In the past ten years, no scholar has done more to undermine the Bible within our popular culture than Bart Ehrman. As the James a Gray Distinguished Professor and chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Ehrman has created his own cottage industry of books, lectures and media appearances calling into question the reliability of the New Testament, the biblical canon, and the development of the early church. He is the author of multiple books that have made the New York Times bestseller lists and made frequent appearances on TV including the Colbert Report on Comedy Central.
While Ehrman is in fact a respected scholar within academic circles, his notoriety stems from his ability to take disputed issues within the academy and translate them into something that people outside of the academy care about. The problem is that Ehrman’s presentation of the evidence and scholarship is often misleading and skewed. Of course, since the broader public has no way of knowing this, much of what he claims to be true has been accepted by those who are all too ready to question the New Testament, the canon of Scripture, and the development of the early church.
While there have been a number of books written to respond to Ehrman, I am most excited about this new website entitled The Ehrman Project. So far the webstie contains a number of short video clips on key subjects such as Evil and a Loving God (Alvin Plantinga), the Canon of Scripture (Ben Witherington III), Inerrancy (D.A. Carson), First-century Doctrine (Darrell Bock), Conspiracy (Ed Gravely), and Morality and Evil (Michael Kruger). This website has now become the go-to place for short, helpful and scholarly responses to the claims made by Ehrman.
On a related note, I am currently working my way through a book that responds to several claims made by Ehrman on a more academic level. Entitled The Heresy of Orthodoxy: How Contemporary Culture’s Fascination with Diversity Has Reshaped Our Understanding of Early Christianity, it is written by Andreas Kostenberger and Michael Kruger. In my estimation it is now the go-to academic level book that responds to the half-truths and misinformation that Bart Ehrman regularly presents. But even though the book is at an academic level, it is written in such a way that both pastors and lay people can benefit from as well.
If you are a pastor and are not familiar with these issues, you owe it to yourself and those to whom you minister to get up to speed on these matters. Use the website as a starting point, and then move on from there to this helpful read.