35-43). He was referred to as the Son of David (Matt 15:22, 20:30), and not once in the gospels did the chief priests, the scribes, the Pharisees or the Sadducees ever catch Jesus in a sin or every proved that He ever had sinned or broken the law. Pontius Pilate declared, “I find no guilt in him” (John 19:4), and tragically, many of these religious rulers knew that Jesus was from God, but for fear of losing their authority and positions, or getting put out of the synagogue, most denied Him in the end. The religious leaders all conspired to kill Him, despite the fact that He had not sinned nor broken Jewish or Roman law (Luke 20:20-26, 19:28-40, 20:20-26), and He was hated without cause (Psalm 69:4; John 15:26).

Eye Witnesses

In any court of law, eye witnesses are an invaluable source of finding the truth. In the whole of Judea and Samaria, there were several hundred eye witnesses who saw Jesus before, and more importantly, after His crucifixion, death, and resurrection (Luke 24:15-24, Act 1:3-4, 2:31-32, 9:3, 17, I Cor 15:4-8, 9:1, II Pet 1:16-21, John 3:2, 15:27, I John 1:1-3, 14). Hundreds others saw the empty tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, which Joseph had given for Jesus’ burial site and Jesus public execution was most certainly known by all, as the Roman’s had a custom of crucifying criminals near major roadways. They did this as a “warning sign” for all who entered or lived under Roman dominion, so the knowledge of Jesus’ crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection was known even into the Roman Empire, and later, beyond.

The Apostle’s Creed

The resurrection was so important to the early church because it is the essence of the gospel. Paul calls the gospel “of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep” (1 Cor 15:3-6). This was so important that within three to eight years after His death, Apostle’s Creed was created with the intent of protecting these eye witness’s accounts and codifying their testimonies accurately, both for present and future generations. Jude wrote “I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1: 3), so even in the church’s infancy, they were already contending for the original gospel (1 Cor 15:3-6). Paul told Timothy he must “Fight the good fight of the faith” (1st Tim 6:12), because so many were preaching another gospel and not the one Jesus delivered.

Gnosticism

Within a few years, some churches had already been infiltrated with the Gnostics who felt it was only through knowledge that one could be saved, and it was only for a select few, however the Creed announces to everyone publicly that the only way we can be saved is through Jesus Christ (John 6:44) and the free gift of eternal life (Eph 2:8-9). The Creed has grown in the last two thousand years, but its basic tenets have not changed much. If it has grown, it has only grown to resist the plethora of unsound doctrines floating around out there. It should act as a hedge against heresy and other (false) gospels. The Creed was not written from a blind-faith perspective or formulated by suppositions. It was created by eye witnesses who had seen Jesus before His death and after His resurrection. Today, He sits at the right hand of the Father directing His church as its Head. The old saying holds true; most people would live for a lie, but few would die for one. Especially one that they knew was not true.

Conclusion

I have faith in God, but I did not come to believe on my own. I was dead in my sins and needed quickening by God’s Spirt, so I came believe, but only because God wanted me to believe.   I have faith, but what is this faith I have? God defines faith as “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb 11:1). The Greek word used for “assurance” is hypostasis, and means “a setting, a place,” or “that which has a foundation,” and the Greek word (elegchos) used for conviction means, “a proof, that by which something is proven or a tested conviction.” Webster’s definition of faith seems perfectly fitting: Having an allegiance to duty or a person… loyalty, belief and trust in God, confidence in something or someone, so faith involves an act of the will. It is not blind faith, but faith that has assurance, is foundational, has inward and outward evidence, and has been proven by the person having such faith. For those things not seen (God), we have a foundational belief and overwhelming conviction of its truthfulness, so it’s not a hope-so faith, but a know-so faith…but that’s something only you can prove to be true.

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is a writer at Christian Quotes and also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.

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  • Maltnothops

    Here’s the challenge: by the standards of evidence in this column, practically every other religion can be shown to be true. Why are claims of claims* of eyewitnesses evidence for this religion but not for other religions?

