Did Matthew Really Write the Gospel Attributed To Him?

If it could be shown that Matthew’s gospel was written by one of the twelve apostles, it would be a decisive weight in favor of the credibility of biblical history. After all, Matthew would have had a front-row seat to Jesus’ life and alleged miracles. Because of that, skeptics have challenged the genuineness of the authorship of Matthew. For example, here’s the famous agnostic Biblical scholar Bart Ehrman in an interview with NPR: “All the Gospels were written anonymously, and none of the writers claims to be an eyewitness…Whoever wrote Matthew did not call it “The Gospel according to Matthew.” The persons who gave it that title are telling you who, in their opinion, wrote … Read more

How Polycarp gives us evidence for the early use of the New Testament

How do we know the books that we have in the New Testament are the right books? Why isn’t the Gospel of Thomas or the Gospel of Mary included with the other four gospels? And didn’t the teachings of the disciples and apostles get corrupted over the centuries? Christians often get tested with these questions. While I hate to admit it, this is also the quiz that most believers flunk. We need to be better prepared and that requires a little understanding of early church history. So let me introduce you to a guy who went by the funny name of Polycarp. I guess if you’re Greek it’s not that strange, his name simply means … Read more

6 ancient sources that prove the traditional authorship of the Four Gospels

Double standards are the worst. Have you ever been on the wrong side of a double standard? Of course, you have. To use an example, let’s say I have someone drop by my house unexpectedly. I have four kids so things are bound to get messy. Let’s pretend that there’s an empty pizza box sitting on the counter, crumbs on the floor, toys are strewn about the living room and a pile of dishes in the sink. While this feels awkward for me, my wife is going to feel extremely uncomfortable and anxious about it.  Why? Because she is far more likely going to get unfairly judged over it. Even in this day where sexism … Read more

Killing the Canaanites: Why can’t atheists like Richard Dawkins tell the difference between genocide and justified capital punishment?

Critics of Christianity (and Judaism) have said that the God of the Old Testament is worse than Hitler, Stalin and Mao Zedong put together. Richard Dawkins has famously wrote in his book The God Delusion: “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” Dawkins must have had his thesaurus handy when he wrote that, but I digress. It’s not as if Dawkins and other critics have no basis for these claims. Deuteronomy 20:16-17 reads “… in the cities of these … Read more

Did the women at the tomb of Jesus see a man at the tomb, two men, or two angels?

Here is a favorite ploy of skeptics and critics of the four gospels: Find two stories that use different words, give different details, name different people and emphasize different things. Throw a flag and cry ‘contradiction!’ But differences in the account aren’t necessarily contradictions. Bart Ehrman has made a career of claiming otherwise. Here is a snippet of Bart in his debate on the resurrection with William Lane Craig: Read one story in Matthew, then the same story in Mark, and compare your two stories and see what you come up with. You come up with major differences . . . Did they see a man, did they see two men, or did they see … Read more

Do the 3 accounts of Paul’s conversion in Luke contradict each other?

There are three accounts of Paul’s conversion to Christianity found in the Book of Acts. They’re all a little bit different, and because of that, some critics have cried foul. I don’t think these skeptics are paying very close attention when they say that there are irreconcilable discrepencies. So what are the differences that critics point to? Biblical scholar Darrell Bock tells us in The Holman Apologetics Commentary on the Bible: The biggest differences in the accounts have to do with whether the men traveling with Saul see the light and hear nothing (22:9) or stand speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one (9:7). . . . Another difference is that Ananias does not appear … Read more

6 clear reasons why Psalm 22 can’t possibly describe anyone else but Jesus of Nazareth.

“Psalm 22 isn’t about Jesus at all! Mark was familiar with the Psalm and deliberately fabricated stories about the mocking of the crowds and the distribution of his clothes. Not only that, Christians translators came in and changed the wording of one of the passages to make it say that the sufferer’s feet and hands were pierced. Plus, the Psalm was written by David or some other Jewish sufferer about their own suffering. Christians are just projecting Jesus backward into the Psalm to fit their own narrative. And there’s nothing about the resurrection in Psalm 22. Isn’t that the punchline of the whole story?” That’s the skeptical interpretation of Psalm 22 in a nutshell. To … Read more

7 things that should be better known about the problem of hell according to Jesus

The topic of hell usually generates more heat than light, pun intended. The doctrine gets used as a bludgeon against those who claim to follow Jesus, who is said to be meek and lowly of heart, yet spoke so often of this harsh subject. The late outspoken atheist Christopher Hitchens said, “not until the Advent of the Prince of Peace do we hear of the ghastly idea of further punishing the dead.” You hear many thinking believers say they’d prefer to get rid of the doctrine if it didn’t have such scriptural support. CS Lewis said, “There is no doctrine which I would more willingly remove from Christianity than this if it lay in my … Read more

A look at an alleged contradiction in the Gospels: Was Jairus’ daughter alive when Jesus was approached or was she already dead?

For historical documents to be reliable, they can’t be full of contradictions. That’s just common sense. As Christians, we say that the Gospels give us an accurate portrayal of historical events, but critics are quick to call foul. They say that the gospel accounts are so full of contradictions that it’s hopeless to even try and argue for their reliability. Or so critics like Bart Ehrman would like us to believe. When asked on his blog if there was a “slam-dunk” contradiction that would be impossible to defend, Bart’s reply was: “I don’t have ONE that is [a] slam-dunk. But there are dozens that are pretty good. Here’s one: Jairus came to Jesus to ask him to … Read more

A look at an alleged contradiction in the gospels: Did the centurion ask Jesus directly to heal his servant, or did he send others to ask?

If you’ve ever been in a discussion online with atheists, you know that one of their favorite moves is to dump a heap of alleged contradictions in the Bible and act like it is game over time. It’s probably a strange way of thinking about it, but I liken it to throwing a bucket of snakes into a crowded movie theater. It only takes a few seconds to dump some slithering serpents and watch people scatter, but it takes a lot longer catch them one by one and deal with them. It can be a pain to play the role of animal control, but someone’s gotta do it. These things do bother people. One of … Read more

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