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November 12, 2012

Comments

100% to Greg Koukl

The gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) are all ANONYMOUS (it’s a guessing game as far as who wrote them), they are WRITTEN IN THE 3RD PERSON (typical of fiction writings), they blatantly COPIED each other (per the synoptic’s), they contain stuff IMPOSSIBLE to eyewitness (like Jesus praying in the garden while his disciples slept), and they are overflowing with SCI-FI material (a man with superhero powers controlling the weather, people walking on water, zombies invading Jerusalem, etc, etc, etc)…not to mention we have nothing close to an original writing!!!!

Greg Koukl, you say that such ancient documents “verify that Christianity is true”… Wow!!!

Brett Strong

…and you know I love you Greg and Kunkl with a brotherly love…and I do love Christian music too…and I do very much enjoy the STORYBOOK Jesus character too (bold, brave, partying, drinking, a prostitute at his feet, hung out with notorious sinners, called a demon, sacrificial, didn’t care what people thought about him, misunderstood a lot, etc—super cool character)…just wanted to point out some glaring things about the gospels to Greg, that’s all….have a great day everyone…


FYI (to everyone): Historical fact=a hypothesis (a guess, a theory, unfounded speculation)

Brett

Well, in a couple of days, weeks, months, years, centuries, your statements will transform themselves into a guess, a theory, unfounded speculation as it will pass into history. You have just given everyone a reason to dismiss anything you may have said.
Based on your view, we can never stand on the shoulders of giants and that includes those of science as they have long ago been reduced to a guess, a theory, and unfounded speculation as they have retreated into history. Thus, we know absolutely nothing about anything and must discover everything all over again if we are to claim otherwise.

@Brett,

you know, the Gospels you so readily dismiss speak directly to your situation.

In the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus found in Luke 16, the Rich Man cries out to Abraham from the bowels of Hell to send someone back from the dead to warn his brothers. Abraham says, "If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets [i.e, the Scriptures], neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead."

In other words, some people are so mired in their refusal of Christianity that even in the presence of something explicitly miraculous such as someone being raised from the dead, they will continue in their obstinate ways wilfully oblivious to the truth.

I pray that God will send His grace to bring you to your knees in repentance before Him. Don't read any tone into that statement; I say it out of love and sorrow, not out of wanting you to "get yours" or anything like that.

Every blessing...

John 21: Jesus did not say to him that he was not going to die, but, “If I want him to stay (survive, live) till I come, what is that to you?” It is this same disciple who is bearing witness to these things and who has written them; and we know that his testimony is true. And there are also many other things which Jesus did. If they should be all recorded one by one in detail I (I?) suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

Perhaps “I” may be some other tense than the third person.

We’re all big boys here and that’s why we don’t believe in magical powers; like something made out of quarks and electrons which is itself an Eternal, Material, Uncaused Cause.

We know something is Eternal. We know something is Uncaused. We know something is the Cause of all we see. Only, because there is not one, not even one, nanobyte of data which testifies of any material stuff, anywhere, ever, at all, behaving in that fashion, but in fact it all, every bit of it, behaves in a manner explicitly exclusionary of such behavior, we can draw the necessary conclusions about materialism: belief in Materialism borders on the fantastical. And we've no time for fairy tales.


The Gospels are important for, well, many reasons. In the beginning was the Word……....

TO LOUIS KUHELJ

My friend, say what you will about history (and I’m confused about what you’re trying to say??? Didn’t get your post, sorry dude), I’m simply pointing out the shocking jaw dropping truth (and even you have to agree with points 1,2,3,4 &6; ouch!!!)… that the gospel are scandalously

1…ANONYMOUS (we don’t know who wrote the gospels because they are unsigned, ouch)
2…WRITTEN IN THE 3RD PERSON (typical of fiction writings)
3…they blatantly “PLAGIARIZED” each other (Hmmm, why would supposed eyewitness need to copy large portions from other works—be it Mark or the alleged Q, L, or M),
4…the gospels also preposterously contain stuff IMPOSSIBLE to eyewitness (like Jesus praying in the garden while his disciples slept—Hmmmm)
5….and the gospels are interestingly overflowing with SCI-FI material (a man with superhero powers controlling the weather, people walking on water, zombies invading Jerusalem, etc, etc, etc)
6…not to mention we have NOTHING CLOSE TO AN ORIGINAL WRITING from these unknown writers from ancient times

Note Louis Kuhelj, no court in America (be it Federal Court, Civil Court or State court) would accept such scandalous documents as evidence for anything—and that’s a fact my friend, even J Warner would back me on this point!

So let’s all enjoy the storybook Jesus in our own beautiful way—just leave the dogma out of it because the gospels are basically very entertaining fictional writings with a few lessons/teachings we can all learn from or use….cool…

Brett Strong…

AND TO G…

Which Christian god are you talking about???? …in case you didn’t know there are over 20,000 differing Christian sects, each one or group claiming the other one is false (Mormons vs. Evangelical, JW’s vs. Catholics, Amish vs. Lutherans, etc, etc, etc)

And I do hope you know G that many Christian groups (like the Amish, Coptics, JW’s) would flat out tell you that you are going to hell and that your Christian faith is false….of course I would never say a thing because I believe in Love not religion (one god verses another god)….later my friend…but I do enjoy and very much like Christian pop music (like 3rd day, Chris Tomlin, Newsboy, etc) and the storybook Jesus—a super cool superhero

And to Scblhrm:

Oh I’m sorry, your right, so next time I’ll state that the gospels are
99.9999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999% written in the 3rd person ….have a great day my friend…wink wink

FYI: I’m not a materialist either, sorry my friend….smiles

Brett,


Well, if you were wrong about the third person, we wonder what else you are wrong about.


I believe Acts is in the 1st person as well. Among other things.


When you are sloppy on details like this it makes it hard, well, harder, to trust you.

It seems there are other sources perhaps. I'll have to let others do the work for me here.

"Manuscript Evidence


There are three basic principles of historiography, which help in determining the reliability of ancient documents. These are the bibliographical test, the internal test, and the external test.


