- Myth #2: The New Testament was written 100 years after Jesus
- Myth #3: There was no virgin birth and Jesus was not born in Bethlehem
- Myth #4: Jesus did not claim to be God
- Myth #5: The Gospels contradict one another and contain fiction
- Myth #6: The Miracles of the New Testament were invented
- Myth #7: Jesus never really rose from the dead
- The Real Jesus - Part One
- The Real Jesus - Part Two
- The Real Jesus - Part Three
- A New Comprehensive Approach to the Gospels
- Countering Bible Contradictions
Myth #1: The “historical Jesus” is different from the Jesus of the Bible
Here we will briefly examine seven myths of the Higher Critics. Then as we conclude the first part of our presentation, we will outline a strategy for Christians to defend the authority of the Word of God.
Jennings: “Jesus was a real person.” [07:16]
It is good that Jennings admits that Jesus was a real person. Some have tried to make Jesus into a myth. But the evidence that Jesus lived in Judea in the first century is overwhelming. Jesus was a historical person recorded by Christian, Jewish and pagan historians. In fact, there are many well-known non-Christian historians who mention Jesus:
- Tacitus in his Annals (c.115 A.D.) mentions that Christ was crucified under Pontius Pilate and gives detailed descriptions of Nero’s persecutions which are also alluded to in several places in the New Testament.
- The correspondence between Pliny the younger and the Roman Emperor Trajan (98-117 A.D.) corroborates the New Testament history including the persecution of the Christians under the Emperor Nero.
- Flavius Josephus (37-100 A.D.), the first century Jewish historian, makes mention of Jesus, John the Baptist and the James, the brother of Jesus.
Scholars note that the New Testament corroborates Josephus in minute detail. Keep in mind that Josephus wrote his history after the time of the New Testament. In other words, both sources were written independently, but both agree with each other. So Josephus testifies to the historical reliability of many passages in the New Testament.
We know of many other early references to Christ by pagan writers, but there are also thousands of manuscripts from the first and second centuries written by Christians. The fact that early Christians recorded their own history does not discount their reliability. Christianity is not a religion that has its origin in shadowy legend, but has definite historical roots, strong personalities and a tremendous amount of source documents to prove it.
Other first and second century writers who wrote about Jesus as the Son of God, the promised Messiah and Lord of Creation, are:
- Clement (A.D. c. 30-100) the Bishop of Rome
- The writer of the Epistle of Barnabas (A.D. c. 70-130)
- Polycarp (A.D. 70-155) the Bishop of Smyrna, a student of the Apostle John
- Ignatius (A.D. 35-110) the Bishop of Antioch
- Irenaeus (A.D. 130 -200) the second century Bishop of Lyons
- Tertullian (A.D. 160 -220) a second century apologist
- Clement (A.D. 150 -215) the second century Bishop of Alexandria
Despite the overwhelming testimony from the early centuries that confirm the Gospel stories, the Higher Critics continue to search for a “historical Jesus.”
Contrary to what the liberals of the Jesus Seminar tell us, we have far more than “likelihood” and “possibility” to confirm the reliability of the Gospel stories. We have substantial authentic evidence that the Jesus of history is the same person revealed to us in the Gospel accounts. We have the first and second century apologists who wrote extensively about Jesus and Christianity. Some of these were men who knew the Apostles. There were reliable second-generation historians who were taught by the Apostles who were in turn alive during the ministry of Jesus.