Vol. 11 No. 4 April 2009
Donald R. Fox
Bart D. Ehrman is an agnostic. He is highly critical of the Word of God and believes that the Bible is a work of mere men and not the revealed will of God. In believing this, he rejects and belittles the Bible. He has authored twenty plus books that advance his agnostic beliefs. “He joked that atheists think agnostics are wimpy atheists and that agnostics think atheists are arrogant agnostics.” It is my opinion that Mr. Ehrman is an arrogant agnostic.
I noticed in the 30th of March 2009 edition of Newsweek magazine a very short article that publicized Mr. Ehrman’s latest book, “Jesus, Interrupted.” Found on page 16, the article is entitled, “Dear Lord, Let’s Agree To Disagree” by Adam B. Kushner. Under the subtitled, “The Evidence,” Mr. Kushner writes in part concerning the New Testament, “Most of the 27 books were written long after Christ’s death, and only eight of them were actually written by the people initially credited as authors. When the New Testament became canonical, there were lots of Gospels floating around. Why did some endure but not others? ‘Unclear’ Ehrman writes, but it surely reflected contemporary biases.” The Bible “did not descend from on high,” he writes. “It was created, down here on earth.”
All of Mr. Ehrman’s critical remarks have been answered over and over again by true biblical scholars. Concerning his claim, “there were lots of Gospels floating around,” this is not true! Notice following evidence, “Though a few of the Apocryphal Gospels are of comparatively early origin, there is no evidence that any Gospels purported to be what our four Gospels are, existed in the first century, or that any other than fragmentary literature of this character existed even in the second century.” (Pages 349-350, Volume 8, Ante-Nicene Fathers, Introductory Notice to Apocrypha of the New Testament, by Professor M. B. Riddle, D.D.)
We have always wondered why these Bible haters have ignored ancient documents/evidences that are available. Maybe they would rather put forth their agnostic/atheistic agenda to the public without addressing such works in an honest and open manner. This is deceitful! Notice from the classic work of Irwin H. Linton, “A Lawyer Examines The Bible,” extracted portion from his “Appendix “C,” entitled, “Ancient Documents,” pages 228-229 as follows: “In regard to the books which make up the New Testament, it is obvious that they had to be written by someone before they could be quoted by anyone, and since we find them cited, quoted, listed, catalogued, harmonized, by men of the second century, some of whom were Christians, and others of whom were pagans (like Celsus, who was born only fifty years after the death of the Apostle John, and who wrote vigorously against the Christian faith and used very much the same arguments in his attack as are used by his two-thousand-years-later successors), we know for a certainty that the New Testament books, and more specifically the Gospels, which Celsus quotes, were written by men who lived at or about the time of the events recorded, or in some portion of the first century.”
“The early date of these biographies, and the widespread scattering abroad of copies of them, made utterly impossible, it seems to me, any alteration of them or legendary additions to them. Even a hasty reference to almost any one of the numerous scholarly works on the Christian Evidences will bring you into contact with an overwhelming weight of specific evidence that the Gospels were familiar to, and quoted voluminously by, men who were almost and in some cases actually contemporaries of the Apostle John (a copy of whose Gospel, in which are recorded, by the way, some of Christ’s greatest miracles…” “…if you will refer to a work called ‘The Testimony of the Evangelists,’ written by Simon Greenleaf, the author of the greatest work on legal evidence known to the lawyers of the English-speaking nations, you will find the statement that the authenticity of the Gospels is better established than that of the corpus juris civilis, the basic law of Continental Europe.”
For the true truth seeker, the above quotes should put to rest the idea that according to Mr. Kushner, reporting for Mr. Ehrman, that “Most of the 27 books were written long after Christ’s death, and only eight of them were actually written by the people initially credited as authors. When the New Testament became canonical, there were lots of Gospels floating around.” Anyone, with a lick of common sense, should be able to ascertain the truth and by way of many genuine ancient documents.
There is an abundance of material on the subject of Christian Evidences. For additional study see: “Justin Martyr’s Dialogue with Trypho,” a Jew, Volume I, Ante-Nicene Fathers and “Origen Against Celsus,” Volume IV, Ante-Nicene Fathers. For essays on like subjects, see “Apocrypha Literature,” “Governor Pliny,” ”History and Jesus Christ” and “Judas Gospel Heresy.”