Jesus Versus Peter Pan 

Do the claims for the existence of Jesus Christ amount to the same as saying Peter Pan truly existed?

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • July 1, In the year of our Lord, 2015

“Why the Claims About Jesus Are Not the Same as the Claims About Peter Pan” by J. Warner Wallace prompted the teaching of this class

  1. Do We Need to Defend the Truths of the Gospel? 
    1. What does the Bible teach?
      1. Acts 22.1
      2. Col 4.6
      3. 2Ti 2.21–26
      4. 1Pe 3.15
      5. Jude 3
    2. What if doing so will not convert anyone?
      1. 2Th 3.1–2
      2. 1Co 3.6
      3. Luke 5.1–11
      4. Eze 33.1–11
      5. Exo 4.1
  2. Does archaeology corroborate the historical claims of the Gospel Accounts? 
    1. Examples?
      1. Does this alone prove the accuracy of the Gospel Accounts?
      2. If a narrative is rooted in history, does that mean everything in the story is accurate or true?
    2. Does archaeology help us with the miraculous elements, such as the resurrection of Christ?
  3. Does that differ from the historical references in Peter Pan? 
    1. When and where did J. M. Barrie place the story of Peter Pan?
      1. Victorian London
        1. Did Victorian London exist?
        2. Does London still exist?
      2. Does that mean the story of Peter Pan is true?
    2. Five hundred years from now, archaeologists will find existence
      1. affirming the existence of Victorian London.
      2. They may even find historians who speak of the Peter Pan story.
        1. Does archaeological evidence supporting some aspects of the story
        2. mean that the entire story is true?
    3. The truth about London in the Peter Pan story
      1. does not mean he and the other characters actually existed.
      2. Likewise, archaeological support for the historical places and events
        1. in the Gospel Accounts
        2. does not necessarily mean Jesus existed or that He is the Son of God.
  4. Archaeological adds to the evidence, but 
    1. by itself it is not enough.
    2. We have to examine the writers themselves.
      1. This, I believe, will show a major difference
      2. in the narratives of Jesus and Peter Pan.
        1. We must know these things, because
        2. the numbers are growing who believe
          1. that the claims about Jesus in the Gospel Accounts
          2. amount to the claims of fictional characters.
  5. The Gospel Writers Claimed to Be Eyewitnesses 
    1. Scottish novelist J. M. Barrie
      1. never claimed to witness the events of the Peter Pan story, nor
      2. did Barrie claim that the events actually happened.
    2. However, consider what the apostles said:
      1. John 21.24
      2. 2Pe 1.16–21
      3. 1Jo 1.1–3
  6. We Can Test the Gospel Writers 
    1. Consider these four things that criminal investigators use to test witnesses:
      1. Was the witness present?
      2. Does external evidence corroborate the witness?
      3. Has the witness been honest and accurate over time?
      4. Is the witness without ulterior motive; will he gain nothing?
    2. Using this four-pronged test shows that Barrie wrote fiction.
    3. How do the apostles hold up under this testing?
  7. The Apostles Died Holding onto Their Testimony 
    1. Did Barrie and his publishers profit from the Peter Pan story?
    2. Did the apostles and Gospel writers profit from their testimony of Jesus?
      1. No, rather they all suffered for it.
      2. We have no record of them ever denying their preaching and teaching.
        1. When I read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, I discovered
        2. that some people recanted their belief during persecution, and
          1. some of those who did so
          2. later regretted it and
            1. went back to their faith and
            2. to certain death.
    3. Would you continue to preach what you knew to be fake when persecuted for it?
  8. Therefore, the reliability of the Gospel message 
    1. is built on more than just archaeology,
    2. which is only a part of the collective case, but
      1. the eyewitness testimony of the apostles and Gospel writers
      2. produces the greatest evidence.
    3. Peter Pan: Fictional
    4. Jesus Christ: Historical
    5. The Seriousness of Defending the Gospel 

      Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • July 8, In the year of our Lord, 2015

      1. Does time run out on murder investigations as it does in less serious crimes?
        1. Does time run out on investigating the claims of the Gospel?
        2. It is even more important than solving a murder.
          1. Think about it:
            1. What is at stake in a murder investigation?
            2. What is at stake in the Gospel?
          2. C. S. Lewis said,

            “Christianity is a statement which, if false, is of no importance, and, if true, is of infinite importance. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important.”

      2. Sometimes we do not have answers for people.
        1. Does that mean Christianity is not intelligent?
        2. Does that mean there is not an answer?
          1. What should you do,
          2. if you cannot answer a question or argument?
            1. How do you go about finding answers?
            2. First, read the Bible regularly, especially the text under consideration.
            3. Second, ask someone.
      3. We need to understand
        1. that we are Christians because of the evidence,
        2. not in spite of the evidence.
      4. Forensic Evidence vs. Eyewitnesses
        1. As murder cases get older,
          1. the forensic evidence may not be available or
          2. it may deteriorate or something.
            1. Eyewitness accounts can be valuable,
            2. if everything has been recorded carefully.
        2. How much forensic evidence do we have of the Gospels?
          1. Much of what we have is circumstantial.
          2. However, we do have eyewitness accounts that we can examine.
      5. Why do you believe the Gospel Accounts?
        1. Have you ever had any doubts?
        2. If you have, and do not have them anymore, what turned you back to faith?