    *As you’ve pointed out, eyewitness accounts carry weight in courts of law, but the Bible doesn’t include any eyewitness accounts. It has second and third hand reports of alleged eyewitnesses. That sort of evidence is known as “hearsay” and carries no weight in courts of law.

    I could tell you that I know a dozen people who saw a unicorn running up a rainbow. By your standards, you must accept those eyewitness accounts as true. I know lots of people who are convinced they have seen ghosts. They have what you call know-so faith. Do you believe them?

    • pud

      Spot on…well done

      • barry

        Apologist Steve Hays desperately argues from sheer numbers that surely some modern reports of the supernatural are true. Unfortunately, he also has a nasty habit of being singularly unwilling to point to any specific modern-day account as one that is likely true. In this he joined by every other apologist, including Craig Keener, whose two-volume work on miracles is considered a “game-changer” among God’s jailhouse-lawyers. I’ve been asking Keener for years to provide documentation for the one modern-day miracle report he thinks the most impervious to falsification, he won’t even respond to the challenge. Yet common sense lay behind all investigation-methodology: We examine medical reports because fraud and ignorance can easily turn a naturalistic healing into a miracle. We examine eyewitnesses because we often find that their initial report overstated the actual facts, or that they had a financial, fame or other interest in reporting the event the way they did. We examine character-witnesses because some eyewitnesses have a history of lying or being misled by evidence. To argue from mere high numbers of reports that surely 3 out of several million miracle reports are likely true, is sheer childishness and evinces a fear that a comprehensive investigation likely WOULD uncover a naturalistic explanation that is more plausible. IF Steve Hays reads this, he will probably insist that I’m just hiding behind Hume’s faulty reasoning. Yeah, willingness to examine your best case for miracles, constitutes nothing more than “we already know that miracles don’t happen, so please go away”. Yeah right.

        • Maltnothops

          As someone else has observed, the number of Bigfoot sightings has dropped precipitously as the proportion of people carrying easy to use cameras with them on backwoods hikes approaches 100%.

          • barry

            You don’t understand…Bigfoot is capable of switching dimensions and is camera-shy. THAT’s why nobody can really get a clear shot of him. Roger Patterson paid a space alien big money to be placed into the wrinkle in the fabric of spacetime necessary to capture an escaping bigfoot with his home movie camera, but only on the condition that he never mention this to anyone. I saw it in a vision, and you can’t prove that I didn’t.

          • Maltnothops

            That’s BS. Bigfoot is really the Loch Ness monster in a seacritter costume. It’s even in the Bible if you interpret the allegory correctly (pr. “My way”).

    • Pofarmer

      I believe in Invisible Pink Unicorns. I know they are invisible because I’ve never seen one. I know they are Pink because of faith.

  • pud

    “Faith” is THE MOST DISHONEST POSITION ANYONE CAN TAKE. All “faith” is equal when they all require absolutely NO evidence. “Faith” in the monkey god is just as valid as your delusional “faith” in impossible biblical stories. YOU HAVE NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER! NONE! Everything you have “faith” in is based in STORY! Made up, make believe stories. You are as you admit willfully and completely delusional. You have nothing but contempt for evidence, reality, reason or logic. You simply want to “believe” what you want to “believe” reality be damned.

    “In the whole of Judea and Samaria, there were several hundred eye witnesses who saw Jesus before, and more importantly, after His crucifixion, death, and resurrection (Luke 24:15-24, Act 1:3-4, 2:31-32, 9:3, 17, I Cor 15:4-8, 9:1, II Pet 1:16-21, John 3:2, 15:27, I John 1:1-3, 14). Hundreds others saw the empty tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, which Joseph had given for Jesus’ burial site and Jesus public execution was most certainly known by all, as the Roman’s had a custom of crucifying criminals near major roadways. They did this as a “warning sign” for all who entered or lived under Roman dominion, so the knowledge of Jesus’ crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection was known even into the Roman Empire, and later, beyond.”

    NAME ONE! You can’t… You can’t because this absurd CLAIM is just another part of the STORY!!

    Grow up jack! Grow up!

