Here’s Scotty McCreery, the 2011 winner of the American Idol competition, introducing his new song at Walt Disney World by telling his audience how it speaks to him of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
“That Christ is proclaimed…in this I rejoice!” Philippians 1:18
Even though this clip is on YouTube, it is taken from radio show and is thus audio only. Even so, John Warwick Montgomery effectively demonstrates just how speculative, and even silly, Bart Ehrman can be.
The radio host, who had interviewed Ehrman on a previous occasion, played clips of Ehrman and then let Warwick respond. It reminds me of the proverb “The first to plead his case seems right, until another comes and examines him” (Proverbs 18:17 NASB). The only difference being that if you listen carefully to Ehrman first, he’s not that convincing to start with.
Related to this, see my Open Letter to Bart Ehrman.
The Roman historian Tacitus (56-117 AD) wrote in his Annals of Christ and his followers. See Tacitus on Christ for details.
See also Non-Christian Corroboration of the New Testament Account: Josephus and Non-Christian Corroboration of the New Testament Account: Pliny the Younger. Why then do unbelievers say that there is no historical support for Jesus of Nazareth outside of the New Testament?
Of course, the New Testament gives many more details about Christ than any other extant literature from the 1st Century. This is to be expected since believers would be far more interested in the subject matter than nonbelievers. Moreover, we should remember that over half the New Testament was written by people who had initially been skeptical of Jesus’ claim to be the Messiah. I’m speaking of Paul, James, and Jude. They themselves were won over by evidence.
We are on very solid ground to trust what the New Testament documents say.
The Jewish historian Josephus (37-100 AD) testified of the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth, though specifics of what he wrote are disputed.
Here’s an account of what’s in dispute about the Jesus’ passages in Josephus:
Unbelievers in Jesus often harp on the absence of evidence for Jesus outside of the New Testament. That’s like complaining that there’s no evidence against the accused except for all the evidence in the file on the accused. That is, such a complaint ignores the multiple and corroborated instances of evidence that have accumulated into a large file.
Nevertheless, there is evidence outside the New Testament that corroborates its account of Jesus. One example is the writings of Pliny the Younger (61-112 AD). In one of his many surviving letters, he wrote to the Emperor Trajan early in the 2nd Century A.D. about the many Christians he was encountering. That the movement would have generated enough adherents by this time is certainly consistent with the New Testament records. Moreover, Pliny’s most specific description of their beliefs and practice was that
“They were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and…”
Apart from viewing the New Testament account of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and ascension as an explanation, such a statement would be startling and inexplicable to any student of ancient history. Ancient Israel certainly expected a Christ, and some individuals actually claimed to be the Christ, but no group ever worshiped Christ as a god in heaven prior to what we see described in the New Testament.
It is even interesting to see how similar Pliny’s description is to the one we read from Athenian unbelievers in the New Testament’s book of The Acts of the Apostles:
“‘[This man Paul] seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities’- because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection.” Acts 17:18
Pliny the Younger and other unbelieving Romans could not be expected to write accounts of Jesus and His followers until their numbers created a significant social movement that could not be ignored. And that is just what we see has happened. The question then remained, “What caused this social movement?” The account given by the New Testament documents is the only reasonable answer.
John Lennox answers Richard Dawkins‘ question, “Who Designed the Designer?”
(By the way, my own answer to that challenge would be that Dawkins has misunderstood and therefore misapplied the premise upon which his question is based. The premise is that where there is design, there must be a designer. Dawkins then leaps without warrant to say that God must have been a designer. However, in order to say that, he must first detect design in God. I dare say he hasn’t done that because no one has ever done it. Who, in fact, can say that they have seen the design of God? We have seen the design of human beings. We have seen the design of animals. We have seen design throughout physical creation. But no one has claimed to have seen the design of God. Therefore, we have no basis for saying God must have a designer.)
Mike Licona and Bart Ehrman debate whether or not historians can prove whether or not Jesus was raised from the dead. (This is the first of four clips that are each about 30 minutes in length.)
According to Rachel Barach at BibleGateway.com, the groom’s brother read Romans 12 (verses 1-2 and 9-18) at the marriage ceremony of Prince William and Kate Middleton. This means almost 2 billion people heard it. I wondered how many listened to it? (That is, I wonder if anyone hearing those words thought, “Wow! Those words sound worth living!”)