Jerry Newcombe: Setting the Record Straight on the Historicity of Jesus

Two separate sources recently questioned the historicity of Jesus. But let us set the record straight.

First, on a comedy show on TBS, “The Guestbook,” just before Christmastime, one of the characters likened belief in Jesus to belief in Santa. The episode is called, “Tonight you become a man” — where a character supposedly becomes an adult by realizing Santa and Jesus are just myths.

Second, the Muslim prime minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, claimed that there is “no mention of Jesus in history.” Khan’s view that Jesus is not a historical figure puts him out of step with Mohammed, who believed that “Prophet Jesus” (as he would have called him) was historical. (It’s also worth noting that Khan was born on October 5, 1952 — that is to say, 1952 years after the reported birth of Jesus.)

But what about this matter of Jesus and history? Is Jesus Christ a verifiable historical figure, using the criteria that historians use, or not?

Will Durant, the great non-Christian historian who wrote the series, The Story of Civilization, noted in his third volume, Caesar and Christ (1944), that if the criteria by which some philosophers claim Jesus didn’t really exist as a historical person were used consistently, then we’d have to throw out noteworthy historical figures, such as Hammurabi or King David by that same criteria.

Durant, a respected historian, had no such doubts as to Jesus’ real existence as a person.

Last year, I interviewed Dr. Mike Licona, a Christian scholar, apologist, and debater of skeptics. He teaches at Houston Baptist University. We discussed: Did Jesus exist?

He told me that no reputable historian holds the position questioning that Jesus existed as a man. Indeed, consider the historical evidence.

Of course, there are many Christian sources that testify to Jesus’ existence, such as His apostles like Peter, John, Matthew, and Andrew. There was also the implacable enemy of the Christian Church, Saul of Tarsus, who once dedicated his life to uprooting the fledgling faith. He became converted after having met the risen Jesus on the road to Damascus. He was transformed into the Apostle Paul, an implacable promoter of faith in Christ Jesus, as he often called Him — that is, Messiah Jesus.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Jerry Newcombe