  • barry

    Mr. Wellman,

    Your basis for concluding that many eyewitnesses saw where Jesus was buried are the biblical accounts. But the identity and credibility of the NT authors are subject to serious dispute on the merits.
    And even assuming many knew where the burial tomb was, there was a significant gap of time between when Joseph sealed the tomb, and when Pilate granted him a few guards to keep back any grave-robbers. That’s about as significant as a criminal defendant not being able to account for where he was right around the time of the murder. You do not just assume he is innocent and drop charges.

    Would you be willing to discuss the problems I see in the identity and credibility of the NT authors?

    Other problems would be that you immediately resort to what Paul thought the gospel was, when in fact his opinion contradicts the one Jesus held. Paul infamously shows zero interest in the teachings Jesus gave before the crucifixion, yet apparently according to Matthew, the gospel minimally includes “ALL” of those teachings (Matthew 28:19-20…and that is certainly how Matthew himself understood it, since 90% of his gospel consists of the pre-crucifixion teachings of Jesus). Paul’s apathy toward the earthly ministry of Jesus is not something you can resolve by pointing out that it seems 1st Timothy 5:18 quotes Luke 10:7.

    To whet your appetite:

    1 – Christian scholars agree a) Mark was the earliest gospel, and b) Mark’s resurrection appearance story (i.e., the “long ending” for Mark 16) wasn’t written by Mark. So your first problem is that the earliest form of the gospel says nothing about a risen Christ actually appearing to disciples. And because the later gospels do, this follows the typical pattern wherein the earliest form of the story is simple, the later versions are full of embellishments. You can hardly fault unbelievers for adopting the consensus of Christian scholars. You will likely say the last section of Mark was lost through corruption or accident, but under the assumption that Mark wrote a resurrection narrative in the original, and that the church of Rome was as greedy to get the original as patristic sources say, it is likely they would have made not a few first-generation copies, so that any loss of text from the original would be overcome by the survival of that text in the early copies. And those copies would have been made early on, assuming they knew how easy it was for a piece from the original to go missing.

    2 – Peter refused to endorse Mark’s literary effort…not what we’d expect if Mark wrote out Peter’s preaching “accurately” as Papias says.

    3 – Luke says in Acts 1:3 that Jesus appeared to the disciples over a period of 40 days, teaching things concerning the kingdom of God. But Matthew’s resurrection account limits what the resurrected Jesus taught, to a speech that would take less than 15 seconds to say. Some might argue that you can only push Tim and Lydia McGrew’s “time-compression” apologetic so far, and Matthew, who exhibits such intense interest in recording the actual words of Jesus before the crucifixion (and exhibits the most interest in Jesus’ ‘kingdom-of-god’ theme) would not likely have “compressed” 40-days worth of risen Christ preaching down into a 15 second speech.

    4 – Luke claims reliance on eyewitnesses, but neither expresses nor implies reliance on hearsay…yet most Christian scholars agree that he used a lot of Mark’s text, even if not quite as extensively as Matthew did. Luke lied by omission. And most conservative scholars agree that when one reads Luke 24 by itself without worrying about what other accounts say, the most natural interpretation is that Luke had Jesus ascend on the same day that he resurrected, starkly contradicting the 40-day period alleged to separate the two events in Acts 1:3. I’m sorry, but having Luke contradict himself between his first and second volumes sounds more plausible than the jailhouse-lawyer tactic of suggesting Luke engaged in “time-compression”. There is no reason in the world why Luke, had he believed in that 40-day period while writing Luke 24, couldn’t have infused therein a little phrase saying Jesus rose, taught for 40 days, then ascended. And if that 40-day period is intended literally as most inerrantists take it, it is highly unlikely that Luke would have chosen to “compress” it down into a single day in Luke 24, given his fondness for quoting the pre-crucifixion Jesus at length.

    5 – It doesn’t matter if we can envision an eyewitness making use of hearsay to help along his story, there are no accounts, ancient or modern, where an actual eyewitness made as extensive use of hearsay as the author of Matthew made of Mark, hence Matthew likely wasn’t authored by the apostle of the same name, and you can strike “Matthew” from the list of resurrection eyewitnesses.

