Essay Questions – The Historical Jesus

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Krause, Jeffrey S.

Philosophy 240-B01

Liberty University School of Religion

13 September 2009

 

Essay Questions – The Historical Jesus

 

1. You are speaking with a new friend in the neighborhood. The conversation takes a turn towards religion, and you begin to share your faith and background with your friend. This friend shows a smirk across his face, and then states that he doubts that Jesus ever lived. How would you respond to him?

     Very few skeptics in the academic community in this modern era attempt to refute the existence of Jesus Christ. However, as typical, the modern attitude of academia does not always transfer quickly to general public. Thus, it is quite plausible that an unlearned skeptic would raise the question of the actual existence of Jesus of Nazareth. In answering the skeptic on this issue, it must be stated that the Bible provides for the reader firsthand, eyewitness testimony of the life, ministry and glorification of Jesus. When one looks to the reliable and cohesive testimony of the Gospels alone, there is ample evidence to show the historicity of the Christ. Also, this is not simply second hand knowledge, but rather, knowledge that was recorded and provided in the context where any truth claims about the Lord could have been disputed or disproven. The New Testament narratives were recorded within a generation of Jesus’ ministry and therefore could have been publically disputed. However, the opposite proves to be the case and there is ample evidence from Biblical and extra-biblical sources to document the Christian claim. Thus, the apologist has the testimony of those who walked with and witnessed the Lord both pre and post ministry.

     Next, and as mentioned previously, there are the extra-biblical sources that confirm the actual existence of Christ. Tacitus (55-120 A.D.), Suetonius (117-138 A.D.), Josephus (37-97 A.D.), Pliny the Younger and Lucian,[1] all mention the living Jesus in their writings. Thus, there is ample extra-biblical evidence that attests to the historicity of Jesus. However, certain scholars protest some of the extra-biblical evidence such as the skeptic Michael Martin where he proclaims; “we are justified in disbelieving that Jesus existed.”[2]  In addressing such points, Dr. Gary Habermas counters statement such as this with an array of historical evidence supporting the existence and ministry of Christ which include;

  •          The testimony of Paul and his knowledge of the disciples, Peter, James and John.
  •          The testimony of the “hundreds who had witnessed the risen Jesus and were still alive in Paul’s day.”
  •          The recording of the New Testament within the generation of the ministry of Christ.
  •          Extra-biblical references to the historic life of Christ.[3]

     The next evidence comes from the transformation of the weak and cowardly disciples into a group of strong and bold Apostles that changed the face of the world; with each dying a martyr’s death except for the apostle John (according to Church tradition). What motivated this group of believers to unite and promote the historic Jesus at such a cost? It is both illogical and against human nature to assert that these disciple forsook their lives and died a martyr’s death for such a lie. The point of Jesus being the “Son of God” is not in protest here. Rather, it is the historicity of Jesus in question. Thus, the apologist need only provide the evidence that motivated these individuals into action. Thus, with the Biblical, extra-biblical and testimony of the actions of the disciples, it is beyond doubt that the man called Jesus existed.  

2. You are speaking with a friend who is a believer, but struggles periodically with her faith. Lately, she was confronted by a relative who mentioned that apart from the Bible itself, we really don’t have any information regarding Jesus. To secure all of our faith concerning Jesus from one source seems short sighted and prone to circular reasoning. Are there any other sources that might support the historicity of the Jesus of the Bible? How would you answer your friend?

     The argument of the Bible being the sole source of information about the Lord Jesus Christ is not only fallacious; it also shows a lack of sound study on the subject and qualifies as “sound bite criticism.” Habermas lists Tacitus, Suetonius, Josephus, Thallus, Pliny the Younger, The Treaties on Resurrection, The Acts of Pontius Pilot and Phlegon[4] as documented, extra-biblical sources that refer to the historicity of the life of Christ.

