Apologetics Class 4/22/2018

Who Is Jesus / What books should be in the Bible / Is the Bible Really Trustworthy?

Tomorrow, we’re planning to watch 2 videos.  First is lesson 11 of the DVD series

and a second video “The Bible’s Reliability & Accuracy”:

Here is the note taking form I will be handing out with the discussion questions for each video:

Who Is Jesus / What books should be in the Bible (4/22/2018)

    1. Who is Jesus? C.S. Lewis “I am trying to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’  That is the one thing we must not say.  A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher.  He would rather be lunatic – on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the devil of hell…You must make your choice.  Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse.  You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God.  But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher.  He has not left that open to us.  He did not intend to.” (Mere Christianity p. 55-56)
      1. Liar – that doesn’t make any sense – if He was a liar, He died for a lie that He knew was a lie
      2. Lunatic – No, He made the clearest, greatest moral teachings ever made.
      3. Legend – the evidence we’ve seen so far in this class makes this unreasonable
      4. Lord – This is the only other option left.
    2. Jesus is God, and whatever God teaches is true!
    3. Jesus claimed to be God and He predicted it and proved it by accomplishing His own resurrection from the dead.
    4. What did Jesus teach about the Bible (the Old Testament):
      1. It is divinely authoritative (Mt 4:4, 7, 10) – when talking with Satan
      2. It is imperishable (Mt. 5:17-18)
      3. It is infallible (Jn. 10:35) – the Scripture can’t be broken
      4. It is inerrant (without error) Mt. 22:29
      5. It is historically reliable – Noah and Jonah really occurred – (Mt. 12:40, Mt. 24:37-38)
      6. It is scientifically accurate – although it’s not a scientific text book (Mt. 19:4-5) – God created them male and female.
      7. It has ultimate supremacy (Mt. 15:3,6) – you nullify the word of God in favor of your traditions.
    5. Christ affirmed (vs. critics denied):
      1. Daniel was a prophet
      2. God created Adam and Eve
      3. Jonah was swallowed by a fish
      4. World was drowned in a flood
      5. One prophet wrote Isaiah (critics say it was written by 3 Isaiahs)
    6. Jesus affirmed:
      1. Beginning at Moses…, He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself (Luke 24:27)
      2. The Scriptures testify of Me (John 5:39)
      3. From Abel to Zechariah… (Mt. 23:35)
      4. Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets… (Mt 5:17-18)
      5. “It is written” – The authority of the Old Testament is cited that way 92 times in the NT
    7. Jesus promised the New Testament (John 14, 16)
      1. Jesus promised the Holy Spirit would teach the apostles “all things” and lead them into “all truth”. (see John 14:26) – By the way that verse has the Trinity in it. Also see John 16:13.
    8. Canon – standard or measuring rod.
      1. Bruce Metzger (Princeton University) – “The Canon is a list of authoritative books more than it is an authoritative list of books.”
      2. He’s saying that what should be in the Bible is not determined by us, it is discovered by us. What should be in the Bible are the books that God inspired and we need to discover what those books are.
      3. The church didn’t decide what would be in Bible, we discovered what the inspired books are. And they had some criteria to do so.
    9. What books should be in the New Testament (how did the church discover the canon) – they used these criteria:
      1. Was it written by a prophet of God (or somebody that knew a prophet of God and was confirmed by that prophet)?