    6 – Allegedly the risen Christ told the disciples that THEY were to preach to the other nations (Matthew 28:19-20) but no, as late as the scene in Galatians 2:9, they choose to limit themselves to evangelizing Jews and allocate the entire Gentile ministry off onto the shoulders of Paul. Apparently the original 11 disciples were somewhat less than ‘amazingly transformed’ by the resurrected Jesus.

    7 – The virgin birth story says much in support of Jesus being the divine son of God. If we assign an early date to Mark and assume he wrote around 60 a.d., then Mark is maintaining silence toward the virgin birth as late as 60 a.d., nearly thirty years after Jesus died around 33 a.d. What are the odds that such an allegedly close companion of Peter would have remained ignorant of the virgin birth story for nearly thirty years? Not good, therefore, historical probabilities favor the hypothesis that he was silent about it because he thought the story false. And Lord knows, his purpose was exactly to “repeat” for the church what they heard Peter preaching, so you cannot say “maybe Mark didn’t want to repeat what was already known”, since that’s all Mark does is repeat that which is already known! When you combine this with the silence of the the other NT authors toward the virgin birth of Jesus, it makes a powerful case that Matthew and Luke were either lying, or presenting fiction to the church as if it were true history, thus sufficiently impeaching their credibility that their testimony to the resurrection of Jesus can be struck with rational warrant.

    8 – Apostle Paul’s duplicity was difficult for Jerome to account for when questioned about it by Augustine. Paul wasn’t quite the truth-robot conservatives say he was. And in 1st Cor. 9:20-21 he forthrightly admitted that he would lie about his true theological beliefs, where he thought doing so would help him gain converts. While James appears to say that the rumor about Paul abandoning Mosaic circumcision is false (Acts 21:24), abandoning circumcision is exactly what we’d expect from a person who says reception of circumcision will cut you off from Christ (Galatians 5:1-3), and from a person who used “feces” to characterize everything about his own Jewish heritage (Philippians 3:8). But if the Acts 21 rumor about Paul was false, then THAT proves that false rumors about the apostles could and did spread like wildfire throughout the original church, justifying hesitancy before we assume that something is true merely because several other persons in the church corroborated what somebody else said. Most scholars dismiss the uniform patristic testimony to a Hebrew original of Matthew by saying they all hinge on the singular and false testimony of Papias. So within the original church, “multiple attestation” may be nothing more than uncritical acceptance of tradition.

    9 – The most explicit accounts of Paul’s seeing the risen Jesus are found in Acts 9, 22 and 26; not only do these accounts provide no reason to classify Paul as an “eyewitness” of a risen Christ, but Paul describes the whole thing as a “heavenly vision” in 29:19, using the Greek word optasia, the same Greek word he used in 2nd Corinthians 12:1 ff to describe an absurdly esoteric experience that left him, even 14 years later, unsure whether he had gone to heaven physically or only spiritually. If you were unjustly put on trial for murder, and the prosecution’s only witness was a person who said they saw you pull the trigger 14 years ago, but they were not able to tell whether they were in or out of their own body when they saw you pull the trigger, would you insist that the Court instruct the jury that they be allowed to consider the possibility of the supernatural? or would you scream your head off that testimony of such a nature is inherently unreliable and should be struck?

    10 – In Acts 11, there is reported a famine which took place around 43-46 a.d. Christianity was charitable from the beginning. We have to how many converts to the early church did so not out of trust in the resurrection of Jesus but solely to stay alive. Even supposing the apostles were preaching at an early stage, why should we think anything more than a desire to avoid starving to death was the motive behind many of those who “converted”? You cannot claim the apostles chose death rather than life, as for example, Jesus’ own description of Peter’s death is that he will be led to a place he DOESN’T want to go (John 21:18), when in fact that’s the exact opposite of a “martyr”.

    As you can see, skeptics do not need to employ Hume’s “we-already-know-that-miracles-can’t-happen” excuse, Christianity has many problems ON THE MERITS, which are sufficiently serious as to justify skepticism of the entire business.

    Looking forward to going through these issues with you one at a time.

