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September 2, 2022 8:00 am
Could Christianity have been invented. Could it have been made up as affection.
In light of those dates from 64 A.D. to 30 A.D. Could it have been made up during that time, the answer is no, no, that's not possible.
This is the truth pulpit with Don Green founding pastor of truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio ideal right, here's a question for you is Christianity true well today as Don continues teaching God's people. God's word will wrap up his powerful look at this monumentally important question here is done right now to begin today's lesson on the truth pulpit. If Christianity is a fiction. There must be a date at which it was invented. There must have been a time when it was invented when someone made it up.
Christianity has been around for a very long time. A very very long time.
There are just thousands and thousands and thousands of pages in modern books that are traceable back to the second and third century that says something, that means that it couldn't of been invented. After that, let's pick a random date and see if that works to establish a time at which Christianity could have been first invented okay will will assume that we can find a place where it was started and will will just work our way back. So as Ian Murray does. We we choose a random day to see if this works 200 A.D. 200 A.D. go, let's go back 1800 years ago and see if that might possibly work for a time when Christianity could have been invented well what were going to find is is that Christianity could not possibly have been invented in that timeframe that's utterly, utterly impossible.
By that time in 200 A.D. the gospel the Christian message had spread from Jerusalem to Spain to Egypt perhaps to Britain and also to the Far East. As I said there are many written documents from the second century talking about Christianity and Christian issues.
There are Christian statements and there are symbols and this is very significant.
Christian symbols carved into the walls of the catacombs in the city of Rome. What is a catacomb catacombs like an underground cemetery and the authoritative Oxford classical dictionary says this at page 302, page 302 and the addition that I have in my library. It says this the official and just stay with me here now I am on fallen off the boat. I don't want to have to be in a rescue anyone out of the water. Here's a just stay in the boat and stay with me okay quoting the Oxford classical dictionary the official organization by the church of public catacombs, mainly for the poor of Rome's Christian community began in approximately 200 A.D. may say that again the official organization by the church of public catacombs, mainly for the poor of Rome's Christian community began in approximately 200 A.D. Why is that so very significant. Think with me if the city officials needed a a burial place for large numbers of Christians in order to establish a place where they could all be put, then the origin of Christianity must predate 200 A.D. by a significant amount of time you can't make it up in 200 A.D. and simultaneously need large burial grounds for professing Christians. This is unquestioned secular history from authoritative source and so it couldn't have started in 200 A.D. there were too many people there had to be time for those people to become Christians to live and to die in large numbers in order to justify the need for such a place would be like it would be like, you know, 1500 years from now somebody somebody suggesting that that the United States was a fiction and then having to visit to explain away Arlington national Cemetery in Washington DC. If America had never existed.
Why did they need all of these grays for their soldiers and their their public dignitaries. The cemeteries point to a prior existence of the organization. The entity and so 200 A.D. doesn't work Christianity has to be older than that. Just based on the historical record so we have to keep going back further remember what were doing here is were pretending that Christianity is affection and were just looking for a place where it could have started in order to explain everything that followed. Afterwards, well as we keep working our way backwards in time we keep finding evidence of the existence of Christianity. We keep finding it in places where in in where it's being affirmed and testified to by by secular authorities, so that in 112 A.D. nearly a century further back from the Roman catacombs. There is a letter written by a man named Pliny spelled PLI in why PLI in why Pliny he was a Roman governor in an area of modern day Turkey, northern Turkey Asia minor and in this letter from 112 A.D. we find plenty saying this he says Christians are people who were want on the appointed day to meet before it was light and to sing with one another a hymn to Christ as God. In 112, there were sufficient numbers of Christians that that a Roman governor was a where of them and was aware of their religious practice. If Christianity was affectionate, had to significantly predate that in order to be explained on the presupposition that it's a fiction and isn't really true, isn't really historically rooted but you keep going back further and further you find this and again this is extraordinarily well well-known and uncontested, a Roman historian named Tacitus PAC IT US Tacitus writes about the burning of Rome in A.D. 64 A.D. 64 and this is wrong, far removed from the city of Jerusalem in A.D. 64. Mind you, Tacitus says that the Roman Emperor Nero set the city on fire and he singled out Christians as the scapegoat. He blamed the, the burning of the city on of Rome on the Christians that were in Rome and Tacitus writes this and this is a more extended quotation speaking about the Christians. He says this Nero punish them with the most exquisite sufferings, the author of that set was Christ, who in the reign of Tiberius was punished with death by the pro curator Pontius pilot. Tacitus continues but the pestilent superstition which, for the present was suppressed broke out afresh not only in Judea but in Rome see Tacitus called Christianity a superstition. He wasn't writing to affirm that it was true but he was reporting the historical reality.
