What on earth does The Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the very early 2nd Century Church Father Irenaeus have in common with General William Tecumseh Sherman and me?


There lies a Common Timeline of highly charged events that were Predominantly Recorded by the Victims, Eyewitnesses, and other Persons of Interest closest to the events, including local points of minutiae otherwise unknown to most outsiders that would have been lost to history.

Let me explain.

In the movie, The Patriot, Mel Gibson’s character Benjamin Martin, a composite figure which includes Francis Marion known as The Swamp Fox, goes out militia recruiting with a French soldier. They draw into a local pub of sorts and want to know if it’s a good stop for recruitment. Martin yells out over the commotion, “God save King George!” The place then goes silent, a lot of guns are cocked, a fiery rabble becomes stern and steely eyed, and the then the whole place erupts with them being run out in great haste.

In my birthplace of Bulloch County, GA, you will get the same response if you mention one word: Sherman. I am convinced that if you have family that can be traced to Sherman’s March to the Sea, then you probably have an anti-Sherman gene in your DNA. I have it myself.

My Yankee comrades could never figure out why we were so passionate about the War Between the Stares and why we were ready to fight it over again when they would bring up their “hero” who “put us in our place.” Sherman. At the sound of his name, glasses drop, ears pin back, and a long deep breath is drawn in so that he can be spat out yet again from the deep parts of the heart and mind. There might be a lot of Shermans out there, but I only know one: the passionate union zealot who raped the countryside from one end to the other.

My grandfather was born in 1927, so some of the younger generation that lived during the War of Northern Aggression would have still been alive when he was about ten years old. Many in my family lived to a great old age, so it was not surprising to hear such accounts only one generation removed from the harrowing events themselves. I have vivid memories of his recounting them to me when I was a child, especially the passion with which he told the accounts of what the looters, burners, and pillages did to common small homesteads.

Interestingly, a good number of these accounts were recorded by those who went through the events giving interesting detail about times and places that have been lost to history or since become a ruin and destroyed with the passing of time. You won’t find these harrowing first hand accounts written by the union soldiers (or very few in comparison), but even my Yankee friends don’t doubt theses specific local accounts.

Why not?

Maybe they are all fabricated. Maybe these homesteads in Bulloch County were bypassed, and they just wanted some street credibility as fellow victims. After all, the Union soldiers that ravaged the area don’t give detail about such locally defined areas. It must be made up because all you have left in the record books are mostly one-sided accounts left by the victims.

On the contrary, it is common in history to have those closest to the accounts, especially those most affected by the outcome to not only remember the events but also to be the ones to record them. A very famous case of great antiquity which virtually no one doubts was that of Plato writing about the trial against his Teacher Socrates. If you want to know what happened, this is your source. The are no originals, which is common of any ancient piece of extensive writing. We only have a few copies removed by over a thousand years!

Now to the New Testament.

The early Church Father Irenaeus was likely born around AD 125 and studied under Polycarp, the famous martyr who was a disciple of one of the original Apostles, John. This is a very close history timeline collapse. Just as I heard one generation removed accounts of Sherman, he would have heard one generation removed accounts of The Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Bah humbug you say! Iraenaus died around 200AD, and oldest copies of his works are several hundred years later! Those fake bigoted monks are at work again and have done a mind blowing job of creating a giant consistent paper trail across vast regions and epochs of time while being separated from each other as they used telepathy to communicate with each other to keep the rouse consistent, especially when they had zero or very limited access to each other’s libraries as the centuries piled up. Well, that’s what you have to believe is it not?

But wait, there is more here than meets the eye. You can tell quite a bit from an internal evaluation of a text as to its original date written and who affected its contents. The Gospel of John is a strong statement against a heresy that crept up known as Gnosticism. Interestingly, we should not be surprised when we find that, Irenaeus, the Disciple of Polycarp, the Disciple of John, wrote extensively against the intricacies of Gnosticism. It is actually from Irenaeus that we find out how the whole Gnostic system worked as it interacted with the Bible. His “Against Heresies” is an incredible read that I commend to anyone.

From the recorded time of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ to the time of Irenaeus’ discipleship by Polycarp was about 110-115 years, and from the time that Sherman marched through my birthplace up to my 10th birthday was about 125 years. My timeline is a bit longer, but this makes my point with regards to the credibility of the New Testament documents being penned very early on, of which we now have papyrus well before the very thought of Constantine. This is in stark contrast to the skeptical mantra that the New Testament was fabricated by a bunch of bigoted zealous monks around the time of Constantine some 300 years or so after the time of Christ’s recorded death and resurrection.

I always find it amusing to read 19th critiques by 21st century novice skeptics who have read a little here and there and simply parrot old tired arguments that have been refuted by 20th century archaeological discoveries. For example, there was once a strong push deny the man Jesus but then that was too much to press. Then there was the push to claim a very recent date of the New Testament manuscripts, but then that was too much to push. On top of that, the Hebrew Masoretic text was claimed to be bogus until the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls collapsed time by over a thousand years. Then it was said that Isaiah was made up, but now we seem to have located items with his name on it DURING the time of the great King Hezekiah collapsing that by some six or seven hundred years from the great Isaiah Scroll, one of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

I might add that the New Testament, especially Luke and Acts (written by Luke as well) is filled with immense historical detail of places, dates, and times that would have been lost to history rather quickly without such things being written down at the time. Many of these have been vindicated through 20th century archaeological discovery.

One final thing…The reason we have a wide open field of study called New Testament textual criticism is because we have so many early manuscripts. Next to Worldview and Apologetics, original language work and textual criticism is my personal favorite field of study. You won’t see very much cross comparison on most other renowned ancient documents because there are so few. It was very expensive and time consuming to even have documents before the printing press and internet, especially if it was a long document, so just to posses a few parchments was a big deal.

As for the Bible, they hated it, mocked it, and feared it, so they stomped on it, shredded it, beat it, and burned it, yet it grew in number. To the skeptic, this is just a very rare case of tremendous coincidental luck, but to the believer it is obvious Special Providential Preservation of His Divinely Inspired Inerrant Authoritative Sufficient Word. All other bits and pieces from other existing ancient pagan documents around the world are just interesting news to note to Him Who did not concern Himself as much with their preservation.

Be encouraged therefore ye faithful, and repent ye skeptic.

Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, “We will hear you again about this.” – Acts 17:32
So Paul went out from their midst. – Acts 17:33
But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them. – Acts 17:34