      2. Was the writer confirmed by acts of God or someone who was confirmed as an eyewitness (e.g. Paul confirmed Luke)? Paul quotes Luke as Scripture.  (this is how we know Muhammad was not a prophet of God – when he was asked to do a miracle, he declined saying that he doesn’t do miracles – he just writes a book.  The miracles attributed to Muhammad came much later and they were not written or observed by eyewitnesses.  They’re written in the Hadith, which are later writings of the traditions about Muhammad).  On the other hand the New Testament writers did miracles.
      3. Was the writing accepted by the people of God? Here is confirmation of the authorship and authority of these documents:
        1. 25 of 27 books quoted as authoritative by 110 A.D. They only don’t quote 2nd John and Jude.
        2. Gospels and Acts are cited during the lives of the Apostles
        3. Quoted as authoritative and unique
        4. They’re collected early in one volume
        5. Publically read & expounded upon it.
        6. Commentaries written
        7. Opponents of the early church admitted Gospels written by disciples
        8. No other “gospels” were treated this way. Da Vinci code – what about the other “gospels”?
          1. They are all forgeries
          2. Written well into the 2nd century
          3. You write something steals someone else’s name that has authority and puts their name on it. They put the names of eyewitnesses (Apostle).  Would not accept “the Gospel of Ed”.
          4. Back handed complement that they’re putting the Apostle’s names on them. It admits that the Church would only take as authoritative something that came from an Apostle.
          5. Gospel of Thomas
            1. Forgery written 100 years after the NT Gospels
            2. Help of Thomas contains blended saying from the 4 NT Gospels; the sayings are in Syriac and originated in 175 A.D. The language wasn’t even available in the 1st
            3. Females are not worthy of life. Must become men to be saved.
          6. Gospel of Peter
            1. Forgery found in a 9th century monk’s coffin in Egypt in 1880.
            2. Could be forgery ancient church historians warned was attributed to Peter.
            3. It’s Anti-Semitic, so it is not written by a 1st century Jew
            4. The author is ignorant of first century practices and rulers (anachronisms).
            5. Has embellished resurrection account with a talking cross and Jesus’ head stretching to the clouds. Cool, but not true.  The real Gospel writers report this like they’re just news reporters.  They were not writing theology, they were writing history.  They unpack all the theological implications of the resurrection in the epistles.
          7. Gospel of Judas
            1. Forgery, cited by Irenaeus (2nd century Bishop) as fictitious.
            2. Does not teach monotheism
            3. Says that humans are divine.
            4. Judas was a hero
            5. Salvation is by special knowledge (Gnosticism)
            6. New insights about the relationship between Judas and Jesus. Analogy with Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth.
        9. On Internet prevalent idea that the New Testament documents were copied from Pagan resurrection myths. “Not everything you read on the internet is true”.
          1. Resurrection myths came after Christianity, not before (earliest 2nd century A.D.)
          2. Copying was the other way around.
          3. Osiris – was not a resurrected figure (zombie in the underworld) – predates Christ, but no parallel.
          4. Just because you have parallels doesn’t mean there’s borrowing going on
          5. NT writers make historical claims – were not writing mythology like resurrection myths.
          6. Theory can’t explain:
            1. Numerous eyewitness details in the NT
            2. Embarrassing details of disciples and Jesus
            3. Martyrdom of the disciples
            4. Growth of the Church (especially in Jerusalem)
            5. Why non-Christian writers tell same story
            6. Jewish, not pagans were the founders of Christianity
    10. Conclusion is that your NT is the one Jesus promised.