     Not only does this information confirm the life of Christ, it also confirms the foundational teachings Christianity. Tacitus writes of “Christus” who “suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilot…”[5] Thus, extra-biblical support of seen for the historic Christian claim of the crucifixion. Next, Suetonius speaks of the civil unrest that took place in Rome which resulted in the exile of the Jews from the Roman capital by Claudius; “Because the Jews at Rome caused continuous disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from the city.”[6] Thus, the historical life of Christ is established apart from the Bible. This quote also helps to establish how the early church in Rome was in its infancy and was beginning to take form. To establish both the miracles and resurrection of Jesus, Flavius Josephus records in his work “Antiquites” the following;

“Now there was at this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man. For he was one who wrought surprising feats…He was (the) Christ…he appeared to them alive again on the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him.”[7]

     Lastly, the divinity of Jesus is clearly seen in the words of Pliny the Younger as to the attitude and position of worship that Christ held within the early church, as well as the established Christian attitude as taught by the Lord when he proclaims;

“They (the Christians) were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and they bound themselves by a solemn oath, not to any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft of adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up; after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble to partake in food – but food of an ordinary and innocent kind.”[8]

     Thus, there is ample extra-biblical evidence that one can provide to document the life of Christ. However, this evidence does not only lend credence to the life of Jesus; but also to the ministry, miracles, crucifixion, resurrection, message and motivation of the Lord Jesus and the early church itself. Therefore, the claim of the Bible being the sole source of information is proved fallacious. Also, it is not at all “begging the question” to assert that the Bible, as the inerrant word of God gives the believer all of the information needed to confirm the Christian truth claim. The Christian presupposes the Bible as the word of God and therefore asserts the accurate and evidenced information thereafter. Rather, it is the one claiming that the Bible is not the word of God who engages in “petitio principia” or “circular reasoning,” because they are assuming what they are trying to prove. Also, how does the unbeliever account for the laws of logic that they are citing? It is only in the Christian worldview that one can justify a universal, abstract invariant such as the laws of logic. Thus, the very posing of the question confirms the Christian worldview itself and is self defeating. Thus, in two different ways the skeptic is answered. First, the claim of single source support is refuted by the overwhelming extra-biblical evidence to the contrary and second, the very posing of the question and engaging in logical thought confirms the Christian truth claim.

3. You pick up a magazine article referring to the Jesus Seminar as representing the pinnacle of New Testament scholarship. This magazine article, when referencing the opinions of biblical scholarship, repeatedly references only the conclusions of the Jesus Seminar. You decide to write a letter to the editor of the magazine. What will you say?

     The Jesus Seminar among other Academic movements has recently challenged the fundamental teachings of Orthodox Christian thought. Much like the New Perspectives on Paul (NPP), the Jesus Seminar challenges the scholarship of orthodox Christian though in a way to undermine the validity of the historic Christian truth claims. However, unlike the NPP, the Jesus Seminar challenges the validity of the New Testament manuscripts themselves; claiming that up to “Eighty-two percent of the words ascribed to Jesus in the Gospels were not actually spoken by him…”[9] Another claim of the Jesus Seminar falls in the realm of the “supernatural” where the majority of those of the JS reject or severely limit supernatural events as told within the Gospels.[10] These will be the two main areas that this essay will focus on in an attempt to, (1) show how the transmission of the New Testament manuscripts were able to avoid interpolation and (2) show that the Jesus Seminar’s rejection of the supernatural is both “begging the question” and not cogent within the realm of human experience.

