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Is Jesus The Only Way to God?

December 8th, 2010
  • Not looking at this question from the Bible as some don’t believe it is a credible source.
  • Every belief system in some way agrees/believes “no” to the statement that Jesus is the only way to God – each believing for very different reasons.

4 different ways of thinking Jesus is not the only way to God:

1. Polytheists – because there are lots of gods

  • How can one person be the way to lots of gods?
  • However, there is no existence for lots of gods and a lot of polytheists don’t think there is either – they just believe it.
  • You need evidence for what you believe – especially claims about God or truth. If people can’t give you any evidence, why should you believe it?
  • Is the polytheistic view then a good reason to reject Jesus as the only way to God?
  • Some believe this way as it’s part of their culture – again, not a good enough reason.
  • We need to look at what we believe – is it valid? Is there evidence?

2. Atheists – because there is no such thing is a god

  • They say it is useless to debate over whether Jesus is the only way to God if there is no God in the first place.
  • Not a compelling reason – whatever evidence for belief in God gets swept under the carpet – e.g. saying real-life miracles don’t qualify as evidence because miracles are impossible.
  • Trying to debate this leads to going round in circles: there is no God because there is no evidence, but miracles wouldn’t be impossible if God existed, but miracles don’t count as evidence, etc.
  • Also – writing off ancient documents as evidence because they don’t understand them.
  • You can’t have a sensible argument with a fundamental atheist.

3. Pluralists – because it’s exclusive, intolerant and will lead to oppression

  • Very common view in Brighton.
  • Yes, believing Jesus is the only way to God is an exclusive belief. But ALL truth claims work that way – truth statements include people who agree and exclude people who disagree.
  • People get scared of exclusive truth claims as they sometimes lead to extremists or oppression, but not always – depends on what the truth claim or belief system actually is – not whether you believe in God or not, but what you believe. If it is ‘kill the infidel’ or ‘people who believe in God are stupid and ignorant’ – both are very exclusive and intolerant and will lead to oppression. But something like believing you should love God and love people as yourself is a different matter.
  • Again, not a good reason for rejecting the belief that Jesus is the only way to God.

4. Monotheists – because Jesus didn’t say he was a way to God, but someone else altogether

  • Saying Christians are wrong about who they believe Jesus was – that Jesus was substituted with someone else on the cross.
  • Muslims and Jews, for example, believe this.
  • This theory came 600 years after Jesus – not very credible.

Christians don’t just believe Jesus is the only way to God – but that he is God incarnate. He is more than just the way – he showed us what God is like. This belief has always been controversial and people have been persecuted for it – but it has persisted. The evidence points this way and is the most plausible and credible explanation.

Did Jesus Do Miracles?

November 29th, 2010

Did the miracles happen?

  • Jesus is well-known for his miracles  or the “mighty works” – not just as a good teacher.
  • We have to come to terms with the miracles. As Western, 21st century people, we try to ignore them – we find ways to escape them or suggest a sense of exaggeration. Like they are legends with inflated stories – well-meaning people wanting to make Jesus look great.
  • People try to pass off the stories as Chinese whispers – legends passed on and added to over time, like Robin Hood. But this won’t do to explain it away – we’ve looked already in previous sessions at how the gospels are well-documented, trustworthy historical documents, which kept to the original facts. Luke is one of the finest historical documents we have.
  • John the Baptist – incredibly well-known and respected in that day – and yet the historical books show not one trace of a miracle. This discounts the idea that popular teachers got inflated with miraculous stories.
  • Jesus’ enemies accused him of doing miracles by the power of the devil – they were trying to explain them away because they were actually happening. They didn’t deny that Jesus was really doing miracles.
  • If these stories were fabricated, the disciples would have come off better in the accounts – but they are not very favourable towards them. They often got it wrong – awkward and embarrassing stories. It’s easy to trust these accounts.
  • Someone (unknown to us, not one of the 12 disciples) was trying to do miracles in the name of Jesus – shows that all across the region Jesus was associated with spiritual powers.
  • It’s bad history to suggest these things were made up. Why then would people believe it was made up? Anti-supernaturalism – ruling out supernatural things – saying they don’t happen at all, like fairy tales. So we fit the evidence around that. But is this reasonable?
  • You can’t scientifically prove these miracles Jesus did – they’re part of ancient history. But does it mean they’re not true? The problem is that not everything can be proven using scientific methods, for example – the very notion that something isn’t true if it isn’t proved scientifically – this statement can’t be proven scientifically! It’s another leap of faith, an assumption.
  • There is an awareness that there is power, a miraculous power. We can take the miracles as history.

