Living for God’s Glory Means Dying to Self

by GF Herrin

If you’re going to do anything for God’s kingdom you will soon realize that the results and even the strength to do it will come from God.  So, to be able to accomplish the things of God you need to decrease in your own human strength and walk in the power that of God.  Your inner human strength must decrease and God’s supernatural power must increase in your life.

This may be a tough concept to accept.  After all, we live in a culture and society that celebrates self and our strength to do anything that we set our mind to do.  Also, we live in a narcissistic society that glorifies “ self”.  Millions of people worldwide snap selfie pictures of themselves and post them on social media.  Some Facebook users update their friends hourly with status updates when they so much as leave the house. Countless people spend thousands of dollars on the latest fashions, or spend staggering  amounts of hours at the gym, or the salon to make themselves look beautiful.  In addition, many ask continuously before committing to a job, task, volunteer event, or other altruistic venture, “what’s in it for me?”

This is not the philosophy that our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, lived out or preached.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matt. 16:24-25).

Paul encouraged others to follow Christ’s example:

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:2 -3).

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).

Instead of possessing an attitude that focuses on how a venture might benefit us, we should instead have an attitude that asks, “What’s in it for God, or to the Gospel”? Or “how will this task benefit the Kingdom of God or bring Him glory”? When you become a Christian you put aside the claims to yourself. You may undergo a process of mourning or have a tendency to feel sorry for yourself when doing this. Do not embrace these feelings!  They are not from God, but from the enemy (see Matt. 16:23).  I am not telling you dying to self is an easy thing. Indeed, sometimes it is painful spiritually and even bodily. You may be in an unhappy marriage with an unbeliever and are the only one willing to stick with it no matter what. The world around you will say to bail but God’s Word says to stick it out and stay faithful to Him. Letting go of yourself for your physical  and spiritual sustenance, means holding onto Jesus, instead. The Lord may take you through several experiences in which you stop relying on yourself and begin relying on Him for your provisions. It is important to embrace the nature of Christ who loved you so much that He willingly died for your sins.

For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again” (1 Cor. 5:14-15).

The Shroud of Turin


Archaeological Evidence for Jesus’ Life, Death, and Resurrection

By GF Herrin

     One of the most widely debated pieces of biblical archaeology known to exist is the 14 `11 ” long by 3 ` 7 ” wide ancient linen cloth known as the Shroud of Turin. The Shroud is historically purported to be the burial cloth of Jesus. On the cloth itself is the image of the full body (front and back) of a crucified man with details of wound marks, blood stains, and what appears to be ancient coins (issued by Pilate between AD 29 – 32) on each of his eyes (Kenneth E. Stevenson and Gary R. Habermas, Verdict on the Shroud (Ann Arbor: Servant Books, 1981), 134, 79, 64 – 65, 27). If authentic, the Shroud could be one of the most important historical pieces of evidence for the resurrection of Christ.

The history of the Shroud can be definitively traced back to 1357 when Jeanne de Virgy, the widow of Geoffrey de Charny, exhibited the Shroud as the burial cloth of Jesus in a small church in the town of Lirey, one hundred miles southeast of Paris (Stevenson and Habermas, 14). The Shroud’s history prior to 1357 is less clear. There is reason to believe, though, that the Shroud may have been known at various times as the “image of Edessa”, the “Edessan image”,and the “Holy Mandylion” (Stevenson and Habermas, 17). In 525, the Mandylion cloth was found inside a wall niche in the Turkish city of Edessa (now Urfa). The cloth was taken to Constantinople where it was known as “the true likeness of Christ” (Stevenson and Habermas, 17). In 1204, the cloth disappeared from Constantinople after the city was attacked by Crusaders.

Interestingly, after the time of the cloth’s discovery in the sixth century, Christian art shifted in its characterization of Christ. Prior to that time, there were few similarities among various paintings of Jesus. Christ was painted as being beardless and short haired. Beginning in the sixth century, though, the majority of art characterized Jesus as having a beard with facial features similar to the image found on the Shroud. Thus, there is a possibility that artists used the Shroud as a model for their representations of Christ (Stevenson and Habermas, 16-17).