Bibliographical Test


The bibliographical test is the examination of the textual transmission by which the documents reach the present. Since we do not have the original documents of the Bible, how reliable are the manuscripts we do have and what is the time interval between the original and the extant copies.1 There are more than 5,000 known Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, over 10,000 Latin Vulgate and about 9,000 other early versions. In all, there are more 25,000 manuscript copies of the New Testament extant today. No other work of antiquity comes close to the manuscript attestation of the New Testament. In comparison, Homer's Iliad has a total of 643 manuscripts extant today. The importance of the sheer number of manuscripts extant today cannot be under estimated. The abundance of manuscript copies makes it possible to reconstruct the original documents with almost complete accuracy. The time interval between the original to the extant copies establishes the fact that "myth" or error did not have time to enter into the manuscript tradition. Sir Fredrick Kenyon writes in The Bible and Archaeology: "The interval then between the dates of the original composition and the earliest extant evidence becomes so small as to be in fact negligible, and the last foundation for any doubt that the Scriptures have come down to us substantially as they were written has now been removed. Both the authenticity and the general integrity of the books of the New Testament may be regarded as finally established."2 Following is a comparison chart of the New Testament documents verses other writings of antiquity" See Link here.

Also,

From Q&A # 10 on WLC's page:


“I noticed that in many of your debates and articles, you put a lot of stock and faith in the Gospel narratives. I do consider myself a Christian but have a big doubt. How do we really know if those Gospel narratives are really all that reliable? Sure, they are historical, but are they true or not? I could write a paper about how big foot, the Easter bunny, and Santa Claus came to my house and watched TV with me, then thousands of years later people stumble upon my documents and consider them to be true. The discovers of the ancient Joe documents then say, "Well, we consider it truthful because there are about 26,000 complete copies and fragments of these ancient documents that have been found in Europe, Asia, and Africa. Plus, there are only about 680 copies of the Odyssey by Homer, which makes the Joe narratives completely reliable." Sure, they are historical but, definetly not true. What makes the Gospel narratives truthful and not fake? If I can get this question answered, I can finally have faith that God has truly risen Jesus from the dead, and know that I will go to heaven. If you or maybe one of your assistants can answer this question, that would help me alot. Thank you.” Joe

I’m glad for your question, Joe, because it surfaces a number of misconceptions that are widely shared by Christians and non-Christians alike. Your fundamental question is: how do we know that the Gospel narratives are historically reliable?

You correctly observe that that question is not to be answered by appeal to the abundance and age of the manuscripts of the Gospels. The idea that the abundance and age of the manuscripts of the Gospels is evidence for their historical reliability is a misconception fostered by popular Christian apologetics. It’s true that the New Testament is the best attested book in ancient history, both in terms of the number of manuscripts and the nearness of those manuscripts to the date of the original. What that goes to prove is that the text of the New Testament that we have today is almost exactly the same as the text as it was originally written. Of the approximately 138,000 words in the New Testament only about 1,400 remain in doubt. The text of the New Testament is thus about 99% established. That means that when you pick up a (Greek) New Testament today, you can be confident that you are reading the text as it was originally written. Moreover, that 1% that remains uncertain has to do with trivial words on which nothing of importance hangs. This conclusion is important because it explodes the claims of Muslims, Mormons, and others that the text of the New Testament has been corrupted, so that we can no longer read the original text. It’s awe-inspiring to think that we can know with confidence that when we pick Paul’s letter to the church in Rome, for example, we are reading the very words he wrote almost 2,000 years ago.

But, as you say, that doesn’t prove that what these documents say is historically accurate. We could have the text of Aesop’s fables established to 99% accuracy, and that would do nothing to show that they are true stories. After all, they are intended to be fables, not history. People in the future would say something similar about the Joe narratives, no matter how many copies existed.

Now, as you point out, the Gospels are intended to be history. That is the import of your comment that the Gospels “are historical” even if they are not true. That is to say, the Gospels are of the literary genre of historical writing. They are not of the genre of mythology, fiction, or fable. This is an extremely important insight. Something of a consensus has developed within New Testament scholarship that the Gospels are closest in genre to ancient biographies ( “Lives,” as they are called, as in Plutarch’s Lives of Noble Greeks and Romans). Though differing in certain respects from modern biographies, such as lack of concern with strict chronology, ancient Lives did have a historical interest in presenting truthfully the life of the subject. That will make them very different from a deliberate fiction, such as you envision being written by yourself. The Gospel writers were trying to write a historical account about real people, places, and events (just look at Luke 3.1-3).

So were they successful in getting the facts straight about Jesus of Nazareth? There are two ways to get at that question. One way would be by assessing the general credibility of the Gospel accounts. Take a look at my article on this site under “Popular Articles” entitled “The Evidence for Jesus” for five lines of evidence supporting the general credibility of the Gospel records of Jesus’ life.

The other way, more influential in contemporary New Testament scholarship, is to establish specific facts about Jesus without assuming the general reliability of the Gospels. The key here are the so-called “Criteria of Authenticity” which enable us to establish specific sayings or events in Jesus’ life as historical. Scholars involved in the quest of the historical Jesus have enunciated a number of these critieria for detecting historically authentic features of Jesus, such as dissimilarity to Christian teaching, multiple attestation, linguistic semitisms, traces of Palestinian milieu, retention of embarrassing material, coherence with other authentic material, and so forth.

It is somewhat misleading to call these “criteria,” for they aim at stating sufficient, not necessary, conditions of historicity. This is easy to see: suppose a saying is multiply attested and dissimilar but not embarrassing. If embarrassment were a necessary condition of authenticity, then the saying would have to be deemed inauthentic, which is wrong-headed, since its multiple attestation and dissimilarity are sufficient for authenticity. Of course, the criteria are defeasible, meaning that they are not infallible guides to authenticity. They might be better called “Indications of Authenticity” or “Signs of Credibility.”

In point of fact, what the criteria really amount to are statements about the effect of certain types of evidence upon the probability of various sayings or events in Jesus’ life. For some saying or event S and evidence of a certain type E, the criteria would state that, all things being equal, the probability of S given E is greater than the probability of S on our background knowledge alone. So, for example, all else being equal, the probability of some event or saying is greater given its multiple attestation than it would have been without it.