Why did Jesus do the miracles he did?

  • Motivated out of tremendous compassion.
  • Feeding 5,000 people from one person’s lunch – wanting to feed them and look after them.
  • So many examples of the mercy and pity and compassion of Jesus – he was always showing it.
  • Look at the way Jesus treated outcasts and those rejected by society, e.g. healing lepers, physically healing a socially outcast woman – those who people couldn’t go near because they were “unclean”.
  • We don’t fully understand how set apart from us God is – how we can’t just waltz on up to him. Bodily diseases like leprosy are symbolic of how unclean we are and how untouchable God is. And yet Jesus showed himself as willing and wanting to help.
  • Example of woman whose back was bent over for 18 years – a terrible infirmity, which would have also been humiliating. The religious leaders cared more about looking after animals on the Sabbath than people, like this woman – saying she shouldn’t be healed. Jesus sees that this is not right – it’s so wrong, not how his Father intended things
  • The man who asked Jesus what he must do to have eternal life – Jesus looked on him with love. The same with us – we don’t fully know how much he looks on us with kindness, love, mercy and compassion – he is full of it!
  • Jesus also did miracles for other reasons:

1.     To teach as a parable, e.g. the fig tree that Jesus curses – seems harsh, but he’s really trying to show something symbolically – that God’s people, the people of Israel, are unfruitful and God will judge them.

2.     To show that we can do miracles with faith in him.

3.     To show his authority – his power to forgive sin.

4.     To show the glory of God, to show how glorious he is. We were designed by God to know the glory of God, to be satisfied by his glory. Any other glory we pursue will ultimately disappoint us.

5.     As signs of his kingdom. The world is under darkness and under the power of the evil one, the devil, who is real (not some mythical cartoon-figure), who hates God and hates people. We can see there is evil in the world – and that’s why Jesus came – to destroy the works of the devil and bring in a new, right kingdom – of peace, goodness and wholeness. Jesus won the greatest victory – one day he will completely eradicate sin and sickness and death, bringing in the fullness of his kingdom. We get a taste of it on earth with miracles that happen now. We are all invited into this eternal kingdom, and get to witness signs of it.

Was Jesus Black/White, Rich/Poor, Right/Left?

November 24th, 2010

Luke 12:13-34. Jesus says a number of shocking things – he doesn’t fit into the boxes we put him in. We try to fit him around our agenda but it doesn’t work, because he is the Lord and centre of everything. Jesus is the cornerstone that was rejected – not the conveniently shaped stone we want – but the foundation we all need to build on. Throughout history there have been many ways Jesus has been put into boxes.

1. Was Jesus White or Black?

  • We all have an idea of what Jesus looked like – in the western world we have a view of a white, blonde-haired Jesus, whereas in places like Africa, Jesus is pictured as black.
  • Jesus and Christianity do not belong to any one particular ethnicity or culture.
  • In heaven there will be people from every race, culture, language – a fully diverse people.

2. Rich or Poor?

  • Jesus was a skilled manual labourer – would have earned quite a respectable income for his culture. He came from Nazareth, a town which was generally poor, and his parents also showed themselves to be poor (e.g. in the temple, they offered 2 turtle doves – the sacrifice for poor people).
  • When Jesus was a travelling preacher, it was custom to be kept going by the donations and financial support of others – he was not wealthy, but neither was he destitute.
  • Jesus and his disciples often got by financially completely by faith.
  • There are 2 popular versions that people have got behind – the wealthy Jesus or the poor Jesus. The first camp say rich is good and poor is bad; the second camp same the reverse.
  • But there was no evidence that Jesus was wealthy – no evidence for prosperity theology. But in the other camp, being poor doesn’t make you holy.
  • You can be rich for good reasons – because of hard work, wise handling of finances, integrity, etc. and you can be poor for bad reasons – squandering your money away. But you can also be rich for bad reasons and poor for good reasons.
  • The point is that it’s our attitude to wealth, not wealth itself, that is important. It’s about what you do with the money you have – do you give generously or do you hoard it all for yourself?
  • Money is a terrible deceiver – it makes you think you’re safe and secure, when ultimately you’re not.
  • It’s not a sin to accumulate a lot of money, the same way it’s not a sin to sleep with a sword hanging over your bed – it can just be very unwise and risky.
  • When Jesus talked about the poor being blessed and receiving salvation, what he means is that the poor seem to have a head-start in realising their need for God as they are deeply aware of their needs – whereas the rich think they already have all they need and are content with that.
  • God doesn’t need us – we need him! We are all “in the red” with God – we need him to pay our spiritual debt against him.
  • Money ruins our perspective and takes us away from trusting God.
  • We never have enough money!
  • God knows what you need – he can be trusted to provide. And with that comes real peace, security and rest. He has your back – he will always provide for you.
  • We can give generously with joy, because we know we’ve found something better than riches – Jesus. You deal with your money in the right way when you meet him.

