There is a chorus of people who claim to have found joy, tranquility and a host of other benefits—attributing their life change to a variety of sources or activities. Are any of these claims valid? How can we know? It is true that our experiences are considered anecdotal or “soft” evidence. Is it so subjective that it doesn’t prove anything? Consider the following illustration from Josh McDowell, as discussed in Evidence that Demands a Verdict (San Bernardino: Here’s Life, 1979), pp. 327-328: [Read more…]
To address this question, we ask you to consider the following excerpt from author David A. Noebel’s Understanding the Times (Harvest House Publishers, 1991), pp.764-766: [Read more…]
If a person is inclined to “want” an error to be found in the Gospel accounts, in order to justify their unbelief, they will find opportunities to claim such exist. In this case they are usually not interested in hearing logical and reasonable explanations which could resolve the difficulty. Their position is, “Don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up!”
There are apparent difficulties, as seen in variations among the eyewitness accounts. However, the writers of the New Testament, with their solid record of integrity and historical reliability, deserve enough respect to give them the benefit of the doubt when information to resolve every difficulty is lacking. This is especially true in view of the fact that many apparent contradictions which were claimed by critics 100 years ago, have since been resolved or eliminated by new understanding as a result of the discovery of external evidence, such as ancient manuscripts and archaeological artifacts. [Read more…]
Which books should be included in the New Testament is the question of canonicity. The test of canonicity is the test of divine inspiration. Some books were regarded by the early church as inspired by one and the same Spirit, thereby giving them authority. These were included in the canon (authoritative list) of the New Testament.
What is the test of inspiration? That is, how did the early church know which books were inspired? The Lord Himself established that apostolicity determines inspiration, that is, authorship by an apostle or men commissioned by the apostles. The following points summarize the development of the Canon. [Read more…]
There are numerous ways to determine the date of a manuscript. A common indicator is the style of writing used by the copyist. There was a period of time where copying was done in all capital letters; another time when they used only small letters; and still other times when copying was done in a cursive style. A general date would be indicated by the style. The absence or degree of punctuation also indicates different time periods. [Read more…]
Can we get any clues about the existence of God from nature itself? The foundational question about the origin of the universe and of life is whether they are the result of random processes (chance) or intelligent action (design). On a very practical level we all practice this distinction every day of our lives. In driving by the campus of the Pillsbury Company near Minneapolis, MN, we may notice a flower arrangement growing on the grounds that looks just like the “Doughboy™.” Would we say, “Look, those flowers happened to grow up by chance to look like the Doughboy?” No, we would congratulate the groundskeepers on a good job of design. Likewise, try to convince the people gazing at the four presidents’ faces in the granite of Mt. Rushmore that this was the result of a chance process of wind and rain erosion! [Read more…]
The scientific method of proof requires phenomena that are testable by being reproducible in a controlled environment. That is, they are repeatable. Historical events, since they occur only once, do not lend themselves to the scientific method of proof. Neither do definitions of beauty, aesthetic values, etc.
In other words, the scientific method is limited and doesn’t apply to all of reality. Therefore, we cannot use the scientific method to test the claim that God came into history—that is, whether the historical Jesus was the incarnation of God. But, then, neither can we use the scientific method to prove that we went shopping yesterday or to determine who is guilty of crimes. [Read more…]
Eastern religions like Hinduism and Buddhism do not put the same emphasis on textual studies that we do in the West. Truth, for them, is not measured so much by a historically reliable record (or person) as it is in religious authority or experience. They feel that if it “works” to create a spiritual experience or if it has a long-standing tradition, then it is valid. The history of their sacred books as measured by early, numerous and accurate texts is not important to them. As a result, they are not concerned by having very few texts to work with if asked to document authorship, integrity or historical reliability.
On the other hand, Muslims claim that their Qur’an has more integrity and is more reliable than the New Testament. They point out that they have only one version of their holy book and everyone’s copy is identical to what God dictated to Muhammad in the seventh century A.D. [Read more…]