Saturday, January 7, 2017

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Bart Ehrman's Current Beliefs Regarding Jesus and His Divinity

The following are some aspects of Bart Ehrman's CURRENT views (as of the date of this post) regarding the Historical Jesus and claims about Jesus' divinity. Ehrman is a globally known agnostic scholar and New Testament critique. Much of the following list (1-10) are from Robert Bowman's critque of Ehrman's book How Jesus Became God. Bowman discusses his list starting at 24 minutes and 36 seconds.

Things Bart Ehrman believes according to Robert Bowman 

1.Ehrman believes Jesus was a real historical person. That Jesus was a Galilean Jew who preached things regarding the Kingdom of God.

2. Ehrman doesn't believe everything that the Gospels say. Nevertheless, he believes the canonical New Testament gospels are the earliest, and for all practical purposes, the only valuable sources of detailed information about the historical Jesus. The Gnostic gospels are worthless in regard to discovering anything regarding the historical Jesus.

3. Ehrman believes Jesus thought that he was, or at least would become, the Messiah.

4. Ehrman believes Jesus was crucified at the order of Pontius Pilate and that he actually died on the cross.

5. Ehrman believes some of Jesus' ORIGINAL followers (not decades later) sincerely believed that they saw Jesus alive from the dead.

6. Ehrman believes that the belief that Jesus rose from the dead convinced his disciples almost immediately that he was a divine figure exalted to the right hand of God. It was not a later development. There never was a Christianity that viewed Jesus as just a good teacher.

7. Ehrman believes the belief that Jesus was a divine figure who existed before his human life (who pre-existed) was accepted by at least some Christians even before Paul's earliest Epistles (even though Paul's earliest Epistles all pre-date the Gospels).

8. Ehrman believes that in Phil. 2:6-11 Jesus IS presented as a pre-existent "divine" (in some sense) figure who became a human being.

9. Ehrman now believes, contrary to his past opinion, that Jesus IS called "God" (in some sense) in Rom. 9:5. See chapter 7 of Ehrman's book How Jesus Became God [The relevant passage is quoted here:]

10. Ehrman believes that the author of the Gospel of John clearly taught in the Gospel that Jesus existed before creation as someone who was distinct from God the Father, and yet was "God" (in some sense) and was equal to God (the Father). Furthermore, that the author of John didn't originate  this view. For example, the prologue derives from pre-Johannine sources.

[ Numbers 1-10 from Bowman]

11. Ehrman believes, and has stated numerous times in debate, that John 8:58 does have the author of the Gospel making Jesus claim to be "God".

12.Ehrman believes all authors of the 4 canonical Gospels personally believed that Jesus was "God" (in some sense and in different ways). See this video here at 18 minutes and 48 seconds:

I'm not sure about this, but according to Tony Costa Bart Ehrman sees a general consistency and continuation in Paul's teaching when compared to Jesus' teaching. As opposed to a stark difference or contrast.

see also:

Resources Responding to Bart Ehrman


My Blog Trinity Notes

Monday, November 7, 2016

Gideons International Statement About the Bible

The following statement about the Bible is found in many of the New Testaments printed and distributed by Gideons International. It seems to me (correctly or incorrectly) that there have been slight variations of the statement down through the years. At least from what I've seen online. Nevertheless, the following is the version I'm used to and prefer down to the paragraphing and punctuation.

THE BIBLE contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you.

It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s charter. Here Paradise is restored, Heaven opened, and the gates of hell disclosed.

CHRIST is its grand subject, our good its design, and the glory of God its end.

It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, and prayerfully.  It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. It is given you in life, will be opened at the judgment, and be remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labor, and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

The Atonement Studies by William Lane Craig

The Evangelical doctrine of Penal Substitution has always had detractors. Since the beginning of the 21st century the attacks have been more pronounced and sophisticated. The following are some brief lectures by William Lane Craig on the topic of the atonement where he goes through various theories and then defends the Evangelical doctrine of Penal Substitution.

I'm currently adding links to the videos as they are being posted. I'm not sure how many videos in total there will eventually be.

[[UPDATE: There's a Lecture on the Atonement by Craig at the bottom of this blogpost]]

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Part 10

Part  11

Part 12

Part 13

Part 14

Part 15

Part  16

Part 17

Part 18

Part 19

Part 20

Part 21

Part 22

Part 25

Part 26

Part 27

Part 28

Part 29

Philosophical Objections to the Atonement (William Lane Craig)

Fire-Maker: How Humans Were Designed to Harness Fire & Transform Our Planet


Monday, October 17, 2016

Should We Pray for the Devil?

I saw the following meme on Facebook

The following was my response (with possible future typo corrections and additions):

1. It must be remembered that Satan sinned against greater light (i.e. knowledge) than all human beings, and probably than all other angels. He was probably one of the chief angels of God (if not THE chief; cf. Isa. 14 & Ezek. 28). He's the most guilty of all both in terms of greater light and in terms of being the greatest instigator of sin in others via temptation and lies down through the centuries. Satan probably led the angels in their falling away just as he instigated the Fall of Adam and Eve. Satan might also be the most gifted, powerful and intelligent of all creatures ever created (with the likely exception of resurrected and glorified human beings). So, Satan also sinned with greater accountability because of his superior intellect and powers.

2. It must also be remembered that grace (i.e. unmerited favor) and mercy are, by definition, not obligated. God didn't have to provide salvation for fallen creatures (whether human or angels). God would be righteous and just in never having provided salvation for either humans or angels.

3. Historic Christianity affirms God's exhaustive foreknowledge of the Future (whether Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Arminian, Lutheran, Molinist, Calvinist etc.). The Bible predicts and prophesies that the devil will not repent and has been destined for ultimate and final judgment (cf. Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:10; Gen. 3:14-15; Rom. 16:20). To pray for the devil's salvation would contradict God's revelation of the future and is therefore sinful because you're denying God's foreknowledge (and if a high view of predestination is true, like in Calvinism, then also denying God's foreordination).

4. For Protestants Christ died to redeem human beings. In the context of redemption and atonement the author of Hebrews states in Heb. 2:16, " For surely it is ***NOT ANGELS*** that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham."  There's no indication of Christ dying for angels. Yes, there's a sense in which Christ's redemption has a universal effect on all creation and so in that sense Christ redeemed it by His death on the cross. But in terms of penal substitution, Jesus only died for human beings. Additionally, Calvinists generally believe Jesus only died for the elect. I'm a Calvinist and I lean toward the Calvinistic doctrine of Limited Atonement, but I'm not dogmatic on it. I still think it could be false.

5. For Protestants, we interpret the Bible to teach that sinners (whether human or angelic) by nature cannot freely come to God in repentance and faith. That's because sinners are in bondage to sin (contrary to Pelagianism). It takes God's initiating/enabling grace to touch a person for them to be delivered from bondage to sin and to be able to now freely come to God (contrary to Semi-Pelagianism which says that sometimes man can self-initiate an application of grace). Catholics and Arminians are among those who believe this. If Calvinism is true, then God's grace is not merely initiating and enabling, but it's also sufficient and efficacious. Either way, God's grace is revealed in Christ's atonement, and that atonement also graciously makes possible the redemption of sinners. But as has been noted in #4 Christ died for humans and (in all probability) not for fallen angels.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Apologetics On Audio Format

The following are links to various apologetical resources in audio format. They come from a wide range of apologetical methods/approaches from Classical apologetics, to Van Tillian Presuppostional, to Clarkian Presuppositional, to Evidentialist etc.