Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Bible Teaches Permanent Justification, Eternal Security, Unconditional Security, and Once Saved, Always Saved

Several years ago, I read through my entire Bible on the side in addition to everything else I do and with the sole purpose of looking for everything it said about the security of salvation.  I read a few books on it.  I read the criticism of that doctrine.  I prepared hundreds of powerpoint slides with what I thought were every possible argument against and for eternal security.  Then I debated 5 straight nights, 3 hours each, against the best debater in the country for the Church of Christ.  He had the opportunity to poke holes in everything that I had prepared.  I have started to write a book on it, but I've just had too many other things going.  After saying all that, I've got some critics who think I write those kind of things to exalt myself.  I write it to say that I've thought a lot about this.

At this point, when I read what someone writes attacking eternal security, I don't hear anything new. I wouldn't mind hearing something new.  I wouldn't mind hearing something of a supportive nature for eternal security.  Either way, it hasn't happened for awhile.  It still hasn't after reading someone who's been arguing against eternal security at a fundamentalist website (SharperIron).   After a tremendous amount of interaction from both sides of the issue, I kind of understand how someone might be confused.  It's not because the Bible isn't clear.  It's plain.   However, if you looked at certain verses not in both their immediate or a larger context, they might seem like the Bible is actually teaching conditional security.

What anyone reading needs to recognize is that since God is one, He won't contradict Himself.  All of the doctrine of the Bible fits together.  If the Bible teaches eternal security in one or several places, then it won't be contradicted in other places.  All the various passages harmonize with one another.

On the other hand, there is often a razor-thin balance between certain doctrines.  They're almost seamless.  They don't contradict, but there is little room between them.  Here's what I mean on this particular subject.  If God says, once you believe in Christ, you're saved forever, can never lose the salvation, someone might think that he could live any way he wanted after that.  He can't.  Even better, he won't.  Why?  People who don't live for the Lord won't be saved.  They aren't saved.   If they say they've believed in Jesus Christ, that's possible, but it's a dead faith.  Saving faith changes someone's life.  He is a new creature.  So do you get saved by living for the Lord?  No.  But you will live for the Lord if you're saved.  The one who lives for the Lord will be saved.  There is a fine line, like I mentioned.  But there is a line.

If someone makes a profession of faith and then doesn't keep living the Christian life, did he lose his salvation?  No.  Salvation is of the Lord.  God is the one doing the saving.  And once He saves, He keeps saving.  There can only be one explanation, and it is made in Scripture.  He was never saved in the first place.  There are two places that make this point:  1 John 2:19 and 1 John 3:6.

They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.

In the first verse, notice it says, "If they had been of us, they would not doubt have continued with us."  Anyone who is really saved will continue.  He will persevere.  He will overcome.  And then look at the next part:  "They went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us."  When someone "falls away" or "turns away," he is just manifesting that he never had it in the first place.  He "went out," because he was not "of us," not because he lost anything.

The second verse explains why someone lives a lifestyle of sin, goes about in habitual sinning (present tense verbs).  The reason someone won't live the Christian life is because he has "not seen him, neither known him."  The assumption you should have is that if he had seen Christ and known Christ, he would not be living a lifestyle of sin.  In other words, if he were saved, he would continue in righteousness, not depart from the faith.

Someone might ask, "What is apostasy?"  A saved person cannot apostatize.  Only an unsaved person can apostatize.  Apostasy is when a person experiences salvation in the greatest possible way, yet without actually receiving Christ, and then turns from salvation.  Hebrews 6:1-8 describes this.  A person interacts with the most revelation he can without receiving it in a saving fashion, and then turns away from it.  That is an apostate.  That is Judas Iscariot.  Apostates are people never saved in the first place.

There are two other aspects that people become confused about.  One is the eschatological use of the term "saved."  If I say, people who do not live a lifestyle of good works will not be saved, I'm not saying that someone is saved by works.  I'm saying that his life is changed through justification and regeneration, and so he will live good works before he is glorified.  Glorification is the eschatological salvation.  People who will be saved are people who are converted and they do live a Christian life.

The other is the use of conditional sentences.  One of these is Colossians 1:22-23:

To present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:  If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel.

Those two verses say that you'll be presented holy and unblameable and unreproveable, if ye continue in the faith grounded and settled.  Some might say that these two verses teach that you are saved by continuing.  They don't say that.   People who do not continue are not saved.  People who do continue are saved.  People who are saved will be presented to God holy and unblameable and unreproveable.  Why?  They are saved.  People who are saved will continue.  A side point, that isn't the case with every conditional sentence, but it is true in the above two verses is that the conditional sentence ("if") is a first class condition (ei with the indicative).  The first class conditional sentence is a condition of reality or as A. T Robertson says, "Determined as fulfilled."  So the condition of "continuing" is determined as fulfilled.  The fact that there is a condition ("if") doesn't mean that someone who is saved might not continue in the faith grounded and settled.

How I explain the above situation is that for everything that God does, we cooperate with it.  God keeps saving us, so we keep continuing.  We act as if our not continuing will result in us not being saved, because that's how God presents it.  God is doing all the saving, but if He is doing that, we are cooperating with it.  We have to cooperate with it, but we will because God is doing the saving.

Much more can be said about this, but what's the danger in thinking that we've got to do works in order to stay saved?   It's all presented in Galatians 5:1-4.  Any work added to grace nullifies grace.  Christ is become of no effect unto the person.  He becomes a debtor to do the whole law.  Christ profits him nothing.  Anyone who says he must keep living obediently or lose his justification has added works to grace.  It's ironic.  He thinks that he will apostatize by stopping the doing of good works, but instead he's apostatized by adding works to grace.



64 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for a sound, biblical approach to such an important topic.

George Calvas said...

Brother Kent,

You wrote, "The fact that there is a condition ("if") doesn't mean that someone who is saved might not continue in the faith grounded and settled."

As a programmer, IF is based on the conditions stated, and IF those conditions are true, the statement is executed. Trying to make IF something other than a "conditional clause" by appealing "to the English/Greek indicative mood" only confuses the issue.

It is evident by the context that the condition of the "if" is based on these truths:

1> continue is THE faith (What is that faith, but the faith OF Jesus Christ- Gal 2:16 / 3:22, Phil 3:9, Ro 3:22). That faith is given by the Holy Ghost when one repents and trusts in Jesus Christ.

AND

2> not moved away from the hope of the gospel. One can be moved away (Heb. 6:4-6, Matt 13:4-9) from the truth, as you aptly said is one who "experiences salvation in the greatest possible way, yet without actually receiving Christ, and then turns from salvation". But one can never be moved away from the "HOPE of the gospel" for that "hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us" (Ro 5:5).


Therefore, IF you are truly saved, those truths above MUST be evident in your life or ELSE you are lost. It was those truths which were heard and preached by Paul (2nd half of v23) that makes the IF conditional clause an absolute necessity to salvation. Both of those conditions are based on the works of God, for one cannot have the wrong kind of faith or believe another gospel and truly be saved.

You did such an excellent job until you had to prove part of your conclusions by trying to prove that IF is some other type conditional statement so that IF does not really mean IF!

The King James Bible will always clear up any confusion of all these denominational heresies and damnable doctrines (conditional security) without resorting the "deep meanings of English or Greek (indicative mood)".

Just stick to the book and the plain English of what is written and you will NEVER go wrong in disproving any unbiblical truth.

Kent Brandenburg said...

George,

I just wanted you to know that you don't know what you are talking about on this, and it should be embarrassing to you even to be saying what you are saying. You should have strong faith, but strong faith in what the Bible actually says, and the Bible wasn't preserved in the English, because there was no English language at the time the New Testament was written, so if there is preservation, it must be in the language in which the New Testament was inspired. Your position is that God did not in fact preserve His Word, and so you depend on the English as if that were superior. So what you are doing is not believing God when He said He would preserve it. Jots and tittles, by the way, are not English letters. So you are opposing a teaching from actual scripture because of something you think contradicts it in the English, because you doubt God. Without faith it is impossible to please Him, so you are not pleasing Him.

Sometimes "if" is in fact a condition, but a condition of reality and that can be seen in the words that God inspired, Greek Words. You treat God like He doesn't know what He's doing. He inspired Greek words, not English ones. So we don't rely on the English as an authority, because it isn't an authority. Am I thankful for a translation in English? Yes! I'm thankful for the King James Version, but your position is not based upon Scripture. It isn't even based upon the King James Version ironically.

It's interesting looking at your last sentence, as to your theology. You write, "Just stick to the book and the plain English of what is written." So what was written? You wrote, "The English of what is written." What was written was Greek, and my English Bible is the English of what is written in the Greek. And I am sticking to the book. Do you think that the English is going to contradict the Greek from which it was translated? You wouldn't get that position from the Greek or the English.

You are welcome to stay and read here and even comment, but your position on this subject is plain wrong. You deny the preservation of Scripture. The Bible is not the authority for your position, but the teachings of a man. I don't know who the man is, but it isn't the teaching of God.

Baptist Believer said...

Kent,

I have some questions for you. This is not to start a debate but to get a better understanding of your views. It is important for me to understand since I read you blog regularly and even link to it.

Do you believe the KJB contains errors? You seem to at least hold the view that we need to go back to the Greek to get a full understanding of God's Word since the KJB isn't the preserved word of God. Which Greek manuscripts contain no errors? Also, there are no jots and tittles in Hebrew so should we use the LXX for the Old Testament? It seems like you are forcing us to learn Greek or put our trust in Greek scholars. This is something the Catholic church did with Latin and some Muslims still do today with Arabic.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hi Baptist Believer,

I believe it is an accurate translation and I never say it has errors. The Greek is in fact God's Words. The English is a translation of God's Words. The KJV has also changed since 1611 unlike the Greek text. What we use in our churches is not the 1611. The Greek from which the King James was translated contains no errors. Jots and tittle are Hebrew. The jot is the yodh (the smallest consonant) and the tittle is the vowel point. That is Hebrew. I've written a lot about the LXX here, probably as much as anyone online. Ironically, the LXX is a translation of the Hebrew, just like the King James is.

I'm not forcing anyone to learn Greek. I think there are tools that would enable someone to know what I'm talking about, if they looked it up. I'm asking that people be accurate. When I say the truth about the 1st class conditional sentence, refute it with the truth, not with a "we don't need the Greek" type of statement and that it doesn't help. Knowing the original language does help.

The Catholic Church was against original language text. Latin is not an original language text, but a translation. Think about that. I don't get the parallels of the Muslims, since they use the Koran.

Notice that I didn't ask any questions since you don't want to argue. Just making an observation though---your tone was argumentative. I don't have a problem with that, but it sort of belies your "not wanting to argue" claim. I'm especially talking about "forcing us to learn Greek." When you read the KJV you are in fact depending on Greek scholars. You are trusting solely what those Anglican and Puritan (not Baptist) translators did. When you study the Greek yourself, you are depending on yourself.

George Calvas said...

