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WOL Newsletter 175: Let's Shake on It
February 7, 2016
 
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TheSeed
Edited by Stacie Thomas

I love that Doug starts the meat of the message with “Firstly, God and His Scripture do not need defending.” Can I get an Amen?!?! There are so many times that I feel like I need to argue God’s point (which, if I’m being honest, I’m really just trying to argue why I’m right and ‘they’re’ wrong).
Everything around us shows God’s existence. We should exude His existence; by being Christ-like. (If everyone who claimed to be a Christian actually acted like Christ, this ‘debate’, ‘message’, ‘doubt’ wouldn’t exist. So, instead of using this information to argue with anyone that paints you a fool for your beliefs, use it affirm yourself.
"If I have brought any message today, it is this: Have the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity. Be fools for Christ. And have the courage to suffer the contempt of the sophisticated world." - Antonin Scalia

"God assumed from the beginning that the wise of the world would view Christians as fools ... and he has not been disappointed." - Antonin Scalia
 
Romans 1:22 (NKJV)
Professing to be wise, they became fools,

For Heaven's Sake (or actually for your own), be a fool.

Overwhelming Evidence for the Validity of Scriptures

Have you ever been in a situation that hurt so badly, or that made so little sense, you actually questioned the very existence of God? Have you ever considered the thought that, “If I’m wrong about this whole ‘Christian’ thing, I have made some big sacrifices in life for nothing!”? Well, believe it or not, that is not an obscure or unusual thought. Paul himself, alluded to this very thing: 1 Corinthians 15:13-19. Why, in this case would we be, “the most pitiable” of all? Because, to live for Christ encompasses your whole being; your hopes, your meaning & purpose in life, your goals, your desires, all center around this Truth. If misplaced, you will have lost so much; but, if true…nothing else in life matters more. With so much at stake, do you ever wonder why God would require you to walk with Him in faith alone?  Why not more proof? The Truth is that God never asks you to accept His existence in faith; He gives us proof everywhere that, He is! What He asks of us, is that we accept Him as our Savior, our Beloved, our Master, our God—in faith; meaning faith in who He is; faith in how He loves; faith in His character; faith in His love. Anyone willing to accept the evidence around them in truth must see the existence of God. It is those who choose to push that evidence away consciously, that God holds accountable. Romans 1:18. God gave us undeniable evidence for His existence; and as you see proof for the Truth of God’s Word, you are accountable.
Firstly, God and His Scripture do not need defending; His Word and existence speak for themselves. Secondly, we shouldn’t try to use this to argue a point to ‘win’ about God; our only job and ability is to give the Word in real love; only the Spirit can touch a man’s heart with the Truth.
We intend to prove that the Scriptures contained in the Bible are: Accurately preserved Documents; written in unparalleled unity; by eyewitnesses with nothing to gain, and everything to lose; which were verified by contemporary eyewitnesses of friendly, neutral, and hostile persuasion alike; and that these Documents, written like none other in their uniqueness, have been proven trustworthy beyond any reasonable doubt historically, archeologically, and especially prophetically; effecting the entire world for all succeeding generations unlike any Documents before or after; testifying in proof and self-proclamation, they are by absolute necessity, Divine and not human, in origin.
Accurately preserved documents: we’ll focus on the New Testament, its writers, its content and its validity. Comparing the NT to the top picks for most popular and trusted historical writers and understanding that how soon a copy of an ancient writing is found after its original, and how many copies are in existence weigh heavy on proof of the writing’s accuracy and authenticity.
                                                          
                                        DATE                         EARLIEST                  TIME                       NUMBER
        AUTHOR                                    WRITTEN:                        COPY:                   SPAN:                      OF COPIES
Caesar                                               1st Century BC                 900 AD                1,000 years                  10
Tacitus (Greek History)                       100 AD                            900 AD                   800 years                 2
Aristotle (Philosopher)                         4th Century BC              1,100 AD               1,500 years                  49        
Aristophanes (Grk Plays)                     4th Century BC                900 AD                1,300 years                  10
Suetonius (Rom Hist.)                        150 AD                          1,100 AD                  950 years                 200
New Testament                                  40-100 AD                       125 AD                    25 years                  5800 Greek (
+20K other languages (Latin, Syriac, Coptic))
                                                        
There are some pieces of Scripture that can now be traced back to either pieces of the original or coexisting with them. There are copies existing today that existed during the lifetime of witnesses to the original writings—completely unprecedented in historical writings of any other kind. (The Ninjews couldn’t have changed all of these copies…side note: don’t know what a Ninjew is? One of the many exciting (?) things you’re missing from not attending church Sundays!)
Written in unparalleled unity: The Bible is a collection of Books, written over 1600 years, by 40 individual writers, on 3 continents, in 3 languages, from different classes/cultures regarding hundreds of controversial topics. It could not have been unified by men, yet was written seamlessly about the same topics, telling the story of Redemption from beginning to end, without controversy.
By eyewitnesses with nothing to gain, and everything to lose: 1 John 1:1-4; 2 Peter 1:16-18; John 20:27-29. The writers of NT emphatically claim to have actually witnessed what they are writing about first-hand (Luke claims he spoke with those who had), and on several occasions they make direct and bold references to their readers of the same generation that ‘everyone knows what they are saying is true,’; proving that not only must they be known witnesses by the early hearers and readers of the NT, but that many of them were known as witnesses to all that the writers said. Many of these claims were made to people of great power who could easily have proven or disproven their claims. You can’t fabricate such incredible claims, and tell such amazing untrue stories, that are accepted as true and recorded and passed on by others who have actually been there at that time and not have one person from that time refute their truth. Not a single witness had anything to gain from what they were saying and doing; each one of them had very much to lose. Why would tens of thousands of people change their lives, suffer, & even sacrifice themselves for what they could clearly see was a lie? They had to abandon 1500 year old deeply held convictions, leaving a comfortable religion and good place in society to become completely ostracized from their culture to lose property, citizenship and family, to be mercilessly tortured (and worse)—all to follow a ‘lie’? Would  a sane person go through all of this for what they knew was a complete lie (much less all twelve)? Peter denied Christ three times before, what happened to change him and thousands of others?
The NT is proven beyond any ancient manuscript to have been preserved in its original content. We have what was written by the authors of the New Testament in our hands today. The NT, and the entire Bible, has a unity that defies the ability of men- spanning generations of time, culture, and education—telling one awesome story, without contradiction. It takes much more faith to believe tens of thousands of people gave up everything they had, to die horrible deaths—in support of something they saw themselves—knowing it to be a complete lie. When you have those moments of worry and doubt, remember these proofs we are studying, that will turn your "Faith" into "solid evidence."

Upcoming Events:

February 7: Super Bowl Party @ Garrett's: see Tracy or Jason
February 21: VBS organizational meeting
February 21: Luncheon
March 26: FLOCK Youth Ski Trip- see Jay
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