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  1. #1
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    Dan Barker's Resurrection Challenge

    ===============================================

    This thread is split off from AMA (Ask Me Anything): My Beliefs have Changed.

    Dan Barker has presented a challenge to Christians as follows:
    I HAVE AN EASTER challenge for Christians. My challenge is simply this: tell me what happened on Easter. I am not asking for proof. My straightforward request is merely that Christians tell me exactly what happened on the day that their most important doctrine was born.

    Believers should eagerly take up this challenge, since without the resurrection, there is no Christianity. Paul wrote, "And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not." (I Corinthians 15:14-15)

    The conditions of the challenge are simple and reasonable. In each of the four Gospels, begin at Easter morning and read to the end of the book: Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and John 20-21. Also read Acts 1:3-12 and Paul's tiny version of the story in I Corinthians 15:3-8. These 165 verses can be read in a few moments. Then, without omitting a single detail from these separate accounts, write a simple, chronological narrative of the events between the resurrection and the ascension: what happened first, second, and so on; who said what, when; and where these things happened.

    Since the gospels do not always give precise times of day, it is permissible to make educated guesses. The narrative does not have to pretend to present a perfect picture--it only needs to give at least one plausible account of all of the facts. Additional explanation of the narrative may be set apart in parentheses. The important condition to the challenge, however, is that not one single biblical detail be omitted. Fair enough?

    I have tried this challenge myself. I failed. An Assembly of God minister whom I was debating a couple of years ago on a Florida radio show loudly proclaimed over the air that he would send me the narrative in a few days. I am still waiting. After my debate at the University of Wisconsin, "Jesus of Nazareth: Messiah or Myth," a Lutheran graduate student told me he accepted the challenge and would be contacting me in about a week. I have never heard from him. Both of these people, and others, agreed that the request was reasonable and crucial. Maybe they are slow readers.
    Barker claims that no one has been able to meet this challenge. I think it would be excellent to test his assertion. Beck has already tried in another thread. I will repost his response in this thread.

    Richard
    ===============================================

    Here is Beck's first response to the challenge:

    Quote Originally Posted by Beck View Post
    Here is a possible harmony of the narratives of the resurrection of Christ and His post-resurrection appearances, in chronological order:

    Jesus is buried, as several women watch (Matthew 27:57-61; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42).

    The tomb is sealed and a guard is set (Matthew 27:62-66).

    At least 3 women, including Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, prepare spices to go to the tomb (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1).

    An angel descends from heaven, rolls the stone away, and sits on it. There is an earthquake, and the guards faint (Matthew 28:2-4).

    The women arrive at the tomb and find it empty. Mary Magdalene leaves the other women there and runs to tell the disciples (John 20:1-2).

    The women still at the tomb see two angels who tell them that Jesus is risen and who instruct them to tell the disciples to go to Galilee (Matthew 28:5-7; Mark 16:2-8; Luke 24:1-8).

    The women leave to bring the news to the disciples (Matthew 28:8).

    The guards, having roused themselves, report the empty tomb to the authorities, who bribe the guards to say the body was stolen (Matthew 28:11-15).

    Mary the mother of James and the other women, on their way to find the disciples, see Jesus (Matthew 28:9-10).

    The women relate what they have seen and heard to the disciples (Luke 24:9-11).

    Peter and John run to the tomb, see that it is empty, and find the grave clothes (Luke 24:12; John 20:2-10).

    Mary Magdalene returns to the tomb. She sees the angels, and then she sees Jesus (John 20:11-18).

    Later the same day, Jesus appears to Peter (Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5).

    Still on the same day, Jesus appears to Cleopas and another disciple on their way to Emmaus (Luke 24:13:32).

    That evening, the two disciples report the event to the Eleven in Jerusalem (Luke 24:32-35).

    Jesus appears to ten disciples—Thomas is missing (Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-25).

