WHAT IS APOLOGETICS? DO WE NEED IT IN THE LORD’S ARMY?

ARE YOU READY TO LEARN WHAT GOOD APOLOGETICS IS ALL ABOUT?

Simply put, the work of apologetics is to explain what you believe and why you believe it. In Christian apologetics, the basic task is concerned with providing the truth claims of Christianity and providing reasons for those truth claims. If a Christian cannot tell an unbeliever what makes Christianity unique, why should an unbeliever be interested? In the New Testament, we are commanded to engage in good Christian apologetics with kindness and respect. It is one way we are supposed to love the Lord with all of our mind.

Historical apologetics is clearly seen in the work of first century apostles, including Peter and Paul, and further developed by many early church Fathers such as Augustine and Thomas Aquinas. Many great apologists have added a considerable amount of new work such as C.S. Lewis, Norm Geisler, and R.C. Sproul. The apologetic approach is still important today. It is still at the heart of Christianity. Apologists today such as William Lane Craig, Josh McDowell, Frank Turek, Ravi Zacharias, Hugh Ross, Stephen Meyer, John Lennox, Michael L. Brown, J. Warner Wallace, Lee Strobel, Stephanie J. Thomason, and many many other great apologists continue to lead the way.

Believers should be able to explain two main pillars:

Why do you believe Jesus is the Son of God?

Why do you believe the Bible is the Word of God?

Those two pillars are what makes Christianity unique. They distinguish what makes Christianity different from other worldviews such as pantheism and agnosticism. In addition to knowing the reasons for the two main pillars of Christianity, many people – both believers and unbelievers – need reasons to believe in the existence of a theistic God. Theologians say that theism is a logical prerequisite before establishing Christianity. In presuppositional apologetics, however, a presuppositional apologist will deny any need to give reasons for the existence of God. Strict Calvinists might lean in that direction. I have personally seen marriages where one person is not a believer, but the other spouse – who is a believer – does not understand the value of good apologetics. It would be a very good idea for the spouse who is a believer to learn good Christian apologetics.

Apologetics in a general sense means “a reasoned statement or a verbal defense.” It comes from the Greek word, apologia, which is found in the New Testament where Paul gives a defense for his point of view as a Christian. Later on, Peter gives us an exhortation to be ready to give a reason for your hope as a Christian. Peter gives us a command to explain what you believe as a Christian and why you believe it. “Have no fear of them who would harm you, nor be troubled, but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense (apologia) to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame” (1 Peter 3:14b-16).

How do you begin using apologetics in a practical way? Start learning now and pray for the Lord to give you wisdom. Many good books can help you understand how to begin using your apologetic skills. When you share the gospel message, your apologetic skills can be a tremendous source of knowledge and empowerment. The book that helped me begin to see the value of apologetics is “Defending Your Faith” by R. C. Sproul. Then I continued learning by studying the work of many other amazing apologists such as Dr. Norman Geisler, C.S. Lewis, and Thomas Aquinas. Make the decision today to learn how to love the Lord God with all your mind. I hope you discover that apologetics can be a significant way to help you become a more powerful and effective soldier in the Lord’s army. In the book of Ephesians, Paul tells us to put on the whole armor of God. All the pieces are important for the Christian to live a life that brings glory and honor to the Lord. The belt of truth is needed in everyday language when we speak. The belt of truth can give you the support that is needed when speaking to a loved one. One of the best books that will help you learn how to discern truth is “Christian Apologetics” by Norman Geisler. Another great book is “Truth In Religion” by Mortimer J. Adler. Start today!

How To Have a Beautiful Marriage

A Beautiful Marriage Begins With Good Boundaries

A beautiful marriage begins with a husband and a wife who love each other and have the desire to live happily ever after. How do two spouses keep a beautiful marriage? In the book, Boundaries In Marriage, Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend explain the way to live in a happily-ever-after marriage. By learning how to contribute to a loving marriage, a couple can experience a strong and healthy marriage. Cloud and Townsend give specific ways to create a better environment for the marriage to grow and develop. This book is an excellent guide for any spouse who wants to have a good marriage, for any divorced person who wants to learn how to have a better marriage, or for a single person who wants to learn what a good marriage looks like. Every spouse should learn what to do when a difficulty arises in his or her marriage.  Sooner or later, for example, a spouse will need to know how to deal with hurt feelings. It is wise for a spouse to learn how to avoid different kinds of immaturity. It is wise to learn what to do when a spouse is struggling with selfishness. While some married couples make marriage look easy, other couples openly reveal how unresolved conflicts can seriously wound and cause strain on a relationship.