Kent wrote I just wanted you to know that you don't know what you are talking about on this, and it should be embarrassing to you even to be saying what you are saying.

gcalvas That is an interesting comment when the exegesis of the text was given and clearly explained. Embarrassed about what? Standing for the scriptures? The only embarrassment I can see brother is your presumption of using “enticing words of man's wisdom” to prove something that is not so [i.e., IF does not really mean IF?}. I on the other hand used the scriptures alone to prove the conditional IF must be true if you are saved.
------

Kent wrote You should have strong faith, but strong faith in what the Bible actually says, and the Bible wasn't preserved in the English, because there was no English language at the time the New Testament was written, so if there is preservation, it must be in the language in which the New Testament was inspired.

gcalvas So, can you prove that any extant manuscripts in Greek or Hebrew wasn't itself a translation from some other language? For the only Greek and Hebrew manuscripts known to men are NOT from the originals, therefore which NT and OT manuscripts, texts, text-types are you referring to? The scriptures do NOT teach “original language onlyism”! What the scripture teach about the scripture is self-authentication, for “ALL scripture is given by inspiration…”. Therefore, that simply means that what you are reading and believing to be scripture are inspired and that can only come through CONSENSUS of born-again, Holy Ghost filled, sons of God. There are MILLIONS in this world that believe that the Holy King James Bible IS given by inspiration and therefore scripture. Inspired scripture, as I can determine can also be found in such languages as Polish, Spanish, German, and French.
----

Kent wrote Your position is that God did not in fact preserve His Word, and so you depend on the English as if that were superior.

gcalvas I depend on the Lord God and the Spirit of God that has worked through Holy Ghost filled men to have proven that the King James Bible are the VERY WORDS of God, for I “received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe (1 Thessalonians 2:13)”.
I am told to “preach the word”, and that “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God”, and many such like truths that are found in the ENGLISH bible. So, what wisdom and understanding do you perceive by what is written? Did it say, “preach the GREEK and HEBREW word”? Did it say that “every GREEK and HEBREW word” is what you should live by?
----

Kent wrote So what you are doing is not believing God when He said He would preserve it. Jots and tittles, by the way, are not English letters.

gcalvas Are not “jot and tittles” making reference to HEBREW letters? Which Hebrew text is “the original”? If you want to play that game, jot and tittle make no reference to Greek texts any more than English texts. A jot or tittle can be a reference to any mark, a tiny amount, or even a stroke”. You have heard the phrase, “Jot it down”! A dot over the letter “i” can be considered a jot. Therefore, this is nothing more than a red herring.
----

CONTINUED...

George Calvas said...

Kent wrote So you are opposing a teaching from actual scripture because of something you think contradicts it in the English, because you doubt God. Without faith it is impossible to please Him, so you are not pleasing Him.

gcalvas You are kidding, right? I am not pleasing God because I believe the scriptures to be inspired according to how inspiration is taught from within the bible? Remember, it does NOT say, “All Greek scripture is given by…” You read that into it, and therefore you would be ADDING to the scriptures. I have GREAT faith in the inspired scriptures and the Holy King James Bible has never failed me ONCE to lead me into “all truth” after reading it over 70 times in the period of 33 years!! I have corrected every false doctrine, including the false teaching of “original language onlyism”.
----

Kent wrote Sometimes "if" is in fact a condition, but a condition of reality and that can be seen in the words that God inspired, Greek Words.

gcalvas WHICH Greek text are you making reference to? There are over 30 of them. You see, I believe in the Holy King James Bible English text and not all the rest of the false English texts.
----

Kent wrote You treat God like He doesn't know what He's doing. He inspired Greek words, not English ones.

gcalvas Please provide the scriptures to prove that assertion? You demand it and rightfully so when you teach other doctrinal matters. You will have to perform “mental gymnastics” by referring to historical documents written by men to “prove” that ONLY Greek texts are inspired. But, as I asked previously, “Prove that any extant manuscripts in Greek or Hebrew wasn't itself a translation from some other language”?
----

Kent wrote So we don't rely on the English as an authority, because it isn't an authority.

gcalvas You are dead wrong! The Holy King James Bible is even known as the Authorized King James Bible. Are you believing and teaching using a Hebrew and Greek authority that I am almost certain that your reading and writing skills in those languages are probably at a 1st to 2nd grade level at best. Do you also believe that “the authority” is found in Greek and Hebrew Lexicons?
Why anyone would listen to someone correct the ENGLISH Holy Bible using a Greek or Hebrew text that he cannot read, write or comprehend is beyond me! Could you imagine someone trying to teach you English with reading, writing and comprehension skills of a child? What is even more pathetic is someone correcting another language (English Bible) using a language (Greek, Hebrew) that he himself cannot comprehend past that of a child! That is nothing other that utter arrogance.
----

Kent wrote Am I thankful for a translation in English? Yes! I'm thankful for the King James Version, but your position is not based upon Scripture. It isn't even based upon the King James Version ironically.

gcalvas My position on inspiration is based completely on the knowledge, wisdom and understanding of what the scriptures teach about the word of God, the words of God, pure words, etc. as found in the Holy Bible. I have taught on the inspiration of the bible without ANY reference to anything else except the Holy King James Bible. I have never failed to correct any erroneous teaching and “every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God” as it pertains to any language text that has the mark of the Holy Ghost as inspired text of God.
----


CONTINUED...

George Calvas said...

Kent wrote It's interesting looking at your last sentence, as to your theology. You write, "Just stick to the book and the plain English of what is written." So what was written? You wrote, "The English of what is written." What was written was Greek, and my English Bible is the English of what is written in the Greek.

gcalvas That is not completely true, for the King James Bible was based on previous English texts such as the Geneva Bible, Latin texts as well as Greek texts. What is important to note is that the ENGLISH bible is what the Lord God has used in the last +700 YEARS!! The Greeks and Hebrews have been apostate for longer than anyone can remember, yet we have been bamboozled by higher criticism to keep correcting the Holy Bible with those DEAD languages. You want to learn Greek, Kent? Do it, then go to Greece and teach the Greeks while “saving them out of the fires of hell” which has been taught to them by the Greek Orthodox religion. Why has not God called anyone in America to “preach the gospel” to the Greeks? There is not ONE American Baptist Missionary in Greece! Why is Greek and Hebrew taught for the purpose of “correcting the English” instead of using it in the country that it is instituted for??
----

Kent wrote And I am sticking to the book. Do you think that the English is going to contradict the Greek from which it was translated? You wouldn't get that position from the Greek or the English.

gcalvas The Lord God could care less what “the Greek” teaches since he already has the inspired bible in English! He has been using the Holy King James Bible for 400 years to bring the gospel to every creature while many lives have been changed through time by those who have believed THE BOOK without wavering! Why is it that so many continue to “kick against the pricks”?
----

Kent wrote You are welcome to stay and read here and even comment, but your position on this subject is plain wrong. You deny the preservation of Scripture. The Bible is not the authority for your position, but the teachings of a man. I don't know who the man is, but it isn't the teaching of God.

gcalvas Really, Kent? Your authority has been proven to be none other than your personal choice of Greek and Hebrew texts. You will correct the Holy King James Bible any time when it is convenient or when you simply cannot teach the truth of a particular scripture. Also, to say that I “deny the preservation of scripture” is just plain folly, for I believe that the scriptures are preserved TODAY and are found in the Holy King James Bible which is inerrant, infallible and without proven error. THE Holy King James Bible is my final authority rather than “a bible” comprising itself of numerous contradictory Greek texts.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hi George,

I've never heard your position in my life. It's an absolutely novel one, that is, that you believe the Bible was written in English, was inspired in English, and that before the English, we don't know what language the Bible was in. Is that a Peter Ruckman position? It's not anything that I've read ever. The Bible is old and so new positions are almost always untrue. Unless there was a total apostasy of a biblical position, yours could not be true, because it did not exist for centuries. In fact, I'm just hearing of it from you right now for the first time. That's unusual if it is so obvious. And the King James Bible doesn't teach a total apostasy, so if you really do believe the King James Bible, then you couldn't take your position about this English position that you take.

I don't know how to characterize your position than to say that it is ultra, ultra weird. You are saying that we don't that the Bible was inspired in the Hebrew and the Greek. Did you know that the King James translators believed they were translating from the original languages of scripture?

I'm really curious with your position, George. Which of these is correct, the actual Holy inspired Words of God?

"For by one spirit are we all baptized into one bodie, whether wee bee Iewes or Gentiles, whether wee bee bond or free: and haue beene all made to drinke into one spirit."

Or

"For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit."

You say that I can't prove from the English that the New Testament was written in Greek. There is plenty of proof from the English that it was translated from the Greek. There is plenty of proof as well that it was originally written in Greek. But I want to hear what you are going to say first to what I've already written.

So far I don't have any justification of your position from the King James Version. Jesus said, "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." A jot is a Hebrew letter, not an English one. It is an English transliteration of the Hebrew letter yodh. Are you saying that the Pentateuch, the first five books of the OT were written in English?

Jon Gleason said...

George, I'm not going to debate the translation question. I just want to talk about "if".

God is not a programmer. I'm a pastor, but I'm also a programmer, that's what pays the bills. So I know what you mean about "if." But God doesn't always use it that way. You don't need Greek.

Please take your KJV and turn to Romans 8:28-30. This is talking to believers. However we understand "predestinate" or "called", unbelievers are not "justified" and will not be "glorified," right? So this is believers in view.

Now look at verse 31. "IF God be for us...." That's an IF, but there is no doubt about it. God IS for believers. Paul is not using IF to indicate any doubt about the condition. IF shows the logical connection with what comes next. Here, "if" has the idea of "since" -- since God be for us, who can be against us? The word is "if" indeed, but sometimes "if" means "since" or "because."

This is the exact same idea as "if" in Colossians 1. The "if" is to show the logical connection, not to convey any doubt as to whether it will happen. In both cases, it is "if" with the idea of "since."

Hope that helps a little. Your English Bible shows you that in Scripture, "if" has the meaning of "since" or "because" sometimes.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Jon,

Thanks for the help. I think it was a good way to explain it for George. I wish George could accept that there was an objective means, that God has given us, to know it is a condition of reality, but he doesn't want any relying on anything but English, so that's a no go.

I would say that some 1st class conditions aren't so obvious in the English as your romans 8 example. And to George, "if" means "if," that's all. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

George Calvas said...

Brother Jon,

I am afraid that the "If" is a conditional even in Romans 8:31:

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

IF (God be for us) {
Who can be against us?
}

or we can program in Fortran-

IF (God be for us)

THEN Who can be against us?

END IF

Since it evaluates to be TRUE, for a saved man will answer to the affirmative, therefore the statement "Who can be against us"? will be run with an answer given...

It does not matter who might be against us, (v38-39) "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


You see, that Holy King James Bible is beyond belief! Do not waste your time with anything else, and the Lord God will give thee much to consider!

Jon Gleason said...

Kent, I know. The point was to demonstrate that "if" does not always convey uncertainty. Sometimes the context makes it clear, sometimes the grammar makes it clear which is which.

But even someone with George's position should be able to see that "if" can be used to convey logical connections rather than uncertainty.

George, of course it is conditional.

But "us" is already set to "those who are justified" so "God be for us" is always true.

It is conditional, but it is not in doubt.

Let's do some C++.