     First, the Jesus Seminar claims corruption of the New Testament documents in the realm of interpolation and or editing. However, a brief explanation of the process of the penning of the original manuscripts up to the current manuscripts rejects this idea in toto. From their original penning by the New Testament authors, the N.T. MSS have or were held in possession by the universal church intact (in the first century era). As received by the churches, the original autograph was copied during the late first century and early second century and distributed throughout the known world. This rapid transmission resulted in four main lines of transmissions or “text types” known as; “the Alexandrian…the Western…the Byzantine…the Caesarean text type…”[11] Although the later, Byzantine MSS do contain a fuller or “conflated” text-type; this is not the result of “editing” but rather: “an expansion of piety.”[12] Meaning, the manuscripts were not changed in their meaning but rather; added to in regards to the deity of Jesus Christ. An example of conflation would be a rendering of “Jesus” in the earlier Alexandrian texts, with the rendering being “the Lord Jesus Christ” in the later Byzantine MSS. However, both texts are correct; although the latter was conflated or added to for greater clarity or meaning. This is far different then interpolation where the meaning is changed altogether. Also, all of the 5700 New Testament MSS are consistent with one another in regards to message and doctrine; although it is recognized that within these 5700 copies, there a great number of textual variations. However, variation is not the issue in this debate and is irrelevant to the discussion. Thus, it is contingent upon those of the Jesus Seminar to (1) show interpolation via the MSS evidence or (2), somehow show an original corruption from the original authors themselves. The former of these points cannot be proven due to the overwhelming MSS support that the church possesses. The latter of these two propositions is nothing more then an “argument from silence” because the Jesus Seminar proponents have no concrete proof of such a claim.

     The next defense of the faith will be in the area of the “supernatural” or the denial of the supernatural by some of the more well known scholars of the JS. The author of this essay asserts that those of the JS that raise this objection are in actuality “begging the question” by assuming what they are trying to prove. This question begging is seen greatly in the comments of Jarl Fossum when he proclaims; “Or it can be asserted that Jesus really did raise the girl from the dead – which would only reflect fundamentalist naiveté.”[13] The question must be asked when pondering an attack on the faith such as this; “what is Fossum assuming?” Fossum is assuming the “uniformity of nature” or rather, “induction.” However, how in a worldview outside of the Christian worldview can this be assumed? The Christian worldview is the only worldview that can account for the uniformity of nature and this is known via the special revelation of the Bible itself. So, if Fossum wishes to deny the Scriptures that can account for the uniformity of nature, he undercuts his thesis of uniformity in general; thus, he has no basis for such a claim. However, if he wises to deny the Scriptures in toto, then he still denies the uniformity of nature and has no basis for his assumptions.

     Thus, the question must be asked, on what basis in the above two scenarios does Fossum account for Induction?  Meaning, without the Christian, personal God that holds all things together (c.f. Col. 1:17, Heb. 1:3), that is not “ultra-transcendent”[14] and can be understood as to the revelation He has provided; no other reason can be given for the uniformity of nature. Thus, Fossum must “assume” this uniformity with no basis for that assumption. In doing so, he must either rely on past experience or probability – neither of which can explain the uniformity in question. On what basis does Fossum even assume the uniformity of nature with his rejection of the Christian God and or the Scripture that describes Him? The answer will not be forthcoming from Fossum because there is no answer to be provided that corresponds with the “pre-conditions of human intelligibility.” Thus, Fossum engages in “circular reasoning” on two counts; (1) he assumes the uniformity of nature with no basis for that assumption and (2), he assumes that there is not a realm of the supernatural because he has no experience of the supernatural.  

     In summary, the Jesus Seminar cannot produce evidence to fortify their presuppositions and claims. The New Testament MSS could not have been altered after their circulation due to the rapid dispersion around the world and no evidence can be shown that the original authors falsified their writings. Next, their rejection of the supernatural is fallacious due to their inability to account for the uniformity of nature in which they understand that only uniformed events can occur. Thus, they “beg the question” by assuming what they are trying to prove. However, the Christian can claim the “uniformity of nature” due to the personal God that holds the universe together. Also, the Christian can equally claim supernatural miracles due to the same God whom by His will, alters the very universe and uniformity that He created and upholds. Thus, the Jesus Seminar is answered in two key areas and the word of God remains true.

4. You are in conversations with an old high school friend about your conversion to Christianity. In the ebb and flow of conversation, your friend claims that the New Testament is not really reliable because the writers were obviously had a theological bias in their recording and reporting of history. How would you respond to your friend?

