Ravi Zacharias (RPT’s Tribute)

(Almost all the videos or audios below are from my YouTube Channel. I recovered many of them from my Vimeo account and my MRCTV account. Enjoy, I have worked all day on fixing audio and video to make them more presentable)

  • If C.S. Lewis was the greatest Christian expositor of the 20th century, Ravi Zacharias might well go down in history as the greatest of the 21st century. Both are often described as “apologists,” but that sounds defensive to the modern ear. (WASHINGTON TIMES)
  • “To my friend, my mentor and a great hero of the faith [Ravi Zacharias] — Thank you,” Tim Tebow wrote. “I know I’ll see you again and I look forward to that day. Love you brother.” (PJ-MEDIA)

First, let me say, I am a fan of Ravi Zacharias. A huge fan. He has impacted me in countless ways, and thus, he has impacted my family. As a three-time felon, I benefited from his insights into what a Christian worldview should look like, and how a Christian should present himself. But he is a man — in need of a savior and prone to missteps and falls. Like any of us. His statement via CHRISTIANITY TODAY makes note of this:

  • “I have learned a difficult and painful lesson through this ordeal,” Zacharias said. “I failed to exercise wise caution and to protect myself from even the appearance of impropriety, and for that I am profoundly sorry. I have acknowledged this to my Lord, my wife, my children, our ministry board, and my colleagues.”

Ravi, like many a person I know (myself included), will always make claims not in line with reality to lift ourselves up to a greater status in life to impress others. It is almost a default of our prideful nature. I acknowledge all these faults in Ravi, and in my own life — it is a long and complex life filled with spiritual falls, scrapes, wounds, and battles. Ravi’s message of how the Christian worldview is coherent whereas others are not is not changed by his faults and missteps. God’s truth is unchangeable. As imperfect vessels, we imperfectly reflect His perfection. As you can see one of Ravi’s misstatements is made in the following video… but that retelling of flawed history by Ravi has no impact on the truth of his response in showing the self-deleting assumption of the questioner:

With that being said, Ravi passed from this place to the next. In March 2020, it was revealed that Zacharias had been diagnosed with a malignant and rare cancer within his spine. If one wants a book by him that shows the elegance of his thought and skills as a writer, his book “The Grand Weaver: How God Shapes Us Through the Events of Our Lives” is the book I recommend the most. A portion of this book in audio form has been used by myself in a presentation while filling in at an adult Bible study at church (Grace Baptist). the Below is an older post of mine (updated a bit) discussing this section of the book where God’s design of our life doesn’t end with Him knitting us together in the womb — along with the mentioned audio:


BEAUTY IS MORE THAN SKIN DEEP


In this presentation Ravi Zacharias takes his time explaining a talk he was present at where Dr. Francis S. Collins (WIKI) compares a cross section of DNA to a stained-glass Rose window from Yorkminster Cathedral. The design is apparent and Collins mentions it a huge boost to his faith.

At The Veritas Forum at Caltech, Francis Collins shares two images representing the scientific worldview and the spiritual worldview. He asks whether there is a way to merge science & faith, and suggests that his experience is that these two perspectives are not in conflict. (The full presentation can be seen HERE):

RAVI WRITES:

“The picture (of the DNA) did more that take away one’s breath; it was awesome in the profoundest sense of the term – not just beautiful but overwhelming. And it almost mirrored the pattern of the Rose windowThe intricacy of the DNA’s design, which pointed to the Transcendant One, astonished those who are themselves the design and who have been created semitranscendant by design. We see ourselves only partially, but through our Creator’s eyes, we see our transcendence. In looking at our own DNA, the subject and the object come together.”

TO WIT…

 


END of POST


I have other uploads as well I have used in conversation over the years as well that are instructive to the armchair apologist. Here they are (some recently imported from my VIMEO account:


AUDIO/VIDEO


Ravi Zacharias responds with “precise language” to a written question. With his patented charm and clarity, Ravi responds to the challenge of exclusivity in Christianity that skeptics challenge us with.

