Fact or Fiction? Why we can trust the writers of the New Testament

There are a lot of skeptics out there who would try to convince you that the NEW TESTAMENT books are unreliable. 

Either they have been changed over time, are mythical fairy tales, or even worse they are completely fabricated.

In this series, I am presenting eight lines of evidence, each starting with the letter “E”, which provide a compelling case that the NEW TESTAMENT is an accurate and reliable account of events in the early & mid first century.

How do we know they are accurate and reliable?

First, because the NEW TESTAMENT is a record of EYEWITNESS accounts.

In the book of Acts alone, Luke lists 80 eyewitnesses to the events he describes.

John lists 59 in his book.  So, in just two books we’ve got almost 140 people who are recorded as witnesses to the events described.

That’s really significant when you consider Eyewitness testimony is considered the strongest testimony in courts of law.

The authors make no bones about their writings being first hand…eyewitness testimony….

John opens his book of I John with…   “We want to tell you about the Word that gives life—the one who existed before the world began. This is the one we have heard and have seen with our own eyes. We saw what he did, and our hands touched him.”   1 John 1:1

Peter opens similarly…  “… we were not telling clever stories that someone had made up. But with our own eyes we saw his true greatness.”  2 Peter 1:16 

We find the same thing with Luke, when he speaks of his sources being “…those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses…”  Luke 1:2

So, the NEW TESTAMENT provides not just the eyewitness testimony of one person, but several with dozens of references made to others who witnessed the events of Jesus’s life and miracles.

Eyewitness’ testifying in courts of law are vetted and assessed by their ability to tell the truth… are they in the right place (which the NEW TESTAMENT authors were)  at the right time (also) with right character qualifications?

…which brings me to my 2nd “E” of evidence …these “witnesses” of the NEW TESTAMENT were ETHICAL …it was honest testimony from men of integrity and character.

When a witness is crossexamined in court the opposing side will try to defame the character of the witness.  

We find no such possibility with the NEW TESTAMENT writers who were beyond reproach.

We must look at the motives of the writers…. if they were salesmen selling something, we could question their motives.

But they were not after: Wealth, Fame, or Glory.

Listen to how the apostle Paul described fellow apostles…

“It seems to me that God has put us apostles in the worst possible place. We are like prisoners on their way to death. Angels and the people of this world just laugh at us.  Because of Christ we are thought of as fools, … We are weak and hated…  Even today we go hungry and thirsty and do not have anything to wear except rags. We are mistreated and do not have a place to live.  We work hard with our own hands, and when people abuse us, we wish them well.  When we suffer, we are patient.  When someone curses us, we answer with kind words. Until now we are thought of as nothing more than the trash and garbage of this world.”  1 Corinthians 4:9-13 

Boy… I would hate to cross examine these guys trying to discredit their character and testimony!

In fact, Paul and John made lists of sins which would prevent entrance into Gods kingdom… including Lying!   John wrote in revelation that the lake of fire awaits all liars.

No… Their motives were to honestly declare what they had witnessed…  and do so in a manner which would please & glorify God.

So, the NEW TESTAMENT documents can be relied on as accurate accounts.  We have established they are:

  1. Eyewitness, firsthand accounts,
  2. Were Ethically motivated… written by men who had high standards and NO ulterior motives.

Check out my other videos for even more evidence…

I am Todd Funk for Thinking Matters.

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Protecting Vulnerable People from a Duty to Die

What Good Has Christianity Done for the World? | Dave Mann

Historian, Paul Maier said  “No other religion, philosophy, teaching, nation, or movement—has changed the world for the better like Christianity. 

Clearly”, he said, “it has had its shortcomings but they are heavily outweighed by its benefits to all mankind”

What are those benefits?

When Christ came to earth society was divided and male-dominated. Women were men’s property with few rights. One out of four people were slaves; Killing children was legal and even celebrated – Pedophilia was unashamedly practiced.

The poor, hungry, sick, and dying were often mistreated. Compassion was not common.

In contrast Jesus preached and practiced that all people were equal, – regardless of sex, race, health, age or status. His message was to love and honour, even those considered insignificant- like the women, children, various despised races, slaves, and the sick.

 The unparalleled teachings of Jesus went on to inspire his followers to pursue justice for all.

Early Christians helped to elevate the status of these various despised people groups. They encouraged men to faithfully love and honour one wife.

They protected and supported widows. They bought slaves in the market place simply to set them free.

Outraged by the molestation and killing of children, they banned their followers from these practices – and began to stand within society for social change.

Over the centuries that followed Christians were pivotal in seeing many things change around the world – including the practice of burning widows in Asia made illegal;

in seeing child sacrifices abolished in many countries; in implementing Child labour laws so children weren’t forced to work in atrocious conditions;

and in seeing the international slave trade abolished, freeing thousands of slaves.

There was no minimum age of consent for sex until William Booth of the salvation army campaigned for it in England to stop what we would all consider today to be the widespread abuse of children. 

And then after protecting life, they worked to improve it, working with the poor, mistreated and sick. The establishment of the first hospitals and orphanages was due to Christian efforts – and then spread to all continents of the world.

The first attempt at education for all – including male and female, wealthy and poor – was by Christians, and schools around the globe were then established, yet again, by missionaries who were working to improve the conditions and opportunities of the local people.

At a tertiary level, many respected universities globally, like Oxford, Harvard and Yale, began as Christian institutions.  

This isn’t to mention a wide range of other areas in which the followers of Jesus have significantly impacted the world:

For example, large numbers of the modern sciences’ founders were Christians including Kepler, Pascal, Louis Pasteur, Isaac Newton and Ernest Rutherford.

In the Arts there’s been enormous and surprising Christian influence – inspired by the amazing concept of grace that Christianity brought to the table.

Christian writers such as C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, Shakespeare, Dickens, have all impacted the world.

Renowned musicians of centuries gone also pioneered in the area of music, in ways that it is difficult for us to understand today – because we assume what they established – including Bach, Handel and Vivaldi’s – all Christians who worked to honor God. 

Bach use to sign all his works with the words Soli Deo Gloria (“Solely to the glory of God”).

There have also been phenomenal architectural buildings, paintings and sculptures created by people acknowledging God as their inspiration.

Michelangelo – widely considered the greatest artistic genius that ever lived – believed his art was divinely inspired by God and reflected His Glory.

To close with a quote from Broadcaster James Kennedy, he wrote, “…All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man on this earth as much as that one solitary life.”

Has Christianity brought good to this world? More so than we can comprehend!

I’m Dave Mann from Shining Lights Trust for Thinking Matters.

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Finding Truth by Nancy Pearcey | Book Club | June 2020

Thinking Matters has a well-resourced online store, and we aim to bring you monthly highlights of what we have available as we resource and equip the Body of Christ to defend faith, navigate culture, and reach people.

This week on book club we talk about Finding Truth by Nancy Pearcey.

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