I'm a Christian who lives in Brisbane, Australia, although I was born in London, England. I currently work in daycare in the Kindergarten class, after many yeas working in Outside School Hours Care.
HydroMan: Forty Days/Nights of Fasting
It is said that no human can survive without food for more than seven days and seven nights. Yet Moses went without food and water for forty days and forty nights (Exodus 34:27-28; Deuteronomy 9:9) Elijah went without food for forty days and forty nights (1 Kings 19:8) Jesus went without food for forty days and forty nights (Matthew 4:2) These rare examples were intended for a specific purpose, were carried out by prophets, required special divine aid, and are not intended to be used as a type of fast for the average person today.
In Exodus 34:27-28 and Deuteronomy 9:9, we are told that Moses went without food and water for forty days and forty nights (two separate instances). How Moses was able to go without food and water for forty days and forty nights is unclear. Given the fact that no human can go without food for more than seven days, it would seem as though Moses was able to survive through divine aid
In 1 Kings 19, the angel of the LORD tells Elijah to eat. Elijah looks around and eats “a bread cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water.” The angel then “touched him and said, “Arise, eat, because the journey is too great for you.” We are then told that Elijah “ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God.” It seems as though Elijah had enough strength to survive forty days and forty nights by simply eating a bread cake and jar of water prior to his journey. However, there is no way that the sustenance of a bread cake and jar of water can keep a person alive for forty days/nights. Thus (1) the bread cake and water must have been empowered by God supernaturally (2) God gave Elijah’s body the physical requirements needed to go without food and water for forty days and forty nights (the fact that the angel intentionally “touched” Elijah suggests that God is doing something to Elijah’s body)
In Matthew 4, we are told that Jesus “had fasted forty days and forty nights, He [a]then became hungry.” When the Devil tells Jesus to turn stones into bread, Jesus quotes scripture and says, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” How Jesus was able to go without food for forty days and forty nights is unclear. However, the Bible does tells us that angels ministered to Jesus while He was in the wilderness (Mark 1:13) and that He was “led up by the Spirit” (Matthew 4:1). Thus, Jesus was able to go without food for forty days and forty nights because (1) He depended on the word of God (2) was strengthened by angels and the Holy Spirit
The point here is this; fasting for forty days and forty nights is something that only occurred to three different people in the Bible; all of whom were prophets, and required divine aid (without divine aid, no human can possibly fast and go without food for forty days and forty nights)
HydroMan: I think you will agree with this
the only thing im thinking about is, if Jesus received divine aid while fasting, then doesn't this defeat the purpose of His trials and temptations in the wilderness?
HydroMan: also do you agree with this, is God guilty of the genetic fallacy?
In the Old Testament, many things were forbidden because of their origin. For example, God’s people were forbidden to shave their heads or trim the edges off their beards because these things were practiced by pagans. God’s people were also forbidden to make cuts on their bodies and get tattoos because these things were practiced by pagans. As a result, some Christian’s use the same principals today eg It is wrong to use heavy metal music for Christian songs because heavy metal derives from Satanic culture. So is this true, do Christians need to abstain from things that derive from pagan or satanic influences? No. This is known as Genetic Fallacy; determining something as either good or bad on the basis of where it came from or from whom it came from. God does not care about where things have originated from because ultimately, God looks at a persons heart, not the origin of what is practiced by people today. Yes, God commanded His people not to engage in certain things because they were practiced/originated from pagans. But this was because He did not want His people to be influenced by the sins of the surrounding pagan nations (eg shave heads or trim beard as an act of worship to a foreign god) This is different today (a person shaves their beard because they like the look – not because they are submitting to a pagan god)
HydroMan: What is the charismatic/Pentecostal view on tithing and fasting?
Also, most denominations take up weekly offerings, usually on a Sunday church service. What scripture reference is used to support this, if any - how does a Christian determine how much they should give? I've heard Christians are expected to give a tenth of their earnings (which brings me back to tithing/tenth) but I don't know how they justify this
TheDoctor394: Tithing is something I've changed my views on over the years, and I'm not sure where I stand now.