What are some of the factors that might serve the role of E in increasing the probability of some saying or event S? The following are some of the most important:


(1) Historical congruence: S fits in with known historical facts concerning the context in which S is said to have occurred.


(2) Independent, early attestation: S appears in multiple sources which are near to the time at which S is alleged to have occurred and which depend neither upon each other nor a common source.


(3) Embarrassment: S is awkward or counter-productive for the persons who serve as the source of information for S.


(4) Dissimilarity: S is unlike antecedent Jewish thought-forms and/or unlike subsequent Christian thought-forms.


(5) Semitisms: traces in the narrative of Aramaic or Hebrew linguistic forms.


(6) Coherence: S is consistent with already established facts about Jesus.

For a good discussion of these factors see Robert Stein, “The ‘Criteria’ for Authenticity,” in Gospel Perspectives I, ed. R. T. France and David Wenham (Sheffield, England: JSOT Press, 1980), pp. 225-63.

Notice that these “criteria” do not presuppose the general reliability of the Gospels. Rather they focus on a particular saying or event and give evidence for thinking that specific element of Jesus’ life to be historical, regardless of the general reliability of the document in which the particular saying or event is reported. These same “criteria” are thus applicable to reports of Jesus found in the apocryphal Gospels, or rabbinical writings, or even the Qur’an. Of course, if the Gospels can be shown to be generally reliable documents, so much the better! But the “criteria” do not depend on any such presupposition. They serve to help spot historical kernels even in the midst of historical chaff. Thus we need not concern ourselves with defending the Gospels’ every claim attributed to Jesus in the gospels; the question will be whether we can establish enough about Jesus to make faith in him reasonable.

I’m convinced that we can. Indeed, it’s shocking to me how much of Jesus’ life can be established, including his radical personal claims, his crucifixion, his burial in a tomb, the discovery of his empty tomb, his post-mortem appearances, and his disciples’ coming to believe suddenly and sincerely that God had raised him from the dead. Take a look at my book Reasonable Faith (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossways, 1994) for detailed argument. We therefore have quite solid reasons for believing in Christ on the basis of the historical facts preserved about him in the Gospels.

(William Lane Craig) Link here.


All this fuss over history really is not what this OP is about 'entirely'. I suppose the question about the importance of the Gospels really cannot be pinned down to “one thing”. Each of us may (I guess) have some portion or verse or chapter which stands out, not to us, but for us, assisting us in our journey with Him. That’s a selfish approach; but, that is where I am most of the time. Need. For me (I take it the OP is asking?) what stands out is that incredible Manifestation of Love Himself seen in the Gospels in real time, there on a Hill, doing here inside of our experience that which He forever does up there inside of His experience, which is this: We find a Self among Selves, that Community which Love necessitates, and therein we find the Self with His arms spread wide, pouring Himself out, and this unto, into, and for, His Beloved. That is just what Love does, and He does it (is always doing it) up there inside of the Triune of I, I-You, Singular-We, and, He does it (has done it) here inside of His created world, which He has every right to do. This Motion just is what Love does, and, God just is Love. All possible worlds are found in Man’s Knowing, Tasting, Touching, Seeing that One-Whole that just is God, for all possible worlds are necessarily sourced back to, or ahead to, or into, what can only be but One-Real at the End of all our little ad infinitums. For me, it is John chapter 1 and John chapter 17 which tie all possible worlds together. Of course, Matthew 5, 6, and 7 come to mind often……….in what is usually my own self-serving approach to scripture. “This scripture here helps me here and now with A and B and C…..” Helps ‘me’….. Helps ‘me’…. Me. Me. Me. I suppose such “Need” as myself just does that own Motion into Self. Moving outward from Self, and into Other, both toward Him and toward People, and actually using Scripture in that Motion toward Other is not something I am good at. At all. Though, the Gospels show me that on my end such a Motion is ultimately called for, for, such is Love. In the Gospels we see the Perfect Manifestation of that sort of Motion.

Brett,


All the blood and gore of the OT is intended to be just that. Ugly. Bloody. Messy. Foul. God Himself even calls it ugly in the OT, and speaks of a day when such will be replaced by the Better. And, the NT echoes that same sentiment. Fall. I-Can. We-Can. God-Less. Dark. Void of Hope. And, in Law comes our ultimate, and constant, Frustration. It seems your entire webpage is all about the word Ugly. God agrees with you. The OT agrees with you. The NT agrees with you.

And, as it turns out, there is this: Love.


And this: God is Love.


And this: Man's Final-Good, in God, is Love.


If "ugly" bothers you, then you have no Story in this world whatsover to turn to for resolution other than that Story which we find in the OT-NT Combo.


Nothing else even makes sense of the word "ugly". At all. They all self-defeat.

As another commentator here pointed out, to read the OT "as if" the NT does not exist is, well, just poor academics.


Scblhrm says to Brett Strong: “Well, if you were wrong about the third person, we wonder what else you are wrong about … When you are sloppy on details” yada yada yada

Brett Strong’s reply:

“seriously dude?” ...one verse (which every knows exits, hello!!!!!) out of a “million” does not constitute any else but the 3rd person writings which the gospels are….so Scblhrm, you really are being nonsensical/illogical, blatantly grasping at straws writing such a statement…

Analogy my friend; what you’re doing is laughably this: it’s like someone said they had a million dollars but you counted it and the person was a penny short…well the person is still a millionaire and for you to say otherwise would be ludicrous at best; and you’re being just as ludicrous pointing out one verse (which everyone knows exists; hello!!!!) out of the entire gospels and then saying see, the gospels are not written in the 3rd person….wink wink You’re not Christopher Columbus here…

But hey Scblhrm, I understand, when one is defeated in an argument (such as you) then desperate measures must be taken—so I forgive you for taking such desperate measures to try to save face here on this forum…smiles and have a great day and by all means keep your faith in the storybook gospel Jesus, he is one awesome fictional character (whom I enjoy reading greatly) woven within a real ancient Palestinian world—cool!!!!!

