The Righter Report

Jesus and first century historians

May 24, 2019

Skeptics of the historical Jesus often question why we don’t see more first century references to Jesus from early historians.

“New Testament scholar Craig Blomberg, who served as an editor and contributor to a large scholarly work on the Gospels (‘Gospel Perspectives’), provides four reasons why more was not written on Jesus in his time: “the humble beginnings of Christianity; the remote location of Palestine on the eastern frontiers of the Roman empire; the small percentage of the works of ancient Greco-Roman historians which have survived, and the lack of attention paid by those who are extant to Jewish figures in general.” We know that about half of what the Roman historian Tacticus wrote is no longer available. Only a fragment of what Thallus wrote in the first century about ancient Mediterranean history has survived. Seutonius was aware of the writings of Asclepiades of Mendes, yet his writings are no longer available. Herod the Great’s secretary, Nicholas of Damascus, wrote a Universal History in 144 books, none of which have survived. Livy, the great Roman historian, has suffered a similar fate. Only his early books and excerpts of the rest survived.” 1

“We also know of several early Christian writings that are no longer available. For example, an influential church leader of the early part of the second century named Papias wrote five books that are quoted by several early church fathers. However, none of these books survived. Only a few citations and slight summary information remain. Quadratus was a Christian leader who wrote a defense of the Christian faith to the Roman Emperor Hadrian around 125. However, if Eusebius had not quoted a paragraph and mentioned his work, we would be totally unaware of its composition. The five books of ‘Recollections,’ written by Hegesippus in the second century, have likewise been lost.” 2

One other thing, it’s entirely likely that numerous other historical works were lost when Jerusalem was sacked by the Romans in 70 AD. But we do know of at least forty-two authors, nine of whom were secular, who mentioned Jesus within 150 years of his death. Scholar Gary Habermas, in his Book “The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus” (p.233), listed the following: 9 authors from the New Testament – Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Author of of Hebrews, James, Peter, and Jude. 21 early Christian writers outside the NT – Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Polycarp, Martyrdom of Polycarp, Didache, Barnabus, Shepherd of Hermas, Fragments of Papias, Justin Martyr, Aristides, Athenagoras, Theophious of Antioch, Quadratus, Aristo of Pella, Melito of Sardis, Diognetus, Gospel of Peter, Apocalypse of Peter, and Epistula Apostolorum. 4 heretical writings – Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of Truth, Apocryphon of John, Treatise on Resurrection. And 9 secular non-Christian sources, including Josephus, Tacticus, Pliny the Younger, Phlegon, Lucian, Celcus, Mara Bar-Serapion, Seutonius, and Thallus.

References:

1. The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus, Gary R. Habermas and Michael R. Licona, page 127
2. Ditto

Recommended reading on the historical Jesus:

“The Historical Jesus,” by scholar Dr. Gary Habermas;
“New Evidence that Demands a Verdict,” by former skeptic Josh McDowell;
“Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics,” by Dr. Norman Geisler;
“The Case for Christ,” by Lee Strobel,” and
“The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus,” by Dr. Gary Habermas.

God bless!

– The Righter Report

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May 24, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

The Kalam Cosmological Argument

The Kalam Cosmological Argument

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

In 2003, scientists Arvind Borde and Alexander Vilenkin and Alan Guth published a paper documenting that the universe cannot be infinitely old (the universe is expanding). It had to have a beginning. Dr. William Lane Craig, a doctor of philosophy and theology, quoted Vilenkin in defense of his Kalam Cosmological Argument:

“It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place (that the universe had a beginning), cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape: they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.”

No longer can men argue that the universe has been around forever. Be thinking about a divine Creator.

Jesus is Lord!
– The Righter Report

May 12, 2016 Posted by | Evangelical, God, Human Interest, Science, Theology, Theology Articles, Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Deity of Jesus Christ in Scripture

“I am the Alpha and the Omega…” – Jesus, Revelation 22:13

Skeptics and liberal critics often try to cite passages in the Bible concerning Jesus’ incarnation as a man, and ignore those passages that confirm the deity of Jesus Christ, who is God the Son. This is one of the most frequent attacks on Christ and Christianity, for if Jesus is not divine, how can he be our God and Savior? Following are the Scriptural evidences that answer this challenge.

Scholarly author Kevin J. Conner lists 27 initial scriptural evidences demonstrating the deity of Christ:

1. Jesus existed in the beginning (John 1:1; Philip 2:6; Rev. 19:13; Micah 5:2).
2. He was with God (John 1:1).
3. He is God, the Son (John 1:1; Rom. 9:5; Heb. 1:8, 10; I John 5:20).
4. He is God manifest in the flesh (John 20:28; I Tim. 3:16; Col. 2:9; Acts 20:28; Heb. 1:8).
5. He is God foretold (Isaiah 9:6; Psalm 45:6).
6. He is Immanuel, God with us (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23).
7. He is the true God (I John 5:20 with Titus 2:13; Romans 9:5).
8. He is the great God (Titus 2:13).
9. He is God our Savior (II Peter 1:1).
10. He existed in the form of God before His incarnation and was equal with God the Father (Philippians 2:5-7)
11. He is the only wise God (Jude 25).
12. He is omnipotent over disease. (Matthew 8:1-4; Luke 4:39)
13. He is omnipotent over demons. (Matthew 8:16-17; Luke 4:35)
14. He is omnipotent over nature. ((Matthew 8:26)
15. He is omnipotent over death. (Luke 7:14-15; John 11:25)
16. He is omniscient, knowing the hearts of the Pharisees. (Matthew 12:25; Luke 5:22; 6:8; 7:39-40)
17. He knew the thoughts of the scribes. (Matthew 9:3-4)
18. He knew the history of the Samaritan woman. (John 4:24)
19. He is omnipresent. (Matthew 18:20; 28:20; John 3:13; 14:20)
20. He was worshiped as God by the angels (Hebrews 1:6); worshiped as God by the wise men (Matthew 2:2); worshiped as God by the shepherds (Luke 2:15); worshiped as God by a ruler (Matthew 9:18); worshiped as God by Thomas (John 20:28); worshiped as God by the apostles (Matthew 14:33;28:9)
21. He forgives sins. (Mark 2:5)
22. He saves (only God saves). Matthew 18:11; John 10:28).
23. He judges. (John 5:22)
24. Paul, Peter, Jude, James, and John called Him God. (Galatians 2:20; 1 Peter 3:22; Jude 25; James 2:1; I John 5:20; Revelation 1:18; 19:16)
25. He is God’s Son, who was sent to bring us eternal life. (John 3:16)
26. He arose from death in the flesh (John 20:26-28; Luke 24:39-43; I John 4:2-3).
27. One with the Father (John 10:30).

For additional evidences of the deity of Jesus Christ, see the following article: Jesus must be Jehovah

Also review this terrific study of Christ as God in the Old Testament: Jesus, the Divine Messenger of the Lord

In addition, Jesus is assigned these divine names and titles in Scripture: Divine Names and Titles of Jesus

There are many more evidences of the deity of Jesus Christ that are not listed above, but what I have referenced provides sound and numerous Scriptural confirmations that Jesus is presented as the Divine Lord and Savior of the Bible.

– The Righter Report

March 21, 2013 Posted by | Evangelical, God, History, Human Interest, Theology, Theology Articles, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ave Maria, by Ryland Angel

A masterpiece song.

January 5, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment