New Evidence That Jesus Had A Wife?

Posted: May 9, 2014 in Apologetics, Doubt, History

Gospel_of_Jesus'_WifeIf you check out any newsstand, religion section of a news outlet, or other media source during the Easter or Christmas seasons, you are bound to find opinions and stories about Jesus that disagree with the orthodox Christian position. “Religious news” about Christian doctrine rarely speaks of the conservative Christian position, but of some divergence from it. But this is the media, so what should we expect? However, while the culture latches on to the hype of unknowns and “what-ifs” regarding religious truth, Christians are left to make sense of their convictions in light of the supposed findings. Can their faith withstand the new claims? Are these new claims valid? Do we tackle every claim or just ignore them all? Since these claims often threaten the very foundations of our worldview, they cause many to doubt or question the certainty of their faith.

One such claim has recently been touted by many news outlets – the claim that an ancient document shows evidence that Jesus actually had a wife, a woman named Mary. A link to some information about this story can be found here. But before getting worked up about this story or any other, here are a few things you should consider.

  1. Bogus claims come and go. Claims that would undermine the authenticity of the Bible are a dime a dozen. The motivation is there for many to discredit the claims of the Bible, and we should expect to face such assertions. However, these claims always end of being just that, claims. The Bible, however, has stood the test of time. These assertions pop up, generate some public interest, and then die for lack of evidence. On the other hand, the Bible continually is reaffirmed by archaeology and historical investigation, proving its historical credibility. So when a new claim comes down the pike, just give it some time before you invest too much energy into research. Time, history, and the truth are on our side.
  2. The Gospels are early testimony. The Gospel accounts that we find in our New Testament are the earliest written documentation about the life and times of Jesus. Being written early (i.e. within the generation of those who witnessed the events) give the Gospels credibility. The further removed the writings are from the actual events, the more suspect their truth claims become. Contradicting claims, however, are always based upon textual evidence that dates much later than the writings of our four gospels. These writings are almost always pseudepigraphal and written after the lifetimes of eyewitnesses. So the good money is on the early documents, the four gospels found in our Bible.
  3. The burden of proof is on them. Remember this, the person offering a claim is the one who bears the burden of proof to validate the claim. As mentioned in point #2, the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are early testimony to the events of Jesus. Additionally, they have received great confirmation from archaeology. Therefore, we are the ones with a well-established position. The critic is the person with the case to be made. They often use weak evidence to make bold claims. But don’t let this boldness knock you out of the driver’s seat. The onus is on them to show you are wrong, not the other way around. So when confronted with these claims, begin asking questions. Why do you believe your evidence to be true? How early is your source dated? What makes you think it is more reliable that the four gospels? Is there any external confirmation of your claims from other early sources? Why do you hold the Bible suspect while giving your scant evidence such high esteem? Is your suspicion of the Bible rooted in some other reason?

So do not be alarmed and do not waste too much time fretting over these “newsworthy” claims. Our confidence rests on a sure foundation, one that has been tested and tried over 2000 years and not been found lacking. As the old hymn says, “How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in his excellent word.”

The well wisher of your soul,

Jordan

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