HJ/EDMay 8, 2006

Speaker shows Bible's validity

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

Good Shepherd Free Lutheran Church of Cokato hosted part one of the Faith Search Discovery Wednesday.

Dennis McKeever addressed his audience with archaeological and historical evidence that substantiated the true existence of the New Testament.

He asked the audience to say “Ah-ha” after they had reached a certain discovery. There would be a total of ten discoveries between McKeever’s two-part series.

McKeever even explained one atheists transformation to theism. Dr. Anthony Flew was a professor and renowned atheist who converted to theism by simply stating, he “had to go where the evidence leads.”

The basis of part one was to prove the New Testament was indeed accurate by showing the audience the amount of scribal copies (hand written copies) and the earliest dates to which they had been written.

The eyewitness period was from 30 AD to 100 AD and the earliest copies have been dated to 60 AD by Dr. Carsten Peter Thiede, recognized papyroligist from Oxford University.

Because of the manuscript evidence, the originals can be virtually reconstructed. With extreme confidence, it can be seen with manuscript evidence that the message written by the eyewitnesses of Jesus has not changed, according McKeever.

McKeever compared the scribal manuscripts from other early writings such as Julius Ceasar’s “Gallic War,” which was written in 50 BC and had only 10 written manuscripts with the earliest being copied in 880 AD.

His point was to show the audience that people don’t question the validity of the “Gallic War,” with there only being 10 scribal manuscripts, but do question the validity of the New Testament which has 24,633 scribal copies.

Pastor Lyndon Korhonen was surprised to have seen such a large number in the amount of manuscripts found in comparison to the other historical writings.

McKeever also stated that between 90 to 110 AD there have been know gospel quotes in secondary writings, further substantiated the validity.

He explained how Dan Brown used sources from the “legend period” beginning in 160 AD such as the gnostic gospels, but refused to use sources from the “eyewitness period,” from 30 AD to 100 AD.

“If you are seeking the truth, wouldn’t you want sources from the eyewitnesses who could testify the events,” said Korhonen.

McKeever explained the distortion rate of the New Testament in comparison with other early manuscripts.

There is only a 0.02 percent of the original manuscripts that can’t be distinguished where as Homer’s “Iliad” has a 4.9 percent distortion rated or one out of 20 lines that can’t be read.

This means the message hasn’t changed and this is the most accurate of historical writings, McKeever stated.

“Nothing else compares to it,” he said.

McKeever went on to show archaeological evidence recently found that proved people described in the New Testament were real.

Two limestone bone boxes were found which were used for reburial after decomposition had taken place. McKeever stated this was only done for a period of 100 years.

The first bone box was that of Joseph Caiphas, who is recorded as the high priest in Luke 3:1-2 found during road construction in Israel.

The second bone box was inscribed with “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus.”

The last line is being questioned by the Israeli Antiquities Association because they think it was added at a later date.

According to McKeever, evidence appears to be growing about the originality of inscription.

In the Bible it states James was martyred in 62 AD for his faith and the box dates back to 63 AD.

“It fits,” McKeever exclaimed.

Other evidence included recently uncovered sign in Ceasarea from Pontius Pilot in honor of Tiberius of Ceasarea, in which both names and titles were from Jesus’ period.

Another included cities from the Old Testament’s Genesis 18:20 referring to Sodom and Gomorrah.

During excavation in Elba, an ancient city in Northern Sierria, stone tablets were found dating back to 2500 to 2000 BC detailing business Elba did with the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah inscribed on it.

Much of the evidence presented by McKeever has been published in Biblical Archaeology Review which does archaeological research in the Biblical areas during the Biblical era.

Also at Megiddo Church in Israel was an inscription dating back to 250 AD stated “To God, Jesus Christ.”

Brown claims Jesus was deified in 325 to 330 by Constantine. This shows Jesus was worshipped as God long before Constantine, explained McKeever.

To end the evening, McKeever asked the audience if they “believe the Bible is true because [they] believe it (have faith)” or if they “believe the Bible (have faith) because it is true,” in which the latter would be the conclusion for part one.

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