This paper is on an apologetic defense of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This discussion is necessary because without validation of the resurrection there indeed is no real Christian belief system. This defense is foundational in all discussions of doctrine. The existence of Jesus is not debated, and the historical fact of Jesus's death on the cross is documented in Christian and non-Christian writings. The resurrection is the key. In this paper, the minimalist fact argument will be explained and used in defense of the resurrection. The second step will be to present a reasonable case or apologetic to the stated resurrection using scholarly research and finally reaching a convincing conclusion on the validity of the event.
Summary of the Minimalist Facts Argument
Firstly, as Dr. Habermas states, the Minimalist Facts Argument is a "methodology" a way to explain and make a case of a viewpoint of one's facts. There are two basic concepts of the method. The first is the factor of the lowest common denominator[G12], whereas there are verifiable historical facts from multiple sources. These sources can be Biblical or secular research and the more secular research, the stronger the position becomes. Secondly, it is vital to secure facts that over ninety percent of recognized scholars will agree. These scholars should be doctoral or a very least provable experts in their respective fields of study.[G13] [G14] [G15] [G16] [G17] [G18] [G19] [G20] [G21] [G22]
Dr. Habermas demonstrates that the methodology relies on reducing the facts presented to a proper amount, such as four to seven points. It is suitable to challenge the antagonizer when they will not offer their facts and merely continue to test your references. This method works in a respectful and intellectual way to present an argument to any challenge. [G23] [G24] [G25] [G26] [G27] [G28] [G29] [G30] [G31] [G32] [G33] [G34] [G35] [G36] [G37] [G38] [G39] [G40] [G41] [G42]
Research on the internet from various sources indicate five principal arguments that are valid in the presentation. The need for multiple, independent sources that support the proposed conclusion. The ability to anchor the testimony of the facts that the opposition will give to you. For example, the agreement that Paul existed and wrote with truth and conviction, or the very fact that Jesus lived and died by crucifixion. Verification can be obtained in part by pointing out testimony or factual statements that are embarrassing to the author; such as reliance on the evidence of women, which was denied at the time of the resurrection. The ability to use eyewitness accounts of the events and therefore reduce or eliminate the waver that occurs in time in story or testimony. Finally, the ability to state proven facts that are close in time to the actual event. A story that is told one hundred years after an event is not as reliable as the same story said within a year or two of the event. [G43] [G44] [G45] [G46] [G47] [G48] [G49] [G50] [G51] [G52] [G53] [G54] [G55] [G56] [G57] [G58] [G59] [G60] [G61]
The Minimal Facts Argument approach to debate is a methodology that allows a solid foundation to be established for the presentation of argument and a systematic way to defend the very Gospel of the Christian faith. [G62]
The resurrection of Christ is the foundational principle of the Christian faith. Without verification of the resurrection, the whole doctrine of the Christian faith falls apart and is therefore crucial to accept and to fully understand. The facts of Jesus's life and death are not disputed in either the Jewish religion or the Muslim religion; it is the diety and messianic claims that are in the challenge.
There are some factors that are of use in our apologetic discussion. Dr. Habermas gives us a great basis for our defense in his class lecture entitled, The Resurrection of Jesus. Dr. Habermas starts with a statement that there are at least eleven verifiable sources for the crucifixion of Jesus and this is a great place to establish a starting ground on the debate on the actual rising from the dead of Jesus. Dr. Habermas actually states, "can you get verification of a miracle?" Meaning that factual events are much stronger arguments in a debate. In Reasons for Our Hope it states that “if Jesus Christ was not raised from the dead bodily from the tomb ... then the faith of every believer throughout church history is in vain.”
It is great information to know for the future that the Apostle Paul is considered a credible scholar, especially in six to eight of his letters. Having Paul verified is an excellent grounding in using the New Testament as an actual source in the discussion. The books of Galatians and First Corinthinians are an excellent source for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the resurrection that is the basis of our faith. The Apostle Paul states in 1 Corinthians 15:3 that he had passed on this information which establishes an early date from an eyewitness. Additionally, it is verified that Jesus appeared to at least hundreds of followers after this death and burial, first to the 12 disciples and then to over 500 believers.
The timeline of the events is very compelling to establish an early account of the information. It is accepted that Christ was crucified and buried in the year of 30 AD, and Paul makes a trip to Damascus and encounters the Risen Christ on the road about three years later in about 33AD. Within three years, 36AD, Paul spends about fifteen days with Peter, John and James in Jerusalem to study with these apostles; key figures in the life of Jesus. This timeline is all in less than ten years of the actual proven date of the death of Christ. The fact of timeline this close to the real event is almost unparalleled in historical writings of this period.
One of the final compelling points for the resurrection is the empty tomb. The fact that the Bible uses the testimony of women is vital. In the first century culture, the statement of women was not [or even considered valid. If the author were attempting to establish a grounding for proof, they would have used men and not women for the argument. The fact of the empty tomb is also verified in Roman historical documents and therefore confirms the point of the missing body of Jesus.
These stated facts and points can establish the[ basis of a reasonable argument for the real and true resurrection of Jesus Christ as stated in the Holy Scriptures. The facts were determined that the writing of Paul is a supportable and an accepted source that was written within 25 years of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. The accountable of eyewitness both at the crucifixion and the reappearances of Jesus to first the twelve disciples and then over 500 believers has been established.
The use of the testimony of women would have been embarrassing and useless data unless it was true which brings increased validity to the writing of Scripture overall. The life, death, and burial of Jesus is fact and proven in secular sources, as well as the reality of the empty tomb. There is not much that needs to be taken on faith alone, and the reasonableness of the argument is proven and established.
Dr. Habermas, The Resurrection of Jesus, lecture accessed February 24th, 2018 on liberty.edu.
House, H. Wayne and Dennis W. Jowers, Reasons for Our Hope. Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group. 2011.
 Dr. Habermas, The Resurrection of Jesus, lecture accessed February 24th, 2018 on liberty.edu.
 House, H. Wayne and Dennis W. Jowers (2011), Reasons for Our Hope.Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group. p. 333.