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Why we can trust the Gospel Accounts

Updated: Sep 15, 2023

If you're familiar with eyewitness accounts, you'll know that they often differ due to individual perspectives and experiences. This is precisely why the early church chose to incorporate four Gospels into its teachings. It wasn't a matter of one being superior to the others; instead, it emphasized that despite minor variations, the core message and key events remained consistent. Some critics of the church argued that the writings they possessed were the sole repositories of Jesus' true message. Consequently, when individuals assert knowledge that deviates from the tradition established by the apostles, and ultimately by Jesus himself, caution is warranted.

Imagine someone coming along much later, long after the original eyewitnesses of Jesus had passed away, and fabricating a story. If that were the case, they might have taken great care to ensure complete alignment among the Gospels. Yet, as history shows, these accounts don't perfectly match, underscoring their authenticity as genuine eyewitness testimonies that have remained largely unaltered over time.

The church has consistently upheld its traditions in a public manner to counter the challenges posed by movements like Marcionism and Gnosticism, both of which posed substantial threats to orthodox Christianity and sought to distort its teachings.

It's worth noting that during the first five centuries, numerous Gospels circulated. This is why it became imperative to establish a canon around that time, with the primary criterion being eyewitness accounts. However, the core canon had already taken shape by the end of the second century. Did the author of this particular book write early enough to have been a legitimate eyewitness? The Gospels included in our modern canon passed this authenticity test and were consequently included.

It's a misconception that these other Gospels were suppressed in any deliberate manner. Most of these alternative Gospels were authored in the second century, making it implausible for their authors to have been eyewitnesses to Jesus' life and teachings. Additionally, some of these Gospels themselves discredited all others, therefore this in turn made their gospel invalid.

The choosing of the Gospels we have today was a long process that had many people involved. Therefore, because of all of this, we can be confident in the gospels we possess today.

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