The New Testament writers conspired together to gain power and influence

by Matt Slick

tin_foil_hatDo we see what looks like an elaborate deception?

It is certainly possible that the New Testament writers worked together and concocted a plan to use a good man named Jesus, who had recently died, in order to gain power and influence for themselves.  But just because something is possible does not mean that it is a reality. It is possible that there is an ice cream factory on Jupiter, but that does not mean that one exists. When we look at the New Testament claims of Christ do we see what looks like an elaborate deception concocted by several people?  Or do we see that their behavior is more consistent with the idea that Jesus actually did do miracles and rise from the dead?  It is the latter explanation that best fits the facts.

Following is a list of reasons why the conspiracy theory does not work

It would require great coordination of events and writing over a long period of time.

First of all, in order for this conspiracy to work several people would have needed to get together and write documents that were not only inspirational but reflected accurate historical accounts, could stand up to cross examination, and agreed with each other sufficiently to avoid being exposed as a fraud.  After all, if their stories and writings were contradictory, their conspiracy would fall apart.  This means that there had to be large and sophisticated collusion and careful, deliberate fabrication over a long period of time since the New Testament documents were written over approximately a 50 year span.  The writers would have to be very careful about who was named and what places were mentioned.  Why?  Because the accounts dealt with actual places and people and they would have to make sure it was all correct.

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If these people wanted to gain power and influence by concocting a plan as grandiose as this, is it logical to say that they agreed to make up a story about this person Jesus, who was known to many people, and say things about Him that were not true, and then get people to believe that He had risen from the dead?  Does it make sense that they would go against not only the Jewish system but also that of the Roman Empire, all so that they could try and gain power and influence in an area already dominated by two powerful cultures, the Jewish and Roman?  Or is it more logical to say that they didn’t conspire to deceive, but simply wrote and testified to what they saw? Doesn’t it make more sense to say that they wrote what they knew, recorded the facts, the places, and the events and that it was all true and that that explains the New Testament documents better than anything else?

It would mean that the NT writers wrote about truth based on a lie

The writers of the New Testament used the words “true” and “truth” 170 times. They lived for the truth of what they believed and they died for it as well. They wrote about truth (Rom. 9:1; 2 Cor. 4:2), honesty (Luke 8:15), love (1 Cor. 13:4-8), integrity (2 Cor. 7:2), compassion (Col. 3:12), forgiveness (Col. 3:13), etc., and it was all based upon their love for and dedication to the truth of Jesus. They spoke against hypocrisy (Rom. 12:9), lying (Col. 3:9), jealousy (James 3:13), and selfish ambition (James 3:16). In fact, they lived according to their words. Does it really make sense to say that the NT writers deliberately conspired to misrepresent the truth and then go to great depths, even to suffer beatings and death, all while they were continuously telling people to believe in a lie? Add to this how they knew they would be persecuted for this alleged conspiracy of lies and we have serious problems explaining their behavior. It would make far more sense to simply acknowledge that they were telling the truth and that it was not a conspiracy to deceive…

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The Poached Egg ApologeticsThe New Testament writers conspired together to gain power and influence | CARM 

RECOMMENDED APOLOGETICS RESOURCES FOR FURTHER READING:

Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony

Has God Spoken?: Proof of the Bible’s Divine Inspiration

 

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