For years I paid 10% of my income to the churches I attended, and it was a sermon at the Presbyterian church I eventually went to which had me questioning it, as the Pastor suggested that the 10% was an Old Testament mandate that was not in effect now.
Although I can't remember a lot of more of what he said, I was convinced by that. However, I wasn't sure how much should be given. I believe it is the duty of all Christians attending church to give something regularly, as that's how churches survive. And, just speaking for myself, even though I don't go to church now, when I have an income I do send a portion anonymously to a nearby church which I hope they use wisely. But how much it should be? I'm really not sure.
As for charismatics and pentecostals? I'm guessing too much of them focus too much on money, especially if they're Word of Faith, but I couldn't say any more on that.
And I'm also unsure about fasting. The only time I've done that is when I went to Majestic Park Baptist and, for some years I did the 40 Hour Famine along with some other people there. I'm not sure what fasting is actually meant to accomplish, even though I know it is Biblical. It was something I thought about last year due to my life situation and how desperate I was getting, and it's something I'm thinking about again now. But it almost seems as if fasting is like holding your breath until God gives you what you want, although I'm sure that's not the point of it. It just seems that way to me when I consider it.
HydroMan: Yes that's what I thought. The tenth/tithing us old testament so it does not apply today. But so many churches teach that people should give a tenth of their earnings. I agree money should and needs to be given , as u say, for the survival and extension of the church. But nowhere are we commanded to give a tenth. It's one of those issues that many Christians blindly do without asking themselves, why a tenth?
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TheDoctor394 in reply to HydroMan: Soundtrap is an online programme which you can use with actual instruments, but it can also be used by utilising different sounds that they offer, which I do, since, outside basic usage of instruments like the harmonica and clarinet, I'm hopeless at playing music. I came across it not that long ago, after years of using a Play Station 2 programme. After a free trial, it does have a fee, the cost depending on how much you want.
HydroMan: personally Ive seen baptism of the dead as a metaphorical expression for martyrdom;
A Baptism for the dead is a religious practice in which a baptism occurs for the deceased. It involves a living person who chooses to be baptized on behalf of a deceased person so that the deceased person can one day be resurrected and receive eternal life. This form of baptism is unbiblical – a person needs to willingly choose for themselves whether or not they wish to receive eternal life, and this can only occur while the person is alive (imagine a deceased anti-theist waking up in the afterlife and finding out that they are going to live with a God they hate!). In other words, baptism of the dead robs a person of their free will. Thus, no one can grant eternal life on behalf of dead person (see Isaiah 38:18). However, 1 Corinthians 15:29 seems to approve of Baptisms for the dead when Paul says, “what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why then are they baptized for them?” So how do we explain this? There are many different interpretations as to what Paul’s baptism for the dead is referring to. The following is perhaps the most accurate;
In context of the passage, Paul is speaking about the resurrection of the dead. Some of the Christians in Corinth did not believe that the dead would be resurrected (v12). In response, Paul explains how important it is to believe in the resurrection of the dead; for if the dead are not raised, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, our faith also is vain, and we are false witnesses of God because we testified that God raised Christ, when in actual fact He did not raise Christ. The point that Paul is trying to make is this; people have gone to great lengths in trying to prove that Christ’s resurrection is real, thus the resurrection of the dead is also real. This is when the baptism for the dead comes in. When Paul speaks of those who are "baptized for the dead", he is referring to those who have died for their faith (a metaphor for a martyr; as martyrdom and baptism were so closely and intimately connected). This can be seen when Jesus identifies His death as a baptism; "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?" (Mark 10:38) - “But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished!” (Luke 12:50). Paul is basically saying, “the resurrection of the dead is going to happen – for if the dead do not rise, then the baptism for the dead (dying for Jesus) would be a worthless cause (if the dead are not going to be raised, and Jesus has not been raised, then why are people dying for their faith? Why would a person die unless they know that they will one day be raised alive again?)
