Witherington on Historical Faith

‘Any position in which claims about Jesus or the resurrection are removed from the realm of historical reality and placed in a subjective real of personal belief or some realm that is immune to human scrutiny does Jesus and the resurrection no service and no justice. It is a ploy of desperation to suggest that Christian faith would be little affected if Jesus was not actually raised from the dead in space and time. This is the approach of people who want to maintain their faith even at the expense of historical reality or the facts. A person who gives up on the historical foundations of Christian faith has in fact given up on the possibility of any real continuity between his or her faith and that of a Peter, Paul, James, John, Mary Magdalene or Priscilla. Whatever may be said of such an approach today, its nonhistorical faith is not the faith that the early Christians lived and died for. They had an interest in the historical reality, especially the historical reality of Jesus and his resurrection, because they believed their faith, for better or worse, was grounded in it.’ (Ben Witherington III, ‘New Testament History: A Narrative Account’, p. 167)