In the first chapter, the author takes a closer look at seven couples who have experienced a conflict of one type or another. Specific problems are presented, and good solutions are offered. The key to a good marriage is to find good solutions, discovering both general principles and specific solutions, and put them into practice. A good marriage will have at least one spouse who is willing to find good solutions. Hopefully both spouses will be willing to put forth an effort to make the relationship work in a way that blesses the marriage. “Marriage is one of God’s greatest gifts to humanity. It is the mystery of living as one flesh with another human being” (Ephesians 5:31-32). We will take a closer look at several marriages and find out what makes a marriage fail and what makes for a beautiful marriage. It will be beneficial to look at each marriage and find out why they are either not working or why they are working.

Chapter 1: Finding Boundaries

Two couples with similar problems are introduced. Harold and Sarah are emotionally disconnected just like Frank and Julie, living with hearts that are not very well connected. The difference is that Harold and Sarah have not yet learned how to identify what is causing a problem and what should be done about it. Sarah has not yet made an effort to put any solutions into action, nor has she found any solutions that work, whereas Julia has been able to confront her issue in an effective way that helps bring her marriage back together. Being emotionally disconnected is the symptom of a bigger issue. In these two cases, the main issue is that one spouse is dominating in a disrespectful way while the other spouse allows it to happen usually because there is no knowledge of what to do about it in a way that is the most loving way possible.

Harold was bossing Sarah around, and Sarah let him control her. This is a common issue where the wife thinks she must be her husband’s servant in order to keep peace in the relationship while he orders her around like a slave. Sarah has not yet figured out how to protect her boundaries in a bold and loving way. Until Sarah realizes her responsibility in specific situations and in certain kinds of conversations with her husband, she will continue to struggle with not being able to set limits. Sarah needs to discover that she has the ability and freedom to protect her boundaries in a kind and loving way. Sarah has been neglecting the important aspect of taking responsibility for her part of letting Harold control her. She needs to learn how to use her freedom in a way that can actually help the marriage grow. While Sarah does not have control over Harold, she can learn to take responsibility for the following things: her feelings, attitudes, behaviors, choices, limits, desires, thoughts, values, talents, and expressing love. In a very real way, Sarah needs to work on perfecting how she is expressing her love toward Harold. “Perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18). In a very real way, Sarah has lost control over her own spirit. “Like a city that is broken into and without walls is a man who has no control over his spirit” (Proverbs 25:28).

Julia was in a similar situation, but she decided to confront the problem by learning what she could do to properly conduct herself. By setting limits and establishing healthy consequences in a loving and effective way, Julia took ownership of how she could respond to Frank’s dominating comments. Julie decided to honor her boundaries by controlling her own responses in a way for love to grow in their marriage. In a very real way, Julie made an effort to express a better, more mature kind of love toward Frank. “Love is at the heart of marriage, as it is at the heart of God himself” (1 John 4:16). Julie made an effort to respect her own boundaries even if Frank was not. She figured out how to confront the issue by setting healthy limits in her own life and establishing loving consequences. She also realized that healthy marriages need more than just love. Julie found the freedom to set her own boundaries for the sake of her marriage to grow. She gained the knowledge of being responsible for her own responses in specific situations.

In addition to a good amount of love needed in a marriage, it is also important to know what boundaries are needed. In order to find one’s boundaries in life, he or she first needs to know what kind of personal responsibilities are in one’s own life. Once boundaries are discovered, it will also be just as important to find the freedom to take ownership of our own responses. As an analogy, it is similar to a person who lives in a house on a piece of property that has literal property lines. Finding boundaries in one’s life is analogous to finding property lines in one’s yard. A person needs to know what he has on his property in order to protect it. A person needs to locate the boundaries, too. If someone crosses his property line, he needs to know how to respond in a loving way. The best way to describe a boundary is to think of a property line because property lines can help keep the bad guys out. Once we learn how to guard the boundaries of our heart in a good way, our communication and responses will improve with other people.

In Stephanie and Steve’s marriage, Stephanie was the silent sufferer who was suffering from a one-sided relationship. Steve had been going about his life by saying that what he was doing was for the good of both of them, but what he was really doing was he was living for his own good. Stephanie had been sacrificing and giving up her entire life for the sake of serving Steve. She was working very hard at trying to reject her anger and reject being contemptuous. She did everything she could to avoid living in pain. This is perhaps the worst kind of misery a marriage can suffer. Unless Stephanie makes the loving decision to say what she wants, explain what she likes, and explain what she does not like about how Steve is living for himself, she will continue to lose herself. Stephanie’s case of passivity places her in the position of feeling like love is missing. In order for intimacy to develop, Stephanie should find her boundaries, learn what she is responsible for, and use her freedom to help make the marriage grow.

