I mentioned in last Sunday’s sermon that back in 2007 I witnessed a debate in Atlanta between bestselling atheist author Christopher Hitchens and one of my seminary professors, Dr. Tim Jackson. To say the least, Dr. Jackson was facing an intimidating adversary in Hitchens, yet he was able to meet his every objection with humor and equanimity.
I felt inspired: Dr. Jackson’s example made me want to take seriously Peter’s command to “always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15).
The only problem, as I said last Sunday, was that I was effectively living as an atheist myself, for all the difference God’s Word was making in my life. Among other things, I did not hold a high view of the authority of scripture. I had become a professional Bible reader—studying it mostly to prepare sermons and Bible studies, or to get a good grade on an exam or essay.
Thank God the Holy Spirit got hold of me soon enough—using thinkers like N.T. Wright, whose book The Resurrection of the Son of God was another formative influence on me. I repented. I began to take God’s Word seriously once again. And within a couple of years I started this blog, in part to defend the Christian faith.
With all this in mind, I’m excited to begin a three-part class this Sunday night on the resurrection of Jesus Christ called “Reason to Believe.”
Does our belief in the miracle at the center of our faith rest on solid historical evidence? Is it reasonable to believe that Jesus was bodily resurrected? What about alternative theories that attempt to explain Easter Sunday?
Our stakes in answering these questions couldn’t be higher: Christianity stands or falls on the historicity of this miracle. As Paul rightly understood, if the resurrection didn’t happen, then our faith is futile, we are still in our sins, and “we are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Corinthians 15:17, 19).
For the class, I’ll draw upon the “minimal facts” approach of Gary Habermas and Michael Licona, as well as insights from N.T. Wright, William Lane Craig, Glenn Peoples, and others.
I look forward to a lively discussion!