Eye Witness Accounts

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I recently watched, via Netflix, the Case for Christ by Lee Strobel. The parts he highlighted from the New Testament that demonstrate that the authors of the four gospels were either eye witnesses themselves to the events they wrote about, or drew on eye witness accounts. In the case of Luke, he makes it clear that he spent considerable time interviewing several eye witnesses to make sure he had the most accurate record of all.

Drawing from this fact alone, I was inspired to see how inspired the New Testament really was. Someone living at the time of Jesus near Jerusalem wouldn’t have a hard time finding one or several eye witnesses. The stories of Jesus’ actions would likely be a topic of the day. The congregation of Christians who met regularly to talk about Jesus after his death and resurrection would have more scripture in whispers than we have in the entire Bible.

The authors of the four gospels went through great lengths to extract only the most important bits of Jesus’ life and teachings. Their purpose was clear—to convince people of the important of worshiping Jesus as the Son of God and sole means of salvation. To that end, they did an extraordinary job.

The critics of the gospels, those who believe Jesus was some preacher stoned and hanged on a tree, or who believe Jesus never existed or did exist but hardly did anything miraculous, or did some miraculous things but was not the Lamb of God, and so on and so forth, have a lot of explaining to do. Unfortunately, I can’t imagine anything they can say or do that would convince me of disbelieving the gospels. The evidence is too strong in my mind and heart.

As we worship Jesus this Christmas (let us not be distracted from that!) let us imagine for a moment what it would have felt like to see the shepherds running through the streets of Bethlehem loudly declaring that the Savior of the World is born that night. Would we ignore them as lunatics, or would we take a moment to pause and praise God for sending His Son to save us?

If we were to walk in the streets where Jesus taught, would we have followed the crowd to listen to the teachings of Jesus, and perhaps get a glimpse of his face? Would we take the time to ask people who claimed to be healed by Jesus? Would we remember the Sermon on the Mount?

As Jesus was triumphantly praised as he entered Jerusalem on the back of a donkey, would we join in that praise? Would we still praise him even when the political storm turned against him, and we saw him bleeding? Would we offer to carry the cross for him up that hill?

Where would we be after his death? Would we wait by his tomb, impatient for his resurrection, or would we scatter and flee like the early saints?

Oftentimes, people accuse members of the LDS church of poo-pooing the Bible because we only believe it “as far as it is translated correctly”. This completely ignores the positive affirmation “We believe the Bible to be the Word of God”, which we believe first and foremost. It is more positive than the “We also believe the Book of Mormon to be the Word of God”, which almost seems conditional on our belief of the Bible.

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5 Responses to “Eye Witness Accounts”

  1. demo kid Says:

    The critics of the gospels, those who believe Jesus was some preacher stoned and hanged on a tree, or who believe Jesus never existed or did exist but hardly did anything miraculous, or did some miraculous things but was not the Lamb of God, and so on and so forth, have a lot of explaining to do.

    A lot of explaining to do? There is absolutely no substantive, rational evidence provided by Strobel to support the divinity of Christ or miracles performed. Likewise, to claim that the four gospels provide an accurate portrayal of Christ when a number of alternative gospels were suppressed by the early church is amusing at best.

    Feel free to gain comfort from religious works… but to assume that your opinions are automatically true just because you have faith in them is sheer arrogance.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      Evidence 1: The record exists. Prove that the record is not true, because the burden of proof is on you, not me.

      Evidence 2: Hundreds of millions of people worldwide have attempted to follow Jesus, and have received some sort of divine manifestation that his teachings are true and that he is, indeed, all that he claimed to be in the Bible. Prove that these hundreds of millions of people are lunatics, liars, or frauds.

      Evidence 3: I, myself, have obtained a miraculous witness that the Bible is true and that Jesus is the Savior of the world. I have experienced, for myself, a literal washing of sins and a rebirth. I have experienced from time to time the “joy of the saints” and i have witnessed in a miniscule degree the glory of God and the tiniest portion of what awaits those who trust in Jesus.

      What more evidence can you ask for? Do you want concrete proof? Then do what Jesus did and see if His promises come true. Or sit in your ignorance and sin and wonder why the whole world seems like a dark and forlorn place, and all humanity damned to extinction.

      The Atheist, who hearing a miraculous report, immediately discounts the report because of its miraculous nature, is no different than the buffoon, upon hearing that atoms can be split and release magnificent energy, boldly sits in his ignorance and declares all of science a fraud. Hearing, they hear not. Seeing, they see not.

  2. demo kid Says:

    And please stop making arguments based on flawed circular reasoning: you cannot prove that events in the Bible are true simply because they are found in the Bible. You’re seriously embarrassing yourself when you state in the next breath that you’re a serious scientist.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      I’ll stop using circular reasoning once you stop using naturalistic philosophy (assumption that there is no God) to prove there is no God.

      However, I wonder what circular reasoning has to do with the Bible. The Bible never claims to be a treatise on philosophy. The Bible is a report from eyewitness accounts of inspired men and women who actually witnessed the events they saw.

      The task of the Atheist is not to prove the Bible incorrect. The very fact the Bible exists and is the most reliable historical record on Planet Earth is enough to prove that the events actually occurred as they are recorded. The task of the Atheist is to prove all of the witnesses in the Bible as frauds and liars, or lunatics and deranged. The Christian and Jew, however, simply need to prove that the people who recorded the events in the Bible were at least somewhat trustworthy sources.

      Let me put it to you this way. If you live near Area 51, and overnight, hundreds of people testified that they saw and heard an alien spacecraft crash, and then they saw and communicated with beings that emerged from the craft in green suits, then it no longer matters what you saw and heard. You have a hundred witnesses to an event, making it even more reliable evidence than what you have seen and heard. Your task, if you want to prove that these events did not occur, is to show that each of these people was a liar, a fraud, or mentally incompetent. If, among those hundreds of witnesses, even 2 remained that were not liars or frauds or lunatics, then it doesn’t matter what the other 98 were. These two have a testimony with more facts that you can collect with your own two eyes and ears.

  3. Logical Fallacies, Religion, and Hypocrisy Says:

    […] this post he writes about Eye Witness Accounts from 2000+ years ago which supposedly constitute convincing evidence about the truth of claims in […]

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