Why You Might Just Be the One Who is Ignorant: The Bible, Bart Ehrman, and the Ignorance of Christians

   

A dark and evil enemy lurks in the shadows of truth within the intellectual community. His silver tongue and sniveling lies demean Christ and steal away the faithful from the flock of Christ. If anyone were an imp of Satan, Dr. Bart Ehrman would be one.

At least this is how many within the Christian community see this former theology student, Moody Bible Institute graduate, pastor, and threatening critic to the authority of scripture.

Dr. Ehrman was once a faith-filled Bible student who went off to college and graduate school to defend the inerrancy of the scripture. The irony, however, is that he is now one of the most influential and well known critics of Christianity, the scriptures, and the inerrancy of the gospel message.

He is the author of many New York Times best sellers. Here are a few:

Forged: Writing in the Name of God–Why the Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are

God’s Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question–Why We Suffer

Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why

Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don’t Know About Them)

Many in the Christian community, in reaction to this threat, have demonized the man—but I assure you he has no horns, no matter how tiny they may be. My friend and co-author to THEOLOGY21 Daniel Majors and I investigated this for ourselves recently while listening to a lecture delivered by Ehrman at the Getty Center in Los Angeles.

In fact, what we found was even more surprising. While certainly not garnering hooves or pitchforks, he commanded an impressive (and shaming to the average Christian) knowledge of the Bible and its’ verses.

He opened with a simple question: How well do you or the average Bible-belt believing Christian know the New Testament?

Through a series of simple questions, Ehrman demonstrated a simple truth about Christians which he has discovered —they don’t know what they believe or why.

Each class which enters his lecture hall is given a short quiz with twelve questions. Simple questions are given, like “how many books are there in the New Testament?” and the like.

In the last twenty years only 5 students have answered all twelve correctly.

This realization has led him to state that “They believe the Bible more than they know about it.”

Indeed, this “truth” seems verified even in my own conversations with those I minister with and to. Why do they believe the scripture? Because they were raised to believe it? Does this handicap their faith when challenges from scholars come?

What was clear and apparent was that, regardless of the ignorance of the average Christian, Dr. Bart Ehrman knew the Bible incredibly well. He recited passages verbatim, referenced key verses and their theological implications, and even knew the Greek words which underlay the English. All of this was demonstrated during a “Question and Answer” session for which he could not have been specifically prepared. He knows the Bible, more so than any other pastor, theologian, missionary, or average Christian I have ever encountered.

How is it that a critic of the New Testament knows more of the scripture than most of these men in the Church whom I admire?

We can do better. I can do better.

If this books is really as sacred and holy as we assert, than our belief and our knowledge should not be unbalanced.

We must be a people of belief and knowledge resulting in action toward good works. That sort of Christianity is one which is hard to criticize.

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THEOLOGY21 is a co-op of authors dedicated to renovating theology for a new generation, taking the ancient truths of scripture and theology and speaking to the post-Christian culture of the 21st century. To keep up-to-date on all things THEOLOGY21, Give our Facebook page a “like”, follow our twitter page, add yourself to our email list, or subscribe to our feed!
 
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  • As a nonbeliever, I encounter this all the time in discussion with Christians. They rarely know the reasoning behind the truth they claim! It makes it difficult to discuss their beliefs with them. And, unfortunately for the community, stands as a witness against them. Its difficult to stand up to people that have spent time reasoning out their truth, when you haven’t done the same for yours. It makes it difficult to have sincere discussions about belief. Loved this article!

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