Maher Questions Obama’s Christianity

February 13th, 2011

 

Wow! If the heathens can figure it out, what does that say?

Though we Christians, speaking for the ones I know who have learned to discern, knew it all along. The first obvious clue is the worship that is expended upon the man, and his outright acceptance of it. He has placed himself on God’s throne.

Second, is his lack of humility. When displayed, it is feigned and fleeting. These things tell me, he does not know Jesus.

And third, there is no possible way he could have been acquainted with the Savior under the tutelage of Jeremiah Wright. Mr. Wright taught a different Jesus than the one taught in the bible.

But my hope and prayer is that President Obama does come to know the Savior, and repents of his sins.

Haiti One Year Later, Where are the Atheists?

January 17th, 2011

Haiti, one-year after a devastating earthquake destroyed many peoples lives, is still in desperate need. The earthquake, as devastating as it was, was followed by a hurricane and then a cholera outbreak. This only compounds the sadness of those affected.

It seems that most of the promised secular aid has not materialized. There is great need, and who is responding other than national governments, surely there are millions of dollars and hours of volunteer labor being provided by the likes of the Red Cross, or caring groups of humanists?

Nope… it’s just those “faith-based” organizations like Catholic Relief Services, Samaritan’s Purse, the United Methodist Church and the Southern Baptist Convention. These are the groups providing the lion’s share of private aid donations to help those affected.

These groups are also providing corps of volunteers to help out. They continue to do the heavy lifting, as government sorts out the red tape.

People I know have taken “vacations” to go down to Haiti to help those affected, others have donated money to help. Still others collect food and clothing, which is collected at local churches.

But, let us get back to the names of those “faith-based” groups. It is evident to me what “faith” they are talking about, none other than Christianity!

We, humans, by nature are selfish creatures… it is because ot the outstretched hand of God that we help those in need.

For all of those humanists and atheists that stress how they need no “sky man” or any other appeal to religion to care for their fellow brothers and sisters… I ask…

WHERE IS YOUR SWEAT AND TREASURE IN THIS CRISIS?

If you really care about you fellow man, how about sending $10 to help. You can do it through Samaritan’s Purse, or UNICEF.

John MacArthur, Joel Osteen is a QuasiPantheist

November 4th, 2010

While John MacArthur uses a lot of different adjectives to describe what Joel Osteen preaches.

I think he forgot one… Pelagian. And I will not hold it against him, but his discernment of the words is spot on!

 

John MacArthur

Folks… be like the Bereans (Acts 17:11,) do not take what you hear from any pulpit as fact. Search the scripture, see if those things preached are so!

Regardless of the other words used to describe what Joel Osteen says, it all boils down to heresy.

Catholic Cleric: Jesus Cancelled Biblical ‘Chosen People’

October 25th, 2010

In an article posted here recently, the Catholic Church has once again abandoned God’s chosen. In this very dangerous statement…

The Creator’s promise in the Bible that the Promised Land belongs to the Jewish People is no longer valid.

The Catholic Church has once again affirmed their stance and given tacit blessing to the persecutors of the Jewish people. As I see it, the covenant God made with Abraham was everlasting… in fact, it was a one-way covenant (Genesis 15:17.) This means that God would always keep it, even though man could not!

Furthermore, Genesis 13:14-15 says that the land belongs to Israel forever. This is a promise from God, not law given by Him. As such, Jesus came to fulfill the law, not to NEGATE it! The law is still valid and so are the promises.

As I see it, God is unchanging, and He never goes back on His promises. He might expand them, but His promises are FOREVER. It is easy to understand, even by a superficial reading of the book of Esther, that God does not negate His words.

The American archbishop that stated that the promise of the Creator was “abolished by the presence of Christ” could not be more mistaken. In fact, it is HERESY! Statements such as this show the dearth of knowledge of redemption in Christ present in “the (Catholic) church.”.

Not surprising, the error of replacement theology or supersessionism has been a pariah on Christendom and was foisted upon us by Catholicism. It has led to anti-Semitism. This heresy is very dangerous, and was the probable empowerment to Hitler’s “final solution.”