Jon = programmer;
if (Jon == programmer)
{
Jon can pay the bills;
Jon can give to the Lord;
Jon can give to those in need;
}
else
{
Jon had better find another job quick;
}

One block of code will execute every time. In fact, a good programmer will leave out the "else" condition unless he is having fun with other programmers. In which case he might do this:
else
{
//will never happen, you dummy!
}

In a sense, that is what Paul is doing here. He is using "if" for something that is certain to point out the absurdity of the alternative. Of course God is for us, of course no one can be against us, so what in the world are you worrying about, dummies? This is an "if" with no "else"!

George Calvas said...

Kent wrote I've never heard your position in my life. It's an absolutely novel one, that is, that you believe the Bible was written in English, was inspired in English, and that before the English, we don't know what language the Bible was in. Is that a Peter Ruckman position?
gcalvas Whether it is or it is not, it is a BIBLE position. What is actually novel is the critics who deny absolute truth. What do you mean by, that I “believe that the bible was written in English”? What have you been teaching with in the last 20-30 years, brother?? When you got saved, did someone preach to you in Greek? Or Hebrew? So, you believed in a not-inspired English text to save you? Maybe the not inspired English text lied to you about the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ? Did you not ask that saint of God that preached unto you Jesus if he checked the Greek tenses to make sure it did not say, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord MIGHT be saved. Brother Kent, are you sure you are saved since the English bible that was preached unto you was not inspired?? Hogwash (γουρούνι-πλύνετε). Are you not impressed?
THAT is the slippery slope that has damned this nation and its wishy-washy Christianity that continues to convince itself with critical and rationalistic vain philosophy that even after >250 attempts in English, we still have it wrong and everyone seems to know where all the errors are yet not a single one of these “critical textual change artists” agrees amoung the other as to what these are!! It is truly amazing the arrogance amoung the elitist who can sound so smart and “by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple”. Every single time I have heard someone correct the Holy King James Bible with the Greek, they sound like they lose their minds and any coherent thoughts that they previously had in the text they are trying to explain. It is par for the course of “greekitis” that is the disease that has infected so many.
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Kent wrote It's not anything that I've read ever. The Bible is old and so new positions are almost always untrue.
gcalvas You need to remember the “old paths” of those fore-fathers who began over 700 YEARS ago preaching an English text that brought forth the Reformation and an age of great persecution of those who believed ENGLISH bibles as the very words of God. The British Empire that was followed by America which brought some of the greatest revivals known to men had NOTHING to do with any Greek or Hebrew texts!! It had to do with the preaching of INSPIRED, PERSERVED, INERRANT and INFALLIBLE ENGLISH bibles!! No, my brother, it is the last days critical textual change artists that began with W&H in the 1880’s that brought forth this plethora of confusion to the point of allowing ANYONE to grab a Lexicon and believe its meanings and word definitions above that which is written, especially when it comes to correcting the Holy King James Bible!

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CONTINUED...

George Calvas said...

Kent wrote Unless there was a total apostasy of a biblical position, yours could not be true, because it did not exist for centuries. In fact, I'm just hearing of it from you right now for the first time. That's unusual if it is so obvious. And the King James Bible doesn't teach a total apostasy, so if you really do believe the King James Bible, then you couldn't take your position about this English position that you take.
gcalvas Are you kidding me, Brother Kent? I believe you spend too much time behind a computer and never actually “go into the world”. There is so much confusion, unbelief and hatred for biblical Christianity and it has as the core reason is that there is NO AUTHORITY therefore, apostasy is rampant amoung those who call themselves Christians, but are rather those that are taught “with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not” for the way of truth is evil spoken of. I have seen it for over 30 years by so many who hold the bible up and say, “THIS is the word of God…” while they keep telling their congregations all the errors in it! THAT is hypocrisy to the core and the results of it are proven in the condition of the church this day.

Kent wrote I don't know how to characterize your position than to say that it is ultra, ultra weird.
gcalvas My position is absolutely and without equivocation as biblical as any man can get who has stood in the pulpit and said (while holding up his Holy King James Bible), “THIS is the very words of God, without error, infallible and inerrant and can be trusted for all matters of faith and practice”. When I said that, I said that in all truth, with integrity, honesty and absolute faithfulness, rather than being deceitful, arrogant and hypocritical when you say, “But there is a better rendering, or what the Greek really means by that is…, etc. Therefore, it is only “weird” to those who have doubts concerning the absolute certainty of every word to be true, being fully persuaded, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first day I believed that Holy Book. It will never fail to correct anyone who tries to correct it.
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Kent wrote You are saying that we don't that the Bible was inspired in the Hebrew and the Greek. Did you know that the King James translators believed they were translating from the original languages of scripture?
gcalvas So what? They finished the work, and the Lord God saw that it was VERY GOOD and that through the Holy Ghost of God, and the consensus of born-again saints of God who preached this book in ALL THE WORLD and saw its transforming power while ministering that precious Holy King James Bible.

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Continued...

George Calvas said...

Kent wrote I'm really curious with your position, George. Which of these is correct, the actual Holy inspired Words of God?

"For by one spirit are we all baptized into one bodie, whether wee bee Iewes or Gentiles, whether wee bee bond or free: and haue beene all made to drinke into one spirit."

Or

"For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit."

gcalvas That is easy, BOTH, but the new revision updated the spelling and punctuation. It was NOT a new translation! Let me ask you a question. Which is correct?
Zechariah 13:7 Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.
OR
Matthew 26:31 Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.
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Kent wrote You say that I can't prove from the English that the New Testament was written in Greek. There is plenty of proof from the English that it was translated from the Greek. There is plenty of proof as well that it was originally written in Greek. But I want to hear what you are going to say first to what I've already written.

gcalvas I actually said a couple of things, (1) That there is no proof that all the original NT writings were written in Greek, for we know certain was translated from spoken Hebrew (see Acts 21:40). (2) That only the Greek is inspired, for “ALL scripture is given by inspiration…” and the Holy King James bible is scripture and therefore inspired.
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Kent wrote So far I don't have any justification of your position from the King James Version. Jesus said, "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." A jot is a Hebrew letter, not an English one. It is an English transliteration of the Hebrew letter yodh. Are you saying that the Pentateuch, the first five books of the OT were written in English?

gcalvas We have no clue what the first five books of the OT were originally written in. What is important to note is, God could care less! The Lord God moved his words forward to the present, and it is obvious by observation and scriptural evidence that these words are now found certainly in the English Holy King James Bible

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Jon Gleason said...

George, where are the jots and tittles in the law in the KJV? I can't find them in mine.

Did they pass from the law when God moved it into English? You effectively deny what God clearly said, that jots or tittles would not pass, by teaching that they all did.

You are responding to one error (that a translation cannot be inspired) by giving another. Both errors arise out of Warfield's redefinition of inspiration.

If we'd go back to what "given by inspiration of God" really means in the Biblical context, instead of what Warfield told us it means, we'd solve a lot....

George Calvas said...

Jon,

If you are going to argue down those lines, then, Where are the jots and tittle in the GREEK texts?

Further, I do not need to go back to anything other than the scriptures to define the present tense in, "All scripture IS given by inspiration..." If the bible says, "Search THE SCRIPTURES...", or "did ye never read in THE SCRIPTURES...", etc., then you must know how to identify that which is scripture. It does not say "Search the original languages, or Search the Greek, or Search the Hebrew". The Lord says, "Ye do err, not KNOWING THE SCRIPTURES...". All those references and others like those are to inspired scripture, therefore where do you get the idea that after 2000 years you need to go back to the DEAD languages of Greek and Hebrew?? They are dead because NOTHING good is coming out of those countries in terms of biblical power, and each of those languages have gone no further than those countries in the past 2000 years!

You all need to get over yourselves and this infactuation with dead language lexiconical word search theology (most cannot read, write nor comprehand Greek) to either change or pretend to find something new. What biblical Christianity needs to do in these last days of utter confusion (read most of Kent's observations) is to agree on final athority by getting back to believing the Holy King James Bible as it is written, for the inspired scriptures are in our hands "that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope".

Jon Gleason said...

George, the jots and tittles are in the Old Testament Law in the Hebrew. God said He would preserve jots and tittles. Do you believe He did or He didn't?

You are entirely correct about "is." It tells us what the Scriptures are today (and always have been since they were given).

"In-spire-ation" means exactly what it says. The breath of God IS in the Scriptures. It was and is and will be in the original language texts. It was and is and will be in faithful translations.

The Scriptures, in all languages in which they were originally given or have been faithfully translated, contain the living breath of God, and they convey the life-giving breath of God to those who read in faith. It was, is, and remains a living and life-giving Book. I Peter 1:23-25.

But Jesus specifically said that the preservation of the Old Testament was in a language that had jots and tittles. So your disrespect to the Hebrew Old Testament is not pleasing to God.

If God said He was going to preserve jots and tittles, He said He was going to preserve Hebrew. No language is dead in which the Living Word of God has been preserved.

Gary said...

Many Christians have said the following to themselves during a very difficult period in their life: “Am I really saved?” Here are the thought processes on this issue for an Evangelical and a Lutheran:

The Evangelical's Assurance of Salvation:

1. At age ___ I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior. At that moment I asked Jesus to come into my heart to be my Lord and Savior and to forgive me of my sins.

2. But since I am currently questioning my salvation, maybe I didn't "do it" correctly. Maybe I didn't fully understand what I was doing. Maybe I didn't fully repent. Maybe I didn't really have complete faith. Maybe I did it just because my friends were doing it. Maybe...

3. I don't know...maybe I should "do it" again, just to be 100% sure.

The Lutheran's Assurance of Salvation:

1. Have I been baptized into the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, thereby receiving God's promise of the forgiveness of my sins, salvation of my soul, faith, and eternal life?
Answer: Yes.

2. Have I outright rejected Christ as my Lord and Savior?
Answer: No.

3. Am I living a life of ongoing sin in willful disobedience and defiance of my Lord?
Answer: No.

Therefore, I KNOW I am saved!

When your assurance of salvation is based on what GOD did and not what you did, it makes all the difference in the world!

http://www.lutherwasnotbornagain.com/2013/10/salvation-is-much-simpler-than.html

KJB1611 said...

Dear Gary,


Your Lutheran doctrine of baptismal regeneration is soul damning heresy. Please read the pamphlet "Bible truths for Lutheran friends" here:

http://faithsaves.net/different-religions/

and the work:

Heaven Only for the Baptized? The Gospel of Christ vs. Baptismal Regeneration

which is also here:

http://faithsaves.net/different-religions/

You also show very little understanding of historic Baptist doctrine. No Baptist confession has ever said someone needs to ask Jesus to come into his heart, and both the men who post on this blog are against asking Jesus to come into your heart. We teach that justification is by grace through faith alone.

Gary said...

Is Salvation a transaction?

An evangelical Christian recently said to me, "When a sinner turns from sin to the Savior...A transaction is made and a soul is saved."

This statement is the crux of the problem with Baptist/evangelical theology: God DOES NOT conduct transactions with sinners!

God saves sinners, and he does so WITHOUT their assistance or even their cooperation. Salvation is not a transaction...it is a FREE gift. Gifts do not involve "transactions".

It is interesting to note this point: In Baptist and evangelical theology the sinner has a free will BEFORE he is saved, but loses his free will, the ability to choose or to reject God, after the "transaction" of salvation with God has been completed.

