I am very glad to support your (John Baxter’s) insistence that Jesus was a real historical parson.
There is no real reason to doubt that someone, who has had such a profound influence on world history, was a real living person.
I believe that he was God as well as man. You can argue about whether he was God, but he was certainly a man.
David Warden claimed that in the New Testament there are no actual witnesses of Jesus life, death and resurrection.
But the writer of John’s Gospel claims to have been there in the story and at the cross, and in the resurrection appearances.
I am inclined to think that Mark was the young man who was present at Jesus arrest, and when he got too involved they tried to grab him, and he ran away naked!
Why else would any other writer record this tiny event?
In any case the Gospel of Mark is the story of Jesus, as remembered by Peter. And Peter was certainly an eye witness.
It starts with Jesus healing Peter’s mother in law, and it includes his confession of faith, and it has Peter’s denials in detail.
Anyone writing sometime later would want to leave out the embarrassing parts of the story, as far as the great St Peter was concerned.
David Warden claim that “there was no oral tradition” is unreasonable. No evidence does not equal no oral tradition.
One problem about the credibility of the Christian Church, is that the Church in the West has become so compromised, and so lukewarm, that non-Christians, who live in the West, are not impressed by what they see. I am embarrassed by the lack of commitment, and the lack of love, shown by so many UK Christians. It is often difficult to tell who are Christians and who are not. I think it should be more obvious to all.
Some Churches are “successful” and their members have the joy, and demonstrate the love, which should be visible in all Christians. Many individual Christians are wonderful examples of what a Christian should be, but they are, I am afraid, not typical “Western” Christians.
I think it is the Holy Spirit, who energises and empowers Christians. Think of St Peter before, and then after, Pentecost. Christians “without” the Holy Spirit can be a pretty miserable bunch!