Part 4 Is the Bible reliable?

Since the individual books of the Bible are my primary sources of information, in support of the resurrection, I do have to defend why I think we can trust those books historically.  This will be a brief defense.  Much more could be said to support the historicity of the Bible.

According to historians the closer the writings are to the actual event, the less likely they would have legendary events.  When were the four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John written?  The typical objection to the accuracy of the Bible is they were written after 70 AD and therefore include legendary elements.

Many scholars date the writings of the Gospels somewhere between 70 AD and 100 AD.  Jesus was crucified around 33 AD therefore, with the passing of 40-70 years, critics say the writers added their own legendary aspects to the historical accounts.  They created a myth; a bogus account.

One of the main reasons for dating the Gospels after 70 AD is because of a prediction Jesus made in 3 of the Gospels.  Here in Luke 21:5-6 (NIV)we read, “Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, 6 ‘As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.’”

This prophecy was also recorded by Matthew and Mark.  Jesus gave a future prediction concerning the complete destruction of the Jewish Temple.  He said the stones of this great building would be torn down.  And guess what happened?  In AD 70 the Jewish temple was completely destroyed by Roman armies; utterly flattened just as Jesus said.  If the writers of the three accounts had written these words before AD 70, then the Bible would have solid evidence for an incredible supernatural prophecy or prediction by Jesus.

However, instead of acknowledging a miracle, these scholars conclude the impossibility of Jesus predicting the temple’s destruction so accurately.  Thus they say the writers recorded their accounts after AD 70.  And what can we conclude about these writers?  They reject the supernatural; they believe miracles are impossible.  And if there are no miracles, then Jesus couldn’t have made his prediction.  So how do we answer this objection?

The deaths of key disciples such as Stephen in Acts 7 and James in Acts 12 were described in the book of Acts.  A description of Paul’s death in 68 AD and Peter’s death around the same time would have been important because of the key roles they had in the early church and importance to the book of Acts.  Yet, Acts concludes with Paul in prison in Rome and Peter in Jerusalem and says nothing about their deaths.

So if we date Dr. Luke’s second book, the book of Acts, around 64-68; just before Paul and Peter’s deaths, then the Gospel of Luke, his first book, must have been written years earlier.  If we date the book of Luke around 60 AD then it was written 30 years after the crucifixion of Jesus.  By historical standards this is incredibly close to the historical event.  And the vast majority of scholars say the Gospels Matthew and Mark were written prior to Luke; possibly written in the mid to late 50’s.

Another interesting proof is the fact that Luke records the prophecy of Jesus proclaiming that the temple would be completely destroyed and yet, if Acts was written after 70 AD, why didn’t Luke include the destruction of the temple?  Wouldn’t you think he would have proudly included in the book of Acts the destruction of the temple as a fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy?  This event would have confirmed the very words of Jesus.  Yet, instead Acts makes no mention of the destruction of the temple.  It is only logical to conclude that Luke wrote the book of Acts well before 70 AD; well before the destruction of the temple and before the death of Paul and Peter.

If you take into account the small time period after the death of Jesus, the writers had no time to develop a legend.  Roman historian Sherwin-White argues, “Tests suggest that even two generations are too short a span to allow the mythical tendency to prevail over a hard historical core[1].”  If one generation is approximately 30-35 years, then two generations would be 60-70 years before legendary additions are even possible.  Luke was written about 20-30 years after the death of Jesus.  According to historians, this is too short a time period for legendary additions.  And even if I use the late date of some scholars, the time span is still too small for the writers to create a myth; historians say too much of the historical core information would be available.

The writings of the Bible qualify as excellent source material.  Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John will be used to make my case for the resurrection.  Matthew and John were disciples of Jesus and were eyewitnesses of the events.  Mark got his material through the experiences of disciple Peter and Luke spent time and interviewed the Apostle Paul for much of his information.  Next I will begin to present positive evidence for the historicity of the resurrection.

For additional evidence for the reliability of the Bible see my series “Is God the Author of the Bible?”

Go to part 5 here


[1] Wilkins, Michael & Moreland, JP editors, “Jesus Under Fire,” Zondervan Publishing, 1995  Pg. 154

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{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Vinny January 19, 2010, 3:20 pm

    Nothing that A.N. Sherwin-White wrote supports the argument that the gospels were written to early to contain legendary materials. In fact, he wrote “Certainly a deal of distortion can affect a story that is given literary form a generation or two after the event, whether for national glorification or political spite, or for the didactic or symbolic exposition of ideas.” He in fact acknowledged that legends sprung up around Alexander the Great during his lifetime.