    Jesus appears to all eleven disciples—Thomas included (John 20:26-31).
    I will begin my response in another post. I think this is an excellent exercise; I hope others join in.

    Richard
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

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  2. #2
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    Hey Beck,

    I see you copied and pasted your sequence from the Got Questions site, (or someone who copied them). That's OK, but you should post the source in the future.

    Now the problem is that the folks at "Got Questions?" probably did not read Barker's precise challenge, so they didn't even try to answer it correctly. For example, the first obvious shortcoming is in the third point:
    At least 3 women, including Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, prepare spices to go to the tomb (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1).
    They left out any mention of the fact that the body of Jesus had already been anointed before burial in John's account:
    John 19:38 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. 39 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. 40 Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. 41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. 42 There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand. John 20:1 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
    Here we have very significant variations and many details that the narrative you supplied did not include. This is why you probably won't be able to find a solution to Barker's challenge on the apologetic sites. They were not trying to answer Barker's challenge which demands only one thing - DON'T LEAVE OUT ANY DETAILS. John says that Nicodemus had anointed the body of Jesus with 100 pounds of spices before he was buried, and the next event in his record is Mary Magdalene coming to the grave with no mention of any spices or any other woman with her.

    So the first thing that we need to do is to incorporate the details of all four Gospels concerning the events of the burial and anointing and discovery of the empty tomb.

    All the best,

    Richard
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

    Check out my blog site

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
    Hey Beck,

    I see you copied and pasted your sequence from the Got Questions site, (or someone who copied them). That's OK, but you should post the source in the future.
    Right, sorry about that I've had that on my harddisk for sometime and forgot where that source where, so thanks.

    Now the problem is that the folks at "Got Questions?" probably did not read Barker's precise challenge, so they didn't even try to answer it correctly. For example, the first obvious shortcoming is in the third point:
    At least 3 women, including Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, prepare spices to go to the tomb (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1).
    They left out any mention of the fact that the body of Jesus had already been anointed before burial in John's account:
    John 19:38 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. 39 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. 40 Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. 41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. 42 There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand. John 20:1 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
    Here we have very significant variations and many details that the narrative you supplied did not include. This is why you probably won't be able to find a solution to Barker's challenge on the apologetic sites. They were not trying to answer Barker's challenge which demands only one thing - DON'T LEAVE OUT ANY DETAILS. John says that Nicodemus had anointed the body of Jesus with 100 pounds of spices before he was buried, and the next event in his record is Mary Magdalene coming to the grave with no mention of any spices or any other woman with her.
    So Barkers challenge is to have no variations? I would believe that John's account is the only one that has Nicodemus at the site, should we then discount the whole narrative. I'm just saying. That part of John's gospel wasn't in the predetermined scriptual challange because that is at the death not the resurrection John 19. Notices the deteremined chapters or from 20-21.

    The conditions of the challenge are simple and reasonable. In each of the four Gospels, begin at Easter morning and read to the end of the book: Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and John 20-21. Also read Acts 1:3-12 and Paul's tiny version of the story in I Corinthians 15:3-8. These 165 verses can be read in a few moments. Then, without omitting a single detail from these separate accounts, write a simple, chronological narrative of the events between the resurrection and the ascension: what happened first, second, and so on; who said what, when; and where these things happened.
    So the first thing that we need to do is to incorporate the details of all four Gospels concerning the events of the burial and anointing and discovery of the empty tomb.

    All the best,

    Richard
    Is that part of the challange? I took it to be the resurrection. Furthermore what is the challange?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beck View Post
    Right, sorry about that I've had that on my harddisk for sometime and forgot where that source where, so thanks.
    Understood. No worries!

