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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: The Case for Christianity

Don Stewart :: Introducing the Case for Christianity

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Chapter 3 – Introducing the Case for Christianity

The Christian Faith Is Sensible

In this chapter, we explain, in outline form, the case for Christianity. In brief, we go through the argument of the entire book. It will become obvious that each section is logically connected to the previous one. You will notice that we plan to begin by establishing a few necessary items; the New Testament is trustworthy. It has been transmitted accurately throughout history and what it says matches up with known reality.

Once this has been established we will then see exactly what the New Testament claims. This will introduce us to the Person of Jesus Christ and the claims made by Him and about Him; He is the one way to reach the only God who exists.

We then move on to the reason why Jesus is able to make these claims; He Himself is the One true God! This will be shown by direct and indirect statements.

Next, we will look at the options available to us. If in this reliable document, there are extraordinary claims made by its main character, then these claims must be addressed.

We will discover that there are only four possible responses to Jesus’ claims. He never made them, legend, He made them and He knew they were false, liar, He made them and they were false, but He thought they were true, lunatic, or He made them, and they are true, Lord.

We will show that the legend hypothesis does not work. Also, the idea of Jesus being a liar or lunatic certainly does not fit the evidence. What is left is for us to believe His claims; He is Lord of all.

As we mentioned in chapter two, Jesus did not merely make claims, He backed them up with sufficient evidence. The next three chapters examine this evidence; miracles, fulfilled prophecy, and His resurrection from the dead.

Once we establish that Jesus is the One whom He claimed to be, we then look at how He viewed the Old Testament, His own teachings, and the soon-to-be-written New Testament.

Our last chapter sums up what we have learned. Again, it is important to realize that we build a case for Christianity by taking nothing for granted.

We now begin our examination of the case for the Christian faith. Our approach is simple: We are going to presume that the individual to whom we are talking to has never heard about the Bible, Jesus Christ, or Christianity.

Therefore, we will take absolutely nothing for granted. Our case for Christianity will be built without assuming any facts to be true. It is our belief that when all the evidence is in, the facts will speak loud and clear with respect to the truthfulness of the faith. The evidence will show that the Christian faith is true beyond a reasonable doubt.

Our plan is as follows.

Part 1: We First Establish the Reliability of the New Testament

Our first point is to make the determination that the New Testament is a reliable historical document—it can be trusted. The reliability will be demonstrated in two ways—its text and its history. This occurs in the following ways.

The Text of the New Testament: What It Says Has Been Transmitted Accurately

We will discover that the text of the New Testament has been transmitted accurately throughout history. In other words, the New Testament says the same thing today as when it was originally written; it has not been changed.

Therefore we can trust that the message has been handed down to us correctly. While this, by itself, does not make the Bible the Word of God, or even true, it does give us confidence to move on to the next step.

New Testament History—The Events Match Up with Known Facts

Next, we will look at the history that the New Testament records. We will see that the historical references reported in the New Testament match up to known history. As far as we can tell, the people mentioned were real people, and the events actually occurred. Thus, we are dealing with reality, not mythology. Therefore, the New Testament proves trustworthy in both its text and its history. This being the case, the claims it makes deserve to be heard because everything about it tells us it is a reliable document.

Part 2: We Discover the Claims the New Testament Makes about Jesus Christ

Next, we move on to our second point—the claims of the New Testament. First, we determine what kind of book the Bible is, and what it has to say about itself. We need to let it tell us the story it wants to tell rather than forcing it to say something it does not say. From the New Testament, we discover two important truths about Jesus Christ. They can be summarized as follows.

Jesus Is the One Way to Reach the One God

We will discover that the main character of the New Testament is Jesus Christ. In fact, the entire Bible is about Him. Astounding claims are made about Jesus—He is the Savior of the world, the Son of God, the way, the truth, and the life, the only hope for salvation. According to Scripture, there is no other way to get to the only God who exists except through Jesus. This is the claim the New Testament makes about Him; it is not something that the church later invented.

Jesus Is God Almighty

Furthermore, the Scripture teaches that Jesus was more than a mere human; He is God the Son, the Second Person of the Trinity. He is the living God who became a human being. This is taught both directly and indirectly in the New Testament.

Part 3: The Claims Made about Christ Are Examined

We then examine the claims of the New Testament about Jesus Christ. Since these claims are recorded in a document that we have already demonstrated to be reliable it its text and its historical references, these claims must be taken seriously.

