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Discussion 5 to Meditation 38
On the Historical Evidence for Jesus

by JT

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Re: Jack Lanham's comment

Thank you for your comments.

I would dispute that Herbert W. Armstrong was non-denominational, unless you consider his Worldwide Church of God to be a sect or a cult rather than a denomination. He did influence a generation of televangelists impressed by his ability to use a facade of reason to attract members to his church, then to extract tithes upon tithes (up to 40%) from his followers.

I must admit I was always fond of his argument against Christians celebrating Christmas. Unfortunately, now he is no longer in charge (deceased 1986, his church has bowed to public opinion and accepts Dec. 25; and they apparently have even removed Armstrong's reasoning from the church web site. This within the past few years - as it was there as recently as five years ago.) They have also given up on the issue of Saturday vs Sunday as a day of observance, leaving it as a matter for individual congregations.

As to your suggested sources - none of them are contemporary with Christ. The source material for all these historians is essentially the Gospels and the oral traditions of Christians. They are no different from any other historians of the age, reporting both rumor and fact equally. They provide no independent verification or primary sources. And modern archeology is increasingly showing that Josephus, in particular, could not even accurately report on events in his lifetime, let alone on what happened before his birth.

Contemporary is the key issue - there are events within the biblical life of Christ that almost certainly would have been recorded at the time (not 50 to 100 years later) had they really happened. The reported massacre of the children by Herod, for example, could not possibly have been totally ignored and gone unrecorded. And if that event did not happen - then those who regard the Bible as absolute truth are absolutely wrong.