In 2013 I presented a series of lessons I called “The Jesus Documents.” This was eight lessons reminding the church that we can trust the New Testament as a historical record concerning Jesus.
I have noted before that Apologetics (or “Christian Evidences“) are an important part of my teaching routine. The world is constantly hammering away at our faith in the truthfulness and reliability of the Bible records. And I believe in regularly educating our people about the both the evidence for and reasonableness of believing the Bible.
Below I have reproduced a short form of my sermon outline. If you want to skip the outline and just listen to the audio of the sermon, you can go directly to the page I have created for The Jesus Documents here.
1. The “Jesus Documents” – Introduction
- I hold in my hands a book that has…
- Changed the course of human history
- Transformed the lives of billions of people
- Continues to have the greatest impact on human thinking of any book ever written
- IT IS THE BIBLE!
- Perennial best selling of all books
- In more languages of the world by far than any other
- First book printed by Gutenberg
- Considered the very foundation of Western Civilization, culture, thought, literature, law, and human rights.
- This despite a constant and incessant attack by many who ridicule and misrepresent its message.
- Said to be full of historical, scientific, and other errors
- Accused of being politically incorrect, prejudicial, even bigoted and hateful
- Its origins, authors, subject matter and history constantly called into question
- Our series: “The Jesus Documents”
- Our focus will primarily be on the New Testament portion of the Bible
- We will use history, discoveries, scholarly research, and a large dose of common sense to enlighten us
- Little to no defense of the Bible is allowed in mass media today – popular books, movies, magazines, newspapers, “documentaries” and talk shows constantly present a very negative and unfair picture, with no true defense (apologia in Greek) being allowed!
CONSIDER SOME OF THE ATTACKS:
- Attacks from religion:
- Islam, world’s second largest religion, reject most of the Bible’s historical record and teaching about Jesus
- Liberal “Christianity” long ago rejected the historical accuracy and major teachings of the Bible about Jesus, His deity, miracles and resurrection. A major example of this was the “Jesus Seminar” (see Wikipedia article)
- Militant atheism and agnosticism
- Oft quoted and published public figures like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and Daniel Dennett
- Agnostic liberal Bible scholar Bart Ehrman. Agnostic novelist Dan Brown.
- Cable channels and magazines like National Geographic, Discovery Channel, and History Channel almost always present highly critical, controversial and unchallenged views about the Bible, Christ, Christianity, etc.
NEW TESTAMENT DEFENDS ITSELF:
- “Not myth or cleverly invented stories” – 2 Peter 1:16; 2:3
- Claims of being by “eye witnesses” or drawn from eyewitness testimony
- John 1:14; 1 John 1:1-3
- Luke 1:1-4
- Acts 1:8, 21-22; 2:22, 32; 4:13
- From our earliest New Testament records through the 2nd Century right up until now – no compellingevidence has been produced to show these are not accurate, reliable, historical accounts.
HOW CAN WE TEST THESE “JESUS DOCUMENTS”?
- What is the evidence?
- Is there evidence and, if so, what is it?
- What can we reasonably know about these documentary records?
- Where did they come from? Who wrote them?
- Are the copies we have essentially like the originals?
- What is the contrary evidence?