Friday, March 27, 2009

Bart Ehrman and The Gospel Truth

SKEPTIC: As a Biblical scholar yourself, you might be interested in this interview with Bart Ehrman, a professor of Religious Studies at UNC in Chapel Hills.

PREACHER: I'm quite familiar with the opinions of men like Bart Ehrman and find them rather amusing.

SKEPTIC:  I thought Ehrman had some really interesting insights into the gospels, particularly in the way he was able to show how people have kind of ignored the different perspectives of each gospel and just kind of combined all 4 gospels into one new gospel.

PREACHER: Ehrman's problem is not that he sees the different perspectives in each Gospel. These differences should be appreciated, but at the same time that they are all talking about the historical Jesus Christ, so it makes sense to get a composite Gospel from all four Gospels. He wants to be politically correct by accepting naturalism, which has been taught to be true in much of the evangelical church that wants to appear sophisticated and educated to the nonchristian world, and believe that Jesus is his Savior at the same time. This produces a sort of theological schizophrenia. He found that the liberals seemed more genuine and consistent than those from his church. I agree that they are more consistent. But, just like the Sadducees in Jesus day they are mistaken.

SKEPTIC: But wasn't his point that the different perspectives represented contradictory versions of the same events?

PREACHER: When one account refers to events A B and D and the other account refers to event A B and C I don't consider it contradictory. For example compare any two newspaper reports about one event. Not every detail is the same, but I don't hear a lot of complaining about inaccurate reporting. For the few events that really do seem contradictory, I know of several good books by reputable Bible scholars that help explain them.

SKEPTIC: What you say about newspaper reports may be true, but those reports are usually based on people who actually saw the event or were involved in the event. Since the gospels were written many, many years after the events they document, they were all based on hearsay. How can you consider those accounts to be reliable?

PREACHER: Do you hear voices? Are you able to transport yourself back in time? Or maybe Erhman can. We should ask him. After debunking the manuscript evidence for the authenticity of the Gospels, he gives his theory that is not backed up by the evidence either. Of course if he can go back in time, then he KNOWS. The writer of Luke claims to have gotten his information from those who were involved in the events, at least that is what he wants Theophilus to think. The oldest manuscripts of the Gospel of John date back to the first century, not long enough for much of a legend to develop. There were indeed other "gospels" such as the gospel of Judas (a favorite of the Davinci Code folks) and the gospel of Thomas that were not included in the canon for the specific reason that they were not the accounts from eyewitnesses.

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