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BELIEVING IN JUST ANY SORT OF GOD IS NOT ENOUGH! Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. (James 2:19)

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Presentation on theme: "BELIEVING IN JUST ANY SORT OF GOD IS NOT ENOUGH! Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. (James 2:19)"— Presentation transcript:

1 BELIEVING IN JUST ANY SORT OF GOD IS NOT ENOUGH! Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. (James 2:19) Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. (James 2:19) By David A. Prentice, M.Ed., M.A.S.T.

2 THE “FLYING SPAGHETTI MONSTER” Image by Niklas Jansson (from wikipedia.org) – intended to ridicule advocates of intelligent design. Reproduced under “fair use” terms of U.S. copyright law. Image by Niklas Jansson (from wikipedia.org) – intended to ridicule advocates of intelligent design. Reproduced under “fair use” terms of U.S. copyright law. Blasphemous, but it proves the point that Intelligent Design by itself is not enough. Blasphemous, but it proves the point that Intelligent Design by itself is not enough.

3 1. Is there a God? 2. Could He communicate clearly if He wanted to? Impossible to know anything with 100% certainty Yes Communication would only be possible if God is an intelligent being rather than an impersonal force. No

4 1. Is there a God? 2. Could He communicate clearly if He wanted to? 3. Are there any books that claim to be a revelation from Him? Impossible to know anything with 100% certainty Yes No

5 “HOLY BOOKS” Only three of the world’s “Holy Books” specifically claim to be divinely inspired: The Bible The Koran (Qur’an) The Book of Mormon Every other religion is based only on the wisdom of the “Ascended Masters.” Every other religion is based only on the wisdom of the “Ascended Masters.”

6 IS THE BIBLE A RELIABLE RECORD OF WHAT WAS WRITTEN THOUSANDS OF YEARS AGO? Many people think that the Bible has been copied and recopied, translated and retranslated so many times that we have no idea what was originally written. TOTALLY FALSE! Many people think that the Bible has been copied and recopied, translated and retranslated so many times that we have no idea what was originally written. TOTALLY FALSE!

7 APE WISDOM What is the meaning of bananas?

8 Christianity: An EXCLUSIVE faith. There are many religions in the world: Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Shintoism, Jainism, Daoism, and so on. Each claims to have the truth. There are many religions in the world: Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Shintoism, Jainism, Daoism, and so on. Each claims to have the truth. How do we Christians know that we are right and everybody else is wrong?

9 Tests for Reliability of Ancient Manuscripts: Tests for Reliability of Ancient Manuscripts: 1. Date of composition. 2. Date of oldest surviving copy. 3. Time lapse between date of composition and oldest surviving copy. 4. Number of copies. 5. Agreement between copies.

10 SOME OF THE BEST-PRESERVED ANCIENT BOOKS WORK: DATEEARLIEST TIME # OF WRITTEN: COPY: LAPSE: COPIES: Herodotus B.C.A.D yrs.8 Thucydides B.C.ca. A.D yrs.8 TacitusA.D yrs.20 All are regarded as authoritative. Caesar’s B.C.A.D yrs.9-10 Gallic War Livy’s Roman 59 B.C. - A.D yrs.20 HistoryA.D.17

11 THE SECOND-BEST-PRESERVED ANCIENT BOOK Completed around 700 B.C. Oldest complete copy about 2,000 years after original. Oldest partial copy about 500 years after original. 5% of the text uncertain. 643 manuscripts available. Nobody doubts it. HOMER’S ILIAD

12 THE BEST-PRESERVED ANCIENT BOOK Completed by 100 A.D. Oldest complete manuscript about 200 years after original. Some fragments as little as 25 years after original (John Rylands Fragment). Less than 1/2 of 1% uncertainty. Over 24,000 ancient manuscripts available Greek, Latin, 9300 in other languages. Yet critics say it’s unreliable! THE NEW TESTAMENT

13 THE NEW TESTAMENT CANON 1. By the year 180, Iranaeus had compiled a list showing 21 of the 27 present books of the N.T. as canonical. 2. By the time of the Edict of Diocletian in 303, Christians had decided which books were worth dying for and which were spurious. (e.g., “Gospels” of Thomas, Mary, etc.) 3. Athanasius compiled a complete list of the 27 N.T. books in The Councils of Carthage (397 A.D.) and Hippo (393) merely acknowledged which New Testament books were already accepted as scripture. They neither added to nor subtracted from the list. 5. Even without a list, we could reconstruct all but 11 verses of the New Testament from the writings of 2nd and 3rd century Christian writers.

14 IS THE NEW TESTAMENT A MADE-UP MYTH? The date of composition and the date of the oldest surviving manuscripts and quotes are so close to each other that many hostile eyewitnesses were still alive. They would have been eager to point out any errors or additions to the events recorded in the New Testament. THEY COULD NOT. Their response instead? Kill the Christians to shut them up!

