Question: Recently some of the relics of St. Nicholas were brought to Russia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Nicholas). Thousands of the faithful lined up in a kilometer-long queue to kiss them and kneel before them. How should we react to this tradition to worship the relics, because it looks to be clearly idolatry?   Do you know how the […]

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Question: A couple of months ago, I had a keen interest in the Gnostic Christian writings. Many of them sounded weird but some really did catch my interest.  Those that caught my interest include the “Protoevagelion of James”, “Arabic Infancy Gospel”, “Acts of Thomas” and “Gospel of Nicodemus”. Now let me tell you why.  The Protoevangelion […]

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Question: I was wondering what is the scholarly consensus and textual reliability regarding St. Cyprian’s Unity of the Church as well as the majority of the early church fathers, thanks. Answer: The reliability of the writings of the “Church Fathers” varies widely.  For example, the First Letter of Clement of Rome is considered by most […]

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Question: When was Paul killed? I’ve heard one person say AD 64 and someone else say AD 67. Also why was he killed? Answer: Here is the simple answer.  No one knows.  There are two general opinions, as you have heard.  One is that his imprisonment in Rome, as described by Luke, led to his […]

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Question: What is your response to Robert Eisenman’s theories on the Dead Sea scrolls and New Testament?  He states that James is the teacher of righteous and the true leader of the church instead of Peter while Paul is the man of lies and tried to corrupt the Church from within. He also states that […]

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[Editor’s note: this question is coming from a Christian in a Muslim country who is answering criticism from Muslims who claim the New Testament has been corrupted] Question: Please, I have questions about the time of writing of the gospels.  The first source outside the New Testament that quoted from the gospels is Clement of […]

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Question: What is your response to the claim in the Clementine Homilies stating that there are falsehoods in scripture and that the Bible was written to try us and test our faith. Apparently it was Peter who told Clement that. Also Simon was used as an alias for Paul in the Clementine Homilies, and in […]

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Question: Should I have faith in the canonical Bible being reliable and inspired because of those who established it back then, or should I mix this with trying to see the biblical evidence for myself? It is tempting to want to find all the evidence myself, as if I am the one who determines what […]

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Question: I’d like to ask a question.  It’s about the book of Revelation.  I read that the book of Revelation wasn’t accepted until now in the Syriac Orthodox Church… Is that right???  In addition, is there another difference between churches about the canonicity of the books of the New Testament today?  Another question, Why were […]

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Question/Comments: Why are you misinforming the public about the Holy Catholic Church? I see that you state priests wearing vestments is unbiblical?  How wrong you are. God commanded they be used in the Old testament. ‘For your brother Aaron you will make SACRED VESTMENTS to give dignity and magnificence…they will use gold and violet material […]

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Questions: If the Passover of the New Covenant (Jesus flesh and blood) is the only way to receive forgiveness of sins, then why did the Council of Nicaea remove this important teaching in AD 325? If the Passover of the New Covenant (Jesus flesh and blood) is the only way to receive forgiveness of sins, then […]

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Question: What is your impression of the excavation of Christ’s tomb going on right now? Answer: No one knows exactly where Jesus’ tomb was, although archaeologists and Bible scholars have a general idea where to look.  Besides, he was only there for three days and surely there would be no physical remains from his stay […]

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Question: How can I decide if a particular writing by one of the church fathers is authentic?  I’m asking this question because critics [editor’s note: he is talking about Muslim critics of Christianity] criticize any writing, not only Irenaeus.  They say, for example, that we don’t know who wrote the writings of Justin Martyr, Origen… […]

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[Editor’s note: This question is coming from a believer who lives in the Middle East and is clearly receiving a lot of attacking questions from his Muslim friends.  They are using rhetoric, false dilemmas and other logical fallacies to try to prove that the Bible is corrupt.  This will explain why I get a bit […]

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[Editor’s Note:  This is two different but similar questions from the same person, so I am joining them as one article.  These questions concern letters from the church “Fathers” of the late first and the second century AD which help to inform us how the early church lived and what they taught.] Question: I’d like […]

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Question: What is the evidence that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John really wrote the four gospels? I have searched and found that the oldest man (whose writings are available now) who said that the four gospels were written by these four men was Irenaeus.  Irenaeus said that about 180 AD about a century after the […]

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[Editor’s note: This question is more personal than we normally post, but the person raises important questions so we are posting it, hoping that noone will be offended] Question: My question is why did you say that the Holy Catholic Church is “corrupt?” How is the Church, who brought the Holy Bible to the world, “corrupt?  The […]

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Question: I was reading on your website an article about Nimrod and any evidence for Nimrod. I would like to take it a step farther. What if Sargon of Akkad was actually Moses?  What if the Enuma Elish which talks about Apsu the fresh pure water god and Tiamat who was the bitter salty water […]

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Question: Hey Dr. Oakes, I’ve got a friend that is trying to communicate with me about Oneness Theology as opposed to the doctrine of the Trinity. Even as he was attempting to explain it to me, I am having a difficult time understanding the differences. What is the difference between the two? What do you […]

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Question: Where does the gnostic belief that the Old Testament God is the Demiurge and not the true creator come from?  Also, where did the belief in archons tricking people into being reincarnated at death come from?  I’ve been reading some material about this and it has troubled me.  What is the evidence against these […]

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Question: There is a substantial amount of extra-biblical material written by historians that lived within a couple generations of Christ’s ministry supporting His existence, His status as a well-known miracle worker, and His crucifixion (Josephus, Tacitus, Seutonius, Pliny the Younger, Philo, as well as mention in much later editions to the Talmud). However, there is […]

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Question: I am intrigued by your take on early Christianity and how you believe the Catholic Church can trace its history back to the 1st century AD, yet don’t believe it’s the one true church. If the RCC was founded in the first century AD and was originally the one true church, but then went […]