Joe and Caroline’s marriage suffers from both of them engaging in a vocal match of playing the blame game. In an unproductive attempt to solve the problem, they both find fault in the other spouse, which causes them to live in an unloving downward spiral of unending blame. Just as Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed Satan, the couple who does not own his and her poor responses will end up feeling helpless. They will live in a deadend cul-de-sac of negative reactions until a newness of empowerment takes place. Empowerment enters into the picture once responsibility takes place. Instead of saying, “If it weren’t for you, I’d be a more loving spouse,” both spouses must realize the unproductive and incorrect nature of continuing to not admit how unloving he or she has been acting. Each spouse needs to take responsibility for finding new and more mature ways to respond. Both spouses should learn how to take control of their own words, learn how to lift-up one another, set limits, exercise kindness and patience, bless one another, and respond in a much more loving way.

Jen’s marriage suffers from the conflict of Jen continuing to rescue her husband from a number of irresponsible and immature actions. She is left feeling helpless because she has trapped herself in a kind of a mental prison where she thinks she is a victim of whatever he does or does not do. Until she stops paying for his mistakes and until she stops bailing him out, her husband continues behaving in a very immature way. Jen needs to realize she is a free agent to find new and better ways to respond. She should discover her boundaries, stick to them, and make decisions for the benefit of making her marriage grow. She can learn to limit the ways his behavior is affecting her. By learning how to feel differently, react differently, and behave differently to her husband’s issues, she can avoid being the victim of his problems. Even if her husband is not interested in changing or growing up, Jen can take responsibility, owning her part in the situation. A healthy marriage will have two spouses who love each other freely. It is not meant for one spouse who feels enslaved by the other spouse’s sin, self-centeredness, or guilt. Jen should start protecting her boundaries and take responsibility of finding new and healthy ways to love her husband.

Regina and Lee’s marriage is another case of the silent sufferer. Regina does not know how to deal with Lee’s many problems of drinking alcohol, living in anger, and regular use of biting remarks and hurtful sarcastic comments. Regina has already tried to confront Lee, but Lee either does not listen or he apologizes only to end up committing the same offenses. Regina finally ended up setting limits to protect herself. She gave Lee a loving consequence. She finally drew the line by telling him if he kept getting drunk, she would not live with him. She told him to take ownership of his problem, get help, or move out. Lee ended up moving out, but he found help. After a year and a half, their marriage was saved in the end. Other times, the situation might be less severe such as a husband speaking disrespectfully on a regular basis. The wife can discover her boundaries and tell her husband, “If you speak to me that way again, I will leave the room.” In certain situations, one spouse will need to set limits and develop a consequence of emotional distance such as saying, “I can’t share deep feelings if you are going to punish me for them. When you are serious about getting help and making some changes, I will feel safe enough to open up to you again.”

Sandy and Jerry’s marriage was another case of Jerry overpowering Sandy, but Sandy did not have any backbone to deal with the conflict. She did not know how to take refuge, protect her boundaries, or respond in a productive way. Finally, she decided that she needed help from a third party. Sandy made good use of a support group where she discovered her boundaries and learned new ways to guard her heart. “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it” (Proverbs 27:12). Sandy began to use her support group to find healing and strengthening. “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23).

Chapter 2: Ten Laws of Boundaries In Marriage

Learning the ten laws of marriage will help one or both spouses build a good marriage on a structure made for success. These laws are basic principles that can help a marriage grow and develop into the happily-ever-after goal that was set from the beginning. By learning the ten laws, a spouse will better understand where the boundaries are located, how they work, and how to solve problems before they start. These laws can benefit one or both spouses because they will bring empowerment to the one who knows how to use them.

 

Law #1: The Law of Sowing and Reaping

 This law states that our actions have consequences. The goal is to identify how a spouse is contributing to marriage and find ways to make a better contribution for a better result.

 

Law #2: The Law of Responsibility

 This law refers to each spouse being responsible to the other spouse and responsible for one’s own feelings, attitudes, values, and handling life’s daily difficulties. Other responsibilities include loving your spouse, knowing your boundaries, and not enabling sin, destructive behavior, or immature attitudes.

 

Law #3: The Law of Power

 This law states that a spouse has power over some things but not other things. A spouse does not have the power for the other spouse to have self-control. Each spouse has the power to have self-control, not other-control. Spouses have the power to influence, but they do not have the power to change one another. Each spouse has the power to identify the way he or she is actively or passively contributing to a problem.

 

Law #4: The Law of Respect

 This law states that if a spouse wants the other one to respect boundaries, the spouse should first learn to identify and respect boundaries. Each spouse should learn to respect the other’s freedom of making choices, the freedom to say no, and the freedom to say, “If you don’t stop being angry with me, I will have to distance myself from you.”

 

 Law #5: The Law of Motivation

This law states that a spouse should make choices based on values, not out of fearing the other will be angry. It means freely choosing to do something and freely choosing to love without being motivated by fear of loss, anger, loneliness, guilt, or loss of approval. We must be free to say no or free to love before we can wholeheartedly say yes.

