Few men have so championed and articulated a liberal and progressive view of Christianity as Dr. Bart Ehrman. Ehrman is a four time New York Times bestselling author, speaker and professor at UNC Chapel Hill. His books speak to issues related to the Bible that most people have never heard of. The genius of his approach is he writes in a way that the average person can understand about topics that even the most seasoned of scholars may have a hard time explaining to a lay audience. To address the questions raised by Ehrman’s work, Drs. Kostenberger, Bock and Chatraw have written Truth in a Culture of Doubt: Engaging Skeptical Challenges to the Bible which is the sequel to the helpful book Truth Matters. Here in this book they take a more academic approach and seek to respond to the claims made by Ehrman about the origins of the Bible, the copying of the Bible, alleged contradictions in Scripture, and the relationship between God and evil.
In the introduction the authors move to share the story of Ehrman and how he moved from fundamentalist to skeptic. In chapter one the authors deal with the age old question of evil. Chapter two deals with Ehrman’s claims about the Bible’s contradictions, and chapter three analyses the question, “Are the manuscripts corrupt?” Chapter four looks at whether there are many Christianities with a a view to explore what the early church taught concerning Christ. Chapter five looks at the issue of whether the New Testament documents forged. The book concludes with a look at why we should believe the Bible and the truth of orthodox biblical Christianity.
As I read this book I was very impressed by the fact that while this book is academic in nature it doesn’t lose the reader. The book keeps moving forward with a view to help the reader understand why the authority of the Bible matter. Men like Ehrman follow a long line of people since the 19th century and before who come to the Bible not believing it to be the Word of God but instead desire to cast doubt on it’s truthfulness. Ehrman started out as a conservative Bible believing Christian who studied at Moody Bible college but then went to Princeton. There at Princeton, Ehrman’s view of the Bible changed under the teaching of liberal progressive Christians.
Mainstream Protestant Christianity has been liberal leaning for a long time. The father of modern liberal theology Friedrich Schleiermacher emphasized that the doctrine is justification is more about feelings than fact and the Bible has errors. These two twin errors are taught by Ehrman as a fact. As the authors expose the errors of Ehrman; they point back to the reality of the situation; namely that while people claim there are contradictions in the Bible these challenges have consistently been met, and responded to throughout church history. While people claim there are errors surrounding the Bible, conservative Bible scholars continue to demonstrate the truth about where the Bible not only came from but the continuity that exists between the original writers and the transmission of the Bible.
The most impressive part of this book is the way the authors engage Ehrman’s ideas. Engaging other people’s views can be a tricky proposition. The authors do an excellent job in not only examining but also demonstrating why Ehrman’s views are wrong from the Bible, from church history, and finally from the best of conservative Bible-believing scholarship. This trifecta if you will of emphasis on the Bible, what the Church has taught, and from the best of modern evangelical scholarship provides a death blow in my view to Ehrman’s view that the early church made up whatever they wanted to be in the Bible, about the person and work of Christ. and more.
We live in a day where the authority of the Bible is under attack. Responses like those offered by the authors in this book are needed. Ehrman’s influence is broad in our culture because people would rather question the authority of the Bible so they don’t have to deal with it’s truth claims. Other religions even use liberal scholars work like Ehrman’s to attack the credibility of the Christian faith. This is why books like Truth In A Culture of Doubt are so important.
While Truth Matters was written for high school and college student, Truth in a Culture of Doubt is written for serious students of Scripture. This book will help such students to respond to a wide variety of arguments raised against the reliability of Scripture and the truthfulness of Scripture. Written by two of the foremost experts in Drs. Kostenberger and Bock on matters of the Gospel and the New Testament and by a professor of Apologetics in Dr. Chatraw, this book is a treasure trove of helpful insight on matters related to hermeneutics, church history and the New Testament.
I highly recommend Truth in a Culture of Doubt. This would be an excellent book for serious lay Christians on up to seasoned scholars. We live in a culture that aims to undermine the authority of the Bible. The Christian Church needs responses like that offered in this book. This is why I believe this book combines the best of scholarship which is always marked by speaking the truth in love from the Word of God to the glory of God. Whether you’re interested in serious scholarship or not this book will help you to deal with the claims advanced by liberal Christianity and by men like Ehrman who seek to undermine the faith once and for all delivered to the saints. I encourage you to pick up this book and believe the Lord will use it to help every reader and every Christian to understand not only how the Bible is under attack but how to stand on the authority of the Word.
Author: Andreas J. Kostenberger, Darrel L. Bock, and Josh D. Chatraw
Publish: B&H Academic (2014)
I received this book for free from B&H Academic for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”