  • Steve January 19, 2010, 9:13 pm

    Dear Vinny,
    I appreciate you insights into what I wrote. A.N. Sherwin-White did acknowledge in classical historiography the sources are usually biased and removed at least one or two generations or even centuries from the event they narrate. However, he did remark historians still reconstruct with confidence what happened. You have to admit, if my reasoning (concerning the destruction of the temple) is correct and the Gospel writers wrote 25-40 years after the death of Jesus, then we have good reason to trust what they said is at least historically accurate. Remember, these writings circulated in the very place Jesus was crucified and resurrected. If you are going to make up a legend you make sure there are no living eyewitnesses of the events in question. You can do that by writing 60-100 years after the events or take the story hundreds of miles away. Please tell me how difficult it is to sell a religion in the hostile environment of Jerusalem (Jews at that time were not fans of Jesus the Messiah and Rome worshipped their emperors), with legendary accounts. Christianity would never have gotten off the ground. However, we see an explosion of new believers at the very site of the crucifixion and resurrection. Thousands of devoted followers of Judaism left their belief system and risked eternal damnation to become follower of Jesus Christ. And you think writings that circulated through these audiences were created for national glorification or political spite or for the didactic or symbolic exposition of ideas would have produced such an incredible occurrence. How hard is it to convince a person, who has been raised in a religious belief his or her entire life and that belief is lived out daily, to make a complete change? People who waffle on beliefs change all the time but I talk to people with strong beliefs and convincing them they need to change is almost impossible; yet, it happened by the thousands while these writings were being circulated.

    Steve

  • Vinny January 20, 2010, 8:22 am

    Living eyewitnesses did not prevent legends from springing up about Alexander the Great, Francis of Assisi, and Sabbatai Zevi. In our own time, living eyewitnesses have not stopped Holocaust deniers from denying the Holocaust. There are people who are thoroughly convinced that the moon landing was a hoax. There are people who are convinced that the 911 attacks were engineered by the United States government. There have always been people who will believe fantastic stories despite contrary evidence.

    How did Mormonism get off the ground? By many estimates, the Latter Day Saints have grown at a rate comparable to the growth of Christianity in its first two centuries. It baffles me that anyone would believe Joseph Smith’s patently absurd stories, but people undertook tremendous hardships to follow Brigham Young to Utah. They did not need any evidence.

    I would also note that the Jesus’ Jewish followers did not think that they were making a complete change. They continued to observe the ceremonial laws and they continued to view themselves as Jews. They believed that they were following the Jewish Messiah. Moreover, I don’t think that Judaism at the time believed that non-Jews were eternally damned.

    The pagans of the day were polytheists. The Roman Emperors were viewed as divine but they were but members in a large pantheon of gods and goddesses. They were not averse to additional deities.

    Our earliest evidence for the spread of Christianity comes from Paul’s letters which show the “explosion” of new believers occurring among pagans outside of Jerusalem. I don’t think we have any evidence that the gospels circulated in Jerusalem at an early date.

  • Steve January 23, 2010, 12:19 am

    Vinny,
    Let me review my original points that served as the springboard for this discussion.

    1) I made an argument for an early dating of the Gospels and the Book of Acts, all written before 70 AD. You have yet to offer a counter argument so I assume you agree these books were written soon after the death of Jesus.

    2) I said in this short amount of time it was unlikely for a resurrection legend to have been created. I quoted Roman historian Sherwin-White when he said, “Tests suggest that even two generations are too short a span to allow the mythical tendency to prevail over a hard historical core .” You took exception to this quote and said Sherwin-White pointed out there can be legendary aspects that come forth from the writings. But notice in the quote I used, two generations are too short for mythical tendency to prevail over hard historical core. You didn’t dispute this direct quote. The Bible contains hard historical core that is accepted by the vast majority of historians including Sherwin-White. Even if there is a possibility of legends arising (only hypothetical), this same Sherwin-White said historians can still piece together the historical core. In fact even though it seems his opinion of Acts as pure propaganda, he said the book is incredibly accurate historically. His quote is as follows: “For Acts, the confirmation of historicity is overwhelming. Yet Acts is, in simple terms and judged externally, no less of a propaganda narrative than the Gospels, liable to similar distortions. But any attempt to reject its basic historicity, even in matters of detail, must now appear absurd. Roman historians have long taken it for granted.” (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1963), p. 189) My point in quoting Sherwin-White was to establish the Biblical sources are historically accurate, even from a critic’s standpoint.

