December 21, 2019
Subject: Why Christmas is My Favorite Holiday: Jesus Christ Alone is Sufficient Evidence that God Exists
1Corinthians 2:2 “I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”
J. Warner Wallace is one of the leading Christian apologists today. His passion and sincerity behind his love for Jesus Christ is obvious in his testimony. But this passion wasn’t a result of his upbringing. Until well into his adulthood, he describes himself as an “angry atheist”, who delighted in finding Christians who never thought through why they believe, debating them to try and deconvert them.
Until one day when he was challenged by friends to examine Christianity with an open mind. He realized he had never examined the evidence for the Christian Worldview without his own bias of naturalism. And once he began to apply his detective skills to the Bible and the Person of Christ, his perspective changed.
J. Warner was trained as a cold case detective, using the rational examination of cumulative evidence to solve the most difficult crimes. As he began applying the same detective methods in his examination of the claims of Christianity, he was overwhelmed by the evidence for its foundation in reality.
As we draw closer to the Christmas holiday, and our focus on the “reason for the season” – Jesus Christ – J. Warner wants us all to realize the most important thing about Christianity. In his March 2015 article ‘Jesus is Evidence that God Exists’, J. Warner explains that Christ alone is sufficient evidence for the existence of the God of the Bible and our celebration of Christmas. Here are excerpts from his article.
“Ever try to make a case for God’s existence with a non-believing friend or family member? I have. For some reason, I usually find myself beginning with the broader evidence for God’s existence. From the cosmological argument to the evidence from the fine-tuning of the universe, to evidence for teleology or the existence of transcendent moral laws, I usually begin by making a case for the existence of any God before I focus in on the evidence for the Christian God of the Bible. I typically take an “outside-in” or “macro-to-micro” approach: first arguing for God generally, and then argue for Jesus specifically.
But that isn’t how I came to faith. I first became interested in the existence of God after reading the gospels as a curious atheist. A local pastor aroused my curiosity by providing a few choice samples of Jesus’ teaching, and I was simply curious to see if the gospels contained any additional wisdom. I was no more committed to Jesus as an ancient teacher than I might be to Buddha, Socrates or any other ancient sage.
But the gospels resonated with my detective experience and demonstrated many qualities of eyewitness testimony. I became engaged in a forensic statement analysis of the gospel of Mark and was quickly taking the gospels seriously. I discovered 5 evidences that moved me to acknowledge their truth: 1) They were written very early, 2) They were transmitted carefully, 3) Their information was protected and preserved, 4) Their claims about Jesus aligned with non-Christian sources, and 5) Their accounts were testable.
In the end, I concluded that the gospels were reliable eyewitness accounts that delivered accurate information about Jesus, including His crucifixion and Resurrection. But that created a problem for me. If Jesus really was who He said He was, then Jesus was God Himself. If Jesus truly did what the gospel eyewitnesses recorded, then Jesus is still God Himself. As someone who used to reject anything supernatural, I had to decide about my naturalistic presuppositions.
The evidence for the reliability of the gospel eyewitness accounts caused me to reexamine the evidence for God’s existence in general. I didn’t begin generally and then move to Jesus specifically, I began with Jesus and then moved “backward” to the broader evidence for God’s existence. As one who worked regularly with cumulative circumstantial cases (as a cold-case detective), the connectivity of all the evidence seemed obvious as I assembled the case. Any one of these evidences was sufficient to make the case for God’s existence, but when considered cumulatively, the weight of the evidence was overwhelming.
When sharing what I believe with skeptical friends and family members, I must remember that Jesus’ life alone demonstrates the existence of God. If the gospels are true, none of us need any additional proof. Jesus is sufficient evidence that God exists.”
In our verse this week, the apostle Paul tells the church in Corinth that the one thing to know intellectually is the reality of Jesus Christ and His death on the Cross to secure your eternal salvation. Paul says nothing else matters. As Christmas approaches, can you, like J. Warner Wallace and Paul, honestly say the same?
Ed Croteau is a resident of Lee’s Summit and hosts a weekly study in Lees Summit called “Faith: Substance and Evidence.” He can be reached with your questions through the Lee’s Summit Tribune at Editor@lstribune.net.
Ian CooperDecember 22, 2019 - 9:01 am
“J. Warner was trained as a cold case detective, using the rational examination of cumulative evidence to solve the most difficult crimes.”
If he found evidence for Jesus, let’s hope he never goes back to being a cold case detective, because if he’s finding evidence for someone for whom there is no evidence beyond claims made in books written hundreds of years after the guy was supposed to have lived, his ability to distinguish reality from fantasy must be sorely lacking.