True History and Real Christianity
“Christianity has a problem. And before you say “only one?!” what I mean is that it has a problem that is a potential vulnerability intrinsic to the core claims of Christianity. It’s not like the problem of, say, bad behaviour in the church, because by definition the problem with hateful Christianity isn’t Christianity, but the lack of Christianity!
Unlike other religions, Christianity bases its spiritual claims on real events that are meant to have happened in time and space. It claims to be grounded in actual history. And as a result, people feel free to double check, and to dispute Christianity in a way which isn’t true for other religious faiths.”
These are the opening lines of the first video in the short course “Jesus: A Historical Survey”, which we will be running as we kickstart our Ridley Training later this month.
The study of the historical person of Jesus is deeply important for Christians, because our faith is grounded on the reality that God the Son truly took on full humanity, that he `lived a physical life about 2,000 years ago, that he was killed by crucifixion at the hands of the reigning Roman rulers, and that he physically rose from the dead a few days later.
If any of these claims are not historically true, then the whole of Christian faith comes crashing down. The Bible itself makes this point in several places! Hebrews 2:10-18 speaks to how Jesus’ had to be fully human to be able to save humans. And check out 1 Corinthians 15:14-23, where we read “if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith” (v.14), and further on “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” (v.17) and again, “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied” (v.19). Without the literal resurrection of Jesus from the dead, our faith is worth nothing!
This aspect of Christianity would be a vulnerability, a weakness even, if historical analysis was to cast reasonable doubts on the accounts of Jesus life, death, and resurrection described in the Gospels. But as we examine the external historical data, and scrutinise the internal accounts, we find that the historical claims of Christianity are one of its greatest strengths- because, time and time again, it passes the test.
When we look at the person of Jesus form a historical perspective, evaluating and considering the person described in the gospels and considering the other historical evidence, we are met by a true story. We encounter Jesus, fully man, fully God, and true saviour. We find the only answer the evil in the world around us. And we find much more, the deeper we look.
This is what we’ll be examining as we kick of our Ridley Courses with Jesus: A Historical Survey on April 28th. This course will run for 6 weeks, from 7-9pm on a Thursday evening. There is no cost, but if you’ll be joining us please register here. If you have any questions, just email me- email@example.com
Have a blessed week!