Prior to 525, a legendary history exists of the cloth dating back to shortly after the time of Christ. The story goes that a disciple (perhaps Jude, one of the Twelve) came to Edessa to heal Abgar V, a first-century ruler of Edessa who was stricken by leprosy. The ruler had written to Jesus while He was still alive and the Lord had promised to send a disciple to him. According to the account, Abgar was healed after seeing the cloth of Christ’s image and Christianity spread in Edessa as a result of the miracle.

There are questions regarding the location of the Cloth between the Mandylion’s disappearance in 1204 and the appearance of the Shroud in 1357. One theory is that the cloth was in the possession of the Knights Templars, a religious order that was charged with defending the “crusader territories” in the Holy Land. The Knights Templars possessed the power, strength, and religious ferver to defend the burial cloth from attacks during that time. So, it is natural to believe that they would have been the ones who would have been responsible for guarding it. Also, as part of their ceremonial rites, an image of God was displayed to the Knights in order for them to pay homage to it. When the Knights were finally displaced by King Philip of France in 1307, one of the men who was burned at the stake for his refusal to surrender was Geoffrey de Charnay, who had the same last name (spelling often varied) of the first owners of the Shroud, Geoffrey of Lirey.

In 1453, the House of Savoy took possession of the Shroud. Eventually, the King of Italy came from this family. The exiled King of Italy, Umberto II owns the Shroud, now. The Shroud was kept in a special chapel in Chambery, France where it was damaged in a fire that broke out in 1532. In 1578, the Shroud was moved to Turin, Italy, where it has remained, except for a six year period during World War II.

In 1898, Italian photographer, Secondo Pia, photographed the Shroud during an exhibit. It was during the development of his pictures that the photographer discovered that the figure on the Shroud is actually a negative image that can be seen clearly when viewed on film. Through the examination of the film it can be clearly seen that the figure on the Shroud appears to be the front and back of a man’s body who was crucified. The man appears to be 5 feet 11 inches tall, Hebrew, and approximately 30 – 35 years of age. He appears to wear his hair in a pigtail which would have been consistent with the manner in which a first century Hebrew man would have worn his hair.

Three of the pierce wounds found on the image on the Shroud are consistent with those of a man who was crucified. One pierce mark is visible on the left wrist which covers the right hand. There appears to be blood on the cloth that must have flowed from the hand wounds. There are also pierce marks on each heel where it appears that a single spike was driven to nail them together. In addition, there are between ninety and one hundred scourge wounds on the body which seem to indicate that the man was flogged severely. There is also a pierce mark on his side that matches the size of a wound that would have been made by a Roman lancia (spear). There are also multiple deep wounds all over the scalp of the man on the Shroud.

In 1978, the Shroud of Turin Research Project gathered a team of scientists in Turin, Italy for an in depth examination and analysis of the Shroud. From this study, they were able to determine that the stains found on the linen cloth were in fact blood. Official spokesman for the Shroud of Turin Research Project, Kenneth Stevenson, and Gary Habermas write:

Of particular interest is the fact that the wounds in their entirety exactly match the wounds Christ received as recorded in the gospels. More importantly, for scientific purposes, all of the wounds are anatomically correct to a surprising level of detail. They include such medically accurate facts as a characteristic “halo” around bloodstains suggesting the separation of blood and serum; flecking and rivulets true to blood flows in nature; and swelling of the abdomen that indicates asphyxiation, the usual cause of death in crucifixion. All of these medical facts, as well as others, were unknown in the fourteenth century.

In addition, the body seems to display indications that rigor mortis had set in but there are no signs of decay. This seems to indicate that the body exited the burial cloth shortly after being interred. What is additionally puzzling is that according to a scientific team pathologist, it does not appear that the body was unwrapped from the cloth since so many bloodstains were intact and un-wrapping it would have disrupted the bloodstains.