God most certainly is not finished with His people, Israel. They are being gathered together from the four corners of the Earth to fulfill the grand end of the ages. But sadly, this grand end of the ages, is a judgment on that unrepentant Abrahamic house.

Even more sadly, this anti-Semitic error, purported by what most outside Christendom see as “the church,” is the main stumbling block American Jews have in trusting the true church, and by extension, Jesus Christ. (Perhaps this recent post can shed some light that subject.) The true Christian church is NOT the Catholic Church, and is plainly made evident by this recent proclamation.

It is my prayer that the Catholic Church atones for its error. But, the damage may already be irreparable. Nevertheless, time marches on, Daniel’s 70th week is yet to be fulfilled. Our hope is that our Jewish brothers and sisters see the Jesus, as the Messiah, is the Final Sacrifice.

Catholic Cleric: Jesus Cancelled Biblical ‘Chosen People’ – Defense/Middle East – Israel News – Israel National News

Potential Church

October 10th, 2010

Something really interesting happened on 10/10/10 at 10:00 PM. Flamingo Road Church changed its name to Potential Church.

I have a few questions…

Are you not really a church, but want to be one soon?

Are you a really powerful church ready to explode?

I mean really… what is it with church names these days?

Why do churches rely on growth by programs and education of one pastor? Is it not good enough to not let man DO and solely rely upon God add to His church such as should be saved, a la Acts 2:41?

Why do churches and pastors have to PROMOTE the name of the pastor, and use them as website URLs to unify a church? Does the pastor have a brand? Are you serving your own ego?

Is there a board of elders that oversee here, like a proper New Testament church, or is it just the pastor and what he wants?

The last question I have, after having searched this website high and low tonight…

WHERE IS JESUS?

Is Potential Church so ashamed of the name of Jesus that it is nowhere to be found on the website at its inauguration?

These are questions every Christian MUST ask of their church!

The Making (or Faking) of a Christian President

September 30th, 2010

Much hoo-hah is being made over the president’sseemingextreme spiritual  makeover. It seems the apologists are working overtime to polish up the tarnished “piety” of POTUS.

After spending many years of Sundays under Jeremiah Wright’s tutelage, it seems urgent for everyone to know that Barack Obama is a Christian.

During a town hall meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico on 28 September 2010, the president was asked this question, “Why are you a Christian?”

His answer, beginning at about 7:45 in the video link above, is as follows…

You know, I’m a Christian by choice. My family didn’t – frankly, they weren’t folks who went to church every week. And my mother was one of the most spiritual people I knew, but she didn’t raise me in the church.

I know you do not have to go to church to be a Christian, but if not under the discipline of a body of believers and like minded people, doctrine tends to drift, so-to-say.

He continues…

So I came to my Christian faith later in life and it was because the precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me in terms of the kind of life that I would want to lead – being my brothers’ and sisters’ keeper, treating others as they would treat me.

Hmmm… now this is where I really start to wonder. First, understanding what Jesus was saying in Matthew 7:12, He was talking specifically in the context of serving others. But it seems that our president wants to be responsible for, or worse yet, to control others. This is not what Jesus Christ taught, ever! Quite frankly it is not taught anywhere else in the bible.

But let us continue…

And I think also understanding that Jesus Christ dying for my sins spoke to the humility we all have to have as human beings, that we’re sinful and we’re flawed and we make mistakes, and that we achieve salvation through the grace of God.

Respectfully, Mr. President, I think you get it wrong, it is not about us. It was Jesus Who was humbled (Philippians 2:5-8) for our sins. It was He Who died a shameful death (Isaiah 53:4-5) and took our just punishment. Yeah, we are sinful, (Romans 3:10) willful-disobedient (John 3:19-20) wretches! We offer NOTHING to a holy God, but to agree with Him about our sin, repent and then humbly serve Him and others.

