The New Testament writers conspired together
to gain power and influence
It is certainly
possible that the New Testament writers worked together and
concocted a plan to use a good man named Jesus, who had recently
died, in order to gain power and influence for themselves. But just
because something is possible does not mean that it is a reality. It
is possible that there is an ice cream factory on Jupiter, but that
does not mean that one exists. When we look at the New Testament
claims of Christ do we see what looks like an elaborate deception
concocted by several people? Or do we see that their behavior is
more consistent with the idea that Jesus actually did do miracles
and rise from the dead? It is the latter explanation that best fits
Following is a list of reasons why the conspiracy theory does
It would require
great coordination of events and writing over a long period of time.
First of all, in
order for this conspiracy to work several people would have needed
to get together and write documents that were not only inspirational
but reflected accurate historical accounts, could stand up to cross
examination, and agreed with each other sufficiently to avoid being
exposed as a fraud. After all, if their stories and writings were
contradictory, their conspiracy would fall apart. This means that
there had to be large and sophisticated collusion and careful,
deliberate fabrication over a long period of time since the New
Testament documents were written over approximately a 50 year span.
The writers would have to be very careful about who was named and
what places were mentioned. Why? Because the accounts dealt with
actual places and people and they would have to make sure it was all
If these people wanted to gain power and influence by
concocting a plan as grandiose as this, is it logical to say that
they agreed to make up a story about this person Jesus, who was
known to many people, and say things about Him that were not true,
and then get people to believe that He had risen from the dead?
Does it make sense that they would go against not only the Jewish
system but also that of the Roman Empire, all so that they could try
and gain power and influence in an area already dominated by two
powerful cultures, the Jewish and Roman? Or is it more logical to
say that they didn't conspire to deceive, but simply wrote and
testified to what they saw? Doesn't it make more sense to say that
they wrote what they knew, recorded the facts, the places, and the
events and that it was all true and that that explains the New
Testament documents better than anything else?
It would mean that
the NT writers wrote about truth based on a lie
of the New Testament used the words "true" and "truth" 170 times.
They lived for the truth of what they believed and they died for it
as well. They wrote about truth (Rom.
4:2), honesty (Luke
8:15), love (1
Cor. 13:4-8), integrity (2
Cor. 7:2), compassion (Col.
3:12), forgiveness (Col.
3:13), etc., and it was all based
upon their love for and dedication to the truth of Jesus. They
spoke against hypocrisy (Rom.
12:9), lying (Col.
3:9), jealousy (James
3:13), and selfish ambition (James
3:16). In fact, they lived
according to their words. Does it really make sense to say that the
NT writers deliberately conspired to misrepresent the truth and then
go to great depths, even to suffer beatings and death, all while
they were continuously telling people to believe in a lie? Add to
this how they knew they would be persecuted for this alleged
conspiracy of lies and we have serious problems explaining their
behavior. It would make far more sense to simply acknowledge that
they were telling the truth and that it was not a conspiracy to
It would mean that
the conspiracy would have to survive cross examination
conspiracy to work, it would have to face cross examination.
Remember, the gospels were written as historical documents
mentioning places, people, and events. There certainly were many
people who were still alive and who could verify and/or deny the
miraculous events concerning Jesus. If you want to make a
conspiracy work, you don't offer verifiable facts. Instead, you
make up stories that cannot be verified but sound good. This is
what Joseph Smith did when he began Mormonism. Nothing of his great
cities and civilizations in the Book of Mormon have been verified
since 1830 when he published his book of
Smith's religion isn't based on historical fact with verifiable
locations and events. Instead, it is based on a story that cannot
be verified. This is not the case with the New Testament books.
The Gospels contained records of Jesus performing many miracles and
eventually rising from the dead in Jerusalem. He was crucified at
the hands of the Romans who were urged by the Jewish Sanhedrin. This
was verifiable at the time especially since names and places are
listed in the gospels and epistles. All anyone would have to do is
contact those people (or check the court records) and go to those
places to verify the accounts.
If it was all a conspiracy, then where are the contradictory
accounts refuting what the New Testament writers claimed? The
problem is that there are no contradictory documents known anywhere
that attempt to refute the claims recorded in the Gospels. In other
words, there is no contradictory evidence even though there were
plenty of people around who could have written material contrary to
the claims of the New Testament. After all, Pontius Pilate was named
27:2), as was Herod, king of Judea
1:5), the high priest Caiaphas (Matt.