A student asks a question of Ravi Zacharias about God condemning people [atheists] to hell. This Q&A occurred after a presentation Ravi gave at Harvard University, and is now one of his most well-known responses in the apologetic sub-culture. This is an updated version to my original upload. I truncated the beginning as well as editing the volume of the initial question. I also added graphics and text quotes into the audio presentation.

A Muslim student at Michigan University challenges Ravi Zacharias on Christianities seemingly lack of ability in keeping the “law” like Islam and Judaism do so well. How can Christianity be true if it isn’t doing that which God demands? (I have recently enhanced, greatly, the audio in the file from my original VIMEO upload… and reconfigured slightly the visual presentation.)

 

(February 12, 2014) This is for a group of men that are going through Gregory Koukl’s book, “Tactics.” Often times a person merely need to ask his accuser questions to better open up what they mean by their questioning.

Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” AND WHEN HE HAD SAID THIS, HE WENT OUT AGAIN…. (NASB – emphasis added)

One example of this “Socratic Method” can be seen here: “Socratic Method ~ Falling On Their Own Sword (Origins Myths)” The students start out sounding like experts and often times the Christians will shy away from conversation when in fact the person is basing their assumptions on a self-refuting idea[s], and all that is needed to bring it out are a few questions.

(March 31, 2013) Ravi Zacharias does a great job in explaining what pornography does to shame, the Holy, and the insatiable fire of not being able to satisfy men’s archetype they build in their minds eye.

(February 11, 2014) A quick witted response brings a light heart to a serious subject. This comes from an event today from the University of Pennsylvania, titled, “Is Truth Real?” Ravi Zacharias International Ministry has the longer version here.

 

Some Updated Biblical Manuscript Evidences (Apologetics)

Here are some recent discoveries discussed:

Daniel Wallace, “Recent Discoveries of NT Manuscripts” (Nov 9, 2013 at Birch Cove Baptist Church)

FIRST CENTURY (80’s) piece of Mark. The 2014 Apologetics Canada Conference was held at Northview Church in Abbotsford, BC and Willingdon Church in Vancouver, BC Canada on March 7-8.

CSNTM:

Yet More Biblical Discoveries of the Jewish Commonwealth

Yet more evidence (as if any more is needed) to show “Palestinians — as a distinct people — is fraudulent (via WND):

A dig 40 feet under a former parking lot in Jerusalem unearthed a tiny clay seal bearing the name of an aide to the biblical King Josiah.

Some 2,600 years old, it bears the name of a royal official known as “Natan L’Melech,” reports the Jewish website Aish.

The Israel antiquities authority is supervising the dig, which also has yielded a blue agate stone seal known as a bulla.

It carried the inscription belonging to Ikkar son of Matanyahu, officials said.

“This is not just another discovery,” said Professor Yuval Gadot, 51, the head of archaeology at Tel Aviv University, in an interview with Aish.

He is leading the dig.

“We are talking about the cradle of civilization and a highly significant item which bears the name of a specific individual,” he said.

The report said the seal was the first archaeological evidence of the biblical name Nathan-Melech….

Also this archaeological dig discovered, for the first time, the remains of a Second Temple period Jewish settlement IN the city of Beersheva, a connection to both Abraham and Jesus (via CBN-NEWS):

The excavations were part of a plan to facilitate a new neighborhood in the city. However, Israeli researchers inadvertently uncovered the remains of an ancient neighborhood that was once bustling with ancient Jewish life.

The site is dated from the 1st century AD until the Bar-Kokhba Revolt against the Roman Empire in 135 AD. It is located along the southern border of the ancient kingdom of Judah.

A dig 40 feet under a former parking lot in Jerusalem unearthed a tiny clay seal bearing the name of an aide to the biblical King Josiah.

[….]

