There are many skeptics today who have garnered a voice, a soapbox if you will against the truth presented in the pages of Scripture. A skeptic who has developed quite the following in recent years is Bart Ehrman. Despite being the product of a Christian rooted advanced education, Ehrman has made it his goal to demonstrate the failure of Christianity and the Bible in general in meeting even the most basic logical points of persuasion. Recognizing the influence of Ehrman on the minds of college youth, Andreas Kostenberger, Darrell Bock, and Josh Chatraw have written an excellent book called Truth Matters: Confident Faith in a Confusing World that provides salient responses to the attacks on Scripture posited by Ehrman and his followers.
Perhaps the best part of this book is the manner in which the authors chose to write meaning the material is very accessible and targeted directly to their audience, namely college aged youth. While there are numerous apologetics books on the market, few provide their arguments in such a manner provides the reader, again in this case, influential college youth, with the tools they need to combat the plethora of professors that have made it their aim to discredit Scripture. Instead of taking the approach of engaging a lengthy array of apologetics related topics, the authors instead focus on six core issues upon which skeptics often focus their venomous attacks: 1) Does God exist and does He care about humanity; 2) How did we get our Bible; 3) Is the Bible filled with errors; 4) Can I trust the Bible given it is a copy of a copy; 5) Who decided the various matters of the faith; and 6) Is the resurrection of Jesus a factual historical event?
Each chapter presents an argument made by Bart Ehrman and a purposeful reasoned response to that accusation. For example, in the chapter called “Let’s Make a Bible”, the authors engage Ehrman’s question as to why some books made it into the accepted canon and others did not. Since the intention of such a question by Ehrman is to plant the idea that it was a proverbial luck of the draw how the canon came into being, the authors discuss a number of the rejected Gnostic books, clearly demonstrating the consistent approach taken by the early church regarding what books would be accepted and what books would be rejected. They rightly note “The books of the biblical canon showed themselves to be special and came to be widely read and circulated over a vast region of the early church. This is a level of circulation those other gospels never attained.” Thus, the accusation given by Ehrman that it was strong armed tactics along with a number of books being included that are replete with forgeries written by “illiterate peasants” is proven to be at best false and completely based on false pretenses.
Another excellent chapter was on the supposed contradictions stated by skeptics to be found throughout the biblical corpus. Ehrman has made a career out of trying to state that since the Bible is so full of copying errors, we cannot trust Scripture as anything more than a collection of well intentioned yet unreliable moral stories. The authors of Truth Matters literally destroy that argument aptly commenting in response to the skeptical approach of Ehrman that “No other writing has withstood and survived so many investigations into its authenticity – which is all well and good. Bring it on! But how truly amazing and indicative of God, rather than creating some mystical Word that exists in some unknown, unworldly realm of communication all by itself, he chose instead to use normal men, writing in normal ways, operating within the normal rules and customs of their day.” In other words, the sheer pile of manuscripts of Scripture available for review and research added to the short time frame of those manuscripts from the original autographs when compared to other respected ancient writings puts Scripture in a class by itself thus making these types of arguments by Ehrman sheer insanity. If anything, the authors clearly demonstrate the inconsistency by skeptics when they affirm the validity of other ancient manuscripts that are not even close to what scholars have on hand for Scripture.
It was also excellent to see this book address perhaps the most important element of Christianity that comes under attack, namely the resurrection of Christ from the dead. Ehrman and other skeptics often try and state that the resurrection was nothing more than a story that happened to catch on among the masses also presenting a number of so-called theories that explain away the resurrection event. In response to those statements and theories, the authors of Truth Matters effectively engage those false theories, demonstrating the reality and historical facticity of the resurrection. They aptly discuss each of the main theories given by skeptics noting in the end “Like it or not the most reasonable story is the one declared as fact in our Bibles. And the fact that it’s supernatural shouldn’t disqualify it from consideration, not unless you’re simply biased from accepting a position that shatters the far reaches of the five senses.”
I highly recommend this book as a resource to hand to any high school graduate about ready to enter the land of skepticism that is most of the college and university campuses across the United States and quite frankly across the globe. This book will arm those about ready to enter the fray with sound and logical arguments against the rather derelict arguments presented by those with a bone to pick against the Bible. The material in this book is manageable to read while maintaining a robust presentation of truth that will arm the reader with the real truth behind the fact that Scripture and the foundational beliefs of the Christian faith are rooted in truth, the truth of God and His Word.