Furthermore, would you continue to steal glory from God, by stating WE achieve salvation? It is only by His longsuffering, His mercy toward us, and His great sacrifice of grace that we are saved! Hallelujah!

But, as someone who has totally missed the grace of Jesus, our president would instruct us to help others.

He continued…

But what we can do, as flawed as we are, is still see God in other people and do our best to help them find their own grace.

My job is NOT to see God in others, that sounds a bit pantheistic, or universal, not surprising for a post-modern man. But we do not help people “find their own grace.” That grace is useless! It is only the grace of God (John 3:36) of that saves. There is salvation in no other name, but the name of Jesus (Acts 4:12, John 14:6.)

Jesus teaches us how to identify Christians, first, by their fruits as written in Matthew 7:16. And then by the love we have for one another as written in  John 13:34-35. Some of that fruit can be found in this previous post.

Make no mistake, I am not judging the president. I am only being like a Berean, and testing what he says against what the bible says is true!

If President Obama did as Jesus instructed in John 13:15-16. My mind might be changed. But I think the woe that Jesus spoke to the Pharisees in Matthew 23:25-26 may apply.

Why Evolution Cannot be True

September 24th, 2010

This is a response to Dan Kuik‘s comment posted to the article Is there any hope for this generation?

I shall try to explain this the best way I can. To some it may be very difficult indeed to hear. I know there are a lot of committed Christians who are scientists, and I praise God for them. It is truly a difficult field to be called into. These scientists are not idiots, however, they may very well be deceived.

As Christians, we are not against science, either. However there are some “sciences” that are truly exist in a gray area between philosophy and science. They are mistakenly accepted as true empirical science, but are not directly observable. Among these are psychology, sociology, and evolution. These fields of research lend themselves to grand theories based on an incorrect philosophy. These philosophies are grounded in stories that may have some truth within them. But regardless of the content of some truth they are still, nevertheless, stories.

The field of science truly endeavors to make sense of creation. Yet, what began as an innocent desire by humanity to understand who we are, it has now gone awry.

That desire to understand, as innocent as it began, has given birth to delusion. This delusion is now being used to deceive people, giving them a convenient excuse to deny God and live their lives as they see fit. It infects them with the irrationality that all truth is relative. Regardless, many trod down that wide path.

This practice, unstopped, leads to destruction and sadly, death. It is this innocent desire that births delusion, then deception, in turn becoming destruction, and finally death. It is the basis for all sin.

First off, let’s establish some things 2 Timothy 3:16 says that all scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness. I will use scripture alone. It is the essence of instruction from a holy God.

Second, I contend that the days we live in are indeed the last days, the signs are plentiful. For my reference, I will use 2 Timothy 3:1-5.

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. (2) For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, (3) heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, (4) treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, (5) having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

Paul goes on to say that such people are “always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.” (2 Timothy 3:7) This is because when using an incorrect philosophy as a basis, one cannot do true science. To begin with one that excludes the very Author and Creator of life will always belie the same!

One must be on guard for this delusion. Jesus Himself said “See that no one leads you astray.” (Matthew 24:4) But one strong warning comes in 1 Timothy 4:1, Paul says “in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons.” In fact Jesus, in Matthew 24:24, says the deception will be so strong “so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.” Those are some strong warnings!

But we must, as watchmen, stand on the wall and warn others. It is not our intention to “pit God against evolution.” Simply for the fact that the converse is already true, evolution has pitted itself against God. I would dare say it exalts itself against the very throne of the Most High.

Satan’s favorite tool is deception, in fact, he is called the deceiver. He also disguises himself as an angel of light, as Paul warns us in 2 Corinthians 11:14 “And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”

But as with every deception of the enemy, he loves to use it coupled with truth. But a lie, no matter how small, coupled with a truth, no matter how great, is still but a lie. Paul warns us of this by saying a little leaven leavens the whole lump. (1 Corinthians 5:6)

Through subtle deception, evolution exalts itself against some of the very foundational doctrines of the faith. I contend that evolution CANNOT be true in the light of God’s word.

There are too many to go through in a post such as this, so I will choose one.

