Brief Articles and Links to selected web sites are here to aid
your study of Apologetics of Christianity.
noun (used with a sing. verb)
1. The branch of theology that is concerned
with defending or proving the truth of Christian doctrines.
2. Formal argumentation in defense of something, such as a position
"Jesus...Who was he? What Bible scholars call historical Jesus research is
one of the most exciting endeavors in modern biblical studies. And the
debates are heating up like never before, much of it based on the new
released Dead Sea Scrolls." So goes the ad in Bible Review, a magazine that
"brings top-flight biblical scholarship to the layperson in literate, easily
understood language - all gloriously illustrated with full-color pictures."
"The Search For Jesus" - this valuable presentation of current scholarship
is widely accessible. Highly recommended." - Library Journal. Ref. 1.
The above excerpts are taken from a letter from the editor of a magazine
about Jesus and from the Bible Review magazine. The search goes on and on
and on and on.
Jesus did not leave a vacuum regarding his historicity, nor did the writers
of the Bible shroud the overwhelming evidence that men seek. Why are people
searching, yet not finding? Why does there ever seem to be a question even
after all the archeological digs and all of the searching into document
after document? In another magazine there is a front-page picture of Jesus
and the caption reads, "In Search of Jesus. Who was he? New appraisals of his
life and its meaning." Ref. 2. The article speaks of "Some scholars
seek answers in history and redefine the meaning of his life and deeds."
Five men (scholars, so-called) are interviewed in regard to their concepts
about Jesus. The first man interviewed made what can be considered a
profound observation, perhaps a prophetic one in regard to himself. If it
were not so tragic, it would be hilarious. His statement is, "Jesus pointed
to what he called God's domain. His disciples tended to stare at the
pointing finger." That very statement, if true of the disciples, is doubly
true of this writer. Robert Funk is the head of the controversial Jesus
Seminar. He comments to his audiences a "different Jesus" than whom he
preached in his early days as a preacher in rural Texas. He strips Jesus of
what he calls centuries of church tradition. The historical Jesus of
Nazareth, in Funk's view, was probably more akin to a Jewish Socrates - or
perhaps a Lenny Bruce - than the Divine Son of God. He speaks of Jesus being
entombed in scriptural prisons and needs to be set "free," as he sees the
need to "reinvent Christianity." Ref. 3.
There are four other men in the article who portray the historical Jesus
from the claim that this is not the real Jesus, but only a fragmentary
hypothetical reconstruction of him," to rewriting the Biblical account about
the life of Jesus into their own version. The thrust of these other men as
they comment on what they have "learned" from their studies deny the
Biblical account and re-construct a Jesus that is indeed a figment of their
imagination. One is appalled. But, even though one can easily be appalled at
what these secular writers say, one thing stands out loud and clear -- they
all believe Jesus of Nazareth did exist and made claims. The very document
they deny as being accurate and authentic is still relied upon to get some
semblance of a man called Jesus.
The Biblical account of Jesus, rather than man's subjective ideas has to be
the criterion upon which beliefs are based. The Biblical account is
trustworthy, not man's fairy-tales. These liberal thinkers are seeking to
define or redefine "what kind of Jesus is and is not possible." Funk seeks
to "set Jesus free" from the "scriptural creedal prisons in which we have
entombed him." They are saying this is the way it is or was or it doesn't
really matter how it was or is. This kind of thinking is mere drivel showing
no substance in the writers or commentators. Who is staring at the pointing
finger of Jesus?
The historical Jesus is revealed in the New Testament documents clearly by
those who are not blinded by their own self-deception. The ground of man's
faith is the testimony of eyewitnesses, not some feeling or an existential
experience. Therefore, God has made sure that man has abundant evidence from
historical sources, which are adequate to prove that Jesus is the Son of
God, and the Bible is the word of God. The historical reliability of the New
Testament documents must be established before one can reason those
historical evidences to a conclusion by a systematic argumentation, the
conclusion being that Jesus is who he claimed to be and the Bible is the
writing of God. Besides the New Testament, sufficient are the corroborators
of what the eyewitnesses claimed.
Mara Bar-Serapion, writing some time after 73 A.D., to his imprisoned son,
Serapion, pleaded with him to be wise by illustrating the folly of
persecution such wise men as Socrates, Pythagoras and Christ (using the
phrase "wise King" in reference to Christ.)