     There are three immediate things that would be helpful upon this criticism of the Christian faith. First, it would be helpful to question the individual as to his or her worldview in an effort to, (1) understand the position from which they are arguing and (2) gather information for an apologetic defense of the faith. Next, it would be helpful to evaluate what types of presuppositions go into such a statement. First, this person is presupposing that the text of the Bible or that the authors themselves are not reliable. Second, this person could be presupposing that the text has been changed and or altered throughout the years. Third, this individual would also be rejecting the claim of “dual authorship” and thus, rejecting Christian epistemology in toto. Fourth, this person is seemingly assuming that there is a possibility of neutrality in the interpretation of evidence.

     Second, it would be helpful to explain that the Biblical authors did indeed have a Christian Theistic bias within their authorship, for if they did not, the Bible would not be the word of God. Next, it would be of most importance that the apologist exposes the lack of understanding in regards to the interpretation of evidences that the opponent adheres to. There simply is no way for a person to have a neutral or non-bias view in regards to life experience or evidence. It is the persons “worldview” as composed by their “presuppositions’ that decipher the evidence as presented. This evidence is then assimilated into the person’s worldview in correspondence to the individual’s ultimate faith commitment; whether it is reason, logic, emotion or Christian Theism. Consider the words of Greg Bahnsen on this issue;

“…the Christian and the unbeliever do not and cannot approach their differences with argumentative and or philosophical neutrality. Even though the Christian and non-Christian have the facts of the objective world in common, they have radically divergent interpretations of them. For the Christian, all facts are pre-interpreted by God, created by God and revelatory by God; they must be handled in such a way that glory is brought to God. But the non-Christian views these facts as meaningfully interpreted only by his own mind, as un created and free form God’s control, as ambiguous and contingent; he uses them to bring glory to man. Hence, the Christian and non-Christian have different interpretative schemes.”[15]

     Noting the words of Bahnsen, it is obvious to see that there is no “neutrality” when it comes to matters of evidence (or any subject to be exact). Both the believer and the unbeliever use their presuppositions to interpret the evidence; hence, both are bias. Thus, the friend’s statement is found to be fallacious due to the following problem with the individual’s argument; “the unbeliever making the claim has a non-theological bias towards the evidence and hence, he or she is not reliable.” Thus, if this is the standard of reasoning that the anti-theist or person posing the question wishes to take, then they are equally in violation of the same charge, minus the recording of historical data. Thus, the burden of proof is now shifted to the unbeliever to disprove the claim of the Biblical writers; a task that cannot be done.

     Having noted the impossibility of neutrality, the apologist can now show the true meaning of the evidence. First, the issue is not whether the Biblical authors had a theological bias in their penning of Scripture. Rather, the question is was that bias reliable? Meaning, the question is not the attitude or presuppositions of the messenger but rather, the reliability and validity of the message itself. If the Bible is indeed the word of God, then the authors had justification for their bias. So, the argument that seemed to draw into question the reliability of the Biblical authors, now justifies the authors on the validity of the Biblical message and Christian truth claim. The Apologist has now quieted the accuser and has shown that the individual has engaged in the very same act that they have condemned.

      Lastly, the apologist at this point can now introduce evidence for the reliability of the Biblical authors/message such as: early Christological Creeds, eyewitness testimony apart from the Biblical authors (such as extra-biblical evidence), the author’s testimony itself and historical data. Dr. Gary Habermas provides an extensive list of historical facts in regards to the historicity and reliability of the Biblical authors and there message with these points:

  1.       “Jesus died by crucifixion”
  2.       Jesus was buried.
  3.       Jesus’ death caused “the disciples to despair and lose hope”
  4.       The Tomb was discovered to be empty only a few days after the claim of the resurrection (a debatable point).
  5.       Experiences of the risen Jesus by the disciples.
  6.       The disciple’s were transformed from doubters into “bold proclaimers” of the death and resurrection of Jesus.
  7.       “The message was the center of preaching in the early church”
  8.       The message was “especially proclaimed in Jerusalem” which surrounded the death and resurrection of Jesus.
  9.       The Birth of the church.
  10.       The shift to Sunday worship.
  11.       The conversion of James.
  12.       The conversion and eyewitness testimony of Saul of Tarsus.[16] 