There were there were all these Christians around the Nero was able to turn into a scapegoat for the burning of Rome to escape his own responsibility for the arson. Tacitus goes on to describe the sufferings of these Christians. I've spoken about this in the past it's horrific. Tacitus says. First, than those who confessed were apprehended in next by their information, a vast multitude were convicted, not so much of the burning of Rome as of the hatred of mankind.
These were made a sport in their death."
Here's the point. Contemporary Roman historian, explaining a a massive event on the part of 9/11 for the United States of America, writing and recording the history of what happened in the burning of Rome says that the Roman Emperor knew of a religious group of Christians and he blamed them for it. Now whatever else we think about Nero and the sufferings of the Christians in and anything else that that could be attributed to that understand that the historical record is speaking of a a vast number of Christians in the city of Rome in the year 64 in the year 64 and so this information from Pliny and Tacitus on the spread of Christianity helps us date the beginning of Christianity for the faith to be so widespread, geographically speaking in an era without modern transportation. Mind you, for the faith to be so widespread by 64 A.D. its origin has to predate 64 A.D. even more. Whether it's true or false. Whether it's true or false on the presupposition that were talking about here.
The origin of Christianity must have occurred close to the time of Christ himself. And you know when Christ was crucified by most Christian estimates A.D. 30 3035 years prior to the burning of Rome. Christ was crucified. And so we've gone from a possible 2000 year window to say that Christianity is fiction. In looking to find the date when the fiction started. If Christianity is fiction.
We don't we've eliminated 1800 years and we've narrowed the window to a 200 year. At the start of the modern era. As we read on. We we narrowed it down to hundred and 12 years and then to 64 years and then when we realize that Christ was crucified in A.D. 30 then then were left with with such a tiny window of time for this. This whole section to have been created into instituted in the spread throughout the world. Well, let's just keep asking our questions here were going to come back to Scripture soon here.
Could Christianity have been invented.
Could it have been made up is affection.
In light of those dates from 64 A.D. 230 A.D., could it have been made up during that time. Well, again, the answer is is no, no, that's not possible. How is it that the Disciples of Christ preached, as they did from the time of his resurrection or his alleged resurrection. In light of the timing of his resurrection.
How could the Disciples of Christ preached as as they did because, beloved their argument in front of their contemporary audience was based on one simple fact Jesus Christ of Nazareth was crucified at Calvary and he was the Christ. And what, let's look at some scriptures here to help us see this and to see the. The emphasis that is placed on the resurrection.
Let's go to the gospel of John. First of all, the gospel of John, chapter 20 John chapter 20. This is so magnificent John chapter 20 beginning in verse 24. Thomas, one of the 12 Disciples of Christ called didymus, which means the twin was not with the other disciples when Jesus first came to them so they come back to Thomas. They come back to Thomas telling Thomas this in verse 25. They were saying to him, we have seen the Lord. But he said to them, and less. I see in his hands. The imprint of the nails and put my finger into the place of the nails and put my hand into his side. I will not believe. After eight days.
His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them.
Jesus came, the doors having been shut and stood in their midst and said, peace be with you. Then he said to Thomas reach here with your finger and see my hands and reach here your hand and put into my side and do not be unbelieving, but believing Thomas answered and said to him, my Lord and my God. Jesus said to him, because you have seen me. Have you believed. Blessed are they who did not see. And yet believed now going on in verse 30 therefore many other signs. Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book.
