Monday, December 18, 2006

"The Mystery of Christmas" 48 hours

Last Saturday night 48 hours aired a show called "The Mystery of Christmas." While watching the first half I became sick to my stomach as "Christian Scholars" did their best destroy the record of the New Testament. What was so amazing, and I should expect this by now, is that they never once considered the possibility that the New Testament could have accurately recorded the birth of Christ. Their presupposition was all too obvious. They had decided at the outset that the witness of scripture could not be true because it deals with the supernatural and miraculous. It was almost hilarious to see them try to reconstruct the story of Christ without the text of scripture. It was pure guess work. The amazing thing is how arrogant they were as they touted their own opinions as real history and ignored the text of scripture which was completely written within 100 years of Christ's birth. John Dominic Crossan makes some amazing statements:

“We would like there to be records of all of this. And instead, what we have is Gospels...The interesting thing is, of the four gospels, Mark and John of course have no nativity story. Only Matthew and Luke...They agree that Mary and Joseph are the parents. They agree about a virgin birth. They agree about a birth in Bethlehem. But pretty much apart from that, the stories go completely their own way.”

Crossan mentions that the gospel writers had specific purposes in writing, but he claims that because of their purposes they created their stories to prove their points. However, there is no thought of the idea that the gospel writers might selectively choose what details of actual history to include based on what they were trying to teach. For example Luke sets out to give and orderly account of the things that took place. He is the historian (Luke 1:1-4). So we would expect that Luke would have the fullest account of the birth of Christ. Crossan also does not mention that nothing in the gospel accounts is contradictory. Any differences can easily be explained by considering that the writers selected details for a reason and that they represented different witnesses to the same events. If there were a car accident there would be various accounts as to what happened. The accounts would be different, but not neccasarily wrong. Each person would be able to share from their perspective what happened. The difference is that scripture claims to be sourced in God Himself (2 Tim. 3:16). So when we read scripture we find absolute coherence and absolute accuracy. We find absolute truth.

Crossan, Michael White and Elaine Pagels don't belive the testimony of scripture. The Jesus of the Bible is to them an invention of the writers of scripture, and yet they try to say that the metaphor of Chirst still has significant meaning and value for Christians. However, as C. S. Lewis said, "He is either liar or lunatic or Lord." Their is no middle ground. If the message of the Bible is false then their is no use in anyone being a Christian.

Thankfully, Ben Witherington from Asbury Theological Seminary was featured in the last part of the show. He simply took the witness of the 4 gospels as being absolutely true and then toured around the Holy land showing that everything that was said fits with what we can see. He shows that there are no huge dilemmas to overcome.

However, there is one huge dilemma. One must embrace scripture by faith. It is not blind faith because scripture is very reasonable. In fact, scripture if perfect reason, but because of sin people will not except the wisdom of God unless God opens their eyes. But when one with eyes wide open reads scripture and looks at the world things begin to come into focus. With focused eyes one can then look at the simple beauty of the birth of Christ and see the profound reality that He was in fact conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, the promised Messiah, the descendant of David, the eternal King, Yahweh Himself, the Son of the Most High, the Savior of the world! And what's more we can fall on our faces and worship our risen Lord and Savior today!

1 comment:

Bob W said...

Thanks for dealing it straight. Glad to see you out in the blogosphere!