“Sir William Ramsay, one of the greatest archeologists ever to have lived, was a student of the German historical school, which taught that the Book of Acts was a product of the mid-second century AD and not of the first century, as it purports to be.
“After reading modern criticism about the Book of Acts, Ramsay became convinced that it was not a trustworthy account of facts of its time (50 AD), and therefore was unworthy of consideration by a historian.
“So in his research on the history of Asia Minor, Ramsay paid little attention to the New Testament. His investigations, however, eventually compelled him to consider the writings of Luke, the author of the Book of Acts.
“The archeologist observed the meticulous accuracy of the historical details and gradually his attitude toward the Book of Acts began to change. He was forced to conclude: ‘Luke is a historian of the first rank … This author should be placed along the very greatest of historians.'” — From “More Than A Carpenter,” by Josh and Sean McDowell, pgs 65-66
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If you attended college at any time in the past several decades, odds are you were taught some variation of the claim the Jesus of the Bible cannot be documented in history, so the book is really nothing more than a collection of myths, fables and exaggerations written long after His death.
Among the most significant evidence from logic to support the credibility of the Gospels — Matthew, Mark, Luke and John — is the fact none of the original disciples ever disavowed their claims about Jesus’ life and miracles, including the Resurrection.
The absence of any such disavowal, either documented or merely rumored, is not prima facie proof, but it does provide a weighty addition to the case for the truth of the Bible.
Biola University Professor Sean McDowell looks in the following video at the biblical and secular evidence on the question, lays out the main points of debate and offers conclusions about the significance:
Tradition has it that all of the original surviving 11 disciples of Jesus died as martyrs while defending their claims that Christ had been resurrected on the third day after being crucified.
Thomas, the skeptical disciple (i.e. the “Doubting Thomas”) who refused to believe the resurrection until Jesus appeared to him and invited him to touch his crucifixion wounds, is believed to have taken the Gospel to India where he died as a martyr.
As Biola University Professor Sean McDowell explains in the following video, there is no independent corroboration for this tradition, but there is good historical evidence to support the conclusion that there is truth in the account:
Critics typically dismiss the Bible as a credible source of history, but the more one knows about textual analysis, philology and archeology, the more the accuracy of Scripture is demonstrated and reinforced.
Dr. Sean McDowell of Summit Ministries and Biola University professor of apologetics looks at four major modern archeological discoveries that confirm key illustrations of the credibility and accuracy.
Why is McDowell’s presentation worth a few minutes of your time? Because, if the New Testament is an accurate account, then all of us should consider closely the claims of Jesus Christ to be the Son of God, the “Way and the Truth and the Light,” and thus the only way to Heaven:
Every human being who ever walked the face of the Earth has an innate sense that some acts are “good” and others are “bad.” Every known human society has had a moral code that defines what is good and bad.
But from where does that sense of right and wrong come? Are people born with it, or is it acquired over a period of time in which environmental, genetic and other factors combine to produce moral concepts?
Biola University Professor Sean McDowell takes up this question in the following video, including the familiar claim that the existence of moral judgements by humans can be entirely explained by science. Advocates of the latter view, he points out, commit the category fallacy in logic:
Have you ever experienced a tough time in your life when things just never seemed to go right, your friends and family were of no help, and even when you sought Him in prayer, God seemed not to care what happened to you? I have and odds are you will as well at some point, if you haven’t already.
King David experienced the same thing, but much more intensely, so intensely in fact, that he recorded it in Psalms 143:7: “Answer me quickly Lord; my spirit fails. Don’t hide your face from me, or I will be like those who go down to the pit.”
There is another Psalm that isn’t attributed to David, but which sounds very much like him. Psalm 102:1-3 puts it this way: “Lord, hear my prayer; let my cry for help come before You. Do not hide Your face from me in my day of trouble. Listen closely to me; answer me quickly when I call.”
Professor Sean McDowell of Biola University offers a challenging and encouraging explanation in this video for why God sometimes seems like He doesn’t care: