Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Interesting Interview: Bart Ehrman on the Colbert Report (April 9, 2009)

Bart Ehrman, a vigorous and well known opponent of biblical Christianity who has written books such as Misquoting Jesus: The story behind who changed the Bible and why, God's Problem [how the Bible fails to answer our most important question- why we suffer], and now Jesus Interrupted: Revealing the hidden contradictions in the Bible (and why we don't know about them), was interviewed last week on Comedy Central's Colbert Report. You can watch the interview below:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Bart Ehrman
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An interesting charge that Ehrman makes at least twice in the interview is that Matthew, Mark, and Luke do not view Jesus as divine- that the deity of Christ (which Ehrman admits is clearly taught in John) is a later development within Christianity. But, although this idea is commonly put forth in academic circles, it is obviously false. Because it is common knowledge among scholars (both liberal and conservative) that the earliest written New Testament documents were Paul's epistles. And Paul demonstrates the highest Christology in a number of ways- one of the most striking of which is that he quotes and alludes to Old Testament texts that refer to the divine name ('YHWH') and applies these texts to the Lord Jesus (for a list of such texts in Paul's 'undisputed' epistles, and a further explanation, see "Paul's Christology of Divine Identity" by Richard Bauckham HERE). Now, it is unthinkable, given everything that we know about early church history, that Matthew, Mark, and Luke were ignorant of Paul's theology when they wrote their gospel accounts (Luke even presents himself as a traveling companion of Paul in the book of Acts). So Ehrman's idea that they presented a Christ who is not divine and that the deity of Christ was a later development is not supported by the historical evidence.

But Ehrman's charge that Matthew, Mark, and Luke do not view Jesus as divine is also seen as false from a careful study of these gospel accounts themselves. For, as Simon Gathercole writes in his 2006 book, The Pre-Existent Son: Recovering the Christologies of Matthew, Mark and Luke, the authors of the synoptic gospels clearly (in the "I have come" and "the Son of Man came" statements) present Christ as coming into this world from the heavenly realm on a mission. So before He was born of a virgin (as Matthew and Luke explicitly affirm) Christ existed in heaven. The only heavenly beings that we can expect to find in the gospel accounts, from a reading of the Old Testament and a study of second temple Judaism, are God and His angels. That Christ is exalted above the angelic beings is also seen in the synoptic gospels, and so He can only have been thought of as divine.

So, in conclusion, Ehrman should not only repent before the Word of God, but he should also acquaint himself with recent Christological scholarship.

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