8 Things to Learn from Christian Apologetics
- David Limbaugh Author
- 2014 17 Sep
1. The quest for the historical Jesus
There is renewed interest in the popular culture in studying the historical Jesus. Was he real, and if so, what was he like? Many theories have emerged alleging Jesus isn’t at all how he is portrayed in the Bible and that the gospel accounts of his life and ministry are inaccurate. The Da Vinci Code, for example, asserts that more than eighty gospels were considered for inclusion in the New Testament and that there was fierce competition over which one would finally be included. The book and movie further suggest that Jesus was viewed not as divine, but as a mortal prophet until the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD.
The evidence tells a different story. Christians did affirm Jesus’ deity prior to the Council of Nicaea, and multiple secular sources, in addition to the gospels and the Pauline epistles, confirm that. There were some disagreements over certain practices in the early church, such as circumcision, but there were not competing Christianities. But as New Testament historian Craig Evans explains, “That Jesus is the Messiah, he’s God’s Son, he fulfills the Scriptures, he died on the cross and thereby saved humanity, he rose from the dead—those core issues were not open for discussion.”
2. The historical reliability of the Bible
People might be surprised to learn how historically reliable the Bible is. By every measure applied to the examination of ancient documents, the New Testament documents acquit themselves far better than any other ancient documents. There is little question that they have been carried down to us as originally written, and that they contain accurate reports by New Testament writers on whose credibility we can rely. Dr. Norman Geisler tells us, “The New Testament documents are copied accurately—the New Testament has more manuscripts, earlier manuscripts, and more accurately copied manuscripts than any other book in the ancient world.”
3. Biblical Prophecy is stunningly probative of the divine inspiration of the Bible.
There are hundreds of Old Testament prophecies concerning Jesus Christ (messianic prophesies) written thousands or hundreds of years in advance of his birth, which were fulfilled in the New Testament, including a prediction of the very town of his birth, another providing minute details about his crucifixion, and another predicting the precise day he would make his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The Old Testament contains other awe-inspiring prophecies as well, such as mentioning, by name, two separate kings, and accurately foretelling certain activities in which they would engage.
5. Archaeological Discoveries Validate the Historical Accuracy of the Book of Acts
Sir William Ramsey, the famed archaeologist of Asia Minor, had began his archaeological study of many events recorded in the Book of Acts predisposed to belief that Luke’s account of the history of the early church was unreliable. He had bought into the critical dogma of the Tubingen school. He came away, however, thoroughly convinced of its essential reliability. “I began with a mind unfavorable to it, for the ingenuity and apparent completeness of the Tubingen theory had at one time quite convinced me. It did not lie then in my line of life to investigate the subject minutely; but more recently I found myself often brought into contact with the book of Acts as an authority for the topography, antiquities, and society of Asia Minor. It was gradually borne in upon me that in various details the narrative showed marvelous truth. The present writer takes the view that Luke’s history is unsurpassed in respect of trustworthiness.”
6. Evidence for Christ’s life, Death, His empty Tomb and the Resurrection
Few serious scholars doubt the existence of the historical person of Jesus of Nazareth. The evidence for Christ’s death is greater than that for almost any other event in the ancient world. Even many critical scholars concede that Jesus’ tomb was empty following his resurrection, and the evidence and arguments for his bodily resurrection are powerful and persuasive.
7. Science and Faith; Faith of the Naturalists
You often hear from people who aren’t believers that faith is antithetical to science. I beg to differ. God’s creation is magnificent. We are not an accident and neither is the universe we live in. The latest scientific evidence, from the irreducible complexity of the cell, to the wonders of DNA, to the fine tuning of the universe to accommodate life, points to an Intelligent Designer of the universe and of human beings.
8. The Unity of the Bible
The Bible’s cohesive and consistent unity is one of the most compelling proofs of the truth of Christianity. It maintains a unified, continuous message across sixty-six books, which were written over a period of 1,500 years, by about forty different authors, living at different times and in different locations, and writing in different languages. It was written as though a human conspiracy were behind it, but with the diversity of authors that’s impossible. What students of the Bible can’t help but see is that there is indeed a conspiracy, but it is a divine conspiracy that brought about the inspired Word of God.
David Limbaugh is the author of Jesus on Trial: A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospels. See more of Limbaugh at davidlimbaugh.com.
Publication date: September 17, 2014