In Lutheran theology, the sinner lacks ANY free will in spiritual matters prior to salvation. The reason that the sinner lacks a free will to make spiritual decisions (such as "accepting Jesus into his heart") is because the sinner is spiritually dead. However, once God saves him, quickens (makes alive) his spiritually dead soul, he then has the ability to make spiritual free-will decisions: to follow Christ, or to turn back to his former life of sin and darkness.

Which theology is most consistent with Scripture and the historic teachings of the Christian Church?

http://www.lutherwasnotbornagain.com/2013/10/must-sinner-do-something-to-be-saved.html

Gary said...

Here is my story: I grew up fundamentalist Baptist. I repented of all my sins and accepted Jesus Christ into my heart to be my Lord and Savior at age nine…and again in my early teens…just to be sure. In my early 20’s my family moved to another state where we attended a non-denominational, evangelical mega-church (which taught Baptist doctrine) for several years. In my mid to late 20’s I stopped going to church because I didn’t “feel” God inside me and he didn’t seem to listen when I prayed.

I remained unchurched until I was married in my forties. I started attending liberal churches. When we had children, I started looking again at more conservative/fundamentalist churches, something closer to what I had believed as a child and teenager. We joined a conservative, orthodox Lutheran church. I became very involved in the church. I was happy and content in my orthodox Christian belief system. I read the Bible and prayed regularly.

One day I was surfing the internet and came across an atheist’s website. He was a former fundamentalist Baptist/evangelical pastor! I was shocked! I started to engage him in conversation, and also tried to bring him back to the Faith, to belief in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.

However, this man pointed out to me some very big assumptions in my Christian belief system which I had never thought of, such as:

1. Just because there is evidence for a Creator does not mean that the Creator is the Christian God, Yahweh.

2. Our current Bibles contain thousands of scribe alterations, most of them inconsequential, but a couple of them are shocking. Why did God allow scribes copying the original Scriptures to change, delete, add, or alter his inerrant, Holy, Word?

3. How do we know that the books of the New Testament are the Word of God? Is there a verse that tells us? Did Jesus give us a list? Did Paul?

4. Do we really have any verifiable eyewitness testimony for the Resurrection or is it all hearsay and legend?

5. Modern archaeology proves that the Captivity in Egypt, the Exodus, the forty years in the Sinai, the Conquest of Canaan, and the great kingdoms of David and Solomon are only ancient Hebrew fables.

At first I fought him tooth and nail. I fought him for four months. At the very end I had to admit that there are no verifiable eyewitness accounts of the Resurrection of Jesus in the Bible or anywhere else. All we have are four anonymous first century texts full of discrepancies and contradictions. The only thing I had left to attach my faith to was the testimony of the Apostle Paul: why would a devout Jewish rabbi convert to a religion he so hated unless he really saw a resurrected dead man on the Damascus Road?

But after studying the five Bible passages that discuss Paul’s conversion, I had to admit that Paul never says he saw a resurrected body. All Paul says is that he saw a light…and that this event occurred in a “heavenly vision”. Visions are not reality...not in the 21st century nor in the 1st.

And as for the improbability that a Jewish rabbi would convert to a hated religion, there is a Muslim cleric in Israel today who not too many years ago was an ardent Zionist Jewish settler and rabbi, intent on ridding the Muslims from Jewish land.

Strange conversions occur. They do not prove that the new religion is true and inerrant.

I was broken-hearted, but I saw my Christian Faith was nothing more than an ancient superstition that had been modified in the first century by Jesus, a good man, but a dead man. There is zero evidence that this first century Jew is alive and the Ruler of the Universe.

Joshua said...

Is this the same Gary the Lutheran who posted above? If so, you were expressly warned that what you held to was a soul damning heresy, and here you are back by your own testimony demonstrating that you were never converted and are without faith.

Note well Gary's second point lovers of the critical text. How would you respond?

KJB1611 said...

Dear Gary,

While I am sorry, for your sake, that you have openly rejected Christianity, you actually do less damage to the cause of Christ as a skeptic than what you might do when you claimed to be: 1.) A Baptist, but you taught that salvation was by asking Jesus into one's heart--contrary to every Baptist confession that has ever been written, and contrary to Scripture, which teaches justification by repentant faith alone, Lu 13:3; Jn 3:16. 2.) A Lutheran, and, claiming to be a Christian, taught the damnable heresy of baptismal regeneration and tried to get people to your Lutheran blog by posting drive-by comments on the What is Truth blog.

If you would like to see why your "accepting Jesus into [your] heart" never was the gospel, please read:

http://faithsaves.net/ask-jesus-christ-into-heart-sinners-prayer-saved/

You ought to read it simply so that you can get clarity about your past history, even apart from the fact that it is the truth.

By the way, aworldly "mega-church" doesn't teach Baptist doctrine. It misrepresents Jesus as worldly and fleshly like the things mega-churches use to attract people.

Since you never were converted, it is not surprising that you didn't think God answered your prayers and you had no experiential fellowship with Him. You never did. That is also apparent from the fact that you could drop out of true churches for decades. All true believers in the NT followed the Lord, Ac 2:41, 46, because the Lord Jesus prayed that they would be different, and His prayers are always answered, Jn 17:17. Since you never were in a saving union with Christ, you could drop out of His church and then adopt your Lutheran and now secularist false teachings.

I have visited many atheist, anti-Christian websites. Their arguments are generally awful for anyone who knows the Bible well and, most importantly, for those who actually have the Spirit of truth living in them. My story, I suppose, is the opposite of yours; you can check it out here:

http://faithsaves.net/my-journey-from-unbelief-to-the-truth/

It has a very different start than yours--in secularism--a very different position now--in saving union with the risen Lord, Jesus Christ, and in His true, historic Baptist church--and a very different future, eternity in the New Jerusalem, instead of eternity in the lake of fire, thanks to His glorious and free grace alone.

KJB1611 said...

Gary, the effects of sin on your mind, and a regrettable lack of thinking on your part, are most evident in your questions. I am astonished that you can say that you lived for many decades and you "never thought of" the fact that a Creator doesn't necessarily of itself prove that the Creator is the Triune Jehovah of Scripture. He is the Creator, of course, but if you never even thought about how to get from A to B you never thought very deeply about Christianity when you were a "Christian."

Your lack of careful thinking, and the effects of sin darkening your mind, are also evident in question #2. You don't believe that God has perfectly preserved Scripture, and you believe that the originals of Scripture are lost and corrupted. So how, granting your presupposition, can you prove that copy X differs from its original manuscript when, on your own presupposition, you don't know and nobody can know what the original MS said? You can't prove that there is a single "shocking" corruption of Scripture. Let's see the proof. What is it, Gary? Prove what the original said and then prove that we have something else that is a shocking corruption. By the way, if you know anything manuscript evidence, you know that the Bible is the best attested ancient document by far--the second closest document to the Bible is Homer's Illiad, which has 2.7% of the Greek MSS evidence of the Bible. Are you skeptical about all of history, or only of the best attested ancient document, abandoning your skepticism about all those with far, far worse attestation?

Concerning question #3, the true books of Scripture were received by God's people right away. When Moses came down from the mountain with the 10 commandments, people knew they were God's Word right away. When John wrote Revelation to the 7 churches, they received it as God's Word right away. And yes, there were canonical collections of the inspired books in the 1st century, e. g., 2 Pet 3:15-16 shows that Peter knew of the canonical collection of Paul's epistles.

In answer to question #4, if you apply the standards of modern trials to the evidence for the resurrection, you would have to conclude Christ rose from the dead. See, e. g., here:

http://www.classicapologetics.com/g/greenfourev.pdf

for The Testimony of the Evangelists: The Gospels Examined by the Rules of Evidence by Simon Greenleaf.

So, yes, we do have excellent testimony.

5.) Your statement #5 demonstrates that you don't know anything about archaeology. Read:

Archaeology and Bible History, Joseph Free

On the Reliability of the Old Testament, K. A. Kitchen

Israel in Egypt: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition, James K. Hoffmeier

Ancient Israel in Sinai: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Wilderness Tradition, James K. Hoffmeier

After you refute them, and you demonstrate that the the ancient archeological evidence that actually names kings such as David and Solomon on physical evidence you can find in secular museums are actually fabrications by fundamentalist Christians, then we will consider what you are saying. Until then, we will conclude that you are evidencing your incredible ignorance. Even radical theological liberals who are intelligent admit that David and Solomon ruled over Israel (in this century--thanks to archaeology--they could deny it in earlier centuries). Gary, you don't know what you are talking about.

Paul never even claimed to see Jesus, eh? "Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord?" (1 Cor 9:1). Oops!

KJB1611 said...


Sorry, Gary, Jesus Christ is the Lord of the universe. He wrote the Bible, and said that "the fool hath said in his heart, there is no God" (Ps 14:1). You need to check out the evidence for the Bible in Bible study #1 here:

http://faithsaves.net/bible-studies/

and also the material here:

http://faithsaves.net/is-the-bible-gods-word/

You don't need to ask Jesus into your heart again, and you don't need a Lutheran baptismal regeneration. You need to receive the risen Lord, Jesus Christ, by repentant faith alone, as explained in Bible studies #3-6 on the website above.

For your own soul's sake, I hope you do this. However, when you were a Lutheran you would post silly drive-by comments on this blog, so if you do the same as a skeptic, I must admit I don't have a lot of confidence. In this, however, I would love to be proven wrong--and here you certainly can do it. Be quick, to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath, and receive with meekness the Word of God, which is able to save your soul.

If, instead, you refuse and rebel, meditate upon Revelation 21:8 and fear: "the unbelieving . . . shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."

KJB1611 said...

Here'a a link about the Tel Dan inscription, evidence from archaeology for King David:

http://biblicalartifacts.org/tel.html

The inscription is the Israeli museum in Jerusalem and it evidences that King David was a bigshot, someone a heathen king would think worthy of respect 150 years after he lived. You'd better go to the museum, Gary, and tell them that it's a fake--King David never existed, and his kingdom was made up by Baptists; explain to the people in Israel that archaeology really shows David and Solomon, and their kingdoms, are "ancient Hebrew fables."

KJB1611 said...

Unfortunately, it looks like Gary as a skeptic, posting questionably related pro-skeptic comments, cares as little about what he posts in his drive-by statements on the blogs of others as he was when he was a Lutheran, posting questionably related pro-Lutheranism comments in drive-by comments. I unfortunately am not surprised that he asked a bunch of questions, but ignored--and possibly didn't even stick around on the blog to read--the answers to his questions. This is the attitude of someone who is not quick to hear, nor slow to speak, and someone who does not receive the Word with meekness, but, filled with his own thoughts, rejects the truth and receives eternal damnation. It is evidence that he didn't want answers--he wanted his skeptic drivel to lead people to adopt his new anti-Christian false religion, just as he didn't want answers when he promoted the anti-Christian Lutheran gospel of baptismal regeneration.

Joshua said...

Thomas is correct here. This is a classic illustration of 2 Peter 2. False doctrine was present. Swelling words were present. A promise of liberty and freedom was offered by a servant of corruption. An attempt to beguile unstable souls was made. Finally, a denial of the Lord that bought him. Even in apostasy this man proves the perfection of the Scriptures, that accurately predicted his existence, his method of operation, and his ultimate end nearly 2000 years ago.

Gary said...

