3/26/11

The Nine Day Queen of England

The following is a review my mother wrote on Faith Cook's book The Nine Day Queen of England.

It is the year 1547 in England. A baby is born to the royal family of  King Henry VIII.  He is the long awaited Prince Edward who will one day inherit the throne. Within twelve days, his mother, Jane Seymour, third wife of the king, will be dead. By the time Edward is nine years old, he will see three step mothers come and go, lose his own father and become king of England and head of the church. At age sixteen, he will succumb to tuberculosis, leaving the English throne in question to a country bitterly torn between Catholic and Protestant.

The same year, about a hundred miles to the north, another baby is born. Jane Grey is fourth in line for the throne, being a cousin of Edward. She becomes the political and religious pawn of  English nobles in one of the greatest travesties of modern history. By the time she is sixteen, she will be forced into  marriage, crowned Queen of England, and martyred for her faith.

This book explains the history and intrigue surrounding one of the most innocent victims of the Protestant Reformation, Lady Jane Grey. Although neglected and abused as a child, Jane had been educated past her station, excelling in music, knowing seven languages and regularly corresponding with the reformers of her day in Latin and Greek.  Her marriage rights were sold by her parents and she was forced to wed the son of Edward’s Lord Protector, Guildford. When Edward died, a royal coup put her on the throne in a quick chess move, only to be trumped by (Bloody) Mary nine days later. Jane was imprisoned in the tower of London until her answer to remain faithful to her God and His Scriptures brought her to the executioner’s block. This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. Its accurate quotations and insightful history introduce you to a teenager worthy of emulating. Poised, mature and stalwartly faithful to the end, Jane is inspiring in her response to the trials God allows in her life. You will read no complaints about a dysfunctional home, unfair parents, mean peers, evil teachers or intrusive government. What you will read is how a young teenage woman deals with a set of overwhelming circumstances in a way that exposes true character, glorifies God, and with her life on the line, puts Him first when it really counts.

3/22/11

Fulfilled Prophecy

By: Seraiah Wolf

I hope I haven't lost anyone--the last post was pretty lengthy (Resurrection: HEART of Gospel). It dealed with an important topic though. Without Jesus' Resurrection, we really are a sorry bunch of fools.

So what though. Maybe Jesus did raise from the dead (maybe), but other people "rose" from the dead during that time too. How does that show he's God, like you claim? Bam, we're going to have an answer by the end of today's blog: It's all about fulfilled prophecy.

Let's set up a panel of elite futurists. Our futurists are going to be two fellow Lion's Den bloggers--The Harris': Jonathan and David.

Let's ask them two sets of questions.

1). What will the weather be like tomorrow?
Who will be the next president?
Will things get better or worse in the next 20 years?

2). Who will be elected president in 2080?
When will he be born?
What city and State?
What unusual things will accompany his life?
What unique gifts will he have?
What unique titles will he possess?
Will he die in an usual manner?
If so, how will he die?
What year will he die?

If you're a pretty regular reader of the blog, you might think that with the Harris' combined brain power, they should predict at least TWO questions from the first set correctly. How many from the second set do you think they could predict?

The first set of questions were either very general, or close enough in time for them to answer with an educated guess. The second set were a whole 'nother category. How in the world could someone predict things so specific several decades in advance? The Bible prophecies belong to this second category. These prophets predicted specific unmistakable events hundreds of years in advance, and these predictions literally came to pass.

Jesus had to fulfill about five dozen prophecies. Here are 13 of them. These were considered Massianic by the Jewish Rabbis who lived before Jesus.

Tribe of Judah Genesis 49:10
Luke 3:23,33
House of David Jeremiah 23:5
Luke 3:23,31
Enter Jerusalem on a donkey Zechariah 9:9

Matthew 21:1-8
Born at Bethlehem Micah 5:2
Matthew 2:1
Introduced by a messenger Isaiah 40:3

Matthew 3:11-3
Body pierced in crucifixion Zechariah 12:10

John 19:34
Laid to rest with the rich Isaiah 53:9

Matthew 27:57-60
Endure wounds and bruises Isaiah 53:5

Matthew 27:26
Teaching and healing ministry Isaiah 61:1,2; 32:3-4; 35:5
Matthew 9:35; Luke 4:17-21
Arrive before the Temple and Jerusalem destroyed Daniel 9:26
Temple, Jerusalem Destroyed AD 70
Labeled Lord and God Jeremiah 23:6 Isaiah 9:6
Luke 2:11 John 20:28
Killed 483 years after degree to rebuild Jerusalem Daniel 9:25-26
Gospels, History (Christ Died about AD 30)
Silent before accusers Isaiah 53:7
Matthew 27:12


Do you know anyone who belonged to the tribe of Judah, and to the house of David, entered Jerusalem on a donkey, was born at Bethlehem, was introduced by a messenger, whose body was pierced in crucifixion, was laid to rest with the rich, endured wounds and bruises?...I think you get my point.


