Evangelism Challenge: Jesus Never Existed

evangelism-challenge

(Carson Weitnauer) #1

Hi friends,

As we start to think about Easter, I know that some people believe that Jesus never existed. Let’s say you invite a friend to church and heard this in response:

“Yea, I’m not even sure Jesus was a real person; maybe he was, maybe he wasn’t, but it was so long ago. Who really knows?”

Two ways to respond to this challenge:

  1. Respond right now! Test yourself; how well could you answer this question without any additional preparation?
  2. Take your time. Pray, research, and think about your answer. Then, come back and share what you would say.

In your answer, tell us:

  1. The kind of person you have in mind as you prepared your response (a lapsed christian, a skeptic, a Buddhist).
  2. Your response. Please keep it short - under 300 words. President Abraham Lincoln offered his famous Gettysburg Address in just 272 words! Insightful brevity can be more impactful than comprehensive answers.

(Carson Weitnauer) #2

(Jimmy Sellers) #3

(To a skeptic)

If we discount the Bible as a credible source to prove that Jesus existed and if you are honest about this you will have to look elsewhere. Let me suggest a few places to look. You might try the classic writing: Pliny the younger, Tactius, Celus and there are others. Try the Jewish writings, Josephus (37–ca. 100 C.E.).
There are Jewish writing that might even support your position but for different reasons than yours not that Jesus was a myth but that he was a liar. Additionally, I think that it is worth noting that many world religions claim to believe in Jesus as a good man and a teacher. Why? And finally, Islam speaks about Jesus more that Mohammed their prophet. You must ask yourself why, why would one try so hard to align one’s self to a man who never was? Think about it.


(Omar Rushlive Lozada Arellano) #4

Answer:

  1. A skeptic.
  2. I’m thinking of asking if he believes that Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, Cleopatra, or Socrates ever existed. If he says yes, then I’ll just ask why he believes in them existing and not Jesus, since it was long ago too (like before Jesus)? If he says no, then I’ll ask him if history can be known, if no, I’ll ask him about origins, if he has definite answers, I’ll ask how did he know something that was so long ago?

I’m sorry. I’m not a big fan of a response. It’s easy for me to make one if I know specifically where the person is coming from. Mostly, I like replying with questions, especially if I feel that the other person has the burden of proof, like this example, since they are the person who made the claim. I believe they need to show that Jesus’ existence cannot be known.


(Carson Weitnauer) #5

Hi friends, great thoughts so far!

The apologetic route, showing why Jesus did exist, is a good way to go in responding to this statement. I can think of many scenarios where we need to be prepared to lay out the evidence that Jesus did exist.

Another route to take is this:

Interesting! Well, let’s say someone presented you with absolutely overwhelming evidence that Jesus existed, and by sheer force of the logic, you had to conclude that Jesus existed. Would you be happy, sad, or indifferent to come to that conclusion?

Understanding how someone feels about this question is perhaps even more important than the question itself. That might open up further disclosure that leads to a more personal, relevant, and meaningful conversation for both of us.


(Omar Rushlive Lozada Arellano) #6

@CarsonWeitnauer Wow, nice catch! I appreciate this, since this will help in examining the person’s heart, which is beyond the intellectual smokescreens. This will show how likely that they’ll be resistant to real evidence, and this may open up some things or concerns which may need to be addressed as a priority.