How Can the Gospels Be Eyewitness Accounts If They Include Things the Writers Didn’t See?
by J Warner Wallace
My journey toward Christianity began when I examined the gospels in order to uncover the words of Jesus. I was interested in Jesus as nothing more than a source of ancient wisdom and my curiosity about him caused me to begin sifting through the New Testament gospels. I was immediately struck by the appearance of what I call “unintentional eyewitness” support; a feature I often see in multiple accounts from eyewitnesses at crime scenes. This caused me to examine the accounts in much more detail and I eventually applied principles of Forensic Statement Analysis to the gospel of Mark. I wrote Cold-Case Christianity from the perspective of a cold-case detective examining the claims of the gospel writers and testing them for eyewitness reliability.
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Several skeptics have questioned this foundational premise however, and challenged the premise that the gospels are eyewitness accounts in the first place. One significant objection is the fact that the gospel writers often include information for events they simply could not have personally observed (i.e. the birth narratives in Matthew and several instances in all the gospels where Jesus is described as being alone). How can the gospels be eyewitness accounts if they include things that the authors could not have witnessed? When reading eyewitness statements from cold-cases that were originally investigated decades ago, I find these statements (accounts) include three kinds of firsthand information…
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