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The Authentic Gospels: New Evidence (Bible & Church Conference)

By Simon J. Gathercole
July 2010 | Review by Dennis Hill


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Book Review

Three NT scholars spoke at Westminster Chapel in June 2009 seeking to provide Christians with reliable scholarly evidence for the historical basis of the Christian faith. The hope was that Christians would be equipped to share their faith more confidently. The response was so good that the three spoke again this June at St Helen’s, Bishopsgate, in London.

From the three talks — Dr Williams, ‘Have we got the history right?’; Dr Jongkind, ‘Have we got the text right?’; and Dr Gathercole, ‘Have we got Jesus right?’ — pours forth a wealth of information to help us fend off the critics, from Dawkins and Dan Brown to Bart Erhman.

Dr Williams deals with some of the major criticisms that tell us we cannot trust the historicity of the NT manuscripts. He supplies credible historical reasons why we can trust the NT rather than the criticisms.

Dr Jongkind speaks on the reliability of the textual evidence. This is more technical and not as easy to grasp. He demonstrates that the critics in some cases are knocking down straw men. In other cases they are being selective about the evidence. For instance, Erhman claims that the Bible has been changed by those with a theological agenda but Jongkind demonstrates that Ehrman’s ‘evidence’ is in fact a copyist’s error.

Dr Gathercole compares some internal evidence in the Gospels with other ‘gospels’ (rejected by the church from the early centuries). He demonstrates that the Gospel of Judas, for instance, presents a manifestly different Jesus and different theology from the NT.

These talks could be helpful for all Christians, especially those exposed to New Atheist arguments. Those arguments are almost always old criticisms to which the church has responded long ago.

There are good answers to the criticisms and some of them are on this DVD. The DVD would make an excellent short study in apologetics, at church or in a home.

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