Brett Strong

And Scblhrm, this sums up the rest of your huge post that even WLC can't get around/is 100% forever bound to:

Historical fact=a hypothesis (a guess, a theory, unfounded speculation)…and this is exactly what the NT cosmic (a man with superhero powers) Jesus is—a hypothesis; no different then Allah, Zeus, Buddhist/Hindu reincarnation, the afterlife, and a million other gods of the heavens and the earth: a hypothesis (a guess, a theory, unfounded speculation)

Sorry Scblhrm, but the truth is the truth my friend (you can’t avoid it!!!), have a great day….smiles

Brett,

You are a very kind person. I've read yours & WLC's data. I'm just more impressed with his more technical approach & conclusions. I think that is a fair analysis of our different conclusions here. Etc.....

But please feel free to continue to mock me and accuse me of desperate measures.

scblhrm, I wouldn't be too impressed with Brett Strong or his hyper skeptisism, WLC is in another universe as far as reality goes. I perused Brett's site, it's full of ad hominem attacks and wild assertions displaying his ultra skepticism. By his standard, we couldn't know or have any reliable accounts of history prior to the time when it became possible to preserve writings, it would all be hearsay--not allowed in a court of law oh-no. In Bretts standard, we also cant know of Aristotle either since the earliest surviving manuscripts of his date something like a thousand years after.

For Christians, we dont even really have to question the authenticity of the Old or New Testaments because we know His voice and hear it loud and clear. For others, there are still compelling reasons to "shut the mouths of the obstreperous" as Calvin would say it. The Old Testament of course testafies of Jesus, predates His time on earth, prophesies, etc. The dismissing of early church Fathers' testimony is just plain wreckless.

"Clement (30- 95 A.D.) quotes from various sections of the New Testament.
Ignatius (70-110 A.D.) knew the apostles and quoted directly from 15 of the 27 books.
Polycarp (70-156 A.D.) was a disciple of John and quoted from the New Testament."

No other ancient history has this kind or early/near support, not even close in time or volume. The Brett Strong rant really looks desperate and irrational. Some who want to believe his used car salesman pitch will buy his book and fall lockstep with him and appear just as irrational as they blindly demonstrate their lust for freedom from God and His authority.

It is truly rare to find someone so blantantly willing and passionate as this kind of demonstration of foolishness at Brett Strong's blog. He begs for a debate, probably wont get one though, for fear that someone would be charged with taking him seriously.

I'm pretty sure I'll be his next target for his now characteristically vitriolic response.

Found this:

"This issue is no longer contested by non-Christian scholars, and for good reason. Simply put, if we reject the authenticity of the New Testament on textual grounds we'd have to reject every ancient work of antiquity and declare null and void every piece of historical information from written sources prior to the beginning of the second millennium A.D.

Has the New Testament been altered? Critical, academic analysis says it has not."


Here, it kinda says what I was trying to convey regarding the reliability of the testimony of the NT/, without the/my commentary about our particular current antagonist.

Brad B says : “I'm pretty sure I'll be [Brett Strong] next target for his now characteristically vitriolic response.”
Brett Strong replies: dude that’s one on the funniest lines I have ever read; seriously…nearly cried laughing so hard…I’m about love and fun debating, not hate my friend…remember, I believe in Love not religion (one hypothetical god vs. another)….but you statement towards me is classic—I’m still laughing as I read your sentence…
Brad B continues “[Brett Strong] begs for a debate, probably wont get one though, for fear that someone would be charged with taking him seriously.”

Brett strong replies:

Hmmmm, Brad B; simply go to Redemption radio (a Christian show) and my debate with the host is the 3rd most popular show in their history—after only a few months!!!! …and Backpack radio (another Christian radio show), my debate with the host is one of the most popular shows of 2012…and don’t forget I was special call-in guest, November 2011, on the wonderful STR Stand to Reason Radio show…so smiles my friend

Brad B says that Brett Strong is “hyper skepticism”

Brett Strong replies:

Hmmm Brad B; I’m simply pointing out the shocking jaw dropping truth… that the gospel are scandalously

1…ANONYMOUS (we don’t know who wrote the gospels because they are unsigned, ouch)
2…WRITTEN IN THE 3RD PERSON (typical of fiction writings)
3…they blatantly “PLAGIARIZED” each other (Hmmm, why would supposed eyewitness need to copy large portions from other works—be it Mark or the alleged Q, L, or M),
4…the gospels also preposterously contain stuff IMPOSSIBLE to eyewitness (like Jesus praying in the garden while his disciples slept—Hmmmm)
5….and the gospels are interestingly overflowing with SCI-FI material (a man with superhero powers controlling the weather, people walking on water, zombies invading Jerusalem, etc, etc, etc)
6…not to mention we have NOTHING CLOSE TO AN ORIGINAL WRITING from these unknown writers from ancient times

7…Note Louis Kuhelj, no court in America (be it Federal Court, Civil Court or State court) would accept such scandalous documents as evidence for anything—and that’s a fact my friend, even J Warner would back me on this point!

Don’t hate me for pointing these glaring FACTS about the gospels

And Brad B, you have to agree with points 1, 2,3, 4, 6, 7—which makes your gospels better suited for entertainment and a few life lessons than one to base their entire life on; this is but common sense my friend!!!!!

Also Brad B, you can shout William Lane Craig’s name all day long but even he admits this:

Historical fact=a hypothesis (a guess, a theory, unfounded speculation)

…and this is exactly what the NT cosmic (a man with superhero powers) Jesus is—a hypothesis; no different then Allah, Zeus, Buddhist/Hindu reincarnation, the afterlife, and a million other gods of the heavens and the earth: a hypothesis (a guess, a theory, unfounded speculation)

…that’s why Brad B Christianity is a faith based religion because there is no physical empirical evidence (a big fat 0!) of a cosmic Jesus (an est. 5’3 inch tall, 110 pound, 2,000 year old man from Palestine with superhero powers who has holes in his hands, feet and side who is supposed to come back for Christians while riding a white ‘police’ horse)—thus faith is needed to believe….no problem my friend for many believe in Space Aliens, Big Foot, Loch ness monster, Fairies, etc, etc, etc, no problem either, just lose the dogma my friend (like hell, obey the bible, etc) but definitely keep the love of Jesus warm and dear to your heart for Christmas is near so let’s all celebrate baby Jesus in our own wonderful way with no dogma but with pure love in our hearts

Brett Strong

It’s been great conversing with everyone but I have to go….see you guys when another interesting post comes along…and be sure of this: the storybook Jesus is one cool superhero...later….done posting on this one…have a great day everyone!!!!! Hi Amy Hall!!!! Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!!!! Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmas Amy Hall!!!!!!!! Jesus is awesome!!!!! And Christian pop music (like 3rd day, Chris Tomlin, etc, etc, etc) is awesome too!!!!