“Remains of the settlement cover an area of c. 2 dunams and include several structures and installations, such as the foundations of a large watchtower, baking facilities, ancient trash pits and an underground system that was probably used as a Jewish ritual bath (mikveh),” explained Dr. Peter Fabian of  the Ben-Gurion University in the Negev and Dr. Daniel Varga  of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

“Signs of a conflagration discovered in some of the structures evince a crisis that the settlement experienced, probably that of the First Jewish Revolt,” they added. That revolt took place in 70 AD.

Researchers are especially excited about the ancient menorah found on the oil lamp shard.

“This is probably one of the earliest artistic depictions of a nine-branched menorah yet discovered,” Dr. Vargas said.  

Archaeologists also found dozens of bronze coins that were minted by the Roman Empire.

In Genesis 21, the city was founded by Abraham and Abimelech after the two settled their differences over a well of water and formed a covenant together. The name Beersheva means “Well of Seven” or “Well of the Oath.”

The Bible says Isaac built an altar in Beersheba and Jacob had a dream about a stairway to heaven after leaving the city.

Later, the prophet Elijah took refuge in Beersheva after Jezebel ordered his execution.

Beersheva is mentioned in the Bible several times in connection with the Hebrew Patriarchs Abraham and Isaac.

Textual Variants In The Bible

>>> CLICK  PIC TO ENLARGE

This is a great — short — piece on the varients [invariably] brought up in conversation about the Bible. AND EXPLAINS why scholarly critics say the following:

  • The position I argue for in Misquoting Jesus does not actually stand at odds with Prof. Metzger’s position that the essential Christian beliefs are not affected by textual variants in the manuscript tradition of the New Testament. ~ Daniel B. Wallace, Revisiting the Corruption of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregal Publications, 2011), 55.

First, these are errors in the copies, not the originals. Second, they are minor errors (often in names or numbers) which do not affect any teaching. Third, these copyist errors are relatively few in number. Fourth, usually by the context, or by another Scripture, we know which is in error. For example, Ahaziah must have been 22. Finally, though there is a copyist error, the entire message comes through. For example, if you received a letter with the following statement, would you assume you could collect some money?

  • #OU HAVE WON $20 MILLION.

Even though there is a mistake in the first word, the entire message comes through-you are 20 million dollars richer! And if you received another letter the next day that read like this, you would be even more sure:

  • Y#U HAVE WON $20 MILLION.

The more mistakes of this kind there are (each in a different place), the more sure you are of the original message. This is why scribal mistakes in the biblical manuscripts do not affect the basic message of the Bible

(GEISLER)

Here is the portion on “variants”

  • Doug Powell, Holman QuickSource Guide to Christian Apologetics (Nashville, TN: Holman Reference , 2006), 158-162.

Thousands of Errors?

When the original language manuscripts are compared with one another, we find there are about 200,000 variants or errors in 10,000 different places. Variants are, very simply, disagreements between texts. These variants can be divided into two categories: unintentional and intentional.

The vast majority of variants are unintentional and are comprised of misspellings, interpolations of words or lines, or are orthographical in nature.[10] Each time a certain word is misspelled in a certain point in the text, it is counted as an error. For example, if a certain word in a certain verse had the same misspelled word in 537 copies, that would count as 537 errors or variants. Orthographical variants refer to the way words are spelled differently in different places. The difference between “theater” and “theatre” is orthographical. Both spellings are correct, but each is preferred in a different geographical location.

Because they preserve the errors of their exemplars, early translations of the New Testament help locate where certain textual variants were mainly known and probably occurred. Also, the writings of the early church fathers are a great help at this point because when they quote the New Testament, they essentially have tagged the errors they preserved with a time and place. If the oldest occurrence of a variant is found in Augustine, for example, we would know the error was from

no later than the late fourth or early fifth centuries and was known in North African copies. If a different error from the same time period is preserved by Chrysostom, we would know that the error was found in copies in the Byzantine region. And if a variant is found in Justin Martyr’s writings, we know the variant was no later than the mid-second century and known to the Romans.

