Minimizing the Minimal Facts of the Resurrection

By Carey Bryant

Every apologist should be able to give a basic argument for the resurrection of Jesus.

One of my favorite arguments for the resurrection is the “Minimal Facts Approach” by Gary Habermas and Michael Licona. This argument is based on five historical facts surrounding the resurrection that are attested by the majority of scholars who study the subject.

The facts are:

  1. Jesus died by crucifixion.
  2. Jesus’ disciples believed that He rose and appeared to them.
  3. The church persecutor Paul was suddenly changed.
  4. The skeptic James, brother of Jesus, was suddenly changed.
  5. The tomb was empty.

Habermas and Licona then give several subpoints to defend each of the facts. When these minimal facts are granted, they argue that the best explanation is that Jesus rose from the dead.

Resurrection Simplified

Their argument is very short and simple, but can it be simplified even more? Professor and lawyer John Warwick Montgomery argues that the resurrection can be argued with only two points!

First, he defines a resurrection as simply “death followed by life.” He says,

“If Jesus was dead at point A, and alive again at point B, then resurrection has occurred…”

Usually someone is alive at point A and dead at point B. Jesus, however, died at point A and was alive again at point B.

Montgomery goes on to say that…

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Minimizing the Minimal Facts of the Resurrection – A Clear Lens