They seem to be ubiquitous on the Internet. From the Blasphemy Challenge on YouTube and the Rational Responders website, to unfounded screeds such as The God Who Wasn’t There DVD, there is a small vocal minority who have presented the idea that Jesus was not a real person, but a myth.
A quick bit of research will show that the Jesus as Myth hypothesis was not formulated until after 1850. In fact, the first full treatment of the idea is not found until Bruno Bauer’s book, Christ and the Caesars, which was published in 1877.
The idea gained some momentum in the early 20th century, but today even the most liberal of modern critics, such as the Jesus Seminar, do not support the Christ-as-Myth hypothesis. No serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non-historicity of Jesus and they have not succeeded in refuting the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
Today, the hypothesis is promoted not by scholars, but by “popularizers,” such as Rook Hawkins who, with nothing more than a high school diploma, claims to be a “historian” and “expert in ancient texts,” “papyrology” and “symbology” (whatever that is!) and is notorious for mispronouncing big words on his Rational Responders video podcasts. Brian Sapient, an unemployed atheist, appeared last year on various news programs to promote his Blasphemy Challenge project on YouTube. Then we have Brian Fleming who produced a video full of ad hominem fallacies, The God Who Wasn’t There DVD, and organized a campaign to distribute copies in churches in order to defeat Easter.
So here are my two questions for the Jesus Mythists.
- Can you name even one historian prior to 130 years ago who claimed that Jesus was not a real person?
- Can you name any supposed historical person who was universally accepted to be a real figure, who was later discovered to by purely mythological?
I have a feeling I’ll be waiting a long time for answers to these questions. So in the meantime here are my comments.
- The bulk of the writings of second and third century apologists dealt with attacks on Jesus Christ and Christianity. It would have been easy to the early pagan critics to simply claim that Jesus did not exist. But it was well-accepted just 100 years after the fact, that He did.
- There are many figures such as St. Christopher, King Arthur, Beowulf, Odysseus and various legendary god-men or heroic figures who have no proven historical status. However, in these cases, the people who told their story seemed to have known that they were participating in the spinning of a folk-tale that later became a legend. And though it’s debated whether these people actually existed, it is impossible to tell whether or not these figures were at least based on a true person who arrived at a legendary status after a few centuries. In short, Jesus could not have been a “myth” or a “legend” simply because the story of his life (even in the most liberal reckoning) appeared in written form too soon after he lived.
«- Update on The Real Jesus DVD
- Real Jesus
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Foundations in Biblical Eschatology
By Jay Rogers, Larry Waugh, Rodney Stortz, Joseph Meiring. High quality paperback, 167 pages.
All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?
These and many more questions are dealt with by four authors as they present the four views on the millennium. Each view is then critiqued by the other three authors.
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After 40 years of intense study and world-wide ministry, Dr. Francis Schaeffer completed his crowning work of scholarship – to present profound truths in simple film language. Dr. Schaeffer’s brilliant analysis of the past and predictions for current trends have proven so uncannily accurate that this amazing series still feels contemporary almost three decades after its initial release. Ultimately, Schaeffer concludes that man’s only hope is a return to God’s Biblical absolute, the truth revealed in Christ through the Scriptures.
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A Reasonable Response to Christian Postmodernism
Includes a response to the book Christian Jihad by Colonel V. Doner
The title of this book is a misnomer. In reality, I am not trying to get anyone to shut up, but rather to provoke a discussion. This book is a warning about the philosophy of “Christian postmodernism” and the threat that it poses not only to Christian orthodoxy, but to the peace and prosperity our culture as well. The purpose is to equip the reader with some basic principles that can be used to refute their arguments.
Part 1 is a response to some of the recent writings by Frank Schaeffer, the son of the late Francis Schaeffer. This was originally written as a defense against Frank’s attacks on pro-life street activism – a movement that his father helped bring into being through his books, A Christian Manifesto, How Should We Then Live? and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? These works have impacted literally hundreds of thousands of Christian activists.
Part 2 is a response to Colonel Doner and his book, Christian Jihad: Neo-Fundamentalists and the Polarization of America. Doner was one of the key architects of the Christian Right that emerged in the 1980s, who now represents the disillusionment and defection many Christian activists experienced in the 1990s and 2000s. There is still great hope for America to be reformed according to biblical principles. As a new generation is emerging, it is important to recognize the mistakes that Christian activists have made in the past even while holding to a vision for the future.
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Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?
Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!
Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.
Ideal for group meetings, personal Bible study — for anyone who wants to understand the historical context of John’s famous letter “… to the seven churches which are in Asia.” (Revelation 1:4)
Running Time: 145 minutes
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“Here I stand … I can do no other!”
With these immortal words, an unknown German monk sparked a spiritual revolution that changed the world.
The dramatic classic film of Martin Luther’s life was released in theaters worldwide in the 1950s and was nominated for two Oscars. A magnificent depiction of Luther and the forces at work in the surrounding society that resulted in his historic reform efforts, this film traces Luther’s life from a guilt-burdened monk to his eventual break with the Roman Catholic Church.
Running time: 105 minutes
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Watch a clip from Martin Luther.
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