    • Jack Wellman

      I guess you did not even read this article thoroughly as one does not come to believe in Jesus Christ (which is the point of this article) by empirical knowledge, but by God’s Spirit. If you are looking toward flesh and blood to prove this to you, you will never believe. It is not by books or empirical knowledge that God can be known but as Jesus Himself self, “For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven” (Matt 16:17), and “God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God” (1 Cor 2:9), so Jesus won’t be known by empirical evidence, because “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor 2:14). Yours is not an intellectual problem but an issue of the heart!

      • Illithid

        Is this not an explicit admission that there is insufficient evidence for the Resurrection to warrant rational belief?

        If we skeptics aren’t going to believe without the intervention of the Holy Spirit, then why does anyone bother trying to convince us? God will either reveal himself to us, or he will not.

        • Jack Wellman

          My job is not to convert anyone, skeptics included, so it is God Who is the evangelist and as I told Barry, it is not empirical evidence that converts the human heart. That is intellectual. I suppose you and Barry’s comments bring that point home.

          • Guestie

            So it is God’s will that some people won’t believe in Jesus. And then He will send them to hell for all eternity because they didn’t believe in Jesus. Because he didn’t want them to.

          • Jack Wellman

            The Bible teaches that God desires none perish apart from Christ, but whosover believes will be saved. If your reason for not believing is not enough evidence, then you miss the whole point of this article.

          • Guestie

            You wrote:

            “it’s not a matter of physical or historical evidence that makes a person believe. It’s a matter of the heart. Jesus told His disciples, “For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven” (Matt 16:17), and concerning what is to come, the Apostle Paul writes, “God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God” (1 Cor 2:9), so Jesus won’t be known by empirical evidence, because “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor 2:14). Only God can change the human heart (Prov 21:1)

            If only God can change my heart so I believe and he chooses not to change my heart, then it must be God’s will that I not believe. This has nothing to do with lack of evidence and everything to do with what God wishes. God hasn’t changed my heart; he must wish me to go to hell.

          • Jack Wellman

            It is your will that you not believe. You are not understanding. God desires none perish, yet you refuse to believe, so you are sending yourself to God’s judgment.

          • barry

            Why are you trying to reason with people whom you think 1st or. 2:14 describes as “incapable” of accepting spiritual truth?

            Do you also try to teach safe sex to a drunk teenager?

          • Jack Wellman

            Matthew 7:6

          • Maltnothops

            It is fascinating watching you contradict yourself from one comment to the next. And you even manage to support your contradictions with bible verses that, in turn, contradict each other.

            Even stranger are your (ill-fated) attempts to use evidence and logic to argue that evidence and logic are useless.

          • Guestie

            No, it isn’t my will that I don’t believe. And I don’t “refuse” to believe.

            I’m baffled that you think belief is a matter of “will”. Are you truly suggesting that you could compel yourself to believe something today that you didn’t believe yesterday? How would you even go about doing that? Let’s say, for example, that you currently believe there is a single god. What would you do to start believing that there are multiple gods? How would you “refuse” to believe in a monotheistic god?

          • Illithid

            Guestie summed up my response to this. If only God can convince me, and he hasn’t, it must be his will that I not believe. Or he’s imaginary, of course, which is my opinion of all the gods humans have described throughout history.

            I do commend you on permitting dissent on your blog, and engaging politely with commenters. Some don’t allow comments at all, which is boring. Others don’t allow disagreement, which is cowardly. I don’t bother reading those.

      • barry

        If “it is not by books or empirical knowledge”, then why does your articles quote the biblical books and their empirical assertions so many times?

        If salvation can be known through God’s spirit, why should anybody have to search the scripture at all? Peter apparently learned the truth of Gentile salvation through a divine vision with no help from scripture (Acts 10-11).

        You use a 2,000 year old book, which you admit doesn’t count as empirical evidence, to tell me what my true motives are in remaining skeptical of Christianity. Let’s just say your zeal outweighs your better sense.

  • Carlos Santiago

    Scripture records even Jesus brother (like Thomas) was a skeptic until he saw the risen Christ; and who wouldn’t. It’s interesting that for me the proof was not the forensic evidence scripture provides, the innumerable good works done in Christs name but that He provided changes in me that were nothing short of miraculous. Peace

    • Jack Wellman

      Amen. SO true sir. Thank you.