Brad B,

I have to agree with your reference to His voice. We hear Him from so, so many corners, corridors, conduits, alleyways, and avenues that we must just press our hands hard against our ears lest we should suffer the pain of our own insufficiency in the face of such an ocean of Love.

Historiography comes down to three tests, the bibliographical test, the internal test, and the external test. It seems the OT/NT pass all three rather easily in the setting of pretty much all "ancient documents." But, those passed tests, in themselves just, well, I have to agree with your point about His Voice.

The Living God fills the Earth incognito. We find Him, see Him, hear Him, in the least, in the weakest, in the unwanted, in the prisoner, in the naked, in the hungry, in the thirsty. We find Him there with us in our worst moments, when we deserve Him least; we find Him, that Everywhere and Always, out there where all things Material just pitter out and leave no explanation for Any-Thing whatsoever. We find all our screams of ought and all our screams of ought-not buried in His Ground that just is Immutable. We find Him inside and filling up all that can be called Love, He Who is that Perfect Manifestation of Love, Who pours Himself out and unto and into and for His Beloved, who He claims is you and I and us. The Gospels alone reveal to us the One-Real Who lives at the end of all of our little ad infinitums, Whose name just is Love, Who Himself just is Love, and Whose Voice fills the world with the immutable semantics of His eternal language, and that from every corner of reality.


Ummm...Josephus wrote in the third person. So did Thucydides.

I'm pretty sure that modern histories are also, mostly, written in the third person.

I imagine that there are exceptions.

Hi WL, not to be critical, but didn't you see that Brett interpreted for you on #2 above regarding 3rd person writings? [typical of fiction writings] He's doing the work of making a claim and interpreting because it is so hard to see the implications with all the shock and jaw dropping going on. Maybe you are so shocked you didn't notice. :~)

Well, Brad, he does have a web site! So maybe we should just defer to his overwhelming intellect!

Now that you mention it, he also made his point in all caps...that really should have convinced me.

So, mea culpa.

(I was going to say that this particular criticism of the NT, that it is written in the 3rd person and is therefore a work of fiction, struck me as one of the most idiotic criticisms I've ever heard...but I'm clearly out of my depth.)

Brett Strong: A person all wrapped up in himself makes a very small package.

Hi Carolyn! Finally a woman responds so I must give you at least one response…smiles

You say “Brett Strong: A person all wrapped up in himself makes a very small package”

Isn’t that an Ad hominem attack (belittling one’s opponent in order to undermine there points)? So Christianly of you…my Carolyn, you sure make Christianity inviting… Carolyn, with that attitude it’s no wonder up to 70 to 90 percent of the youth reject Christianity after high school….Carolyn, with a attitude like that it’s no wonder Christianity is just a shadow of its former self… Carolyn, with that attitude it’s no wonder courts are silencing Christians in staggering numbers...

I can see guys (Brad B, etc) throwing out ad hominem attacks (boys being boys, i.e. defeated Christian boys)—but when the women (feminine beings) follow such adherent ways that says something about the state of Christianity…total disarray…no wonder there’s over 30,000 different sects of Christianity…no wonder Oprah’s version of god (soft, beautiful, happy, uplifting, non-judgmental, always there for you, full of unfailing love—with zero ad hominem attacks) attracts the masses of females from around America…no wonder Joel Olsteen’s Christian lite happy-go-lucky preaching (zero ad hominem attacks on anyone) has by far the biggest church in America…its no wonder Christian lite pop music is so popular—because they have zero ad hominem attacks, just listen to 3rd day, Chris Tomlin, etc, there music is about love with zero judgments of anyone, just love for all and forgiveness for all….learn true love Carolyn before your heart becomes bitter, spiteful, cruel and ugly! Or at least learn from Greg Koukl, Brett Kunkl, Alan Shoeman, and Amy Hall (who is always lady like in her awesomeness)—they do zero ad hominem attacks but yet they get their points across quit beautifully….awesome!!!

Brett Strong

Now Carolyn, these are my original points that have yet to be addressed fully by anyone on this forum—including you (and I understand why, because as a group they are formidable undefeatable [that’s why I use them for formal radio debates and live debates]….so people on this forum either skip most or all of them and regress back to ad hominem attacks !)

The gospels are shockingly and disturbingly…

1…ANONYMOUS (we don’t know who wrote the gospels because they are unsigned, ouch)

2…WRITTEN IN THE 3RD PERSON (typical of fiction writings)

3…they blatantly “PLAGIARIZED” each other (Hmmm, why would supposed eyewitness need to copy large portions from other works—be it Mark or the alleged Q, L, or M),

4…the gospels also preposterously contain stuff IMPOSSIBLE to eyewitness (like Jesus praying in the garden while his disciples slept—Hmmmm)

5….and the gospels are interestingly overflowing with SCI-FI material (like a Marvel Comic Book) (a man with superhero powers controlling the weather, people walking on water, zombies invading Jerusalem, etc, etc, etc)

6…not to mention we have NOTHING CLOSE TO AN ORIGINAL WRITING from these unknown writers from ancient times

7…Note Carolyn, no court in America (be it Federal Court, Civil Court or State court) would accept such scandalous documents as evidence for anything—and that’s a fact my friend, even J Warner would back me on this point!

These are my undefeatable group points that you and Brad B and all others on this forum have 100% failed to address as a whole….but again, I understand why—because they are undefeatable as a group….anyways great talking to you Carolyn and have a great day and may your jesus bless you in all your comings and goings and may your belief in Jesus comfort you always….sincerely yours Brett Strong

Another benefit unique to the Gospels is the ties John establishes with Genesis and "Word" becoming flesh. Mind, Person, Word, in their essences, are tied, in our own minds, to the word "God".

