The Old Was Once New

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Excerpt Have new artifacts and relics been discovered which "rock the foundation of Christianity"? inquires an ABR web visitor named Mary. Continue reading

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A friend of mine says that there are new artifacts and relics that have been found in recent years which may rock the foundation of Christianity.

How do I respond to this? I am a born-again Christian of many years and I believe that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior.

He also seems to feel that one religion is as good as another and that we should not look down on other religions. He says he is a Christian. I am not sure how to respond to him. Any help or resources you can give would be greatly appreciated. I reminded him that Jesus said "I am the way, the truth and the life; no man comes to the father but by


ABR Staff Member Rick Lanser responds:


Skeptics have been saying, for as long as the Church has existed, that there is information out there that will "rock the foundation of Christianity." These are people who have not known what it means to be born again - having their spirits regenerated by the free gift of God that imparts eternal life, a gift only God can give and must be humbly asked for directly from Him.

Skeptics' understanding of Christianity consists of a superficial mental assent to certain historical facts about Christ that is devoid of the spiritual life that underlies the Real Thing. Being merely mental, this superficial understanding of Christianity is prone to being swayed by every wind of doubt that blows over it. Such people fail to consider that "there is nothing new under the sun," and the supposed "facts of history" now supposedly coming to light for the first time, were once brand new information facing the Church.

If such information did not succeed in "rocking the foundations of Christianity" when it was brand new information, it certainly will not if it is dug up again hundreds of years later. For instance, if Jesus really had a wife as some current skeptics allege on the basis of a skimpy 4th century, damaged papyrus fragment, those much closer to the time of Christ - when such information was in pristine condition - should have been the most "rocked." But they weren't. The Church had to have already wrestled with that stuff when it was new, and been able to successfully set it aside as empty words made up by enemies of Christ and all He stood for.

My suggestion to you is to tell your friend that if the supposedly Christianity-rocking artifacts and relics did no damage to the Faith when they were new things and clearly understood in their time, how can they do so when they are old "artifacts and relics"? Just being old doesn't make a lie or misrepresentation more truthful. The challenges such things might have posed to the Church had to have been successfully addressed when they were new, or the foundations of Christianity would have long since been rocked. Last time I looked, God was still in the business of saving people and growing His Church all over the world.

Finally, you did the right thing by reminding your supposedly Christian friend of the exclusivity of the Gospel. That quote you shared is not acceptable in our pluralistic culture, but nonetheless overwhelmingly true. Our stating this simple fact will continue to lead to our being rejected by worldly people who mistakenly think God is satisfied, even pleased, by some murky, vacuous "spirituality" that makes no truth claims at all. Anyone who says that being "good" and having an interest in spiritual things is enough to get one to heaven, either is ignorant of what Christ taught or has rebelled against it.

Ignorance can be corrected, but not spiritual rebellion. It is the natural state of one who is dead in sin. What is dead cannot by self-effort make itself alive; the life must be imparted from outside. Not even Jesus raised Himself from the dead - his heavenly Father did it! The fallen man or woman needs prayer that God will regenerate them, not merely information given in hope that they will change their opinions. No one will be saved by his opinions or actions in this life, but on the basis of having a born-again, regenerated spirit.

I hope these thoughts are of some encouragement to you! Press on to know Him, and be not discouraged when those whose eyes have been blinded by the god of this world, Satan, reject the truth. They cannot help themselves. Pray for them, that God will in mercy open their blind eyes, and "keep on keeping on."

In His service,

Rick Lanser


Note from the ABR staff: The ABR website has a plethora of research articles and resources for purchase which help Christians answer questions about the faith. We encourage our supporters and web visitors to peruse the ABR website to find information they need to "earnestly contend for the Faith".

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10/11/2012 5:30 PM #

My response, as an atheist, to the claim that "that there are new artifacts and relics that have been found in recent years which may rock the foundation of Christianity" are that this is, with the exception of the radiocarbon dates in support of Israel Finkelstein's Low Chronology, simply not the case. While there have certainly been new interpretations of the evidence we have which may rock the foundation of Christianity, many of the most effective foundation-rocking interpretations of the available evidence are old hat, being conceived in the 19th century or earlier. The case for the authenticity of the Jesus' Wife Fragment is very weak-a recent blog post by Mark Goodacre has even argued it's dependent on a post-1997 online interlinear of Coptic Thomas. No skeptic I know of alleges Jesus had a wife on the basis of the Jesus's Wife Fragment.

Enopoletus Harding - 10/11/2012 5:30:28 PM

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