In which it’s a trustworthy personal story

by Craig on December 1, 2011

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Yesterday I got to write for you about one reason it only strengthens my faith that the Gospels were written decades after the events. Today…a little more.

I’ll add that the 12 who followed our Lord were students of a Rabbi.
In that day when the Rabbi taught, the students took notes.

I don’t have to remember constantly…
what I learned in my Ancient Church History class…
almost 20 years ago in Seminary…

I still have the notes.

This is the next to last post in a series on sharing the gospel with those we love – it began here – and the last step in the process is to write a letter.

Anyway, where was I?

Oh…

in the first century the written word was less trusted than the verbal account.

The main reason the Gospels were written so late was that as long as there were living witnesses to the life and death and resurrection of our Lord running around, everyone wanted to listen – not read.

It was only when there were few apostles left that the need for a written gospel arose.

Matthew and John sat down to write.

Peter, dictated to Mark…
a fisherman like him probably couldn’t write…
Our Lord choses the lowly.

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And then there’s Luke…
a journalistic approach…
footnoting his way to authenticity.

“In the year of…”
“When so-and-so was ruler of…”
“during the time of…”.

Actually it’d be a written account from the actual days of our Lord’s ministry that I’d hold in suspicion.

Rome wanted Christianity done with…
it was a nuisance for them…
Christians upset their order.

We know how the Jewish leaders wanted it squashed.

To strike a dagger at the heart of 1st century Christianity the authorities only needed to find the body of a street preacher buried in a city we’d consider a quaint little village.

The ones who wanted to find a dead body found nothing…
the ones who wanted to witness resurrection found it all.

Then, as the Gospel spread…
all they had to do was point out the lies…

Their silence speaks.

And how does all of this swing back to the writing of the gospel letter for a person who doesn’t know our Lord? If I know a person, the reasoning, examples, and appeal have to be personal.

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Personal ties have gravitas.

If I’m sharing outside our common experience…
like Luke, I better have unimpeachable sources…
the Bible though unread by so many…
has “gravitas” even for those who don’t read it.

What also has “gravitas”?
Their own words – what they told us when we asked the questions
and our compassionate addressing of their specific doubts.

These all have to be weaved into the letter…
like a string in a robin’s nest.

And next time…the last step in the “term paper” approach to writing the gospel letter to our person who we know…but who doesn’t know Our Lord…

the dreaded…

Bibliography…

please come back.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Martha Orlando December 1, 2011 at 11:40 am

I so enjoyed these last two posts! Thank you, Craig, for pointing out the value the oral tradition had in ancient times. In this modern world of print, we tend to forget how to actually listen and recall what we hear. In those days, it was so different. As so many could not read or write, that is what they depended on and repeated faithfully.
I’ll be back! :)
Blessings always!

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Craig December 1, 2011 at 1:47 pm

the one thing about this blog, Martha, is that I can never run out of subjects – not ever – not in 100 lifetimes. Time to write and read others more – maybe – but not material. And it does seem strange doesn’t it, that they distrusted the written – but believed the personal account more – and we are opposite today. And it really does tie in with the gospel letter too – if it’s personal and real I think maybe people will believe it better than if it’s theoretical and distant. Anyway, thank you Martha – God bless you my friend.

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A. December 1, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Craig, when you write this, not only do I learn, but I feel that I am there around that campfire, too. Your writing really helps me create the mental pictures to go with the information.

I also appreciate what you have shared about gravitas, what it is and what it isn’t. I hadn’t thought about that much but it is really standing out to me at this point. I need to learn more about it.

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Craig December 1, 2011 at 1:49 pm

A – you KNOW that you are a pleasure to write for! And thank you for always being such an encourager – thank you. I still smile when I think back to your very first few comments – I think things have changed a lot inside both of us since then. God bless you!

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A. December 1, 2011 at 3:13 pm

And Craig, would love to see a Bible (or part of a bible or topical) commentary by Craig, complete with pictures!!! Just sayin’. :)

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Craig December 1, 2011 at 3:15 pm

from, your keyboard to some publisher’s ears ツ

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Debbie December 2, 2011 at 12:09 am

“The ones who wanted to witness resurrection found it all” . . .loved that. :) Thank you, Craig and God bless you as you finish up this gospel letter series . . . for now. Let me know when that commentary comes out. 😉

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Craig December 2, 2011 at 5:31 pm

you know, that kind of just came to me as I was writing – the ones who wanted to find death found it – the ones who wanted to find life found IT – I kind of heart it too! The gospel letter that I write to my father – it’s going to look nothing like the one I wrote for my mom. With her there was so much love – with him…

God bless you Debbie.

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Victoria Jenkins December 2, 2011 at 1:04 pm

I love jewels. I admit, they don’t have to be expensive, they just have to have depth and brilliant sparkle. Something about them excites me, always has, always will. Even my license plate says SPRKLS.

What’s that got to do with anything?

You write along, dum-de-dum,de-dum, interesting enough to keep me coming back, and within all that writing, are these jewels. :)

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Craig December 2, 2011 at 4:29 pm

I think that means you like what you read? They say 99% of communication is nonverbal – I wish I could see your nonverbal’s. But I think I get it – and thank you. God bless you Victoria.

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Christina December 3, 2011 at 7:09 am

I recently read “Reason for God” on a similar topic. It’s amazing to learn how the NT was written. BTW, I nominated you for an award. It’s in my post today. Have a great weekend!

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Craig December 3, 2011 at 8:53 am

how and why it was written, how it’s been preserved, to think of the miracle is that we have a book containing all of what God’s church considers “God breathed” words – amazing – especially given the people who have wanted to destroy it. I’ll be off to send you an e-mail about the lead Liebster now. God bless and keep you Christina.

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