    3) My third point was the writers were either eyewitnesses of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus or got their information first hand from an eyewitness. This strengthens my case for historically accurate accounts.

    Bottom line is all three of these points still stand and you have yet to provide evidence to dispute them. What is your proof the Biblical accounts are Legendary?

    A few words about your last letter. The legendary accounts of either people or situations you stated were cases where people believe against the historical evidence. They believe by blind faith and create legends without historical evidence. Vinny, if you have strong historical evidence for their claims then in your next letter please present it. If you don’t have any strong evidence then there is no comparison to the Gospels, the Book of Acts, and the writings of Paul. People, without evidence, can believe anything. The case I am presenting is based on evidence and supported by reliable historical records, even from the viewpoint of critics.

    As far as Mormonism goes, it is no different than what I said above. I twice visited the Mormon Museum in Salt Lake City Utah seeking any historical evidence to the wild stories told by Joseph Smith. Both times I left without seeing one shred of archeological evidence supporting the existence of the ancient people groups, the Lamanites or the Nephites and their predecessors. Archeologists all over the world reject the historical claim of Joseph Smith and say these people groups never existed.

    In contrast the Bible is used as a historical guide for many archeological digs in and around the key locations described in the Bible. There is a scholarly journal, “Biblical Archeological Review” (www.bib-arch.org/) that outlines many of the discoveries that support the historical accuracy of the Bible. Christianity is a historical belief system built on evidence; Mormonism is a fable created in the mind of Joseph Smith and is built on a foundation of each Mormon experiencing a burning in the bosom in place of evidence. There are no comparisons between the two religions.

    As far as the growth of Mormonism, you have to provide proof of your claim that it grew at a comparable rate. Soon after the resurrection, thousands of Jews became followers of Christ. As far as I know Mormonism has grown slowly and steadily over the last century. Whereas Christianity exploded quickly in the same place Jesus resurrected from the dead, Mormonism has taken over 100 years establish a reasonable number.

    As far as the letters circulating, they would have appeared at a time with many eyewitnesses of the events; both the crucifixion and the resurrection. Remember I am dating the Gospels and the Book of Acts anywhere from 25-35 years after the death of Jesus. These letters would have been open for critics, who saw the events, to point out their legendary foundation; but they didn’t. Instead Christianity exploded and the writings were catalysts to further the growth. As far as the location of where each book was written, this is open to discussion. Both Matthew and John report information concerning Jewish traditions that lead many scholars to believe each were written in or around Jerusalem.

    Steve

  • Vinny January 23, 2010, 1:38 pm

    (1) I do not find your argument for the early dating of Acts and the Gospels persuasive and neither do the majority of New Testament scholars. They think that there are other reasons why the author of Acts decided not to describe the deaths of Peter and Paul. I did not address this because it would require a much lengthier discussion and I was more interested in the question of how quickly legends arise.

    (2) You said “in this short amount of time it was unlikely for a resurrection legend to have been created,” however I pointed out instances in which legends were created about individuals within their own lives. Because of this, I think your arguments for the earlier dating of the gospels doesn’t help your case as much as you think it does.

    You describe your citation of A.N. Sherwin-White as a “direct quote,” but it really isn’t, is it? Your footnote indicates that you got the quote from a work of Christian apologetics rather than “directly” from Roman Law and Roman Society in the New Testament. Have you read Sherwin-White’s book for yourself? I have and I do not believe that these quotes accurately capture his arguments.

    You quoted Sherwin-White “to establish the Biblical sources are historically accurate,” but that is not in any way a fair representation of his position. He wrote “The point of my argument is not to suggest the literal accuracy of ancient sources, secular or ecclesiastical, but to offset the extreme skepticism with which the New Testament narratives are treated in some quarters.” (RLRSNT p.193 n.2.) Sherwin-White did not believe that the gospels were historically reliable. Rather, he believed that historians applying critical methodology could recover historical information from the gospels, i.e., “the historical core.”