3. Left or Right (Political)

  • This has also been passionately debated through history – was Jesus left-wing or right-wing?
  • In some ways Jesus was right-wing: he knew the ultimate problem is within the human heart (the heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart). Jesus said no-one except God is good and we are all evil. So many human decisions/solutions completely ignore the wickedness of the heart.
  • But Jesus did not promote complacency.
  • In other ways, Jesus was left-wing: he brought about the revolution of God’s kingdom and fought for social justice. He was revolutionary about how people can change – not by rules but by a new birth and a changed heart through meeting Jesus.

Ultimately, where you treasure is there your heart is. Jesus is worth everything – you see that when you meet him. You find something better than your own preconceptions, better than riches – Jesus himself.

Did Jesus Rise From The Dead?

November 8th, 2010

All of us hear/see the message of the resurrection through a particular set of “lenses” – our own opinion and worldview. Even if you don’t care about the resurrection, that is still a lens – one that believes it doesn’t matter or affect your life. The aim of this message is to challenge some of those lenses.

1 Corinthians 15:1-9 – this is part of a letter written by the apostle Paul to the church in Corinth, addressing some issues they had with the resurrection. Here in Brighton there are many popular lenses.

1. “Scientific” response

  • This says that the resurrection is impossible because people don’t rise from the dead.
  • People with this lens with explain away the resurrection as Chinese whispers, started by fans of Jesus – that his story got greatly exaggerated into legends.
  • But one problem (of many) with this is that scholars will say that it takes generations and generations for legends like these to form, as well as a lack of historical evidence. However, the Gospels are agreed by historical scholars to be excellent historical evidence, and the first one (Mark) was written around 50-60 AD – not anywhere near long enough for a legend to evolve.
  • Paul also talks about how Jesus appeared to 500 people at one time in his letter to the Corinthians – most of whom were still alive at the time of writing the letter, so people could check with those eyewitnesses to validate their story.
  • There are several keys facts that the majority of historical scholars (most non-Christian) will agree on:

i.      Jesus’ death and burial. He was crucified and died on the cross – the spear that was put in his side proved he was biologically dead – and he was buried in a tomb.

ii.     Empty tomb on Easter Sunday

iii.    Appearances of Jesus – many people claiming to have seen him

iv.    Testimony of the Jesus’ disciples – they preached the death and resurrection of Jesus with confidence and most died for their beliefs. Pascal: “I tend to take notice of witnesses who have their throats cut.” 10 out of the 12 disciples ended up being martyrs.

  • Two people firmly did not believe in Jesus – his brother James and the apostle Paul, who went around persecuting the Church. But they ended up turning around and living their whole lives for Jesus, proclaiming his death and resurrection.
  • We have to deal with this information!
  • People conjure up explanations for these facts – e.g. they got the wrong tomb, or the disciples stole the body. But you have to deal with the fact that the disciples died for this – why would they lose their life for a lie? Also the authorities could’ve put an immediate end to Christianity (they sure wanted to) by simply producing the dead body of Jesus – but they couldn’t!
  • Or people will say that Jesus somehow didn’t really die. This is ludicrous – most people didn’t even make it past the flogging stage but died then. How can we honestly think that Jesus survived the flogging and the crucifixion, and somehow burst out of his grave clothes which were tightly wrapped around him, and move aside the heavy stone from the tomb, and beat off the Roman guards?!
  • This leaves us with the only logical explanation – that Jesus really did die for our sins and he rose again to give us new life.
  • So many people have become Christians from studying the evidence of the resurrection in an effort to try and disprove Christianity!
  • If you disbelieve in this evidence then it follows that you can’t believe in a god of any kind at all – at least this is a consistent viewpoint. But if you do believe there is a god or spirituality, how will you account for this?