If, as is posited by Dan, God “used” evolution JUST to create a man, that means that millions of creatures would have had to die before there was even the first man. This means that evolution must establish that man exists as a result of millions of years of death!

But, my Bible teaches me something entirely different. It tells me that man was created by the will of God from the dust of the ground. It tells me that man was created good. It also tells me in Romans 5:12 that death is the result of man’s sin! In fact, because of that first man’s sin, we all inherited that propensity.

So as I see it, man’s wisdom teaches that death brought man, but God says man brought death!

Those two ideas cannot coexist!

Therefore, evolution, as purported, cannot be true. We would have to deny sin, which brings us back to the deception. 1 John 1:8 ” If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

Sin hardens by deceit… Hebrews 3:13. Scoffers are here and they plainly mock Christianity… 2 Peter 3:2-6. Unrighteous people suppress the truth… Romans 1:18.

We need to stand firm… 2 Thessalonians 2:15.

It is not that “Human beings have no less purpose in life,” but that One human’s purpose is then not necessary (John 3:14-17.)

When we read the bible, the warnings are plentiful. Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:21-23 are indeed truly sad. This is an admonition to examine ourselves regularly, and against the very word of God, to identify and deal with that deception. Lest we find ourselves standing in His very presence hearing those fateful words… depart from me.

God is Always Nearby

September 14th, 2010

Acts 17:28a – “for ‘In him we live and move and have our being’”

Consider the verse above… we all indeed do live, move and exist explicitly at the will of God. But when you seek God, do you look for Him in human made buildings or certain places of prayer?

Do you not know, that God can be found by those who seek Him. The only requirement is we have to willingly seek Him as He is! It is He Who serves us. He is very close to all of us. Some today would equate God and the universe as one. That cannot be, He is a personal God, He transcends time and space.

It is the same principal, that when you enter a dark room (even if you have never been in that room) you begin looking for a light switch. You grope around in the dark until you find it. And when you do, you grasp it to turn it on!

Now, lets read Acts 17:24-28 “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are indeed his offspring.’”

So there it is, God is not constricted by place or time like us. He determined the exact place where you are, and He wants you to seek Him.

But did you see it?

He wants you to find Him, though He is not lost. He has put you right where that you are “in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him.” The same principal applies… when you find yourself in any circumstance far away from God, whether a believer or not.  God is always very close nearby. It is those that “feel their way toward Him” (the NKJV uses the words “that they might grope for Him”) that find Him.

It is a diligent, loving pursuit of each of us. Always nearby, our heavenly Father is ready, willing and able to be found by those who seek Him. It really is that simple.

Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church – We Are One

August 24th, 2010

Being an outsider who does not attend Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, I have watched with some interest the “new” Coral Ridge.

After the merger of New City Presbyterian and Coral Ridge Presbyterian, Tullian Tchividjian took the helm of the mighty church founded by D. James Kennedy. Last year, there was a small dust-up in the church over Pastor Tullian’s convictions on how to do “church.” I remember, during the conflict, one quote that stuck in my head and really bugged me! It went something like Tullian was trying to do away with the “dignity” of  “high church worship.”

I had to ask what that was, and since I know the church I attend has a contemporary worship service that is quite unique. I wondered, since my “warehouse church” doesn’t have a pipe organ, and my pastor does not wear a robe. We do not use hymnals, either. Is our worship experience then “undignified” and not quite “high church?”

Having a Baptist background, I struggle with my preference  of the deep, profound lyrics of hymns and the seeming shallow egocentric modern worship. It was further exacerbated by my dislike of the music pastor and his chosen style of worship at my church. This conflict led me to some profound truths that were fefreshed and reinforced by the events at Coral Ridge.

Rock music, in a Baptist world, was always called “sensual,” mostly because of the “hip grinding” and dancing that it causes. I know, it sounds funny. But it is not. This was also coupled loosely to modern worship music. Years of teaching are hard to overcome… but there is hope, by the grace of God.

