The Case for the Eyewitness Status of the Gospel Authors
by J Warner Wallace
I’m often challenged about status of the Gospels as eyewitness accounts of the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus. Many skeptics reject the eyewitness authority of these accounts, even though the early Church selected and embraced the canonical Gospels based primarily on the eyewitness authority of their authors. Some skeptics argue the Gospels were never even intended to be seen as eyewitness testimony, in spite of the fact the earliest students of the apostles (and first Church leaders) repeated the content of the Gospels in their own letters, affirming the eyewitness status of the Gospels. It might be helpful, therefore, to review the context in which the Gospel events were first observed, recorded and transmitted in the 1st Century:
Eyewitness Authority Is Inherent to the Gospels
The Gospel accounts are written as historical narratives. The life of Jesus is intertwined with historical events locating it geographically and historically. The Gospels repeatedly affirmed their own historical, eyewitness nature, mentioning key figures who served to validate the history of Jesus as eyewitnesses:
There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him.
Eyewitness Authority Was Commissioned by Jesus
Jesus understood the eyewitness status of the Apostles. In fact, he commissioned them to grow the Kingdom on the basis of their eyewitness observations…