Can miracles pass historical tests?

Charles Leslie, a 17th-century clergyman created a method for testing historical events. Jesus’ resurrection passed the test. Skeptics of his time couldn’t refute his criteria or the results.

by Erik Manning

There are so many good books that have been written in the last 10 years on the subject of Christian apologetics. It can feel overwhelming to keep up with! Not to mention expensive.

Many of these books are responses to modern criticisms against the faith. Because of this, we tend to focus on the new books and neglect the old. This is a big mistake. Most objections to Christianity aren’t all that new, a lot of what we hear today are the same recycled arguments posed by skeptics for centuries.

If you want to get really good at defending the Bible, look no further than the works of apologetics published during the 17th-18th century. This was when Deism was considered all the rage. Deists believe that God created the world but then let it run on its own steam. According to Deism, revelation and miracles are superstitions. Many Deists like Voltaire, Thomas Paine, and others wrote blistering criticisms of Christianity that modern atheists parrot today.

Many Christian apologists took up the challenge and wrote responses. Some were very scholarly and thorough, like William Paley’s A View of the Evidence of Christianity. Others wrote street-level defenses. One of these is Charles Leslie’s Short and Easy Method With the Deists.

It’s around 70 pages, but it packs a punch. Leslie’s “method” is a test on how we can judge something as historical – and it can include miracle claims. It’s ridiculously simple, but don’t let its simplicity fool you.

What are Leslie’s four tests?…
 

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Can miracles pass historical tests?