     In summary, the Christian apologist has ample evidence to refute the claim of the unreliability of the Biblical authors from many different sources. It has been shown that a theological bias or presupposition does not in any way detract from the message being presented because; (1) all people have such biases towards their ultimate faith commitment and (2), there is no such thing as neutrality. The Christian message and authors must be evaluated on the message that they present, not the bias that they possess (this type of argumentation is also Ad Hominem because the opponent is arguing against the person and not the message presented). Next, it has been demonstrated that the very question that was posed by the skeptic can be reversed due to their presuppositional bias; thus reversing the burden of proof. Lastly, it has been shown that the bias that the Biblical authors possessed was indeed validated on a Biblical, extra-Biblical and historical basis. Thus, the charge of charge of bias is confirmed to be true and the basis for that bias is justified.

5. You meet a person on the ski lift at a local ski area, and in making small talk, you mention that you are taking college classes in the Bible. This new acquaintance is not trying to be antagonistic, but nevertheless, brings up something that he had heard regarding the “corruption” of the Bible. Upon further inquiry, you discover that this man has taken for granted the argument that the New Testament was corrupted over the centuries through the transmission process, and is thus unreliable. How might you answer him?

     Taking the words of 1 Peter 3:15 to heart, the Christian is to have answers to the skeptic’s criticism or questions.  The answer applies not only to the realm of the existence of the Christian God, but also to the subject of Textual Criticism. In a recent debate between Dr. Dan Wallace (Th.M. Ph.D.) who is a textual scholar and Bart Ehrman (Ph.D.), a textual scholar and skeptic; Dr. Wallace defended and confirmed the validity of the Scriptures with amazing clarity. Here are some of the proofs that came forth during this debate.

(1) Dr. Wallace proclaimed that the Church has a “embarrassment of riches” in regards to the manuscript evidence. Within two centuries of the penning of the New Testament autographs, we have copies or portions of 3 out of 4 Gospels, 9 of Paul’s epistles, Hebrews, Acts and Revelation.

(2) We can reproduce 40% of the New Testament by the manuscripts of the 2nd century. This is an amazing conformation of both the validity and accuracy of our modern translations.

(3) We have over 1,000,000 quotations from the early Church Fathers that can reproduce almost the entire Bible (please keep in mind that many of these quotations are from the Anti-Nicene fathers).

(4) We possess 5500+ Greek manuscripts (updated from last post), 10,000+ Latin manuscripts and a total of 20,000 hand written manuscripts.

(5) We have at least 12 manuscripts from the second century, 64 manuscripts from the 3rd century and 48 manuscripts from the fourth century. Thus, we have a total of 124 ancient manuscripts that fall within 300 years of the original autographs. This is more then any work of antiquity and adds to the validity and accuracy of the Gospel message.[17]

Working with the above facts, it is obvious that the Christian possesses ample textual evidence in which to reproduce and confirm the Biblical message and truth claim. However, it would also be very helpful to touch on textual variation issues with the unbeliever to clarify any misconceptions as to the accuracy and validity of the source of the Christian truth claim. There are four types of textual variants found within the manuscript tradition.

(1) Spelling or non-sense readings.

(2) Minor variations that do not effect the translation of the verse.

(3) Different readings that are not in themselves viable. Meaning, even these different readings do not effect the translation or message.

(4) Major variations that bring a different meaning to the translation and ARE viable.

Variation categories 1-3 do not effect the translation of the text or message. These first three categories comprise over 99% of the textual variations in Scripture. These are spelling issues or other minor issues that still allow the textual critic to give an accurate rendering to the text. Now, this fourth category is the main issue. These are variations within the manuscript tradition that does in fact affect the rendering of the verse. One example of this can be found in Revelation 13:16 where in one manuscript, the reading of the “mark of the beast” is 666. The variation of this is found in a Latin manuscript (the oldest surviving copy of Revelation) and the “mark of the beast” is recorded as 616. This is an example of a major variation with viability. Having clarified the difference between the variation types, it would be helpful to add one last thing. The major variations with viability consist of less then 1% of all variations! This is extremely important for at least two reasons. First, it allows the Christian to rest assured that he or she is reading the words penned by the original authors; thus they can trust the message therein. Second, there are no doctrines affected by these major variations. Therefore, the Christian can proclaim with confidence that the message of eternal life, justification by faith and other Christian essentials are without error. This fact was even admitted by the skeptic Bart Ehrman himself in thee afore mentioned debate. So, the Christian can rest assured that the English translation of the Bible that they possess is the inerrant word of God. But how can it be inerrant if there are issues within the manuscript evidence itself one might ask? For this we must look at the Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy (Article XIII) to obtain an outline of what inerrancy does not mean: 

