>...The implication also, to me, is that no amount of proselytizing on my part (or Jesus' part, for that matter, two millennia ago) will convince another of his claim to be the Son of God except the Father himself give this person conviction of the same. This would also imply that no written history or oral account has that power either, whether it stem from India, West Africa or the Middle East.
>So then, if you also recognize this, what was the point of the so-called, "Great Commission," to go forth and preach the gospel to the whole world? Why was it necessary to forestall the end until this had been accomplished? Or is this doctrine one of those pearls of consensus got of Constantine's lock-up in Nicaea?"
Well, look at it this way. You are told the story, and if God the Father moves you, you believe it. Or maybe you believe it anyway. Or maybe you don't. But --- if you never HEAR the story, then you don't have the option to believe it, and God the Father never has the chance to convince you. Okay?
And no...there are now enough original manuscripts scientifically dated to the 2nd century AD that scholars have pretty much concluded that the gospels as translated today do accurately reflect the 2nd century manuscripts. Even 50 years ago people could say with conviction that the gospels were manufactured by "the church" in the 4th and 5th centuries, and lots of stuff was added, deleted, or whatever. Today we know that assertion is false.