Key Points of Chapter 20 of Without a Doubt Part 1

I apologize for any spacing, numbering, and alignment errors that occurred from copying from Word into WordPress for this blog post, but here is the first part of an outline of Kenneth Samples’ book, Without a Doubt:

Key Points from Chapter 7 Part 1: Historical Reliability of The Gospels

The Christian faith depends on the historical nature and accuracy of the unique claims, character, and credentials of Jesus Christ! – Page 91

Read 1 Corinthians 15:12-18. Christianity hinges on the resurrection of Christ.

Support for the Historical Reliability of the Gospels

  1. 1.       The New Testament documents are the best attested documents of antiquity in terms of total number of manuscripts. 


  • Check out this website:
  • 5,000 individual Greek Manuscripts
  • 8,000 copies of the Latin vulgate
  • Without these there are still thousands of manuscripts from commentaries and sermons that can be used to piece together the entire New Testament and these are from the early church fathers in the second to fifth centuries. – Page 92
  • Textual criticism exists because of the Bible.


  1. 2.       The interval of time between the date of the original authorship and the date of the earliest New Testament manuscript copies is extremely short.
  2. 3.       The historic statements made about Jesus by ancient non-Christian authors for the most part matches well with the Gospel record.
  • He was a provocative teacher, a wise and virtuous man from the region of Judea.
  • He reportedly performed miracles and made prophetic claims.
  • The Jewish leaders condemned him for acts of sorcery and apostasy.
  • He was crucified by Pontius Pilate at the time of the Jewish Passover, and during the reign of the Emperor Tiberius.
  • Jesus’ followers reported that he had risen from the dead.
  • The Christian faith spread to Rome were the Christians were persecuted and tried for crimes.
  • First-century Christians worshiped Jesus Christ as God and celebrated the Eucharist in their services.
  • Even though these Romans ridiculed the Christians as being morally weak, they were often times known for their courage and virtue.
  1. 4.       The authors of the four Gospels were eyewitnesses of Jesus’ life themselves, or were closely associated with the eyewitnesses. 

John 19:1-4
1 John 1:1-2
Luke 1:1-4
Galatians 1:11-12
2 Peter 1:16

  1. 5.       The Gospel writers intended to convey factual and historical information and the writings of their historical content have been confirmed to a significant degree.
  2. 6.       The apostles’ testimony becomes more credible when it is considered that they had nothing to gain from it and everything to lose. 
  • They received no monetary reward or power from their message.
  • They received only beatings, imprisonment, and death.
  • Adversaries could have exposed their message as a lie, but they couldn’t.
  • We can trust their message because they had no motif to lie or deceive.
  • If they did lie and deceive they violated everything Jesus taught about honesty and truth.

Why would a loving God send people to Hell?

Why would an all-loving God send people to hell?


I think it’s important to validate someone’s question before jumping right into answering it.

This is a difficult question for us to comprehend.  We can’t imagine allowing our worst enemies to suffer eternally, much less subjecting them to such inescapable torment.  I think that this question and the problem of evil are the two most common rejections of Christianity offered in our day and age.  I think they are the root of our other objections too.


Option 1 – Hell is God’s Monument to Human Freedom Answer – It’s clear in Scripture that God does not desire for anyone to perish forever, but for everyone to come to repentance and salvation.  Again God does not desire for any of us to suffer perpetual death!  Hell is God giving individuals what they both desire and deserve, eternal separation from him.  John 3:19-20 says, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.  Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.”  The Light is Jesus Christ and men love darkness instead of light.  Those who reject Christ do not want to know God and have a relationship with him.  In hell, God is giving them the desire of their hearts, to be forever separated from his grace, riches, and provision, forever awake and dying in the darkness of eternity.

Option 2 – Hell Wasn’t Intended for Humans Answer – We must remember that God doesn’t desire for humans to suffer in hell for eternity.  Hell wasn’t intended for humans, but rather the demons.  In Matthew 25:41 Jesus states that hell was “prepared for the devil and his angels.”  But because of man’s own wickedness, we too deserve hell.  The people who are destined to hell do not want anything that is of God in this life.  What is to say that they all of a sudden will flip a switch in heaven?  Heaven is a place of perfection for it is the place that God’s glory dwells.  Nothing evil can exist in his presence.  If people don’t want to be washed clean and to be forgiven by the work of Jesus Christ, God is left without a choice but to cast them out of his presence.

Option 3 – Who Are We? Answer – Based on our human understanding of love and hate, crime and punishment, we reject the notion that a loving God could possibly punish someone for eternity for matters that we feel are trivial. This is arrogance on our part.  As God reminded Job, “Who has a claim against me that I must pay?  Everything under heaven belongs to me” (Job 41:11).  Have we not stopped to consider that God’s ways are not our ways, and that in fact his ways are greater and better than ours?  Is it not possible, that in this situation, hell is the only possible consequence for sin that a good, loving, and just God can deliver?

Option 4 – Share the Gospel Answer – Read “Back to the Gospel” within this question.