"These are my undefeatable group points that you and Brad B and all others on this forum have 100% failed to address as a whole…"

Brett, playing fast and loose with reality. Your hyper skepticism has been addressed and I would urge most to avoid even entertaining a dialogue with you since you plainly display an irrational mind. I pasted a quote from Greg above that speaks to your irrational view of evidence, linked a few times to references of historical support that no rational person dismisses like you do. So, I'm happy to let the people see what you so easily dismiss as unreasonable/invalid evidence and so let that speak its clear message instead of wasting time arguing your points that just aren't held by reasonable people.

If you want to be taken seriously, you should deal fairly with the evidence--as it is, your sensationalistic style is really comparable to late night infomercial or used car salesmanship and doesn't have any hint of legitimacy on the face of it.

btw...You will be held accountable for trying to dissuade Christians [who have ears to hear, and eyes to see, that know the Word of God when they encounter it babes or immature in the faith they may be, nonetheless], by casting doubt on things they may not be equipped to deal with. I speak up on their behalf and call you what you are, an irrational skeptic and provide reasonable evidence that has been accepted as legitimate and reasonable proof.[as Greg Koukls quoted statement above states]

Brad B says “Your hyper skepticism has been addressed”

Brett Strong replies: read the super list again my friend and I shall ask 2 simple things of you in front of the entire forum…yes I am holding your foot to the fire!!!!!

The gospels are shockingly and disturbingly…

1…ANONYMOUS (we don’t know who wrote the gospels because they are unsigned, ouch)

2…WRITTEN IN THE 3RD PERSON (typical of fiction writings)

3…they blatantly “PLAGIARIZED” each other (Hmmm, why would supposed eyewitness need to copy large portions from other works—be it Mark or the alleged Q, L, or M),

4…the gospels also preposterously contain stuff IMPOSSIBLE to eyewitness (like Jesus praying in the garden while his disciples slept—Hmmmm)

5….and the gospels are interestingly overflowing with SCI-FI material (like a Marvel Comic Book) (a man with superhero powers controlling the weather, people walking on water, zombies invading Jerusalem, etc, etc, etc)

6…not to mention we have NOTHING CLOSE TO AN ORIGINAL WRITING from these unknown writers from ancient times

7…Note, no court in America (be it Federal Court, Civil Court or State court) would accept such scandalous documents as evidence for anything—and that’s a fact my friend, even J Warner would back me on this point!

Now I ask Brad B (time to hold your foot to the fire before the entire forum, my friend)…when have ALL 7 POINTS been addressed on this forum????? (read all 20 something posts Brad B) …Last I checked Zero Times!!!!

2ndly Brad B…tell me and the entire forum how the above super 7 list is hyper skepticism????...last time I read the gospels THEY ARE all ANONYMOUS writings, written in THE 3RD PERSON (save for one verse, wink wink), they blatantly BORROWED large amounts from each other or other writings, they record stuff IMPOSSIBLE TO EYEWITNESS, they are overflowing with what we call SCI-FI MATERIAL, we have NOTHING CLOSE TO AN ORIGINAL—thus the entire gospels would be flat out rejected by all courts in America as evidence for the anything!!!!!!

Brett Strong awaits your to the point (with zero ad hominem attacks) reply (noticed I used zero ad hominem attacks!!!)…you hear that Brad B….you want to debate, then lets debate….you made claims now back them before the entire forum or admit defeat my friend….either way works for me…everyone is waiting and watching for your thought out reply, my friend….and if you throw up another ad hominem then I am through responding with you for you have nothing to say of value…let’s see

Brett Strong

Bonus question Brad B. …is this statement true or false (speaking solely in scholarly terms, my friend)

Historical fact=a hypothesis (a guess, a theory, unfounded speculation) when it comes to all things Jesus of the NT

Brad B…for ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free!!!!!!...trust me Brad B...I am an expert at debating these points...you picked a battle that you can't win my friend...things points came from long research of the top scholars...but give it your best shot...can't wait!!!!

Brad B,

I applaud your concern for who may be the less well informed Christian who reads these things and isn’t quite sure where to go with them. It seems when logic is disdained by another there is no response for us other than to try to follow Christ and try to serve both His Will for us (away from my/our temptations toward ego) and to try to serve His Body in some fashion. I think your approach here is the right one. I agree that the whole idea that something "is fiction" and is so "only on the grounds" that it is in the 3rd person is a give-away to a gross error in historiography’s logic. That point *alone* (third person) is given by Brett as a proof of a writing being fiction, so, all the history we have, both modern and ancient, per Brett's logic, "just is" fiction and is so "only on the grounds" that is in the 3rd person. I think that sort of overt error speaks for itself. Perhaps when one wants to sell e-books there is no such thing as bad publicity. I don't think you need to worry about that portion of young Christian readers who may not get it. The link above to William Lane Craig's analysis is only one of many out there dealing with both Christian and Secular ancient manuscripts and of the three principles of historiography which help in determining the reliability of ancient documents, namely, the bibliographical test, the internal test, and the external test. From Homer and Thucydides, to Plato to Herodotus, to Secundus and Caesar, to Livy and Tacitus, to the New Testament and Old, the same literally criticisms are applied across the board and without prejudice to unearth reliability. A little research by anyone will reveal that the New Testament out-performs almost all other manuscripts in the tests of historiography.

Scbrownlhrm says “That point *alone* (third person) is given by Brett as a proof of a writing being fiction”

Brett strong replies: Hmmmm, Scbrownlhrm (time to hold your foot to the fire too), please reread all my posts and please tell everyone on the forum where I say the gospels are fiction, because they are written in the 3rd person….

I simply point out 2 truths here my friend…that the gospels are written in the 3rd person…and 2ndly, fictional writings are typically (i.e. usually, commonly, normally) written in the 3rd person…

Both points are 100% correct…buutttttt correct me if I am wrong Scbrownlhrm!!!!

