Question: There were at least 15 apostles. That only four of them [Peter, James, John, Paul] would be “inspired” to write the New Testament seems rather odd. One would logically expect many others to have written “inspired” accounts. How do we know there weren’t several other records written that were lost - or even that all of the genuine works were lost or destroyed and that the ones we have are frauds substituted in their place?
Response: Don’t forget Matthew Mark, and Luke, the first an apostle, the other two sincere disciples. Why should there be any other divinely inspired written record?
The New Testament is complete in itself and needs no further witness. As for how we know that the ones we have are the true record, we are answering that legitimate question from many different angles with overwhelming evidence. Another observation by Mark Hopkins from the last century deals with this issue:
“That such a movement as Christianity…involving the origin of so many new institutions and such ecclesiastical and social changes should have originated at such a time and in such a place, and that no written document [true account] should have been drawn forth by it, is incredible. And that the true account should have perished, leaving not a vestige behind it, and that false ones, and such as these, should have been substituted is impossible.
“Of the origin of such institutions we should expect some account. That of our books [New Testament] is adequate and satisfactory. There is nothing contradictory to it, for even spurious writings confirm the truth of our books, and there is no vestige of any other” (Hopkins, Evidences, cited in Linton, Lawyer, pp. 165-69).
Yes, there is one other book that claims to be an inspired record of early Christianity: the Book of Mormon. It purports to give an account of Christ appearing in America to natives who were allegedly the descendants of certain Jews who supposedly sailed the Atlantic to the new world and built large cities, fought wars, etc. Here we have a classic example of outright fraud, and it provides a most striking contrast to the Bible. The Book of Mormon is pure fiction, like the Bhagavad-Gita, the Hindu Vedas, and much of the content of the sacred writings of other religions. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has spared no archaeological effort in its attempt to authenticate this spurious account and has utterly failed, as must be the case with every such fabrication.
The Book of Mormon: An Instructive Comparison
The ruins of cities mentioned in the Bible have been located and their inhabitants identified and their histories verified in proof of the biblical accounts. Secular museums around the world contain vast quantities of ancient inscriptions, documents, coins, utensils, and weapons dating back to Bible times and which thoroughly confirm its pages. This plethora of evidence verifies beyond any question the authenticity and accuracy of the historical record found in the Bible concerning peoples, cultures, places, and events.
In striking contrast, no evidence of any kind has ever been found to support the Book of Mormon. This remains the case today, in spite of decades of the most aggressive archaeological exploration throughout North, Central, and South America. This Herculean effort, supported by the vast wealth and determination of the Mormon Church, has left no stone unturned in the search for verification of the book of Mormon but has come up empty-handed. Not one piece of evidence has ever been found to support the Book of Mormon – not a trace of the large cities it names, no ruins, no coins, no letters or documents or rivers or mountains or any of the topography it mentions has ever been identified!
The Book of Mormon provides an excellent example of the impossibility of fabricating a make-believe scenario and then trying to convince the world that it really happened. Fiction simply doesn’t fit into history, and evidence can be found to support it. For a full exposé of Mormonism, we recommend The God Makers, both the book and the video.