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Bart D. Ehrman, Ph.D. is the chairman of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is touted to be one of North America’s leading textual critics today. His recent book, Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why, is a popular level text that many reviewers take to be an effort to present the field of New Testament textual criticism to a larger, primarily lay, audience. I found it particularly difficult to mount a response to this book. Not because the book is a scholarly presentation, which it certainly is not, and it is not designed to be—this is not a criticism, but a recognition that this is a book written on a popular level, not an academic level. And not because the author makes assertions and claims which are difficult to understand. To the individual with even rudimentary training in textual criticism, church history, philosophy, and logic the multitude of problems with this book are easily identifiable. Rather, I found this book difficult because virtually every assertion and every claim is so fully laden with exaggeration, misrepresentation, selective reporting, and outright falsehoods that almost every line requires a recasting in an accurate light and involves a lengthy response to a series of misrepresentations and half-truths, each built upon the conclusions of the previous. Ehrman has woven a tight web of exaggeration, partial truths, falsehood, and misrepresentation that would take many more pages, and many more hours than we have, to unravel in order to set the record straight. It is truly a DeVinci Code of textual criticism.
Does evangelicalism hinge more on practice than belief? Has evangelicalism descended into a world of mystical orthopraxis, or are we simply united so firmly that doctrine is a settled state from which our devotion springs? If the purpose of apologetics is to get people to follow God in a personal relationship, then why does this group even need to exist? Is it not enough to simply set a wide parameter for our core beliefs, and then monitor only the outcome of piety?
A brief glance at the state of evangelicalism would quickly assess that the state of affairs is not as rosy as one would presume. Doctrine and theology, it would seem, have been replaced with calls for cooperation at any cost. Openness of God theologians, reprobationists, theologians from once-considered fringe movements now populate our landscape. National magazines such as Christianity Today regularly fill with articles calling for social justice over and beyond orthodoxy. Those who cling to absolutes and parameters are considered quaint vestiges from our not-so-distant past. Within evangelicalism, truth has been sacrificed on the altar of peace.
How shall we live? This question has been asked by believers throughout the ages in one form or another since Old Testament times. The first time that this question was asked in this format can be found in Ezekiel 33:10: “Now as for you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, Thus you have spoken, saying, ‘Surely our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and we are rotting away in them; how then can we survive [that is, live]?’”
In more recent years the late, Francis A. Schaeffer asked the question, "How Should We Then Live?" And the question was asked again by Charles Colson and Nancy Pearcey in their book How Now Shall We Live? The need for apologetics is at the heart of this question. How are believers to live their lives so that those around them can see the difference that Christ has made in their lives?
It is generally accepted that at least some forms of Hinduism claim a doctrine of grace. It is also clear that this claim, when compared to the Christian understanding of grace, will reduce the number of Hindu schools that even come close to a genuine concept of grace to a very few.