These prophecies couldn't have been fulfilled by chance. Most of them couldn't have even been deliberately fulfilled. The predictions must have come from someone who could see into the future. Since only God knows the future, these predictions must have come from God. And whoever fulfills them must be the one that God preordained to fulfill them.

The fact that at least a dozen detailed prophecies concerning the Messiah were fulfilled hundreds of years after the predictions demonstrates that the prophecies came from an all-knowing divine being who orchestrated the coming of Jesus and intended for Him to be considered the Jewish Messiah!

Think about that and try to share the information with an unbeliever. If the bible is a reliable historical document, we have sufficient evidence to believe that Christ rose from the dead and fulfilled dozens of messianic prophecies. ---> Next up, we'll show the divinity of Christ! =]

Adventures in Theodicy


3/12/11

Resurrection: HEART of the Gospel

By: Seraiah Wolf

Jesus' resurrection is the HEART of the gospel. Without it, our own bible scoffs at us (1 Corinthians 15). Without it dear friends, we've been deceived by the biggest hoax of time. Christianity stands or falls on the answer to the question: "Did the historical Jesus physically rise from the dead?"

Is there evidence for this event in history? Well, if we're going to argue for the Resurrection, we should first demonstrate that Jesus actually died. Then we can discuss whether or not He rose from the dead.

HEART: This is the acrostic we're going to use remember the main arguments for the Resurrection. Just remember that the Resurrection is at the heart of the gospel and the heart of Christianity.

Horrible Death:
We spent the last two weeks showing that the N.T. is historically accurate. On he basis of these historically accurate documents, we have sufficient evidence to believe that Jesus actually died. We get most of these details from the Gospels.

1) Even before Jesus was crucified, He lost a LOT of blood. The Roman floggings were terribly brutal, much worse than a modern day flogging. This is a quote from a medical doctor cited in The Case for Christ:
"Roman floggings...usually consisted of thirty-nine lashes... The soldier would use a whip of braided leather thongs with metal balls woven into them. When the whip would strike the flesh, these balls would cause deep bruises or contusions, which would break open with further blows. And the whip had pieces of sharp bone as well, which would cut the flesh severely. The back would be so shredded that part of the spine was sometimes exposed by the deep, deep cuts. The whipping would have gone all the way from the shoulders down to the back, the buttocks, and the back of the legs. It was just terrible. ...One physician who has studied Roman beatings said, "As the flogging continued, the lacerations would tear into the underlying skeletal muscle and produce quivering ribbons of bleeding flesh. A third-century historian by the name of Eusebius described a flogging by saying, 'The sufferer's veins were laid bare, and the very muscles, sinews, and bowels of the victim were laid open to exposure.'"
A person going through this would experience horrible pain and lose a tremendous amount of blood. That is why Jesus collapsed on His way to the place of Crucifixion and they had to find someone else to carry his cross. Jesus was already in critical condition even before He was hung on the cross.

2) After a person had been crucified, soldiers would trust a spear into a victim's side to make sure he was dead. Physicians agree that blood and water flowing out is a sign of death. If Jesus was not dead, blood alone would have spurted out.

3) Soldiers would break the legs of the Crucifixion victims in order to speed up their deaths because it would be much harder to breath if the victim couldn't push himself up. In the case of Jesus, when they came to him to break his legs, they didn't--because they knew he was already dead. And with their experience, they would
have known whether someone was dead or not.

4) Pilate asked for assurance from the centurion that Jesus was dead.

5) He was wrapped completely in bandages and laid in a tomb.

6) Non-Christian sources confirm the Crucifixion of Jesus.

No one was in doubt that Jesus was dead. Christ's death by Crucifixion is acknowledged by Jewish and Roman historians. We mentioned this last time.


If the resurrection really did happen, then the body that was buried would vacate its tomb. Remember we're not talking about a spiritual resurrection but a bodily, physical resurrection. This is what Jesus predicted, and what the apostles later preached. Why is the bodily resurrection taught by the apostles significant to apologetics?

