From a discussion on Bart Ehrman’s blog:
Mike Licona, prominent evangelical NT scholar: I’m persuaded by a number of reasons that the Gospels preserve the gist of what Jesus taught. And some occasions may be close to the actual words.
Gary: Wow. This is a striking admission for any evangelical, but even more for an evangelical NT scholar (I am a former evangelical). If we today can only trust the Gospels to provide us “the gist” of what Jesus SAID, how can we possibly trust the historicity of the fantastical DEEDS and EVENTS that allegedly occurred involving Jesus? How historically reliable can these ancient texts be if someone like you, an expert, only trusts their “gist”? And most importantly, how can we possibly believe the fantastical claim that the corpse of a first century preacher came back to life, was endowed with supernatural powers, and later ascended into the clouds, from texts which most scholars do not believe were written by eyewitnesses or associates of eyewitnesses, and you yourself believe can only be trusted to provide us the “gist” of what this man said?
How can we possibly have a rational discussion regarding the divine inspiration of the Bible when you have admitted that the text you believe to be Word of the Creator can only be trusted in its “gist”?
End of post.