26:3), Elizabeth (Luke
1:57), Mary (Matt.
1:25), John the Baptist (Matt.
3:1), Paul the apostle a convert
from Judaism (Acts
9), etc. Locations were cited:
9:10), Cyprus and Cyrene (Acts
11:20), Jerusalem (Matt.
16:21), etc. Also, claims of Old
Testament prophetic fulfillment were made (see
Bible, and Jesus) and all people
had to do was read the Old Testament to check. In other words,
there were plenty of people, most of whom were still alive, and
places to go to and check in order to expose the conspiracy. But we
find no contrary evidence or writings concerning the miraculous
events of Jesus life, death, and resurrection.
If there is no contrary evidence, no contrary writings, then
does it make sense that it was all a conspiracy? Of course not. If
it was a conspiracy, then where is the evidence for it?
It would mean the
conspirators would have to face persecution
if the writers of the New Testament documents wanted to gain power
and influence by writing about a new religious system that would go
against the culture of Judaism as well as that of the Roman Empire,
they most assuredly knew they would face persecution. We have to
remember that the culture of the time was not beset with litigation
and polite procedures. People often reacted irrationally and would
spontaneously try to kill people (John
8:59). It also means that those
who wrote the New Testament faced certain social, economic, and
In the Jewish culture the religion was intimately interwoven
into the social and economic fabric. Anyone who would go against
that system would knowingly risk starvation, mockery, beatings,
ridicule, loss of family and friends, etc. This is not something to
be considered lightly. Perhaps a single demented individual might
consider doing such a thing, but how is it possible to get Matthew,
Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, James, Jude, Timothy, Apollos, etc.
to all join in the charade, risk loss of family, reputation,
economic stability, be persecuted and maybe even face death? Is
this something that is rational to consider? Should we believe that
they were all working together to deceive people so they could gain
power, fame, and influence? It is simply extremely unlikely and
full of problems as a theory.
It would have to
explain Paul's Conversion
How did the
Christian conspirators persuade Paul who was a devout Jew, educated
in Jerusalem at the school of Gamaliel, (Acts
22:3), a Pharisee of Pharisees (Acts
22:3), and who was given letters of
authority by the Jews to go out and arrest Christians (Acts
9:1-2), to become a Christian and
thereby give up everything he had come to believe and stand for?
Remember, Paul was a heavy persecutor of Christianity: "And Saul
was in hearty agreement with putting him [Stephen] to death. And on
that day a great persecution arose against the church in Jerusalem;
and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and
Samaria, except the apostles," (Acts
The most logical reason for Paul's conversion is that Jesus
actually appeared to him on the Road to Damascus in
It would take something pretty severe to cause Paul to abandon
everything he had been taught his whole life and to not only
convert, but to also advocate, and teach about the risen Lord Jesus
-- and he did this for years before he was finally killed for his
faith. So, how would the conspiracy theory account for Paul's
incredible conversion and life long pursuit of proclaiming Jesus as
Lord and Savior? If an adequately plausible explanation cannot be
offered, then the simplest one is best; namely, that Jesus appeared
to Paul on the road to Damascus and Paul was then converted.
There is a
principle known as Occam's Razor. This principle states that
generally the simplest explanation is the best. When we examine the
facts about the New Testament claims is it simpler to say that the
New Testament writers conspired over many decades to write about
actual places and people in such a way so as to convincingly deceive
thousands of people into believing that Jesus was the Messiah,
fulfilled Old Testament prophecy, healed the sick, cured diseases,
claimed to be divine, raised Lazarus from the dead, was crucified by
Romans after enduring the religious court of the Sanhedrin, was
buried, and rose from the dead or that it simply all happened and
they recorded it? Which is the simpler explanation? Which requires
Did the conspirators
get what they were after?
Finally, if power
and influence were sought by the New Testament writers, did they
attain it? At best, what they have gained by such an elaborate hoax
would have been influence in a small group of people who were
outcasts in Israel as well as Rome. Remember, to get followers into
Christianity meant that you went against not only the Jewish system
but also the Roman system, not to mention being able to concoct a
story that could stand scrutiny. Obviously the odds are extremely
against such a thing.
Did they get what they were after? They were outcasts in their
own society. They were beaten, ridiculed, accused of debauchery,
jailed, beaten, and executed. If it was all a conspiracy, did they
get the influence and power they were after? It doesn't seem so.
Instead, it simply makes more sense to believe the New Testament
than to say it was all a hoax.
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