2. Personal response

  • This viewpoint says “OK maybe it did happen, but how does it affect me and my life?”
  • Interestingly, a lot of people in the “scientific” response camp will fall into this view once they are presented with the solid case of evidence.
  • The resurrection matters so much – it’s the most important thing! Because of these reasons:
  • It means we have to take all the rest of what Jesus said and claimed seriously. They are surely the words of life. Otherwise we shouldn’t pay attention to him. But he does offer us true life! He can be trusted because what he promised came true.We all care about something – justice, right/wrong, the environment, etc. But why care about these things – or anything – if Jesus didn’t rise? Life would be without any meaning or value – it will all just burn up one day. We need to understand that this message was first preached to Jews and Greeks – both who had their own problems with the resurrection, one being that the physical creation is good and that God wants to not just get rid of it, but to restore it. And Jesus is the firstfruits of this new creation – of the physical creation resurrected and made perfect.
    • Christians believe that life matters and know that one day it is going to be restored and made right again. That is why they have been at the forefront of the creation of hospitals and schools – because life matters.
    • Tragically, the single largest cause of deaths among men aged 18-35 in Brighton is suicide. So many people have no meaning in life. But the resurrection gives us HOPE.

    Why Did Jesus Die?

    November 4th, 2010

    Huge crowds followed Jesus – there were healings, dead being raised, people set free. Jesus made remarkable claims about himself – saying he was the only way of life. The religious leaders began to hate him for it, because in their eyes it was blasphemy. They looked for any excuse to start a rebellion against him.

    Jesus was crucified and died to bring salvation for all the nations – this was God’s plan of rescuing and saving the human race.

    Luke 23:32-43 records the account of Jesus on the cross with the 2 thieves on either side of him – we can gain a lot from examining this.

    1. The easiest mistake we can make

    • Like the first thieve and the crowds, we can have Jesus right next to us and totally miss him – who he really is and what he came to do.
    • The Jews thought God would/could never die in weakness but would come in power and overtake the Roman government. They thought no good could come of Jesus’ death.
    • Sometimes we come to Jesus because of an urgent/immediate “need” – career, relationships, money, health – like he’s a genie in a bottle. It only leads to emptiness if he gives us what we want, because we find we’re still not satisfied. We need to come as sinners, not sufferers.
    • We miss the fact that Jesus came to give himself to us, not to fix our life how we think it should be fixed. We need Jesus at the centre – he is what will fulfil us.

    2. The hardest admission

    • We have to admit we are sinners – we come to God as a sinner, not a sufferer. This is the hardest admission to make because it means we have to let go of our pride and be vulnerable.
    • The second thief was mocking Jesus with the rest – and then dramatically became Jesus’ advocate.
    • The tipping point comes when we are under pressure.
    • When we become vulnerable and open ourselves to the gospel of grace, we receive the real thing.
    • It’s not about attaining moral standards – this just leads to pride or despair/anxiety, treating God as if he owes you for how “good” you are.

    3. The greatest gift

    • Jesus wants to forgive us immediately if we will turn to him – see how quickly he did for the second thief. Jesus is so fast to respond to our admission.
    • The second thief gets it, then the Roman centurion does.
    • Jesus paid the greatest price to give us this – it was his choice.
    • He takes our imperfection – our guilt and shame – and we get his perfection in exchange!
    • When you’re convinced you’re loved, you will live a completely different life! You’re the spiritual equivalent of a billionaire; why would you care about losing a £10 note? You’re loved and accepted by the only one who matters – why care about those few people who reject you or don’t like you?
    • We don’t need to fear death – Jesus has made the way of eternal life. Because he resurrected, we know we will also because we belong to him!

    Did Jesus Start a Religion by Accident?

    October 19th, 2010

    Many people question whether Jesus really meant to start Christianity or the Church, usually because people tend to like Jesus a lot more than the Church and Christians. People blame the Church for many awful things done in the name of God or Jesus, and famous figures like John Lennon have said that it is the disciples that ruin the image of Jesus. People often don’t reject Jesus but the Church.

    However, we need to examine whether Jesus meant the Church and we need to look at his actions as well as his words. One thing Jesus did was that he chose 12 disciples – just like how God’s people began with the 12 sons of Israel. In this he was making a clear statement – that he was starting a new community belonging to God. Jesus also called his disciples his “little flock” – same terminology used by God to describe his people Israel – and he used the imagery of the bride and the bridegroom like in the Old Testament. It shows Jesus was meaning to do the same thing as in the Old Testament – preparing a people for God.