1)      “Lack of modern technical precision.”

2)      “Irregularities of grammar or spelling.”

3)      “Observational descriptions of nature.”

4)      “Reporting of falsehoods.”

5)      “Hyperbole and round numbers.”

6)      “Topical arrangement of material” scripture does not need to be in chronological order; it can be topical.

7)      “Parallel accounts” different word usage does not show contradiction or 1,2,3 and 3,2,1.

8)      “Use of free citations” paraphrases can be used.[18]

     Working off of the Chicago Statement and comparing it to the New Testament manuscript tradition, the Christian is justified in proclaiming that we do in fact possess an inerrant Bible (although not inspired, that was reserved for the original autographs themselves). The abundance of MSS are consistent with one another and are also consistent with the teachings of the early Fathers, Lectionaries, and other writings. These MSS are also internally consistent and although textual variations are found, there is perfect harmony between all of the lines of transmission in regards to fundamental Christian doctrines.

     Lastly, it would be helpful to speak about the “tenacity of the text.” This term means that we have an over abundance of variations that add to the text of Scripture, but does not detract from the original rendering. Greek scholar and textual critic Barbara Aland defines “tenacity” as, “a stubborn resistance of the readings and the text types to change.”[19] What all this means is that we have a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle with 1025 pieces. We in fact have more information that we should, but not a lack of the original information. Therefore, scholars are able to reconstruct the original rendering or reading by the over abundance of information – but the original massage was not lost in any way! Therefore, we once again see that our English translation (based off of the reconstructed Greek text) are in fact accurate and the very words of God Himself and the objection is answered fully.

6. In an essay, answer the following question: Why is it important for the Christian to believe in the historicity of Jesus Christ? Or in other words, why is historicity important? The key word in this question is “why”; be sure to answer accordingly.         

     Forsaking all other writings, the author will now turn to the inherent and revealed word of God to explain “why” it is of the highest necessity for the Christian to believe in the historicity of Jesus Christ our Lord. First, true religion that grounds itself in the Christian God is essential for a proper worldview and understanding of the whole of human experience. There is simply no epistemological position that can be understood or regarded as worthy unless it is properly founded on Jesus Christ. It is the Apostle Paul that states about Jesus the Christ and His relationship to proper reasoning, truth and knowledge that He is the basis of; “…all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3, ESV). Next, the true faith of Christianity is founded upon the life, ministry, death, burial, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus. Thus, without these truths, there is no basis for the faith whatsoever! Therefore, it is of most importance that the Christian understands and trusts the Christian truth claims. It is the Lord Jesus Himself that claimed that there is no other way to the father with this bold statement; “”I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6, ESV). Thus, there is no salvation and subsequently, no faith to base salvation off of without a hope and reasonable trust in this truth.

     Moving on, the Christian must have faith in the historical Christ and in the Scripture in general to truly understand what they are being saved from and whom it is that is interceding on their behalf. The Genesis 3 fall narrative not only explains the “why” of the necessity of salvation; but also the “who” that it is to be obtained from with this statement; “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Gen. 3:15, ESV). With this proper knowledge, the Christian understands their need for the then coming and promised Redeemer; who came as the “propitiation” for the sins of mankind for all who will believe (Heb. 2:17, c.f. Rom. 3:25, 1 John 2:2, 4:10).

