Paul’s warning still applies to us in 2016: Cling to the King! Do not let go. The rewards are out of this world – eternally in the presence of the Trinity on the new heavens and earth.
It is interesting that people do what the Bible predicts. In this blog we want to discuss how true it is especially of those who criticise the Bible. Let us look at Paul’s advice to the Ephesian elders.
# On his way to Jerusalem, he called them and advised them.
‘Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which He bought with His own blood.’ 1 Notice that he says God bought the church with His own blood. We know it is Jesus who died on the cross. So it is evidence that Jesus is God.
# Paul warns about savage wolves and it is still relevant today.
‘I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.’ 2
- This still happens in our time. Many ‘scholars’ like Bart Ehrman initially professed faith in God and then left Him. Another very interesting example is Dan Barker. He was a pastor who defected (like Demas who left Paul because he loved the world 3).
- What do they do now? Bart Ehrman teaches at a theological college, although he professes that he is an agnostic and atheist. Dan Barker is co-leader of the Freedom from Religion Foundation. He opposes Jesus with all his might. What do they and many others like them prove? Paul’s warning through the Holy Spirit, is true. People still do what Paul prophesied. They leave the faith and distort the truth. Is that not a sure sign that Scripture is Holy Spirit inspired?
# People lose big time when they believe those who distort the truth and leave the faith.
They will be eternally separated from God. They will not be part of the Bride of Christ who will live in the peace and comfort of the Bridegroom. That is why Paul writes, ‘So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.’ 4 Why is Paul so serious about it? Because, ‘…the word of grace can build people up and give them an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.’ 5
Paul’s warning still applies to us in 2016: Cling to the King!
Do not let go. The rewards are out of this world – eternally in the presence of the Trinity on the new heavens and earth. 6
- Acts 20:28
- Acts 20:29
- 2 Timothy 4:10
- Acts 20:31
- Acts 20:32
- Revelation 21-22
Do scholars like Bart Ehrman build or break faith in God’s Word?
Most followers of Jesus know about the Church Exodus, especially in the Western World. It is a cause of concern for all who belong to Jesus, because it leads to loss of eternal life. As part of the attack against the Church, a group of people often go unnoticed. They are the liberal Biblical scholars. We want to look at Bart Ehrman as a representative of this group, and see how good his arguments against the Bible are.
# Biography 1
Bart Ehrman is an American professor and scholar. He is currently the James A Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is one of North America’s leading scholars in his field and has written and edited 30 books. Obviously he is gifted and clever. He authored five New York Times bestsellers (mainly to criticise the Bible). He focuses on textual criticism of the New Testament, the historical Jesus, and the development of early Christianity.
# Testimony 2
He was a fundamental, born-again Christian as a teenager. He studied at excellent theological colleges. Later he became a liberal Christian, and then became an agnostic atheist after struggling with philosophical problems of evil and suffering. He is also convinced that there are discrepancies and contradictions in the biblical manuscripts that cannot be reconciled. When asked if he believes in the God of the Bible, a God who interacts with humans, who answers prayers, et cetera, he said, ‘No, I do not believe in such a God.’ He also claims he doesn’t believe in life after death.
# Interesting aspects
- Although he is a professor of religious studies at a university, he is an agnostic and an atheist. Why does he teach at a theological college? Atheists have nothing to do with the Bible, because they don’t believe in it. If there isn’t life after death, why take notice of the Bible which clearly teaches that this life is to prepare for the coming one?
- Bart Ehrman represents what most liberal scholars believe about the Bible: it is not the true Word of God. Fundamental evangelical followers of Christ know that Scripture is the revealed Word of God, given to us by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
- When we discuss these ‘professors of religion’ or teachers of the law, it is helpful to compare them with the perfect Teacher in the Bible, Jesus Christ, as well as teachers like Paul, Peter, John, et cetera.
These ‘teachers of the law’ are well educated. We can only answer them from Scripture. Scripture interprets Scripture and helps us to understand the flaws in people’s reasoning. For example, many speak about the Bible as the inerrant, infallible revelation of God. Scripture uses a different terminology, ‘And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times.’ 3 ‘Every word of God is flawless.…’ 4 ‘Your word is truth.’ 5
Do scholars like Bart Ehrman build or break faith in God’s Word?
- Bart Ehrman’s personal beliefs interview on Youtube
- Psalm 12:6
- Proverbs 30:5a
- John 17:17
Today there are also many teachers of Scripture that deny the Jesus is the Son of God.
When we come to the Bible, we come to controversy. Aspects like the Trinity, Jesus as the Son of God, the inspiration of Scripture, et cetera, are under attack. Let us look at the Biblical example of Jesus and the Jewish leaders.
# The Jewish leaders plotted to kill Jesus because He claimed that He is the Son of God.
They firmly believed Deuteronomy 6:4, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.’ So they were shocked when Jesus said, ‘My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I, too, am working.’1 We read their reaction in John 5:18, ‘For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill Him; not only was He breaking the Sabbath, but He was even calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.’ Please note: not all the Jews hated Jesus. Many followed Him.
# The Jewish leaders could have proven that Jesus was not the Son of God.
- As the omniscient Son of God, Jesus predicted how He would die, ‘From that time Jesus began to explain to HIs disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hand of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.’ 2
- If the Jews could prove that Jesus’ predictions were false, then He could not be the Son of God or equal to God, but just a man who made wrong predictions. His reputation would be destroyed.
- Thus all the unbelieving Jews had to do was the opposite of what Jesus predicted: don’t kill Him, then He cannot be resurrected, and He cannot be the Son of God. However, contrary to all logic, they did exactly what Jesus predicted. They plotted and handed Him over to be killed. 3
# What are we saying?
The unbelieving Jews could not do the opposite of what the powerful God decreed about His Son. If they did not hand Him over to be crucified, they would have proven Jesus is not the Son of God, but a liar and a fraud. As such, Jesus would have disappeared from history and their problem was solved. By doing exactly what Jesus foretold, they proved that Jesus is the Son of God.
Today, we live in exactly the same unbelieving times as Jesus did. There are many teachers of Scripture that deny that Jesus is the Son of God. They attack the Bible and deny it is the Word of God. As a representative of the liberal theologians, we want to focus on Bart Ehrman. He is a highly respected scholar at a theological college. What does he say about especially the New Testament?
- John 5:17
- Matthew 16:21; 17:22; 20:17; Mark 8:31; Luke 18:31
- Matthew 26-28; Mark 15-16; Luke 22-24; John 18-20