There will always be believers and non-believers

Published 11:53 am Saturday, January 14, 2017

I am responding to an article on the Opinion page in The Tidewater News by Joseph Cotto “A taboo Christmas topic: The historicity of Jesus,” which was printed on Friday, Dec. 23, 2016. I believe that there is enough evidence to prove that Jesus actually lived. There have always been those who try to disprove the accuracy of the Bible. Back in the early 1900’s these people were called liberals. Today they are called modernists. These people are also a part of higher criticism. Those who believe the Bible is the Word of God are conservatives and those who stand up for the doctrines of the Bible are apologists. You will always have believers and non-believers.

Mr. Cotto makes the Bible seem like a web of tangled history that has merely been written by men. Mr. Cotto has leaned very heavily upon the opinions of other men. Some of these men are quoted as being Bible scholars. This is the point where many people listen to them because a scholar is suppose to know things that the average person does not know. Many people today do not know their Bibles as people did 20 years ago. These so-called scholars are a part of the liberals and modernists that deny or try to disprove the Bible. This does not strengthen Christianity, but leads people away to believe in something that does not contain the truth. Being a Christian in name only does not make a person a Christian. If a person does not believe that Jesus Christ is the savior of the world through faith in His shed blood, nor believe that He is the resurrected Son of God, how can that person be a Christian?

I believe there are some things that have to be understood.

First, God is a God of truth and God’s Word is truth.

Second, God’s Word was written by holy men of God to give us what God would have us to know. 2 Peter 1:21 states, “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 states, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

Third, Jesus Christ is the Son of God and to be the Son of God Jesus had to be born of a virgin. If this is not so, then Jesus was an ordinary man like me. He would have be born a sinner and therefore could not have been God. God came to earth in flesh through Jesus Christ so He could be the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world. To my knowledge, no other religion has a savior that died for the people’s sins so they could escape the punishment for their sins. Jesus Christ is the only one that tells us that He is the way to God. John 14:6, says “Jesus saith unto him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.’” Jesus also tells us the people must repent from their sins or they would perish. I believe that Jesus makes it clear that there are only two paths. One path which leads to everlasting life and the other path leads to eternal death – Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”

The article stated that the Romans invented Jesus to keep the Jews from rebelling. The Gospels are a Roman mockery of the real messianic movement that rebelled against the Romans. This implies that the Romans seemingly wrote the Gospels for their own benefit. I do not believe that the Romans had anything to do with the writing of the Gospels. They were written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. If Jesus was invented by the Romans, why would they want to kill Him? According to the Bible, the only things the Romans did to Jesus were to condemn Him and crucify Him to appease the Jews of that day. Matter of fact, according to the Bible, Pilate wanted to release Jesus.

The article went on to say that the Romans called the followers of Jesus “Marys,” who were rebellious females. The Bible tells us that the followers of Jesus were called Christians first at Antioch (Acts 11:26). The article said that Joseph was a loyal, tax-paying Roman subject and this was designed to influence Christians to pay their taxes. That is not the way the Bible describes the event. Joseph and Mary were living in Nazareth. God moved upon Caesar Augustus’ heart to tax the people so Joseph and Mary would have to go to Bethlehem where the Christ child was to be born according to Bible prophecy, which is found in Micah 5:2: “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” Joseph was only a stepfather for the baby Jesus.

When the angel visited Mary in Luke chapter 1, she questioned the angel how this was going to happen since she had not known a man (as in marriage). Luke 1:30-35 gives us some of the answers and it reads, “And the angel said unto her, ‘Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.’34 Then said Mary unto the angel, ‘How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?’35 And the angel answered and said unto her, ‘The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.’”

The Bible lists the fathers of people as having begotten sons, but when it comes to Joseph it does not tell us that he begot Jesus. The Bible tells us this in Matthew 1:16, “And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.”

As far as understanding the Gospels are concerned, they need to be read and understood that they are written by four different men and why is it necessary to repeat every detail.

Each one was written with a different theme to a different group of people, but each one gives us a little more information about Jesus Christ.

It all boils down to who or what will you believe. Will you believe a man that has a sinful nature or will you believe the God of heaven? God loved you so much that He sent His only begotten Son to die for you on the old rugged cross. My God is the same yesterday, today and forever. Man’s views are constantly changing.

If a person truly believes the Bible, they will be strong in their belief and know the truth.

John 8:31-32 says, “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, ‘If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’”

It has always been from the beginning of time a choice to believe God and be blessed or make your own choices, which are contrary to God’s Word and suffer the consequences.

Those who read and study the Bible and are born-again Christians do not have problems understanding what God has said. They are not confused but seek to live their lives according to the teachings of God’s Word and not their own feelings.

There are others who look to the wisdom of man rather than the wisdom of God. We are warned of this in Proverbs 16:25, “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”

The trademarks of the liberals and modernists are clearly seen in their denial of the virgin birth of Christ, the denial of the miracles of Jesus, the denial of the deity of Christ, the denial of the resurrection of Christ and the denial of the inspiration of the Bible.

If you believe the writings of men instead of believing the Bible, you will have a form of Christianity that will not have any saving power.

When men can reduce Jesus Christ to an ordinary man like you and me He will become equal to all other religious leaders and this will set the stage for the one world church which will appear in the tribulation.

I am sticking with the God of the Bible and I am staying with the King James Bible. If you want to know the truth, just read God’s Word and you will find it plainly written upon the pages of the Bible.

REV. HOWARD VINSON JR. is pastor of Hunterdale Baptist Church in Franklin, where he has ministered for 41 years. Vinson is a 1975 graduate of Bob Jones University.