Ancient Discoveries on Trial

Part 1: Are the ancient discoveries by Ron Wyatt true or religious fraud?

Jim Allen

Believe him, love him or call him a charlatan, Ron Wyatt was a man who gave new meaning to the words "persuade and resolve" and possibly "fraud." Although he passed away in 1999, he absolutely believed his ancient discoveries were true and deserving of world acclaim.

One of Ron's closest associates wrote of him, "Ron Wyatt was a 'Man of God.' Even so, he was just a man, with attributes and faults just like you and me...People would always ask Ron why God had allowed him to find 'all those things.' Ron would always give a humble answer, not taking personal credit for his God given abilities. I believe that the reason God allowed him to find 'all those things' is because he was willing to look for them." [1.1]

While Wyatt still has a faithful following of evangelicals, others accused him of being a fraudster. According to Wikipedia, "Wyatt was a nurse anesthetist...who claimed not only to have found Noah's Ark, but to have found virtually everything in Biblical archaeology that might be important to Christians — Noah's Ark, the exact place where the Red Sea was parted to allow the Israelites to escape Egypt, the true location of Mt. Sinai, the Ark of the Covenant and...the actual blood of Jesus Christ!" [1.2]

For one man who is not an archeologist to claim all these discoveries is truly unprecedented, say some. While many are familiar with Wyatt's work and swear to the authenticity of his discoveries, others decry the man's discoveries as unscientific for not conducting the proper scientific investigation at the various sites. These are harsh words for Ron Wyatt who lived and died believing his discoveries were genuine.

The irony in men driven to find treasure is the risk of becoming possessed by the treasure. An athlete training for the Olympics will train endlessly, giving up all to win gold. An entrepreneur working to carve a niche in the business world will give up family and friends to succeed. A person driven by a particular ideology will give up his life and the life of others to achieve a religious goal, as did the terrorists on 9/11.

Did Wyatt fall prey to this irony? Did his quest for treasure take possession of him?

The minds of men are resourceful in this way, able to imagine all sorts of things to be true when in fact none of it may be true or even possible. All of us have the inborn capability and often the desire to change "what is" into "what it is not," and herein the danger of self-deception and failure leading to fraud.

The Bible talks about changing things from what they are to something else. Jesus came into the world as the Savior (John 3:16), but when men didn't like the message they changed him into an imposter. Instead of letting the truth of God's word change them, men change the truth into a lie (Romans 1:25, 28). When Romney ran for the presidency in 2012, his opposition changed him from a man of integrity into a rich liar who could not be trusted. They changed the truth into a lie.

Did Wyatt's quest for discovery and fame cause him to change "what is" into "what is not?" Did Wyatt change what he wanted to be true into phony discoveries using nothing more than scripture, vain imaginings, persuasive rhetoric, and questionable evidence? Did the treasures he imagined to be his in the end take control of his soul? While some argue Wyatt actually found these things and stand resolute in his defense, others reject his claims as imaginary, fraudulent, and unbecoming a man of God.

"While Wyatt won a devoted following from some fundamentalist Christians, he was never viewed as credible by professional archaeologists and biblical scholars." [1.3]

Wyatt's discoveries, if they could be proven true, would culminate in great occasion and celebration. Whether the Bible can confirm or deny Wyatt's claims is another matter. What we need to remember is that if just one of Wyatt's claims is proven false, his credibility is suspect and will cast a long shadow of doubt over all of his claimed discoveries.

Because this is such an interesting topic and because there are conflicting views offsetting both advocates and naysayers, I've divided the topic about Wyatt's alleged discoveries into several parts, beginning with the Ark of the Covenant.

1.1 Wyatt Museum — Ron Wyatt — Richard Rives
1.2 — Ron Wyatt: Colossal Fraud — Ed Brayton
1.3 Source — Wikipedia — Ron Wyatt

Image source: Jim Allen

Ancient Discoveries on Trial: The Series

Part 1: Are the ancient discoveries by Ron Wyatt true or religious fraud?
Part 2: Did Ron Wyatt find the Ark of the Covenant?
Part 3: Did Ron Wyatt find Noah's Ark?
Part 4: Did Ron Wyatt find the Red Sea crossing? — Coming Soon

TagsCurrent-Issues  |  History-Apologetics

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Published 1-22-14