The Case for Christmas 4

Lee Strobel’s book “The Case for Christmas” goes on to investigate the scientific evidence, and asks the question does archaeology confirm or contradict Jesus’ biographies?

Strobel arranges an interview with John McRay, PHD writer of Archaeology and the New Testament. McRay studied at Hebrew University, the École Biblique et Archéologique Française in Jerusalem, Vanderbilt University Divinity School, and the University of Chicago where he earned his doctorate in 1967. McRay was a professor of New Testament and archaeology at Wheaton College for more than fifteen years.

Strobel asks:

  • What can’t archeology tell us about the reliability of the New Testament? McRay answers: Archaeology has made some important contributions but it certainly can’t prove whether the New Testament is the word of God. If we dig in Israel and find ancient sites that are consistent with where the Bible said we’d find them, that shows that its history and geography are accurate. However, it doesn’t confirm that what Jesus Christ said is right. Spiritual truths cannot be proved or disproved by archaeological discoveries.
  • Does archaeology affirm or undermine the New Testament when it checks out the details in those accounts? There is no question that the credibility of the New Testament is enhanced, just as the credibility of any ancient document is enhanced when you excavate and find that the author was accurate in talking about a particular place or event. For a long time people questioned the validity of a statement by Josephus, the first-century historian, that the harbour of Herod the Great was as large as the major harbour of Athens. People thought Josephus was wrong, but when we began to do underwater excavation, we found that Josephus was right after all.
  • When archaeologists check out the details of what Luke wrote in his gospel do they find he was careful or sloppy? The general consensus of both liberal and conservative scholars is that Luke is very accurate as a historian. He was an educated man and archaeological discoveries show that Luke is accurate in what he has to say.
  • Have you ever encountered any archaeological finding that blatantly contravened a New Testament reference? Archaeology has not produced anything that is unequivocally a contradiction to the Bible.

Strobel also quotes:

  • Australian archaeologist Clifford Wilson, “Those who know the facts now recognize that the New Testament must be accepted as a remarkably accurate source book.”
  • Dr Edwin Yamauchi of Miami University, who earned his doctorate in Mediterranean studies from Brandeis University and is the author or several books, “We have better historical documentation for Jesus than the founder of any other ancient religion.”
  • Dr. Bruce Metzger, professor emeritus of Princeton Theological Seminary told Strobel that there is an unprecedented number of New Testament manuscripts and that they can be dated extremely close to the original writings. The modern New Testament is 99.5% free of textual discrepancies.

So closes the second chapter. The third chapter is called, The Profile Evidence: Did Jesus fulfill the attributes of God?

My thoughts are that these are very educated people, perhaps I need to listen to what they are saying, maybe I need to check this out some more. I listen to the news everyday and assume that the truth is being told to me. I have been educated to believe or disbelieve certain things, or the media have done a good job to convince me to think a certain way. Maybe it is time I thought for myself rather than be influenced by what others think.

The Case for Christmas 1

The Case for Christmas 2

The Case for Christmas 3