Editor, the Times:
Mr. Lanning seems to be making the remarkable claim that because we do not have the original manuscripts, we therefore cannot trust the Bible.
Whilst I can agree with the premise of his argument and many of the points made therein, his conclusion is ignoratio elenchi, meaning it does not address the question at hand.
Christians claim that the Bible is the word of God.
But how can such a claim be verified? If the Bible was the word of God, then certain things would have to be true about it:
It would claim to be the word of God. It would be historically accurate when it addresses historical matters.
The authors would have to be trustworthy. It would be thematically unified and without contradictions.
We have to receive accurate copies of the original manuscripts. It would make statements that would reveal knowledge about the way things work beyond the knowledge of its day. It would be prophetic.
The message would be unique. The words would have a transforming power.
I would argue that the Bible has each of these characteristics which distinguish it from all other book in a way that cannot be counterfeited.
Mr. Lanning finished by making a remark about Plato. With Plato's work there is a 1,300-year gap between the time that his works were written and the earliest copies we have.
Our universities have no problem in trusting the works of Plato, so why should we have a problem the reliability of the Bible?
The New Testament documents are better preserved and more numerous (over 5,000 copies) than any other ancient writing.
Because they are so numerous, they can be crosschecked for accuracy . . . and they are very consistent.
The message of the Bible is unique and there is no other book like it, crack it open and read the message of the gospel, which has the power to save.
Joseph Shelton-Green Dewdney