Megachurch pastor and author Erwin Raphael McManus appeared on a CNN program to comment on the debate surrounding the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, Jesus Christ's purported burial cloth. During his brief appearance, McManus made it clear, however, that the show's anchors had failed to ask the most relevant question.
McManus, pastor of California multi-site MOSAIC church, appeared Thursday on CNN's "This Hour," morning program hosted by John Berman and Kate Bolduan.
Berman and Bolduan wanted to know the pastor's thoughts on why there's so much curiosity about the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, and why anyone would need scientific evidence to prove Jesus' existence.
McManus had responses for both of those questions, but it was when the anchors asked for his personal opinion on the artifact's disputed authenticity that the California pastor suggested that their questions were neither here nor there.
"What I think? I think no," McManus said, revealing that he did not think the shroud was authentic.
"But I don't think that necessarily matters," he quickly added. "I think the exploration and the search for who Jesus is, and that 2,000 years later we're still trying to figure out who He was and did He really rise from the dead.. ... And I think for me, the answer is 'yes' and that's why we're talking about Him today."
Watch the exchange in the video player below:
The California pastor and bestselling author is one of the commentators who appear in the network's original series, "Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact, Forgery." The series examines the "authenticity of six objects which could shed new light on Jesus," according to CNN.
The six-part series is based on the new book, Finding Jesus: Faith. Fact. Forgery.: Six Holy Objects That Tell the Remarkable Story of the Gospels.
In addition to the Shroud of Turin, the six items featured in the program also include the supposed remains of John the Baptist and the burial box that purportedly held the bones of Jesus' brother, James.
The Christian Post reported last year that scientists at the Liverpool John Moores University in England "argue that the Shroud of Turin … shows an image of a man with blood stains streaking down his arms." The scientists claim in a published paper of their findings that the blood stains on the piece of linen are perfectly in line with the kind of marks an actual victim of crucifixion would leave behind.
Another group of scientists contend that the imprints on the Shroud of Turin, the dating of which is also contested, could have been "created by neutron emissions from an earthquake that took place in 33 A.D. in Jerusalem."
"Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact, Forgery," premieres March 1 at 9 p.m. and concludes on Easter Sunday, April 5. The program precedes at least two others also about Jesus, "Killing Jesus" (March 29 on National Geographic Channel) and "A.D.: The Bible Continues" (April 5 on NBC). Learn more about the three programs: 'Finding Jesus,' 'Killing Jesus' and Telling the Story of His Resurrection — Networks Vie for Christian Viewers During Holy Days.