Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, 3 I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first,[a] to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed. —Gospel of Luke 1:1-4
Many Christians read this passage and believe that the author of Luke is inferring that he obtained his information directly from eyewitnesses of the events described in his Gospel. But is that what he is claiming?
I don’t think so, and here is why:
It is estimated that the author of Luke utilizes 65% of the content of the Gospel of Mark in his Gospel, sometimes word for word. Was the author of the Gospel of Mark an eyewitness? I don’t know of any evangelical or other conservative Christian scholar who makes this claim. The near unanimous consensus of evangelical and other conservative Christian scholars believe that John Mark, the traveling companion of Peter, wrote the Gospel of Mark, and, that John Mark was not an eyewitness, but an associate of an eyewitness.
So If Luke copied large sections of John Mark’s Gospel into his Gospel (the Gospel of Luke), and John Mark was not an eyewitness, how can the author of Luke claim that he obtained his information directly from eyewitnesses?
Christians may counter that since John Mark was (allegedly) repeating stories which he had heard Peter preach during his lifetime that this counts as eyewitness testimony. Really? If Jimmy tells you a story that he says Bobby told him, which, according to Jimmy, Bobby said he obtained from Eddie, an alleged eyewitness, is that eyewitness testimony? I don’t think so, folks. Even if John Mark told Luke that Peter had told him the details of Jesus’ life, that is NOT eyewitness testimony. Eyewitness testimony comes directly from an eyewitness. Something that Jimmy tells you that allegedly Bobby told him that allegedly Eddie saw and heard is…hearsay!
[legal definition of “hearsay”: the report of another person’s words by a witness, usually disallowed as evidence in a court of law]!
And think about this: If the author of Luke had actually interviewed John Mark for his story, why would he then copy John Mark’s book for these stories? Isn’t it highly probable that the author of Luke never interviewed the author of the Gospel of Mark; he simply copied his stories from his book??
And what if John Mark didn’t write the Gospel of Mark? The majority of all New Testament scholars (most of whom profess to be Christian believers) doubt that John Mark wrote the Gospel of Mark. The majority of New Testament scholars doubt that any of the Gospels were written by eyewitnesses or by the associates of eyewitnesses.
Dear Christians: Doesn’t the above discussion and evidence strongly indicate that depending upon four ancient, middle-eastern books to determine ultimate reality, truth, and, even the origin of the universe, is not rational?