Investigating Paul’s Conversion Turned a Doubter Into a Christian Apologist

Studying the conversion of the Apostle Paul turned a learned and skeptical English statesman into a Christian apologist. In 1747, George Lyttleton penned Observations on the Conversion and Apostleship of St. Paul. Lyttleton wrote “I thought the conversion and Apostleship of Paul alone, duly considered, was of itself a demonstration sufficient to prove Christianity to be a Divine revelation.”  In this very short and influential work of 18th-century Christian apologetics, Lyttleton examines the life of Paul found in Acts and in his undisputed letters and offers the following quadrilemma: Either Paul was “an impostor who said what he knew to be false, with an intent to deceive;” or  He was an “enthusiast who imposed on … Read more

Are the Accounts of Jesus’s Ascension Contradictory?

Bart Ehrman says that the author of Luke can’t seem to get the story of the Ascension of Jesus right. In his Gospel, Luke says that Jesus ascended into heaven the day of his resurrection. In The Acts of the Apostles, Jesus hung around for 40 days before leaving his disciples. Dr. Ehrman writes in his blog:  “In Luke 24 (you can read it for yourself and see) Jesus rises from the dead, on that day meets with his disciples, and then, again that day, he ascends to heaven from the town of Bethany. But when you read Acts 1, written by the same author, you find that Jesus did not ascend on that day … Read more

Is Bart Ehrman Right When He Says That Acts Contradicts Paul’s Letters?

Agnostic New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman says, “the book of Acts in the New Testament contains historically unreliable information about the life and teachings of Paul.” In his book, Jesus, Interrupted Dr. Ehrman provides five examples of contradictions that exist between Paul’s letters and Acts.  Ehrman writes, “These are just a few of the discrepancies that one can find when one reads Acts horizontally against Paul’s letters. Many more can be discovered. What they show is that Acts cannot be relied upon for completely accurate detail when it describes the mission of the early apostles such as Paul.” Since these contradictions are the five he handpicked for his book, he must feel like they’re some of the … Read more

Are There Beastly High Priestly Problems Going On in Luke and John?

annas and caiaphas

If the Gospels make historical goofs, then it’s hard to call them reliable documents. Skeptics have been quick to point out that the Gospel writers make several factual errors, and an example of that is Luke and John’s confusion regarding the high priesthood.  Tradition tells us that Luke was a traveling companion of Paul and used apostles for sources. Surely he should’ve known better. And John was supposedly a Jew and an eyewitness. A local should’ve probably had a solid idea about how the high priesthood works.   Let’s start with Luke.  Two High Priests?  Luke 3 sets the stage for John the Baptist, and this is where he seems to get confused. Luke 3:2 reads: “during … Read more

84 reasons why we know Luke was a traveling companion and eyewitness of the miraculous life of the Apostle Paul

Bart Ehrman claims that Luke wasn’t really a traveling companion of Paul. In his book Forged, Ehrman writes: “(The author of Acts) is simply claiming to be a traveling companion of Paul’s and therefore unusually well suited to give a “true” account of Paul’s message and mission. But he almost certainly was not a companion of Paul’s. On the one hand, he was writing long after Paul and his companions were dead. Scholars usually date Acts to around 85 CE or so, over two decades after Paul’s death. On the other hand, he seems to be far too poorly informed about Paul’s theology and missionary activities to have been someone with firsthand knowledge.”  (Forged: Writing in … Read more

Do the 3 accounts of Paul’s conversion in Acts contradict each other?

There are three accounts of Paul’s conversion found in the Book of Acts. They’re all a bit different and because of that some critics say they’re at odds with each other. Comparing them, skeptical Biblical scholar Bart Ehrman writes: “the three accounts differ in numerous contradictory details…Clearly we are dealing with a narrative that has been molded for literary reasons, not with some kind of disinterested historical report.” If Luke can’t keep from contradicting himself while telling and re-telling Paul’s conversion, this would cast doubt on if he ever traveled with or even knew Paul very well at all. Let’s look at Bart’s complaints one by one and see if he has a good case against … Read more

Is Jesus Alive?