Cornelius Tacitus, writing during the reign of Nero (50-68 A.D.) told how
the Christians were made scapegoats for the Great Fire of 64 A.D. He speaks
of Christus, their namesake, who suffered the extreme penalty during
Tiberius' reign at the hand of Pontius Pilate. Tacitus was in a good
position to learn of Christianity, being governor of Asia in 112 A.D.
Plinius Secundus (Pliny the Younger) governor of Bithynia often wrote the
Emperor, Trajan, asking his imperial advice on how to deal with the sect of
the Christians. He mentioned in one letter how they were in the habit of
meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang an anthem
to Christ as God, and bound themselves by a solemn oath not to commit any
wicked deed after which it was their custom to separate, and then to meet
again to partake of food, but food of an ordinary and innocent kind."The
innocence of the matter seemed to perplex the governor sufficient to write
to the emperor about it.
Suetonius, an analyst and court official of the Imperial
House of Hadrian, in about 120 A.D., wrote of his life to Claudius, from
which is taken his most often quoted reference: "As the Jews were making
constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from
Rome. Acts 18:1-2 records this as Luke speaks of the same event. Over and
over we have evidence, overwhelming evidence, when taken together, that
Jesus existed, and that the scriptures record what other historical writing
recorded as a fact.
The early Jewish sources corroborate others' writings: The Talmud (70-200
A.D.) contains many references to Christ.
Falvius Josephus (some time after 70 A.D.) records his observations about
Jesus as the Messiah. F.F. Bruce Ref. 4. underlines the fact that many
people wrote about the accounts that are again also in the Bible. New
Testament writers, being contemporary with Jesus, in remarkable agreement,
continue to stand the test of genuineness and historicity. Men would know
nothing about the teachings of Christ outside the New Testament. The New
Testament was written in the very generation in which the events took place.
The acid test is that men lived during the writing of the New Testament who
would have denied those writings if they were not true. Instead, the records
corroborate each other.
Another source of information is from the Apostolic Fathers, a corpus of
writings from about 90-160 A.D., by men who came after the Apostles, who
either sat at the feet of the Apostles, having been taught by them directly,
or at the feet of those who were.
The reliability of the New Testament far exceeds the reliability of other
writings from the same period and is taken as reliable. The classical
histories written from 48 B.C. to 100 A.D. are accepted with open arms, even
with their gaps of several hundred years and their copies being very small.
The classical histories are Caesar's "Gallic Wars," Roman History of Livy,
"Histories" of Tacitus, "Annals" of Tacitus, History of Thucidides, and
History of Herodotus. The New Testament codexes have a much smaller gap and
we have over 5,000 copies, 4,995 more than the classical histories. What an
impact that is on the unbiased mind! As F.F. Bruce states with
tongue-in-cheek, "If the New Testament were a collection of secular
writings, their authenticity would generally be regarded as beyond all
doubt." Ref. 4.
THE OVERWHELMING EVIDENCE AND THE CONCLUSION
As we pursue the crux of the matter, the Biblical account proves Jesus is
who he claimed to be, and Jesus proves the Biblical account to be accurate.
Let us notice some points of interest:
1. Because the New Testament is truths worthy about Jesus' resurrection and
the implications of that significant event in history, it can be
successfully argued to the conclusion that he is indeed, the Son of God and
the Bible has to be the word of Jehovah God, Creator of the Universe.
2. The resurrection is a sign of deity. The resurrection proves the Bible is
inspired. If Jesus is the Son of God he cannot lie, he not only records
truth through his writers as the Holy Spirit guides them, he also endorses
the Old Testament. Notice Matthew 22:31-32 and Exodus 3:16. Regarding the
resurrection of the dead, Jesus in Matthew quotes what God said in Exodus 3.
Notice Matthew 24:37-39, where Jesus speaks of Noah as a real person and the
flood as a real historical event as recorded in Genesis 6-9. Notice Acts 3
where the Apostle Peter quotes what Moses stated in Deuteronomy 18:15
regarding the coming of Christ. Notice Matthew 19:3-6 as Jesus quotes
Genesis 2:24 in regard to marriage of man and woman.
3. Jesus not only proves the New Testament to be true but the Old Testament,
as well, which predicted his coming. Because there are no bones today in
that Jerusalem tomb where he once lay, we have the greatest hope of mankind
the empty tomb proves one day our own tomb will also be empty. We will rise
from the dead, the redeemed to eternal life and the unredeemed to eternal
death or separation from God.
