Session 8: The “Legend” Charge

Atheists and skeptics love to tell us Jesus was a legend. Either he didn’t exist at all, or the stories of his miracles are mere legends — especially his resurrection.

The first charge is easy to answer. Among credible historians of the New Testament era, no one doubts that Jesus was a real historical person. There are a handful who deny it, but they’re widely, almost universally, considered “fringe.” The data from biblical documents, non-Christians who mention Jesus, and Jesus’ effect on history, is overwhelming.

Agreement is not so widespread, obviously, on his remarkable character, teaching and works. Here is where the skeptics suppose the early church made him to be something he never was. Bart Ehrman’s book title How Jesus Became God illustrates it well: Jesus was never God until early Christians made him to be, long after he lived and died.

There are two strong lines of evidence, though, contradicting the legend theory. One is standard teaching among Christians who write and speak on these matters. The other is a new argument I’ll be publishing in a book sometime soon, probably early in 2020, titled Too Used to Jesus.

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