Scbrownlhrm, your mistake in reading my post is this (Or maybe it’s that way I use the word TYPICAL): when I say TYPICAL you twist it to say “it is fiction”…wronggggggg my friend….typical (something being characteristic of) and “it is” are two different things here (at least the way I use “typical”—that’s why Greg Koukl always asks call in people what do they mean when they say a particular word, for it cuts out all confusion!!!!!)….I would be totally erroneous to say something is fiction because it is written in the 3rd person…for people often speak or write about themselves in the 3rd person—this is but commonsense!!!!

Analogy: if 10 “prostitutes” were all murdered in the same way, scattered throughout the city over a 10 day period, the police would say this is TYPICAL of a serial killer…note Scbrownlrm, the cops are not saying THERE IS a serially killer on the loose, but the killings RESEMBLE a serial killer, are TYPICAL of a serial killer…

Brett Strong….

And Scbrownlrm, I’m still waiting for you to point out to the entire forum where I say the gospels are fiction because they are written in the 3rd person….

FYI: for this forum point #2 will now read (to stop all confussion!!)

2…WRITTEN IN THE 3RD PERSON (please note: almost all fiction writings are written in the 3rd person)

And again Scbrownlhrm, you, like all responses, have completely failed to systemically address all 7 points!!!!!!!! And I know why—because as a group that are undefeatable….that’s why I use them in radio and live debates because as a group they are very effective at subduing my Christian opponent


Brett,

It is typical that many histories, even modern accounts, which are non-fiction, are in the third person.

Scbrownlhrm, I see you have nothing to say but oddities AND SMOKE SCREENS…YOU REFUSE TO ADDRESS THE CHARGES YOU LEVIED AGAINST ME, and the reason so is because your charges are blatantly FALSE!!!!!!!! and all on this forum can see that…therefore I am discontinuing dialogue with you because your manner of response is one of defeat and defiance in that defeat and always “moving the goal posts”, thus continuous dialogue with you is fruitless

Brett Strong

Have a great day my friend and I truly do mean that….and may your Jesus bless you in all your comings and goings and may you find comfort in the NT Jesus always….sincerely your Brett Strong (again no replies shall be given unto to you, I cannot waste my time of smoke screens/rabbit trails of oddities and paste from WLC…later my friend)

Brett,

It is quite typical that many histories, even modern accounts, even ancient accounts, which are non-fiction, are in the third person.

Hi Brett, I have no time to entertain the thought of a debate with you unless you demonstrate some reasonableness. I have to ask you did Plato and his student Aristotle exist?

Brad B. says “Hi Brett, I have no time to entertain the thought of a debate with you unless you demonstrate some reasonableness”
Brett Strong replies: I really have to laugh my friend, seriously…I’m smiling big time as I write this…for what can be more reasonable than my super 7 list…let’s see again for the 9th and final time….

The gospels are shockingly and disturbingly…

1…ANONYMOUS (we don’t know who wrote the gospels because they are unsigned, ouch)

2…WRITTEN IN THE 3RD PERSON (note: writing in the 3rd person is a normal part of fictional writings)

3…they blatantly “PLAGIARIZED” each other (Hmmm, why would supposed eyewitness need to copy large portions from other works—be it Mark or the alleged Q, L, or M),

4…the gospels also preposterously contain stuff IMPOSSIBLE to eyewitness (like Jesus praying in the garden while his disciples slept—Hmmmm)

5….and the gospels are cram packed with what we call SCI-FI material (like a Marvel Comic Book or a Hollywood Superman movie) (a man with superhero powers controlling the weather, people walking on water, zombies invading Jerusalem, etc, etc, etc)

6…not to mention we have NOTHING CLOSE TO AN ORIGINAL WRITING from these unknown writers from ancient times

7…Note, no court in America (be it Federal Court, Civil Court or State court) would accept such scandalous documents as evidence for anything—and that’s a fact my friend, even J Warner would back me on this point!

Brad B, my super 7 list is correct and perfectly reasonable—because my super 7 list is indisputably TRUE, an irrefutably FACT of life!!!!!

Again Brad B, for the 10th time...last time I read the gospels THEY ARE all ANONYMOUS writings, written in THE 3RD PERSON (save for one verse), they blatantly BORROWED large amounts from each other or other writings, they record stuff IMPOSSIBLE TO EYEWITNESS, they are overflowing with what we call SCI-FI MATERIAL, we have NOTHING CLOSE TO AN ORIGINAL—thus the entire gospels would be flat out rejected by all courts in America as evidence for the anything!!!!!!

You are defeated Brad B, admit it…your claims of unreasonableness holds no water, carries no weight, it unreasonable itself (you see the irony? That your actually the unreasonable one)….for what I say in the super 7 list is TRUE!!!!! That’s why you resort to games that I will no longer be a part of, my friend…you lose, game over, I’m out….anything you say beyond this is simply you venting hot air from defeat, no problem, cool…..later

Brett Strong

Lastly you ask me: “I have to ask you did Plato and his student Aristotle exist?”

Brett Strong’s reply…it’s very reasonable that Plato and Aristotle existed; matter of fact I would say it’s probably a historical fact they existed…buuutttttt you guys all know what a historical fact is:

Historical fact=a hypothesis (a guess, a theory, unfounded speculation believed to be true…something very probable but not a definitive fact)

…now I know where you going with that question so I’ll do you a favor since this is my last response to you…It’s very probable, likely, that a mere man named Jesus lived, taught his message to the Jews, gathered a small following, irritated the Jewish and Roman hierarchy, thus they crucified him and likely fed his body to the dogs…and a time later by his followers or whomever, the NT superhero Jesus hit the press after decades of oral super-exaggerated tradition was in verbal circulation…that’s why Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15: 3 that he told about this dying and rising messiah…oral tradition right there and the thing about oral tradition that no proof is necessary…ouch!!!!

Anyways, that’s an entire different subject matter than my super 7 list so I will exist right here…so long Brad B….I’m out, later…write what you will—its your prerogative, I’ve finished my job with you..byyeeeeee…smiles to everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!

