2. Bound up with history

Does it matter that the story about Jesus told in the New Testament be historically true?

This is the question that Prof. F.F. Bruce poses at the start of his book, "The New Testament Documents: Are they reliable?" Dr. Bruce explains that in a number of faiths, the traditional teaching is at the centre; and that for many devotees of those faiths, the truth of the teaching does not depend on the historicity of the teacher. But can this be said of the New Testament?

Only by ignoring the real essence of Christianity, Dr. Bruce answers. The Christian message is not primarily a code of ethics, but rather first and foremost good news. Christianity as a way of life depends upon its acceptance as good news. And this good news, argues Dr. Bruce, "is intimately bound up with the historical order."

Dr. Bruce explains that the good news "...tells how for the world's redemption God entered into history, the eternal came into time, the kingdom of heaven invaded the realm of earth, in the great events of the incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus the Christ" (p. 2, sixth edition, 1981).

Do you agree with Dr. Bruce's answer to the question he poses? This seems to be a good place to begin our discussion about the reliability of the Bible.

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