So here we are. The end of our five part series designed to answer the question “Are the Gospels reliable?” I certainly don’t have all the answers and I certainly can’t cover all the topics in a blog-mini-series. But I hope you think about this differently, I hope there have been just enough thoughts to consider that would cause you to think more deeply about this question…because it’s a really important one. It’s a super important one. Why?
Because as I mentioned in the Intro post, for me this is a deeply personal question, with massive personal implications. If the gospels are not reliable, then everything I base my life on is a lie. I’m a fraud and my life is useless. BUT if they are true, then what I base my life on is actually the most important thing anyone can ever base their life on: the truth of who Jesus Christ is. I’ve laid my cards on the table.
But at the risk of being “that guy” – can I ask you a question? Here it is: why CAN’T the gospels be true for you?
I hope that I’ve given you some compelling reasons to consider that they are true and in some ways I can respect someone who says “Yes, I agree, these are good reasons, I suppose there is a chance they can be true, but I’m just going to believe.” OK, fair enough. I would still ask “Why can’t you believe?” But that’s a different blog-mini-series.
But if you still say “No way. They absolutely cannot be true and I don’t care what reasons you provide.” Why not?
To push back on you a little bit, consider this. Maybe the reason is that you will not accept any reason why the gospels could be reliable is that you don’t want them to be true. Meaning, if there is a shred of possibility that Jesus could be who he says he is then there is a huge problem.
If Jesus really is God in the flesh and really did come in fulfillment of the prophecies and did all the miracles that the Gospels said he did, then he is who the Gospels claim him to be: Jesus THE Christ. God in the Flesh. The Savior.
That’s where all this ceases to be academic and cuts right to our hearts.
I don’t base my whole life on Jesus because I’m convinced by historical evidence in the reliability of the gospels – even though I certainly am. I base my whole life on Jesus because I know that I’m a spiritual orphan headed for God’s wrath without him. I know that I’m a sinner separated from my Creator-King and I’m in need of grace and it only comes through Jesus.
If you read the gospels, you will see clearly, who Jesus claimed to be. Not just a nice guy, not just a teacher, or someone who loved all people. Jesus claimed to be God. Jesus claimed to be the Messiah. Jesus claimed exclusive authority and access to God. All of this hinges on the reliability of the Gospels.
I’ll give you one passage. I know, I can already hear your eyes rolling, but bear with me.
In Matthew 11, Jesus makes a shocking claim –
“All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” (Matthew 11:26–27 ESV)
[In case you are wondering there is one variant in v27, but it is in word order only and it’s very clear that it doesn’t impact the meaning whatsoever.]
Jesus claims an authority from God himself. Not only that, he claims that he and God know each other so intimately they are virtually the same essence. In short, if you want to see God, get to know Jesus. The Jesus of the Gospels.
Then he makes a familiar call –
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28–30 ESV)
We can look at textual criticism and mistakes and variants all day, but in the end, the Gospels clearly proclaim a Jesus with exclusive access to God and a Jesus that invites you to come to God through him. The reliability of the gospels allow us to do that.
4 thoughts on “Are the Gospels Reliable? Conclusion”
“If the gospels are not reliable, then everything I base my life on is a lie. I’m a fraud and my life is useless. ”
Nope, you are simply ignorant and that can be fixed. that you think that your belief in something makes your life useless shows a disturbing dependence on it.
The gospels aren’t true, for me or anyone else. They have no evidence supporting the claim they are true. They can’t even agree with each other.
” Maybe the reason is that you will not accept any reason why the gospels could be reliable is that you don’t want them to be true. Meaning, if there is a shred of possibility that Jesus could be who he says he is then there is a huge problem.”
Baseless but common Christian assumption. This is the common “rebel” argument from a theist on why an non-believer in their particular faith doesn’t agree with them. This may be true for some, but it is not true for most. We don’t believe for the same reason I’m going to guess you don’t believe in other gods: no evidence.
“If Jesus really is God in the flesh and really did come in fulfillment of the prophecies and did all the miracles that the Gospels said he did, then he is who the Gospels claim him to be: Jesus THE Christ. God in the Flesh. The Savior.”
” I base my whole life on Jesus because I know that I’m a spiritual orphan headed for God’s wrath without him. I know that I’m a sinner separated from my Creator-King and I’m in need of grace and it ”
In that Christians themselves can’t agree on what this god is or wants, no reason to believe in any of their contradictory claims. Christians can’t agree on what sin consists of, and there is no reason to believe in your claims of this supposed sickness nor your claims of a cure for it.
Yep, the bible is full of claims. They are not evidence for themselves. So any quote from the bible is to be met with a shrug of the shoulders “So what?” since you have no evidence for them being true.
I’m confused. Why is this so offensive you? You have your absolute and exclusive truth [that the gospel isn’t true but your worldview is…] so why can’t I have mine? This is a “baseless but common atheistic assumption.”
You are right about your last point however and it is to the shame of the church that we cannot agree on the simple and extremely clear Scriptural orthodox historical Christian beliefs that the church has had for thousands of years. But don’t judge the truth of Christianity by Christians…as you rightly say we are all human and prone to mistakes. [Or do you believe in mistakes if there is no absolute standard of good? What do you base it one? Which way the cultural wind is telling you to blow?]
I don’t have any excluseive truth to me. That is a ridiculous idea that is only invented by a Christian who wants to retreat to little more than solipsism. A plea to claim that your nonsense is as valid as reality. It isn’t.
Your worldview is full of lies and those lies cause harm.
Every Christian claims that their version is the only “simple and extremely clear scriptural orthodox historical Christanity”. And you all fail to show that your version is any of the above.
I always am amused when a Chrisitan says don’t just Christianity by what Christians do. That’s the only way to judge it since none of you can show that there is a spotless “Christianity”. Humans might be prone to mistakes but when they claim some magical omnipotent, perfect, good, being is around, then they have to explain why it doesn’t do anything at all to correct them.
oh and here we go with argument from morality. My dear, Christians have no belief in a standard of good. You all accept your god doing things you’d be horrified if a human did them. Your morality is nothing more than might equals right. You also can’t agree on what morals this god even wants.
I have no problem with a subjective morality that can improve. And no, one doesn’t need a perfect to know a better.
Look. I’m very sorry for what you went thru, I read your testimony. But here are the facts. You aren’t making any sense and you are getting angry about what? You are an atheist and so in the end nothing matters and I’ll go into the ground and cease to exist, right? So why do you care?
Exclusive truth is when you think your view is correct and another is not. You are making a claim to exclusive truth, like it or not. It’s also a very unsustainable and inconsistent worldview, as you can’t believe in truth at all as it is all subjective and fluid. Any claim to truth or morality is borrowing from a biblical worldview, as yours just can’t support it. It’s not intellectually honest and you know that, maybe that’s why it bothers you so much?