legal apologetics

Simon Greenleaf – “An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists”

Simon Greenleaf (1783-1853) was a Jewish believer in Jesus and law professor at Harvard university. He wrote a book on apologetics using legal methods. This book is titled, “An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists.” It is available free to read online, download as a Kindle, PDF, or other formats at Project Gutenberg.

Review

This book is broken into several sections. Here are three important ones.

First, at the beginning there is a section where he uses legal rules of evidence. He applies these principles to examining the gospels. He uses the ancient document rules. Also, he applies five rules of evidence to examining the gospels. These are first, Honesty, the general and specific honesty of the witnesses)p. Second, Ability is the ability for the witnesses to see, understand, and remember what happened. Third is the Number, Independence, and Consistency of the witnesses. Four is Experience, agreement of the testimony with general experience. Fifth, finally is  Circumstances, the agreement of the testimony with specific evidence. You can read the short and very insightful use of legal apologetics Here.

Second, he has a large harmony of the Gospels. Here he uses his expertise to harmonize the different Gospel accounts. You can read it starting Here.

Third, he has a section focus just on the resurrection accounts. This is always important and especially timely for Easter. Read this short section Here.

Other Free Resources

Simon Greenleaf has influenced many Christian apologists including Wilbur M. Smith, John Warwick Montgomery, Josh McDowell, and Ross Clifford. His book is a significant work in a long history of Christian lawyers using the rules of evidence to defend the Bible and the resurrection of Jesus.

You can read more about his life on Wikipedia.

Here is a short review of his book at Historical Apologetics.

Here is an essay in a theological journal with over 90 people who have use the legal approach to apologetics Juridical Apologists 1600-2000 AD: A Bio-Bibliographical Essay.

Apologetics

“Science Scripture Salvation Outreach” Local Apologetic/Evangelistic Outreach by David Hall

Here’s another update from David Hall’s apologetic and evangelistic outreach in Balboa Park “Science Scripture Salvation Outreach” on Facebook.

Visit David’s Science Scripture Salvation in the park on Saturdays at the Bea Evenson Fountain area get directions here. Look for the display of posters about science and prophecy like the ones in the below video –

In this video, David shares the Gospel using Messianic prophecies and the Gospel of John

It was from David and the free material at his outreach that I found out about these motion tracts the size of a business card that we will be giving out this Halloween from our homes.

Local Apologetic/Evangelistic Outreach by David Hall

David Hall runs an apologetic/evangelistic outreach in Balboa Park. He does not go to the Chapel, though his daughter and her family did before they moved north for more musical training – https://www.delamottestrings.com

Here’s a link to an update about his latest outreach https://www.facebook.com/1226810861/posts/10226976149929508/

I (Paul) have had the opportunity to help out with this outreach on a couple of occasion. It’s really great. It includes evidence from creation and the Bible to point people to Christ. It is a unique outreach in that has evidence from creation, prophecy, typology, and legal evidences all pointing people to the Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ. But after all, isn’t that like the kind of reasoning the apostles did in the book of Acts?

If you’re ever in Balboa Park on a Saturday, you can stop by at the Bea Evenson Fountain area https://goo.gl/maps/ZRwbW1CVGSy5neja6

You’ll see a bunch of posters set up with pictures from science and prophecy. They are pictures like the ones on these free hand outs –