    Quote Originally Posted by Beck View Post
    So Barkers challenge is to have no variations? I would believe that John's account is the only one that has Nicodemus at the site, should we then discount the whole narrative. I'm just saying. That part of John's gospel wasn't in the predetermined scriptual challange because that is at the death not the resurrection John 19. Notices the deteremined chapters or from 20-21.
    No. Barker's challenge is very generous. He says that it's fine to make "educated guesses" and that the "narrative does not have to pretend to present a perfect picture--it only needs to give at least one plausible account of all of the facts." There is only one essential point. Whatever narrative you present must not leave out any details stated in Scripture. I think it is a very reasonable challenge. If I can not tell the story without leaving out things the Bible says, then I must ask "Why do I leave out and deny the truth of this verse and accept that verse?"

    I do not believe that any Christian can maintain the doctrine of inerrancy and infallibility in light of this challenge. But it does not have to destroy faith in Scripture. I think the solution for the Christian is to assert that the "Big Picture" that says Jesus was dead, buried, and resurrected is attested by all four Gospels, and so we can "believe" that without asserting that all the irreconcilable details are correct. But that's just a stopgap. As soon as we admit that we don't believe everything the Bible says, then we find ourselves having to justify why we pick and choose the parts we believe and the parts we reject. And that, my friend, marks the end of fundamentalism.

    All the best,

    Richard
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

    Check out my blog site

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post

    I do not believe that any Christian can maintain the doctrine of inerrancy and infallibility in light of this challenge. But it does not have to destroy faith in Scripture. I think the solution for the Christian is to assert that the "Big Picture" that says Jesus was dead, buried, and resurrected is attested by all four Gospels, and so we can "believe" that without asserting that all the irreconcilable details are correct. But that's just a stopgap. As soon as we admit that we don't believe everything the Bible says, then we find ourselves having to justify why we pick and choose the parts we believe and the parts we reject. And that, my friend, marks the end of fundamentalism.

    All the best,

    Richard
    So to this challange do we add John 19 to the equation?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beck View Post
    So to this challange do we add John 19 to the equation?
    I guess I misunderstood his challenge a bit. He was focusing only on the time between Resurrection morning and the ascension. He said "without omitting a single detail from these separate accounts, write a simple, chronological narrative of the events between the resurrection and the ascension." I included the burial. I think this is probably a good idea, since that also is where you started with your first answer.

    So let's expand things slightly and see if we can "write a simple, chronological narrative of the events between the burial and the ascension without omitting a single detail from the separate accounts."

    Does that sound alright?

    All the best,

    Richard
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

    Check out my blog site

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
    I guess I misunderstood his challenge a bit. He was focusing only on the time between Resurrection morning and the ascension. He said "without omitting a single detail from these separate accounts, write a simple, chronological narrative of the events between the resurrection and the ascension." I included the burial. I think this is probably a good idea, since that also is where you started with your first answer.

    So let's expand things slightly and see if we can "write a simple, chronological narrative of the events between the burial and the ascension without omitting a single detail from the separate accounts."

    Does that sound alright?

    All the best,

    Richard
    Yes, that's alright I just wanted to make sure what where the guide lines. I'll formulate mine and post later.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
    So let's expand things slightly and see if we can "write a simple, chronological narrative of the events between the burial and the ascension without omitting a single detail from the separate accounts."

    Does that sound alright?

    All the best,

    Richard
    Below is my paraphrase of the separate accounts in each of the Gospels starting at the first day of the week when the women went to the tomb of Jesus.


    Matthew 28:
    When the Sabbath ends and it’s beginning to dawn on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary go to the sepulcher where Jesus was laid. As they approach the tomb a great earthquake if felt and the angel of the Lord rolled back the stone that closed the tomb and sat beside it. The keepers (gardeners) shook in fear at the sight of this being whose countenance was like lightning. The angel spoke to the women and told them not to fear for Jesus was raised, and to look into the tomb and see. Then the angel told them to go quickly and tell the rest of the disciples that Jesus has risen and they will see Him shortly in Galilee. As the women were running to tell the disciples, they met Jesus along the way and fell at His feet in worship: He told them not to be afraid, but to go tell the brethren.



