Many skeptics and critics attempt to show that there are contradictions in the New Testament accounts of Jesus. They point to the many items in the four gospels which are not identical, and say that since they are not identical, the gospels have errors.
Our first response is that the critic and the skeptic are trying to squeeze Christians into a no-win paradox. If the stories do not match each other perfectly, the skeptic says that the accounts differ. If the stories do match perfectly, the critic tells us that the two sources must have copied from each other (or another source), and therefore are not trustworthy as eyewitnesses. Either way, the Bible is criticized as untrustworthy, and despite the myriad proofs for the accuracy of the New Testament, the critics never seem to run short of problems to point out in the Bible.
In response, we hold to the many evidences that show that the gospel accounts are indeed accurate, which I have demonstrated several times in the past. But the following story illustrates the point nicely. The following account is taken from the theology notes of Dr. Kenneth Kantzer.
Several years ago the mother of a friend of ours was killed. We first learned of the death through a trusted mutual friend who reported that the woman had been standing on the corner of the street at a bus intersection waiting for a bus and had been hit by another bus passing by and was fatally hurt, dying a few minutes thereafter. Shortly thereafter, we learned from the grandson of the dead woman that she had been involved in a collision, was thrown from the car in which she was riding and was killed instantly. The boy was quite clear; this was all the information he had. His story was not only quite clear and positive, but he had secured his information directly from his mother. No further information was forth coming from either source. Now which would you believe? We trusted both our friends, but we certainly could not put the data together.
Much later upon further inquiry we learned that the woman had been waiting for a bus, was hit by another bus and was fatally hurt. She had been picked up by a passing car, dashed to the hospital, but in this haste, the car in which she was being transported to the hospital collided with another, she was thrown from the car and died instantly.
I submit that this story from my own experience presents no greater difficulty than that of any recorded in the gospels — not even excepting that of the death of Judas. Such coincidences occur repeatedly; they are inherent in any independent accounts of detailed descriptions of events. The only significant difference between this story and the accounts of the four evangelists is the fact that we cannot cross-question the gospel witnesses. We live 2000 years too late.
I concur with Kantzer, and find the gospel accounts to be exactly what they claim to be — eyewitness accounts of the same events which are trustworthy and accurate historical documents.