In addition, the scientists for the project found no evidence to support a conclusion that the image was the result of painting. There is no evidence to indicate that the image shows any form of pigmentation. In fact, the image on the linen is on the topmost part of the cloth. In other words, the image does not penetrate down through the thread of the cloth. An in depth analysis, in fact, confirmed the conclusions that Air Force scientists John Jackson and Eric Jumper reached in 1976 that the image is actually three dimensional.

In 1988, carbon dating testing was performed on a small piece of the shroud. After tests were analyzed for the material used, a carbon date of the middle-ages was determined. But in 2005, Raymond Rogers, a Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist, determined that the shroud sample used could not have been from the original cloth because it contained cotton. The Shroud had in fact been damaged in the fire of 1532. As a result, repairs had been done to part of the cloth. The cloth sample used for the 1988 Carbon 14 dating was from the repaired area which contained cotton (Raymond N. Rogers, “Scientific Method Applied to the Shroud of Turin: A Review”. [Online] Available: <> [November 30, 2009]). Therefore, the Carbon 14 dating showed a later date for the Shroud than the cloth from the other areas might have shown.

In fact, there is reason to believe that the Shroud is of first century middle-eastern origin. Gilbert Raes, a professor at the Ghent Institute of Textile Technology in Belgium inspected threads taken from the cloth in 1973. He concluded that the thread used was a type commonly used in the middle-east in the first century (Stevenson and Habermas, 27). In addition, in 1973, Swiss criminologist, Max Frei, examined cloth taken from the Shroud. He found pollen spores from thirty-three different plants found in the middle-east and Turkey on the cloth sample. Since the Shroud has remained in Europe since 1357, it is likely that its history included a stay in Palestine and Turkey before 1357. Given that the Mandylion was apparently originated in Palestine, with some time spent in Turkey and given that the Shroud’s history must by necessity have included stays in the middle-east and Turkey, it seems reasonable to conclude the Mandylion and the Shroud are in fact one and the same.

Even with the findings that have indicated a pre-1300 origin, there have been fraud claims launched against the Shroud. In October of 2009, Italian researcher, Professor Luigi Garlaschelli, claimed that he had successfully reproduced the Shroud image using art techniques that would have been possible in the medieval times. In doing this, he has claimed that the Shroud was a 14th century fake (Luigi Garlaschelli, “Shroud Reproduction” [Online] Available: <> [November 30, 2009]). But, French Shroud researcher, Dr. Thibault Heimburger, analyzed the composition of the materials and the appearance of the reproduction in comparison to the actual Shroud. He states that Garlaschelli’s reproduction is the closest in appearance to the Shroud of any he has seen. But, Heimburger states that the materials used to reproduce the image are “very far from the fundamental properties of the Shroud image” (Thibault Heimburger, “Comments About the Recent Experiment of Professor Luigi Garlaschelli” [Online] Available: <> [November 30, 2009]). He also states that the dry powder that was used to produce the image in the reproduction would have been lost in the process of all the rolling and folding of the Shroud over the years and there would not have been enough powder left to cause the chemical reactions between the acidic impurities and the cellulose that produced the color.

This recent attempt to reproduce the image on the Shroud artistically underscores some of the difficulties that must be overcome in claiming that it is the creation of an artist. First of all, the image on the cloth is in a negative form. Why would someone paint an image in a form that would show up better when viewed photographically? For that matter, how would someone in the first century or even the 14th century (when Jeanne de Virgy first exhibited “the Shroud”) possess the technology to paint it in a negative form? After all, the concept of negativity was not understood until photography was invented in the nineteenth century. As Habermas states: “It was almost ludicrous to suggest that a painter, depicting Jesus’ body as it might have appeared on his burial garment, would have chosen to do so with an artistry and detail that would have not been discovered for more than 500 years, until the invention of photographic process which his age knew nothing about.”