But these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ the son of God and that believing you may have life in his name what the apostle John did with this gospel is he reported on objective historical information he recorded the words of Christ, he recorded the miracles of Christ and pointed to objective historical fact and objective historical record, and called upon men and women called upon his readers to believe in Christ. These things have been written in order that you may believe in the climax of his gospel is the climax of the resurrection. Thomas is believing, not on the basis of his in either internal feelings or his internal opinions about the matter. He believed in response to something outside of himself. He saw Jesus Christ living with mortal wounds in his body, proving to Thomas through his his physical senses that Jesus was really alive and was really resurrected and on that basis on the basis of the resurrection. John calls his readers to believe now go over to the book of acts chapter 2. Acts chapter 2 in acts chapter 2 verse 29, we see the apostle Peter preaching on the day of Pentecost and is coming to the the grand climax of his his message, but actually, as I think about it. Let's go back let's go back a little further to verse 22. Acts chapter 2 verse 22 Peter is preaching to men who were contemporary eyewitnesses of the facts of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, they were contemporary eyewitnesses that is critical. He says it men of Israel, listen to these words. Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through him in your midst, just as you yourselves know he sees telling these contemporaries who had rejected and crucified Christ, he is telling them and reminding them of historical facts that occurred in the immediate past which they themselves knew a hostile audience knew the facts of which Peter was speaking, Peter goes on and explains the the theological the spiritual significance of it. In verse 23 he says this man delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put them to death. But God raised him up again, putting an end to the agony of death since it was impossible for him to be held in its power drop down to verse 29 now, brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David, that he both died and was buried in his tomb is with us to this day, and so because he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to see one of his descendents on his throne. He looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ that he was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh suffer decay this Jesus God raised up, again, to which we are all witness says.
Therefore, having been exalted to the right hand of God and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured forth this, which you both see and hear. For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says the Lord said to my Lord, sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.
Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ. This Jesus whom you crucified.
Listen Peter could never have said these things. If the facts were true because his immediate contemporary audience would have known that it was a fiction.
Peter never would have preached such magnificent faxes, the death and resurrection of Christ to an audience that would have known that it was false, if indeed Christianity is a fiction. Peter was able to preach like he did because it was crude because these via fax happened and because his audience knew that it was true. They could not refute it, they could not deny the factual accuracy of what Peter was saying to them in the result of that, the result of that is that Peter had led them to the truth. He had led them to the fact that Christianity, as we call it today is true. It's the way things really are.
It's accurate. It's what really happened and it's the truth, and the revelation of God is found in his written word and in the person of Jesus Christ. Here's the point. Is it possible that this is fiction notes. It's utterly impossible. It is utterly impossible for the apostles to have preached a fiction to those that would've been able to immediately rejected know that it was false. Rather, instead they asserted historical facts that the audience could not refute, and therefore cried out. What must we do in response to what you have shown to us to be conclusively true said know this for certain. This is not a matter of opinion. Nothing about the waves of of philosophy in the intervening 2000 years change what the historical facts are in the fact that we live in an age that has such a distorted, depraved mind, the questions the very principle of weather objective truth really exists or not.
The fact that that God has allowed men to develop such a depraved mind does not change the historical reality of what actually happened and what is true we measure what is true by Scripture by the Lord Jesus Christ, not according to the tenants of modern philosophy.
Ask for verse eight filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, rulers and elders of the people. If we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man as to how this man has been made well let it be known to all of you and all the people of Israel the by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, they could not deny that and that's why there is no timeframe for this to have been made up because you find in in in the aftermath of the resurrection of Christ, the apostles appealing to the contemporary knowledge of their hostile audience if they could've refuted it. They would have.
They couldn't and so they didn't and so there is no time for this to have been made up. That's the point, and so verse 10 B known to all of you and all the people of Israel by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead by this name.
This man stands here before you in good health is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief cornerstone, and there is salvation in no one else, there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved as they spoke to the truth of the historical facts they drew out what those facts meant there is one and one only Savior of men.
It is Jesus Christ. There is no other man. There is no other mediator with God. There is no one else who can offer forgiveness of sins except Christ himself. Every other religion is false Christianity is true.
That's the significance of the biblical testimony with Peter. We confidently say is the spirit bears witness to his word is the spirit bears witness to the Lord Jesus Christ and is the spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are the sons of God, we confidently say with Peter that Jesus Christ died that Jesus Christ was buried in that God raised him from the dead, and he is Lord and Christ. And that is irrefutable truth there is no other name under heaven which is given by which you must be saved. Beloved, these things are not a matter of personal opinion, this is the most sober truth that's nongreen offering ironclad evidence in support of the truth of Christianity friend if you'd like to hear this message again or you'd like to share it with a friend or loved one. Just go to the truth.
Pulpit.com. Once there, you'll find this lesson along with all of Don's teaching materials right at your fingertips again. That's the truth. Pulpit.com and friends were out of time for today were thankful that you've chosen to spend some of your valuable time studying God's holy word with us.
I'm Bill right and will see you next time as nongreen continues teaching God's people. God's word from the truthful