To summarize, the baptism for the dead (in which Paul speaks of) is not in reference to a living person choosing to be baptized on behalf of a deceased person so that the deceased person can one day be resurrected and receive eternal life. Instead, the baptism for the dead is simply referring to a Believer dying for their faith (while being persecuted) because they know that they will one day be resurrected (Baptism for the dead: to undergo death and then be raised to life again - submerge from one thing and emerge from another)
HydroMan: as mentioned, there are many different interpretations, but this is one I find the most accurate. Personally, when it comes to all the different baptisms in the NT, I have more trouble and difficult in understanding what baptism of the Holy Spirit is
just a couple of other things
(1) All believers receive the Holy Spirit when they put their faith in Jesus (Ephesians 1:13) However, in the Bible, there seems to be cases where Believers did not receive the Holy Spirit immediately when they put their faith in Jesus;
“There he [Paul] found some disciples and asked them, Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” (Acts 19:1-2). This passage clearly identifies the people as believers and disciples of Jesus.
“No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit” (Acts 19:2). So even though they were true believers and followers of Jesus, they did not have the Holy Spirit inside of them.
“Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied” (Acts 19:6). This passage identifies the disciples receiving the Holy Spirit after becoming aware of the Holy Spirit.
now, would it be accurate to say, that all believers receive the Holy Spirit when they put their faith in Jesus. But in early years of the church, God wanted to “delay” the receiving of the Holy Spirit for some so that they could receive the Holy Spirit through a miracle (gift of tongues and prophesy as evidence that they received the Holy Spirit)?
(2) Jesus told the apostles to baptise people in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. But whenever we read about the apostles baptising someone in Acts, they seem to baptise people in the name of Jesus (don't include the Father or Holy Spirit) Any idea why?
HydroMan: What is your understanding of baptism of the dead found in the bible? Also, do you believe hypnosis is appropriate and acceptable to use for health and healing?
TheDoctor394: To take the second one first, since it's the easier, I'm not comfortable with hypnosis, no. I see a danger in a person losing control of their mind, which I think is what happens when they are hypnotised. My Pastoral Care lecturer at BCQ didn't have a spiritual problem with it, but didn't think it did much good either, so he was dismissive on that basis. For me, I think it has the potential to be quite dangerous.
As for the baptism of the dead, I don't really know. I think it's one of the toughest parts of the Bible, which is supported by there being various understandings of it (like the Mormons). I honestly couldn't give you any certain answer about that one at the moment.
HydroMan: JWs argue that Jesus could not resurrect with a fleshly body because He gave His life (blood and body) as a ransom/payment for sin (if Jesus resurrected with His fleshly body, then He is taking back His life, preventing the ransom to be paid). How should we respond?
one argument would be the simple fact that if Jesus did not resurrect from the dead with a fleshly body, then He did not defeat death
but what about this idea on how Jesus 'taking back' His body would prevent the ransom from being paid?
TheDoctor394: Certainly, Jesus had to come back from the dead for death to be conquered. This is crucial.
The fact remains, however, that He did die, and it also should be kept in mind that, while Jesus' suffering and dying was certainly part of his salvivic work, the main part was taking on the sins of the world, something worse than anyone else could ever experience his side of Hell. Once He did that,along with His deah, the ransom had been paid.
HydroMan: and I still maintain that, if you deny Jesus' fleshly body being raised from the dead, then you are denying the resurrection. A person is made of mind body and spirit. So if the flesh/body is not raised, then the resurrection is incomplete, hence not a resurrection
These are the sneaky thing u have to watch out for when it comes to these cults. They will claim that they are like other Christians because they accept the resurrection, but its not the same - similar to Mormons who claim to believe in the Trinity. No they don't. They believe Jesus was the first spirit being to be created. So if Jesus was created and not eternal, then He is not God, which means there is no Trinity
HydroMan: Thanks again for taking the time to read and comment on my blogs.
How are things in terms of your job?
TheDoctor394: I do what I can in helping out.
I'm afraid my job situation is not good. I haven't worked since Covid started, and I just found out last week that Centacare, the organisation that runs Outside School Hours Cares at Catholic schools here, and with whom my employers seem to be affiliated, have had a freeze on all recruitments during the crisis. In other words, they don't want any outsiders coming in to work for them.
