When Abraham Lincoln famously told a crowd of supporters that “a house divided against itself cannot stand,” he didn’t mention that the popular phrase originated with Jesus.
There was, after all, no need. Lincoln was speaking to a largely Christian population that still knew its Bible. If Lincoln were giving the speech today, though, he’d likely have to explain himself. We’ve forgotten how the Bible has shaped our culture.
As trial attorney Daniel Buttafuoco asserts in a new book, Consider the Evidence, the Bible’s influence is reflected in our language — the phrases “wolf in sheep’s clothing,” “drop in the bucket” and “skin of your teeth” also originated in Scripture — but in more significant ways, too. Hospitals and orphanages had their origins among Bible-believing people. Some of the world’s greatest art and architecture did, as well.
But Buttafuoco’s goal isn’t simply to make us appreciate the Bible. He wants us to believe it.
Thus, Buttafuoco lays out the evidence for why the New Testament is trustworthy, Christianity is true, and Jesus literally rose from the dead. Of course, he does so in trial lawyer fashion by giving us five “exhibits” — A through E — but without the “gotcha” drama often seen in the courtroom.
Consider the Evidence is plain-language, laid-back apologetics for the average person. Buttafuoco even gives us an easy to understand definition for the term “apologetics.” It’s “the art and science of persuasion.”
“[I]f the Bible is not true, then it’s of zero importance. But, if the Bible is true, then it’s of monumental importance,” he writes. “… To paraphrase what C.S. Lewis said, ‘the only thing [the Bible] cannot be is moderately important.’” Ravi Zacharias, who has known Buttafuoco for two decades, wrote the foreword. The book, Zacharias says, is for the skeptic and the committed Christian alike.
Point by point, Buttafuoco makes the case for why the Bible can be believed. Scripture, Buttafuoco says, can be trusted because it is internally consistent.
“The 66 books of the Bible were written by approximately 40 separate authors from various walks of life,” he writes, noting it would be impossible to get so many people today to agree on a single subject. “… But, miraculously, although 40 different authors wrote it over a span of 1,500 years [from approximately 1,400 BC to 100 AD] the Bible agrees with itself.”
The Bible also is believable because of the manuscript evidence, he asserts.
“We have over 25,000 ancient manuscripts in a significant number of ancient languages,” he writes. The oldest have been dated to within decades of Christ’s resurrection.
To skeptics such as Bart Ehrman who wonder why God did not preserve the original manuscripts, Buttafuoco responds: “I suspect that if some person or group of people had these original texts, they would have made an idol out of the texts themselves.” God, Buttafuoco says, apparently had the original copies destroyed for our benefit.
To the skeptics who argue that Jesus never existed — yes, there are such people — Buffafuoco references extra-biblical evidence from Josephus and Tacitus, two first-century Romans who mentioned Christ in their own writings.
Archaeology, too, affirms Scripture, he says. Buttafuoco mentions the discoveries that affirmed the existence of Sargon, the king of Assyria; Caiaphas, the high priest; and Pontius Pilate, the prefect of Judea. “Skeptics used to say that there was no evidence of Pontius Pilate existing,” he writes.
Even “new” manuscripts and scrolls — that is, copies of Scripture that were not known to have existed — attest to the Bible’s consistency through the ages. One example of this is the Dead Sea Scrolls, which contained a complete copy of Isaiah that was 1,000 years older than our previous oldest copy. Guess what? “They opened it, unwrapped it, and found that it was nearly word-for-word identical” to what we already had.
The apostles’ testimony, Buttafuoco writes, would stand up as true in today’s courtrooms.
“The Apostles were eyewitnesses to the life, the ministry, the miracles, the trial, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus,” he writes. “They testified to this with great boldness in a hostile environment. [T]hey literally died getting that truth out there for all to hear. … This brutal cross-examination only solidified their testimony.”
We live in a culture that is naturally skeptical about everything — especially Scripture. Who can blame them? For more than fifty years out academia has claimed the Bible and Jesus are as big a fairytale as the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus. We live in what is identified as the most illiterate biblical time in our nation’s history. And although your local bookstore may have dozens of books about apologetics, most of them are not accessible by the layperson. That’s the void Consider the Evidence fills. It’s apologetics for the person in the pew who has an atheist neighbor asking tough, probing questions. Daniel Buttafuoco’s new book gives believers the answers they need to have a thoughtful, fact-based, grace-filled conversation.
He is to be commended. This work pushes the factual claims of the Bible and Jesus Christ. With the lefts persecution of Christianity and academia once again calling for the death of God a nation whose history and founding was based in Christianity needs its people to once again embrace biblical truths. During every national crisis, our nation has faced it had been faith that has bridged the gap. There has been no better time for a book to bolster the truths that faith was founded on them now.
Greg Young is the host of a nationally syndicated radio show, Chosen Generation Radio.