I apologize that I have not responded sooner. Let's boil this discussion down to the very basics:

1. Is there any evidence that the Gospels were written by eyewitnesses?

2. Does Paul say anywhere in the New Testament that he saw the resurrected, walking/talking flesh and blood body of Jesus? I agree that Paul believed in a bodily resurrection, but the only encounter with Jesus that Paul ever mentions is when he encountered a talking bright light on the Damascus Road...in a "heavenly vision"...as he himself states in Acts chapter 26. Just because Paul came to believe that Jesus had been bodily resurrected is not proof that Paul ever saw a resurrected body. Paul's experience with a talking, bright light convinced him that a resurrection had occurred, and as a Pharisee, a resurrection meant a bodily resurrection. Belief in something is not proof of its veracity.

Bright lights on not bodies, and visions are not actual experiences.

Anonymous said...

I apologize that I have not responded sooner. Let’s boil this discussion down to the very basics:

1. Is there any evidence that the Gospels were written by eyewitnesses?

2. Does Paul say anywhere in the New Testament that he saw the resurrected, walking/talking flesh and blood body of Jesus? I agree that Paul believed in a bodily resurrection, but the only encounter with Jesus that Paul ever mentions is when he encountered a talking bright light on the Damascus Road…in a “heavenly vision”…as he himself states in Acts chapter 26. Just because Paul came to believe that Jesus had been bodily resurrected is not proof that Paul ever saw a resurrected body. Paul’s experience with a talking, bright light convinced him that a resurrection had occurred, and as a Pharisee, a resurrection meant a bodily resurrection. Belief in something is not proof of its veracity.

Bright lights on not bodies, and visions are not actual experiences.

Gary said...

By now I have asked at least a hundred Christian bloggers the following two questions and to this date, none have been able to answer them:

1. Is there any first century evidence or testimony that the Gospels were written by eyewitnesses?

2. Is there any passage in the Bible where Paul says that he saw, with his own two eyes, a real flesh and blood resurrected body, or does he only claim to have seen a talking, bright light that he believed to be the bodily resurrected Jesus?

Kent Brandenburg said...

Gary,

You say "none have been able to answer them." I don't know you, but do you think it's possible that someone answered, and you just didn't like the answer? You say you are a truth seeker.

1. Luke 1:1, 1 John 1:1,3, and 2 Peter 1:16 all speak of eyewitness testimony. They read like eyewitness testimony. The accounts corroborate with one another, but are not copying one another, so they read like eyewitness testimony, which wouldn't be identical, but wouldn't contradict either.

Extra-scriptural, we have Papias, as recorded by Eusebius, who wrote (http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf201.iii.viii.xxxix.html):

"I shall not hesitate also to put into ordered form for you, along with the interpretations, everything I learned carefully in the past from the elders and noted down carefully, for the truth of which I vouch. For unlike most people I took no pleasure in those who told many different stories, but only in those who taught the truth. Nor did I take pleasure in those who reported their memory of someone else’s commandments, but only in those who reported their memory of the commandments given by the Lord to the faith and proceeding from the Truth itself. And if by chance anyone who had been in attendance on the elders arrived, I made enquiries about the words of the elders—what Andrew or Peter had said, or Philip or Thomas or James or John or Matthew or any other of the Lord’s disciples, and whatever Aristion and John the Elder, the Lord’s disciples, were saying. For I did not think that information from the books would profit me as much as information from a living and surviving voice."

John in the Gospel of John expressly claims to have written as an eyewitness (1:35-40, 13:23, 21:24).

A whole book has been written about this topic: Richard Bauckham's Jesus and the Eyewitnesses (http://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Eyewitnesses-Gospels-Eyewitness-Testimony/dp/0802863906).

2. Regarding Paul, read the flow of 1 Corinthians 15, when Paul is arguing for the bodily resurrection and he says that he saw Jesus like Peter and James, etc. 1 Cor 15:5-8, and in v. 8, "last of all he was seen of me also." "Also" translates kago, which means, "in like manner." So in a passage on bodily resurrection he says that he saw Jesus in like manner as the other apostles. In 1 Corinthians 9:1, he writes: "Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord?" He places his seeing of Jesus on par with the other apostles, as an argument for his having rights such as they had.

So you now have at least one blogger who has answered your question.

Gary said...

Hi Kent,

Thank you very much for taking the time to respond to my questions. I would like to respond to each of your points separately. Let's look at the opening verses of the Gospel According to Luke:

"Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, 3 I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first,[a] to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed."

In the first verse, the author tells us that many have already attempted to write down the story of Jesus prior to him writing his account. Possibly he was referring to "Mark" and to "Q". He doesn't say, so we don't know.

In the second verse, the author (let's call him "Luke" for convenience sake) states that the source of his information comes from eyewitnesses. He therefore is stating that he personally did not witness these events. At best, his information is second hand. I find it interesting that if the source of this information was the apostle Paul, as tradition states, why doesn't Luke say so? Also, if Paul was the "eyewitness" source, Paul may have "seen" Jesus on the Damascus Road, but he was not an eyewitness to the life of Jesus. Therefore if Paul is the source of the information, Luke's information is at best third hand information: Peter/James--->Paul--->Luke.

Verse three is very interesting to me. If Luke received his information directly from an eyewitness, why would he need to investigate his source? For instance, if Luke had interviewed the Apostle Peter, or the Apostle John, or even Paul, who also claimed to be an apostle, why would Luke need to investigate what these apostles were telling him?? It certainly sounds as if what really happened was that Luke received his information from someone, who had received his information from someone, etc., etc., who SAID the information he was repeating was an eyewitness account.

And why would Luke, if writing under the direct inspiration and supervision of the Holy Spirit, need to investigate his sources? Is that how inspiration works: Man collects information, verifies his sources, and then God comes by and gives his final stamp of approval??

Lastly, if Mark and Q had already written "orderly" accounts of the life of Jesus, why did Luke need to write another work, after doing so much investigation? Sounds to me like Luke did not approve of the "orderliness" or the quality of the previous writings. If Luke is talking about the Gospel of Mark, which scholars now date as the first gospel written, what does that say about inspiration, if one allegedly inspired author is criticizing the quality of work of another allegedly inspired author?

Regarding statements in I John and II Peter, these books were written latter, and were not immediately accepted as canonical by the early Church Fathers. Also, the authorship of these books is in question. We cannot use anonymous or at best questionable books to confirm the authorship of early anonymous books. For instance, II Peter was the last book to be accepted into the canon, and not until almost the fifth century.



KJB1611 said...

Dear Gary,

Somehow my comments below disappeared and became Genesis 16:13. Below is what I intended to say.


If you really want answers, will you admit you were wrong on what you said the first time? Should I believe you really want answers the second time you ask questions if you ignore the answers that were given to the first questions you asked? I'll answer these questions too, but then I'm not going to reply again unless you answer what I'm asking you now and respond point-by-point to what I said on your first questions. If you really want answers, you'll do it. You will also admit it when you are shown to be wrong.

Answers:

1.) Yes. "This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true." (John 21:24). That's one example of first century evidence and testimony that John's Gospel was written by an eyewitness. For Papias, a contemporary of John outside the Bible, here's Fragments of Papias 19:1: "The Gospel of John was made known and given to the churches by John while he was still in the flesh. . . . Papias, a beloved disciple of John . . . wrote down the Gospel correctly as John dictated." There's a reason why all the patristic evidence favors Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John as writing Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. You can find a lot of it by reading some of the resources I gave in my reply to your first questions. Did you go to your library and Interlibrary Loan (for free) any of those books? Did you look at the links I gave you the first time and read the material there carefully?

Here is another question for you. Is there any evidence that the gospels were NOT written by whom the early church universally said wrote them? Please give me the hard, physical evidence that they were all written very late like theological liberalism says. Or if you can't, is it because liberalism ASSUMES that the gospels are late--all after A. D. 70--simply because of FAITH that miracles are impossible, such as Christ predicting the destruction of Jerusalem, as recorded in the Gospels? Could it be that late dates are a result of anti-supernatural FAITH, rather than evidence, because admitting the gospels were written by the people who everyone who lived in the first few centuries said wrote them would mean they were accurate and Jesus Christ was exactly who He claimed to be?

You ought to read the two books by the liberal scholar-turned Christian scholar Eta Linnemann,

Biblical Criticism on Trial: How Scientific Is Scientific Theology?

Historical Criticism of the Bible: Methodology or Ideology: Reflections of a Bultmannian Turned Evangelical

Dr. Linnemann taught in a prestigious German university and wrote the standard textbook used in the German public schools to teach that the Bible was not true, the gospels were not written by whom they claimed, etc. She has since refuted all of those theories in her books written after she became a Bible-believing Christian.

KJB1611 said...


2.) Please tell me why, if Paul's "have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord" (1 Cor 15), and why being miraculously struck blind after seeing Christ as recorded in Acts, and having his vision miraculously restored by Ananias, and raising people from the dead as Christ's Apostle, and hearing Christ's voice saying who He was, and people other than Paul eating and drinking with Christ after He rose from the dead, and people other than Paul holding on to His body, having long conversations with Him after He rose, and hundreds of people seeing Him after His resurrection, etc. aren't good enough for you, why the sentence "I saw the resurrected, walking/talking flesh and blood body of Jesus" in Paul's writings would be good enough for you. I suspect it is because there are no sentences with that kind of awkward grammar in Scripture, and because the normal statement by Paul that he saw Christ isn't good enough. I would like to know why you place such weight on one of Paul's five senses, sight, at least when it is convenient for you and when you can read into a narrative in Acts that he didn't see Christ although he said he did, but you reject out of hand another of Paul's senses, hearing. I also want to know why you value Paul's sense of sight at convenient moments but you don't value the sense of sight of the hundreds of other eyewitnesses of the resurrection, including those who "who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead" (Acts 10). I want to know how this is objective.

Please explain how, if miracles are impossible, Daniel predicted the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek and Roman empires, many specific details of the actions of empires for several centuries (Daniel 11), and predicted the exact year and day that Christ presented Himself as the Messiah in A. D. 33 (Daniel 9) as described here:

http://faithsaves.net/daniel-proof-bible/

Finally, as I noted earlier, I'm going to look for your response here:

http://kentbrandenburg.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-bible-teaches-permanent.html

rather than on this blog. If you really want answers, the way you reply will make it clear. May God make you willing to really want the truth rather than just zealously and blindly proselytize for your unproven atheist faith.

KJB1611 said...

By the way, Gary, you grievously misunderstand Luke 1:1-4. If you really want to understand why the passage is great evidence for the Bible instead of what you have made it by misunderstanding it, please read the article:


Literary Dependence and Luke’s Prologue, Paul W. Felix

here:

http://faithsaves.net/apologetics-and-false-religions/

These would be good too, at the same link:

The Lost Gospel of Q–Fact or Fantasy? by Eta Linnemann

The Synoptic Gospels in the Ancient Church: the Priority of Matthew, Robert L. Thomas & F. David Farnell

I am unlikely to comment again until you carefully deal with all of what I wrote above. If you ignore it, your claim to really want the truth is false.

Gary said...

