On the histority, dating, and veracity of the Gospel accounts

Given the fact that the study of history must be biased, it is much better therefore if the pretense of objectivity is dropped. Much clearer if we know ahead of time that a historical study is written from a particular point of view. We can then make allowances for the bias and read other works from other perspectives to achieve balance. If I know that a particular historian is a Marxist or a feminist or a post-modern atheist I will understand their bias on history and the more they are open about it, while still trying to be as objective as possible, the better will the exercise be.

So, to return to the gospels, we have before us documents that purport to record historical events. The gospel says they are written “so that you might know that Jesus is Christ the Son of God.” They are derived from the experience of the first Christian community and written to help convert people to the Christian faith. Therefore we are well aware of the bias and the intention of the documents. Does this disqualify them completely?

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Saturday of Holy Week: His dead body reposing in the tomb, Jesus’ divine spirit and human soul delivers the “Good News” to the “captives”.


HOLY SATURDAY – The body of Jesus is in the tomb but His soul is among the dead to announce the kingdom.

The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear it will Live (John 5:25).

Consider what it must have been like for the dead in Sheol to awaken to the voice of Jesus!

Meanwhile The Disciples, heartbroken at the death of Jesus, observed the Jewish Sabbath in sorrow. They had forgotten the promise of Jesus that He would rise.

We cannot forget His promise. We cannot forget. Tonight in our parishes after sundown we gather for the Great Easter Vigil where we will experience Jesus rising from the dead. We gather in darkness and light the Easter fire which reminds us that Jesus is light in the darkness. He is the light of the world.

We enter into the church and attentively listen to Bible stories describing God’s saving work of the past.

Suddenly, the church lights are lit and the Gloria is sung as we celebrate the moment of Christ’s resurrection. He Lives! In the joy of the resurrection we then celebrate the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist for our Catechumens and Candidates who have prepared for many weeks for this night.

As a Church we sing Alleluia for the first time in forty days. Do everything you can to be present on this evening and invite friends and family to join. Our Vigil ushers in an Easter joy that never ends!

Isaiah 61:1-3  The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me: he hath sent me to preach to the meek, to heal the contrite of heart, and to preach a release to the captives, and deliverance to them that are shut up. To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God: to comfort all that mourn: To appoint to the mourners of Zion, and to give them a crown for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, a garment of praise for the spirit of grief: and they shall be called in it the mighty ones of justice, the planting of the Lord to glorify him.

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Why do you say God is going to make my life better if I believe? It doesn’t say that anywhere in the Bible.

Q: Why do you say God is going to make my life better if I believe? It doesn’t say that anywhere in the Bible. Did you not read what God did to his people? He punished them, over and over. Please answer.

A: Throughout Old Testament times, virtually all of mankind was fighting on the side of Satan the Devil, in active revolt against God. And since (at that time) Satan was the acknowledged “Prince of this world” there was nothing that mankind (alone) could ever do, to change things.

Mankind was truly enslaved to Satan, sin, and death … and since Satan hated both God and man … and he held the power of death over us … Satan had absolutely no concerns about the levels of casualties that might be suffered.

The various punishments you mention are all part of this long-running war against God … a war led by Satan, a fallen angel, who obtained certain dominion over mankind through stealthy deception, and by way of Adam’s original sin.

This was permitted to happen, but it certainly was not what God originally intended for us … so … in the fullness of time … God sent his son Jesus … to destroy Satan’s evil power, to end the war, and to reconcile mankind with God.

That’s why, on the first Christmas, the angels proclaimed, “Glory to God in the highest: and on Earth, peace to men of good will.”

Now … thanks to Jesus’ life, his atoning death on the cross, his resurrection … and through the good offices, work, worship, sacraments and devotions of his authentic (Catholic) Church … Satan’s evil dominion has been destroyed … Jesus is the new, divine, holy, perfect and eternal head of all mankind … and those who choose to swear faithful allegiance to Jesus Christ are no longer at war with God.

Instead, they have become God’s adopted sons and daughters, Temples of the Holy Spirit, Citizens of Heaven, and Co-Heirs with Jesus Christ, who promises to shower them (forever) with all of God’s superabundant love and blessings.

This is the “Good News” of the New Testament … the true message of the Gospels … and it is a message of reconciliation, of grace, hope, faith, and peace.

The “Good News” of Jesus Christ has forever blotted out the terror of those “bad old days”. It’s a shame that most people have never had this explained to them, since it’s very difficult to come to know and love God, when you’re afraid of him!

It’s also why we can truthfully say,“God Loves You. God Will Provide. Relax!” (Our site’s motto.)

I explained all this (and more) in my book, “The Passion Behind the Passion” which is available to be read for free, on-line. Click here to go there.

