“The name ‘Christian’ is derived from Christ, who was executed under the government of the procurator Pilate” (Annals 15.44).
Flavius Josephus was a Jewish general, fighting the last battle for Jerusalem against the Romans (AD 70). Having been taken prisoner, he became the Roman historian for Israel. He lived shortly after the time of Jesus, and wrote:
“Now, there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was (the) Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again on the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him” (Antiquities of the Jews).
Evidence of such importance must have been given for a reason. And that is, no doubt, God’s concern to verify His message for generations to come, to those who would depend on some kind of tangible proof or evidence to believe what He had revealed.
Why do I write all this? Why do I risk disturbing peace and harmony between us? I hope you have detected that by now: Because I care for you! Up to now you have probably not been aware of the need to verify the basis of our faith. Most of the world’s people practise their respective religions in the sincere belief that all is well and that they are following the right path.
Even you would not have come up with these objections to the Bible; had you not questioned its integrity and trustworthiness, and had you not been influenced in this direction. Therefore I have to challenge you to test the foundations on which your eternal future rests.
You must understand that I do not write this letter to destroy your faith in God, but rather to amend and enhance it. That demands scrutiny.