Also, there are some are basic things that the artist would not have known about. One is the location of the pierce mark on the wrist of the man on the Shroud. According to Habermas, if the artist had portrayed the wound location in the way that tradition and most artists illustrated, then it is more likely that he would have chosen the palm area instead of the wrist location for the pierce marks. In addition, it is unlikely that the artist would have known about the physical appearance of the extended abdomen which was caused by the medical condition of asphyxiation, the typical cause of death for the crucifixion victim.

Since the 1978 project, other scientists have closely examined the cloth samples to determine the origins of the image on the Shroud. The cause of the image on the Shroud is still unknown. There does not appear to be any indication that it was created by an artist, though. Both vermillion (a paint ingredient) and iron oxide are present on the cloth. But according to Dr. John Heller, Biophysicist and Professor of Internal Medicine at Yale, who examined the samples from the cloth, there is not enough of either to account for the image or the blood stains found on it (John H. Heller, Report on the Shroud of Turin (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1983), 193 – 94). In addition, no foreign substance found on the Shroud can account for the image on the cloth (Stevenson and Habermas, 144). Analysis done on the blood stains have shown that there is strong evidence to indicate that the blood was on the cloth before the image was made (Heller, 202 – 03).

In all, the physical appearance of the man on the Shroud matches exactly what we would expect Jesus to have looked like after being struck with fists and staffs, mockingly crowned with thorns, scourged, crucified to death, and speared (Matt. 26:67; 27:26, 30, 35; John 19:31 – 32, 34). Being a first century Jew He would have had long hair and a beard, like the man on the Shroud. Having been struck in the face and crowned with thorns, he would have been bruised and bloodied in His face and scalp, like the man on the Shroud. Also, having been scourged, crucified and speared in the side He would have had multiple wound marks all over His body and pierce marks in His wrists, feet and side, like the man on the Shroud. We have no way of knowing for sure if the Shroud is authentic, but given the fact that it has been proclaimed historically to be the burial cloth of Jesus since 1357 and more than likely the first century, it certainly seems likely that it is so. If it is authentic, then it would seem that the Resurrection event itself was the cause of the image being radiated or scorched onto the burial cloth of Jesus. Regardless, the truth of the facts of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection does not depend on the Shroud in any way. There is more than enough evidence already to say that it is reasonable to believe in Him.


Itching Ears Continue to Want to be Scratched


 By GF Herrin

People may ask me, “why do you think we are living in the End Times?” To that question, I must say that in addition to our living in a time where the nation of Israel has been re-formed and Jerusalem once again belongs to the Jews, we are also today seeing the fulfillment of specific Scripture that warns us of widespread apostasy within the church and false teachers who will tell people whatever they want to hear.

Paul writes, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Tim. 4:3-5).

We have seen this passage fulfilled directly through several mainline churches’ reluctance to take a stand against homosexuality and same sex marriage. In fact, apostate churches such as the United Church of Christ, who sued the state of North Carolina back in May to overturn the voter enacted law banning same sex marriage stand as a clear example of a church turning completely against God’s word, which commands Christians to stand for the truth:

“Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Tim 4:2).

In addition to denominations such as the Episcopal church, which was a forerunner in blessing homosexual couples and has openly encouraged pastors active in the lifestyle, groups such as the Metropolitan church have dis-regarded Scripture passages forbidding homosexuality (Rom. 1:26-28; 1 Cor. 6:9). Also, congregations such as the apostate Holy Trinity Lutheran church in Charlotte, who have actually celebrated the recent allowing of same sex marriage in North Carolina, have openly encouraged disobedience to Scripture, also, with their stance.

Why have many churches fallen away from standing for the truth of Scripture? There seems to be a couple of reasons. The prevailing attitude of churches that encourage homosexuality seems to be one that emphasizes grace over the Law. While it is true that the grace of God brought about man’s salvation from eternal damnation (God the Father was not obligated in any way to send His son, Jesus to die for sins), it does not provide believers a license to sin (see Rom. 6:1-2, 15-16; Gal. 5:13; Jude 4).