It’s an easy read. I suggest you take a look at it, when you can. Just start at the beginning and follow along until you find what you’re looking for.

Feel free to email, with any additional questions.

I’m also going to forward your question to Alice, our advice columnist, so you can see what she thinks about these things.

Look for her answer to appear on the website, in next Thursday’s column.

In the mean time, in Jesus’ holy name, we wish you a very Merry Christmas, and a happy, holy New Year!

God Bless You,

Doug

What is the gospel of Jesus Christ?

Q: What is the gospel of Jesus Christ?

A: The most succint description of the “Good News” can be found here, in the Acts of the Apostles:

Act 2:1 And when the days of the Pentecost were accomplished, they were all together in one place:
Act 2:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming: and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
Act 2:3 And there appeared to them parted tongues, as it were of fire: and it sat upon every one of them.
Act 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost: and they began to speak with divers tongues, according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak.
Act 2:5 Now there were dwelling at Jerusalem, Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
Act 2:6 And when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded in mind, because that every man heard them speak in his own tongue.
Act 2:7 And they were all amazed, and wondered, saying: Behold, are not all these that speak Galilean?
Act 2:8 And how have we heard, every man our own tongue wherein we were born?
Act 2:9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,
Act 2:10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome,
Act 2:11 Jews also, and proselytes, Cretes, and Arabians: we have heard them speak in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.
Act 2:12 And they were all astonished, and wondered, saying one to another: What meaneth this?
Act 2:13 But others mocking, said: These men are full of new wine.
Act 2:14 But Peter standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and spoke to them: Ye men of Judea, and all you that dwell in Jerusalem, be this known to you and with your ears receive my words.
Act 2:15 For these are not drunk, as you suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day:
Act 2:16 But this is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel:
Act 2:17 And it shall come to pass, in the last days, (saith the Lord), I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy: and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.
Act 2:18 And upon my servants indeed and upon my handmaids will I pour out in those days of my spirit: and they shall prophesy.
Act 2:19 And I will shew wonders in the heaven above, and signs on the earth beneath: blood and fire, and vapour of smoke.
Act 2:20 The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the great and manifest day of the Lord to come.
Act 2:21 And it shalt come to pass, that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Act 2:22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him, in the midst of you, as you also know:
Act 2:23 This same being delivered up, by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, you by the hands of wicked men have crucified and slain.
Act 2:24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the sorrows of hell, as it was impossible that he should be holden by it.
Act 2:25 For David saith concerning him: I foresaw the Lord before my face: because he is at my right hand, that I may not be moved.
Act 2:26 For this my heart hath been glad, and my tongue hath rejoiced: moreover my flesh also shall rest in hope.
Act 2:27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell: nor suffer thy Holy One to see corruption.
Act 2:28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life: thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.
Act 2:29 Ye men, brethren, let me freely speak to you of the patriarch David: that he died and was buried; and his sepulchre is with us to this present say.
Act 2:30 Whereas therefore he was a prophet and knew that God hath sworn to him with an oath, that of the fruit of his loins one should sit upon his throne.
Act 2:31 Foreseeing this, he spoke of the resurrection of Christ. For neither was he left in hell: neither did his flesh see corruption.
Act 2:32 This Jesus hath God raised again, whereof all we are witnesses.
Act 2:33 Being exalted therefore by the right hand of God and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath poured forth this which you see and hear.
Act 2:34 For David ascended not into heaven; but he himself said: The Lord said to my Lord: Sit thou on my right hand,
Act 2:35 Until I make thy enemies thy footstool.
Act 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know most certainly that God hath made both Lord and Christ, this same Jesus, whom you have crucified.
Act 2:37 Now when they had heard these things, they had compunction in their heart and said to Peter and to the rest of the apostles: What shall we do, men and brethren?
Act 2:38 But Peter said to them: Do penance: and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins. And you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Act 2:39 For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off, whomsoever the Lord our God shall call.
Act 2:40 And with very many other words did he testify and exhort them, saying: Save yourselves from this perverse generation.
Act 2:41 They therefore that received his word were baptized: and there were added in that day about three thousand souls.
Act 2:42 And they were persevering in the doctrine of the apostles and in the communication of the breaking of bread and in prayers.
Act 2:43 And fear came upon every soul. Many wonders also and signs were done by the apostles in Jerusalem: and there was great fervor in all.
Act 2:44 And all they that believed were together and had all things common.
Act 2:45 Their possessions and goods they sold and divided them to all, according as every one had need.
Act 2:46 And continuing daily with one accord in the temple and breaking bread from house to house, they took their meat with gladness and simplicity of heart:
Act 2:47 Praising God and having favour with all the people. And the Lord increased daily together such as should be saved.