Hint: It has to do with proving the Resurrection.

Pause.

If the disciples had really wanted to deceive the world, they wouldn't have taught a physical resurrection! That needs proof! It would have been much easier to teach a non-literal resurrection. But they didn't teach that, instead, they taught that Jesus literally, physically rose from the grave. This mean that there would need to be REAL proof for the Resurrection. The tomb, for one thing, would need to be empty.

Empty Tomb:
1) The Jews through history have admitted that the tomb was empty. They only give reason for the tomb's vacancy--belief in the empty tomb was assumed.


Trypho, a Jew, said in the second century:
"One Jesus, a Galilean deceiver,...we crucified, but his disciples stole him by night from the tomb, where he laid when unfastened from the cross, and now deceive men by asserting that he has risen from the dead and ascended into heaven." (dialogue with Trypho, by Justin Martyr)
2) Christianity could not have originated in Jerusalem within a few weeks of the supposed Resurrection if there were no empty tomb. Why not? No one would have believed the Resurrection if there were no empty tomb, seeing the Resurrection was first preached in Jerusalem (the very city in which the body had lain) within a few weeks of the crucifixion and burial.

3)
The other explanations for the empty tomb aren't even reasonable. These are the three most popular:

A. The disciples stole the body.

The disciples would have to sneak by or overpower the Roman guard outside the tomb. If they stole the body, they died for what they KNEW was a lie. Can we trust the apostles to have told the truth? Look at this:

Peter
Andrew
Matthew
James, some of Alpheus
Philip
Simon
Thaddaeus
James, brother of Jesus
Thomas
Bartholomew
James, son of Zebedee
Crucified
Crucified
By the sword
Crucified
Crucified
Crucified
Killed by arrows
Stoned
Spear thrust
Crucified
The sword

"Nothing in law so convinces court and juries of the truthfulness of a stor as the fact that a man's life has been consistent with such story" (Henry Barnett, attorney)
The apostles' lives (and deaths!) were consistent with their testimony to the Resurrection. Myth Busted.

B. Maybe the Jewish or Roman authorities removed the body.

Wha? If they removed it, why wouldn't they have produced it for everyone to see? Remember, the Jews wanted to destroy what they thought was heresy; the Romans wanted to keep peace.

That was easy. The next is actually pretty comical.

C. It's called the swoon theory. This is basically that Jesus never really died. Look back at that evidence for his death. After all he went through, how could he still be alive. EVEN IF he hadn't died, but had instead survived in an extremely weakened state, how could this wasted leader have rolled away a huge stone and then convinced his followers (after he survived the ordeal) that he was Lord of Life and Victor over death. Can you imagine that?

Appearance after the resurrection
1) In 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, Paul gives a list of some of those who saw Christ. This includes Peter, The Twelve, and 500 brethren at once, James, and Paul himself. Most of them were still alive when Paul wrote to Corinth. He wrote this list around AD 55, only 20-25 years after the Resurrection! You don't mention 500 ALIVE eyewitness testimonies if the resurrection hadn't happened. Seems like he was open to having his word challenged.

2) The Gospel also records the testimony of others who saw Christ after he had been crucified. Some of these were Mary Magdalene and other women. And why do we believe the testimony of these early Christians? 'Cause these Christians risked their lives form what they said they saw, and many died for this belief. If the resurrection hadn't taken place, they'd have known it and they wouldn't have died for what they knew to be a lie.

Record of Women as the First Witnesses.

This point is stronger than it might initially seem. Remember I mentioned women were included among those who saw Jesus after He rose? They're actually identified as those who every saw Jesus and the empty tomb. That's of significance. A woman's witness wasn't respected in court in those days. They were not legal witnesses. They had a lower social status. If the gospel writers were making a story up, they weren't doing to a good job. You don't just make women be the first witnesses of the empty tomb and Jesus.




Transformation of the Disciples.

Peter: He was transformed from a cowardly denier of Christ to a courageous proclaimer of the Resurrection.

Paul: The greatest antagonist of Christianity became the its greatest advocate.

James, Jesus' brother: A skeptic of his half-brother until the Resurrection; afterwords he became the leader of the Jerusalem Church.

Each of these men had nothing to gain of the Resurrection were false.
Just a quick reminder of the five points

Horrible Death
Empty Tomb
Appearances after the Death and Burial
Record of Women as the First Witnesses
Transformation of Disciples


Lets make a few inferences from this:
1) Jesus is ho he claimed to be--the Son of God, God in flesh. Only God has the power to raise the dead and I'm pretty sure He wouldn't resurrect a blasphemer of that magnitude. We'll later show that Jesus did make the claim to be God.

