God is the greatest conceivable being and his book, the Bible, is the greatest book ever written. This remarkable book contains not only the truthful and thrilling account of God’s dealings with mankind over the millennia, but also explains how we can have a right relationship with our wonderful Maker. The articles in this section are intended to bless the reader with teachings from the Bible that are both encouraging and challenging.
It’s no secret that we at CARE Ministries Winnipeg take the Genesis account of creation to be literally true. That is, we believe that God created the entire universe over a period of six, 24-hour days, somewhere around 6,000 years ago. We believe, as a straightforward reading of the text would indicate, that what God created was initially “very good”, with no death, bloodshed, disease etc. This very good world, according to the biblical record was ruined when God’s appointed head of creation, Adam, rebelled against his Creator, and introduced sin into the world. As a result, death also entered as the just consequence of such rebellion. A plain reading of the text also indicates that wickedness of men grew to such proportions that God destroyed the entire planet in a catastrophic flood that lasted a whole year. The only survivors of this deluge were Noah and 7 of his family members, who’s survival depended upon their obedience to the Lord in building an ark to His requires specifications. They were also commanded to take 2 pairs of every kind of air breathing, land dwelling animal, which would later become the ancestors to all such animal kinds living today. Finally, we believe that after the flood, the animals migrated all over the earth while humans congregated in Mesopotamia, where, several hundred years later, another collective rebellion against God was staged. This time, God responded by supernaturally changing the language. That is, the human race went from communicating via a single spoken language, into many fractured groups speaking distinct languages. The result was mutual suspicion and hostility amongst these groups, which caused multiple migratory waves of people in all directions. This, we believe, was the birth of the various nations, cultures and people groups worldwide. Of course we judge all this worthy of belief as actual history, not because it feels particularly nice to do so, but because the evidence, we feel, absolutely demands such a verdict.
Those that deny the trustworthiness of the New Testament almost always state that the doctrine of Christ’s divinity was not part of original Christianity, but “evolved” over the next several generations after Jesus’ crucifixion. The proof, they say, is the fact that the earliest Gospels, Mark, Matthew and Luke, place far less emphasis on Christ’s divinity than the fourth and latest – the Gospel popularly attributed to “John”.
Of course, critics don’t really believe that John the Apostle wrote the fourth Gospel. Admitting as much would mean they’d have to accept the Gospel record as factual history – a decision far too distasteful for the modern scoffer. Instead, they claim that an anonymous second-century author, influenced by the Gnosticism of his day, wrote the fourth Gospel.
This article is meant to refute such nonsense, and show clearly how the belief in John’s authorship of the fourth Gospel is well founded indeed.
The New Testament begins with four parallel accounts of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Critics of the Bible often claim that these four accounts – the Gospels – were not written by the men whose names they bear, but were penned by Christian converts at least a generation after the death of Jesus. It is often claimed that the story of Jesus first was propagated in oral tradition, and that the first written attempts consisted of “sayings” attributed to Him. Later, it is claimed, these sayings were placed within a chronology of legendary events.
According to the critics, The Gospel commonly referred to as Mark’s was the first of the canonical Gospels to have been composed. Though it is thought to reflect a more accurate picture of the “historic Jesus” than the other three, Mark’s Gospel is nonetheless denounced by the critic as largely unhistorical, and supersaturated with legendary material. Only scholars like John Domonic Crossan and the Jesus Seminar are smart enough to discern between legendary material in the Gospels and reliable history.
Ancient church historians, on the other hand, had an entirely different opinion. To them, the Gospels were indeed written by the men whose names they bear, and the picture of Jesus painted by them was completely accurate. So which view is correct?
This article is just a brief look at some of the evidence for the basic trustworthiness of the New Testament. These points are expanded upon in greater detail in other articles on this site.
The primary sources for this article were “The Baker Encyclopaedia of Christian Apologetics” and “Unshakable Foundations”, by Norman Geisler, “The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict”, by Josh McDowel, “The Case for Christ”, by Lee Strobel.
Many view the New Testament to be largely legendary material, not particularly factual in nature, and certainly nothing that could be called responsible journalism. Those holding this view, for the most part, are approaching the New Testament from a decidedly evolutionistic / atheistic bias, which would necessarily find the New Testament untrustworthy since it speaks of God and acts of God regularly. However, is we believe there exists a God who can act (see the articles on creation), then we can believe in acts of God. Given this approach, the New Testament may at least be given the courtesy of being measured for trustworthiness the way other historical documents are.
The growing belief that Christianity’s distinctive doctrines took centuries to develop is easily remedied by simply perusing the ante Nicene Christian writings themselves. As one reads through the writings of Clement of Rome (AD 70), Ignatius (AD 110), Papias (AD 120), Justin (AD 150), Polycarp (AD 150), Tatian (AD 170), Theophilus (AD 170), Athenagoras (AD 170) and Irenaeus (AD 180), certain key Christian doctrines are presented repeatedly. Below is a brief examination of the doctrines most mentioned by Christian thinkers in the early church (AD 95-180):
This brief article looks at the modern attempts to reconstruct the history of early Christianity and how they compare to the New Testament record.
A personal note before we begin:
This article is not in any way meant to be an attack on those who don’t believe in historic accuracy of the New Testament record. It’s a free country and we all have a right to believe in whatever we chose. But listen, if the New Testament reflects accurate history, then we all a have a shot at something wonderful here. If the New Testament is telling the truth, then there is a God who loves us and wants to live with us and within us. Sin (rebellion against God) is keeping this from happening. But there is good news and it is this: Jesus Christ, the Son of God came and took the rap for us. He paid for every sin we’ve ever committed or will commit. Accepting Jesus as our Saviour guarantees that God will accept us now while we live and after we die and step into eternity. It’s a wonderful promise. Wonderful…only if it’s true.
I do believe that the historic evidence for the trustworthiness of the New Testament is unparalleled. I make no apology for the fact that I have trusted the Jesus of the New Testament with my eternity. In subsequent articles I hope to share much of this data. For the moment, I would like to consider the critical position and some of the assumptions that are made in order to deny the trustworthiness of the New Testament. You see, the Christian too, must make the same assumptions. However, it is my contention that the Christian position applies these assumptions in a far more logically consistent way.
Since the nineteenth century, higher critics have gained a following in their denial (not refutation) of the New Testament’s historic accuracy. Details vary, but the major belief here among critics is that the “Christian myth” believed today is not what was propagated by the early followers of Jesus. The myth, they say, and the Gospels from which it was derived, have ‘evolved’ over time, gradually obscuring some details, embellishing others, and, at times, injecting shear fantasy (For example, The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead) into the narrative.
This notion has gained much acceptance in our post-modern, relativistic culture, among whose goals seems to be the liberation from bonds imposed on us by the previous, largely Christian-influenced generation. Indeed, if the New Testament can be shown to be the product of mythologizing, then why should anyone feel bound by the moral code it dictates?
This “liberating knife” however, is limited in its power to grant the absolute freedom so desperately sought. For in their attempt to severe ties with fundamentalist Christianity, the critic who ascribes to the “Christ myth” theory inevitably must shackle himself to a set of rules from which the only escape is intellectual suicide. To the point, in order to believe in the so-called evolution of Christianity and of the New Testament record, the critic must make the following assumptions:
1) Absolute truth exists and is knowable.*
2) Truth is exclusive.*
3) Knowing, believing and acting on the truth is important.*
4) There is a binding moral law; Lying is wrong.*
5) Ancient documents may sometimes be regarded as trustworthy.*
6) It is possible to reconstruct history objectively and truthfully.*
7) History can be corrupted over time; facts may become embellished or obscured.*