    Sherwin-White did not make any suggestions regarding what the historical core of the gospels might include and never suggested that it would include the resurrection or any other miraculous events. Consider the following statements: “material has not been transformed out of all recognition;” “the falsification does not automatically and absolutely prevail;” and “the historical content is not hopelessly lost.” Sherwin-White believed that all ancient sources contained both fact and fiction and that it was the historian’s job to figure out which was which. He clearly accepted that there was much in the gospels that the historian would be forced to reject.

    It is important to note that A.N. Sherwin-White was a scholar of ancient Rome. He admitted that he “must appear as an amateur” in New Testament history. (RLRSNT p. v) His book dealt with certain questions of Roman law as it applied to the stories of Jesus’ trial, Paul’s trials in Acts, and Paul’s Roman citizenship. It did not touch in any way on any miraculous or supernatural event.

    If you are interested, I wrote a number of posts on the topic of A.N. Sherwin-White on my blog.

    (3) If in fact you could show that the gospels were written by eyewitnesses or based on eyewitness accounts, it would strengthen your case. Unfortunately, even many conservative Christian scholars concede that the evidence is insufficient to establish this. It is a possibility but not one that can be established with any confidence. There is a very wide range of scholarly opinion on the subject.

    My point in citing Mormonism was that religions can get off the ground without any historically reliable information. The fact that large number of people convert to a religion does not prove that anything the religion believes is true.

    The question is whether the gospels and Acts are historically accurate accounts. We cannot use the growth of Christianity among the Jews of Jerusalem to establish that accuracy since that depends on them being historically accurate accounts in the first place. If we don’t first know that they are historically accurate, we don’t know that such growth took place. A.N. Sherwin-White would have conceded that the New Testament narratives contain much legendary material.

  • Steve February 2, 2010, 2:35 am

    Vinny,
    Thanks for you well written reply. Let me address a few points you made. I will use the numbering system we have established in the past couple of posts.

    1) I do agree this issue of the dating of the New Testament books is a much larger issue and I am okay with moving on without tackling it. However, a few thoughts I need to express. My argument that the Gospels and Acts were written before 70 AD because they excluded the deaths of Peter, Paul, and the destruction of the temple, was valid. It is a sound argument and I think you can at least admit that. The fact that most New Testament scholars don’t accept this line of reasoning doesn’t surprise me. I sense it is more of a worldview issue. As I pointed out in the original post, Jesus predicted the complete destruction of the temple and if synoptic Gospels were written before 70 AD, around 55-65 AD, you have what appears to be a miracle. A scholar with a naturalistic worldview cannot accept the supernatural and therefore, must reject any dating before 70 AD. Their rejection of the earlier date comes before they look at the evidence (a priori). Then they must justify their conclusions and thus they come up with their explanations. I have read some of these explanations and I don’t believe they compare to the sound argument I presented.

    2) Sherwin-White obviously is not a friend of Christianity. I have not read his books but he is quoted multiple times by various Christian authors. I may in the near future read one of his books. The truth is I don’t need to quote Sherwin-White to establish the fact that the closer a writing is to the event the less likely it would contain legendary elements and more likely the historian will be able to establish the historical core. This is simply a logical conclusion historians themselves would agree with. Do you agree with the concept, when it comes to historical writings, the closer to the events the better?

    My quoting a secondary source is not a problem unless my source is not reliable. I am certain you also use secondary sources in your writings, as no one can read everything. William Lane Craig I consider a reliable source when he quotes an author. I read some of your blogs on Craig and I know you don’t agree with this conclusion. However, rather than argue for Craig being a good source I would rather just stay with what quotes you may agree with. What I have learned in this discussion is that Sherwin-White has very little expertise when it comes to the New Testament. You said he calls himself an amateur when it comes to the New Testament and yet he is quick to dismiss it as propaganda. What evidence in his books does he have for calling much of the New Testament propaganda? The one quoted in my comments I posted, he extolled the historical accuracy of the book of Acts. Is this quote accurate? If Acts has a strong historical core then my basic argument stands. The Gospels and Acts should be dated early based on events on or before 70 AD should have been recorded by these writers.