Hi KJB,

I went back and look at my first comment (after my deconversion) and I still stand by everything I said. As to issue of Biblical archaeology, the top archaeologists in the state of Israel now concede that the stories of the Patriarchs, Slavery in Egypt, the Exodus, the 40 years in the Sinai, the Conquest of Canaan and the GREAT empires of David and Solomon were myths. I never said that David did not exist. I just said he was not the ruler of a great kingdom. If he had been we would find mention of him in the writings of the Egyptians and Mesopotamian kingdoms of that time. He is never mentioned. I know you don't agree with this and I'm sure you can find some fundamentalist evangelical archaeologist and Egyptologists who agree with you but the overwhelming majority of archaeologists, including Israeli archeologists, believe that you are wrong.

Anonymous said...

Dear Thomas,

To respond to you comment about John:

1. You quote the last chapter of John as evidence that the Gospel of John is eyewitness testimony:

“Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; he was the one who had reclined next to Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” 21 When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about him?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!” 23 So the rumor spread in the community[a] that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?”[b]

24 This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true. 25 But there are also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”

You seem to believe that this passage infers that the Gospel of John was written by John, the son of Zebedee. Does this passage say that? Is there any passage in the Gospel of John that says that the “beloved disciple” was John, the son of Zebedee? Answer: no.

The Gospel of John is an anonymous book. We have no idea who wrote it, where it was written, when exactly it was written, and for what purpose it was written. And the idea that the “beloved disciple” is John the son of Zebedee is based on tradition. For all we know, this book was written as an historical fiction, for the sole purpose of selling books and making a living for the author. Christians ASSUME that it was written by an eyewitness, by an apostle, and that it was written as an historical biography of Jesus. Assumptions, nothing but assumptions.

Notice verse 24: If the author of the Gospel of John is trying to say that He is the beloved disciple he has an odd way of saying it. He clearly distinguishes himself from the beloved disciple in the second part of the sentence: “and WE know that HIS testimony is true”. What author would say that “we” (including me) know that “his” (my) testimony is true”?

The Gospel of John is an anonymous book. The author never states that he is one of the Twelve nor that he is an eyewitness.

Anonymous said...

Dear Thomas: Regarding your comments on Papias:

Your view of Papias is incorrect. Here is Papias in his own words:

“I also will not hesitate to draw up for you, along with these expositions, an orderly account of all the things I carefully learned and have carefully recalled from the elders; for I have certified their truth. For unlike most people, I took no pleasure in hearing those who had a lot to say, but only those who taught the truth, and not those who recalled commandments from strangers, but only those who recalled the commandments which have been given faithfully by the Lord and which proceed from the truth itself

But whenever someone arrived who had been a companion of one of the elders, I would carefully inquire after their words, what Andrew or Peter had said, or what Philip or what Thomas had said, or James or John or Matthew or any of the other disciples of the Lord, and what things Aristion and the elder John, disciples of the Lord, were saying. For I did not suppose that what came out of books would benefit me as much as that which came from a living and abiding voice.”

Papias does not say in this passage that he received his information directly from John or any of the other apostles. He clearly states that he received his information from associates of the “elders”. The elders were not the apostles. The elders were the young followers of the apostles. So what Papias is saying is: “I got my information straight from the associates of the elders, who got their information from the elders, who got their information from the apostles, who got their information from Jesus. In no way can that be considered “eyewitness testimony”. It is at best, fourth-hand information. It is no different than me saying, “Bob told me that Bill told him that Jimmy told him “exactly” what Randy had said”.

Anonymous said...

Dear Thomas, you said:

“Is there any evidence that the gospels were NOT written by whom the early church universally said wrote them?”

I have a couple of responses to this comment. First, there is no evidence of ANYONE in the early church attributing the traditional authorship of what we now refer to as the Gospels to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John until the end of the second century, namely Ireneaus. Yes, earlier Fathers starting in the early second century referred to passages from these books but they never attributed authorship to the books until Ireneaus. So we have a period from circa 33 AD to some time between 160-180 AD where we have no references to the authorship of these four books.

Secondly, it is odd to ask me to prove a negative. Can you provide evidence that Joseph Smith did NOT receive Golden Tablets from the angel Moroni?

Anonymous said...

Thomas said:

“Could it be that late dates are a result of anti-supernatural FAITH, rather than evidence, because admitting the gospels were written by the people who everyone who lived in the first few centuries said wrote them would mean they were accurate and Jesus Christ was exactly who He claimed to be?”

Since my deconversion from Christianity I have run into this “conspiracy theory” phenomenon quite frequently when discussing the evidence for the resurrection with conservative Christians. It seems many conservative Christians believe that the overwhelming majority of skeptics, including me, do not believe simply because we do not WANT to believe. The truth is that most of us do not believe because of a lack of evidence, not due to a lack of willingness to believe. I loved being a Christian. I had no interest in deconverting. I had no secret sin that I wanted to indulge. I was not angry God. I loved him with all my heart. I stopped believing for the simple reason that I came to see that my "God" is dead. Jesus is dead. There is no evidence that he was resurrected.

I would still be a Christian if someone had shown me convincing evidence that the Gospels had been written by eyewitnesses. But all I have received are assumptions and hearsay. For instance, even if the author of the Gospel of John claimed to be an eyewitness to the Resurrection, we have no idea who this author is. He could have simply made it up. We need corroborating evidence of the authorship of this book, the purpose this book was written, and the reliability of the person who wrote it. We have none of that.

Gary said...

Regarding Paul, I have come to the sad, disheartening conclusion that Paul was either mentally ill or a liar.

If you read the three accounts by Paul of what he did in the three years after his conversion there are diametrically opposed details. “I went to Jerusalem”, “I went to Arabia”. “I met with the apostles”, “I did not meet with the apostles”.

It is odd that in Paul's many epistles, Paul never once mentions Jesus birth place, his hometown, the names of his parents, any of his miracles, any of his parables, any of his sermons, nor the details of his crucifixion or resurrection. The “Christ” that Paul talks about bares little resemblance to the Jesus of the Gospels. Paul even says that everything he preaches comes from internal revelation, not from others. So we must ask ourselves: Did Jesus really appear to this man and make him the thirteenth apostle or did Paul simply imagine this in his "heavenly vision"?

And why would an apostle need to repeatedly deny that he is a liar? Do any of the other apostles repeatedly defend themselves from accusations of being a liar from fellow Christians? And why don’t any of the other apostles refer to Paul as an apostle in their epistles? Why would Jesus spend three years training the “Twelve”, preparing twelve thrones for them to rule with him, to then declare a Pharisee the “greatest” of all apostles, several years after his death??

And why do all the churches in Asia Minor end up rejecting Paul as Paul himself states in II Timothy? One of those churches is Ephesus, the church which the author of the Book of Revelation praises for rejecting “false apostles”---not false preachers, false disciples, or false teachers, but “false APOSTLES”. Do we have evidence any the New Testament of the Church of Ephesus rejecting anyone other than Paul?

I don’t believe Paul’s story about his “heavenly vision” on the Damascus Road. He was either mentally ill or a liar. Someone who repeatedly must assure you that "Believe me. I'm not lying"...is usually lying.

Anonymous said...

Thomas said:

"Please explain how, if miracles are impossible, Daniel predicted the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek and Roman empires, many specific details of the actions of empires for several centuries (Daniel 11), and predicted the exact year and day that Christ presented Himself as the Messiah in A. D. 33 (Daniel 9) as described here:"

Many scholars believe that the Book of Daniel is a fraud. How do they know that? Well, it is odd that if Daniel were written by a prince/ruler in the kingdom of the Babylonians, the Medes, and then the Persians, he seems to know little about these kingdoms. He makes many, many errors in describing these kingdoms. However, once he gets to the Fourth Kingdom---Greece---his details and descriptions are incredibly accurate...so accurate that it is as if these events have just happened and the author is recording them in real time!

Most (non-evangelical) scholars believe that Daniel was written in Jerusalem during the Seleucid Empire (one of the Greek kingdoms). So there is no prophecy, just fraud.

So if Daniel were written in 200 BC as most scholars now believe, the prophecy that Christians believe predicts the birth of Jesus is off.

Anonymous said...

Dear Thomas:

I read your link by Felix. Felix does not believe that Luke used Mark as a source for his work. This opinion flies in the face of the majority of New Testament scholars, including evangelical scholars, that Mark was the first Gospel and that Matthew and Luke used Mark as a source (70% of Mark can be found in Matthew, often word for word!).

Felix starts his discussion with biases. One cannot objectively examine an ancient text with biases. His first bias is that Luke the physician wrote this book. His next bias is that John Mark wrote the Gospel of Mark. His third bias is that since Luke and John Mark knew each other, Luke would not use John Mark as a source for his book. None of these biases have any basis in fact. They are merely opinion based on tradition. And lastly, Felix assumes that the Gospel of Luke was inspired by God, therefore it is without error.

This is the greatest assumption in modern day Christianity: the inspiration of the books of the New Testament. How do Christians know that the 27 books of the NT are the inspired, inerrant Word of God? Did God the Father leave us a list of books? Did Jesus leave us a list? Did the Twelve leave us a list? Did Paul leave us a list? In the books of the NT themselves do we find any list of inspired books? Answer to all the above: no.

How do Christians know today that the 27 books of the New Testament are the inspired Word of God? Answer: because the ancient Catholic Church said so. And that is it.

Anonymous said...

Thomas: Back to Papias.

Papias is the sole source of information for the authorship of any of the four gospels prior to Irenaeus' declaration of their traditional authorship in the late second century (circa 180 AD). Without Papias, that would mean that there is a 150 year period of time when no one in Christianity identifies the authors of the four gospels we have today. So, the question must be asked: How reliable was Papias? Was he passing down accurate information or was he passing down legend? Here is another comment of Papias. Do you believe that this is accurate information regarding the teachings of John the Apostle or simply legend:

"Thus the elders who saw John, the disciple of the Lord, remembered hearing him say how the Lord used to teach about those times, saying:

“The days are coming when vines will come forth, each with ten thousand boughs; and on a single bough will be ten thousand branches. And indeed, on a single branch will be ten thousand shoots and on every shoot ten thousand clusters; and in every cluster will be ten thousand grapes, and every grape, when pressed, will yield twenty-five measures of wine.

And when any of the saints grabs hold of a cluster, another will cry out, ‘I am better, take me; bless the Lord through me.’ So too a grain of wheat will produce ten thousand heads and every head will have ten thousand grains and every grain will yield ten pounds of pure, exceptionally fine flour. So too the remaining fruits and seeds and vegetation will produce in similar proportions. And all the animals who eat this food drawn from the earth will come to be at peace and harmony with one another, yielding in complete submission to humans.”

Anonymous said...

And here is yet another statement by Papias in which he alleges information that comes straight from the apostles. Do you believe this story? If not, why do you believe Papias when he says that someone told him that John Mark had written a (unidentified) gospel? Isn't that selective believability?

"But Judas went about in this world as a great model of impiety. He became so bloated in the flesh that he could not pass through a place that was easily wide enough for a wagon – not even his swollen head could fit. They say that his eyelids swelled to such an extent that he could not see the light at all; and a doctor could not see his eyes even with an optical device, so deeply sunken they were in the surrounding flesh. And his genitals became more disgusting and larger than anyone’s; simply by relieving himself, to his wanton shame, he emitted pus and worms that flowed through his entire body.