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[editor’s note: The person sending this comment included a document claiming that the NIV (and presumably nearly all other translations) have omitted major portions of the New Testament, including John 5:4, Acts 8:37, Acts 15:34, Matthew 17:21, Matthew 23:14, Acts 24:7 and several others.] Comment: As I dug deeper into your site I had to […]

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[Editor’s note: This is a series of three related questions about the teachings of the very early church leaders, including on baptismal regeneration. Question: How much weight should be given to the early church fathers’ theological positions? Answer: The simple answer is that their theological position should be given zero weight.  When Irenaeus or Polycarp […]

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Question: I live in India where 80% are Hindus and believe in reincarnation. I don’t believe in it but yesterday I checked out a website that has testimonies regarding Near to Death experiences. Some of them have seen Jesus after their death and he told them either to go back or reincarnate to a new […]

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Question: Jesus is the pillar of Christian faith, I want to know, what are some evidences that show that he existed and not just fabricated? Answer: It has been argued that hardly anyone in the ancient world is more well attested to than Jesus of Nazareth. Within one hundred years of his life, at least […]

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[editor’s note: This is a follow-up question from last week.  The original question is below to give context to the concern of the questioner. As you read the question, bear in mind it is a follow-up to the original question, which is if Luke grossly exaggerated the number of converts in Jerusalem in the Book […]

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Question: Dr. Oakes, I am reading a book for one of my classes called “the rise of Christianity” and the author makes a point that if the early church had well over 3,000 adherents then a significant of the population in Jerusalem would have been Christian. He claims that there is no evidence of this […]

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Question: Is Foxe’s book called Foxe’s Book of Martyrs historically and biblically accurate? I was interested in purchasing it, and wanted to know what you thought about it. Answer: Foxe’s book of martyrs is mostly accurate, but it is extremely biased against the Catholic Church.  The coverage of them martyrdoms in the early Church is generally good. […]

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Question: First of all I would like to thank you for all the teaching you have available on your website.  As a new believer, it has helped me tremendously to better understand the Bible and strengthen my faith.  I do have one question (well have many more, but start with this one).  In one of […]

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Question: Hello Dr Oakes. I am taking an early Judaism and Christianity course in university and I have a question about the Bible.  My teacher is very critical towards the New Testament writers and writings (as most are in the department of religion) and he told us in class the other day that the first […]

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Comment: I’ve been reading your book “Daniel: A Prophet to the Nations” and I’ve been very inspired and overwhelmed by the very specific prophecies. I’m thankful for how God is using you to reveal his word to others. So suffice it to say, while I have a problem with your response to Daniel 11:36-45 my […]

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Question: Parchment 470–a Catholic writing from 250 AD that says they worshipped Mary in the early Christian church..this is from a Catholic scholar’s site from Canterbury England, I should have written down his name but I forgot to….he is trying to win Protestants to his Catholic faith. Answer: It is true that there is a […]

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Question: How does the view on suffering in Christianity differ from other religions?   Does Christianity have a better answer? Answer: A great question.  Before I describe the different worldviews and their view of suffering, let me note that individuals may not act according to the worldview that they appear to believe in.  Although atheists, […]

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[Editor’s Note:    I recently answered a question about R. G. Price but, not knowing his middle name, thought the question was about a different critic of Christianity named Robert Price.  Interestingly, the positions of the Robert Price and of R. G. Price are actually fairly similar.  Nevertheless, I am a bit embarrassed and apologize […]

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Question: I have a question regarding the disputed texts in the Bible i.e. the Adultery Pericope, the extended ending of Mark 16 and the Comma Johanneum. I’ve encountered some Muslims who try using these disputed texts in the Bible to prove that the Bible has been corrupted. While I’m aware that there is overwhelming consensus […]

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Question: Do critics have a case for the allegation that since Jesus’ life and events were recorded way after his actual death that they cannot truly reflect his image and deeds during his life? Are there any other examples of historical texts that were recorded 20 to 40 years after the fact? Is the reason […]

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Question: Does 1 Corinthians 12:28 and Ephesians 4:11-12 imply that the church should be led by apostles only? What bearing do these scriptures have on the church today and it’s leadership? Answer: To be honest, I do not see where you could get the idea that the church should be led by apostles only from […]

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Question:  Is there historical evidence that the apostle Paul was a real person?  Posted on May 12, 2013 by John Oakes wrote in Church History, General, Questions and Answers, Reliability of the Bible.   You gave no evidence for Paul being a real person.  I’ve searched and have yet to find any historical information outside of […]

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Question: Why does the church follow the doctrine of the divine right of kings, in this country (USA) ?   The founding fathers established a government based on limited government and a free market economy.   Did the first century church believe in no king but king Jesus ? [editor’s note: This question included a […]

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Question: In the works of Celsus recorded by Origen, Celsus tells of a Jew he obtained certain information from concerning the possibility that Mary was impregnated by a solider named Panthera. In addition the Talmud records an individual named Jesus ben Pandera or Pandira. Does this affirm that the Jews knew who Jesus’ biological father […]

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Question: A religious friend of mine shared this with me. Basically a “theologian” friend of hers wrote it showing “support” for Jesus actually being born on December 25th. “Why do we celebrate the birth of Christ on December 25th?  Dec. 25 was chosen because the 25th of the 12th month (Chislev) is the first day of […]

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Question: Does the account of the Last Supper as a Passover meal indicate biblical errors and historical unreliability? 1. Matthew 26:17-30, Mark 14:12-26, and Luke 22:7-38 call the Last Supper a Passover Meal as described in Deuteronomy 16:5-6, occurring on Thursday Nisan 14, and that Jesus was crucified on Friday and resurrected on Sunday.2. John 13:1 […]

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