In another article (032) we noted some specific facts that lay a foundation for Christianity that is rationally unassailable. What I mean is that the only way to reject Jesus as the Christ is to reject historical facts which were clearly established by large groups of witnesses.
For instance, the apostle Paul, in establishing the content of his gospel, wrote:
Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you,...how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: after that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. (1 Corinthians 15:1-7)
These are not the words of someone who wants to hide from history. In effect, he said, "Look, the message I preach can be searched out and tested against all the rules of evidence for validating truth in history."
And, when the same man was called into the Roman court system to defend himself against his accusers, part of his defense was:
For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner. (Acts 26:26)
By the words "not done in a corner", the apostle was in effect telling the king that every facet of his court testimony could be checked out by honest inquirers because there were plenty of witnesses. These are not the words of one who was trying to hide from history.
What's my point? Simply this: there is abundant evidence in the Bible that those who are responsible for the Christian message were not afraid of being proven wrong, mistaken, or misguided by honest historical inquiry. Now, admittedly, today the problem has been magnified in that there are all kinds of pseudo historians who claim that their writings are historical, but are in fact, revisionist according to their own political or social or moral agenda. So, when we seek to clarify some historical point, we have to wade through all kinds of dishonest revisionist propaganda. That is particularly why, during the Reformation, one of the fundamental movements was toward a study of the documents closest to the origins of the Gospel. Back to the foundations! became the serious students' compelling desire. And what they found was that, in the ancient documents, there was absolutely no hesitation to link the message to verifiable historical facts. Thus, to the open mind, Christ tied His message to facts of history. And the apostle Paul said that a consequence of that will be that when men stand before His God, every mouth will be stopped in its attempts to justify its unbelief. The reason? There are no good reasons to continue in unbelief.