The other attitude seems to be one of thinking that homosexuals are born “that way” and that Scripture does not apply here. So, since certain people are born with an innate attraction to the same sex, it must be considered “OK” if they act on their impulses and engage in sexual activity with that one person that they are committed to. But is attraction to the same sex not unlike a heterosexual man who may be predisposed to enjoy the viewing pornography? After all, a man might feel a great sense of excitement and arousal when he views certain pictures or videos involving women in various stages of undress. Shouldn’t he then be allowed to act on how he feels in various ways? And what if he is attracted to young girls? Shouldn’t it be ok if he has sex with a young girl as long as he is committed to her?

It seems to be a slippery slope. Plus, (given the scriptural references where Jesus spoke out against sexual activity in a non-monogamous relationship – Matt. 5:27-28; Matt. 19:4-5) this attitude of since “I was born this way”, seems to me to be an idol that stands between a believer and God. If you say that Scripture does not apply here or it must have been wrong, how do you then differentiate between what is true in Scripture and what is not? Were Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Paul wrong when they wrote of Jesus’ dying on the cross for sinners? Were they wrong when they spoke of the literal physical Resurrection of Christ as a typology of all born again believers who have put their trust in Jesus for their resurrection in the age to come (John 3:3; 11:24; 1 Cor. 15:13-19)?

In a recent conversation with a celibate believer who had come out of the homosexual lifestyle to follow Christ, it was apparent that Christians must reason together and evangelize to all in a spirit of love and not condemnation. In speaking biblical truth we must point them to Christ. We also need to put homosexual acts in the category of yet another sin (see Rom. Chapter 1, and 1 Corinthians chapter 6 for many others) that must be repented from in order to be born again. Ultimately, the goals of the Christian life should be to glorify God, to live holy, and to live out God’s true purpose for our lives.

Historical References for the Resurrection and the Events of the New Testament

By GF Herrin

    It is part of human nature to want to possess concrete evidence in order to confirm historical events that have taken place in the past. Archaeology, in its own way, is like a picture in time of an event that occurred in the past. It is evidence that points to the validity of actual historical events that took place long ago.

Biblical archaeology provides evidence for facts that previously may have been believed to be unverifiable. Archaeological documents composed by non-Christians provide even more confirmation of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Christian apologist Josh McDowell states: “Archaeology does not prove the Bible is the word of God. All it can do is confirm the basic historicity or authenticity of a narrative. It can show that a certain incident fits into the time it purports to be from” (Josh McDowell, The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict, 370). While Archaeology does not prove that the Bible is the word of God, it does provide a picture of Jesus as a historical figure. And as the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

With this picture concept in mind, below are several ancient historical references that give us a clear confirmation of the Resurrection and the Events of the New Testament. It can be ascertained from these references that Jesus existed, He worked miracles, and He was believed to have been resurrected after being put to death by Pontius Pilate (Gary Habermas, The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ, 1996, 189 – 90; 195 – 96.). In addition, this documentation presents solid evidence that Jesus was already worshipped as God by the time of the first century. These unbiased historical references are important because they validate the New Testament as a reliable chronology of the life and mission of Jesus Christ and His early followers.

One of the earliest known references to Christ comes from the Jewish Pharisee historian, Flavius Josephus, who became a court historian for Emperor Vespasian in Rome after Jerusalem was destroyed by the Roman Army in AD 70. Josephus wrote several books detailing the history of the Jews. One of his works, Antiquities, describes events in Jerusalem during Pilate’s time as governor. This historical reference pre-dates other known Roman extra-biblical references to Jesus. In this passage written between AD 90 – 95, Josephus writes:

“Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, – a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was (the) Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named for him, are not extinct at this day” (Flavius Josephus, Antiquities 18.3. The Works of Flavius Josephus. trans. William Whiston).

