ImageA few months ago, I read an article about the education of Bart Ehrman.  Erhman is the author of the popular book, Misquoting Jesus.  His books was considered one of the most popular books in 2005 and there is almost no TV show on which Dr. Ehrman did not appear to demonstrate that the disciples have not been true to the the teachings of Jesus, and, therefore, we do not have any true statements of Jesus.

Ehrman's book has been strenuously reviewed by many New Testament scholars and amply demonstrated that it is in the same category with Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code.  In fact one scholar reviewing it in the Journal of Evangelical Theology has named his review "The Gospel According to Bart" which is an appropriate title.

What surprised me was the biographical trajectory that Bart Ehrman has.  He comes from a sturdy evangelical lineage.  He attended Moody Bible College and then transferred to Wheaton College.  For his Ph.D. he went to Princeton Theological Seminary where he worked with Dr. Bruce Metzger.  Metzger recognized in him a brilliant student and co-authored a book with him.  However, the drastic shift in Ehrman's thinking came from a small sentence that Professor Culley Storey wrote on one of Ehrman's papers on Mark.  The sentence was Maybe Mark made a mistake.  Ehrman talks about that moment as though the floodgates had opened. He could now look to the Scriptures as a book with mistakes.

Many years ago, a young man named William Clinton went to his pastor to ask if abortion was a sin.  At that time Clinton was convinced that it was.  That day his Pastor, Dr. Vawter, explained that abortion was not a sin and convinced Bill Clinton that he should not side with those who were believing otherwise.  Thirty years after that historic conversation, the administration of Bill Clinton was known to have sided with those who performed abortions.

Those transforming teaching moments!  A couple of years ago, I was lecturing on the monastic movement.  Never in my life did I consider becoming a monk.  However, as a church historian I am greatly appreciative of what the monks and the nuns have done during the Middle Ages for the preservation of Christianity.  At the end of my lecture a student came to me and told me that she would have joined the monastic order, except that she was already married!  I remember driving home that night and thinking how persuasive a lecture, a note written in red over a student's paper, or advice given in the pastor's office can be.  It can change the way a person looks and it changes not only that person, but sometimes hundreds and thousands of others.

I think that it is exactly for these reasons that the word of God says that there should not be many teachers among us because the teachers will be judged harsher (James 3:1).  Because Dr. Storey conveyed the idea that Mark maybe had made a mistake, thousands will lose their faith and no longer believe in the Bible.  Because Dr. Vawter had convinced Bill Clinton that abortion was no sin, thousands of babies have not seen the light of day.