    3) On the New Testament writers making up stories, please give me their motivation. Why would they do this? What did they get out of lying? I have read historians always trust the accuracy of the writer unless they have strong counter reasons. What evidence do you have these writers made up their accounts? If these men were liars they must have been charlatans. What evidence do you have these writers were morally bankrupt? I have lots of evidence Joseph Smith was a charlatan. He had over 30 wives and some were as young as 13 years old. He was a gold digger and strongly believed in the occult. I can document my statements with historical evidence. What historical evidence do you have?

  • Vinny February 3, 2010, 2:43 pm

    (1) All other things being equal, I agree that an early date for Acts would explain the fact that it says nothing about the deaths of Peter and Paul. However, I think there are a number of problems with placing a great deal of weight on this argument.

    First, I think is the lack of reliable information about the deaths of Peter and Paul. Tradition puts their deaths during Nero’s persecution of Christians during the 60’s A.D., however, these traditions date to sometime in the mid to late 2nd century. Before we can draw any inferences from the lack of reference to the martyrdom of Peter and Paul, we would need historically reliable evidence of how and when they died.

    Second, none of the first century epistles, including 1st Clement, mention the gospels. If we can infer from Acts’ silence that its author did not know of the deaths of Peter and Paul, cannot we also infer from the epistles’ silence that none of their authors knew of the gospels? Since Clement of Rome supposedly knew both Peter and Paul, it would be reasonable to assume that he knew both Luke and Mark as well. Nevertheless, his letter to the Corinthians written around 95 A.D. does not give any indication that he was aware of any gospels written by the companions of Peter and Paul.

    Third, the author of Acts may simply not have wished to antagonize the Roman authorities because he wanted to portray Christians as good citizens of the empire. The deaths of Jesus, Stephen, and James are all attributed to the Jews rather than the Romans. The deaths of Peter and Paul at the hands of the Romans may simply have been one of those embarrassing events that the author of Acts did not wish to highlight in his account.

    You indicate that you are going to be following Habermas’ minimal facts approach in this series of posts. That approach relies heavily on scholarly consensus. I don’t know whether it is fair to simply dismiss scholarly consensus as the product of bias when it does not support you. It seems to me that you need to develop a more consistent stance on your use of scholarly consensus.

    (2) Sherwin-White did not extol the “historical accuracy” of the book of Acts; he affirmed its “historicity.” This means that he accepts that it is based on actual historical events rather than myths or legends, however, it does not mean that it has not been embellished. I am not sure exactly what he was referring to when he called Acts “propaganda,” but I think most historians recognize that there is an element of propaganda in all ancient writings. Ancient authors generally state that their histories are intended to inspire good citizenship and instill virtue, not to objectively recount facts.

    I agree that earlier is better than later all other things being equal.

    (3) I don’t know where you read that “historians always trust the accuracy of the writer unless they have strong counter reasons,” but I think that the exact opposite is true. I think that historians approach any piece writing from a position of agnosticism. I don’t think any story is accepted until it can be corroborated and confirmed.

    I am sure you are familiar with the story of Pat Tillman, the professional football player who quit to join the army after 911 and was accidentally killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan. Why do you think that the army initially reported that Tillman had been killed by the enemy? I don’t think that the people who told that story were morally bankrupt. I think they wanted Americans to be inspired by Tillman’s sacrifice, as they should be. The people who told that story believed (wrongly I think) that the altered story reflected a deeper truth about Tillman than the true story about him being killed by American troops. However, I don’t question their motives.

    I don’t believe that the men who wrote the gospels were either liars or charlatans. I think they were men who wrote down stories they had heard about Jesus in order to communicate what they believed to be true about the meaning of his life and death.

  • Steve February 13, 2010, 2:43 pm

    Vinny,
    Since you have contended from multiple fronts I will respond over time one point after another. I will begin with your statement and then my answer. These answers take lots of time to develop and so please excuse my tardiness in answering you. I do all this on what free time I have.

    [Vinny] (1) All other things being equal, I agree that an early date for Acts would explain the fact that it says nothing about the deaths of Peter and Paul. However, I think there are a number of problems with placing a great deal of weight on this argument.
    First, I think is the lack of reliable information about the deaths of Peter and Paul. Tradition puts their deaths during Nero’s persecution of Christians during the 60’s A.D., however, these traditions date to sometime in the mid to late 2nd century. Before we can draw any inferences from the lack of reference to the martyrdom of Peter and Paul, we would need historically reliable evidence of how and when they died.

