Can we Trust the NT: Enemy Testimony
You’ll recall that I posted four types of criteria that are very important when it comes to trusting an ancient sources historicity. Early, eye-witness, embarrassing, and enemy attestation. We’ve already looked at early testimony and seen that the Gospels are in fact early, containing very early sources.
Today we will look quickly at enemy attestation. Think about it for a minute. Skeptics of history always claim that the winners of any battle get to write the history, therefore there are no opposing views of an event. If all of the people writing about Jesus were already His followers, you could see why doubt could be thrown onto their accounts because they may or may not have a bias that they carried with them. IF you could find someone who didn’t believe in Jesus, then you’ve hit some serious historical pay dirt.
That’s exactly what we have in two cases. In the creed cited by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15, he mentions the appearances of the resurrected Jesus. two of the appearances are what is known as “enemy attestation” appearances. James and Paul.
Looking at James first, it’s clear that James, the brother of Jesus, did not believe Jesus’ claims while He was alive, yet something happened to James so life changing that made him change hi mind completely and become the leader of the early church in Jerusalem. What kind of life-changing event happened? The appearance of the risen Jesus.
Now Paul is even more extreme. He was a pharisee sheriff if you will. He rounded up Christians to be arrested or killed. He prided himself on being a pharisee of pharisees. Yet something happened to Paul that made him completely turn a 180 and become one of the greatest Christians that has ever lived, giving us half of the NT. You see skeptics try to claim that the disciples had some sort of grief hallucination because their leader was dead (which there is no evidence by the way). This however is refuted by Paul. Paul is the nail in the coffin for the idea of collusion and hallucination. Paul an enemy Christianity had an experience so life-changing that he went from killing Christians to becoming the mouth-piece of Christianity to the ancient world.
The only thing to explain this along with the other minimal facts is that Jesus really did rise from the dead and the tomb is empty.
Next up is embarrassing testimony.