Latest updates are in bold.
Another church service…
Another awesome sermon!
I’m going to try to recall everything he talked about… He was mostly moved to talk on the subject of proving the accuracy of the New Testament, and debunking this stupid “Da Vinci Code” that’s suddenly become best-seller and is attempting to (as many have done in the past) blast away the foundation of Christianity.
He did some recapping first. He told about how a group of 19th century germans started to claim that the Old Testament was written long after it was said to have been written, and the prophecies describing Jesus were added after he was born. Well, people started picking up on that and said ‘hey! you’re right!’. Well, that proved to be a false claim… since God led a goat shepherd to a set of caves near the Dead Sea. Inside these caves were scrolls. Lots of scrolls. These scrolls contained the oldest known copies of various books of the Old Testament. In fact, every single one of them was there, minus the Book of Esther.
These scrolls were dated to be written far, far, far before Jesus was born. The time of discrediting the Old Testament’s accuracy was over, for not only were they as old as they always were believed to be by Christians, but upon translation, our modern Bibles were nearly word for word accurate. They say the there was a 99.75% accuracy.
Alright, the “scholars” said. Fine! The Old Testament is irrefutably written when they said it was written. But, secretly, they decided to now attack the New Testament, since it was really the only thing they had left. The books written after Jesus was born.
Which leads to one of the major things brought to light in the Da Vinci Code… the fact that they claim that some roman emperor (or at least someone in power, I forget the name, I wish I remembered but he lived around 300AD) changed the New Testament books and fiddled with what they said to make Jesus fulfill the Old Testament prophecies, and that, therefore, Jesus wasn’t really the prophecied messiah.
Alright. So now they’re saying the New Testament was compiled 300 years AFTER Jesus “supposedly” resurrected himself and rose up into Heaven, and that the facts were twisted by powerful leaders of the time to make Jesus look like he was the real deal.
Fortunately, one very common mistake that most people ignore is that the oldest known transcripts for the New Testament are dated at around 100AD. That’s right. A full 200 years before the man they claim compiled the New Testament was even born, much less in power.
There are thousands and thousands of accurate copies (99.75% as in… mostly misprinted letters) of the New Testament books scattered all over the place… and guess what? They are word for word accurately translated to Bibles we have today. So it’s pretty much what happened when they tried to discredit the Old Testament… It turns out that the documents they’re trying to discredit really ARE as old as they claim to be, and therefore completely nullify any arguements that our Bibles are inaccurate and tampered with.
In fact, there are records of quoted scriptures in letters of that time. Early Christian preachers would send letters to each other, and just… you know, write! Using quotes from the works of preachers of that time alone… if the New Testament books were to somehow disappear… it would be possible to restore the ENTIRE New Testament, minus about 15 to 20 verses. From the writings of early preachers… which predate our oldest known New Testament documents.
TW asked me the other week or so about how we know the Bible wasn’t tampered with… and good old Mister Faull (that’s our preacher) decided to cover it all today in an hour. He’s awesome.
Now… our Bibles are accurate and translated from the original transcripts. Now… is it historical? Heheh, ask most scientists and you’ll get an emphatic “no!” I’ll show you something here in a second that should get you thinking about that.
See, there’s a sort of “margin for error” that they used with these old transcripts and scrolls. There’s the time they believe the original transcript was written, and then there’s the time they date the oldest known transcript. Because you know, even back then, people would copy books to keep available… and then the more transcripts you found, the more you could test accuracy, and that it wasn’t some… random event.
There are several documents that are accepted as accurate history by the entire planet. The one my preacher used as an example was the writings of Thucydides, Tacitus and a few others. They all have the accuracy stamp of approval by scholars, and are all accepted history.
Thucydides’ works were claimed to have been written around 460 to 400BC. The oldest known transcript of his writings are dated at about 900AD. That’s a 1300 year gap, and there are only 8 known “original copies”.
Tacitus’ works were claimed to have been written around 100AD. The oldest known transcript of his writings are dated at about 1100AD. That’s a 1000 year gap, and there are only 20 known “original copies”.
The New Testament was claimed to have been written around 60AD. The oldest known transcript of the writings are dated at about 100AD, with evidence of being quoted at earlier years. That’s a whopping 40 year gap, and there are… wait for it… five thousand six hundred known “original copies”.
The thing here is that with only a 40 year gap between when it was originally written and the dated transcripts we have… and with Christianity in such full-force at this time… people were extremely diligent and attentive about what was the real New Testament and what was the fake. In fact, some of the original writers could have still been alive during the copy of the 100AD transcripts (they say the Apostle John was). The point here is that it would have been impossible to make faked copies during this time and have nobody notice. If there were any fakes during this time, they would have easily been identified and tossed out of circulation with a big warning to everyone else.
How can they accept Thucydides and Tacitus and other as undisputed historical documents, when there are more New Testament transcripts dated FAR CLOSER TO THE YEAR OF THE CLAIMED ORIGINAL WRITING and say ‘oh, nope… New Testament isn’t real’. They’ve even got transcripts of the roman army asking their superiors what to do about the rabid Christian problem. “Hey, these Christians… we keep killing them, but they keep coming! What do we do?!”
One other major flaw in the Da Vinci Code’s attacks on Christianity… they’re attacking the wrong New Testament. That’s right. The Da Vinci Code pull quotes from something called the Gnostic Gospels, which were written around 300 to 400AD. Not only do these gospels blatantly contradict prophecies in the Old Testament, but they claim to have been written by the people who lived during Jesus’ life… and, last I checked, he went to Heaven far before 300AD, and thus I’m sure those who lived during this time also didn’t live until 300AD.
In a nutshell, the Gnostic Gospels contradicts the Old Testament (heck, and even itself) when the REAL New Testament never ever contradicts itself (or the Old Testament). The Gnostic Gospels were claimed to have been written by people who lived WITH Jesus… 200 years after they had DIED. Think there’s something wrong with that? Well, that’s because the Gnostic Gospels are fake… But some people say they’re the true New Testament anyway.
So I guess, in reality, the Da Vinci Code is attacking the accuracy of a faked Bible… but is purposely presented in a way to attempt to disprove Christianity as a whole. It’s trying to debunk real Christianity, and most people who just have no clue what I’ve just written here are going to go along with what the novel and movie says and say ‘wow, Christians are stupid’.
So… this is probably the longest and deepest thing I’ve ever written here. I hope it’s sparked something in the minds of those of you who aren’t Christians, and uplifted and energized those who are.
…on a final note, here’s a list of websites I used to help me remember and refine what I heard at church this morning:
Are the Biblical Documents Reliable?
Manuscript Evidence for Superior New Testament Reliability
Reliability of the New Testament Text