Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Defending Jesus Christ

                I have a difficult time even thinking that a mere mortal like me should attempt to defend Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  Yet here I am attempting to do the unthinkable.  Never in my nearly 70 years did I ever imagine that such a thing would be needed.

                Writer Michael Paulkovich argued in an article entitled “The Fable of the Christ” that Jesus Christ is no more than a myth.  Paulkovich came to this conclusion after researching “the works of 126 writers who lived during the first to third centuries.”  Apparently, none of the writers mentioned a person named Jesus who was also known as the Christ.  Paulkovich claims that Jesus was invented by Christians so they would have “a figure to worship.”

                Two Bible scholars, Dr. Candida Moss and Dr. Joel Baden, argued that “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”  Dr. Moss is a professor of New Testament and early Christianity at the University, and Dr. Baden is a professor of Hebrew Bible at Yale University. 

                Moss and Baden wrote, “Let’s get one thing straight:  There is nigh universal consensus among biblical scholars – the authentic ones, anyway – that Jesus was, in fact, a real guy…. They argue over the details, of course, as scholars are wont to do, but they’re pretty much all on the same page that Jesus walked the earth (if not the Sea of Galilee) in the 1st century CE.”

                The two professors described the “126 writers” on Paulkovich’s list of ancient sources:  Some of them lived before the time of Christ and therefore could not have commented on Him.  Some of them were philosophers who usually do not comment on current events.  “Many of the others were mathematicians, satirists, doctors or poets;” they left “mere fragments” of their writings.

                “Long story short:  of the 126 people listed by Paulkovich, there are only 10 or so whom we might expect to have written about Jesus….  And it’s probably worth mentioning that there are, of course, writers from the first centuries CE who refer to Jesus, and even write quite extensively about him.  But since those authors all got bundled into a collection called the New Testament, we should probably just dismiss them from the discussion.”

                The authors point out that many people, including Paulkovich, could be considered as “mythical” because “no historians that have, to this point, included Paulkovich in their writings (and let’s be honest, the chances going forward aren’t great).  What’s more, not a single mathematician, poet, philosopher, or gynecologist (probably – stupid HIPAA) refers to him even a single time.”

                The writers of the New Testament are not the only people to have written about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  More than a dozen people on the American continents wrote about Jesus Christ, some before His birth and some after His Resurrection.  After Jesus Christ ascended into heaven after His Resurrection, He appeared to a “great multitude” of people who were gathered at the temple.  Each member of the multitude was invited to go “forth, and thrust their hands into his side, and did feel the prints of the nails in his hands and in his feet; and this they did do, going forth one by one until they had all gone forth, and did see with their eyes and did feel with their hands, and did know of a surety and did bear record, that it was he, of whom it was written by the prophets, that should come” (Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ3 Nephi 11:15).

                The writers of the New Testament and the Book of Mormon are not the only people who have written about Jesus Christ.  Numerous people in our day have also recorded their experiences with seeing Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  The Prophet Joseph Smith saw both God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, in the early spring of 1820.  He wanted to ask God which church he should join and decided to go to a treed area now known as the Sacred Grove.  He knelt down and began to pray.  “I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.
                “… When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air.  One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other – This is My Beloved Son.  Hear Him!  (Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith – History 1:16-17).

                On February 16, 1832, Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon saw Jesus Christ in vision:  “And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him:  That he lives!
                “For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father –
                “That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God” (Doctrine and Covenants 76:22-23).

                On October 4-5, 2014, fifteen Apostles of Jesus Christ bore testimony of Jesus Christ.  They never share their most sacred experiences, but one can know by listening carefully that each of them has had a personal experience with Jesus Christ.  You can hear their testimonies as well as the testimonies of numerous other speakers at this site.  

                I have never seen Jesus Christ, but I have felt His Spirit and His love.  I know that He is a real person.  You too can gain this testimony by reading the Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ and sincerely asking God if it is true.  The Book of Mormon has hundreds and maybe thousands of references to Jesus Christ, including personal testimonies of the writers.  I encourage you to study this book and pray about it.  You too can know that Jesus Christ is a real person who once walked the earth and now sits on the right side of God the Father.

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