In this series, we have been discussing the minimal facts argument for the resurrection of Jesus. In my first post in the series, I laid out the 12 minimal facts we will using in our argument. Minimal facts are those facts about the resurrection account that the majority of scholars, even skeptical ones, believe to be true. While these same scholars may not believe that Jesus actually rose from the dead, they do concede these points in the account are accurate. In my last 2 posts, I explained why the first 4 and second 4 sets facts are believed to be true. Here are the minimal facts 9-12 explained.
9. As a result of this preaching, the church was born and grew.
It can hardly be disputed that Christianity spread rapidly throughout the Mediterranean shortly after Jesus’ death. The Disciples’ zeal to spread the message of Jesus’ resurrection is also without question. While we in the modern Church are quick to try and bend Jesus’ message to suit our fancies, the Disciples were laser focused with their message. Jesus had died and rose again for the forgiveness of all our sins.
10. Sunday became the primary day of worship.
Christians began worshiping on Sunday. Why is this significant? Because the Disciples were all Jews. The traditional day of worship in the Jewish faith is Saturday. What would have caused a group of devout Jews to abandon their traditional day of worship in leu of a new one? Celebrating and worshiping on the day Jesus actually rose from the dead makes sense of why these Jewish believers would alter their normal religious practice.
11. James, who had been a skeptic, was converted to the faint when he believed he saw the resurrected Jesus.
James, the half-brother of Jesus was initially a skeptic. He and his family actually tried to stop Jesus’ preaching (Luke 18:19-21). Why is James conversion important? Because unlike the Disciples, James was not a believer in Jesus’ message initially. He can’t be said to be “wanting” Jesus to return. James was not in a mindset of expecting Jesus to return from the dead. He doesn’t fall into the category of someone that would be susceptible to a hopeful delusion.
12. A few years later, Paul became a Christian believer due to an experience which he believed was an appearance of the risen Jesus.
Like James, Paul was not in the mindset of “Hoping” Jesus would return. Paul (or at this stage of his life, Saul), was a persecutor of the early church. He was present with the Jewish leadership at the stoning of Stephen (Acts 8:1). He was hostel to the Christians until his experience with the risen Jesus. At that point, his life and person were radically transformed.
This concludes our list and explanations of the 12 minimal facts we will be using as we begin to look at alternate theories for the resurrection. Starting with my next post, we will look at how skeptics attempt to explain the facts above. Do the alternate theories make sense in light of the facts? We’ll see as we move forward.
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