Monday, January 16, 2017

Hostile Witnesses (Catholic Answers)

In the world of Christianity, there are many witnesses to the truth which it holds. However, atheists and agnostics are skeptical (at best) to believe these, because they feel they are biased sources. Author Gary Machuta believes there are non-Christian witnesses to the truth of Christianity as well. He calls them "hostile witnesses," and penned a book with the same name.

Hostile Witnesses begins with an introduction that speaks of the words on the sign that hung on the Cross - "Jesus the Nazorean, the King of the Jews." Machuta explains that Pilate did not necessarily believe these words, but used them to serve as a warning that this is what happens with pretend kings. This was a hostile witness. The author then discusses how Christian apologists generally focus their attention on direct evidence to support their beliefs, such evidence as Scripture and the Early Church Fathers. However, indirect evidence can prove beneficial as well. The book then is laid out in eight parts to chronologically show an extensive list of hostile witnesses. The eight parts are as follows:

1. New Testament
2. Early Pagan
3. Early Jewish and Rabbinical
4. Later Pagan and Heretical
5. Islam and the Crusades
6. The Inquisition
7. Protestant Reformation
8. Lourdes, Fatima, and World War II

Each chapter is laid out in the same format. They begin by providing a paragraph or so of background information. For example, the chapter on Gaius Suetonious Tranquillus tells us that he was a Roman historian who wrote The Life of the Caesars. The next part of the chapter is called the Testimony. This is where we learn what recorded evidence makes reference to Christ and/or Christians. Using the same chapter, we see that it is only one line, but Suetonius wrote about Claudius' banishment of Jewish Christians from Rome. The final section of the chapter is appropriately called Hostile Witness. In this section, the author explains why this is a credible witness to Christ and/or Christianity and what this witness actually means in terms of attesting to the Truth.

This was a very fascinating read. When I first received the book, I thought that we would only be treated to ancient witnesses of Christianity. However, this book goes all the way up to World War II. That's approximately 2000 years of examples! What I took away from this book is simply that you may deny the ultimate Truth of Christ and Christianity, but try as you may, you cannot discredit it. Jesus will still get His message out both by His faithful followers as well as by those who oppose Him. I strongly recommend you picking up a copy of this book.

This book was provided to me for free by Catholic Answers in exchange for an honest review.