WHAT is Christian Apologetics?
APOLOGETICS is commending and defending
the Intellectual Case for the the Claims of Christ
and the Christian Worldview in a context-sensitive
and audience-specific manner.
The Impact of Christians Trained in Apologetics:
- Believers are strengthened in their faith;
- Christians provide answers to non-Christian’s
questions about God, Christ, and the Bible;
- Culture is shaped and influenced.
The Battle for the Bible: Word of Man or Word of God?
by James Burkett
The Christian Faith has been increasingly under attack from different segments of our culture: college professors, school teachers, cultural elites, media and business leaders. Their statements not only mock the Christian faith but indicate they are ill-informed and have misunderstood the basic message of Christianity. This dilemma can be seen with the increasing mistrust of the Bible as being a reliable historical document, let alone the Word of God.
How Do We Know That the Bible Is Accurate and Trustworthy?
As a pastor for over thirty-four years in major university communities. I was surprised that professors, graduate students, university students, and notable scientists would insist that the Bible could not be trusted. Although professors would be focused on facts within their particular academic discipline, I was amazed at their conclusions regarding the Bible. They spoke on the basis of unjustified assumptions, bias, or a simple ignorance of the facts. I am not making this last statement with a critical attitude. But, to argue against the facts is not exhibiting an investigative mind that follows the evidence to a rational and logical conclusion. Consider the following points about the trustworthiness of the Bible.
Fact One: MANUSCRIPT PRESERVATION
The Bible is far more accurately preserved than any other text of ancient history. There are far more New Testament manuscripts copied with far greater accuracy and far earlier dating than for any secular classic from antiquity. The Old Testament was also preserved with its overall historical accuracy having been factually confirmed by scholarly works such as Walter C. Kaiser’s The Old Testament Documents: Are They Reliable and Relevant? or K.A. Kitchen’s On the Reliability of the Old Testament.
How can the Bible be rejected as “unreliable” when its documentation is at least 100 times that of other ancient literature? No other literature has supplied historians and Biblical scholars with such an abundance of evidence. The manuscript data is so massive that scholars such as Westcott and Hort, Ezra, Abbott, Philip Schaff, A.T. Robertson, Norman Geisler and William Nix place the restoration of the original text at 99 percent plus!
THERE IS NO OTHER DOCUMENT OF ANTIQUITY that is as accurately preserved as the New Testament.
Fact Two: ARCHAEOLOGY
The declarations that the Bible is filled with mythological tribes and peoples have ALL been dramatically disproven. Over a century of meticulous and scientific archaeological excavations have failed to prove a single Biblical statement incorrect. But archaeology has confirmed thousands of historical and geographical details in the Bible.
Former Director of the Australian Institute of Archaeology and author of the 17 volume Archaeology, the Bible, and Christ, Dr. Clifford Wilson states: “ . . . the Bible stands investigation in ways that are unique in all literature. Its superiority to attack, its capacity to withstand criticism, its amazing facility to be proved right after all are all staggering by any standards of scholarship. Seemingly assured results ‘disproving’ the Bible have a habit of backfiring. Over and over again the Bible has been vindicated. That is true from Genesis to Revelation. . . .”
Historian and apologist Dr. John Warwick Montgomery expressed the conclusion of archaeologists and historians regarding the reliability of the archaeological data: “Modern archaeological research has confirmed again and again the reliability of New Testament geography, chronology, and general history.”
Fact Three: Scientific Prevision
There are scores of biblical directives and statements which conform to the facts of modern science. These statements were made centuries before modern science and medicine. An excellent example is Dr. S.I. McMillen’s None of These Diseases: The Bible’s Health Secrets for the 21st Century or former ABC News Science Editor and Harvard University physics professor, Dr. Michael Guillen in his Amazing Truths: How Science and the Bible Agree.
With three earned doctorates in science, the late Dr. Wilder-Smith, shared his assessment of the scientific accuracy of the Bible: “Many leading scientists and philosophers, past and present, accepted the entire Bible because they actually researched these matters.” PLEASE NOTE THE LAST PHRASE: “ . . . they actually researched these matters.”