2)It confirms the Atonement:It gives validity to Jesus' claim that His death would "ransom many."

3)It shows He can overcome Death. It suggests he's able to give the same life to His followers like he promised.

I hope that was really cool. At school I tend to be overwhelmed from every single possible angle with secularism humanism evolution and an onslaught of every worldview except my own. It's always all around me. Being so alone, one tends to think "Am I wrong? Could I be wrong?" All I have to do is remember these apologetics and I'm reminded that God, in flesh, came upon the world and died--and came back to life. This was no hoax. We have not been fooled. I hope that's not only comforting for you too, but that you'll be able to share what you're learning here with others.

Peace in
-Seraiah


3/11/11

Is God Good?

Even When an Earthquake Hits Japan?
By: Jonathan Harris

Late last night I found out that an earthquake of the magnitude of 8.9 had hit the country of Japan. Tsunami's are expected to hit off the coast of L.A.- where I'm living - relatively soon. Information is still coming in on the death toll and those who could potentially die in what happens during the coarse of this day. The turn of events caused me to think about God's goodness. Why Japan? They're not as evil as Iran right? Why couldn't God have punished an evil nation if He was going to punish someone? Is this God's punishment? How can He be good and allow this to happen? I'm sure questions like these, and many more, are jumping to the forefront of people's minds just as they do in the event of any natural disaster. Last year I wrote a post on the problem of evil but never really went into specifics on how to apply the principles to life situations such as these. I'd like to take the opportunity now to briefly do this.

In Luke 13 we read Christ's reaction to a similar event. " . . . do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish." The Bible makes it abundantly clear that all our sinners and deserving of hellfire. It is this concept that determines how we will react to natural disasters. If we really believe we are innately good and undeserving we will be in shock and horror - perhaps even moral outrage. On the other hand, if we accept the Bible's anthropology, that man is by nature a violator against the highest law of God and deserves nothing but condemnation, we will be grateful that the disaster wasn't worse and we will learn to both fear and love God. Fear Him because He judges and love Him because he withholds His judgment so frequently. James White in a radio broadcast recently made the point that if what astonishes an individual about Romans 9:13 (Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated) is the "Esau I hated," they're looking at things in immaturity blind to their own nature. What should surprise us is not "Esau I hated," that should be a given, but rather the "Jacob I loved." Many people refuse to worship "a God like that," but He is the one magnified in Scripture. Learning to love a deity that loves, is forbearing, and yet still upholds justice is our prerogative. Who are we to stand in judgment over Him?

Once biblical anthropology is understand cultivating both a healthy fear and love, we must understand the person of Jesus. He was "bruised for our iniquities." If anyone has a right to complain about a tough life it would be He, yet for the "joy set before Him He endured the cross." He is a character that relates to what's happening in Japan and all over the world. His Spirit is in the midst of it divinely sparing the life of some. Those maimed and emotionally ruined have sympathy from the one who sweat drops of blood at Gethsemane. He is a "High priest who can sympathize with our infirmities." He is not overjoyed when seeing the effects of sin (which natural disasters our a result of), He weeps over such things like He did over Jerusalem and at the death of Lazarus.


In addition to understanding the nature of man and the relatability of Christ, we must also understand the sovereign plan of God. We so often look at things from such a temporal vantage point we don't realize that life goes on forever. Think about this for a moment. No seriously, stop reading for 30 seconds and really ponder this thought. The earthquake had no affect on the death rate (stop). The people that died would have died anyway. Everyone dies eventually. Do we get outraged over this? Usually not, we in our foolishness get outraged when that time comes before we're ready for it. Yet God is the one that determines the end from the beginning. His plan is for every person to live forever either in heaven or hell. This goes back to Christ's words regarding the tower of Siloam. "Unless you repent you will all likewise perish." There is a death that lasts forever, a death everyone deserves, but in God's grace not all receive it. Christ's substitutionary death, taking our punishment for sin upon Himself, satisfies the just wrath of God. However, it does not guarantee a good life here on this earth. We are instead told that we will suffer for His namesake and take up our cross and follow Him.

