How Do We Explain The Historical Jesus?

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Heaven and earth have been scoured to find evidence for or against the historicity of Jesus, theory after theory has been brought forth to account for him apart from his historicity. They have all collapsed by their own sheer weight or have broken themselves upon the fact of Christ. After . . . years of terrific battle, the smoke has cleared, and there stands upon the horizon of our thinking a character essentially as the New Testament depicts him.
– E. Stanley Jones

The early opponents of Christianity . . . the fact that none of them even attempts to claim Christ never existed, when you’d think that would be the best argument against the whole thing, is (to put it mildly) rather suggestive.
– Tom Woods

No serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non-historicity of Jesus.
– Otto Betz

All four Gospels agree in giving us a picture of a very definite personality. One is obliged to say, “Here was a man. This could not have been invented.
– H. G. Wells

That a few simple men should in one generation have invented so powerful and appealing a personality, so lofty an ethic, and so inspiring a vision of human brotherhood, would be a miracle far more incredible than any recorded in the Gospels.
– Will Durant

How Do We Explain Such A Life?

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“The most consequential life in human history was lived 21 centuries ago in the eastern portion of the Roman Empire by a person who never traveled 100 miles from his birthplace, never held public office, never write a book, and died… in his early 30s.”

–George Will

“It was reserved for Christianity to present to the world an ideal character, which through all the changes of eighteen centuries has inspired the hearts of men with an impassioned love; has shown itself capable of acting on all ages, nations, temperaments, and conditions; has been not only the highest pattern of virtue but the strongest incentive to its practice; and has exerted so deep an influence that it may be truly said that the simple record of three short years of active life has done more to regenerate and to soften mankind than all the disquisitions of philosophers and all the exhortations of moralists.”

–W. E. H. Lecky (1838-1903),
History of European Morals

How Do We Explain Jesus?

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A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic-on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg-or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.

–C. S. Lewis

The Virgin Birth

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Some have spoken of the universe spontaneously creating itself: the whole cosmos propped up by nothing, absolutely nothing. As miracles go, this would be unparalleled. Everything from nothing? Christians believe in the virgin birth of Jesus, but this would mean the virgin birth of the cosmos. In fact, it’s the virgin birth of the cosmos but without a virgin, without anything. Here would be the greatest conjuring trick every pulled: nothing up the sleeve, no sleeve, not even a magician. Just pure magic, out of nowhere.

– Glen Scrivener

A Higher Source

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It is of no use to say that Christ, as exhibited in the Gospels, is not historical and that we know not how much of what is admirable has been superadded by the tradition of his followers… Who among his disciples or among their proselytes was capable of inventing the sayings ascribed to Jesus or of imagining the life and character revealed in the Gospels? Certainly not the fishermen of Galilee; as certainly not St. Paul, whose character and idiosyncrasies were of a totally different sort; still less the early Christian writers in whom nothing is more evident than that the good which was in them was all derived, as they always professed that it was derived, from the higher source.

—John Stuart Mill