Consequently, there are three possible ways to understand the claims made about Jesus that are recorded in the New Testament. They are as follows.

Possibility 1: He Never Made the Claims – Legend

This view holds that Jesus never made the astounding claims that are recorded in the New Testament. The claims are those of His disciples who later exaggerated His words. Therefore, the accounts about His miracles and the claims that He is the Son of God, the Savior of the world, and the only hope of humanity, are merely legendary. Basically, this point of view says that Jesus’ disciples turned this simple teacher and preacher into God Himself.

However, as we shall see, this viewpoint does not ft the facts. There is not enough time for legends about Jesus to occur before the New Testament was written. This means that the claims made about Jesus, and by Jesus, have to be dealt with. He actually made these claims.

Possibility 2: He Made the Claims but the Claims Were Not True – Liar or Lunatic

The second possibility is that He actually made the claims that are recorded in the New Testament but His claims were not true. We have two possibilities if this is the case. They are as follows.

He Could Have Been a Liar

This perspective believes that Jesus was not the Son of God and that He knew He was not the Son of God, yet He lied about His true identity when He made the claims recorded in the New Testament. Therefore, He knowingly lied about who He was.

He May Have Been a Lunatic

The other possibility, if His claims were not true, holds that Jesus was not the Son of God but that He actually thought that He was. In this case, Jesus would have been deluded when He claimed to be the ultimate authority on every issue.

Possibility 3: He Made the Claims and They Were True – Lord

The last possibility holds that Jesus actually made the claims recorded in the New Testament and these claims are true. This would make Him Lord.

After examining the three possible ways in which to assess Jesus’ claims, we will find that the only one that makes sense is that He is Lord. There is no evidence whatsoever that Jesus was a liar or a lunatic.

Part 4: The Evidence for Jesus’ Claims

The fourth section will deal with the evidence concerning the claims of Christ. If Jesus is the Lord, then there should be some evidence to back up His claims.

The New Testament basically provides us with three different lines of evidence: miracles, fulfilled prophecy, and Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.


We will see that Jesus performed miracles as objective signs that He was indeed the promised Messiah. The number of miracles recorded, the different types of miracles, as well as the various areas of authority they covered, show that Jesus is the One whom He claimed to be – the Son of God. In addition, all attempts to explain away the miracles of Jesus miserable fail.

Fulfilled Prophecy

Our second line of evidence will be predictive prophecy. Only God knows the future and in Scripture we have the evidence of the future having been predicted in advance.

Fulfilled prophecy shows not only that God exists, but that also He is in control of history. Consequently, we can have complete confidence in Him and His message.

The Resurrection of Christ

The final evidence is the most important of all—the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Without the resurrection there is no Christian faith. Happily, the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ is overwhelming.

These three lines of evidence, taken together, provide a solid foundation for the believer to put their trust in Jesus as the One whom He claimed to be.

Part 5: The Bible Is God’s Word – Jesus Says So!

We now come to our final point—the nature of the Bible. We believe it is the Word of God because Jesus says so. His understanding of Scripture will be our understanding since He has demonstrated Himself to be God’s Son. To be consistent, we should hold the same view of Scripture as Jesus held.

Jesus’ View of the Old Testament

First, we will examine Jesus’ view of the Old Testament. He believed it was God’s Word. His attitude toward the Old Testament was one of total trust. Since He is God the Son, He would be in a position to know whether or not the Old Testament was God’s Word. He made it clear that it is.

Jesus’ View of His Own Teachings

Next we examine how Jesus viewed His own teachings. We will find that He considered them to be authoritative. When He spoke there was no court of appeal—He was the final Word on every matter in which He dealt with! There is no doubt that He believed this about His own teachings.

Jesus’ View of the New Testament

Finally, we have Jesus’ predictions to His disciples with respect to the New Testament. We will find that He pre-authenticated it ahead of time; promising His followers that all things He taught them would be supernaturally brought back to their remembrance and the Holy Spirit would guide them into all truth.

Therefore, we can put out trust in the New Testament because Jesus authenticated it ahead of time. This is the outline for our study. We will argue the Case for Christianity in the same way in which reasonable people everywhere argue for truth in the areas such as law, history, and science.

We will examine the evidence and then draw conclusions based upon the best evidence.

We will now proceed to our first point—establishing the reliability of the New Testament.

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