15 Does the New Testament Reflect a Growing Mythology in the Early Church? Does the New Testament Reflect a Growing Mythology in the Early Church? If the miracles of Jesus were myths added later, the later books should record more and more of them. If the miracles of Jesus were myths added later, the later books should record more and more of them. Paul’s epistles were among the first N.T. books written. 1 & 2 Thessalonians, ca. A.D Corinthians, Galatians, Romans, 2 Corinthians, ca. A.D ; James, ca. A.D. 60; Hebrews, between 61 and 70. Tradition says that Matthew was originally written in Hebrew, then translated into Greek in A.D. 60. Mark is believed to have been written afterward, between 60 and 70 A.D. Luke and Acts came after Mark. Acts concludes with Paul’s imprisonment, so it must have ended before the last of the “Prison epistles” (Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon, Philippians, A.D ). Dates of 1 and 2 Tim: ca , Titus ca. 65, 1 Pet. ca. 66, 2 Peter and Jude ca , 2, and 3 John, perhaps 85 or 90 A.D. John’s Gospel ca. 90. Finally, Revelation, ca. 96. John’s Gospel, one of the last books, pays less attention to miracles than do the earlier writings. And one of the earliest books, 1 Corinthians, reports that Jesus appeared to 500 people at a time after His resurrection. The Gospels, written years later, list only a few witnesses. If this is a myth, it’s shrinking instead of growing! John’s Gospel, one of the last books, pays less attention to miracles than do the earlier writings. And one of the earliest books, 1 Corinthians, reports that Jesus appeared to 500 people at a time after His resurrection. The Gospels, written years later, list only a few witnesses. If this is a myth, it’s shrinking instead of growing!

16 A POSSIBLE SOURCE OF VARIANT READINGS humeis hemeis The New Testament was written longhand, in all capital Greek letters. The handwritten upsilon in “humeis” (“your”) can look similar to eta in “hemeis” (“our”). The number of variant readings in the New Testament is greatly exaggerated. For instance, if the same word is misspelled in 2,000 manuscripts it is counted as 2,000 variants instead of just one. Besides, there is not a single Bible doctrine that depends on any disputed passage.

17 THE OLD TESTAMENT: LITERALLY TRUE! Jesus took the Old Testament literally. So did the apostles and other New Testament writers. So did the apostles and other New Testament writers. Luke 4:9 (“It is written”) Mt. 19:4 (creation of Adam and Eve) Mt. 24:37-39 (the Flood) Jn. 5:46-47, Lk. 20:37-38 (Moses wrote the first 5 books of the Bible) Mt. 24:15 Daniel was a real man and a true prophet Mt. 5:18 “Not one jot or tittle shall pass away...” Mt. 22:32 (I AM, not I was, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) Gal. 3:16 (Promises to seed, not seeds) 2 Peter 1:21 (Holy men spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit) Over 300 other instances!

18 THE OLD TESTAMENT CANON 1. No one person or group decided which books were canonical - determined by consensus over centuries. 2. Any errors resulted in a book being disqualified. 3. Except for the Book of Esther, the contents of the Jewish Bible (our Old Testament) were settled by the time of Jesus. 4. The uncertainty about the Book of Esther was removed by the Jewish “Council of Jamnia” ca. 70 A.D. 5. The Apocrypha were well known and had been rejected before Jesus’ time. They were not officially added to the Catholic Bible until the Council of Trent in the 1600s. 6. Jesus never disagreed with the scribes and Pharisees on which books were Scripture - only disagreed with their lack of understanding. 7. Christian chapter and verse divisions done in 1227 A.D. - different from Jewish divisions.

19 PROCEDURES FOR COPYING THE HEBREW SCRIPTURES (first established by King David) Regulations regarding the color of ink and the manner of clothing Could not write a single letter from memory Counted verses and number of letters in original and copy Counted number of occurrences of each letter Counted middle verses and letters of major sections of the text, and of the whole Old Testament Rules for how many letters wide and how many lines high each column could be Regulations for exact amount of space between letters and sections of text

20 Until recently, the oldest surviving complete manuscript of the Old Testament was the Massoretic Text, dating to about 950 A.D. This changed in the late 1940s when a goat belonging to a Bedouin shepherd boy went into a small cave at Qumran near the Dead Sea. The boy threw a rock in after the goat and heard the sound of breaking pottery inside. He went in and saw many scrolls preserved inside clay pottery. His family notified the government. Archaeologists soon realized that these Dead Sea Scrolls dated before the time of Christ -- about a thousand years older than the Massoretic Text. They included almost the entire Old Testament (except for Esther) as well as many historical writings. THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS

21 Evidence of the amazing accuracy of Old Testament preservation. Part of the Isaiah scroll - virtually identical to the Massoretic Text copied a thousand years later. (Library of Congress photo) The Dead Sea Scrolls include portions of EVERY BOOK of the Old Testament except Esther. The Dead Sea Scrolls include portions of EVERY BOOK of the Old Testament except Esther.

