Bart Ehrman, prolific author, New Testament scholar and former evangelical Christian, says it took him eight years to research and complete his new book, How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee. Yet, a group of fellow scholars responded in their book, How God Became Jesus, by claiming that the Christian-turned-agnostic's scholarship on Jesus' divinity leaves much to be desired.
Ehrman, the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, says his research reveals that Jesus, a first century Galilean, never claimed to be God, and that it was his followers who elevated him to a deity after his death. more >>
My dear friend Michelle Cox has written a novel that every parent in America needs to read. It's called, Just 18 Summers. She reminds us that we have just 18 summers before our children leave home. Just 18 Summers.
"I hope parents will realize how quickly those summers will fly by," she told me. "Take it from a mama whose sons are all grown now, someday you'd give a million dollars to walk down the hall one more time and tuck your children into bed, to kneel down and pray with them, to hear their footsteps and the sound of their laughter filling the house."
In addition to being a delightful author, Michelle is a fabulous Southern cook. She shares her weekly recipes on my website – and has written several amazing cookbooks! more >>
Bart Ehrman is at it again, popularizing the ideas that agnostics and atheists want so desperately to believe about Jesus and Christianity—namely, traditional teaching about Jesus doesn't match up with the historical reality of Jesus. The Bible can't really be trusted, but the public can trust scholarship to uncover the evolution of belief its writers represent. When I learned that this book would be coming out, I teamed up with Craig Evans, Simon Gathercole, Charles Hill, and Chris Tilling to write How God Became Jesus (Zondervan). We were granted access to an advance copy of Ehrman's book and mobilized in our fields of expertise to write a response, released the same day as Ehrman's book.
Lest we forget, let me note that Ehrman gets some things very right, things even Christians can be thankful he is bringing to the fore in this latest study. For example, he believes Jesus did exist and his life can be studied. (Let's not take that for granted.) Also, he points out that in the Gospel records we have, Jesus does not go around saying, "I am the second person of the Trinity and you must call me God and worship me." Ehrman is right that there was a progression of understanding and belief about who Jesus was and what he did and was doing. The Bible certainly does represent Jesus' followers' written reports that try to make sense of this for their audiences. In short, Ehrman is asking good questions.
But even granting these things (and giving him the benefit of the doubt that he really is attempting to do religiously neutral historical scholarship) Erhman's research, according to many scholars including those who wrote the book with me, leaves much to be desired in places. How God Became Jesus urges the consideration of (among others) the following lines of evidence. more >>
The soul, the only aspect of a human being the Bible says is eternal, is like a car, according to megachurch pastor and award-winning author John Ortberg. "If you want to care for your car, you kind of have to know what the parts do, what the carburetor does, what the fan belt does — somebody's gotta know that if they want to care for it."
And the car — that is, the soul — has nine needs that must be met in order to function at optimal efficiency, or in this case, to experience God's shalom, Ortberg suggests in his new book Soul Keeping: Caring for the Most Important Part of You.
"The soul is a little like the king on a chessboard," he explains in Soul Keeping. "The king is the most limited of chess pieces; it can only move one square at a time. But if you lose the king, game over. Your soul is vulnerable because it is needy. If you meet those needs with the wrong things, game over. Or at least game not going well." more >>
With the release of Matthew Vines' God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships, conservative Evangelicals are responding with warnings that the book should not cause confusion regarding Scripture's teaching on homosexuality.
The book, Andrew Walker – director of Policy Studies for the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission – says, "is the first step in a larger effort to fundamentally recast long-held, universally acknowledged norms pertaining to sexual ethics."
In his review, Walker notes that not only does Vines identify himself as a conservative evangelical and claim to uphold the authority of the Bible, but his book also comes at a strategic time for the gay rights movement as it was likely written to introduce confusion among Evangelicals – "one of the last remaining constituencies in America that has not embraced homosexuality with gusto." more >>
In a newspaper interview, New Testament scholar and author Bart Ehrman discusses his new book, How Jesus Became God, and shares his claims that Jesus never said He was divine and that Christianity began with "visionary experiences" and not due to the Resurrection of Jesus.
Jesus did not go around calling Himself God, and even His disciples did not think He was God, Ehrman, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, tells The Boston Globe in an interview that was published on Easter Sunday.
"The problem is that Jesus only makes claims for himself as being divine in the Gospel of John. ... But what scholars have long noted is that Jesus doesn't say any of those things in Matthew, Mark and Luke, and that Matthew, Mark and Luke are [written] much earlier than John. ... What I argue in the book is that it's virtually inconceivable that if it was known Jesus called himself God that Matthew, Mark and Luke would just leave that part out," says Ehrman, who calls himself an agnostic. more >>