If you follow this blog you know that I recently read and reviewed a book written by several LCMS theologians entitled, “Making the Case for Christianity”. The primary purpose of this book is to reassure Christian laypersons that atheist and liberal Christian Bible scholars such as Bart Ehrman are wrong in their skepticism of the historical reliability of the Bible. These LCMS theologians give “evidence” to reassure nervous conservative Christians that the New Testament is a reliable source of historical information in particular regarding the bodily resurrection of Jesus.
What is their evidence? Their evidence is presented primarily in chapters two and three. Chapter two consists almost entirely of fringe scholarship such as that Papias was diligently recording eyewitness testimony in 80 CE (most historians believe Papias was born in c. 70 CE, so that would have made him TEN years old when he was doing his “diligent” recording), and, that the Book of Acts was written prior to the Apostle Paul’s death in 65 CE so therefore the Gospels of Luke and Mark were written even earlier.
This is FRINGE scholarship, folks.
The third chapter is written by an LCMS attorney who makes the bold statement that the bodily resurrection of Jesus is as solid an historical fact as any other fact of Antiquity! Wow. He goes on to claim that he could easily win a court case for the bodily resurrection of Jesus based on the overwhelming evidence presented in the Gospels, sources which have been shown (in chapter two, using fringe scholarship) to be primary sources and therefore reliable sources of testimony. Problem is, he fails to mention that the majority of experts believe that the sources for this story, the Gospels, are NOT eyewitness accounts, and therefore not primary sources!
I have brought this issue to the attention of the President of the LCMS, to many of the district bishops of the LCMS, to many of the pastors in my LCMS district, and to other prominent pastors in the LCMS. THEY DO NOT WANT TO DISCUSS THIS ISSUE. I was sent an email by one LCMS pastor in my local district that all LCMS pastors have been notified (he didn’t say by whom) to ignore my communications.
What is the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod afraid of? Is this why Dr. Adam Francisco, the primary author of “Making the Case for Christianity” has cut off all communication with me and has failed to fulfill his promise of reviewing Richard Bauckham’s book, “Jesus and the Eyewitnesses” with me on this blog:
Dr. Adam Francisco, November, 2016: “His [Richard Bauckham] book [Jesus and the Eyewitnesses] has made quite a splash; some says it’s paradigm shifting. (I’m not an ancient historian, my knowledge of Greek is pretty slim, so I need to rely on an expert. I suspect you aren’t an ancient historian and have limited knowledge of Greek, too.) We could look at each of the pieces of evidence Bauckham provides and assess it based on our own research of the primary sources. What do you say?”
Gary: I started the review in November, 2016. Dr. Francisco commented on the first review (here) and has not been heard of since. Has he been silenced by the LCMS or is his silence his own choice?
Why can’t the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod just admit to its laypeople and the world that its supernatural beliefs (the Virgin Birth, the deity of Jesus, and the bodily Resurrection of Jesus) are based on faith and not on good historical evidence?
The LCMS should stop burying its head in the sand and just admit the truth. Ignoring former members like me who have discovered the truth is not going to make the truth go away. The Internet will not let that happen. The truth is as accessible as the closest computer keyboard.