These observations led scholars to divide the copies into three major text types, each with their own peculiarities. The Western text type is named for the versions found around Rome. The Byzantine text type encompasses modern Turkey, Greece, and the Middle East. The Alexandrian text type is named for the copies found in North Africa.[11]

The Alexandrian text type has the oldest manuscripts. It is the text type found in the almost ninety surviving papyri and date back to the second (and possibly first) century. The vast majority of English translations are based on the Alexandrian text type since it is considered by most experts today to be the oldest form of the New Testament.

The text type with the most copies by far is the Byzantine. These manuscripts were written on vellum, a much more

durable medium than papyri. The Byzantine texts date from the ninth century onward. This text type was used by Erasmus to compile the first published Greek New Testament. The King James Version was based on Erasmus’s work. This accounts for the variation seen between the King James Version and almost any other major English translation.

Whether or not the Byzantine is the latest and the Alexandrian is the oldest text type is still being debated. The majority opinion is that the Byzantine is a combination of the Alexandrian and Western types. But the argument that at least some parts of the Byzantine text date just as far back as the other text types is a strong one.

The other kind of error found in Scripture is an intentional error. These are deliberate changes to the text by the scribes. It was probably not the scribe’s intention, however, to corrupt the text. They would sometimes try to correct what they saw as an error or to improve the text in some other way.

A good example of an intentional error is found in Mark 1:1-3:

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet:

Look, I am sending My messenger ahead of You,

who will prepare Your way.

A voice of one crying out in the wilderness:

“Prepare the way for the Lord;

make His paths straight!”

The above HCSB translation uses the Alexandrian (also known as Egyptian) text type as its source.[12] Compare its translation with the New King James Version, based on the Byzantine text type:

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;

As it is written in the prophets,

Behold, I send my messenger before thy face,

which shall prepare thy way before thee.

The voice of one crying in the wilderness,

Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

Note that the HCSB attributes the quote to Isaiah, but the NKJV attributes the quote to “the prophets.” Apparently at some point a scribe recognized the quote was not just from Isaiah 40:3 but also from Malachi 3:1 and sought to correct the attribution. Whether Mark intentionally, for whatever reason, made the attribution solely to Isaiah is unknown.

This dilemma does, however, illustrate another principle used in recovering the original writing: prefer the more difficult reading. Between the two renderings of Mark 1:1-3, it is easier to explain the difference as a correction from “Isaiah” to “the prophets” than to explain it as a corruption from “the prophets” to “Isaiah.” The more difficult reading is “Isaiah,” therefore it is considered to have a higher probability of being the original.

Regardless of the value of the techniques described above, there are some parts of the New Testament where we are just not sure what the original writing said. About 400 words fall into this category and comprise about forty verses. The content of these verses contain no basis for any essential doctrine of the Christian faith. As a result, scholars can recover 97 to 99 percent of the original content of the New Testament with certainty.[13]

As it turns out, rather than being disadvantaged by not having the original writings, we find ourselves in a position of good fortune. If we had the originals, a critic of the writings would only need to call into question one document. Instead, a critic needs to deal with over 5,300 documents that agree substantially 99.5 percent of the time. This ultimately carries as much or more weight than having the originals.

[10] Bruce Metzger, The New Testament: Its Background, Growth and Content (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1965), 281.

[11] David Allen Black, “Key Issues in New Testament Textual Criticism,” Biola University lecture, cd; Larry W. Hurtado, “How the New Testament Has Come Down to Us,” in Introduction to the History of Christianity, ed. Tim Dowley (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2002), 132.

[12] The HCSB uses the Novum Testamentum Graece, 27th ed., as the textual base for its translation of the New Testament. The Novum Testamentum Graece is primarily reliant on the Alexandrian text type.

[13] David Allen Black, “Key Issues in New Testament Textual Criticism,” Biola University lecture, cd.