4. The argument then and now that the crucifixion was only a hoax
perpetrated by a misguided man in such books as the "Passover Plot" by Hugh
Schoenfied, onto a gullible group, leads to the reasoning of that position
by asking who would have stolen the body, the disciples of Christ, his
enemies or grave robbers? The guards at the tomb would have prevented Jesus'
disciples from taking the body of Jesus, the guards were bribed by the Chief
Priests to say his disciples came by night and stole him away while they
were asleep. The enemies would not have, because they wanted to be sure the
body was still in the tomb after the third day so they could prove Jesus was
a liar and he did not arise on the third day as he predicted he would. They
just knew they could say "gottcha" and the whole ordeal (as they thought of
it) of Christianity would be a laughing stock in all the empire. The
disciples could not have opened and emptied the tomb. The guards would have
also stopped grave robbers. Besides, there were no valuables (except the
spices in the folds of the grave clothes), to be stolen.
Jesus, the Son of God, has left adequate evidence of the authenticity of the
Bible. He has left ample evidence in the objective eyewitness testimony that
He is indeed the Messiah, the risen Savior of the world. Today's unbeliever
is produced by his subjectivism. Jesus, the Son, continues to point to the
Father. How sad that the subjectivism of the unbeliever continues to cause
him to stare at the pointing finger.
1 Bible Review, February, 1996 issue, pg. 43
2 U.S. News & World Report, April 8, 1996 issue, pg. 47
3 Jeffery L. Sheler, "In Search of Jesus," Ibid, 488-49
4 Bruce, F.F., The New Testament Documents, pg. 15
Author: Roseann Ekman,
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THE BIBLE RECORD IS TRUE.
IT AGREES WITH ARCHEOLOGY.
Written In Stone: Archeology & The Bible by Charles Colson
Walking past a newsstand this week, your eye may be caught by a dramatic
painting of Adam and Eve on the cover of U.S. News and World Report.
Alongside the two figures, the title of the cover story asks, "Is the
Flip open the magazine and you'll find that the answer is a confident
"yes!" U.S. News has summarized
exciting new archeological evidence that confirms the historicity of the
Bible. For example, a few years ago, a group of archeologists found an
Assyrian stone tablet in Northern Israel dating from the ninth century B.C.
The Aramaic inscription listed Assyria's foes. Included in the list
were the words "king of Israel" and "house of David."
The significance of these findings is that they toppled years of
archeological skepticism. Many archeologists have long questioned the
historical accuracy of the Bible, maintaining that there was no such person
as King David. They pointed to the lack of any reference outside the Bible
to David in the archeological remains from Assyria, Egypt, or Babylon. They
argued that David's name, a Semitic word meaning "beloved," was evidence
that biblical writers created a legendary king to create a glorious past for
Israel. But now archeology has given proof that King David was an historical
figure after all--exactly as the Bible teaches.
This latest discovery isn't the first time the evidence has confounded the
skeptics. For instance, Kenneth Kitchen, an Egyptologist at the University
of London, told U.S. News that documents recently discovered in Syria
confirm the amount of money Joseph's brothers received when they sold him
into slavery. According to the book of Genesis, it was twenty silver
shekels. In later centuries, the price typically paid for slaves in Israel
was ninety to one hundred shekels.
If the biblical account was made up later, as skeptics have argued,
then the authors would have picked a sum much closer to the going rate at
Archeological discoveries also help document the veracity of Testament
texts. For example, scholars have long doubted gospel accounts of Jesus'
burial. They maintained that the Romans simply tossed crucified bodies into
a common grave or left them to be scavenged by wild animals. But
archeologists recently discovered the remains of a crucified man, a
contemporary of Jesus, buried in a family grave.
These remains suggest that the Romans did allow for the kind of burial
described in the gospels. Why are secular scholars constantly being refuted?
The answer is that they approach scripture from a naturalistic perspective
that discounts any document that speaks of the SUPERnatural.
Since the Bible records miracles as though they really happened, the
Bible is simply discounted out of hand.
Scripture is reduced to stories that merely illustrate theological
points, while containing little that is historically accurate.
