Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Michael Licona Answering Bart Ehrman Interview MP3 & Video

Here is a high quality video interview with New Testament scholar Mike Licona discussing the work of Bart Ehrman. From 4truth.net:

Bart Ehrman is perhaps the most influential skeptical New Testament scholar in North America. Several of Ehrman’s books have become standard textbooks in many universities. His skepticism is not well-founded, however. This interview features New Testament scholar Mike Licona who answers a number of Ehrman’s major contentions.

Apologetics 315 provides this as a full MP3 Audio file here. (47 minutes)
Videos here. Lots of Licona debates here.



  1. bossmanham September 29, 2009

    I watched them debate in Kansas City a few years back. Licona, unfortunately, lost his voice during the debate.

  2. dvd September 29, 2009

    AS a Christian I am not that impressed with the responses to Bart so far. I think many scholars will have to re-adjust their approach, or adopt a view similar to Plantinga as to how these great truths are known.

    Not impressed.

  3. SteveC September 29, 2009

    Just curious.You say you're not impressed with responses to Bart Ehrman so far. Does this mean you're actually impressed with Ehrman's arguments? Puzzling, because there is nothing he says that hasnt been answered many times before. He offers nothing new.

  4. dvd September 29, 2009


    No I am not impressed so far. William Lane Craig brought out some complex formula in his debate which I thougt was ridiculous, who is going to understand that? Sure, it might win the debate, but to me it meant nothing and to countless others.
    The other issue here is that Bart is saying we don't know which documents are the beginning of the "tree" of all the documents we have today.

    There is no reason to think it all goes back to the original. Moreover, Bart is correct the job of a historian is to tell us what "probably" happend.

    Now, If I follow in the way of John(gospel) Aquinas, Calvin and Plantinga, these great truths are known via the Spirit.

    If the Spirit thought it correct to make such arguments, he would have left us all the original documents for the most important words ever spoken.

    Bart is making some old arguments, but also a few newer ones and he has the background to challenge most of our present day apologists who have fallen prey to "ego" and "status" rather then making a real rigorous defense of the faith.

    I could be wrong on on the historical arguments but nothing William Lane Craig or Mike Licona or Habermas offers has convinced me of anything.

  5. SteveC September 30, 2009

    Now Im REALLY puzzled. You said earlier that you were a Christian. And you say that nothing that Craig, Licona, or Habermas offers has "convinced you of anything". Does this mean you doubt the historicity of the New Testament accounts of Jesus or that you just think the arguments given by Craig and others arent very good?

    I ask only because being a Christian involves believing that Jesus really lived and did what the N.T. says he did. It sounds like you aren't sure. I agree historians deal in probability not certainty. Christian faith doesnt require 100% certainty, but rather trust in what we have good reason to believe is true. Probability is that the 1st century sources got it right.At least thats how I see it.

  6. Ranger September 30, 2009

    I agree and disagree. I've read Bart's stuff going back to the Orthodox Corruption of Scripture. Here's what I come away with.

    1. Bart is an excellent communicator. The way he weaves his personal story into every one of his books is effective. To be honest though, as someone who has read them, I'm starting to get tired of reading his story, haha. It's due to this fact that the best response to Ehrman's "Misquoting Jesus" comes from Nicholas Perrin. He's every bit as credentialed and respected in biblical studies as Ehrman and comes to completely different conclusions. Why is his book effective when others are not? Because Nick takes you through his story of growing up in an atheist family, becoming a mystic buddhist in college and eventually coming to Christ in college/post-grad work due to researching the faith. It's the exact opposite story of Ehrman's, and just as compelling.

    2. Bart is an expert on textual transmission and a well respected scholar in the field of New Testament Textual Criticism.

    3. This does not mean that Bart is an expert on all things Christian. In fact, in many of the relevant historical fields he displays ignorance of any relevant scholarship in the last thirty years. Thus, books like "Lost Christianities"and "God's Problem" are outside of his particular field and when he jumps into
    theology/philosophy he is abysmal…while still rhetorically persuasive.

    4. Bart often exaggerates the facts for rhetorical effect. A great example would be his count of errors in early NT manuscripts (as found in Misquoting Jesus). The calculations are abysmal, and he knows it…but they give such a good effect. Dan Wallace, Nicholas Perrin and others have shown that his stats are simply untrue, but those numbers are still pandered around the internet as though they are fact.

