It looks like Google pulled up a few of my blog articles relating to Bart Ehrman. Tom Krattenmaker has written a piece for USA Today titled, “Fightin’ words.” Included was the following:
One of Ehrman’s chief critics is the theologian and author James White, a leading practitioner of apologetics, the branch of theology devoted to defending and proving the orthodox faith. White denounces Ehrman as an apostate guided by deepanti-Christian bias. He charges in one Internet post that Ehrman has “moved far beyond the realm of his narrow expertise in his last three most popular books, all of which are designed to do one thing: destroy Christian faith.”
If criticisms of Ehrman veer toward the personal it’s because his evidence – the Bible’s own text – is what it is. And there is no denying the inconsistencies he surfaces between the various Gospels and letters that form the New Testament.
I would encourage Mr. Krattenmaker, should he find the time and be so inclined, to watch the debate with Bart Ehrman and see if I had to get “personal” or whether the facts were the focus of the encounter. Further, Ehrman’s status as an apostate is front and center in all of his own publications and self-promotion, so I’m a bit uncertain as to the point Mr. Krattenmaker is making.
There is always trouble afoot when secular media types try to report on such topics. The number of those in the media with sufficient background to even accurately report on the field, let alone do so even handedly, is small indeed. Such is the case here. Rather than reporting the fact that someone such as myself is asserting that Ehrman is only presenting certain facts, and always presenting them with the worst possible spin, Krattenmaker ignores this. Further, he seems to think Ehrman is presenting some “new” viewpoint, when even Ehrman repeatedly says otherwise! Note his words:
Ehrman’s book has met with a fierce reaction from some quarters, which is understandable. Who among us isn’t inclined to fight back when our deepest, most cherished beliefs are challenged? But there is no need to demonize him as a “wolf” on the prowl against the church, as one critic has. His ideas, like so many other new thoughts and new insights that keep coming around with the surety of the seasons, need not be regarded as insults against God or bids to prove the Bible false.
Of course, that was me “demonizing” Ehrman. As is so often the case with reporters, when you look at the context, well—they didn’t, or, if they did, they ignored it. Here is the entire article he pulled that phraseology from:
I Don’t Do Theology, I’m an Historical Scholar!
03/02/2009 – James White
So says Bart Ehrman when you challenge his highly challengeable theological conclusions and claims. Ehrman’s new anti-Christian book, Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (and Why We Don’t Know About Them), is lying on my desk, having just arrived. I flipped the book open to the back and my eyes fell upon this statement:
There is not literally a place of eternal torment where God, or the demons doing his will, will torture poor souls for 30 trillion years (as just the beginning) for sins they committed for thirty years. What kind of never-dying eternal divine Nazi would a God like that be? (p. 276).
Now, aside from the inherent problems (poor souls = innocent souls, the issue of divine justice, the continued hatred of those under punishment for God, etc.) in this common atheistic blast, the real issue is, does this book finally signal the end of Ehrman’s “I’m not a theologian, I’m just a high-brow scholar so I cannot be held accountable for all the theological pronouncements I make” excuse making? Will those in the “academy” finally see his real intentions, and start to recognize his bias? Personally, I sort of doubt it. Anyone who is embarrassed by the open profession of the lordship of Christ over the mind will not wish to risk their next invitation to some major conference by pointing out Ehrman’s bold anti-Christian zealotry. But churchmen who recognize when a wolf is stalking the sheep will do well to cull some of the whopper statements in this book as excellent examples of the fact that Ehrman is no unbiased textual critical scholar. He has moved far beyond the realm of his narrow expertise in his last three most popular books, all of which are designed to do one thing: destroy Christian faith.
I might note that the quote above would be just as applicable to the Islamic view of the fire as well. Just don’t ask Bart about that. As he begins his rounds on NPR, do you think someone will ask him, “So, you are saying Allah in the Qur’an is a never-dying eternal divine Nazi?” Yeah, probably not.
A little different in context, isn’t it? I wonder why Ehrman’s quote got lost? Well, we all know why that is.
Now, the link provided in the online article connected to my name goes nowhere. But, thankfully, a link to the blog is provided. It is linked to an entire category, but, at least that category has a number of blog articles, and in particular, videos, relating to Ehrman. So, let’s hope for the best and that some will find that information and be blessed, despite the expected liberal spin of the article.
Update: Dr. Al Mohler likewise commented on the same article, here.