(Accuracy Montage – Above)

The Top Ten Scientific Facts in the Bible

If it’s true that the Bible contains scientific facts that were written thousands of years before man discovered them, the implications are staggering. These facts would be evidence that the Bible is the word of God, and its promise of Heaven and threat of Hell are therefore not to be mocked or ignored. A great video. Here is a quote to compliment #9:

  • “The Book of Leviticus in the Bible was probably the first recording of laws concerning public health. The Hebrew people were told to practice personal hygiene by washing and keeping clean. They were also instructed to bury their waste material away from their campsites, to isolate those who were sick, and to burn soiled dressings. They were prohibited from eating animals that had died of natural causes. The procedure for killing an animal was clearly described, and the edible parts were designated.” ~ Gwendolyn R.W. Burton and Paul G. Engelkirk, Microbiology for the Health Sciences, 6th Edition (New York, NY: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 2000), 9.

I Cannot Believe Because the Bible is Unreliable

Church at the Cross, Grapevine (2016) – Many people claim that the Bible is merely a human book, irrelevant, full of errors, and unreliable as an authoritative source of truth for all people. But, what does the evidence suggest? Can we trust the Bible? Speaker: Dr. Dan Wallace (author and Sr. Professor of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary).

Did Zoroastrianism Influence Judaic Theology?

Some posit that Jewish thinking on Satan is borrowed from Zoroasterian thought, however, Satan makes an appearance in the book Job. Job is a very early book… pre-dating Zoroaster’s life easily. Satan, as described there, is nothing like the evil god Ahriman, who is a dualistic equal to Ohrmazd the good god, rather than a subordinate.

There is a waay more in-depth dealing with this topic of a supposed Zoroastrian influence in Dr. Corduan’s PDF here:

Another excellent resource that responds to specific scholars on the issue is professor Edwin M. Yamauchi’s, PERSIA AND THE BIBLE, esp. chapter twelve. Here is an excerpt from Dr. Corduan’s excellent book:

Zoroastrian Influences

Scholars commonly observe that the real significance of Zoroastrianism lies in the influence it has exerted on the development of other world religions, specifically Judaism, Christianity and Islam. For example, it has been suggested that Jews picked up the concepts of Satan, angels, demons and the apocalypse (resurrection and judgment at the end of the world) during their exile in Babylonia and immediately thereafter. Notions of Zoroastrian influence were particularly popular during the early twentieth century. Even though scholarly support for them has eroded, they continue to be propagated on the popular level and in introductory textbooks.

There is nothing intrinsically pernicious about the idea that one religion may have influenced another one. A case in point lies in the origin of Islam in the life of Muhammad. We know that Muhammad came into contact with established versions of Judaism, Christianity and Zoroastrianism. We know what those adherents believed for the most part, and we can show exactly how some of those beliefs showed up (and how they were modified) in the Qur’an. Thus it makes sense to think in terms of the influence that these three religions exerted on Muhammad. I have argued that we must leave plenty of room both for Muhammad’s own creativity and for the vestige of original monotheism present in Arabian culture at his time. The idea does become objectionable when the identification of a supposed influence is used to eliminate all originality (or even truth—the “genetic fallacy”) from a religious belief simply by showing that it was derived from some other source.

We can use the example of influences on Muhammad to establish criteria by which we can judge whether Zoroastrianism could have influenced Judaism. In order to conclude reasonably that such an influence occurred, the following points have to be true:

  1. Zoroastrianism must have been established in the form in which it was supposed to have influenced Judaism.
  2. There must have been sufficient opportunity for the Jews to absorb the doctrines.
  3. There must be sufficient resemblance between the Zoroastrian version of the doctrines and the biblical version to make influence a reasonable conclusion.
  4. There must be a clear indication that the influence went from Zoroastrianism to Judaism and not the other way around. This criterion is particularly incisive if there is some evidence that the beliefs in question may have been present in Judaism before the period of supposed contact with Zoroastrianism.

As it turns out, not one of these criteria supports the notion of Zoroastrian influence.

