In my book, Cold Case Christianity, I attempt to evaluate the gospel accounts with the same criteria used by jurors to assess the reliability of eyewitnesses in a criminal case. In California, jurors are encouraged to ask themselves, “How well could the witness see, hear, or otherwise perceive the things about which the witness testified?” In essence, jurors must determine whether or not a witness was even present and able to see what it is they say they saw! For those of us who are examining the gospel accounts, this means we’ve got to answer the simple question, “Were the gospel written early enough to have been written by people who were actually present for the life and ministry of Jesus?” This is a critical question in evaluating the reliability of the New Testament gospels, and I think the Books of Acts is the key to the answer.
What can you tell me about George Washington if you cannot use first hand accounts? For this exercise you cannot use eye witness material, his writings, or any source who relied on eye witnesses. What can you tell me about him?
This is the trick some in the modern world use to dismiss the authenticity of Jesus. We have lots of eyewitnesses. Two of his brothers wrote books in the Bible. Three of his friends wrote books. A doctor who talked to eyewitnesses wrote two books. A man who encountered Jesus after Jesus’s death contributed much of the New Testament.