    Jesus also called his disciples his family above his natural family – this was a shocking declaration in that culture. It was radical and it showed Jesus believed in this.

    Matthew 16:13 – the turning point of Jesus’ ministry, the first revelation of Jesus’ identity. This changes the course of events – Jesus says they’re on a new mission. This is the plan – ‘on this rock I will build my Church’. It is so serious that not even the gates of hell will prevail against it.

    Jesus entrusts the authority and legacy to Peter and the disciples to inherit his calling. God wills that people carry this authority – His reign – on earth. When Jesus was on earth he was the light of the world; now his Church is the light, carrying his rule and glory across all over the world.

    Jesus invented and intended the Church.

    It’s no use debating about the good vs. the bad that has been done by the Church; the real question is was it really true Christianity, or a distortion, when bad things have been done in the name of Christ? Unfortunately we live with the consequences of what Constantine did in the 4th century, which was to make everyone in the Roman Empire a Christian, leading onto the tie we still have between the Church and the State. Jesus did not intend for this to happen – no one can be forced to become a Christian. But what we have had over the centuries is people who claim to be Christians, who didn’t even believe in Jesus, doing terrible acts while wearing the “uniform” of Christ. The Crusades is one example, done on false teaching about how killing Muslims would be your ticket to heaven.

    Don’t dismiss Christianity because of what some people disguised as “Christians” have done. There are also countless amazing things that the Church has done, because of faithfulness to Jesus and his commands, acting as it should – e.g. Martin Luther King. But we have to remember, this doesn’t mean the Church will always look right when it’s being faithful to Jesus – people won’t always like or approve of what it does. Jesus said the Church will be persecuted and hated.

    As the Church, we should aim to have favour with all people, but ultimately our allegiance to Christ always comes before pleasing people. We will sometimes be criticised by people who thing they’re doing good or the right thing (for example, when the disciples thought they were right in criticising the woman who poured out a whole jar of perfume on Jesus’ feet). However, do not use persecution as an excuse for just being obnoxious.

    Some people find joining a church of Christians unattractive – we love individualism in this culture and don’t want to conform. But the truth is we’re still conformists no matter what, just to other things and other communities. For others, it’s an issue of standards, thinking they’re better than Christians – that Christians are boring failures and hypocrites, and they can “do better”. But Christians are just people who have admitted that they’re failures – that is the difference. We all need to admit the same, because none of us are perfect, and come freely into Jesus’ community.

    Who did Jesus think He was?

    October 13th, 2010

    Was Jesus just a man with an over inflated story? Would he just be embarrassed by all the subsequent attention? Actually Jesus very clear about who he was and he must have been either incredibly deluded or someone absolutely unique in human history.

    The basic message of Jesus was himself and that’s the evidence of the gospels. This makes Christianity unique in world religions, take Jesus out of Christianity then it all collapses. It’s all built on his identity so it’s important we understand who he is.

    John’s gospel is built around the ‘I am’ statements of Jesus.

    I am the bread of life. We all have a hunger that needs satisfying. Jesus didn’t just direct people to the source of this satisfaction he claimed to be that himself.

    He didn’t just point to the truth he said; I am the way, the truth and the life.

    I am the resurrection and the life Jesus doesn’t provide the answers he provides himself, THE answer.

    Jesus often described himself as the son of man. Was Jesus emphasising he was just human?

    Daniel 7:13-14  provides a great description of the son of man. He has authority to rule all the nations and they’ll worship him. It’s not about manhood, the name refers to him being God,  or another name for the son of man; Messiah. Messiah means anointed, empowered by God for a certain task.

    Old Testatment  full of prophetic promises for a coming rescuer, the messiah. Jesus read all those things, understood them and realised that was his identity. Jesus could have crushed this identity, most ‘messiahs’ end up being killed! Even before the Sanhedrin prior to his execution. They asked are you the Christ? He says I am.

    What part do our expectations play in the way God acts?

    The Jews didn’t understand why Jesus wasn’t acting like the messiah they’d expected. They thought their enemy was the Romans but Jesus talked about an enemy much more dangerous that required a much different saviour to the one they expected.

    We all want Jesus to solve our problems and help us get what we want. But that can show we don’t really understand Jesus and what he offers.

    Our problems are much deeper. There is a heart issue at stake.

    Did Jesus Really Live?