2 Peter 3:8-9 – “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.  The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

1 Timothy 2:1-6 – “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time.

Isaiah 55:9 – “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

2 Corinthians 5:21 – “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

Back to the Gospel:

Whenever answering an objection to the Christianity, the goal should always be to turn the conversation back to the Gospel, for it is the power of salvation for all who believe.  (Romans 1:16)

The terrors of hell are real and we act as if a loving God who chooses to send people there must not exist.  We have no grounds upon which to make this accusation, because God himself has suffered the penalty of hell in the person of Jesus Christ.  What greater love is there than for God to give his only, eternally, begotten Son to die as a substitute for us, who though he was sinless bore our sin and took the penalty of our guilt upon himself?  We can’t claim that God is not loving for sentencing people to hell, when God allowed his own, innocent Son to suffer hell, so we don’t have to!  God didn’t have to send his Son to die for us, but he did, out of love for the world.

Qur’an and the Injeel #5

I made a reference in the last blog post in this series that mentioned that the Qur’an claims that the prophets of the Old Testament were prophets of Allah and that the Injeel (The Gospel of Jesus) is also from Allah.  I received a comment asking to provide the citations in the Qur’an in case Muslims deny that the Qur’an teaches this.

The following is a Muslim run website that lists the verses in English that mention the Injeel (The Gospel):

The first verse listed is a key verse, Surah 3:3, which reads, “It is He Who has sent down the Book (the Quran) to you (Muhammad SAW) with truth, confirming what came before it. And he sent down the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel).”  I’d suggest remembering this Qur’an citation.

This verse directly says Allah sent the Qur’an to confirm the Torah and the Gospel.  If the Qur’an is to confirm the Gospels, then it shouldn’t contradict the Bible, but since it does contradict the Bible, Muslims claim that the Qur’an was sent to “correct” the Bible, to “correct” the corruption that has occurred in the Bible.  The Qur’an however doesn’t say that Allah sent the Qur’an to “correct” what came before, but to “confirm” what had already been given.

We’ll need to ask Muslims some questions.  Who corrupted the Bible?  When was it corrupted?  Why was it corrupted?  What part of the Bible has been corrupted?  Muslims do not have answers to these questions!  I have only met one Muslim who has given an answer to me.  He told me that the apostle Paul corrupted the Bible, because Paul was not a true believer.  He was a pagan.  I shared with the Muslim that this is impossible.  Paul was a contemporary with Jesus and Jesus’ apostles.  If he was changing or corrupting God’s Word, the other apostles would have stopped it.  I also shared that the apostle John definitely outlived Paul.  John would have been able to correct any of Paul’s distortions after Paul’s death, if he actually did corrupt them.  The Muslim responded, “I don’t know anything about John.  I don’t want to speak about what I don’t know.”

Please visit Crescent Project.  The bulk of this series is outlining the Bridges series from Crescent Project.

Contradict Bumper Sticker Explanation

With every Contradict bumper sticker shipment, a double-sided page of explanation is also shipped.  The goal with Contradict Movement is to have as many Contradict stickers on cars, or laptops, as there are Co-exist stickers.  Beyond the sheer numbers, the goal is to also have the Contradict stickers represented by Christians who know and can share the information contained in the page of explanation.  This page of explanations is downloadable at for printing and sharing and Contradict stickers may be ordered at the site too.  Here is the basic explanation of Contradict, and please note that it supports religious freedom and calls for a certain type of tolerance and respect:

What does this Contradict sticker mean?

Tolerance and co-existence are both great! In fact, they are necessary.    If we are to live together in peace without hating each other, or worse physically harming each other, over differences in race, culture, sexual orientation, political views, and even religious beliefs, we all must have tolerance for one another.  However, we must recognize that every belief can’t be equally valid.   If two beliefs directly contradict each other, both of them cannot be true, no matter how tolerant we become.   This means it is false to say that every religion is true, or that every religion leads to God.  If people make such claims they are showing that they have not taken the time to study the world’s religions, because a brief reading of the sacred texts of only a handful of religions quickly reveals contradictions on fundamental levels.

Religious Contradictions

Reincarnation (Hinduism and Buddhism) contradicts the belief that this life is the only life before eternity (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam).

Pantheism (Hinduism) contradicts the belief that there is only one transcendent God (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam), and both of these beliefs contradict the belief that there is no God (Theravada Buddhism and Atheism).

Salvation from sin (Christianity) contradicts the belief that there is no sin to be saved from but simply pain that can be escaped through enlightenment (Buddhism).

Jesus is the incarnate, Son of God (Christianity), contradicts the teaching that he is just a prophet (Islam) or that he was a false prophet (Judaism).

Jesus died as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world and rose from the grave contradicts the belief that Jesus ascended into heaven while never dying on a cross, or facing death of any kind (Islam).

All religions that suggest that the merits of an individual can free a person from humanities ultimate problem of death contradict Christianity’s teaching that “we are saved by grace through faith in Christ, which is a gift, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8).

In light of these contradictions, all religions can’t be true.  They could all potentially be false, but they can’t all be true.

How can one know which religion is true, if any?