    Mark 16:
    When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought sweet spices and went to the Sepulcher of Jesus so they might anoint His body. It was very early in the morning, just as the sun was rising and they were talking amongst themselves wondering who would roll away the stone that covered the entrance to the tomb. When they approached they saw that the great stone was already rolled away, so they entered the tomb and saw a young man sitting on the right side clothed in a long white garment, and they were afraid. The man in white linen told them not to be frightened for the Jesus whom they were seeking was not here for He had risen. The man then told the women to go and tell the disciples and Peter, and that they would meet Jesus on their way there. They fled the sepulcher and spoke to no one as they were afraid. Jesus had risen early that morning and Mary Magdalene was the first person whom He appeared to. Mary Magdalene went and told the disciples what she had been told and had seen, but they did not believe her.



    Luke 24:
    On the first day of the week, early in the morning the women went to the sepulcher bringing with them the spices they had prepared. When they arrived they found the stone rolled away from the entrance to the tomb, they entered in and found the tomb empty. They were very perplexed and looking around saw two men in shinning garments: and they were afraid, bowing their heads to the ground. The two men said to them: why seek ye the living among the dead? Jesus is not here for He has risen as He said He would. Then the women remembered His words. The women (Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James and others) left the sepulcher and went to tell the eleven disciples. The disciples did not believe the women and Peter ran to the sepulcher himself and found it empty with the linen grave clothes laid aside apart by themselves.



    John 20:
    On the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the sepulcher early, while it was still dark and saw the stone was removed from the entrance.
    Then she ran to tell Simon Peter and the disciple whom Jesus loved (John) and said to them that the body of Jesus had been taken from the tomb and she did not know where it was laid. Peter and the other disciple ran to the tomb of Jesus, the other disciple arrived at the tomb first and looked inside and saw the linen clothes lying on the floor, but he did not go inside. Peter arrived and went into the tomb and also saw the linen garments on the floor and the head napkin lying separately by itself. At that point they did not know the Scripture that said Jesus must rise from the dead. (paragraph in bold out of order)
    Mary Magdalene stood outside the tomb weeping, she stooped down and looked in the tomb and saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet of where Jesus had lain. The angel asked Mary why she was weeping. She answered and said it was because they had taken her Lord and she didn’t know where they had laid Him. She turned around and saw Jesus standing behind her, but she didn’t recognize Him. Jesus asked her why she was weeping. She thought He was the gardener and said to Him if he had taken her Lord to tell her and she would take His body. Jesus then spoke to her again and she immediately knew it was her Lord. Mary went and told the disciples the things Jesus had spoken to her.



    The three synoptic Gospels are fairly consistent in their chronological account, differing only in how many beings in shinning clothing are seen (one or two)and where they are sitting, the listing of the women, the position of the stone when they arrived at the tomb, and whether or not spices are mentioned.

    The huge problem arises in the Gospel of John. His narrative is out of chronological order from the other Gospels because it has Mary Magdalene running from the tomb at the first sight of the removed stone, to tell Peter and the disciple whom Jesus loved, then both Peter and the other disciple run to the tomb and find it empty. It is only after Peter and the other disciple leave that Mary looks into the tomb and sees the two angels which ask her why she is weeping.


    • All the narratives have Mary Magdalene going to the tomb of Jesus early in the morning on the first day of the week.
    • All the narratives have at least one being in white shinning apparel who speaks with the women.
    • All the narratives mention the stone being rolled away.


    • All the narratives have at least Mary Magdalene telling the disciples that the tomb is empty.




    Blessings,
    Rose
    Last edited by Rose; 10-16-2010 at 08:02 PM.
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  9. #9
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    Thats a good post, Rose
    I've compiled half of mine, I've has to spend time working of clients computers, but I will post mine soon.

  10. #10
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    Heres what I got so far.