    October 6th, 2010

    Jesus is always in the public eye, the most famous person – and everyone has an opinion about who he is. But we can’t just make up who we think he is; we have to build up an accurate portrait of who he really was.

    Firstly, did he even exist? Or is he just a myth? This is common perception – that people think of Jesus as a myth that is used by people as a crutch to help them through life. However, we need to look at the facts and what historical evidence there is for his actual existence.

    Over the centuries, there has been a popular thought that God started off the world and has simply left it to its own devices, and hasn’t got involved since. Additionally, in our present age, we don’t believe in miracles anymore – we think we’re “beyond” it. And since the gospels are full of the miracles of Jesus, we explain it all away as myth and don’t take any of it seriously. However, as an atheist once said to his friend C.S. Lewis (who was also an atheist at the time), the gospels actually seem to be solid history.

    Our faith must be based on reason and truth – we need to know what we believe is based on facts; it is definitely not something we believe in spite of facts.

    Also fuelling the myth theory in our day and age – and many conspiracy theories about Jesus – are the Gnostic gospels. People have taken to these to be the “real” accounts of Jesus. However, these were not only written generations and even centuries after the 4 gospels of the Bible were written, but also by people who wanted to hijack the teaching of Jesus. The early church had made its mind up about who Jesus was long before the Gnostic gospels – and it was not a power-hungry establishment, but a loving community of believers who were being martyred for their faith.

    So how trustworthy are the books of the Bible, and in particular, the 4 gospels?

    1. What kind of books?
    • Were the gospels history or legends/myth?
    • We need to look at how the author describe their own writings – they present it as sure historical fact, not myths or stories.
    • 2 Peter 1:16 – described as Scripture; beginning of Luke – eyewitness accounts
    • The way they were written – such detail and accuracy that would never have been included by ancient writers if they were purely made-up stories.
    • There is the very common idea that Christianity is simply borrowed from “older” myths – e.g. stories apparently telling of gods born of a virgin, gods who died and rose again, etc. But the reality is that scholars have said the earliest written sources of these “parallel” myths do NOT precede the gospels – so it would appear that the myths have copied Christianity instead, if anything. Not only this, but the “parallels” are bizarre and are not very similar at all. Do not be wavered by conspiracy hype.

    2. Do other ancient writers back them up?Tacitus
    • Yes, even many non-Christians wrote about Jesus and the early church
    • One example is Tacitus (56 AD – 117 AD) – one of the great historians of the ancient world. He wrote about the man Jesus who was killed under Pontius Pilate.
    • Another is Josephus (37 AD – c.100 AD) – a renowned Jewish historian. What he said lines up with the gospels. Although there has been some dispute over the accuracy of his writings (there have been suspicions that it has been tampered with), scholars say that what we have now is largely accurate.
    • There are at least 100 facts from other sources that line up with the Bible.

    3. What happened between events and writings?
    • Because the gospels were written decades after the events had happened many people assume what we have is just a case of Chinese whispers.
    • However, the time between the events and writing is incredibly short in terms of ancient historical texts.
    • Some scholars (e.g. F. C. Baur) have said that they were written much later, at least in the second century. And yet a copy of John’s gospel was found and carbon dated back to no later than 130 AD, more likely 100 AD (and remember, this was just a copy).
    • The gospels were written later because people lived in an oral culture in that day – the message and stories would have been preached and spoken, but not like Chinese whispers. People in that culture would have paid immense detail to what was being said, memorising what they heard and passing it on exactly as they had heard it. There was a huge emphasis on passing it on accurately.
    • It was eventually written down for the generations to come, as those who were telling it originally were dying out.
    • Eyewitness accounts were done with immense care and attention to accuracy. The writers took it incredibly seriously – this was a matter of life and death, of heaven and hell. Therefore, we can take them seriously.

    4. Do we have good manuscripts?
    • Number of complete New Testament copies: 5,700; written 60-100 AD; earliest copy is 300 AD; time span: 200 years.
    • Compared to other ancient texts (which are unquestioned as historical fact), this is phenomenally solid – miles ahead of any other ancient texts.
    • Copies were found in all different parts of the world, and yet they all said the same thing.

    Ultimately, we fight the accuracy of the New Testament because if it is true and Jesus is real, it changes everything, it affects our lives, and we can’t ignore it and go on living on our own terms. We need to look at the facts and make up our minds from those – not merely from ideas made popular by our culture.

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