Myth #1: The “historical Jesus” is different from the Jesus of the Bible

The Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of Christ

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The Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of Christ

Who is the Real Jesus?

Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.

Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.

The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.

Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.

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Myth #1: The “historical Jesus” is different from the Jesus of the Bible

Video: Myth #1: The "historical Jesus" is different from the Jesus of the Bible
Myth #1: The "historical Jesus" is different from the Jesus of the Bible
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Here we will briefly examine seven myths of the Higher Critics. Then as we conclude the first part of our presentation, we will outline a strategy for Christians to defend the authority of the Word of God.

Jennings: “Jesus was a real person.” [07:16]

It is good that Jennings admits that Jesus was a real person. Some have tried to make Jesus into a myth. But the evidence that Jesus lived in Judea in the first century is overwhelming. Jesus was a historical person recorded by Christian, Jewish and pagan historians. In fact, there are many well-known non-Christian historians who mention Jesus:

  • Tacitus in his Annals (c.115 A.D.) mentions that Christ was crucified under Pontius Pilate and gives detailed descriptions of Nero’s persecutions which are also alluded to in several places in the New Testament.
  • The correspondence between Pliny the younger and the Roman Emperor Trajan (98-117 A.D.) corroborates the New Testament history including the persecution of the Christians under the Emperor Nero.
  • Flavius Josephus (37-100 A.D.), the first century Jewish historian, makes mention of Jesus, John the Baptist and the James, the brother of Jesus.

Scholars note that the New Testament corroborates Josephus in minute detail. Keep in mind that Josephus wrote his history after the time of the New Testament. In other words, both sources were written independently, but both agree with each other. So Josephus testifies to the historical reliability of many passages in the New Testament.

We know of many other early references to Christ by pagan writers, but there are also thousands of manuscripts from the first and second centuries written by Christians. The fact that early Christians recorded their own history does not discount their reliability. Christianity is not a religion that has its origin in shadowy legend, but has definite historical roots, strong personalities and a tremendous amount of source documents to prove it.

Other first and second century writers who wrote about Jesus as the Son of God, the promised Messiah and Lord of Creation, are:

  • Clement (A.D. c. 30-100) the Bishop of Rome
  • The writer of the Epistle of Barnabas (A.D. c. 70-130)
  • Polycarp (A.D. 70-155) the Bishop of Smyrna, a student of the Apostle John
  • Ignatius (A.D. 35-110) the Bishop of Antioch
  • Irenaeus (A.D. 130 -200) the second century Bishop of Lyons
  • Tertullian (A.D. 160 -220) a second century apologist
  • Clement (A.D. 150 -215) the second century Bishop of Alexandria

Despite the overwhelming testimony from the early centuries that confirm the Gospel stories, the Higher Critics continue to search for a “historical Jesus.”

Contrary to what the liberals of the Jesus Seminar tell us, we have far more than “likelihood” and “possibility” to confirm the reliability of the Gospel stories. We have substantial authentic evidence that the Jesus of history is the same person revealed to us in the Gospel accounts. We have the first and second century apologists who wrote extensively about Jesus and Christianity. Some of these were men who knew the Apostles. There were reliable second-generation historians who were taught by the Apostles who were in turn alive during the ministry of Jesus.

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