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Cold Case Christianity


Can We Trust What Mark Said About the Resurrection? (Cold-Case Christianity Broadcast S8E14)

Can We Trust What Mark Said About the Resurrection
Image Credit: Tara Winstead from Pexels

The long ending of Mark’s gospel appears to be a late addition. If this is the case, should we trust anything Mark has to say about Jesus? Is the resurrection of Jesus a late addition to the Jesus narrative as well? J. Warner and Jimmy Wallace discuss recent news articles in this episode of the NRBtv Cold-Case Christianity Broadcast.

Be sure to watch the Cold-Case Christianity Broadcast on NRBtv every Monday and Saturday! In addition, here is the audio podcast (the Cold-Case Christianity Weekly Podcast is located on iTunes or our RSS Feed):

For more information about the reliability of the New Testament gospels and the case for Christianity, please read Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels. This book teaches readers ten principles of cold-case investigations and applies these strategies to investigate the claims of the gospel authors. The book is accompanied by an eight-session Cold-Case Christianity DVD Set (and Participant’s Guide) to help individuals or small groups examine the evidence and make the case.

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Written By

J. Warner Wallace is a Dateline featured cold-case homicide detective, popular national speaker and best-selling author. He continues to consult on cold-case investigations while serving as a Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. He is also an Adj. Professor of Christian Apologetics at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, and a faculty member at Summit Ministries. He holds a BA in Design (from CSULB), an MA in Architecture (from UCLA), and an MA in Theological Studies (from Gateway Seminary).



  1. Mark Rylander

    April 28, 2022 at 7:02 am

    About 60 years ago there was a liberal professor at the Methodist seminary at SMU in Dallas. He wrote on this issue for his doctoral dissertation. His method was to examine the final 12 verses of Mark with the rest of the Gospel looking for literary dissimilarities or agreements. He was overwhelmed by the similarities & came to the conclusion that indeed the final 12 verses WERE indeed produced by the same man who wrote the rest.

  2. Thom Waters

    May 3, 2022 at 10:40 am

    The question about the reliability of Mark’s account seems to miss the most obvious probability, that is, it might be the most reliable account, albeit a very unsatisfactory one for anyone choosing to both believe in and promote the Resurrection hypothesis. It’s like saying, “That’s all folks, nothing else here right now, more to come.” And this opens the flood gates for legendary features, exaggerations, and Jesus becoming larger than life. And, of course, this means the logically necessitated “appearances” of the one resurrected. And Mark opens this up and what happens is what appears to be a cavalcade of conflicting stories of “appearances”, many of which simply disagree with or contradict Mark’s account of the young man declaring that Jesus would appear to the disciples in Galilee when later accounts have him appearing first in Jerusalem. Add to this, just beginning, that almost all of the “appearances” show Jesus as unidentifiable or unrecognizable to his closest and dearest companions, and the Resurrection Story now demands further scrutiny and inquiry. That is a challenging task, one mostly done in a somewhat cursory fashion by apologists already committed to the Resurrection Story. And, since we are beginning with Mark, a question arises from Mark’s account in Mark 15:44, “And Pilate wondered ( as to doubt ) if Jesus were already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him if he were already dead. And he learned from the centurion that he was dead.” No apologist has ever supplied an adequate answer for Pilate’s surprise and doubt. Especially is this perplexing because most apologists have taken great care and written at length concerning the “near death” condition of Jesus prior to the cross, a belief not founded in the documents. He was either “near death” or not, and Pilate of all people would have had a first hand knowledge of his condition. If “near death” an additional 3-6 hours as a crucified victim on a cross would not have caused Pilate to wonder or question the news of his death. What really happened in this “Whodunit” story? Mark’s account is a great launching pad. It is simple, to the point, and unadorned, yet, at the same time, insufficient and unsatisfactory to the Resurrection Story. Just getting started. Anyone really interested in an objective investigation? My experience has been “no one”. Too risky. Too much at stake. It was Einstein who said that the only thing worse than ignorance was arrogance and a loss of curiosity only impedes the search for discovery. Thanks for reading.

  3. Thom Waters

    May 5, 2022 at 12:30 pm

    Thanks for posting my comment. Not sure that would happen for obvious reasons. Still hoping for a reasonable explanation for Pilate’s surprise at the news of Jesus’ death, although I still have another reason, not yet mentioned, that makes his surprise more inexplicable. I’m looking for a reasonable explanation for it from an apologetic position.

    Actually, even though my interest and “expertise” is with the Resurrection or so-called “Resurrection” of Jesus, your podcast from yesterday about the “evolution” of the Jesus story and how the earliest believers regarded him stirred my interest. Since I didn’t know the way to respond to it, I chose this platform. I hope that’s okay. I’ll try to be terse and to the point.

    Before getting to the belief that the earliest Christians had of Jesus, it seems more important to discuss the self-portrait that Jesus had of himself. In the podcast it looked like you were going to go there, then, inexplicably, went to Paul and what you thought Paul believed. What did Jesus believe of himself given the numerous ways or titles that we was either given by others or that he gave himself? From Messiah, the Christ, the Son of Man, the Son of God, the Holy One of Israel, teacher, Rabbi, Son of David, Lamb of God, Lord, King of the Jews, and others, what was Jesus’ own understanding of who he was? This seems to be the appropriate starting point. In the podcast you walked right up to it, then seemed to veer away, going to Paul and others. Was Jesus God incarnate? Did he believe that of himself? Did the earliest believers regard him that way? No time to delineate all of that here. There do seem to be sufficient gospel records to suggest that Jesus rejected his status as God incarnate (Mark 10:17-18, John 14:28, and others) but I am more interested in your use or exegesis of Paul to establish his person as God. To be brief:

    The excerpt Phil 2:5-11 is an interesting one as Paul uses the reference “he (Jesus) was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped . . . “ What specifically is meant by “the form of God”? Paul later in the passage says that Jesus took on the “form of a servant” and “found in human form”. What can these mean but that he took upon physical, fleshly form? In like manner “the form of God” is to be a spirit or in spiritual form, as were the angels themselves especially Satan, who, it might be argued, was in the form of God and desired to be God. Might it be that Jesus as a spirit, that is, in the form of God rather than desiring to be God actually lowered himself to a position and status, human form, that was beneath his actual status or to what he was entitled, never claiming to be God. How different from Satan .

    I think you have great problems trying to extract/exegete from Paul’s writings that Jesus considered himself God or that Paul believed that. Among all that Paul writes it seems your biggest hurdle is to be found in I Corinthians 15:20-28, particularly verse 28 when Paul writes, “When all things are subjected to him (God), then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things under him, that God may be everything to every one.”

    It seems that going to believers like Polycarp, Tertullian, and others is a grasping at straws that might truly indicate how the Hellenistic world and certain beliefs might have infiltrated Christianity as it blossomed and, perhaps, changed.

    Thanks for reading. Most orthodox Christians and apologists will not engage me in dialogue. Thanks again.

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