I hope that you are willing to check your anti-supernatural bias and proceed under the assumption that even something as unbelievable as the resurrection of Jesus Christ by supernatural means is not impossible by default. I fully am willing to concede that if it is not supported by the facts, you don’t need to believe Jesus rose by any means. I am just asking you to listen to the historical facts that are generally agreed to about the situation concerning early Christianity, and when we are done, look at the collection of facts and decide on the best explanation. That’s all I am asking of you at this point.
As a result, I am going to be highlighting what has been called the minimal facts approach. It has been largely developed and popularized by Dr. Gary Habermas of Liberty University and my former professor Dr. Mike Licona of Houston Baptist University. Their book, The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, suggests that there are five important pieces of evidence that are largely agreed upon amount historical scholars that surrounded the resurrection of Jesus Christ. They are not simply reviewing Christian historical scholars; they set a higher criteria for the acceptance of minimal facts.
“This approach considers only those data that are so strongly attested historically that they are granted by nearly every scholar who studies the subject, even the rather skeptical ones.”
Using this approach, there are four minimal facts that gain the support of nearly all scholars who study the subject, and there is another fact that, according to Habermas, is granted by over 75% of all scholars who study the subject.
I find this approach to be acceptable to many Christians and nonbelievers for a few main reasons. First, as Christians, we do believe that the resurrection is indeed a historical event, and as such, we would expect there to be historical evidence about the events that surrounded the resurrection. I understand that some people might see this as undermining Biblical authority; you might worry that I am proposing that the Bible is not sufficient evidence for believing that the resurrection actually happened.
That brings me to my second point. As Christians, we believe the Bible to be true, but there are many people who are not ready to accept what the Bible says. As a result, they are going to want additional evidence, and that is the power of this methodology. Even nonbelievers will agree that the Bible is an historical document, and they will also affirm that there are other documents that were written around the time of Jesus that tell us information about history.
As a result, this is what we’re going to do for the next two weeks. We’re going to spend one day on each of the four minimal facts and one day on the fact that is agreed to by approximately 75% of scholars who research on the subject. Then, we’re going to spend one day putting this all together and trying to find the narrative that best fits the data.
 Gary R. Habermas and Michael R. Licona, The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2004), Kindle Locations 340-341, Kindle Edition.