3 Ways the Gospels are Embarrassing….And Why That’s a Good Thing!
by Alisa Childers
The gospel accounts found in the New Testament are embarrassing. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John included some pretty uncomfortable details in their writings. But if you’re a Christian, that’s actually a really good thing.
We humans have a tendency to paint ourselves in a good light—to leave out the bad stuff and exaggerate or embellish the good. If you need proof of this, click over to Facebook and check your newsfeed. You will be bombarded by photos of your friends vacationing at the beach, having ice cream with their children, drinking artisan coffee, and eating mouth-watering delicacies at the new local Bistro. You will read a wife’s birthday tribute to her husband that would convince the most skeptical rationalist that she is married to Superman himself. In short, Facebook is a highlight reel.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing—no one wants to scroll through Facebook and see everyone’s dirty laundry.
But Facebook isn’t exactly an accurate portrayal of history.
When assessing historical documents, there are certain attributes of authenticity that historians are looking for. One of those attributes is called the “Criterion of Embarrassment.” If an author includes details that might be embarrassing to himself or his cause, there is a much greater chance that he is telling the truth. This gives scholars more confidence in the historical reliability of the document.
What about the New Testament gospel accounts? Here are 3 ways the gospels are embarrassing, and why those “embarrassing details” actually demonstrate that the authors were telling the truth…
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