Resurrection – Reason for Rapid growth of Christianity  By The Publishers · 3 min read

Resurrection – Reason for Rapid growth of Christianity

 “Some sort of powerful, transformative experience is required to generate the sort of movement earliest Christianity was.”[1]

“As an historian, I cannot explain the rise of early Christianity unless Jesus rose again, leaving an empty tomb behind him.”[2]

Christianity remains the world’s largest religious group with about 2.5 billion people who still consider themselves Christians in 2019.[3] Without doubt, Christianity has been the dominant influence in the West.[4] However, with its once modest beginnings of around 30 followers, one of the biggest questions in world history is: Why did Christianity prevail? How did Jesus, an enthusiastic Jew, manage to captivate so many with his life and his comforting, uplifting, redeeming words up to today? The key lies in that he was executed by the Romans and rose from the dead on the third day, according to Jewish reckoning of time! Jesus promised:

“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.”[5]

The majority of all scholars and historian also agree, it is a fact that Jesus died on the cross[6]. Furthermore, they confirm:

-Very shortly after Jesus’ death, the disciples (followers of Jesus) had experiences that led them to believe and proclaim that Jesus had risen and appeared to them.

-Within a few years after Jesus’ death, Paul converted after experiencing what he interpreted as a post-resurrection appearance of Jesus. [7]

The two quotes above are from the ground-breaking book, “The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach” by Prof Michael R. Licona. In it he writes:

“The objective of this investigation was to learn and apply the approach of historians outside of the community of biblical scholars to the question of whether Jesus rose from the dead … and then weighing a number of hypotheses representative of what is being proposed at the beginning of the twenty-first century. In the end, the resurrection hypothesis came out on top and meets the standards discussed herein for being historical.”[8]

The resurection is clearly taught in the Bible and finds confirmation from other historians and scholars[9] who have applied the established historical methodology.[10]

Nobody has given a better explanation for the rapid growth of Christianity, than Christ, its death-conquering leader, for what follows: [11]

Informed estimates project phenomenal growth of Christians in the first 300 years from about 30 to 33 million followers. This is more than half of the entire population of the Roman Empire. Christianity then became the state religion of the empire. . . .

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[1] Luke Timothy Johnson, New Testament scholar at Emory University in “The Real Jesus” (San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1996), p. 136.

[2] N. T. Wright, “The New Unimproved Jesus,” Christianity Today (September 13, 1993), p. 26. 7 Bart Ehrman, “The Historical Jesus,” (The Teaching Company, 2000), Part II, p. 50.

[3] https://www.learnreligions.com/christianity-statistics-700533

[4] https://christianityexplained.net/to/atheists/crime-millennium-year-2000-robbed-ad/

[5] John 11:25

[6] https://www.uncover.org.uk/questions/whats-the-evidence-outside-the-bible-for-jesus-life-and-teaching/https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/14/what-is-the-historical-evidence-that-jesus-christ-lived-and-died – https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/historical-evidence-for-the-resurrection

[7] Licona, Michael R. The Resurrection of Jesus. A New Historiographical Approach (p. 303). InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition. 2010

[8] Ibid. (pp. 619-620). InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition.

[9] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWSG5okmUr8https://www.publicchristianity.org/an-historian-examines-the-resurrection/

[10] https://smartfaith.net/2020/08/29/atheist-historians-admit-evidence-for-resurrection/- https://au.thegospelcoalition.org/article/historys-biggest-hoax-how-historians-think-about-the-resurrection/

[11] Sources for these various points are found in: https://www.amazon.com/Rise-Christianity-Sociologist-Reconsiders-History-ebook/dp/B08783D3C1/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1356WIFIPH3ZI&keywords=rise+of+christianity&qid=1650369172&s=digital-text&sprefix=rise+of+christianity%2Cdigital-text%2C117&sr=1-1 The book is a non-Christian sociologist’s analytical perspective on the matter. (At the time of publication, Stark identified as an agnostic, but in a 2007 interview with Massimo Introvigne, he said that he now identifies as an “independent Christian.”) https://thejesusquestion.org/2013/01/20/the-rise-of-christianity-by-rodney-stark/  See also: https://www.amazon.com/Triumph-Christianity-Movement-Largest-Religion-ebook/dp/B005C6IJZA/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

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