    5. Bart is not a philosopher, and I think anyone studied on the problem of evil will find "God's Problem" unsatisfying. Yet, his rhetorical skill makes his argument from the emotional problem of evil effective. This isn't a simple argument, and requires clarity. The debate back in February between Ehrman and Swinburne on Unbelievable? showed how the logical and clear one (Swinburne) loses every time to the simplistic argument that appeals to emotions (Ehrman).

    As such, I think that Swinburne wins philosophically (as did Craig), and Wallace clearly won their Greer-Heard debate on textual criticism, if you are judging who made the most logical sense and had the most compelling arguments.

    But most people aren't looking for compelling arguments…they're looking for emotional persuasion.

    If you're looking for two interesting discussions of Bart, I'd look into the Greer Heard debate a couple years back and listen to the presentations by Michael Holmes and Dale Martin. Martin was brought in as part of Bart's "team," but was highly critical of his anti-faith biases and shotty scholarship on topics where he is not an expert. Their interaction alone is worth the price of the debate series.

  7. dvd September 30, 2009


    Well it shouldn't be a puzzle. My christian faith hasn't or wasn't brought to me by the arguments of Habermas/Craig or the like. When I look at this objectively, they convince me of nothing. For example, the fruit of Craig's arguments is endless "runaround apologetics" and philosophical wordplay that goes on forever without end. Its seems more about "Gamesmanship"

    AS for the historicity of Christianity and the arguments, I don't see this in the gospels. Those arguments are subject to change. The truth of God and his revelation is not about scholarly debates, it is about the Holy Spirit revealing these great truths.

    Just listen to how poorly Habermas did on the Infidel Guy show with Reginald Finley on the resurrection of Jesus. Do you see when these arguments are faced with "street level" attacks they don't very well.

    I believe Jesus lived and did the things he did because of the witness of the Holy Spirit. I can't see how any naturalistic minded person could believe in such things, like walking on water or the like. These are revealed truths to us.

  8. SteveC September 30, 2009

    Thanks for the clarification. I would be interested to know if their are ANY apologetic arguments you think are good ones. You seem to be implying that apologetics is a fruitless enterprise and that we should just appeal to subjective experience instead of evidence when giving reasons for our faith.

    If I am misunderstanding you then I apologize. Im just concerned about the ant-intellectual view some Christians have about the Faith. This mindset is the very thing that convinces many secularists that Christians and the beliefs they hold are irrational.

    Maybe we have alot of improving to do in our apologetic work, but NOT doing apologetics is not the answer. People ARE hungry for answers.We need to give our best answers AND trust the Spirit to work. At least thats how the N.T. apostles did it.

  9. dvd September 30, 2009


    I believe the Ontological argument is probably the best argument for the existence of God and his greatness. I believe there are some current versions that are difficult to refute or at least it is getting close.

    Arguments that zero in on our self-awareness, our desire for truth with a mind that functions for truth finding are all great arguments.

    The only problem with arguments is that they come and go, like the flower they are here today gone tomorrow but the word of our Lord is forever.

    The message and words of Jesus are the most powerful factor of all.

  10. guitarstrummr October 13, 2009

    "The message and words of Jesus are the most powerful factor of all."

    If they are so powerful, I don't understand why reading Scripture over and over and over only convinced me to become an atheist.

    If their power is dependent upon the receiver, then maybe the "power" is completely found in the receiver.

    However, that could go for any book ever written, in which case would it not just be safest to say that one's understanding of a text is dependent upon the assumptions one makes when beginning to read it?

    I began with the assumption when reading the Bible that it was truly, internally powerful. I also had the assumption that the Holy Spirit would lead me into all truth because of my faith in Christ and that studying the Word of God would lead me to a greater wisdom about the world around me. That failed as I struggled endlessly, night and day to understand certain passages of Scripture that nearly made me want to commit suicide. I could not rationalize why I had such a lack of peace reading Scripture – because of the "clearest" reading of a passage – and yet all spiritual leaders in my life told me the passages did not mean what they said. On top of that, I couldn't understand why the Holy Spirit was not helping me to get the proper understanding of the passages if God truly wanted me to have peace this world could not take away. Heck, reading the Bible gave me a greater lack of peace, despite my faith in Christ.

    How would you both explain this? It's not like I wasn't trying, it's not like I wasn't confessing, it's not like I was avoiding the Word, it's not like I wasn't praying endlessly, and it's definitely not like I wasn't trying desperately to listen to the Spirit. I would often sit for hours on end, trying to submit to whatever it was the Lord wanted me to do. There were no hidden sins in my life.

    If I were a Christian, my initial reaction would be that I am not telling you the "whole story" and that I have something I've hidden in order to justify myself. But I'm not hiding anything. That's the truth.