We can discern the following important facts from the passage:

1) Jesus performed good works/miracles and was recognized as a virtuous man.

2) He had many followers comprised of both Jews and Gentiles.

3) He claimed to be and was recognized as the Messiah by some.

4) He was sentenced to die and was crucified by Pilate.

5) His disciples claimed that He was resurrected from the dead and that they had seen Him.

6) He was founder of the “tribe” of Believers who took His name.

Another Josephus passage from Antiquities refers to the event of the death of James, the brother of Jesus: “So he (Ananus) assembled the Sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others [or some of his companions]; and, when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned” (Josephus, 20:9). Clearly, in this passage there is the connection of James as a brother of Jesus. Also, there is a clear reference to Jesus being recognized as the Messiah.

The earliest known extra-biblical Gentile reference to Christ comes from the Roman historian, Cornelius Tacitus, (ca. AD 55 – 120), who lived through the reign of six emperors. Tacitus’ book, The Annals, which was written around AD 115, covers the period of Roman history from AD 14 to AD 68. Tacitus’ account describes the period during which Emperor Nero attempted to blame the great fire in Rome of AD 64 on the Christians (F. F. Bruce, Are the New Testament Documents Reliable?,1946,114).

Tacitus writes:
“Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures…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 one of our procurators, 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, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular” (Cornelius Tacitus, The Annals of Imperial Rome, trans. Michael Grant, 1973, 365).

This passage from Tacitus is important for a couple of reasons:

1) It provides early confirmation of the biblical reference that Jesus was put to death by Pontius Pilate (Matt. 27:26; Mark 15:15; Luke 23:24 – 25; John 19:16). Tacitus’ reference to “the extreme penalty” is a confirmation that Jesus paid for His “crime” by dying. That it is referred to as “the extreme penalty” could also confirm that Tacitus viewed crucifixion to be the most horrible form of capital punishment carried out by the Roman Empire (Gary Habermas and Michael Licona, The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus,2004, 49).

2) The passage provides early evidence (from a Gentile government official no less) in the belief in Jesus as Deity. The phrase “mischievous superstition” likely refers to the belief in Jesus as the Messiah/God– man.

A parallel account to the Tacitus reference is given by the Roman historian Gaius Seutonius Tranquillas, the general secretary for Emperor Hadrian (AD 117 – 138). Seutonius also refers to the great fire in Rome and the punishment inflicted on Christians by Nero. An earlier account by Seutonius during the time of the Emperor Claudius (AD 41 – 54) refers to the early Jewish Christians who were expelled from the city in AD 49. This ancient reference provides further evidence for an early belief in Christ. The account also serves as verification of the passage in Acts 18:2, which describes Aquila and Priscilla’s departure from Rome because of Claudius’ demand that all Jews leave the city.

Another early reference to Christians and the crucifixion of Jesus is from the second century Greek satirist, Lucian, who writes:

“The Christians, you know, worship a man to this day – the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account…You see, these misguided creatures start with the general conviction that they are immortal for all times, which explains the contempt of death and voluntary self-devotion which are so common among them; and then 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. All this they take quite on faith, with the result that they despise all worldly goods alike, regarding them merely as common property” (Lucian, The Works of Lucian, trans. A.M. Harmon, 2001, 11-13).

In this passage, we see historical confirmation that by the second century Jesus was commonly worshipped as God. Also, we see a reference to Jesus as a teacher who was crucified for the “rites” that He espoused. In addition, this passage provides confirmation in the early belief in life after death for believers who have put their trust in Christ. The passage also speaks of the early Christians’ identification as a unique family within itself and their collective denial of false gods.

Other secular passages that refer to the crucifixion, activities of early Christians or decrees or ordinances concerning them include references by Africanus, Pliny the Younger, and Emperors Trajan and Hadian. Altogether, these passages provide us with unbiased and reasonable historical proof that Jesus was who the Bible said He was. These passages also provide us information that is completely consistent with the teachings found in the New Testament.