     Moving on, it is only through trust in the message of God that one can have hope that this teaching and revelation is true, for if it is not, the Christian is to be most pitied as seen in the words of Paul when he proclaims;

Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised.And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. (1 Cor. 15:12-19, ESV)

     Thus, there truly is no hope at all without the understanding of the immutable truths as proclaimed about the only Son of God. With the foundations of ones faith being grounded in the revealed word of God and with its pointing to the Son as the only means of peace with the Holy Judge, the Christian must understand and believe the historicity and revelation about Him.

     To summarize, faith and knowledge in the true God and in particular, the Son of God Jesus Christ as the second member of the Trinity is essential to true epistemology. Jesus Christ is the source of all knowledge and wisdom and the Christian must submit their mind and actions to that revelation. Likewise, trust in the historic and orthodox teaching of Jesus is essential to understand sin and the method of salvation from the condition of sin. It is only through the Son that one can come to the Father; thus, salvation is only found in Jesus Christ. Lastly, it is the Son and the revelation about Him that forms the cornerstone or foundation of the Christian faith (Rom. 9:33). Thus, true, saving faith finds its foundation in Christ alone and the historical teachings therein for He is only pillar from which to build from.

 

Bibliography:

Aland, Barbara, Aland, Kurt. The Text of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI. Eerdmans Publishing. 1987.

Bahnsen, Greg L. Presuppositional Apologetics: Stated and Defended. McDurmon, Joel (Ed.). Powder Springs, GA. American Vision; Covenant Media Press. 2008.

English Standard Version (2001). Thomas Nelson (Ed.), Wheaton, IL: Good News Publishing

Erman, Bart. Wallace, Daniel. The Textual Reliability of the New Testament. Prod. Greer-Heard Point-Counterpoint Forum. 2008.

Extra-Biblical Historical Evidence for the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus. 08 Sept. 09. http://www.westarkchurchofchrist.org/library/extrabiblical.htm

Habermas, Gary, R. The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ. College Press. Joplin, MO. 2008 (1996); pg. 45.

White, James R. The King James Only Controversy. Minneapolis, MN. Bethany House Publishing. 1995.

The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy. Chicago, IL. International Council on Biblical Inerrancy. 1978.


[1] Extra-Biblical Historical Evidence for the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus. 08 Sept. 09. http://www.westarkchurchofchrist.org/library/extrabiblical.htm

[2] Habermas, Gary, R. The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ. College Press. Joplin, MO. 2008 (1996); pg. 45.

[3] Ibid., Habermas, pg. 45. All references

[4] Ibid. Habermas, pg. 187-217.

[5] Ibid. Habermas, pg. 188

[6] Ibid. Habermas, pg. 191

[7] Ibid. Habermas. pg. 192

[8] Ibid. Habermas, pg. 199

[9] Ibid. Habermas, pg. 122

[10] Ibid.

[11] White, James R. The King James Only Controversy. Minneapolis, MN. Bethany House Publishing. 1995, pg. 43.

[12] Ibid. White, pg. 43

[13] Ibid. Habermas, pg. 123

[14] False gods such as Allah are explained in the Qur’an as ultra-transcendent to the point that human language cannot describe him. Thus, the claim of the Qur’an is falsified due to the fact that is a book of language and revelation that describes him. Other false religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism cannot explain Induction because they reject Western logic; with the latter rejecting human experience via “Maya.” Atheism assumes and promotes a random and chance universe and thus, has no basis to assume the “uniformity of nature” because everything is simply “chance and random events.” Thus, they cannot account for Induction.

[15] Bahnsen, Greg L. Presuppositional Apologetics: Stated and Defended. McDurmon, Joel (Ed.). Powder Springs, GA. American Vision; Covenant Media Press. 2008: Pg. 89-90.

[16] Ibid. Habermas, pg. 158, all citations.

[17] Erman, Bart. Wallace, Daniel. “The Textual Reliability of the New Testament.” Prod. Greer-Heard Point-Counterpoint Forum. 2008. All citations.

[18] The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy. Chicago, IL. International Council on Biblical Inerrancy. 1978

[19] Aland, Barbara, Aland, Kurt. The Text of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI. Eerdmans Publishing. 1987, pg. 69.

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