Is the Bible Really Trustworthy?

      1. More than ½ of all college professors believe the Bible is a b________ of f__________.
      2. 60%-80% of American College students walk away from their f__________________.
      3. The heart cannot exalt in what the mind r_______________.
      4. There are ~24,000 hand-wr___________ c_________ of the 27 books of the New Testament.
      5. The oldest complete N_____ T_____________ is less than 300 years from the or___________s. (Codex Sinaiticus)
      6. The New Testament has 40 lines of textual corruption with an ac____________ of 99.5%.
      7. There are as many as 400,000 te__________ va________s across the New Testament.
      8. Most of the variants consist of sp______________, gr____________ and other scribal errors and less than 1% of those variants affect the m_____________g of the text.
      9. Not one Christian teaching or belief is d__________ on or ch____________ by any variant.
      10. The C___________ is the list of books considered to be Scripture.
      11. The C___________ consists of works that:
        1. Were from tr_________________ sources.
        2. Were consistent with Ap______________ Te_____________.
      12. An early canon that was discovered ~150 years before the Council of Nicaea was the M_______________ fragment (170AD).
      13. 6 lines of testimony that the Bible is historically reliable (Frank Turek):
        1. E_____________________ (most written before 70AD)
        2. E_____________________ (140 confirmed historical details in Acts and John)
        3. E_____________________ (Details in the text that the writers wouldn’t have made up)
        4. E_____________________ (Died as martyrs-by recanting could’ve saved themselves)
        5. E_____________________ (Old Testament prophecy fulfilled in NT)
        6. E_____________________ (Non-Christian sources within 150 yrs of Jesus’ life)
      14. The crucial gap is not the gap between the time of the ev________ and t_____; the crucial gap is the gap between the ev______ and the events d________ by that evidence…. Good ev_______ doesn’t become bad evidence simply because of the la______ of time… We have better sources for the life of J________ of N__________ than we do for most of the major figures of Antiquity. (William Lane Craig)
      15. John’s “Chain of Custody” consists of à (Papias, Ignatius and Polycarp) à (Irenaeus) à (Hippolytus) – J. Warner Wallace
      16. The 1st council that af__________ the C___________ is the Council of Laodicea in 363 AD.
      17. When you take the book of Daniel, written late 500’s (BC) and you put it “pro-forma” onto Al________ the Gr_______ in the 300’s before Christ, you see specific prophecy centuries before hand…No ancient document – NONE – has the kind of doc__________y sup_______t that the Bible has. (Ravi Zacharias).
      18. The Bible was written th______________ men, by G________. (Mark Spence)
      19. Man was the in__________ used by God to convey His th_______ in the Bible. (Mark Spence)
      20. The Bible’s unity is due to the fact that, ultimately, it has o____ A________ – God. (Mark Spence)
      21. Modern science was birthed in the 17th century because of a belief in an unchanging God of or___________, pu________ and cons__________y. (Mark Spence)
      22. Skepticism is the hallmark of university education today. (Ravi Zacharias)
      23. I saw him take out a Bible and I thought, “Alright, another op________ to take down a Christian!” (Nabeel Qureshi, author of “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity”)
      24. The people who wrote the New Testament were the di_______, and they were multi-lingual – they could understand Aramaic, they could understand Greek, they could hear in one and write in another without losing the m__________ whatsoever. (Nabeel Qureshi)
      25. The corroboration test: there are 9 n___-C________ sources that mention Jesus within 150 years of His death. Jesus has 4 times as many h________ sources that speak of Him than T________ C__________, the Roman Emperor at the time.
      26. The Bible is not just a book, it is a lo_____ le_______ that God wrote to touch the hearts of people here so that they can know Him.
      27. Why in the world should you believe the Bible:
        1. It’s R____________________
        2. It has E__________________
        3. It’s been P________________
        4. It points to T______________

Discussion Questions (part 1)

      1. C.S. Lewis claims that there are 3 possibilities regarding the identity of Jesus: Lord, Liar, Lunatic. Why are Liar and Lunatic implausible?
      2. Jesus affirmed as true many of the most disputed passages of the Old Testament (Adam and Eve, Noah, Jonah, Daniel, etc.) What is the significance of this for Christian apologetics?
      3. Jesus certainly affirmed the Old Testament. Where did He promise the New Testament?
      4. Why were the Gospels of Peter, Thomas and Judas never included in the New Testament?
      5. Skeptics like to claim that the resurrection of Christ was not an actual historical event, but was instead copied from pagan resurrection myths. Why is this claim not plausible?
      6. In light of all the evidence we’ve discussed in this class, who has to have more faith – the Christian or the non-Christian? Why?  Explain your answer.

Discussion Questions (part 2)

      1. What is currently the oldest fragment of a New Testament text and what does it contain? What is the estimated dating of this fragment and how close is that to the writing of it?
      2. How does the New Testament compare to other literary works from antiquity in terms of “Number of Copies” and “Years from Original”?
      3. What is the discipline of Textual Criticism and why is it important in helping to establish biblical reliability?
      4. How can we “know” anything that was written 2,000 years ago?
      5. What is the “Chain of Custody” that J. Warner Wallace describes and why is it relevant to the historical reliability of the New Testament?
      6. How can we trust the Bible when it was written by men?
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