Queensland is recovering quite well from it all so far, but there's still a while to go, and there's something really unpleasant about a work place suspicious of you, thinking you might be bringing in a deadly disease which could kill them off. To be frank, I'm full of foreboding at the thought of working, and I'd be ready to just wait it out until things ease some more, but I don't want to say "no" if the opportunity to work arises. The school holidays start today, so I'm not sure if that's going to make any difference.
To complicate things, I have to renew my First Aid certificate by the end of August, which is currently a bit awkward too, and I don't want to go through all that if I'm not going to be working anyway, but I don't want to not do it if I am. So I have to make a choice about that before very long.
I'm seeing the next few weeks as maybe the most crucial of my life, as I try and work out what to do through all this. I'm confused, scared and also heartbroken that, after finding work I actually enjoyed earlier in the year (I've struggled to find enjoyable work for the last thirty years), it's come to this. I have prayed consistently, asking for God's strength and guidance through it all, and would appreciate more prayer if you could.
HydroMan: Do JWs visit u, or have u been blacklisted because u know how to respond to all their arguments?
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HydroMan: just a couple of things ive been looking into. One is JWs and their beliefs, in particular, the 'corresponding ransom'. This is what Ive come up with
JWs believe a ‘corresponding ransom’ needed to be paid for Adam’s sin and disobedience (payment to release Adam and the human race from death) This is because Adam was a perfect human. Therefore, only another perfect human could pay the ransom (the ransom needs to have the same value as the life Adam lost) As a result, Jesus gave His perfect human life as a ransom that corresponded to the same human life of Adam. Consequently, this means that Jesus cannot be God (if Jesus is God, then His death would be too high/not the same value of Adam’s human life)
However, I would argue, when Jesus died, it was His human mortal body that died – not His divinity. Thus, Jesus’ (who is both God and Man) paid the ransom by dying as a human (it was the death of a human, not the death of God; as God cannot die) Would this be a good response?
The other thing is to do with Jews. They refuse to believe Jesus is the Messiah for a number of reasons. One example, they believe each human must pay for their own sin (do not believe one Man can atone the sins of the entire human race ) Therefore, it is not fair for one Man (Jesus) to die for billions of humans. My response would be, Jesus as King. And like any King, Jesus represents His people. Therefore, the death of a King can legally represent His people (just as a King’s victory is a victory for His people)
But there is another good point they make. God makes it clear that sacrificing humans is wrong. So how can He sacrifice Himself as a human? At first I thought, Jesus’ death was not simply the act of a human sacrifice, but as a divine sacrifice (God sacrificing Himself, not other humans). But then that would go against what I previously said regarding JWs (it is not God who is dying, but God in human form)
always appreciate your help and time
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HydroMan: Yes I agree. I recently posted info on this. I used the concept of a soldier sacrificing his life to save others. And it is true, Jesus voluntary gave his life, it was not against his will like pagans killing their children in fire
TheDoctor394: This is a very good video (about eight minutes) on what binding and losing does, and does not mean, in the Bible, as well as references to all these supposed spirits.
Binding and Loosing Spirits? Sneaky Squid Spirit? Werewolf Spirit?
HydroMan: if you get a chance, have a look at my recent blog on 'under the law' and my latest post on being justified by the law
TheDoctor394: It depends what is meant by marriage. Obviously, for the world to populate originally, it had to take two first up, and there would have been no official third person to marry them. And the OT laws did not appear for some time.
I personally think pre-marital sex was alright to start with, even though it was never ideal, before God eventually forbade it.
