In this third installment, we turn to the question of the gospels’ authenticity and accuracy. Even though the texts of the gospels have come down to us in reliable form, their believability is another question altogether. Is there reason to believe that the gospel accounts were ever true to begin with? Or are they just carefully copied frauds? LOTS could be said on this, and we will have to content ourselves with only scratching the surface.Read More
Last week, I cited multiple ancient authors who referred to Jesus in their respective works. These individuals, who lived in the same and/or following century that Jesus lived, spoke of him as a real historical figure. None of them were Christians, and at least two of them were quite hostile to Christianity, yet they spoke of Jesus as someone who had impacted their world in recent times. There is no reasonable reason to doubt their testimony on this point, and so the overwhelming majority of scholars don't. But what of those who wrote about Jesus in the first century who were Christians? What about their testimony? In other words, what about the so-called “gospels”—the New Testament books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John? Can we trust their accounts? Is there evidence one way or the other? These are questions worth answering…for the gospel writers not only affirm that Jesus walked the earth, but that he came from heaven to save us from the consequences of our sins against God. If there’s any chance that might be true, we definitely want to give the gospels a fair hearing.
So let’s see where the evidence leads....Read More
In the last post I brought up the signal vs noise ratio and how it is used metaphorically to differentiate factual/relevant information from false/irrelevant information. Signal is the factual and relevant info; noise is the false and irrelevant info. I then posed the question, where does someone go to find the “signal” about Christianity? With the endless number of sources on Christianity this seems like an impossible question to answer. One could go to the bookstore, library, internet, friends, family, religious leaders…the list could go on and on. So, where can you reliably go to find factual and relevant information about Jesus, God and the church?Read More
In my second year of college I took a religious course titled "New Testament". It was a required course at the public institution I was attending. Before the course started I imagined that this class would be nothing more than a good refresher on the New Testament Scriptures.Read More