Mark Eastman, M.D., and computer specialist, Chuck Missler, concluded, “In the twentieth century, more than any time in history, it can be demonstrated that the Bible is a skillfully designed, integrated message system that evidences supernatural engineering in every detail.”
Fact Four: Certified and Accurately Fulfilled Prophecies
Only the Bible has specific prophecies that have been fulfilled. No other religious “sacred book” has this component. Leading Old Testament scholar, Alfred Edersheim, stated that there were 456 prophecies concerning the first coming of the Jewish Messiah. He provided extensive confirmation that Jesus Christ fulfilled all of these prophecies. Math Professor Peter W. Stoner details in this book, Science Speaks, the astounding confirmations of fulfilled biblical prophecy.
The statistical probabilities of the prophetical fulfillment is staggering! For example, Professor Stoner and 12 different classes of 600 college students calculated that the statistical probability of a man fulfilling just eight of the Messianic prophecies would be 1 in 1017 or 1 chance in 100,000 trillion. That number would allow you to cover the entire surface area of Texas with a two feet stack of silver dollars. As additional calculations are made, the probabilities are beyond the possibility of mere chance, but indicate a Divine direction.
Fact Five: Alleged Bible Errors and Contradictions are Answered Logically and Factually
The great majority of alleged errors and contradictions in the Bible are the result of three issues:
- A hasty examination of the Bible text;
- Faulty assumptions and misunderstanding of translation procedures by the critics;
- The selective use of data by the author.
It is important to observe proper definitions especially with terms like “error” and “contradiction.”
Dealing with alleged contradictions, scholars such as Dr. John W. Haley, William Arndt, and Gleason Archer collected over a thousand errors and contradictions, almost all of which were adequately resolved by careful attention to the relevant detail. Dr. John Warwick Montgomery commented: “I myself have never encountered an alleged contradiction in the Bible which could not be cleared up by the use of accepted principles of literary and historical interpretation.”
Noted Old Testament scholar and one of the world’s leading linguists, Dr. Robert Dick Wilson stated: “I have made it an invariable habit never to accept an objection to a statement of the Old Testament without subjecting it to a most thorough investigation, linguistically and factually . . . I defy any man to make an attack upon the Old Testament on the grounds of evidence that I cannot investigate.” Dr. Wilson’s conclusion was that no critic has succeeded in proving an error in the Old Testament.
Although we have only briefly touched on the subject, The Battle for the Bible: Word of Man or Word of God, we can readily ascertain that the evidences for the reliability of the Bible is overwhelming! Plus, the evidence can bring a person to the conclusion that the Bible is more than the Word of Man but is indeed the Word of God. There is an increasing number of professors, scientists, and scholars who have been “compelled” by the evidence that the Bible is more than just a human book: The Evidence indicates the supernatural element in it’s composition.
Conclusion: The BIBLE IS THE WORD OF GOD!
Apologetics Study Centers:
- Reasonable Faith Chapter—Mark Goodnight (firstname.lastname@example.org). Meets on the 3rd Tuesday of each month;
- Reasons to Believe—Dr. Dominic Halsmer (email@example.com)
- Oklahoma School of Apologetics & Practical Theology—Dr. Jim Burkett
(Ccccpastor@aol.com; text: 918-691-8756). Next Course: The Case for the Deity of Christ. Dates: Tuesday evenings, March 24, 31, April 7, 14, 21, & 28 (Time: 6:30–8:30 PM)
- Oklahoma Apologetics Alliance—Mark Tedford (Mark@tedfordinsurance.com)
- www.thepoachedegg.net (one of the best apologetics sites in our nation)
- www.oneminuteapologist.com (over 300 plus Christian scholars and apologists answer critical questions about Christianity in one to three minutes)
- www.RZIM.net (Ravi Zacherias ministries)
- www.oklahomaapologetics.com (website for the Oklahoma Apologetics Alliance)