You see, my old pastor, Richard Schermerhorn, taught an incredible lesson one morning in Sunday School some 20 years ago. It was on biblical authority. God caused me to remember that lesson, complete with the increasingly larger covering from the umbrella illustrations he used. He showed me the fact that my worship leader is considered an authority figure over me, serving at God’s will. He leads, I submit, as if it were to God Himself, as long as he does not cause me to sin. The authority serves me by willfully taking responsibility from me. I get freedom from that responsibility!

So, I submitted it to God, and my music pastor. About a year later, God, as He is prone to do, refreshed my memory. Our music pastor was out-of-town on an extended absence. God actually impressed upon my heart how much I missed Pastor Clay! And then the lesson was written upon my heart! God had changed my perspective, and in my submission, I was given freedom. In addition, my submission became a blessing to me!

I was able to watch the things happen at Coral Ridge from a distance. I also know New City’s music director personally, and have had some discussions with him on this issue. It intrigued me, and I did continue to pay attention, at a distance. Surprisingly, this week it may have ended!

After seeing this blog post by Pastor Tullian, and his convictions on unity,  I can only think I wholeheartedly agree! This is Divine wisdom, and brings together two separate cultures inside one! It is a perfect lesson on submission, temperance and forbearance!

It leads me to ask how can two walk together, except they agree? I know at our church, we have several campuses, the styles of worship are different at each campus. But through the marvels of technology, the message is the same! However, we are not segregated by worship under the same roof, we are one!

I know that this is placing some difficulty on those who  have attended Coral Ridge for a long time. But I challenge you to submit to those whom God has placed in authority!

There is freedom AND BLESSING in that! But above all, God gets the glory!

Check out the post from Tullian Tchividjian here: We Are One

An Argument for the Early Dating of the Gospels

June 13th, 2010

Adapted from a podcast at pleaseconvinceme.com

For those who would claim that the Four Gospels are a reliable eyewitness testimony, there is substantial evidence to bolster the claim. The Four Gospels, and the New Testament, were indeed written soon after Jesus’ resurrection.

Since the first century, there have been movements to eradicate the deity of Jesus. It is an old art, based on unsupported claims and purported reason. In the early church, it was the Judaizers who would negate the finished work of Jesus, if possible, by applying the yoke of the law to all. There were even purported gospels by Gnostics extolling the various teachings of an imperfect god. It is in their vanity they refuse to align their minds with the mind of God, instead making god in the image of man.

Presently, the neo-atheists and neo-Gnostics are presenting the same worn claims, albeit to fresh ears. In humanity’s quest for something spiritual to fill a self-imposed void, they eagerly consume the delusion offered to them by the same ravenous wolves.

What is at stake?

Paul answers this question in 1 Corinthians 15:12-19. The resurrection is central to Christianity. If there is no resurrection than we hope in vain. One well used weapon in their arsenal is the reliability and veracity of the eyewitness testimony. The attack is relentless, as it has happened throughout church history. Most will tell you that the New Testament was penned in the late second century.

Is that true?

Let us examine the evidence.

Gospels dated earlier than A.D. 250

On 19 November 1931, Chester Beatty purchased a collection of papyri. The manuscripts were purportedly found in the city of Aphroditopolis. The eleven manuscripts in the collection consisted mostly of portions of the Old and New Testaments and are known as the Chester Beatty Papyri. The three New Testament manuscripts contained fragments of the Four Gospels and the book of Acts of the Apostles.

These fragments are dated by paleography to the first half of the third century. In other words, between A.D. 200 and A.D. 250. What is significant, is that the substantial amount of time for these works to be collected and transmitted would have had to occur before this time. Regardless, the gospels were written and accepted before A.D. 250.

Gospels dated earlier than A.D. 200

The Bodmer Papyri were discovered near Dishna, Egypt in 1952. They were found at Pabau, the ancient headquarters of the Pachomian order of monks. These 22 papyri contain segments of the Old Testament, New Testament and other Christian literature. Significantly, this collection contains the oldest written fragments from the Gospel of Luke and the Gospel of John.