1. Zoroastrianism had a particularly tough time getting established in Per­sia. Even the kings we know as Zoroastrians wor­shiped Ahura Mazda along with other gods. All these kings ruled at a time later than the period of the exile. Cyrus, who sent the Jews back to their own land, was not Zoroastrian. If Zoroas­trianism had influenced Is­rael at this time, then the Jews must have been more open to the message of Zoroaster than the Persians themselves were.

2. The kind of intimate contact necessary for assimilation of foreign beliefs cannot be demonstrated for the Jews in the mainstream of biblical Judaism. As stated above, Persia did not become Zoroastrian until after the exile. So the influences (if any) must have come much more indirectly. An interesting sidelight to this discussion is that the ten northern tribes were indeed transported by the Assyrians to the region roughly identical with Media, the sphere of Zoroaster’s activity. But the northern tribes had no concrete influence on the development of Judaism (in fact, they basically vanished). It would be far more likely that their presence in Media might have influenced subsequent thought there, but we have no evidence for that hypothesis either.

3. By and large, the supposed resemblances between Zoroastrianism and Judaism are superficial at best. Beyond the idea that Jewish biblical writings show evidence of Satan, angels and apocalypse, there is very little similarity in the details. It must be kept in mind here that (1) we know very little about the Zoroastrianism of the Achaemenid dynasty; (2) much of what we do know comes from sources considerably later than biblical writings; (3) what we do know reflects the garbled, magic-obsessed, syncretistic religion of the magi—hardly the Zoroastrianism necessary for the Jews to use as source for the biblical version. The Talmud (itself a very late source—A.D. 400) states that the Jews brought the names of angels back with them from Babylon; we can also allow for the idea that they may have been stimulated in their thinking about God, Satan, angels, demons and so on (in fact, common sense tells us that they must have done so). Nevertheless, such broad strokes are a far cry from proving that the Jews directly borrowed the actual concepts from Zoroastrianism. The Old Testament depicts Satan as a very inferior being, not as a dualistic opponent of God. We find only the sketchiest references to angels. They are definitely not objects of worship, and it is apparent that the apocalypses of the two cultures differ in all details other than that there is a resurrection and a judgment.

4. Finally, beyond resemblances, there are no particular data to support the assertion that Zoroastrianism influenced Judaism rather than the other way around. The very idea of foreign influences on Judaism has its basis in a dogmatic commitment by Western biblical scholars of the early twentieth century to explain Judaism in terms of the supposed evolution of religion (see chapter one). Thus all claims to an original revealed monotheism needed to be rethought in terms of either evolutionary develop­ment or foreign influences such as Zoroastrianism. Wherever such scholars find an apparent resemblance to another religion or culture, they immediately infer that the other religion was the source that influenced Judaism. This tendency also shows up in the ascription of Zoroastrian influence, though the data really do not support the arrows going in that direction (just as it would be difficult to make them point the other way). It becomes apparent that in tracing the supposed influence the question is frequently begged in favor of Zoroastrian influence on biblical writings. A quote by James H. Moulton is telling for this whole enterprise:

It is perhaps as well to remember that these theories do not come from Iranian experts, but from scholars whose fame was achieved in other fields. Were we to count only the Iranists, we should even doubt whether the Parsi did not borrow from the Jew, for that was the view of [the Iranian scholar] Darmesteter!

In sum, the story of Zoroastrian influence on other religions has been greatly exagger­ated. The resemblances are more superficial than real, and even where they are close, there is no good reason to infer direct influencing or borrowing. The real significance of Zoroastrianism does not lie in its influence on other religions but on what we learn about this religion in its own domain, as well as what we learn about the experience of monotheistic religions by its example.

Winfried Corduan, Neighboring Faiths: A Christian Introduction to World Religions (Downers Grove, IL:  InterVarsity Press, 1998), 129-131.