In conclusion, the earthquake has and will not kill anyone who was not going to die already. The real question is, where are they going? We must have compassion in the midst of this just as Christ did weeping over Jerusalem, yet we must keep in mind that our job is not to overcompensate for our "mean" God. Marvelous stories of His goodness will come flowing through the midst of this tempest. We are called to tell others about Him, so when a disaster hits our area the people we've had the privilege of having an impact on will be thankful despite circumstance. Just as Paul was content in all circumstances, so should we. Solomon said it was "better to be in the house of mourning" because there a man "considers his end." Turn this disaster into a witnessing opportunity- a testament to our just, but magnificently good, God.

3/5/11

Appologetics: Reliability of the N.T.

By: Seraiah Wolf

Hey guys! If you remember from last week I presented a general outline which I was planning on fleshing out over the next few weeks, well, I finally got an image of it that'll help you visualize where we're going.























Today we're still on "The N.T. is Historically Reliable" and the material is going to be helpful. I know it look like a lot, but it's important to get the foundation before we build the next two lessons, Prophecy and Resurrection. I looked over that material today and was just put in a state of awe over the events recorded in this book. Each lesson builds on each other and when I saw the puzzle pieces fall in place to form the deity of Christ, it just filled me with this immense bubbly joy. Guys, this is amazing, you just have to get through today. Stick with it. We're going places.

Last week we used the Bibliographical method to show that what we have today in our N.T. is what was in the original manuscripts. We did not, however, demonstrate that the content in the N.T. was accurate. What if the N.T. writers weren't honest? Maybe they were creating a myth, maybe it was a conspiracy to gain power or popularity. Sure we know we have what they wrote, but how do we know what they wrote was true? Welcome to the last two tests for the historical reliability of the N.T. Let me introduce you to Internal and External (evidence, that is).

Internal Evidence:
A working definition of internal evidence is basically analyzing what was written by the author to determine weather we can trust him. It didn't sound sensible to me, but I think it'll make more sense once you see it.

Before we get started, I want to mention Aristotle's Dictum, that is "The benefit of the doubt is to be given to the document and not to the critic." For example, if there is a possible explanation for a contradiction in a document, the document shouldn't be considered in error on the basis of that supposed contradiction. The Law of Non-Contradiction states, "If one statement absolutely contradicts another statement, without qualification, at least one of those statements cannot be true". So, a statement MUST violate the Law of Non-Contradiction to be considered a real contradiction. In order for one statement to contradict another, there must be no sense in which the statements can both be true. If there's a possible logical explanation, it's not a real contradiction.


Apparent Contradictions:
Are there contradiction in the bible? To illustrate, one Gospel says there was one angel at Jesus' tomb; another says there were two. I there an absolute contradiction here? No, because the gospel says that there was one angel doesn't say there was ONLY one angel. If it did, that would be an absolute contradiction to the gospel that says there were two.


What about this one? John 19 says that Jesus was standing before Pilate the 6th hour. Mark 15 says Jesus was crucified the 3rd hour. How could Christ be standing before Pilate after He was crucified? It's a contradiction!













Or, John was in all likelihood using Roman time (like our time, counting with time beginning at midnight and going through the next day), while Mark was using Jewish time (counting time beginning around 6pm and then again around 6 am). This would mean Jesus was standing before Pilate at 6am (6th hour-Roman time) and was crucified at 9am (3rd hour-Jewish time). That gives Jesus three hours to get from before Pilate to the Cross. That's a reasonable expiation.

A seminary student said to professor R.C. Sproul, author of Reason to Believe "The bible is full of contradictions" Sproul says that he responded like this, "The bible is a large book. If it is full of contradictions you should have no problem finding 50 clear violations of the law of contradiction in the next 24 hours. Why don't you go home and write down 50 contradictions and we'll discuss them at the same time tomorrow." The student accepted the challenge. He returned bleary-eyed with 30, after having searched long into the night. He presented Sproul a list of the most blatant contradictions he could find (he had made use of crital book that listed such contradictions). Sproul says, "He went through the next, one at a time, aplying the test of formal logic to each alleged contradiction. We used syllogisms, the laws of immediate inference, truth tables, and even Venn diagrams to test for logical inconsistency and contradictions. In every single incident, we proved objectively, not only to my satisfaction but to his, that not a single violation of the law of contradiction was made."

There are NO proven absolute contradictions in the bible. Plus, any surface contradictions that we do see actually help the case for the reliability of the N.T. Why, you ask? Because they show that the authors were truly writing from their own perspectives rather than scheming together to get their "story" right. (This is especially important for the Resurrection narratives.)

2 Peter 1:16
For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.
1 John 1:1
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life—
Luke 1:1-4
Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.