The Gospel of John manuscript is almost a complete copy and is dated at A.D. 200 Because the Gospel of John is widely accepted as the last gospel to be written, this would put the other gospels into circulation well before this date.

Gospels dated Earlier than A.D. 175

The Diatessaron, created by Tatian the Syrian, was a harmonization of the Four Gospels. This important work was the standard text for the Syrian church. Tatian died in A.D. 180, and the Diatessaron is generally accepted as written between A.D. 160 and A.D. 175. At this date, the gospels were accepted and in circulation before it was written.

Gospels dated earlier than A.D. 150

Early church fathers had a habit of quoting these Four Gospels. One such church father, Justin Martyr, ministered in Rome, where he founded a school. Amongst his pupils was Tatian the Syrian. Justin was an early defender of Christianity, he wrote eight apologies. Only three have been found to still exist… they are First Apology, Second Apology and Dialogue with Trypho. Justin quoted John 3:5 in Chapter 61 of his First Apology, further in chapter 63, he quotes Matthew 11:27 and Luke 10:16.

This presumes the Four Gospels were known and used in church teachings when the First Apology was penned somewhere between A.D. 147 and A.D. 161, based onto who it was addressed. However, the mention of “Felix” as governor of Egypt is believed to be a reference to Lucius Munatius Felix which further fixes the date to around A.D. 151.

Gospels dated earlier than A.D. 130

Eusebius of Caesaria was one of the first writers to chronicle the history of the early church. He quotes Papias, whom he called the Bishop of Hierapolis (modern Pamukkale, Turkey, ) among others. Most notably in volume 5 of Historia Ecclesiastica, he quotes Papias’ Exposition of the Oracles of the Lord. In the quotation Papias , himself, quoted the Gospel of Matthew, as well mentioning the Gospel of Mark. Papias died in A.D. 130.

The Rylands Papyri contains a fragment of the Gospel of John. It has been dated to about A.D. 125. This fragment, discovered in Egypt, puts the Gospel of John in use, there. Allowing for the copying and transmission of the text, we can presume that the youngest gospel, John’s, was in use before this time.

Gospels dated earlier than A.D. 120

Polycarp, a disciple of John, was Bishop of Smyrna and was martyred around A.D. 155. He wrote a letter to the Philippian church (ca. A.D. 110 – A.D. 135)in which he quotes or alludes to the Gospel s and other New Testament writings. The date of the letter cannot be fixed with certainty, Polycarp lived around 86 years, fixing a date of around A.D. 120 would put him at around 55 years old when he wrote it.

The significance of this letter is Polycarp’s reliance on the writings of the Four Gospels and other New Testament books. It is apparent that these were recognized as the word of God and perceived that way by both writer and reader, when the use of the letter is taken into account.

Gospels dated earlier than A.D. 110

Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, wrote several letters in A.D. 110. In his letters he quotes and/or alludes to the writings of Matthew. This would mean that the Gospel of Matthew would already be in circulation for it to be used this way.

Gospels dated earlier than A.D. 100

The ancient writing Didache: Teaching of the 12 Apostles, in chapter 8 quotes the Lord’s Prayer from the Gospel of Matthew. The Didache had been widely disseminated by about A.D. 100.

Gospels dated earlier than A.D. 95

Clement, Bishop of Rome, in a letter to the Corinthian congregation, quoted Matthew. The letter is dated during the reign of Domitian circa A.D. 95.

Gospels dated earlier than A.D. 70

Herod’s Temple was destroyed in A.D. 70 under Titus. This was predicted by Jesus in the Matthew 24:1-2 and Luke 19:44. There is no recording of the temple’s destruction in the Gospels. If the Gospels were dated later than this date, this would be a significant omission, considering Jesus’ Himself predicted its destruction!

Even the writer of the book of Hebrews would have included this fact to bolster the claims set forth in that book. In fact, the entire New Testament is silent on this fact, in stark contrast to those who would have you believe that Christianity was invented over a period of time.

