A True Search or Just Another Woolly Wolf?
by Richard Singleton
In today's steamy social and political environment, a heavy dose of skepticism must be employed whenever so-called scholars take to instructing us on the Bible (1 Thess. 5:21). Such was the case this past week as ABC's top reporter, Peter Jennings, hit the dusty trails of the Bible lands "In Search of Jesus."
"Follow the money." This has become the motto of the political and marketing worlds. Wisdom demands that we employ this maxim in the spiritual world; it is a principle prevailed upon by Christ in the Sermon on the Mount. "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matt. 6:21).
Mr. Jennings pulled no punches. He stated up front that this was not going to be a religious romp but a fresh scholarly search beginning at the peak of the journalistic mountaintop. Unfortunately, an avalanche of misinformation soon rushed into view as the scholarly mountaineers immediately tumbled from fact to fiction. Leaping into action without the compass of Christ-THE BIBLE-to lead the way, the scholarly "search" party was doomed from the outset (Ps. 119:105)!
While we take issue with many of the positions posited during this two-hour attack on Christ, space will only allow us to surface and survey the root problem at work in this mean-spirited, made-for-television assault. Think with me for a few moments as we analyze the nature of the Bible and why these modern thinkers have missed the mark.
In searching for Christ, we turn to the Bible (Jn. 5:39). In turning to the Bible, we must realize that NO other document in human history is as solidly verifiable as the Scripture (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Completed almost 2000 years ago and written by about 40 men over a period of 1600 years, the Bible still lives and breathes today. It is a brilliantly crafted piece of Divine art (2 Pet. 1:20-21). Though written during different cultures and climates, it comprises a unique, harmonious whole. It is historically, scientifically, socially, and politically accurate in every detail. No secular book can boast that accomplishment even in the least. Unbiased students of the Bible will quickly realize that no other book but the Bible contains the fingerprint of God.
Yet, Mr. Jennings and the group of scholars he interviewed often made bold proclamations about historical events that happened in the hamlets and hills where Christ lived. Where did they obtain the historical information-information that they believe to be unquestionably true? They obtained it from historical documents. When compared with the Bible, these documents have laughable credentials. Many people may be astonished to know that secular sources from Jesus' time have little documentation to support their authenticity. Even when documentation can be found, it usually can only be traced back to about half a millennium from the time the original work was completed. So even the supporting evidence for secular historical books appear hundreds, and even over a thousand years after the originals were written.
The Bible on the other hand has mountains of manuscript evidence that chronicle the Bible's historical and literary authenticity from almost as soon as the ink dried on the original letters. In fact, even if there were no early manuscripts of the Bible's books, one could take quotations made by first and second century writers and piece together almost the entire New Testament. NO history book-NO OTHER BOOK OF ANY TYPE-ever produced in antiquity has that kind of dazzling proof.
So, why do the scholars trust history books but not THE BOOK OF BOOKS? That question is too politically, socially, and economically involved for us to discuss in detail. To be sure, however, armies of scholars, who in truth have never seriously studied the Bible, are on the attack. Forget serious. Some of these reputed scholars have not even read the Bible in a non-serious setting.
George Gallup, the renowned researcher, recently released a report that shows an amazing degree of Biblical ignorance in America. Researchers are astonished to find that some of the elite Biblical experts have not even read the Bible and many lacked even a basic working knowledge of the Bible. In fact, just two years ago Lexington Theological Seminary started requiring their master's students-scholars in the making-to take basic Bible classes. These are the caliber of scholars "In Search of Jesus." This is why they have uncovered a "myth" rather than discovered the Messiah.
If programs like this one leave you scratching your head in wonder, you are not alone. They are designed to dismantle your faith in Jesus and to build within you an altar of disbelief. What should you do? You should fight (Jude 3)! And the spiritual fight takes spiritual preparation (2 Tim. 2:15). Some basic Bible study, therefore, is a must. Serious study will enrich your faith and thrust you far above the "scholars" in your knowledge of the Bible.
Rather than confuse you, shows like this should challenge you to pick up your Bible and read it. Get some study tools and dig into it. Meditate upon it. Pray about it. Most importantly, apply it. It is not enough just to say I don' t believe that garbage that the liberal news media is trying to shove down my throat; we must search the scriptures and be ready to defend the faith (Acts 17:11; 1 Pet. 3:15; Jude 3).
Peter Jennings and the coterie of scholars by his side made many mistakes, but perhaps their most egregious blunder was to use Scripture in their literary buffet, accepting passages they believe to be historically helpful and disregarding passages they consider to be historically harmful. Listen carefully. If the Bible is not completely accurate, then it is entirely inaccurate. The Bible claims to be the infallible word of God. It, therefore, is either a book full of lies or a book full of life. You can't have it both ways. Sincere, unbiased study will reveal that the Bible meets the Divine standard. It is the manual for our souls (Js. 1:21).
So, in the end, "In Search of Jesus" was an abysmal failure because the searchers never pulled out and pored over the divine map that leads all sincere souls to Christ (1 Pet. 1:22-23). Perhaps, therein lies the answer to our astonishment. Could it be that these illusive scholars have not embarked upon a sincere search for Jesus? Could they just be another pack of ravenous wolves masquerading as innocent, woolly sheep (Matt. 7:15)?
Whatever the case, this much is certain, never take what you hear coming from the mouths of men as facts about what has already come from the mouth of God.
"Test all things; hold fast what is Good"(1 Thess. 5:21).
Reprinted by permission: http://winfield.cjb.net
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