HydroMan: this has always been something difficult to understand
The Old Testament: Did the Law Save God’s People? 3
The Bible tells us that we are
(1) not under the law, but under grace (Romans 6:14)
(2) saved by grace and not works (Romans 11:6; Ephesians 2:8-9)
(3) justified by grace and not the law (Galatians 5:4, Titus 3:7)
This has led many Christians to believe that salvation falls under two categories; law and grace (the Old Testament was about the law and works, while the New Testament is about grace and not works). However, the Old Testament way of salvation was the same as the New Testament way, which is by grace and through faith in God, that is, to trust in God and His grace to save a person (salvation has always been brought about by God's underserved kindness to those who place their trust in Him; both in the Old Testament as well as the New). In other words, the Law (which required work and effort) never saved anyone (its purpose was to expose sin and point to Christ – not save people through the basis of works). Even before the Law existed, “if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but… Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness” (Romans 4:2-3)
So, if this is the case, then why does the NT say the Israelites are not under the law, but under grace? Doesn't this imply that the Israelites were not saved by grace (not under grace)? In order to answer this question, we need to know what it means to be ‘under the law’;
But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise. (Galatians 3:23-29)
In the Greco-Roman world, the son of a wealthy man would be cared for by a tutor, a slave who was given the responsibility of watching over his master’s son. This guardian would watch over the boy constantly; taking him to school, keeping him out of trouble, guiding him, guarding him, and teaching him. In the life of a young boy, a tutor was a good thing. However, when the boy became a man, he no longer needed a tutor. He was set free from this tutelage – something that was set by his father (see Galatians 4:1-7). Thus, Paul is saying that the law was the same as a tutor, that is, to be under the law was to be under a tutor. The law guided, guarded and watched over the Israelites in order to keep then out of trouble. But eventually, the time would come when the Israelites would no longer need the law (tutor) because they were ready (mature and old enough) to accept Jesus (John 1:17; 2 Timothy 1:9). This would allow them to be under grace rather than under the law (the end-goal of the law was to bring the Israelites to a state of maturity and lead them to Christ so that they would no longer need the law as a tutor)
Thus, those who were under the law (not ready to be without a tutor and are waiting) needed to trust and depend on God and His underserved kindness to save them (saved by grace, but not under grace). And those who are under grace (ready to be without a tutor and no longer waiting) still need to trust and depend on God and His undeserved kindness to save them (saved by grace, and under grace)
HydroMan: do u agree with this?
The Bible tells us that we are to obey the laws and institutions given to us on earth (Romans 13: 1-2, Titus 3:1, 1 Peter 2:13-14, see also Matthew 22:21). Obviously however, there are going to be times when we cannot obey man made laws (when the Bible tells us that we are to obey the laws and institutions given to us on earth, it is based on the presupposition that such laws do not conflict with God’s commands and moral standards . This is because God rules over all the nations (Psalm 22:28, 2 Chronicles 20:6). And humans are ultimately accountable to God (Matthew 12:36, Romans 3:19, Romans 14:12, 1 Peter 4:5). Therefore, God’s commands, teachings and moral standards must come first regardless if they conflict with the laws of nations
Example: If a Christian works as a limousine driver, a caterer, a photographer or DJ, then they must not conduct their profession in a gay marriage ceremony/reception. This is because gay marriage goes against God’s commands and moral standards (marriage is for a man and a woman). Therefore, if a Christian loses their job or goes to jail for disobeying man-made laws (anti-discrimination laws that say it is wrong to refuse service to a homosexual), then so be it. Religious freedom is should protect Christians from such circumstances. Unfortunately, religious freedom is becoming more and more restricted. This is another reason why Christians need to take a stance and refuse to obey certain man-made laws. It would be no different than a Muslim working in a clothing/embroidery store and asked to design a t-shirt that says, ‘Prophet Mohammad Sucks’ (they should not be forced to make or sell such a t-shirt, as it would go against their religions beliefs)
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HydroMan: Yes there are issues that I've raised with u, and I think u haven't felt comfortable answering them. So I try not to push the issue because I don't want to upset u. But no one on this site has helped me as much as u. I sometimes wish there were ways I could return the favour
TheDoctor394: There are times, especially in the last couple of years, that I've felt pretty useless as a human being, like I haven't done much for anyone, or anything for God.
Then I remember that I help you out every now and again, and I am encouraged that at least I'm not completely useless.