But, as the U.S. News article illustrates, this distinction is crumbling
under the weight of empirical evidence. The latest archeological news is an
exciting reminder that Christians have nothing to fear from scientific
inquiry. In fact, we welcome
The next time you hear Christianity characterized as an ancient legend,
be prepared to describe the exciting evidence unearthed by archaeology. To
answer the question on the cover of U.S. News--yes, the Bible is really
(BreakPoint by Charles Colson)
BreakPoint Commentary #91027 - 10/27/1999
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Neanderthal DNA tells a genetic tale
Findings argue against theories about interbreeding with modern humans
28, 2000 — DNA
extracted from a 29,000-year-old bone has cast doubt on the idea that squat,
heavy-browed Neanderthals contributed to the genetic heritage of modern
humans, scientists say. “Though they co-existed, we can’t find any evidence
of genetic material being passed from Neanderthals to modern humans,” said
William Goodwin, one of the researchers.
MSNBC’s Alan Boyle, The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this
Also: The findings are being published in Thursday’s issue of the journal
|By JEFF DONN
Associated Press Writer
DNA extracted from a 29,000-year-old bone has cast doubt on
the theory that modern humans evolved in part from squat, heavy-browed
Neanderthals, researchers say.
Researchers compared DNA from a Neanderthal skeleton found in
Russia to an older sample tested in 1997. While the two Neanderthal samples
turned out to be just 3.5 percent different from one another, they were
roughly 7 percent different from DNA in modern
humans. Scientists consider that to be a substantial gap.
``It all points away from the Neanderthal,'' said one of the
researchers, William Goodwin, a molecular biologist at the Human
Identification Center in Glasgow, Scotland.
The findings are being published in Thursday's issue of the
The researchers challenge the theory that modern humans
evolved at least partly from Neanderthals, which some believe mated in large
numbers with modern Europeans before disappearing 25,00 0
If that had happened, some argue, today's Europeans would
show stronger genetic similarities to Neanderthals than other humans do.
Yet the latest DNA analysis shows Neanderthal DNA to be no closer
to Europeans than to other modern humans.
Neanderthals were burly, primitive creatures with a prominent
brow, thick jaw and short, powerful limbs. Originating in Africa, they
appeared in Europe and Asia perhaps 100,000 years ago or longer.
The 29,000-year-old Neanderthal DNA, which was recovered from
a rib bone in a baby's skeleton found in Russia's Caucasus Mountains, was in
better condition than the roughly 40,000-year-old Neanderthal DNA from
Germany analyzed in 1997, the researchers said.
The research team from Scotland, Sweden, Russia and the
United States reassembled more than 2 percent of the later Neanderthal DNA
from a tiny cellular structure known as the mitochondria.
Molecular biologist Matthias Hoss, an expert in ancient
remains now working at the Swiss Institute for Cancer Research, said the
research appears to support the theory that Neanderthals were an
evolutionary dead end.
``This adds quite a lot of confidence that the Neanderthal
didn't contribute to modern populations,'' he said.
The study does support an opposing theory known as
``out-of-Africa,'' the research team said. This theory says modern humans
descended from the true Homo sapiens, who originated in Africa and came to
replace other early humans worldwide without great mixing. Homo sapiens
would have arrived in Europe perhaps 30,000 to 40,000 years ago, scientists
However, some experts question the researchers' broader
conclusions, saying mitochondrial DNA may evolve faster than the researchers
``Maybe 40,000 years ago, everybody's mitochondrial DNA is
very different from humans of today,'' said Fred H. Smith, an
anthropologist at Northern Illinois University.
Milford Wolpoff, a University of Michigan anthropologist who
studies early human fossils, said fossils suggest an evolutionary link
between Neanderthals and modern humans. He said late Neanderthal fossils
seem to be evolving toward modern humans in some ways, as they develop chins
and lose their low, sloping foreheads.
MSNBC’s Alan Boyle, The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this
WEI does not copy copywrited material knowingly.
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THE GENEALOGY OF
JESUS...SHOWING HIS RIGHT TO DAVID'S THRONE AS KING
Many people who try to prove the Bible incorrect
and/or uninspired use the differences in the genealogies of Christ in Luke
and Matthew as "proof." Many of us who believe that the Bible is inspired
and inerrant do not know how to refute them.
There is a genealogy of Christ, both in words and in diagrammatic form
(write Fred for a copy.)
that defines quite well the differences
and their significance.
I suggest each of those interested in the subject check and download the
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