    Jesus is Buried

    Many women was there beholding afar off, among them was Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses , mother of Zebedee’s children.(Matthew 27:56,) and Salome (Mark 15:40) and all his acquaintance , and the women that followed him from Galilee, stood afar off.(Luke 23:49)Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, mother’s sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.(John 19:25)

    When even was come, Joseph went and begged for the body of Jesus (Matthew 27:28,)Now when even was come , Joseph went boldly unto Pilate for the body of Jesus.(Mark 15:42,43)This man went to Pilate and begged for the body of Jesus.(Luke 23:52)After this Joseph besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus.(John 19:38).

    And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own tomb and rolled a great stone to the door and departed.(Matthew 27:60)he (Pilate) gave the body to Joseph and he bought fine linen , and take him down and wrapped him in linen, and laid him in a tomb and rolled a stone unto the door.(Mark 15:45,46)And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a tomb.(Luke 23:53)and he came and therefore, and took the body of Jesus, * and there came also Nicodemus which …bought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pounds. Then taken the body of Jesus and wound it in linen clothes * with the spices * as the manner of the Jews is to bury. * Now in the garden where he was crucified a new tomb, there laid they Jesus. (notice Joseph has help here, but the other accounts omitted any help).(John 19:40-42)

    And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the tomb (Matthew 27:61)And Mary Magdalene and Mary of Joses beheld where he was laid.(Mark 15:47)And the women also which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the tomb, *and how his body was laid.(Luke 23:55) ** Omitted by John.

    Now the next day that followed the day of preparation, chief priest, Pharisees came together unto Pilate to set an watch.(Matthew 27:62-66)** Omitted by Mark. ** Omitted by Luke.** Omitted by John.

    And they [women] returned,[home]and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.(Luke 23:56) ** Omitted by Matthew, ** Omitted by Mark, ** Omitted by John.

    The empty tomb

    In the end of the sabbath, as it begun dawn toward the first day of the week came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the tomb, and behold an great earthquake, and angel descended form heaven and came and rolled back the stone form the door , and sat upon it. He is not here :for he is risen, Come see the place where the Lord lay.(Matthew 28:1-2,6)And when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene and Mary of James and *Salome had bought sweet spices, that they may anoint him, very early in the morning the first day of the week they came to the tomb at *the rising of the sun. And when they looked , they saw that the stone rolled away, and entered into the tomb, he said, be not affrighted, he is risen behold the place where they laid him.(Mark16:1-2,4-6) Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, bringing the spices which they had prepared and certain with them, and they founded the stone rolled away, and they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord.(Luke 24:1-3)The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early when it was still dark unto the tomb, and seeth the stone taken away from the tomb.(John 20:1)


    And go quickly and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead, and they departed quickly from the tomb and did run to bring his disciples word.(Matthew 28:8)But go your way , tell his disciples and Peter, and they went out quickly and fled from the tomb. *They trembled and amazed, neither said any thing to any , for they were afraid.(Mark 16:7,8)And they returned from the tomb, and told all these things unto the eleven and to all the rest.(Luke 24:8-9)Then she [Mary Magdalene] runneth , and cometh to Simon Peter and the other disciples.

    Comments: * I take that to mean that the women only told the disciples and keep it otherwise to themselves.


    Appearance of Jesus to the women

    And as they went to tell his disciples, behold Jesus met them. (Matthew 28:1,2) Now when Jesus was risen early in the first day of the week he appeared first to Mary Magdalene. (Mark 16:9) **Omitted by Luke. And when she (Mary Magdalene) had thus said, she turned herself back and saw Jesus standing, and she knew not that it was Jesus. (John 20:14,15)

    Comments: Matthew and Mark indicate that the women which Mary Magdalene was among went to tell the disciples and met Jesus and told his disciples that he was alive. Again John has a different view which we must consider to be a I witness of the empty tomb, so his account must take precedence.

    * Addition infomation.
    ** Omitting infomation
    Last edited by Beck; 10-20-2010 at 08:33 AM.

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