So, in a way, you are doing me a favour by coming to me for advice. :-) I do appreciate that.
HydroMan: This was another example, I thought it might one day apply to you because you work with children (although I hope that day never comes)
If a Christian works in a public school, then they cannot teach children that it is perfectly acceptable for a person to choose what gender they want to be, or that there is nothing wrong with same sex relationships (read a picture book to children that says, ‘People who say homosexual relationships are wrong, are wrong’). And if this means the teacher is sacked, then so be it. This is because there going to be times when the government (department of education) will enforce rules that will conflict with religious freedom. It would be no different than forcing a Muslim teacher to teach children, ‘People who say eating pork is wrong, are wrong’
HydroMan: this is a bit long, so if don't want to read it, that's ok. Some of it is based on my personal experience with Pentecostals and Charismatics and what they have told me (eg only those who have been baptised with the Holy Spirit can cast demons out, certain feelings like fear comes from a spirit of fear )
HydroMan: Is there much difference between Pentecostals and charismatic? From my understanding, they differ when it comes to baptism of the Holy Spirit. Pentecostals believe a person will speak in tongues after the baptism, where as charismatic don't
TheDoctor394: I think it's a bit of a blurred line, and is in a constant state of flux. Personally, I tend to reference them as "charismatics/pentecostals" because of this. Pentes, I think, are more likely to be extreme in their outlandish beliefs, but I would expect the average charismatic church would still believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues.
HydroMan: wow just got suspended from the Jesus room
I asked, is it wrong for a Christian DJ to play music at a gay wedding, if so, is it also wrong to sell a wedding gown for a lesbian, or shoes to someoe who is going to wear them at his gay wedding
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TheDoctor394: I got an apology from one more person, as well as a lot of "don't blame us" waffle from others. Please don't be put off by these people. It's a problem with Christianity today that so many don't want to tackle difficult questions. One of them even had the cheek to say that a chatting room isn't the best place to find help, even though their room's own description pretty much offers help.
HydroMan: in their defense, I suppose my question looks like something that a troll would ask, someone trying to challenge the ethics of Christianity or finding contradictions in it. But a suspension with no warning or not even trying to discern whether Im being genuine, is discouraging
HydroMan: I started a conversation in the forum, so hopefully that also shows them that Im not being a troll
thanks also for your help. In this day and age, with so much scepticism, it is so hard to get answers about things that are a genuine concern about our faith.
HydroMan: Why does the New Testament have four Gospels – why four, why not one, or five (why did the Church specifically recognize four Gospels to be Scripture)?
There are four Gospels because all other Gospels are false “Then of the New Testament there are the four Gospels only, for the rest have false titles and are mischievous.” (Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, iv. 36)
There are four Gospels because there are four parts of the world in which the Good News (Gospel) is to preached to “It is not possible that the Gospels can be either more or fewer in number than they are. For, since there are four zones of the world in which we live, and four principal winds, while the Church is scattered throughout all the world, and the pillar and ground 1 Timothy 3:15 of the Church is the Gospel and the spirit of life; it is fitting that she should have four pillars, breathing out immortality on every side, and vivifying men afresh”. (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 3.11.8)
There are four Gospels because they were written by an Apostle or someone who had a close connection to an Apostle “Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, and laying the foundations of the Church. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter. Luke also, the companion of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel preached by him. Afterwards, John, the disciple of the Lord, who also had leaned upon His breast, did himself publish a Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia.” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies 3.1.1)
cant think of any other reasons
TheDoctor394: I remember that right at the beginning of my New Testament studies at BCQ, one of the first questions the students were asked by our lecturer was this one. Why four Gospels? Why more than one? Why no more than four?
To be honest, I can't remember exactly what the ultimate answers were to those questions, but I think it was something along the lines of focusing on Christ's work through different angles so to cover everything possible. I can't recall these different historical views you've posted, although we might have read them. But I think it was God's will to give us as broad a coverage of Jesus' work as possible, without going overboard, and I would suggest it's more likely to be believable if we have a few accounts from different people, rather than just one.