Fast Facts is a weekly email program where we provide our readers with relevant and practical resources to contend for the faith (Jude 3) and to be ready with an answer (1 Peter 3:15). We trust that these quick and helpful tools will give you greater confidence in sharing the truth of Jesus Christ.

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This Week’s Fast Facts

Fast Facts on the Question, “Did the Disciples Fabricate the Resurrection Story?”

  • One of the common arguments raised against the literal, physical resurrection of Jesus Christ is the “Conspiracy Theory” option. This argument posits the idea that Jesus’ disciples made the whole story up. There was no resurrection, Jesus died, was buried, and the disciples simply began promoting the claim that he had risen.
  • In response to this charge, one must ask, what would be the disciples’ motivation for inventing such a story? In a hostile, first century Jewish religious culture, paired with the political oppression of the Roman Empire, the disciples had nothing to gain by advancing the resurrection story and everything to lose. In fact, tradition says that all but one of the disciples were eventually martyred for their profession that Jesus was the risen Lord.
  • The conspiracy theory option must also explain the radical transformation evidenced in the disciples’ lives shortly after Jesus’ trials and crucifixion. The Gospels report that when Jesus was arrested the disciples fled, went into hiding, and denied knowing him, fearing they might be next (Mark 14:50, 66-72). And yet, shortly after Jesus’ execution, the disciples are boldly and publicly proclaiming him to be the risen Lord (Acts 2:14; 4:8). What could inspire this dramatic change if Jesus had not truly risen?
  • Along with the above problems for the conspiracy theory option, the skeptic who holds this position must also explain Jesus’ empty tomb, the eyewitness testimonies of the risen Jesus, the rapid spread of the early church in a hostile first century context, and the conversion of hardcore persecutors of the faith like Saul (Paul

For more information on the resurrection of Jesus Christ, please check out Jason Carlson’s chapter, “Jesus: Risen for a New Generation” in the book Apologetics For A New Generation, available in our online store.

Follow CMI on Twitter at @jasoncarlsoncmi.

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This Week’s Fast Facts

Fast Facts on Advent Apologetics – December 25th as the Date of Christmas

  • There is no historical evidence that Jesus was born on December 25th. However, while this date is improbable it is not impossible. A springtime date, though, better fits the gospel accounts of the birth of Christ. So, where does the December 25th date for Christmas come from?
  • Historical evidence shows Christians observing December 25th as the date of Christ’s birth as early as the 200’s A.D. However, the first official Christmas celebration occurred on December 25, 336 A.D. after Roman Emperor Constantine’s conversion to Christianity.
  • The most likely reason the early Church chose December 25th as the date to celebrate Christ’s birth was simply because of the metaphorical significance of the winter solstice to the arrival of the Messiah (i.e. the idea of light, new life, etc.).
  • It is also possible the Church chose December 25th as a rival to certain pagan religious practices in the Roman Empire that were centered on the winter solstice and the “birth” of their sun gods (Saturnalia, Mithra, Sol Invictus, etc.).
  • Some Christians become concerned when considering the possibility that our December 25th celebration of Christmas might have any association with pagan religious practices, even if as a rival.
  • However, while it is right to be concerned as Christians about syncretism with non-Christian religious practices, we must also remember that the Church has historically viewed the reshaping of culture as a positive endeavor.
  • When it comes to our celebration of Christmas on December 25th, like Augustine of Hippo (354-430 A.D.), we can affirm that, “We hold this day holy, not like the pagans because of the birth of the sun, but because of Him who made it.”

Give the gift of apologetics this Christmas! We’ve got some great resources, like the book, Apologetics For A New Generation, available in our online store.

Follow CMI on Twitter at @jasoncarlsoncmi.

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