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With Bart Ehrman I regrettably have learned never to trust him to accurately represent his sources since, from past experience, I know him to be misquoting or misrepresenting his sources far more often than he accurately represents them.
The next time a scholar who holds a PhD and a professorship position at a major University, like Bart Ehrman, attempts to challenge your confidence in the reliability of Scripture, do not be intimidated. Instead tell him that you would like to read his sources for yourself.
The popular stereotype of scientists and critical scholars as impartial investigators who are totally objective in their search after truth is not as clear as we might first be disposed to think. Nobody does their scholarship in a vacuum, and everybody brings their presuppositions and preconceived ideas to the table when evaluating evidence.
When an objection to Christianity carries high stakes, it strikes at the very heart of the Christian message, calling into question the core tenants of the faith. In my experience, most of the objections that have led people down the road of abandoning their faith have not been of this category. Rather, people lose their faith over much less fundamental issues
Different people have varying levels of tolerance for mystery and ambiguity. Individuals with a high need for cognitive closure are more prone to walk away from the Christian faith than individuals with a lower need. For some people, in order to be content within one’s worldview, satisfactory answers must exist to all possible questions and objections that might be raised against it.
An important feature of undesigned coincidences, which I think is all-too-often overlooked by critics, including Jaros, is the failure to understand the evidential significance of an appearance of casualness. This is what drives many to assume that the evangelists had to have no knowledge of each other’s work before we can argue for an undesigned coincidence.
I recently published an article on the noetic effects of sin and apologetic methodology. This week, Dr. James White, whom I am going to be debating as part of a round table discussion on apologetic systems this coming Friday, devoted a significant portion of his Dividing Line program to responding to what I wrote. In this article, I respond to Dr. White’s critique of my position.
Nelson has not offered compelling reason to reconsider the use of undesigned coincidences in the cumulative argument for the substantial reliability of the gospels, and the Scriptures more broadly.
It is appropriate to distinguish between the secular and the sacred, provided that the territory at which they overlap is recognized. Things which are sacred should not be secularized, but what is secular can and should be made sacred such that the gospel may be advanced through it.