I’ll attempt to answer all of your questions now. If I’ve forgotten to address one of them, feel free to remind me.
Ha, I’d like to address your question about women “shepherding.” I hope and pray that more godly women would step up, immerse themselves in the study of the Scriptures, and lead the women in their congregations to more godly living and learning. Titus 2,
3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled
For more on my view of women in ministry, take a look at my post, “The Do’s … Not Don’ts.”
As for Roman documentation, archeologists have only JUST found evidence of the reigns of Pilate and Herod in Palestine. You think they’re going to be so quick to find a few parchments, if they even exist anymore, regarding “The King of the Jews”?
There are, however, other documents verifying the existence of Christ.
Tacitus, a Roman historian wrote of Nero and the destruction of Rome:
Nero fastened the guilt . . . on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of . . . Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome. . . .
Pliny the Younger writes about Christians:
“They were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and bound themselves by a solemn oath, not to any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up; after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble to partake of food--but food of an ordinary and innocent kind.”
Pliny understood that Christians were worshipping an actual historical person as God! Of course, this agrees perfectly with the New Testament doctrine that Jesus was both God and man.
Evidence from Josephus:
This segment is taken from the Arabic translation of Jewish Antiquities:
"At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus. His conduct was good and (he) was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. But those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion, and that he was alive; accordingly he was perhaps the Messiah, concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders."
Evidence from the Babylonian Talmud
The Talmud is not very kind in its description of the Jew’s Messiah. Is it any wonder?! They religious leaders *hated * him!.
On the eve of the Passover Yeshu was hanged. For forty days before the execution took place, a herald . . . cried, "He is going forth to be stoned because he has practiced sorcery and enticed Israel to apostasy."
Sorcery? Hmph. The Gospels relate the moment when the Pharisees accused Christ of sorcery.
But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.
Apparently Christ’s enemies had witnessed the many miracles of Jesus so that the miracles themselves couldn’t be denied. Instead, they sought to slander him by attributing the power of the Holy Spirit to the “prince of demons.”
Evidence from Lucian:
Lucian of Samosata was a second century Greek satirist. In one of his works, he wrote of the early Christians as follows:
The Christians . . . worship a man to this day--the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account. . . . [It] was impressed on them by their original lawgiver that they are all brothers, from the moment that they are converted, and deny the gods of Greece, and worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws.
What did Jesus teach to arouse such wrath? According to Lucian, he taught that all men are brothers from the moment of their conversion. That's harmless enough. But what did this conversion involve? It involved denying the Greek gods, worshipping Jesus, and living according to His teachings.
From the evidence, ancient writers recognized that Christ was wise, powerful, an honored teacher, performed miracles, crucified under the authority of Pontius Pilate, he was arrested on the day before Passover. There is even reference to the belief that Christ rose from the dead on the 3rd day. His followers believed he was the Christ, and worshipped him as God.
I am curious, as well, Anon. How is it that you came to understand that God had purposed not to interfere in the world after He had created it? I understand that this is the belief of Deists, but these are mere imaginings of their own hearts and not founded in what God has revealed about Himself in Scripture.
[UPDATE} Ah yes, I just looked back through your comments. Medieval Jewish Rabbis and would I give up on my faith.
As for studying the writings of men who have rejected their Messiah, how is this fruitful? Again, why flirt with lies?
"Would anything shatter your faith? Not the scenes of the Holocaust, the Serbian Death Camps, the starving Children in Sudan and Ethipioa? Are these the work of the Devil? Then why were they done in the name of your Christ?"
Ah, anonymous, if my faith were mere "fire insurance", a means of getting me out of hell when I die, I'd say that there would be an extreme likelihood that I would deny my God to save my neck. However, my faith is NOT fire insurance. I have been called out and I claim the promises of Scripture. My purpose on earth is to bring God glory. If that is to be accomplished through death or torture. So be it. But it will only be a little while, for when life is over, I will be with him, experiencing and living in the glory of His presence for eternity.
1 Peter 5:8-11
8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
The scenes of the Holocaust, the Serbian Death Camps ... I was not aware that these atrocities were committed in Christ's name. If that is the case, they were evil, wicked men using the holy name of Christ for their poitical *games*. Ethiopia and Sudan ... it is my understanding that it is the Christians who are being starved by muslim warlords.