19 August 2016

Corroboration: Watergate, Rio Olympics Ryan Lochte, and the Bible?


The scandal of American Olympian Ryan Lochte is now becoming clearer. Last week we heard his story of being robbed at gun point and then within a day the IOC said the story was fabricated. Then the American press took on the IOC, and we here in Australia wondered what was the truth. Now with some serious discrediting by his co-conspirators, Lochte stands alone with the story, which now is proven to be a lie. He was not held up by gunmen. He was not robbed. The story is worse than a fable; it's a lie.

Shame.

This morning I reread the startling and detailed tale of Charles Colson, known as the Hatchet Man in the White House of Richard Nixon. His story, Born Again, chronicles the inside of the Nixon years like no other ever did. Colson was among other powerful men like Haldeman, Kissinger, Haig, and so many of whom Colson says they were "the 12 most powerful men in the world" at the time. They couldn't keep up the lies of not being involved in the Watergate scandal for even three weeks once the Washington Post reporters, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, let the news story out in 1973. Truth has a way of needing to be corroborated and in the modern era we have more and more methods of verification.

In fact, as a result of what happened to Colson in meeting with various Christian men and reading C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity, and his eventual born-again experience, Colson testified about the central tenet of Christianity, the resurrection. "“I know the resurrection is a fact, and Watergate proved it to me. How? Because 12 men testified they had seen Jesus raised from the dead, then they proclaimed that truth for 40 years, never once denying it. Every one was beaten, tortured, stoned and put in prison. They would not have endured that if it weren't true. Watergate embroiled 12 of the most powerful men in the world-and they couldn't keep a lie for three weeks. You're telling me 12 apostles could keep a lie for 40 years? Absolutely impossible.”

If a story can be fabricated, and others are willingly partners in the delusion, it's only a matter of time before the truth will come out. The story is told of four university students who were scheduled to sit their final examination for their course. On the morning of the exam, the professor noted that these four young men who were often seen together, were not present for the exam. Finally, just before the end of the allotted time, the young men arrived. One told the professor, "We're sorry, but on our way to the class, our car had a flat tyre and we had to change it. Please excuse us and we will take the test next week." The professor said calmly, "No need for that. Just take this exam which I will write for you just now. It won't take long, and you will be on your way." The boys quickly agreed.

The professor wrote one question on each of four pieces of paper. He assigned the boys to go to the four corners of the auditorium before they opened their exam. They happily complied. Then they sat and opened their paper. They were shocked and knew that they were in trouble. Why? Each student had one question on the single sheet of paper.

Which tyre blew out?

The professor knew that truth stories can always be corroborated. And he knew that lies will always be exposed when shown in the light. The boys were caught out and exposed as liars. They failed not only the exam but also the class. Shame.

Which makes the Colson quote so significant. The twelve apostles in the Newer Testament not only preached about Yeshua; they lived and died for Him as well. They had seen and heard something that changed their lives. And the truths of that Messiah they followed was enough for them, for each of them, separately and together, to proclaim His love and endure harsh treatment for that proclamation.

I believe the Bible because it is corroborated by history and by itself and by those who choose to follow it and live it in their lives. Enough people would have been around after the supposed death and resurrection of this Jesus (Yeshua) that had he then appeared in the Galilee or in Jerusalem or Iran or Egypt or wherever, there would have been such a scandal that the entire Newer Testament would have been shown to be a hoax. If someone had discovered the physical body of Jesus long after his alleged resurrection, then the most significant piece of evidence on which the Gospel (Besorah Tovah) of the claims of His followers, would have been a lie, and thus the entire claim of His person and His Messiah-ship would have been invalidated.

But He didn't show up in Lebanon. He didn't show up in another morgue. The body of Yeshua was actually brutalised, then buried, and then rose from the dead. His followers who cowered in fear because of His trial, arrest, and execution, became men of great bravery and fortitude. Why? Because of a fable or hoax? No. Because they saw Him alive and well after they saw Him die. They ate with Him. Then they saw Him ascend in bodily form into the heights of the heavens. The story is not invented. It's told and retold, it's corroborated. And that's how truth is verified.

What about you? What do you think of the story of Yeshua? Have you read it? Have you considered the truth claims in it? How else will you decide on its veracity? Truth be told.

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