|Volume 21 Number 11 November 2019||
The apostle Paul was arrested in Jerusalem and worked his way up through the Roman court system, defending Christianity and never being found guilty of any crime, as recorded in the Book of Acts. Nevertheless, he was often falsely accused. One Roman governor cried out, “Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!” Paul calmly responded, “I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason” (Acts 26:24-25).
Christianity, indeed, is a religion of truth and reason. It is not a religion of blind faith. The evidence for it is there, though many willfully suppress it. People will always accuse Christians of being crazy, but the response must be to ever try to kindly reason with our accusers.
Many churches and preachers receive unrequested emails that advocate the doctrine that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, which present the record of Christ’s teaching before the cross (identified by MMLJ/BC) belong to the Old Testament Law, thus holding no authority for New Testament Christians. While there may be several reasons for holding this position, it seems that a primary purpose is to eliminate the Lord’s teaching on marriage, divorce and remarriage (especially Matthew 19, which is not limited to Jews or to the Law of Moses). While many objections could be raised to this false division of the Bible, this short article will consider three.
First, what were the approximate writing dates of the autographs of each of the four books under consideration? For this information, the Gospel Advocate Commentary series will be explored as a general source. Matthew is estimated to have written his account between A.D. 38-70 (H. Leo Boles). Mark, it is assumed, wrote his treatise prior to A.D. 70, perhaps during the lifetime of the apostle Peter (C.E.W. Dorris). Luke’s writing is not dated by H. Leo Boles, yet, it would have been written sometime after the ascension of Christ into Heaven and prior to his authorship of Acts (which Boles dates “about A.D. 63 or 64”). Finally, David Lipscomb offers an approximate date of between A.D. 70 and 85 for John’s writing. Since the Old Testament Law’s authority was nailed to the cross (Colossians 2:14), why would MMLJ be written after the cross if they belonged to the Old Testament Law? Absurd.
Second, to whom were MMLJ written? Matthew, a Galilean Jewish tax collector, wrote in Hebrew, and recorded the message of the Jewish King and Messiah. Mark could have written to Gentiles based on his content. Luke, a Greek physician, wrote to a Greek audience. John, a Jewish Galilean fisherman, wrote to instill faith in Jesus as the divine Son of God. While the referenced false material claims “that Jesus taught to that ‘last generation’ of covenant Jews in MMLJ/BC,” the evidence proves otherwise.
Third, what was the message of MMLJ? The false approach to these books claims that they promote “the old covenant Mosaical ‘gospel,’” which would serve to bring the Jews to repentance and restore their faithfulness to God under the Law. If this is the case, then MMLJ offers four inspired records of a ministry of about three and a half years, which resulted in the “Mosaical ‘gospel’” being nailed to the cross!
Jesus spoke with authority (Matthew 7:29). While the Scriptures must be handled properly (2 Timothy 2:15), 2 John 9-10 reveals, “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.” The authority in the doctrine about and from Christ must not be eliminated from the time after the cross.