And they say that after he suffered numerous torments and punishments, he died on his own land, and that land has been, until now, desolate and uninhabited because of the stench. Indeed, even to this day no one can pass by the place without holding their nose. This was how great an outpouring he made from his flesh on the ground."

Eusebius said that Papias was a dimwit. We have evidence above that Papias wrote down "sayings of Jesus and the apostles" that no Christian scholar believes were really said by Jesus or the apostles. So why believe Papias regarding the authorship of the gospels? Is it possible that the reason Papias is believed to be correct on this one issue...is simply because conservative Christians WANT Papias to be correct on this issue??

Kent Brandenburg said...

Gary,

The conspiracy theory that you must recruit to debunk a mountain of evidence is unbelievable. And once you're done with that, you have to explain how that believing this lie led the American way of life as seen in the founding documents of the United States. You're believing something, just in this case, it is every possible explanation given not to believe the Bible, which is a lot to piece together for you. It's got a lot of holes in it.

For instance, you are saying that Daniel wasn't a prophecy, but a conspiracy, and so every prophet and every prophecy were conspiracies, written after their prophecy, and lies of immense proportion. And a lot of smart people believed those lies for centuries, but you have unlocked the fiction of all of them as part of some grand plot. It is a conspiracy foisted of amazing proportions and put together by whom? Daniel was a part, Zechariah, Isaiah. Amazing stories, all concocted, meant to look like prophecies. And then you have their fulfillment. More people involved, trying to make them look like something happening. Hundreds of thousands in cahoots with one another. The Table of Nations in Genesis 10. Fiction. The nation of Israel, don't know what to do with that. And then the Isaiah Dead Sea scrolls dating before their fulfillment.

You think that just attempting to punch a few holes here and there is enough. Enough for you, scoffing, walking after your own lust, but not able to take out a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand legs to the table. You kick at a few, to which I'm not at all acquiescing, but it's a lot to dismiss, Genesis to Revelation, lex talionis, the entire US legal system, all history. I get your doing it, but it's quite a mountain to crawl over. You can't and won't succeed.

A case and point is here. You say no one has ever answered you. I have a hard time believing that, because you're likely to keep saying it, even though we have answered you. We show that the author of John is an eyewitness and you say that John didn't write it because his name isn't in the book. Do you really think that hasn't been dealt with? I've read hundred page dealings with that point and I'm also guessing you haven't read those types of things. We can't give a sufficient answer to you in a blog post, which means "we haven't answered." It's not true, but it's what you will say, and for what reason?

Kent Brandenburg said...

Gary,

I don't know how you can believe anything. You don't believe Papias, but you believe Eusebius about Papias. Why? What textual attestation is there for Eusebius? You ask for a first century witness to John's eyewitness and you get one, and you believe he's not trustworthy. I think it's going to be hard to provide anything for you to believe.

Food can be offered to a hungry person, but he still must open up, bite down, and swallow.

I read the Bible and it is amazing. I've talked to many who had not read it, decided to, and it was amazing to them. It's very believable. It's impossible, being honest, not to believe it. Sure, that's my testimony, but it doesn't read as if made up and it reads like no other book. I've never read a book that I could read 50 times and still remain interested. And it works. When I follow what it says, it works in every area of life. What a conspiracy!

Anonymous said...

I never said that all prophets were liars. And I am not the one making the accusation that the Book of Daniel is a fraud, scholars are making that accusation, based on scholarly examination of the document.

I have shown you very clear evidence from the last chapter of the Gospel of John that the author did NOT say that he was the beloved disciple, but you don't want to accept it. You don't want to accept the evidence because the evidence would destroy your belief that eyewitnesses wrote the four gospels.

I suggest we look at the evidence without biases and presuppositions.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Gary,

And please use your name every time. I don't want anonymous, because people don't know who we're talking to here.

You make a statement, I'm not calling all the prophets liars, but you are calling them that, because they are all saying the same thing. I've preached through every Word of every prophecy in the Bible, some many times. The NT authors refer to them as authority for their teaching again and again. I'm not surprised that you can find unbelievers who attack individual passages, whole books, doctrines, all of that. False religion is very powerful and the OT and NT talks about that.

You haven't dealt with everything we've said. You're saying there isn't evidence that the Gospels were written by eyewitnesses, and we say that there is suitable evidence that they have been written by eyewitnesses. We refer to the epistles and you say, no, that doesn't count, because those weren't in the canon of scripture. So we have texts that we have a huge amount of authentication, more than Eusebius, and we've got to believe their inauthentic, one after another. It's a conspiracy over thousands of years involving millions of people without the kind of technological abilities we have today, and today it couldn't be pulled off. And you expect us to believe your conspiracy as if it is really just allowing the evidence to lead you to the truth. It isn't. It's doubt. It's uncertainty. It's what you need to be your own boss, Gary.

Daniel reads like it isn't made up. When you read the prophecy of the ptolemies and seleucids, it reads like it isn't made up. Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel -- those are not fictional sounding at all. Then you add to that actual captivity, Belshazzar, Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, all the places and events, the siege of Jerusalem, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Nehemiah, Ezra, Esther. The story has so many intricate parts with real names and places, written at different times, that it is far harder to believe a conspiracy. You're wrong, Gary.

You're losing out on a blessing to you. You're embracing the curse.

I don't think you've read a significant defense of one little thing we're talking about, that is, John's being an eyewitness to the events of his Gospel. I don't believe what you say is evidence. It isn't evidence. Defense lawyers come in to bring doubt to the case of a prosecution. They can do an amazing job. Are you familiar with the OJ Simpson trial? They can leave people believing that OJ didn't commit murder. It's their job to bring doubt. But that doesn't mean you believe them. It's true that a person might have had some of the same DNA markings as OJ, but it isn't reasonable to have thought so. As a jury member, I have to look at all the evidence. All of it. And if you are able to look at all of it, and you say it is fiction, the Bible, the message of Christ, you can do that, but I'm saying you are not believable. You have a motive, like a defense lawyer, to cause doubt. You aren't, can't be, an honest seeker. No honest seeker could believe that there was a conspiracy of such proportions. That is what I'm saying, and it is an easy call.

Gary said...

Let's ignore what Eusebius says about Papias. Let's just look at the statements by Papias himself:

1. Jesus taught about magical grapes.
2. Judas Iscariot lived on for years after Jesus' death, his body swelling to such proportions that he had difficulty defecating and urinating.
3. John Mark wrote an (unidentified) gospel.

I know you don't believe the first two of Papias' statements, so why do you believe the last?

Just based on Papias' own statements, he does no appear to be a reliable source for the teachings of Jesus and his apostles. Papias never claims to have received information from either Jesus or the apostles but from the associates of elders; elders who were young disciples of the apostles of Jesus. This is fourth hand information and obviously some of this information got jumbled because NO New Testament scholar believes that Jesus taught about magical grapes or that Judas lived on for years after Jesus death.

Can we rule out the testimony of Papias regarding the authorship of one Gospel---Mark? No, but we can ascertain that Papias was NOT an eyewitness, was not an associate of an eyewitness, and was NOT a reliable source for other information about the apostles.

And finally on the subject of Papias: Papias made his statement about a gospel written by John Mark in the SECOND century. You still have not provided any FIRST century testimony as to the authorship of the gospels. (I have shown you why John, the son of Zebedee, did not write the Gospel of John). The author of the Gospel of John asserts that he is writing down the sayings of the "beloved disciple". He is not in anyway asserting that he, the author, IS the beloved disciple.

Gary said...

I was using "anonymous" because I didn't think my comments were being posted when I used "Gary". I will use "Gary" from now on.

I do not believe that Jesus or the authors of the Gospels were liars. I believe that Jesus and the other NT writers truly believed that Daniel was written by Daniel during the Babylonian Captivity.

I do not believe that Christians have conspired to perpetuate a lie. I believe that the earliest Christians sincerely believed what they believed. But sincere belief does not mean that the belief is true.

Why don't conservative Christians believe the supernatural assertions of other religions? Why don't you believe that the angel Gabriel really did give Mohammand God's true Word, the Koran? Have you read all the scholarly books by highly educated Muslim scholars which (they allege) confirm the Koran is 100% correct?

I doubt it. You haven't investigated the supernatural claims of Islam, Hinduism or any other religion because their supernatural assertions are absurd to you. Absurd assertions do not need to be investigated. You don't believe that Mohammad flew on a winged horse to Jerusalem because in your experience and in the experience of other people whose opinions you trust, horses do not have wings and horses do not fly. You wouldn't waste one minute of your time "investigating" this claim by reading Muslim books. It's absurd. Period. No need to investigate it.

Well, the same is true for the Christian supernatural tales. Dead men do not come back from the dead after being truly dead for three days. It has never happened. I have never seen it happen and no one I know and whose opinion I trust has ever seen it happen. Therefore, just as I do not believe the Muslim and Hindu supernatural tales I don't believe the Christian supernatural tales because the likelihood of these occurrences actually having occurred is very, very low. Is it possible they happened? Sure! Anything is possible. Pink unicorns and flying teapots orbiting the moon are possible, and a million other superstitions, but should we believe every one of these millions of superstitions just because there is a billion to one chance that they are true?

No. It's not reasonable.

There is no good evidence for the Christian supernatural belief in the resurrection of a dead man. It is all based on assumptions and hearsay. Just because the author of the Koran says he flew on a winged horse doesn't mean he really did. And just because (you believe)the author of John says he witnessed a dead man eating broiled fish and levitating into outer space, does not mean it happened. We need better evidence to believe such an unlikely event.

Bottom line: I am not asking you for any higher level of evidence for your Faith's supernatural claims than what I would demand of a Mormon, a Muslim, or a Hindu for their religion's supernatural claims. And I would bet that YOU would demand the same evidence from the Mormon, Muslim, and Hindu that I would, yet when we turn to look at your beliefs, you want to lower the standard of evidence.

Think about that, my Christian friends.

Gary said...

Here is evidence from the Bible itself that John, son of Zebedee, did not write the fourth gospel:

Acts 4:13

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and ordinary men, they were amazed and recognized them as companions of Jesus.

Experts believe that 97% of people in Palestine in the first century were illiterate. The passage from Acts above tells us that John (and Peter) were part of this 97%.

Yes, an uneducated adult man *can* learn to read and write, but what are the chances that an illiterate adult man can learn to read and write in a foreign language? And even more improbable, what are the chances that an illiterate adult man can learn to write elegant, sophisticated prose in a foreign language?

I am educated. I have a post graduate degree. I studied and learned to speak Spanish in college. I can speak conversational Spanish pretty well. But I could never write an elegant, sophisticated piece of literary prose, in Spanish, to save my life.

The odds that an illiterate fisherman like John (or Peter) would have the time as an evangelist/fisherman to study and master writing prose in a foreign language strains credulity.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Gary,

I shouldn't use the time to keep talking to you like this, so this is the last I'll accept your material. I've read a lot on the other side, almost as much or more than the truth, because I like the challenge, but what I read of you is not a challenge. It reminds me of Christopher Hitchens, which you would probably take as a compliment. I'm not saying you are as talented as him, but what you are saying is similar. It's not convincing. Sure, to the doubter, the unbeliever, who needs something to grab ahold of, it's enough. To say that Jews in Israel don't believe in the OT isn't news. They killed their own prophets when their prophets were right there before them. It doesn't surprise me that they don't believe now. I still love the Jewish people, but liberal Jews generally hate the Bible, including the OT, the book God gave to them.

