Are the New Testament Gospel accounts reliable and trustworthy?
“The majority of recent specialized studies,” writes Evangelical biblical scholar Craig L. Blomberg in Making Sense of the New Testament, “has recognized that the closest parallels are found among the comparatively trustworthy histories and biographies of writers like the Jewish historian Josephus, and the Greek historians Herodotus and Thucydides” (28). In his commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, Catholic theologian and biblical scholar Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis writes:
“We must conclude, then, that the genre of the Gospel is not that of pure “history”; but neither is it that of myth, fairy tale, or legend. In fact, euangelion constitutes a genre all its own, a surprising novelty in the literature of the ancient world. Matthew does not seek to be “objective” in a scientific or legal sense. He is writing as one whose life has been drastically changed by the encounter with Jesus of Nazareth. Hence, he is proposing to his listeners an objective reality of history, but offered as kerygma, that is, as a proclamation that bears personal witness to the radical difference that reality has already made in his life.” (Fire of Mercy, Heart of the Word, Vol. II: Meditations on the Gospel According to St. Matthew, 44)
Many early Christian authors, such as Justin Martyr, referred to the Gospels as memoirs of the apostles. Blomberg has used the descriptive “theological biographies,” which captures well the supernatural and human elements found within them.
Alex Rosenberg points out that atheism (and scientism, not science) results in nihilism beyond just relativism.
He advocates nice nihilism, but that doesn’t make sense in terms of his own nihilism.
He only does so by going in absurd and self-defeating routes, like denying the self.
This all points to the notion that atheism as worldview is ultimately self-defeating.
“Every human being has four endowments – self-awareness, conscience, independent will, and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom: The power to choose, to respond, to change.”
“Deep within each of us is an inner longing to live a life of greatness and contribution – to really matter, to really make a difference. We can consciously decide to leave behind a life of mediocrity and to life a life of greatness – at home, at work, and in the community.”
“I have made it a regular practice to interview my children. The basic ground rule in this “interview” is that I only listen and try to understand. It is not a time for moralizing, preaching, teaching, or disciplining – there are other times for that – this is a time to merely listen and understand and empathize. Sometimes I want terribly to move in and advise, teach, judge, or sympathize, but I have inwardly determined that during these special visits I will only attempt to understand.”
“If I were to summarize in one sentence the single most important principle I have learned in the field of interpersonal relations, it would be this: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood.”
“Leadership is the highest of the arts, simply because it enables all the other arts and professions to work.”
“Leadership is a choice that lies in the space between stimulus and response.”
“Education the heart is the critical complement to educating the mind.”
“We are self-aware. This awareness means that we can stand mentally outside of ourselves and evaluate our beliefs and our actions. We can think about what we think.”
“Everyone chooses one or two roads in life – the old and the young, the rich and the poor, men and women alike. One is the broad, well-traveled road to mediocrity, the other the road to greatness and meaning.”
If I make deposits into an Emotional Bank Account with you through courtesy, kindness, honesty, and keeping my commitments to you, I build up a reserve. Your trust in me becomes higher, and I can call upon that trust many times if I need to. I can even make mistakes and that trust level, that emotional reserve will compensate for it. My communication may not be clear, but you’ll get my meaning anyway. You won’t make me “an offender for a word.” When the trust account is high, communication is easy, instant and effective.
Here are the two main options I am familiar with:
- Bott Radio Network
Or set up a couple channels on Pandora like: Mercy Me, Casting Crowns, David Crowder, King and Country, Toby Mac, Switchfoot, and Matthew West. (you could presumably do the same thing on Spotify or whatever music service you might listen to).
What do Metzger and Ehrman conclude together in that revised work? Melinda Penner of Stand to Reasonwrites,
Ehrman and Metzger state in that book that we can have a high degree of confidence that we can reconstruct the original text of the New Testament, the text that is in the Bibles we use, because of the abundance of textual evidence we have to compare. The variations are largely minor and don’t obscure our ability to construct an accurate text. The 4th edition of this work was published in 2005 – the same year Ehrman published Misquoting Jesus, which relies on the same body of information and offers no new or different evidence to state the opposite conclusion.
Here’s what Ehrman says in an interview found in the appendix of Misquoting Jesus (p. 252):
Bruce Metzger is one of the great scholars of modern times, and I dedicated the book to him because he was both my inspiration for going into textual criticism and the person who trained me in the field. I have nothing but respect and admiration for him. And even though we may disagree on important religious questions – he is a firmly committed Christian and I am not – we are in complete agreement on a number of very important historical and textual questions. If he and I were put in a room and asked to hammer out a consensus statement on what we think the original text of the New Testament probably looked like, there would be very few points of disagreement – maybe one or two dozen places out of many thousands. The position I argue for in ‘Misquoting Jesus’ does not actually stand at odds with Prof. Metzger’s position that the essential Christian beliefs are not affected by textual variants in the manuscript tradition of the New Testament.
Pyramid of Success by John Wooden (this is just the values):
Faith, Competitive Greatness, Patience
Condition, Skill, Team Spirit
Self-control, Alertness, Initiative, Intentness
Industriousness, Friendship, Loyalty, Cooperation, Enthusiasm
Team Values from Coach Wooden:
5. Team Player
6. Quickness (* For instance: Pro-activeness & Responsiveness)
7. Aggressiveness (* Probably better framed additionally as: Passion)
8. Timeliness (being on time when time is involved)
9. Personal habits (wonder how he unpacked this?)
10. Getting along with teammates
My Normal Expectations of Team Members (John Wooden):
1. Always be a gentleman.
2. Always be a team player.
3. Always be on time whenever time is involved.
4. Always be learning.
5. Always be enthusiastic, dependable and cooperative.
6. Always be earning the right to be proud and confident.
7. Always keep your emotions under control without losing fight or aggressiveness.
8. Be spirited, not temperamental.
9. Always work to improve, knowing you can never improve enough.
In the context of debate (or other sports):
Lifelong lessons about practice & persistence.
Dealing with challenges, setbacks, and failures (Losing well is a mindset & process)
Ideals of respect:
- Respect for people (coaches, competitors, teammates, judges)
- Respect for ideas
- Respect for property
Three sets of values–the mindset of a leader & winner: Honesty, Respect, and Fairness
Team & character values:
- Enthusiasm (Energy/Passion)
- Teamwork (Responsibility/Proactive) (Unity/Cooperation/Shared Goals and Values)
- Dedication and Commitment
See also Team sports & values (I have a list of team vakyes that was used by a volleyball team thats quite good that reflects the values of respect, fairness, and team). I would also mention the Wooden video here on Compassion in Politics.