Posts Tagged ‘Tom Krattenmaker’

Tom Krattenmaker, a writer with USA Today, praises heavily Bart Erhman and takes a cheap shot at James White

The original article is found here

James White has responded here

Al Mohler has his thoughts here

My thoughts? For the sake of time and the scope of this entry’s focus, I will make some observations of Krattenmaker’s failed assertions.

The line that really got my attention was Krattenmaker comment about Ehrman’s methodology:

If the Bible is the literal word of God, Ehrman asks, how could it be inconsistent on so many details large and small?

Krattenmaker relishes Ehrman’s attempt to show that somehow the Bible is inconsistent in details “large and small”.  But is the Bible really inconsistent in the sense that the details are conflicting (and contradicting)?  If there are according to Krattenmaker “so many details” that are inconsistent, can Krattenmaker cite from the Bible a good example according to Erhman?

Let’s start with an example appropriate to the just-concluded Easter season marking the Savior’s death and resurrection: As Jesus was dying on the cross, was he in agony, questioning why God had forsaken him? Or was he serene, praying for his executioners? It depends, Ehrman points out, on whether you’re reading the Gospel of Mark or Luke.

First observation is that Krattenmaker’s claim that (P1) Jesus dying on the cross, (P2) Jesus was in agony, (P3) Jesus questioning of God and (P5) Jesus praying for his executioners, are obviously not the problem.  These four events can occur around the same time, without the details being inconsistent or conflicting.

Secondly, it seems that what Krattenmaker sees as inconsistent is his claim that the Bible supposedly give details that (P3) Jesus was “in agony”, which goes against the detail that (P4) Jesus was serene.  If P3 and P4 were true, then obviously one can be sympathetic with Krattenmaker’s charge.

This leads to a third point, are Krattenmaker’s assertion of P3 and P4 true? Specifically, do we find P3 in the Gospel of Mark and P4 (that “Jesus was Serene”) in the Gospel of Luke?  The claim of P3, that Jesus was in agony, can be supported from Mark 15:34 in which Jesus cried out in agony to God.  Krattenmaker’s assertion of P4, that Jesus was serene during the crucifixion however, can not be found in the Gospel of Luke.  Krattenmaker should have at least cited verses in his hit piece, to add more credibility.  The burden of proof is for him to establish that Luke does give details of P3, but unfortunately he won’t find it.

Thus, his example is inadequate as a necessary detail to show the Bible’s conflicting detail (P4) is dubious.

But Krattenmaker gives a second example:

Regarding Jesus’ birthplace of Bethlehem, had his parents traveled there for a census (Luke’s version) or is it where they happened to live (Matthew’s version)?

Here again, we find the same problem.  Concerning the birth of Jesus, supposedly the detail in Luke, the premise that (P6) Jesus’ parents traveled to Bethleham, conflicts with Matthew version that (P7) Jesus’ parents happen to live in Bethlehem.  P6 can be found in Luke 2:1-6, but P7 cannot be found in Matthew.  Matthew simply mention that Jesus was born in Bethleham in Matthew 2:1, but no where does it state that the parents live in Bethleham.

It seems that if there is one thing inconsistent, it’s Krattenmaker’s assertion about what the gospel supposedly “details”, and the details of the Gospels themselves.

Krattenmaker’s third assertion is weak as well:

Did Jesus speak of himself as God? (Yes, in John; no, in Matthew.)

If it is given that Matthew does not record Jesus speaking of himself as God, and John does, it does not logically follow then these two details conflict.

First off, in order for the details to truly be “inconsistent”, it requires that John records Jesus speaking of himself as God, while Matthew records Jesus speaking of himself that He is not God.

Secondly, Matthew does not record Jesus denying His diety.  If Krattenmaker is dogmatic that Jesus did deny His diety in Matthew, the burden of proof is on him to demonstrate it.

Thirdly, Krattenmaker might make a weaker premise that in Matthew, Jesus was silent about his own diety.  If this is so, Krattenmaker then commits the logical fallacy of arguing from silence.  Matthew’s silence on quoting from Jesus talking about himself as God does not mean that  Jesus spoke of himself as NOT God.  Absence of evidence does not mean evidence of absence.

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