One last thing Brad B…you say you “have no time to entertain the thought of a debate” with me….now that makes me really laugh since I’ve been the featured guest on Redemption Radio (3rd most popular show in their history), Back Pack radio (one of the most popular shows of 2012), pleaseconvinveme.com, Justin Breirley’s Unbelievable Show in London, Stand to Reason live radio show, etc, etc, etc….and I’ve also e-malied debated Dr Paul Copan, Mary Jo Sharp, Todd Friel of Wretched radio, Brian Autin, and tons of other heavy hitters….

May I sincerely ask you Brad B, what shows have you’ve been the featured guest on?????

Catch my drift my friend????

Brett Strong

Brad B, once again you are more than welcomed to vent but know I won’t be reading them because I am out of this forum until another STR blog video catches my eye…later dude…it’s been fun…smiles

Hiii Amy Hall!!!!!! You are the best forum master ever!!!!!! Merry Christmas and happy Thanksgiving to you Amy Hall & my super cool bud Brett Kunkl (hey maybe we’ll have a beer one day; you can bring my bud Sean McDowell and Greg Koukl along….smiles)

Go ahead and run along Brett Strong, I'm glad to provide you with laughs, but your incessant repeating of your list of questions and bombastic boasting is getting old anyway so no loss.

I find it funny myself that you believe that you are such a great debater and drop names to prove it but you wont entertain a debate with me on my terms. You know where I'm going with my question and resort back to quoting for the umpteenth time a rediculous list of "jaw dropping, shocking, and disturbing" facts, and then run away crying victory over the Christian world as loud and you can typing in caps, putting emphasis with question marks, exclamation marks, and self agrandizing back slapping that makes me think you might need to have shoulder surgery if you're not careful with the self promotion.

Since you went ahead and displayed your inconsistent treatment of reasonable assurance of history based on available sources, everyone sees right through the all of your razz ma taz laden self promotion and hopefully are glad to see you go your way, shamed and exposed. On the other hand, I think everyone enjoyed the laughs provided by your visit.

Brings to mind the verse, "He who humbles himself shall be exalted, but he who exalts himself shall be humbled." Matthew 23:12

"inconsistent treatment of reasonable assurance of history based on available sources"


That about says it all.

Brad B,


Perhaps our efforts have not been wholly in vain. Brett has progressed quite a bit when it really comes down to it. Thus far we have:


1) no court in America would accept such scandalous documents as evidence for anything

2) very entertaining fictional writings

3) Jesus, he is one awesome fictional character


All with a lot of heat but, with a bit of pressure and literally criticism and historiography applied he moves to this:

1) It’s very probable that…..Jesus lived, taught his message….gathered a small following….thus they crucified…..


From Scandalous and entertaining fiction, to fictional character, and then, without much work, we get Jesus lived, Jesus taught, Jesus had a following, Jesus was crucified.


I think the Plato and his student Aristotle thing was helpful. There a lots of helpful things lying around all over the place………..the floor is cluttered, in fact. But, there are even better, more living reasons to move toward that Eternally Sacrificed Self in Whom Love lives uncreated. I suppose I must admit that I, in an odd way, kind of like Brett.....his passion is at least refreshing even if not well thought through. And, now, I must leave you and proceed to brace myself for the soon to come wrath of the seven, or maybe now six, point bold-faced list…………..

Hi scbrownlhrm, I have to admit that I knew his view on Jesus from reading his blog site.[that he was willing to grant that a Jesus lived etc]... but as you noted, he tried to save face a little when put to the test of a reasonable treatment of historical writings. In the same vein as you early on challenging him on his standard for a valid historical account, his irrationality showed...this couldn't be hidden from the observant.

That the very idea that the mountain of ancient writings in support for the validity of NT documents could be dismissed, or called into question as valid evidence, while scant support for Plato 1000+ years after his time on earth, is generally received as reliable by him exposes his folly. Brett is guilty of hyper skepticism regarding the Bible, but evidently he has a more reasonable standard with anything else.

The mischevious nature of this kind of character should be easily seen as no threat to the gospel, but not everyone is equipped to answer with a steamroller, pseudo philosopher, shister, bombarding them with their schtick, so a need to answer a fool according to his folly is warranted, I'm glad for your responses.

Paul said:

"1Cr 15:16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised;
1Cr 15:17 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.
1Cr 15:18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.
1Cr 15:19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.

Brett Strong mocks the supernatural, he has no idea of the offense he's guilty of, speaking out with a mocking tone regarding the witness of the Son of God and His acts of love done on earth, on the behalf of mankind of which Brett Strong is also one. He not only disqualifies himself from the gift, he tries to encourage the weak in the faith to discount God's own testimony with mocking incredulity multiplying his offense. He is to be pitied.

Guys,

My suggestion regarding B.Strong is simple: Please DNFTT.

He's obviously not interested in arguing any points but blindly repeating his seven (rather ridiculous) talking points. I would guess that the goal is to increase traffic to his web site with hopes of selling his e-book...which I'm sure is every bit as spellbinding as his posts here.

To that extent, his posts aren't much better than spambot posts peddling ginsu knives (or whatever). Except that the ginsu spambots might be better writers.

BTW, that featured interview on Redemption Radio he's so proud of is one that RR characterized this way:

This episode displays - in a powerful way - the arbitrariness and inconsistency of the Atheist worldview. When asked to explain the most basic and simple things of life, the Atheist ultimately is left with either no intelligible answer or pure, blind-faith.
I suspect that the episode is so popular, not because B.Strong's performance is such an atheist tour-de-force, but because he got his clock cleaned. The quick sample of the show that I did seems to bear out this suspicion.

You got it WL, I listened [partially, maybe 45mins each] to 2 of them, the RR, and there was one from UK[forgot the name]. RR was way too kind to this bozo, seeming to hope for ratings, the other was more probing and analytic. B Strong was the similar in both, acting as though he deserved to be taken seriously, incredulous when his claims were dismissed, and generally gobbling up the limelight while it is on, playing the clown, and smart-alec pseudo academic all rolled into one. It might've been good if it were billed as comedy.

I wasn't enlightened or entertained, I'm curious about DNFTT though...do not feed the____? do not further this thread? do not___ ___ ___?

Do not feed the troll.

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