Gospels dated earlier than A.D. 64

Luke authored his gospel and the Acts of the Apostles, yet there is no mention of the temple’s destruction, the siege of Jerusalem or the intense persecution of Nero. These would be significant and important milestones for the early church.

Early skeptics thought the titles, terminologies and customs used by Luke were primitive and thought false, until Luke’s terms were bolstered by archaeology.

Luke is likely writing Acts very early, as there is no mention of the martyrdom of James in A.D. 61, Paul in A.D. 64 or even Peter in A.D. 65. In fact, at the end of Acts, Paul is still alive! With that fact, it would be a reasonable conclusion to date the book of Acts before A.D. 64.

Luke himself, in Acts 1:1, refers to his previous work, leading one to reason that the Gospel of Luke would have to be written, circulated and well known before this book was written. Bolstering this claim, Paul quotes both Deuteronomy and Luke’s Gospel in 1 Timothy 5:17-18.

Gospels dated earlier than A.D. 60

If Mark is the earliest gospel written, it would have to precede the Gospel of Luke. This is derived from Luke 1:1-4, where Luke tells of his purpose in writing the account. He occasionally quotes the Gospel of Mark, so it would be reasonable to conclude that the Gospel of Mark was recorded before A.D. 60. This would allow time for transmission and circulation.

Gospels dated earlier than A.D. 55

There are three letter widely attested to be written by Paul. These are the epistles to the Romans, 1 Corinthians and Galatians. These were written between A.D. 48 – A.D. 60, the Epistle to the Romans, in the opinion of most scholars was probably written in A.D. 55 – A.D. 57.

In Galatians 1:18-19 Paul tells us that three years after his conversion, he went to Jerusalem to meet Peter and James. Paul returned to Syria and in Galatians 2:1, Paul tells of returning to Jerusalem to meet the apostles 14 years later. In Galatians 2:7-9 Paul describes his meeting with the apostles. The theory that this is one of Paul’s earliest epistles, would date this before A.D. 55. This same theory purports the meeting in Galatians 2: 1-10 and Acts 11:30 is the same. This theory implicates Acts 15:20 as describing the non-existent letter to the Galatians. If so, this places Acts well before the Epistle to the Galatians, and pushes the dating of the Gospels even earlier!

It is reasonable to conclude that Paul saw the risen Christ within five years of the resurrection.

Paul opens his letter to the Romans by declaring Jesus as the resurrected Son of God in Romans 1:4! This is about 17 years after the resurrection. The message is clear in 1 Corinthians 15:3-7, Jesus is accepted as God incarnate, resurrected and glorified! Paul is reciting the gospel. These men are resolute and steadfast in doctrine. Attesting to the reasonable conclusion that these books were written, accepted and circulated among still living witnesses. Living witnesses who could refute the testimony.

In 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 Paul quotes almost word-for-word Luke 22:19-20. Luke was Paul’s traveling companion, and Luke borrowed from Mark… this would place the gospel of Mark’s account very early in church history.

Jose O’Callahan, a Spanish Jesuit paleographer made headlines in 1972. He announced he had a translated piece of the Gospel of Mark on a Dead Sea Scrolls fragment. The Dead Sea Scrolls are dated to between 50 B.C. and A.D. 50. Again, this places the Gospel of Mark well within 15-17 years of the resurrection of Jesus.

There is ample evidence that points to the Gospel of Mark being recorded very early in church history. Some even think that the Gospel of Mark is an early memoir of Peter. This theory also requires an early date for the Gospel of Mark. It is a reasonable conclusion when one examines the evidence put forth.

Conclusion

Jesus is no prophet evolving into mythology as the agnostic apologizers would have you believe. Instead, He is indeed the risen Christ, Messiah… Son of God. Because Jesus is the firstfruits of the resurrection, He has taken the sting from death, as Paul proclaims in 1 Corinthians 15:54-55.

But as Paul goes on to declare that the sting of death is sin through the power of the law in 1 Corinthians 15:56. We now declare from the rooftops , 1 Corinthians 15:57 “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”