Is The Resurrection of Jesus Believable?

Did Jesus of Nazareth really rise from the dead? The answer to this question has critical implications of which the Apostle Paul considered “of first importance” (1 Corinthians 15:3). In fact, the entirety of 1 Corinthians 15 is dedicated to this question, because it is not only has implications for daily life, but also for eternity. He goes on to say that if Jesus did not rise from the dead “we are of all people the most to be pitied” (v. 19). This same question of Jesus’ resurrection is still discussed in the modern day, and the Christian defense shouldn’t merely be “the Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it.” 

Modern western culture demands a more robust defense of the historicity and veracity of Christian doctrine. One such apologist who is as much courageous and bold as she is winsome is Rebecca McLaughlin, who has written defenses of the Christian faith such as Confronting Christianity (Crossway, 2021) and Confronting Jesus (Crossway, 2022). In her new book Is Easter Unbelievable?: Four Questions Everyone Should Ask About The Resurrection Story (The Good Book Company, 2023), McLaughlin deals directly with the question of Jesus’s resurrection.

Is Easter Unbelievable? is a short, yet excellent defense of the Christian doctrine of the resurrection. McLaughlin asks (and answers) four questions that hit at the heart of objections to the resurrection. First, is Jesus’ life historical? The majority of people have no doubt that Jesus of Nazareth was a real historical person. Even critical scholars such as Bart Ehrman do not doubt the historicity of Jesus. The issue is whether or not the biblical account of Jesus is historically accurate. The Bible, however, is the only place we find any significant information about the life of Jesus. If you take away the Gospels, there is little to go on regarding Jesus of Nazareth. McLaughlin argues that the Gospel accounts of Jesus are historically reliable because there are more manuscripts of the New Testament than many other writings from antiquity.

Second, is Jesus’ death ethical? The objection is that the gospel story of Jesus’ death, on the surface seems like cosmic child abuse. McLaughlin argues that Jesus’ death is ethical and not abuse because he gave his life willingly. The issue is one of perspective. God is holy and we are sinners, who rebelled against his holiness. Many people do not view life from this perspective, and do not understand the need for a savior. Yet, while we were sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). 

Third, is Jesus’ resurrection credible? Many people find it difficult to believe that someone rose from the dead. Resurrections are not the norm, in this life at least. McLaughlin’s basic answer is that Jesus’ resurrection is credible because this story (the gospel) has endured for over two thousand years. If the resurrection did not happen, it would be unlikely that its message would have spread outside of Jesus’ early followers.

Fourth, is Jesus’ offer desirable? This is the most compelling of all the questions discussed in the book. The truth is, that in the end, once all objections have been answered the gospel must grip one’s heart. The gospel is the good news that Jesus died in our place for our sins, and rose from the dead. This offer of salvation is available for all who would believe. 

Is Easter Unbelievable? is an excellent resource for personal evangelism this Easter. McLaughlin’s arguments and writing style are compelling to those who traditionally object to the historicity and veracity of the Christian faith. Her illustrations are culturally engaging and are helpful to those who did not grow up in a Christian context. Additionally, the size of the book is intended to be handed out to friends and family who have doubts about the gospel message.

This title is available in the RFTG Bookstore.

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