Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 6, 1949
NUMBER 22, PAGE 1,6a

Corroborative Evidences

J. Early Arceneaux

The New Testament as we have it now is the New Testament that the apostles and other inspired men wrote. We know this from the fact that we have existing manuscripts that were made as early as 350 A. D. The Apostle John lived until about the year 100 A. D., and during the period between his death and the writing of the manuscripts now in existence, there lived scores of men whom we call the "ante-Nicene fathers". From the works of these men (still in print) every single verse of the New Testament is quoted. The entire book can be reproduced from their writings. The charge that we can't tell whether we have what the apostles wrote or not is a slanderous statement contrary to all the facts in the case.

No set of men on earth could have written the New Testament at the date of our earliest manuscript (350 A. D.); it must have been completed generations before. Just consider, for one thing, all the changes that took place in Judea alone during the first century. A few years after the birth of Christ, the kingdom of Herod the Great ceased to be Herod's kingdom, and was divided up among his sons. At the death of Christ, Pilate was governor in Judea. But in the year 70 A. D., Jerusalem was destroyed, and the Jews were scattered to every part of the earth. Put a man down 200 years this side of those events and set him to the task of writing a book describing them, and trying to make people believe he was an eye witness of the things he describes. He'd give himself away on the first page. Not once or twice, but over and over again there'd be some word, some sentence, some expression that didn't fit.

An Example

Consider the so-called "inspired" Book of Mormon as an example. Written in this country about a century ago, it claimed to be an inspired translation of the old, old book dating back thousands of years. Yet this inspired translation gives verbatim quotations from the King James Bible and from Shakespeare! The cloven foot of the imposter is stamped on every page for us to see.

Sometimes Mormons tell me that Joseph Smith simply taught what the Bible teaches. But that isn't so. He denies a part of the gospel The Bible says that God" justifies the ungodly". (Rom. 4:5) Now, Joe Smith just couldn't understand that; it didn't look right to him. So with one scratch of the pen he destroyed the only hope the sinners ever have, declaring that God "does not justify the ungodly". He did it because he didn't have any idea at all of what Paul meant. Paul did not mean that God justifies the ungodly in his ungodliness; but he does justify the ungodly. The ungodly is the only man that needs justification.

Joe Smith found something else that was wrong. Isaiah says, "I am found of them that sought me not." That didn't make sense to Joe, so he says, "I am not found of them that sought me not." But when he got to the Roman letter, he slipped a cog, and made Paul to say, "Isaiah says, I am found of them that sought me not." So he met himself coming back. The Book of Mormon is a classic example of how utterly impossible it is to perpetrate a forgery of this kind. Every page bears evidence of the age of its writing.

Corroborative Evidences

The New Testament writers claim that Christianity started through the preaching of the apostles, that their preaching was confirmed by miracles, that they were eye witnesses to the resurrection of Christ, that they saw Jesus, heard him, ate with him, handled him, and were his associates for forty days before his ascension.

That's their account of it, but our conviction does not depend entirely upon the testimony of the New Testament writers on that point. We must think about the Bible with the church, not about the Bible alone. We must consider the Book in connection with the religion of Christ, Christianity. We must not forget that monument that was given, the Lord's Supper.

It is necessary, too, to view the Book in its connection with the triumph of Christianity over all opposition. We must consider the weakness of the agency that Christ left in the world to take his gospel to all creation. A dozen men went out to publish to the world the fact that God had raised Christ from the dead. When their enemies began to imprison them, whip them, beat them, stone them, crucify them, and burn them at the stake, they wavered not. They triumphed over all opposition, both Jewish and Roman. They went through the Roman Empire with the gospel of Christ, triumphing over all pagan and heathen forces that tried to stop them. Idolatrous temples by the thousands were converted into places where Christ was worshipped and honored as the Son of God. In less than 300 years after Jesus was buried in a borrowed grave, the cross was proclaimed the national emblem of the mighty Roman Empire. How can one account for that? How explain so amazing a triumph?

If none of the professed believers had compromised the truth, the victory would have continued. But even as they were Christianizing the empire, the empire was Romanizing the church. The church was defeated from inside by the development of the mighty apostate church, which is still present to curse the world.

Christian Influence

Men say that the world is bad and getting worse every day. Perhaps in some ways that is true, but it is also true that where the gospel of Christ has been given a place, conditions are infinitely improved over what they were before. In the old Roman Empire the murder of unwanted babies was a very common practice; or, if not murdered, the infants were sold into slavery. Men were thrown into prison and kept there till they died, never being brought to trial, and never accused of anything at all. When they wanted to have a holiday, they'd bring these prisoners out into the arena and have them slaughter each other for the entertainment of the people. Slavery was recognized as right and normal.

Wherever the gospel has gone all these things have been changed. Woman has been exalted from being a slave and a servant to being man's equal and his partner. Men have been taught to love children, and to treat prisoners with decency. While Christ did not teach the swift and sudden abolition of the slave system, he did put into effect principles which were certain eventually to abrogate the system and set all slaves at liberty. He taught Christian masters and Christian servants to love one another as brethren.

When we consider the wonderful influence for good which the gospel has exerted, it is simply impossible to think that all this came forth out of error and falsehood. The gospel is not fiction; it is not the invention of men. Christ was real, not imaginary. But if he was real, then he was divine. If he was divine, he is the Son of God; he is what he said he was. Even apart from the Bible there are innumerable corroborative evidences that establish the truth of the eternal principles he set forth in this Book.