the Church TrustworthySome claim that using the Scripture to witness to the authority of the Church, and using the Church to witness to the authority of Scripture, is a circular argument. It is not. It is a spiral. To begin with, assume neither is trustworthy.
- It is the case that an historical person named Jesus existed. No contemporary writers deny his existence, many affirm it.
- We know what he taught from the evidence of witnesses. Some of this evidence is in a book called Scripture, but some is not part of that book.
- Jesus apparently claimed he would be raised from the dead. His followers claim he was raised from the dead. This doesn't mean he was.
- His followers were so adamant he had been raised from the dead they willingly suffered torture and death rather than recant.
- The form of death everyone agrees he underwent was extremely public, and Jesus was known to be a widely recognized person. It is highly unlikely that his enemies would have allowed the wrong man to be killed. The form of death (crucifixion) was such that it is extremely unlikely that he could have faked it. The Romans tended to be quite good at killing their man. Thus, Jesus almost certainly did die on the cross.
- Did He rise from the dead? It is extremely unusual for literally hundreds of people to stick to a story that is false, especially when they are not only threatened with death, but know death is a definite fact awaiting them because of the story they are telling. We have a very high probability that Jesus was crucified, and a very high probability that the witnesses saw what they said they saw. The Resurrection probably happened - that is, what he claimed would happen came true.
- This Jesus person claimed to establish a church. We have historical evidence of a church. Tacitus, Josephus, Seutonius, and Pliny the Younger all vouch for the existence of Christ and his Church. The last, writing at the beginning of the second century, even mentioned that the Christians thought the bread and wine becomes the body and blood of God. We can show a line of unbroken succession of leaders of this church and people in this church. We have a high probability that these events happened - the only evidence against is incredulity.
- The Church witnesses which ancient books are the most trustworthy (i.e., Scripture). Christ said the Church was a good witness.