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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels

One of the books I needed to read for my Christology course at SBTS was very compelling and apologetically inclined. The name of the book is called, Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels, by Craig Evans. This book and its content is definitely valuable to the Christian faith because it proves historicity and authenticity of the person of Jesus Christ, and the trustworthiness of Scripture (especially the New Testament). The book goes over the various misinterpretations and explores the illogical conclusions of modern scholars who intentionally slander, mock, and use dishonest scholarship and intellectual bias in order to dethrone a biblical Jesus Christ in the modern world. I find these illogical conclusions as very dangerous and destructive because they distort the true identity of the biblical Jesus.

Evans provides six things believers can do to authenticate their beliefs as reasonable and true:
1. Historical Coherence - The historical circumstances in the Gospels are authenticated by the life and ministry of Jesus in real history because he claimed historical-theological realities that were true in that age.

2. Multiple Attestations - The historical accounts of the Gospels and other sources that attest to the same realities and existence of Jesus suggest the Gospels are reliable sources with historical importance.

3. Embarrassment - The historical material in the Gospels speak of characters in the narrative that would not be placed in a fabricated story because the narratives report accurate and real reports/witness of what transpired.

4. Dissimilarity - The historical continuity and harmony of the fourfold Gospels all promote the same theological and ethical teaches of Jesus and do not suggest they were invented but rather original.

5. Semitisms and Palestinian Background - The historical context of the Gospels utilize the original languages, imply the readers to know cultural traditions of the first century, and mention many historical-geographical locations that are archaeological preserved to show evidence of the trustworthiness of the Scriptures.

6. Consistency (coherence) - The historical data of the Gospels in the previous five points dismiss skepticism and place Christianity on a pillar of reason and truth through a consistent burden of proof about the person of Jesus and the truth of Scripture.

The biblical "portrait" of Jesus and the "perspective" Gospels will always be distorted if such criterion is rejected and not methodologically and scholastically analyzed as all other ancient historical-religious documents.

It is important to herald the biblical Jesus and point out the illogical conclusions of these dishonest scholars who are influencing many students to believe in false interpretations of the Savior and the Scriptures. To do this, Evans suggest we should give a reason for our biblical beliefs about Jesus and the Word of God. Since dishonest scholars do not give any principle of sufficient reason, their arguments are very intimidating yet extremely weak. It appears they just attack the doctrines of Christianity as a bully pushes someone smaller around to make them appear bigger and stronger. The bully, however, when challenged with the same display of authority appears weak and recognizes his bullying tactics are weak and defeated.

In the same sense, Christians need to stand up to such scholarly bullying per se. All believers should stand up with intelligence, reason, and biblical data to support beliefs against anyone who questions the Christian faith. Christians can give a response with a principle of sufficient reason to point to the reality of truth in Christ. All things in Scripture should correspond with reality, and it is no surprise that Scripture is grounded in that criterion.

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