Is John’s Jesus Different Than The Synoptics?

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New Testament scholars often treat the Gospel of John like a red-headed stepchild. We’re often told that John presents a Jesus who is fundamentally different from the Synoptics. For example, here is the well-known NT critic Bart Ehrman:  …if Matthew and John were both written by earthly disciples of Jesus, why are they so very different, on all sorts of levels? … Why do they have such fundamentally different views of who Jesus was?… (interview with NPR 12/14/05) Ehrman certainly isn’t alone in his opinion here. Even Craig Evans, an evangelical New Testament scholar, concedes this point to Bart. He says: I suspect we (Ehrman and I) don’t have too much difference on John. My … Read more

Why Was Paul and Mark Silent About the Virgin Birth?

It’s Christmas time, and I can already hear the choruses. No, I’m not talking about Christmas carolers. I’m referring to the chorus of biblical critics and skeptics poo-pooing the Christmas narratives found in the Bible. A favorite argument of skeptics is that there’s scant mention of the virgin birth in the New Testament. It’s Matthew and Luke against the world.  For example, here’s an older quote from NT scholar Geza Vermes: “Considering the importance of the Virgin Mary in Christianity, the historian is struck by the scarcity of supporting evidence in the New Testament. St Paul never speaks of the virginal conception. All we learn from him is that Jesus had a Jewish mother.” And … Read more

Why Minimal Facts Isn’t Enough

Unpopular opinion time: I’m not a fan of the minimal facts argument for the  resurrection. I don’t think it works, and it might even do more harm than good. I know this is a rather spicy take. And I understand people who absolutely love minimal facts might want to click away. But hang on a second! I used to love this argument, too. So put down your torch and pitchforks for just a moment. Hear me out for a few minutes!   When I first got into apologetics, I came across Gary Habermas’ popular talk “The resurrection argument that changed a generation of scholars.” I was blown away. I bought Habermas and Licona’s popular level book … Read more

Interview: Defending The Gospel of John with Dr. Lydia McGrew

In this interview, I speak with Dr. Lydia McGrew about the reliability of the Gospel of John. Dr. McGrew is a widely published analytic philosopher and author. She received her Ph.D. in English from Vanderbilt University in 1995. She has published extensively in the theory of knowledge, specializing in formal epistemology and in its application to the evaluation of testimony and to the philosophy of religion. She defends the reliability of the Gospels and Acts in her books Hidden in Plain View: Undesigned Coincidences in the Gospels and Acts, The Mirror or the Mask: Liberating the Gospels From Literary Devices, and most recently The Eye of the Beholder: The Gospel of John as Historical Reportage, … Read more

Video: Don’t Blindly Follow “Biblical Scholarly Consensus”

I’ve made a lot of content defending the historical reliability of the gospels. And one of the most common objections I hear is that my views aren’t in line with modern scholarship. And I admit it. If you’re a Christian and you’re looking for evidence for your faith, you and I are guaranteed to lose the credential war. Yes, there are good conservative Christian scholars out there like DA Carson or Craig Blomberg. But they’re a minority voice. The scholarly consensus is against me. I get it.  Here’s the thing though: That doesn’t really bother me, and it shouldn’t bother you. When it comes to biblical scholarship, we have some reasons to be seriously skeptical. … Read more

Video: No, the Resurrection Narratives Are Not Hopelessly Contradictory

Christians are often duped by the common mistake called the ‘fallacy of the expert witness.’ While there’s nothing wrong with appealing to expert authorities, fancy credentials can’t cover up weak arguments.  Enter Bart Ehrman. Dr. Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He’s written several scholarly and popular-level works that cast doubt on the reliability of the New Testament.   As an agnostic, one reason Ehrman says we should reject the resurrection of Jesus is that the Gospel narratives are “hopelessly contradictory.” But are they really? What is his case for this? Erik ManningErik is a Reasonable Faith Chapter Director located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. … Read more

Video: No, the Pastoral Epistles Are Not Forged

13 letters in the New Testament claim to be written by the Apostle Paul. But some New Testament scholars like Bart Ehrman say that 6 of them are blatant forgeries, notably 1st and 2nd Timothy. This puts the Christians in an awkward spot, as forgery is…well… just another way to lie, which goes against the 9th Commandment. And that’s allegedly what we have in our New Testament: one big fat lie about who wrote the Pastoral epistles. But if the critics’ arguments turn out to be weak sauce, then it’s not the New Testament that loses credibility but its detractors. In his book Forged: Writing In The Name Of God – Why The Bible’s Authors Are … Read more

Manuscript Evidence Proves the Gospels Were Not Anonymous

Skeptical New Testament scholars argue that the Four Gospels in our New Testament are anonymous. There was no original “Gospel According to Matthew,” and the same goes for Mark, Luke, and John. Their titles were left blank originally. Or so the theory goes.  These four gospels allegedly were distributed without titles for almost a hundred years before scribes attached them to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, well after these apostles were dead. Names got assigned to give the four gospels more prestige. Skeptics like Bart Ehrman go on to conclude that because these books were anonymous, they probably aren’t based on eyewitness testimony.  While many NT critics have latched onto this anonymous Gospel theory, I … Read more

Answering Ehrman: Did the Temple Curtain Rip Before or After Jesus Died?

The following is a guest post by Jacob Varghese, who is the director of SAFT Apologetics. (Seeking Answers, Finding Truth). You can find his website at saftapologetics.com and also follow him on Instagram at instagram.com/saftapologetics/. Recently a friend of mine placed before me a couple of Biblical contradictions raised by Bart Ehrman, in his presentation at the 2019 Defenders Conference, for me to try and solve. One of the contradictions was concerning the tearing of the veil and its temporal placement in relation to Jesus’ death on the cross. The account is recorded in Mark 15:37-39, Matthew 27:50-51, and Luke 23: 45-46. Admittedly this alleged contradiction had me puzzling in the beginning. As I couldn’t … 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 Jesus Alive?