These make it obvious that the Gospels were based on the memories of people who had a close contact with Jesus and a direct knowledge of what happened. I don't know about you, but I don't even remember the details about significant things that happen to me. Jesus told His disciples that the Holy Spirit would bring to their remembrance all that He had said to them (John 14:25-16). The agreeing accounts from many different eyewitnesses confirms their recall ability.

These eyewitness died for their doctrine. People will sometimes die for what they believe to be true, but not for something they know to be false. The authors willingly gave their lives for their belief in Christ's Resurrection. This confirms their honesty.

It looks like the evidence favors the idea that the N.T. writers were honest and close enough to the facts to be able to present them accurately. They were trustworthy and competent. That's the internal evidence for the reliably of the N.T.

External Reliability:

This is evidence for the reliability of the N.T. from outside sources.

We're going to cover three external evidences before we leave for the afternoon. Evidence from other Christian writers, from non-christian historical sources, and archaeology.

Supporting Evidence from Other Early Christian Writers:
Papias, acquaintance of John the apostle said
"The Elder [the Apostle John] used to say this also: 'Mark, having been the interpreter of [Peter] wrote down accurately all that he [Peter] mentioned, whether sayings or doings of Christ, not, however, in order."

Irenaeus, student of Polycarp (a student of John) said
"So firm is the ground upon which these Gospels rest, that the very heretics themselves bear witness to them, and starting form these documents, each one of them [the heretics] endeavor to establish his own particular doctrine".
Even those in the early church who didn't respect the apostolic doctrine till respected the Gospel records. The Gospels must have been considered extremely reliable documents in those days.

Supporting Evidence from Early Non-Christian Historical Sources.
What would we know about Christ and Christianity if we didn't have the Bible?
If we combine the testimonies of Josephus, Tacitus, Lucian, Suetonius, Pliny the Younger, Thallus, and the Talmud--all contemporary non-Christian sources-- we get the following picture
  • Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate at Passover time. (Tacitus, Thallus, Josephus, Talmud)
  • He was believed by his disciples to have risen from the dead three days later. (Josephus)
  • Jewish leaders charged Christ with sorcery and believed he was born of adultery. (Talmud)
  • The Judean sect of Christianity spread to even Rome. (Tacitus, Suetonius)
  • Nero and other Roman rulers bitterly persecuted and martyred early Christians. (Tacitus, Suetonius)
  • Early Christians denied polytheism, lived dedicated lives according to Christ's teaching, and worshiped Christ. (Pliny, Lucian)
We'd know all of the above simply by reading secular and Jewish history. As you can see, there is outside confirmation that the N.T. is historically accurate.

Archaeology as External Evidence:

Sir William Ramsay was a well-known, highly-respected archaeologist. He went to study the Bible lands as a liberal; fifteen years later he became a firm believer in a reliable N.T. He was originally a skeptic, and therefore neglected to consult it for help in his research, but eventually he used the writings of Luke to study Asia Minor and was surprised at how reliable Luke was. Ramsay said that Luke was unsurpassed as a historian. For example, when Luke made reference to 32 countries, 54 cities and 9 islands, he made no mistakes.

The pavement near the Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem where Jesus was tried before Pilate was once considered a myth because there was no record of it in Jewish or secular history. It was finally found. When Titus destroyed Jerusalem, he built barracks there. When these were abandoned, and had crumbled, other buildings were built on top. Archeologists had dug down to the barracks, but no further until recently. When they did go underneath, the found the pavement.

The pool of Bethseda was mentioned in John 5 as the plae where Jesu healed an invalid. John said the pool had five "porches", or walkways. Ther was no record in Jewish or secular maps or histories and therefore was considered myth. In 1888 it was found while archaeologists were digging around the church of St. Anne. It lies about forty feet below the ground. Guess how many porches at the pool there is evidence of?

Nelson Glueck, a Jewish and universally esteemed archaeologist said that no archaeological discovery as ever contradicted the bible.

Conclusion:
Guys, the New Testament passes the three tests (Bibliograpical, Internal, External) that determine whether a document is historically reliable. The N.T. is a trustworthy historical document. Now we have a solid foundation on which to build our case for Christianity! That's where we're going!

I'd like to point out that all images came from Answers in Genesis.com. The teachers book is available for purchase and the powerpoint lessons are available for download. We covered lesson 8 today, so you can imagine that we glossed over a lot of material from chapters 1-6. If you're interested in learning more and don't quite like my style of teaching, the teachers book is absolutely great.
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