Hi friends, I hope you’ve all had a great summer! I wanted to share with you an exciting opportunity over at non-Christian Bart Ehrman’s website. Dr. Ehrman invited me to write an article at his website, which is followed by many, many non-Christians.
I used the opportunity to write about three fields of theology and philosophy that are addressing some of the largest objections to Christianity.
Here is a bit of the essay, with a link to the rest of it further below.
When did Jesus cleanse the Temple? In the Synoptics, this event occurs toward the end of his ministry (Matthew 21:12-13, Mark 11:15-17, Luke 19: 45-46), and serves as a catalyst for his enemies to have him arrested (Matthew 21:15, 23, & 45, Mark 11:18, Luke 19:47-48). In the Gospel of John, the event occurs early on in Jesus’s ministry (John 2:14). One common approach to answering the question is to harmonize the two descriptions into a fuller, unified narrative: Jesus cleansed the Temple twice, one time early in his ministry and another time later. There are many differences in the Gospels, and sometimes the explanations that Christians have offered to these variety of differences, from the simple to the complex, have been wanting. Some explanations present strained interpretations that strike many of us as implausible to have occurred in such a way. And yet, we may be left asking ourselves: Did John, a disciple of Jesus, really get his chronology wrong?
In 2019, I hosted a Christian apologetics conference in Chicago that pitted four views on differences in the Gospels. The representatives for those positions were Mike Licona, Craig Keener, Rob Bowman, and … Bart Ehrman. The event was purposed to help evangelical Christians become aware of competing views on a challenging subject. The year prior we held the same format on the alleged genocide commands found in the Old Testament! While many Christians shy away challenging issues, some of us Christians are not afraid to tackle and wrestle with truly difficult questions in a truly open and honest manner.
After that event, Ehrman wrote a reflective report of the event. He observed,
With the space permitting, I would like to explain how Ehrman’s observation is astute with regard to three areas of Christians apologetics: The problem of evil and suffering, the relationship between science and religion, and Gospel differences.