To discern if a belief is true, it needs to be testable.  The scientific method can’t test most of the claims found in the world’s religions, but science is not our only means of verifying the legitimacy of truth claims.  In the case of judging religious truth claims, historical-forensic evidence needs to be utilized. No other religion than Christianity has at its center, a historical event that can be evaluated in such a manner to prove or disprove the religious truth claims.  Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15 that if Christ did not rise from the grave that his faith is futile and his testimony about Jesus would be a lie.  If someone could prove that Jesus did not rise from the grave, then the resurrection would be considered a false claim and the Christian faith should be rejected.  On the flip side, if Jesus rose from the grave, it confirms that Jesus’ claim to be “the way, the truth, and the life, the only way to Father” (John 14:6) is true!  If he did not rise from the grave, then Jesus was a liar and Christians ought to be pitied above all men.
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Is there evidence that Jesus rose from the grave?

The good news for Christians and all of humanity is that the New Testament is the best attested ancient manuscript in terms of the number of copies it has, the dates of the copies to their original writings, and the accuracy of the copies.  In addition to this, the original Gospels were written by eyewitnesses, or written by people who wrote using eyewitness testimony.  This also means the authors were writing too close to the death and resurrection of Jesus for myths to have crept into the accounts.  Other witnesses, both friend and foe, would have known if the Gospel writers were telling lies and they would have revealed the Gospels to be false.  However, we have no such competing accounts from contemporaries.  We do on the other hand have non-Christian authors writing in the first and second centuries who affirm the claims of the Gospels, and no one in the first century was ever able to produce the bones of Jesus to disprove the empty tomb one Sunday morning.  The Jewish and Roman leaders and authorities had the motif and the means to disprove the resurrection, but they could not.  The best they could do was to persecute Christians as an attempt to stop the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The apostolic circle in which the claim of Jesus’ resurrection originated never recanted their testimony in the face of martyrdom as they continued to proclaim the risen Christ all the way to their deaths.

Exclusive Claims and Teachings Concerning Salvation within the Bible

Mark 16:16 “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”

John 3:36 “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”

John 14:6 “Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Acts 4:12 “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

Ephesians 2:8-10 “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Acts 2:37-39 “When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers what shall we do?”  Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins.  And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

Jesus is the Savior of all people.  He is the Savior of the Buddhist, the Hindu, The Muslim, the Jew, the Satanist, the Atheist, the homosexual, the heterosexual, the republican, and the democrat – all people.  To all who have received him, to all who have called upon his name, he has given the right to be called children of God! (John 1:12)  Repent and be baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of sins. (Matt. 28:19 and Acts 2:38)
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There’s no way of knowing God!

Have you ever heard someone say, “There’s no way of knowing God”?

How did you reply?  Here are some possible replies that I hope you will find helpful


With all the competing views of who God is, it is difficult to know which view of God is true.  If you mean that it’s hard to relationally know God, I’d agree with that too.  I mean, I know who the President of the United States is, but it’d be next to impossible for me to have relational knowledge with him.  I can’t just text him and meet up with for coffee as I could with any of my friends, and he’s just a human being, now imagine an all-powerful, all-knowing, eternal God, who happens to be everywhere at all times, oh, and he can’t be seen.  I agree; it would seem as if there is no way for us to actually know who he is.

Socratic Method:

“Does this mean you believe there is a God, he’s just not knowable? (if the answer is yes…) Why do you believe there is a God?  What makes you believe you can’t know God?  Do you think it’s possible that God has somehow revealed himself to us?”

“If there is a God and he created everything, why do you think he made us?  Do you think he’d want us to know him?  Do you think he would want to reveal himself to us if it was possible for us to know him?”

“If God were to reveal himself to us, how do you think he’d reveal himself to us?  The Bible teaches that Jesus was God incarnate, God in human flesh.  Who do you think Jesus is? How much do you know about Jesus?  Have you ever read the Gospels, the biographies written by eyewitnesses of Jesus Christ’s life, or written by people who wrote based on eyewitness testimony?”


I think you are partially correct.  It’s impossible for us to know who God is on our own.  God is spirit and in our 4-dimensional existence of length, depth, width, and time, there is nothing we can do with our five senses of touch, smell, sight, hearing, and taste to uncover or discover who God is.  However, that doesn’t mean God is incapable of revealing himself to us.  God is God and he can do anything he pleases, and he has shown himself to us indirectly and directly.  God has indirectly revealed himself to us through what he has created.  When we look around us and observe the universe, we see design, order, complexity, and beauty all of which point to a creator.  When we consider the first cause of the universe, an eternal, all-powerful God who exists outside of time is the best explanation for the genesis, the beginning, of the universe.  Nothing comes from nothing, and life does not come from non-life, as the atheistic model of Darwiniansm projects.  So simply from what he has created, God has made it plain that he exists.  But I would also say that God has directly revealed himself to us through the person and work of Jesus Christ.  In Jesus Christ, the fullness of God dwelled in human flesh and he proved his divinity through his life, death, and resurrection.

Jesus Christ Crucifix


Romans 1:18-20 – “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.  For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”

Colossians 2:9 – “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.”