    • barry

      First, don’t you find it slightly suspicious that James the Lord’s brother maintained his skepticism of Jesus for the entire time Jesus was going around doing miracles?
      Do you think it is a responsible use of the rules of historiography to simply chalk up James’ persistent skepticism in the face of allegedly true miracles, to just unexplained obtuseness? Must you not admit there is a possibility that James wasn’t stupid, but had excellent probable cause to think Jesus’ miracles’ were fake? After all, Mark 3:21 says it was Jesus’ mother and his “brothers” (plural) who concluded he had gone insane and were coming to force him (take custody) back home and thus they knew their efforts would likely shut down his public ministry. So there is more than just James who appears shockingly obtuse here, arguing that James skepticism wasn’t because of his obtuseness..lest you insist most of Jesus’ immediate family members, were shockingly obtuse

      (And don’t even get me started on how Mary’s skepticism of her own son’s claims when he is about 30 years old, Mark 3:21, is entirely inconsistent with the nativity stories in Matthew and Luke, who allege that this specific Mary had been given multiple and undeniable heavenly signs that her unborn son truly was the Son of God. Do you wonder how Jesus’ mother could go from being assured by God himself that her Son was divine, over to the conclusion that he Son was insane?)

      Second, even about a third of the way into Jesus’ earthly ministry, James is joined by Jesus’ other brothers in “not believing in him” (John 7:5). That’s no less of a problem than if one of Benny Hinn’s immediate family members made known their refusal to believe Hinn can do miracles. Read all of John 7:1-5…Jesus’ brothers do not merely reject his claims, they mockingly taunt him to the effect that if he really is who he claims to be, he should go to his miracles in public settings. They would hardly have this mocking attitude if there was not plausible naturalistic way to explain Jesus’ miracles. Again, you are required to classify the gospel miracle stories as lies….or insist that Jesus’ immediate family members were more shockingly obstinate in their unbelief that most of today’s professional atheists.

      Third, if Jesus really did go around doing real miracles to the dazzled delights of the “large crowds” routinely for three years as the gospels allege, can you really say that you have a quick and easy answer to the problem of Jesus’ mother and immediate family members maintaining their skepticism toward Jesus throughout those three years?

      Fourth, you don’t have any biblical or historical evidence that the specific “James the Lord’s brother” ever converted to the Christian faith. All you have is a few mentions of him in the NT, then suddenly, for reasons left unexpressed, he appears in Acts 15 as one of the leaders of the Jerusalem church. How or why he ascended to that position, you don’t have a clue. It is far from obvious that the church would surely require one of their leaders to be a convert. Politics infests all large groups who have a cause. They might have felt their movement would have more legitimacy if a relative of Jesus were involved in the leadership. That’s perfectly plausible.

      Fifth, you cannot cite to 1st Corinthians 15:7 to show that this particular James the brother of the Lord “converted” to faith. There were two Jameses in the last listing of the 11 apostle’s names (Acts 1:13), so
      —-a) it is more likely that Paul would say it was one of the named apostles to whom Jesus appeared (James the Lord’s brother is neither of the two Jameses of Acts 1:13, just like he wasn’t back when Jesus was conducting his earthly ministry. John 7:5 has James and Jesus’ other brothers not believing in him, so he is obviously separate from the two Jameses who were running around with Jesus at that time, Mark 3:16-18) and
      —-b) we would naturally expect that if James the skeptical brother of Jesus had converted due to seeing the risen Christ, the intensely Jewish and collectivist NT authors would likely have found the story sufficiently useful to posterity to justify telling it. They never do.

      I think you opened something of a Pandora’s Box in citing to James the Lord’s brother coming to faith upon seeing the risen Christ. His persistent rejection of Jesus despite Jesus’ allegedly repeatedly did true miracles for approx 3 years before the crucifixion (which would include raising the dead Lazarus, John 11), rather tells historians that James had severe problems believing Jesus was the real deal…so the skepticism toward Jesus by his own family lays down a solid reasonable basis for labeling the gospel authors as liars…except for the part where they admit something that fulfills the criteria of embarrassment…their report that Jesus’ own family thought him insane and attempted to shut down his public ministry.

