This prediction can be made on the basis of recent history alone. The upcoming documentary, The Lost Tomb of Jesus (Sunday, March 4, Discovery Channel), and book, The Jesus Family Tomb (HarperCollins Publishers), will be another case of sensational claims based on highly debatable evidence, at the expense of the traditional view of Jesus of Nazareth. In the name of getting at the “historical Jesus,” we’ve had over the past decade plus, the Jesus Seminar claiming to determine that Jesus only said about 18% of what the New Testament attributes to him, the James Ossuary, the owner of which who is now on trial for fraud, the “Gospel” of Judas which we’d known about since AD180 anyway, we just didn’t know what it said, The Da Vinci Code, the novelization of theories about second and third century gnostics and the Knights Templar combined with some bad history about Constantine and the Council of Nicea. Now, they are trying to make us think they’ve found some of Jesus’ bones (if only fragments), and confirmatory evidence of the marriage of Jesus and Mary Magdalene.
One friend of mine was puzzled about why people want to do this? My answer was “Money.” To the book, TV and movie industry, it doesn’t really matter if the claims are true. It matters how much money you can make off of the hype when the claims are made in these various media before the claims are disproven.
I always say if you don’t know where you came from, you don’t know where you are, and you can’t see where you’re going. I know that most of my readers already believe the Word of God. Bolster that faith with supplementary evidence.
Both Anselm and Augustine are attributed affirming, “Believe in order to understand.” You already believe the Word of God. Add to your faith in the Word the confirmation of that inerrant Word with facts drawn from the world around you. Learn church history. Learn basic apologetics. Gain a working knowledge of the physical sciences, etc. Isaac Watts wrote in his book, Logic, (not an exact quote), “Learn everything you can learn. The more you learn, the more you realize how little you know.” The more you learn the facts available from natural revelation, the broader and deeper your understanding will be of the things you have already learned from the special revelation in Scripture. Skeptics insist on understanding before they are willing to believe. This is not what Christian “head knowledge” is about. It’s about believing in order to understand. Once you receive his revelation by faith, God will confirm it to you by what you see and learn around you.
“For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins”( 2 Peter 1:5-9).
Everyone readily affirms that we need to add to our faith virtue, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection and love. It’s a no-brainer that to have these in abundance makes us effective and fruitful. How easily we forget that these are not all that make believers effective and fruitful, helping you live in the light of your cleansing from sin in the Lord Jesus Christ. Abundant knowledge is also a key ingredient, according to the apostle Peter. When many believers hear the claims of skeptics about the “historical Jesus,” they already know not to believe the false claims. But they may not already know why. Knowing why is just as important as knowing what side to take. You will be more effective in helping others around you to know what side to take if you know why it’s the right side and can communicate it to them. It will not only undergird yours and your brothers’ faith, it may help current unbelievers begin thinking in the right direction–and, with prayer, time, and evangelism, may, can and will extend the Kingdom of God through the clensing of sins in Christ, one person at a time through you.