Islam’s View of Jesus’ Diety

Here are some ways to deal with Muslim apologists questioning Jesus’ Divinity:

(Above) Nabeel Qureshi, a former Muslim, answers a question from a faithful Muslim about how Jesus could have both a Divine (God) nature and a human nature without confusion or contradiction. See more from Nabeel HERE  Follow him on TWITTER as well.

Nabeel is battling stomach cancer, so any prayers would be a gracious help.

Here is a more in-depth presentation dealing with how the question is typically raised.

Muslims around the world are being trained to ask Christians, “Where did Jesus say, ‘I am God, worship me,’ in those exact words?” However, if Muslims are suggesting that Jesus could only claim to be God by uttering a specific sentence, we may reply by asking, “Where did Jesus say, ‘I am only a prophet, don’t worship me,’ in those exact words?” The unreasonable demand for a particular statement, if applied consistently, would thus force Muslims to reject their own view!

Fortunately, we have a simple way to examine what Jesus said about himself. According to both the Bible and the Qur’an, there are certain claims that only God can truly make. For instance, God alone can correctly state that he created the universe. Of course, a mere human being can pronounce the words, “I created the universe,” but the statement would be false coming from anyone other than God.

Hence, if Jesus said things that can only truly be said by God, we must conclude that Jesus claimed to be God. Interestingly, Jews, Christians, and Muslims agree on many of the claims that cannot be properly made by (or about) mere human beings. In this video, we consider several examples of such claims.

For more on the deity of Christ, watch these videos by David Wood:

More from David Wood:


A Couple Debates/Discussions


A good back-and-forth between  Imam Mustri and Dr. James White:

“Did the Earliest Followers of Jesus Believe in His Deity?” James White debates Shabir Ally at the University of Pretoria in South Africa.

Bart Ehrman’s Methodology Exposed

After noting the problems in Bart Ehrman’s book, TRUE FREE THINKER notes — using Bart Ehrman’s own methodology — just how many of these variants accumulated over time:

…I do not know how many copies Misquoting Jesus has sold but it is reported that “Within the first three months, more than 100,000 copies were sold.”

The way it works is as simple as it is deceptive: you multiply the 16 variants by how many times they have been reproduced. As the 16 have been reproduced 100,000 (in three months alone) you multiply these and so the total of variants in Misquoting Jesus equals: 1,600,000.

And that, boys and girls, is how Bart Ehrman manages to make sensational claims that gain him notoriety and quite a few shekels….

Which is why this Q&A with Ehrman is so powerful:

In the appendix to Misquoting Jesus, added to the paperback version, there is a Q&A section. I do not know who the questioner is, but it is obviously someone affiliated with the editors of the book. Consider this question asked of Ehrman:

  • Bruce Metzger, your mentor in textual criticism to whom this book dedicated, has said that there is nothing in these variants of Scripture that challenges any essential Christian beliefs (e.g., the bodily resurrection of Jesus or the Trinity). Why do you believe these core tenets Of Christian orthodoxy to be in jeopardy based on the scribal errors you discovered in the biblical manuscripts?

Note that the wording of the question is not “Do you believe…” but “Why do you believe these core tenets of Christian orthodoxy to be in jeopardy…?” This is a question that presumably came from someone who read the book very carefully. How does Ehrman respond?

  • The position I argue for in Misquoting Jesus does not actually stand at odds with Prof. Metzger’s position that the essential Christian beliefs are not affected by textual variants in the manuscript tradition of the New Testament.

Suffice it to say that viable textual variants that disturb cardinal doctrines found in the NT have not yet been produced.

  • Daniel B. Wallace, Revisiting the Corruption of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregal Publications, 2011), 54-55.

See also this post.

The Argument from Silence

The Argument from Silence… known as an “informal fallacy,” or, the argument from ignorance. Great video… I especially like the portion from 2:53 – to – 4:26:

Why do no other ancient sources mention things only in the Bible? Can we trust the Bible even though there is so much silence from the ancient world? This video addresses this issue.