Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Christ of History

Christianity is based around a series of historical events. It is not just an abstract philosophy. Though it has deep implications for our understanding of the universe. It is not just a system of ethics. Though it has profound effects on the way we behave. It is not just a mystical experience. Though it forms a basis for experiencing that presence of God in our lives. It is the message of how God invaded history, became a human being, lived a human life marked with profound teaching and supernatural events, died a criminal's death to paid the penalty for our sins, and rose again the third day. The question is, Is this believable? Now no one comes to God without the Spirit of God working in their lives (John 6:44; 15:5; Acts 13:48). But it is useful to look at the evidence.

1. The first question we need to ask before we can evaluate this is whether there is such a thing as truth. If there is not, then nothing makes any sense. (see), (see), and (see).

2. We also need to ask if science somehow precludes the idea of supernatural intervention. But this is simply an assumption without foundation. (see), (see), and (see).

3. Then we need to ask whether the records upon which the Christian faith is based are reliable  or whether they have been corrupted over time. The actual evidence, apart from speculation, is in their favor. (see), (see), and (see).

4. Also, we have to deal with the idea that someone deliberately altered what Christianity is. And this does not stand up to examination. (see), (see), and (see).

5. Further, the idea that Christianity grew up slowly over time or changed from its original set of beliefs does not fit the facts or the context it appeared in. (see), (see), and (see).

6. We are then faced with dealing with the reliability of the accounts and what they maintain. (see), (see), and (see). While those who refuse to even consider such possibilities will not be convinced, I conclude there is a real basis for the Christian faith.

Ultimately, we are left face to face with the person of Christ and must ask who we believe He is (Matthew 16:15). How we answer that is the basis for deciding the truth of Christianity. How do you answer this question?


  1. "Then we need to ask whether the records upon which the Christian faith is based are reliable or whether they have been corrupted over time."

    Just for starters, did you know that the parable of the woman caught in adultery was originally in John? You can verify this by going to the oldest manuscripts.

    There are also many contradictions. As just one example, who is Joseph's father, patrilineal father, and great grandfather? Depends which Gospel you check. In Matthew it goes Joseph to Jacob to Matthan to Eleazar. In Luke it goes from Joseph to Heli to Mathat to Levi. (Luke 3:23)

  2. Jeremy,

    It is not surprising that there are difficulties in details in ancient books where the details, background history and language are imperfectly known and there some although a relatively minor degree of textual corruption. To base one's entire evaluation of such books on such details is to put the cart before the horse. It is true there are some passages in the New Testament that have been subject to textual corruption (the most notable is the story of the woman caught in adultery story you mentioned and the ending of Mark), but they do not affect the over message of the New Testament. There are of course difficult passages like the genealogies you mentioned. I would take the genealogy in Luke to be the genealogy of Mary to fit in with the rest of the context of Luke, Joseph being the son in law of the father mentioned. The Greek word "son" is broader then the English and will bear this meaning. But do you really want to base your evaluation of the New Testament or any book on such details.