Advanced Topics in Contemporary Apologetics - Course Number: AP 661 IS R2 03
Trinity Theological Seminary
AN EXAMINATION OF “MINIMAL FACT” ARGUMENT FOR
THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST AS PROPOSED BY GARY HABERMAS
Gary Robert Habermas is distinguished Professor of Apologetics and Philosophy as well as department chairman of Philosophy and Theology at Liberty University in Virginia. He has devoted a large part of his career to the topic of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and most likely has done more than any other scholar to defend its historicity. In his research on the resurrection, over a two year period, Habermas tracked down more than twelve hundred publications dealing with the resurrection of Christ.
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While they still have questions about other points of the report of the New Testament, the minimal facts remaining and without reasonable dispute are adequate in themselves to show that Jesus died and later appeared alive in body to his followers. Such a view may also work on their doubts concerning those "troubling" passages as well, since they are mostly based on a denial of the miraculous as unreliable reporting. In Habermas’ view, this approach is more effective than the use of the Bible alone, since the evidence is effective even for the skeptics who disbelieve the Scriptures. He contends that this is not just a good method for hard cases, but rather that the strongest argument for the resurrection of Jesus is one which can be based on the minimal historical facts alone. In other words, if one utilizes only those facts which are agreed upon by all parties to be historical, even by skeptical scholars, there is still enough data to show that Jesus rose from the dead in body and that data will be the most accurate, undeniable and convincing. Few scholars, even rather critical ones, doubt that the resurrection as reported by the earliest witness was imagined; in other words, it is agreed that they indeed had a visionary experience. However, this vision as an hallucination or spiritual vision fails any attempt to explain the data as recognized by scholars. The facts favor a visual, real,