Think Of The Homeless

There are over 30 million Americans who live on the streets of our nation. Can you consider giving something to a shelter near you? Your fellow human beings need socks because they walk everywhere. Food and shelter are great too, if they will take them. So please give.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Reviews by Hubie Goode: Historicity of the New Testament Part 6

Historicity of 
the New Testament

part 6

In the other parts of this post we have seen that the New Testament writings are indeed authentic, written around the middle of the first century by men who were intelligent, stable and sincere in what they wrote about. They had full access to the facts that they were reporting and they were firmly convinced that the one about whom they wrote was God in the flesh. His words were uniquely perfect, the first time, and he performed mighty miracles, not the least of which was his victory over death by his own bodily resurrection. 

Now if none of this were true, then the only other explanation that fits is that Jesus himself was a great deceiver who so baffled them with bull that they believed he was perfect in word and deed. He also fooled them into believing he had walked on water, gave sight to the blind and raised Lazarus from the dead. He then concocted the “Passover plot” and fooled them into thinking he had been crucified, buried and then rose again from the dead. Then, outdoing David Copperfield’s best work, he rose from Earth into heaven. 

This is, of course, absurd on so many levels. If such great deceptions are really the way things happened, then Jesus is even MORE marvelous than what the disciples reported of him. Make no bones about it, if we are talking about deception here, then Christ was indeed the greatest charlatan and deceiver in all history. 

The truth is however, that even those who refuse to acknowledge his deity report him to have been one of the greatest teachers, by word and deed that the world has ever known. The “paper trail” that Christ has left us has been the greatest force for good that the world has ever known. Unless his character is exactly what is reported in the New Testament, then there is no way to find truth in this world. Life is devoid of meaning and God is truly dead if scripture is all a big put on. 

Christian churches everywhere practice two important ceremonies. These are the ordinance of baptism and the remembrance of the Last Supper. Baptism being a part of Christ’s integral great commission which is conferred upon all new believers, and the Lord’s Supper commemorates his sacrificial death. 

Down through the ages the churches have always practiced these two instructions. The New Testament authorizes this. These two have a particular witness of their own, not shared by other events recorded in the New Testament. These two practices actually come BEFORE the writing down of the New Testament, and are recorded historically, mostly due to the fact that Christ himself initiated their practice. 

Let’s just say for instance you and I are the church at Phillipi, the Philippians, if you will. This church existed for about 20 years after its founding before it began to receive epistles from Paul, and it would be another ten years before it received a copy of one of the Gospels. 

During this time it was guided by the teachings of its founder, and also by other teachers that God had sent their way as those who would feed his sheep. These teachings included baptism and also the remembrance of the Last Supper. Philip would have of course stressed the importance of following these decrees and then when they received epistles and then Gospels, they would have become even more resolute in their faith. 

However, let’s say that this was NOT the case, they had NOT been lead all this time to observe these two ordinances by the leadership of the church. Suddenly, they receive the Gospel of Matthew, or Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. Their response would of course be to perceive the Gospel and epistle as fake and a fraud and reject them right out. These two ceremonies would NOT have been known ahead of time as something that had been established by Christ himself, and therefore would have appeared as fiction writing ever since. 

Authenticity of any writings about Christ could never have been accepted at all by any church from the beginning, and we would never have known the Bible we know today. There is no other way to have documented the practice of these two ordinances except as they are described in the New Testament. The churches would never have been persuaded to begin practicing these two ordinances by books or teachers who told them they had already been practicing them since the days of Christ, if in fact they knew that was not so. Therefore, the ordinances WERE established by Christ himself, and the New Testament writings which tell about them are indeed authentic. 

But what about the demonstration of truth in history itself? More on this in part 7. Oo! Seven! I like that number. ;-)

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