I'm not going to go through your comments one by one here, because whole books have been written. I get what you are saying. Christians weren't lying. They were just crazy. It really is floating Bart Ehrman and others like him. He is a liar, and that's easy to see. I've watched a few of his debates, and I know enough to know he's lying to people.

With you, it's interesting. You ask for a witness that John was an eyewitness. You are given one and then you say he's not a credible witness. But he is a witness. When you talk about what's preserved from 2000 years ago, before the printing press, and in the first century, you don't get to choose. And from a biblical perspective, God didn't choose to preserve Papias. But you believe Eusebius about Papias when it is convenient for you.

You have all of Western Civilization and you discount that, but you latch onto some very remote sources to make your point.

And the Bible is different than all the other books you're talking about, in quality and character. It's different in prophetic content. It's different in nature. The message is different.

You have no proof that John didn't write John. There's a lot of proof that he did. You're saying that someone's opinion that he was uneducated, because Acts doesn't say he was uneducated or illiterate. That is sheer speculation. But that doesn't mean he couldn't have written John. You don't know what he knew or didn't know. I believe he did know and there is enough evidence. What plainly indicates to me your desire, your willfulness not to believe, is that you use a verse like Acts 4:13 as evidence that John didn't write John, when you don't believe the Bible. Why believe Acts if you can't believe John? You temporarily believe Acts as evidence that John was not an eyewitness.

Gary, there is a lot to say, but I suggest you go to the materials that Thomas Ross (KJB) gave you and read there. He's done a lot of work to compile and write, and you should read that first if you really do want evidence.

KJB1611 said...

Dear Gary,

If you stand by everything you said in your first comment, you aren't being honest. You claim that you want answers, but when you are given them, you write them off without doing any investigation. That is evident by the fact that you can dismiss all the books that I gave you as not even worth reading, and with an evident ignorance of who even wrote them.

Your great zeal for your blind atheist faith is very evident, but your knowledge is not there. I will just point out a few ways this is the case.

1.) You say, "So if Daniel were written in 200 BC as most scholars now believe, the prophecy that Christians believe predicts the birth of Jesus is off." You don't even get the unbelieving chronology of Daniel correctly. If it were written in 200 B. C., Daniel 11 would still contain incredible predictive prophecies. If you want to be an effective evangelist for your new blind faith, you won't be able to do it if you jumble your facts up so badly and evidence ignorance not only of what Christianity says but even of the way unbelief on your side ought to try to make its case. You really ought to read:

The Book of Daniel: Proof that the Bible is the Word of God

The Date of the Book of Daniel, Bruce K. Waltke

at:

http://faithsaves.net/apologetics-and-false-religions/

so you at least know what you are up against in Daniel and how to argue for your atheism properly.

You obviously also don't even understand what the prophetic argument is in Daniel 9, because it is based on the date of the decree mentioned in Daniel 9, which would still give exactly the same chronology if the chapter were written when theological liberalism says it was written (not 200 B. C., by the way.)

In the same comment, you say:

Well, it is odd that if Daniel were written by a prince/ruler in the kingdom of the Babylonians, the Medes, and then the Persians, he seems to know little about these kingdoms. He makes many, many errors in describing these kingdoms. However, once he gets to the Fourth Kingdom---Greece---his details and descriptions are incredibly accurate...so accurate that it is as if these events have just happened and the author is recording them in real time!

You would be much better evangelist for your atheist faith if you figured out how to argue for it correctly. First, you would be more effective if you listed some of these many, many errors rather than just saying they are there without stating any of them. Since you cannot prove that there are any, though, that will be a difficult task. Second, you don't even get the kingdoms right. The fourth kingdom is Rome. Third, you don't even get the argument right about how skeptics who have done their homework try to attack Daniel. I won't explain how that is because perhaps it will make you check out the links I just gave you.

Your ignorance and lack of specifics on Daniel is similar to your ridiculous affirmations about the non-historicity of the Biblical record of the Exodus, David's kingdom, etc. But are you willing to become informed? No. Why? "ridiculous assertions do not need to be investigated." In other words, "atheism is true, and this I know, for my blind faith tells me so." And, while you are not willing to investigate what the best arguments are by Christians--or even the non-Christians who wrote some of the material I recommended, but you are so ignorant that you can write them all off without even knowing who they are--we actually are willing to investigate the best claims for other faith systems. The Koran, Book of Mormon, etc. don't have any predictive prophecies--the Bible has thousands. It cannot be explained apart from the intervention of God.

KJB1611 said...

I just want to point out a few more places where your zeal for your blind faith goes far beyond knowledge.

1.) When you say Greek is a "foreign language" you demonstrate great ignorance of the linguistic milieu of 1st century Palestine.

2.) You asked, "1. Is there any first century evidence or testimony that the Gospels were written by eyewitnesses?"

we gave you a lot of it, but you didn't like it. Instead, you come up with the incredible idea that the person who wrote John, although he claims to have rested on Christ's bosom during the last supper, have been there at the crucifixion, resurrection, garden of Gethsemane, etc. is not an apostle, nor even claims to be an apostle. This may help you with fellow True Believers in Atheism--they may say, "preach it, brother!" but it won't convince someone who is not already in your Amen corner. Anyone not already a True Believer will see this as ridiculous.

You demand 1st century eyewitness evidence, but you don't give us any for your blind faith that the gospels are late. You don't give any evidence for that at all. Where is the first century, eyewitness evidence for your dating system? Why, it isn't there. Blind faith.

Where is your first century, eyewitness evidence for the Q document you have blind faith in? For that matter, where is a single manuscript of it, or a single reference to it in the first 95% or so of church history? Why, it isn't there. But that isn't a problem for you. Blind faith.

I could point out more of the gaping holes in your argument, but since your blind faith tells you that we are the absurd ones, even though you can't even get your atheist arguments in the right order, or get the right point in history for when you need to date Daniel to support your blind anti-supernaturalist faith, there is not much point.

You would be a much better evangelist preaching your new blind faith if you spent a little time seeing what the best stuff was that the other side had to say--stuff such as what I recommended to you--instead of spending time cutting and pasting stuff from your blog on all kinds of other websites on posts that are unrelated to what you are cutting and pasting. Right now, while it is evident you have great zeal for your new blind faith, you are going to be far more effective coming across as ignorant and irritating than an effective evangelist for your atheist religion. You will whip up the religious frenzy of fellow ignorant people already in your Amen corner with the red meat you throw at them, but that's about it.

Then again, I think perhaps I have overstated the case. The fact is that the "Gary" who wrote these comments is not really "Gary" at all--I have no convincing, corroborating evidence for it. Could someone who really has a postgraduate degree come up with such baseless foolishness? Evidently not--it is absurd. I am convinced it is absurd, so I'm not going to even investigate the alternative. Obviously, the posts claiming to be by Gary are really by a space alien named Spartacus. After all, a fellow True Believer in atheism, Richard Dawkins, thinks space aliens could have created life on earth--belief in God is unreasonable, but belief in aliens is not.

Then again, by the time you got to the argument, in light of the mistakes you make in even stating your atheist case properly, the space aliens probably would have become illegal aliens.

KJB1611 said...

By the way, the two quotes allegedly from Papias that Gary reproduces in the comments above are questionable. Neither of them comes from a copy of something that Papias himself wrote; the first one is reproduced by Eusebius, who was a determined opponent of a literal thousand year reign of Christ and had a strong incentive to make it sound ridiculous, and the second is from a fragment found in a fourth century heretic named Apollinaris. Of course, Gary leaves those facts out, probably because he was unaware of them and has never studied the apostolic patristic writings for themselves. I suspect he probably pulled the quotes from some skeptical book without ever bothering to take the time to look at them in context or analyze their credibility. It is interesting, though, that when I am the only one who provides an actual source in Papias while he provides no source, although I was able to find his quotes because I have those literary documents in both Greek and English, that I am the one who misunderstands Papias. Remember, though, that it is we Christians who are ridiculous; thus saith Gary.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Gary,

I'm writing this comment, because I had already told you that I wouldn't be publishing any more of your comments. You are not interacting with our posts. You are just writing comments to push your atheism. Many consider this unethical behavior for commenters, called "trolls" or "drive-bys." We've been generous in allowing the comments. Now I would understand this not being unethical for you, because there is no way you could believe in absolute truth or moral absolutism. That's what your position leaves you with, total subjectivity, which makes it tough for you to judge anything, which you do anyway. How can you say anything is wrong? Everything you write is subjective, because you have no basis for judging anything.

You unload so much, and it isn't that there are not very good answers, but there is so much to do to answer them. I will write some answers in future posts, and I will allow you to interact with those when I do, but only with what I'm talking about.

For instance, you make a kind of argument that there isn't anything different between Christianity or evangelicalism and Mormonism or Islam. There is plenty different, but the answers are huge. One of them, that's simple, however, is that if the truth had already been established with the OT and the NT, and something else comes along that contradicts, it can't be the truth. They can't both be true. The former has to be shown to be false. You think you're doing that, and that brings to another point.

You complain that we don't defend Christianity with the Bible and instead refer to outside material. The outside material has already answered your questions from the Bible. However, your challenge of the Bible comes from outside material. I say that 1 John 1 says John was an eyewitness. Your answer was extrascriptural. You want someone else testifying that John was an eyewitness.

The testimony of the patristics is that it was John. Irenaeus said it was John, who knew Polycarp, who knew John. That's really pretty amazing testimony for something so ancient. If you can't accept that, then we really don't have history. Ancient Babylon comes down to believing in one pillar, and people are glad to believe the one pillar without authentication. Why? It's not an intellectual issue, but a volitional one.

I believe the Bible is verified. I understand that it will continue to be challenged and opposed, but it's not something I'm going to keep going back to again and again. You're attacking an ocean with a spoon. The ocean is still there despite what you're doing with your spoon.

KJB1611 said...

Where I had earlier posted:

You really ought to read:

The Book of Daniel: Proof that the Bible is the Word of God

The Date of the Book of Daniel, Bruce K. Waltke

at:

http://faithsaves.net/apologetics-and-false-religions/

so you at least know what you are up against in Daniel and how to argue for your atheism properly.


The link has been changed--it is now:

http://faithsaves.net/apologetics/

Thanks.

Gary said...

Many scholars now believe that the Book of Daniel was written by a Jew living in Greek-occupied Palestine in the third or fourth century BCE, not by a Jewish Persian prince living in Babylon centuries earlier as the author of the book purports.

The Book of Daniel is most likely a work of fraud.

KJB1611 said...

Dear Gary,

You are right that some think that, because they must in order to try to get out of Daniel's predictive prophecies. However, they have been proven wrong and utterly debunked, as in the resources on Daniel here:

http://faithsaves.net/gods-word/

If you care about the truth, you will reject the late date of Daniel. If you just want to keep your atheist faith, then don't read the resources there, keep believing a lie, and receive the eternal consequences.

KJB1611 said...

By the way, Gary, you got your dates wrong for the unbelieving view of Daniel. You are off by a century or two. 4th-3rd century BC would not get rid of huge numbers of predictions. That shows you don't know what you are talking about and that you reject Daniel's prophecies because you want to keep your atheism.