Evidence From Ancient Critics

By Glenn Smith

In his book The Historical Jesus, author and ancient historian Gary Habermas quotes the following ancient source, Lucian, who was a critic of Christianity.

The Christians, you know, worship a man to this day — the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account. . . . You see, these misguided creatures start with the general conviction that they are immortal for all time, which explains the contempt of death and voluntary self-devotion which are so common among them; and then it was impressed on them by their original lawgiver that they are all brothers, from the moment that they are converted, and deny the gods of Greece, and worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws. All this they take on faith . . . (p.206)

Lucian’s words are significant to Christian apologetics for a couple of key reasons. First, this is an early account, with Lucian living circa 125 – 180 AD. Thus his comments are made in reference to Christians in the second century, roughly a mere century after the apostles wrote the New Testament and founded the church. Therefore Lucian’s words establish that 1) the church existed in the second century, 2) it was reasonably widespread, and 3) the central teachings of Christianity were known to those outside the church. This destroys the skeptics argument that the church was invented late, and places the establishment of the church well before Lucian’s time…

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