22 There is only one active dig at Qumran right now, headed by Dr. Randall Price. Because he is a good friend of Dr. Clifford Wilson from the tour group I went with, we received a personal tour of the excavations. There is only one active dig at Qumran right now, headed by Dr. Randall Price. Because he is a good friend of Dr. Clifford Wilson from the tour group I went with, we received a personal tour of the excavations. Above: Dr. Clifford Wilson (with cane), author of over 80 books on Bible apologetics. Right: me in front of the dig at Qumran. Above: Dr. Clifford Wilson (with cane), author of over 80 books on Bible apologetics. Right: me in front of the dig at Qumran. Above: noted archaeologist Dr. Randall Price

23 OLD TESTAMENT DISCREPANCIES Of the very small number of variant readings in the Old Testament, almost every one has to do with numbers. Since discrepancies almost never arise in other areas, it is most likely that the numeric differences arose because of language and culture. The original Hebrew did not use vowels. Scribes translating into Aramaic, Greek, and later Hebrew had to use their judgment in deciding what vowels to insert. Letters in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek all have numerical values. This may have influenced the translators’ decisions. The numbering systems in ancient Hebrew and Aramaic are obscure, and may have differed somewhat from each other and from Greek. In no case is there any question of doctrine involved in a variant reading of the Old Testament.

24 Agreement Between Old Testament Manuscripts Only a few letters difference between the Dead Sea Scrolls (around the time of Christ) and the Massoretic Text (ca. 980 A.D.). Despite the thousand year separation of the Massoretes from the scribes in Yemen, the Massoretic Torah and the Yemenite Torah vary by only nine letters out of 304,805. The Septuagint, translated into Greek ca. 250 B.C. agrees almost completely with the Massoretic Text. The differences are almost always in the writing of numbers. They never affect any doctrines. Old Testament manuscripts in other languages in almost complete agreement too.

25 OK, SO THE BIBLE IS ACCURATELY PRESERVED. SO WHAT? OK, SO THE BIBLE IS ACCURATELY PRESERVED. SO WHAT?

26 First, he is the central figure of human history. Second, besides the Bible, several ancient historians mention Him. Most notably, Josephus (who lived just a few years later) writes: First, he is the central figure of human history. Second, besides the Bible, several ancient historians mention Him. Most notably, Josephus (who lived just a few years later) writes: Anyone who denies that Jesus existed is an idiot. Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day. Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book 18, Chapter 3, Section 3 (found in EVERY manuscript of Josephus)

27 Christianity’s Greatest Credential: THE RISEN CHRIST! Go to Muhammad’s tomb, or Buddha’s tomb, or any other religious leader’s tomb -- they’re inside, still dead. From the beginning, both friendly and hostile eyewitnesses went to Jesus’ tomb and reported – NOBODY’S IN THERE! Go to Muhammad’s tomb, or Buddha’s tomb, or any other religious leader’s tomb -- they’re inside, still dead. From the beginning, both friendly and hostile eyewitnesses went to Jesus’ tomb and reported – NOBODY’S IN THERE! 1. THE EMPTY TOMB.

28 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. (1 Cor. 15:1-8) Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. (1 Cor. 15:1-8) 2. EYEWITNESSES OF THE RESURRECTION.

29 COULD THE APOSTLES HAVE BEEN LYING? Every one of the apostles was willing to die a grue- some death rather than renounce his faith. So were hundreds of others who said they were eyewitnesses of Jesus’ life and post-resurrection appearances. If this were an elaborate conspiracy, surely at least one person would have admitted it in order to save his own life. People may die for something they only think is correct, but only a lunatic would die for something he KNEW to be a lie. Even skeptics must admit that the apostles and other early Christians truly believed the writings of the New Testament, most of all the Resurrection of Christ.

30 OK, SO THE BIBLE IS ACCURATELY PRESERVED. SO WHAT? OK, SO THE BIBLE IS ACCURATELY PRESERVED. SO WHAT?

31 If the New Testament is accurately preserved, then the events and sayings took place just as recorded. What does this tell us about Jesus and our responsibility toward Him? Could He have been just a good man?

32 1. He claimed to have been alive before Abraham. 2. He claimed to be equal with God. 3. He claimed to be the Messiah whose coming was foretold throughout the Old Testament. 4. He claimed to have the authority to forgive sins. 5. He claimed that He will be the one to judge the world. Were his claims True or False? SOME OF THE CLAIMS OF JESUS:

33 HIS CLAIMS WERE EITHER TRUE OR FALSE. 1. If false and He knew it, He would be a worse liar than the devil himself! 2. If false and He did not know it, He would be a raving lunatic. 3. If He told the truth, then HE IS LORD OF ALL. JESUS: NOT JUST A GREAT MAN.

34 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (Romans 10:9) 1. Do you believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead – that He is alive right now? 2. Will you give Him your life and make Him Lord right now? WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?

35 Jesus did not leave you the option of calling Him just a good man. You must choose: He did not intend to. Liar, Lunatic, or LORD?

36 What does it mean to confess Jesus as Lord? It means you turn over your life completely to Him in full, unconditional, and absolute surrender. Are you ready to do that?

37 FOR MORE INFORMATION: FOR MORE INFORMATION:


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