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Is the New Testament the Word of God?

Slides that I used for my opening presentation during the debate "Is the New Testament God's Word?"

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Is the New Testament the Word of God?

  1. 1. Is the New Testament the Word of God? By Jose Luis Dizon
  2. 2. What this Debate is not About  A display of oratory skills  A clash of Egos
  3. 3. What the Debate is About  What the New Testament claims about itself  How it goes about making those claims  Whether those claims are justified
  4. 4. Our Guiding principle Πάντα δὲ δοκιμάζετε, τὸ καλὸν κατέχετε “But test everything; hold fast what is good.” (1 Thess. 5:21)
  5. 5. Biblical Inspiration  2 Timothy 3:16: “All Scripture is God-breathed [θεόπνευστος] and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”  2 Peter 1:20-21: “No prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
  6. 6. NT References to Other NT Writings  2 peter 3:15-16 – Refers to Paul’s writings as “scripture”  1 Timothy 5:18 – Cites Luke 10:7 alongside Deuteronomy, giving both equal authority
  7. 7. Biblical Inspiration  1 Thessalonians 2:13: “And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God.”  1 Thessalonians 5:27: “I put you under oath before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers.”
  8. 8. Biblical Inspiration  Revelation 1:10-11: “I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet saying, ‘Write what you see in a book [βιβλίον] and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.’”  Revelation 22:18-19: “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book [τοῦ βιβλίου τούτου]: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.”
  9. 9. The Apostolic Message  Acts 10:39-43: “And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
  10. 10. The Apostolic Message  1 Corinthians 15:3-8: “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.”
  11. 11. The Apostles’ Two Arguments  Fulfillment of Messianic prophecy  Eyewitness Testimony
  12. 12. The Concept of the Messiah Judaism and Christianity affirm that the Messiah…  must fulfill the prophecies of the Hebrew scriptures  will be a kingly figure  has rule over the whole world  will suffer for his people Islam and Christianity affirm that the Messiah…  is Jesus  was wrongly rejected by the Jews  will come again
  13. 13. Old Testament Messianic Prophecies  Genesis 49:10: “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.”
  14. 14. Old Testament Messianic Prophecies  Micah 5:2: But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.
  15. 15. Old Testament Messianic Prophecies  Isaiah 9:6: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Hebrew text: ‫ֶד‬‫ל‬ֶֶ֣‫י־י‬ ִּ‫כ‬‫נּו‬ ָ֗‫ַּד־ל‬‫ל‬ֻ‫י‬‫ן‬ ֵּ֚‫ב‬‫נּו‬ ָ֔‫ן־ל‬ ַּ‫ת‬ִּ‫נ‬‫י‬ ִִּ֥‫ה‬ ְּ‫ַּת‬‫ו‬ ‫ה‬ ָ֖‫ר‬ ְּ‫ש‬ ִּ‫מ‬ַּ‫ה‬‫ֹו‬ ֑‫מ‬ ְּ‫כ‬ ִּ‫ַּל־ש‬‫ע‬‫א‬ ָ֨‫ר‬ְּ‫ק‬ִּ‫ַּי‬‫ו‬‫ֹו‬ ֜‫מ‬ ְּ‫ש‬‫ֶא‬‫ל‬ ֶֶּ֠‫פ‬֙‫ץ‬‫יֹוע‬‫ל‬ֶ֣‫א‬‫ֹור‬ ָ֔‫ב‬ִּ‫ג‬ ‫ָ֖ד‬ַּ‫יע‬ ִּ‫ֲב‬‫א‬‫ֹום‬ ֽ‫ל‬‫ר־ש‬ ַּ‫ש‬
  16. 16. Old Testament Messianic Prophecies  Isaiah 10:20-21: In that day the remnant of Israel and the survivors of the house of Jacob will no more lean on him who struck them, but will lean on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God [‫ֹור‬ ֽ‫ב‬ִּ‫ל֙ג‬ָ֖‫א‬].
  17. 17. Old Testament Messianic Prophecies  Isaiah 52:13-53:12 (quoting only 53:4-6): “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
  18. 18. Old Testament Messianic Prophecies  “Aside from one very important—but absolutely unique—notice in Origen’s Contra Celsum, there is no evidence at all that any late ancient Jews read Isaiah 52-53 as referring to anyone but the Messiah. There are, on the other hand, several attestations of ancient rabbinic readings of the song as concerning the Messiah and his tribulations.”  Daniel Boyarin, The Jewish Gospels: The Story of the Jewish Christ (New York: The New Press, 2012), 152.
  19. 19. The Significance of Prophecy  Judaism’s problem is that it doesn’t accept Jesus’ Messiahship  Islam’s problem is that it does accept Jesus’ Messiahship, but doesn’t grasp the implications of that Messiahship  Only the Christian worldview can account for the prophetic continuity between the Old and New Testaments
  20. 20. Eyewitness Testimony in the NT  John 21:24: “This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true.”
  21. 21. Eyewitness Testimony in the NT  1 John 1:1-2: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us.”
  22. 22. Eyewitness Testimony in the NT  2 Peter 1:16: “For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.”
  23. 23. Criteria of Authentication  Criterion of Embarrassment — Authors of religious documents tend to present their leaders in a positive light, and don’t generally invent stories that would cast them in a negative light  Criterion of Dissimilarity — Sayings and events that are dissimilar to either Jesus’ first century Jewish background or the practice of the early church are unlikely to have been invented  Criterion of Multiple Attestation — Sayings and events recorded in multiple traditions indicate that they are likely to be historical (analogous to tawatur)
  24. 24. Problems for Islam  Islam regards Jesus and his disciples to be Muslims (cf. Qur’an 3:52-55, 61:14)  Yet there is no evidence of any “Proto-Islam” in the Apostolic period  No matter how far you go into the early history of the church, the theology found therein is unacceptable to Muslims  The Islamic worldview cannot account for the development of Christianity
  25. 25. Conclusion: What’s Your Worldview? Only one worldview can account for all facts…
  26. 26. End of Presentation