      This is the part where Wellman comes to the rescue, and like a Mormon, assures me that my unwillingness to accept his religious conclusions arises from my sinful disposition, not my intellect. Cultists and heretics LOVE using this type of philosophical tissue paper to combat serious intellectual problems in their beliefs. They end up creating a way to make themselves feel better about things that are incapable of proof.

      Let’s just say you probably shouldn’t bet money that I lie awake at night, frozen in fear at the thought of the horrific consequences that would ensue for me should Christianity turn out to be true. Muslims preach their own version of hell, I don’t worry about that any more than Christians do. Peace on you.

  • Tim Ellison

    You said, ” so I came believe, but only because God wanted me to believe.” LOL. if it were up to God, i think then everyone would believe! Belief saves no one. Grace does last time i checked. and there is no shortage of that.

    • Jack Wellman

      Thank you Mr. Ellison. Your quote is incorrect where you wrote, “I came believe, but only because God wanted me to believe.” I came to believe only through God’s Spirit. Sorry you misunderstood.

    • Rational Human

      “Belief saves no one”? You sure that’s your final answer?

      Whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. — John 3:16

      I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. — John 11:25-26

      “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household.” Acts 16:31

      “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Rom. 10:9.

      I’m fairness, I can understand your confusion, according to the bible, there are well over 150 ways that you can be saved.

      https://dwindlinginunbelief.blogspot.com/2006/08/28-ways-to-get-yourself-saved.html

      • Tim Ellison

        yeaaaaaas…i don’t really read the bible as a set of propositions that can be strung together and prove a point. it is a story, a narrative and it is much richer and deeper than a manual for living. it requires interpretation and if that were being done right, we might not have 46,000+ denominations; and they are all certain that they read these texts the right way. cool story bro. there are as many types of christian belief as there are christians. something else must be going on with this collection of sacred writings.

        • Rational Human

          Yeah…I have no idea what you wrote, or where you stand. Sounds like you are making up your own religion as you go along, which is cool because it’s more or less what every “Christian” has done for 2 000 yrs. But cool story, right back at ya, bro.

    • Jack Wellman

      If you were drowning and someone threw you a life preserver, if you didn’t believe that it would save you, you’d drown, so there are many occassions were believing in something saves someone. So, do you believe in Jesus? If not, you will not be saved.

  • Pofarmer

    Do you believe that Sathya Sai Baba is the reincarnation of Sai Baba of Shirdi? Millions do.

    • Maltnothops

      They believe that because God wants them to believe it. To think that they believe such a thing on their own robs God of the glory. Not a sparrow falls from the sky without God’s notice or permission.

      • Pofarmer

        Then there’s really no point to this kind of apologetics.

        • Maltnothops

          Of course there is. The Christian god is chronically undercapitalized and in frequent need of equity infusions. The burn rate is ferocious and there is still no product on the horizon. Apologetics is the hype around successive stock issuances that keep the enterprise afloat.

  • Rational Human

    Jack, I find it interesting that you cite the genealogy of Jesus in Luke and conveniently don’t mention the genealogy in Matthew that is vastly different than in Luke. Can you explain that? Let’s start with just 3 questions:

    Who was the father of Joseph, or Jesus “grandfather” ?

    How does a lineage that comes through Joseph show Davidic origins, when the whole plot of the virgin birth myth hinges on Mary being miraculously impregnated without the help of sperm?

    Without sperm to form an XY chromosome, you cannot have a human male baby. So was Jesus really a woman?

    • Jack Wellman

      Matthew is one side of Jesus’ geneology and Luke is the other. If you know that, it will make much more sense. Joseph was Jesus’ step-father, technically. Your last comment about Jesus being a woman is totally without sense, so I won’t address that, as if you had read the gospels, you would know the answer to that..

      • Rational Human

        Of course, that’s the standard apologists response, but like every other apologetic, it is nonsensical, since both lead to Joseph. What “other side” are you talking about? The mother’s lineage was meaningless in that culture, so it’s not Mary. So…did Joseph have two fathers?

        If Jesus was 100% man, where did he get his Y chromosome from?