    [Steve] First you contend there is not enough historical evidence of how and when Peter and Paul died. I am not sure what you need. I realize whatever I produce it will not be sufficient for your historical standards. Are you as skeptical about the writings of Plato? How about Aristotle? How about Tacitus, Phiny, Suetonius, and other ancient writings? How many blogs have you written attacking historical reliability of any of these writers? How does their manuscript evidence stack up against the writings of the New Testament? Do you feel you hold the Bible at a different standard than other ancient writings? Help me understand your skepticism of the Bible. Maybe I am way off in my assessment of what seems to be a historical bias against the writers of the books of the Bible.

    You say there is nothing written about the deaths of Peter and Paul until the mid to late 2nd century. However, Clement of Rome (you said wrote around 95 AD) wrote the following that seems to point to the martyr deaths of Peter and Paul.

    FIRST EPISTLE OF CLEMENT TO THE CORINTHIANS chapter 5

    “But not to dwell upon ancient examples, let us come to the most recent spiritual heroes. Let us take the noble examples furnished in our own generation. Through envy and jealousy, the greatest and most righteous pillars [of the Church] have been persecuted and put to death. Let us set before our eyes the illustrious apostles. Peter, through unrighteous envy, endured not one or two, but numerous labors and when he had at length suffered martyrdom, departed to the place of glory due to him. Owing to envy, Paul also obtained the reward of patient endurance, after being seven times thrown into captivity, compelled to flee, and stoned. After preaching both in the east and west, he gained the illustrious reputation due to his faith, having taught righteousness to the whole world, and come to the extreme limit of the west, and suffered martyrdom under the prefects. Thus was he removed from the world, and went into the holy place, having proved himself a striking example of patience.”

    I realize you may not like the English translation of this Epistle of Clement. It was done by The Rev. Alexander Roberts, D.D., and James Donaldson, Ll.D.,Editors. The Greek word “martyresas” can be translated martyr, witness, or testified. Even if I grant it might be better translated “testified” the context that surrounds the entire quote seems to indicate the martyr death of both Peter and Paul. Clement speaks of the pillars of the church being put to death and who are his two shining examples? Peter and Paul both pillars of the church and said to go to a glorious or holy place, which I think point to their deaths.

    Let me return back to your skepticism. I wonder if most historians are strong doubters of all these writings as you are. Do you think the majority of historical scholars really believe Peter and Paul died peacefully, living out their lives in relative obscurity? Do you really think the traditions passed down by the early church were simply legend after legend, in an incredible conspiracy, to build the Christian religion? Do all these ancient writings both from the Bible and early church fathers display a complete ignorance of the true facts; was it all wishful thinking?

    [Vinny] Second, none of the first century epistles, including 1st Clement, mention the gospels. If we can infer from Acts’ silence that its author did not know of the deaths of Peter and Paul, cannot we also infer from the epistles’ silence that none of their authors knew of the gospels? Since Clement of Rome supposedly knew both Peter and Paul, it would be reasonable to assume that he knew both Luke and Mark as well. Nevertheless, his letter to the Corinthians written around 95 A.D. does not give any indication that he was aware of any gospels written by the companions of Peter and Paul.

    [Steve] What were the genres of the writings? Acts was a historical account of the early church and Clement was a letter to the church at Corinth. These are two vastly different genres, with vastly different objectives. The book of Acts chronicling the major events of the early church, if written after the deaths of both Peter and Paul and the destruction of the temple, has to answer to why these events were left out. However, Clement writing a letter to the church at Corinth, understandably doesn’t mention the Gospels because this was not the purpose of the letter. The Book of John, by all scholars, is said to be written after Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Acts and yet he doesn’t mention any of those books. Don’t you think he was aware of them? It wasn’t his purpose; neither was it the purpose of Clement to mention the Gospels. He was addressing issues with the church, many of which were moral problems. However, a history book, like Acts, skipping major events is unbelievable! Your argument fails to take into account the different genres or purposes of the books.
    I will continue when I get a chance. My problem is we have so many issues over each posting, that I am struggling to keep up. I will do my best over time to answer some of your arguments.

    Steve

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