Modern theologians hold that Jesus was a militant Jewish teacher, which notion they say, is based on a comparison of the Bible and the extra-biblical historical records; or worse, they view Jesus as little more than a ground-breaking philosopher. They have an almost identical lack of respect for the accuracy of the scriptures.
To get to these high plains upon which these grand ideas are found, an appeal is always made to the extra-biblical historical record of Jesus. What that really means is that they appeal to what is known as the apocryphal gospels and letters — the compiled, late writings and stories dating from the late third century and onward. All of these are obvious frauds and really bad attempts to explain things that have never required an explanation. None of them carries any historical validation through its mention within or by agreement with any events recounted in the New Testament, and none of them carries any weight gained through mention by any other contemporary historical sources. They therefore have no historical validity. But that does not stop the trot of these studious theologians on into the teaching of error.
None of these documents stands near the letters and works of the New Testament in comparison, and most are insignificant attempts at outrageous story telling and which amount to nothing more than poorly written fragments. They all serve to confuse and obfuscate and tend to overthrow rather than to build up.
I can remember taking a course at Florida State University on the historical Jesus, as taught by the local Catholic priest who was then also the head of the religion department. The premise behind the course was that much could be learned about Jesus from these non biblical sources. And the center of this man’s view of the historical record of Jesus was based upon the 4th century “Gospel of Thomas.” This compilation claims to record some events in Jesus’ formative years, and mentions miracles which are contrary to anything ever found in God’s word. To my unstructured mind and to some the other students, this nonsense was plainly fraudulent, and the ones that actually took the time to read it, could come to no other conclusion than that it served no purpose other than to make the child Jesus look common and completely reckless with the powers of God — in some attempt to overthrow the faith of youth.
At many colleges, the religion and philosophy departments have been sown together to make up the most uncommon of fabrics — one in which talk of religion is couched in the vaguest and most fragile terms offered by those who discourage its pursuit. That should help the lucid in identifying the end product. This priest and professor, who had taught the Thomas class, admitted privately to some of us when he was pressed, that he did not believe that Jesus was the Son of God. I have puzzled over the years as to how he held to the sacraments of his faith and how he might have managed to speak with any force of godly things from Sunday to Sunday, when by his own admission he did not believe in the principle tenet of the faith he had so mockingly spent his life in support. What hypocrisy.
Most modern philosophies are bent on nihilism and see man’s existence as mostly meaningless, and many religion professors, like this one, simply don’t believe in God. We are, after all, accidental organisms, living on an accidental planet, in an accidental system — formed out of chaos and happenstance. Indeed the new and modern philosophy of environmentalism and humanism puts mankind at the bottom rather than at the top of the food chain. And that is exactly where philosophers and religionists also would like to keep us. We are an aberration, the result of nothing more than random activity, and are at best a pointless catastrophe rather than being fashioned after the very image of God.
Thereby, it seems that to study either religion or philosophy on this level would lead one off a high speed drop to fall headlong into swirling and unsustainable theories based upon fancy, fabrication, and fiction rather than upon fact and science, with no bottom in sight and no sense to it at all. But the shelves at the local Borders are full of the residue from these empty pursuits. And the papers and churches across the land are filled to overflowing with the stinking residue from this line of false inquiry.
With that postured, the next series offered on this site will deal with the accuracy of the Bible and how it has been verified in every place and time and why it is considered to be historically accurate. Some of the portions of this effort will be from other pens and from other days, where the theory and information is still accurate, forceful, and valid. Some will be written by the editors here.
We hope you will find the thoughts provocative and useful.
The first effort following this is a lesson originally delivered in 1928 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville by N. B. Hardeman. This will be presented in 4 parts. The particulars from his talk on “Is the Bible Credible?” are just as useful now as they were when they were devised and first delivered.