Monday, September 21, 2020

The Perennial Jewish Corroboration Of Christianity

What's below are some comments from Augustine on Jewish corroboration of Christianity. Notice that he was writing about 1600 years ago and that his comments are applicable to every century of the church's history. We're sometimes told that people didn't have much evidence for Christianity during most of church history, as if people had little evidence for the religion between the earliest years of the history of the church and the modern era. Supposedly, recent developments in fields like archeology and historical scholarship have brought about a major change. Those who lived in the medieval era, for example, allegedly didn't have much evidence to go by. It's true that they had significantly less evidence than we have, but they had more than is often suggested. Augustine is addressing a significant line of evidence for Christianity that's existed throughout church history:

"Indeed, it is a great confirmation of our faith that such important testimony is borne by enemies. The believing Gentiles cannot suppose these testimonies to Christ to be recent forgeries; for they find them in books held sacred for so many ages by those who crucified Christ, and still regarded with the highest veneration by those who every day blaspheme Christ. If the prophecies of Christ were the production of the preachers of Christ, we might suspect their genuineness. But now the preacher expounds the text of the blasphemer. In this way the Most High God orders the blindness of the ungodly for the profit of the saint, in His righteous government bringing good out of evil, that those who by their own choice live wickedly may be, in His just judgment, made the instruments of His will. So, lest those that were to preach Christ to the world should be thought to have forged the prophecies which speak of Christ as to be born, to work miracles, to suffer unjustly, to die, to rise again, to ascend to heaven, to publish the gospel of eternal life among all nations, the unbelief of the Jews has been made of signal benefit to us; so that those who do not receive in their heart for their own good these truths, carry, in their hands for our benefit the writings in which these truths are contained. And the unbelief of the Jews increases rather than lessens the authority of the books, for this blindness is itself foretold. They testify to the truth by their not understanding it. By not understanding the books which predict that they would not understand, they prove these books to be true." (Reply To Faustus The Manichaean, 16:21)


  1. It's at once amazing and profoundly sad the people of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob don't recognize the Messiah that their own Scriptures testify to.

    When I lived in Texas I went to a church that was pastored by a former staff member of MacArthur's who also held a doctorate in expository preaching from Master's, and he said one time one of his classes included a dialogue with an orthodox Rabbi about Messianic OT prophecies and Jesus.

    My pastor said the Rabbi's rejection of Jesus as Messiah was basically because He "failed the test" for Messaih prescribed by the OT prophecies, and therefore must be regarded as a false teacher.

    The Rabbi claimed that Messiah must bring all the nations of the world together in peace and unity and in worship of Yahweh, and Jesus failed this test.

    Our pastor said he raised his hand and said something like, "But He's not done yet, He's coming back to finish the job."

    The Rabbi had no reply.

    1. Given the quality of what Jesus has already done, including the high level of prophecy fulfillment he's already accomplished, the objection that he hasn't fulfilled more is unreasonable. By their nature, the prophecies require the sort of gradual fulfillment we're experiencing. And Jews accept the gradual fulfillment of prophecy in other contexts.

    2. Ummm, yeah...but the Rabbi and virtually all other Jews don't agree with you or me about that. See Romans 11.

  2. I just did a sermon on John the Baptist. Specifically, why he began to have doubts about Jesus.

    Because Jesus was not turning out to be the Messiah that John expected. Where was the Judgment?

    One Messiah but two visitations. First to fulfill the suffering servant prophecies. The second to fulfill the lion of Judah prophecies. John like the Jews didn't get that.

    No man born of a woman is greater than John the Baptist, but he who is least in the kingdom is greater than John.

    Even a Sunday kid knows what John didn't. One Messiah but two visitations.