 

Law #6: The Law of Evaluation

This law refers to allowing a good kind of pain that leads to growth and maturity, not a bad kind of pain that leads to injury or revenge. A spouse should evaluate the pain that our inappropriate boundaries might be causing others. In order to develop a better marriage, we might need to give consequences that might cause temporary growing pains, which leads to growing up.

 

Law #7: The Law of Proactivity

 This law states that one spouse or both spouses can take appropriate action to solve problems. These actions should be based on good values, wants, and needs. A spouse should protest against hurtful behavior in a positive helpful way, not in a lashing out, blowing-up kind of way.

 

Law #8: The Law of Envy

 This law states that the feeling of envy is miserable because it focuses on what others have instead of valuing the good parts of what we own. Each spouse should own his or her shortcomings such as resentment or helplessness, and then confess and repent. The solution is to find better solutions, recognize how to live out good desires that preserve goodness, and replace a sense of helplessness with better responses, better words, better attitudes, and better solutions.

 

Law #9: The Law of Activity

 This law refers to finding loving solutions and taking action that leads to growth and maturity. A spouse needs to take charge of what he or she can do, take charge of finding healthy boundaries, take charge of speaking truth in a loving way, take charge of setting loving goals, and take action based on thoughtful values. The first move is always available. It is a matter of realizing what it is and putting it into action.

 

Law #10: The Law of Exposure

 This law states that we are to communicate our own boundaries in a loving way. A spouse should know that he or she can become empowered, using personal power to interact in better ways such as appropriately communicating his or her feelings, attitudes, behaviors, values, choices, limits, desires, thoughts, talents, and love.

Chapter 3: Setting Boundaries

The author stresses the importance of taking ownership in our half of the marriage, doing what we can to create a better environment and taking good steps to solve issues in both halves of the marriage. A spouse must take full ownership of one’s self by admitting our own limitations, confessing specifically where our own character falls short (Romans 3:23). This new awareness includes finding our own character flaws and learning how to set healthy boundaries with ourselves. We should always keep our heart humble by focusing on our own need for God’s love, understanding that we need His forgiveness each day, and turn away from taking on a morally superior attitude. Healthy boundaries become easier to identify once we learn what we need to stop doing and what we need to start doing. Confessing and repenting is a part of becoming more mature and more Christlike.

After a spouse realizes the difference between being half responsible for the marriage and completely responsible for one’s self, it will become much more productive relating to our spouse’s issues. Two practical steps exist when the other spouse is being selfish, irresponsible, withdrawn, or controlling. The first step is to admit what part we play in the problem. There could very well be something we need to stop doing. For example, we might need to stop nagging or criticizing the spouse for being a failure. We might need to stop blaming, protesting, stop reacting negatively, stop feeling helpless, stop enabling a problem, or stop trying to change the other spouse.

The second step is to figure out what we can do to start helping the situation get better. Instead of seeing our own half of the marriage as the “good spouse” or the “innocent spouse,” it is much better to do what we can to take some steps in solving a problem even though the problem might very well belong to the other spouse. Figuring out what we need to start doing is the way to start making progress.

Chapter 4: A Complete Individual

In a healthy marriage, both spouses will understand how important it is to be a complete individual person (Matthew 19:4-6). In addition, both spouses will honor the other person as a complete individual. A complete individual is a person who values the following ten abilities: giving love, receiving love, being independent and self-sufficient, living out values honestly, being responsible, having confidence, dealing with problems and failures, living out his or her talents, not looking at marriage as the place where one gets completed as a person, and having a life. When two complete people become one in marriage, they both increase in maturity and knowledge together more than they ever could if they had been alone.

How does a person become complete as an individual? Without borrowing basic human requirements of good character from the other spouse, each spouse needs to put forth the ability to express and develop certain things. The following list describes a complete individual: able to connect emotionally, able to be vulnerable and share feelings, has an appropriate sense of power and assertiveness, saying no when needed, has initiative and drive, has at least a minimal amount of organization, ability to be real and mature, accepts imperfections, has grace and forgiveness, grieves in a healthy way, thinks and express one’s opinions, learns and grows, takes responsible risks, understands and uses one’s talents, ability to be responsible and follow through, ability to be free and not controlled by external or internal factors, ability to be sexual and spiritual, has a moral sense, values being complete and the process of two becoming one, and has an intellectual life.

It makes good sense to value all the treasures in our soul and all the treasures in our spouse’s soul. These treasures include our feelings, attitudes, behaviors, choices, limits, desires, thoughts, values, talents, and love. A complete individual will take responsibility of these treasures by first valuing them in one’s self and then require the same from the spouse. Growing and developing individuals will care about the treasures in the soul of one’s self as well as in the soul of the spouse. Three things are required in order for a spouse to value the other spouse’s treasures. First, a spouse must see that the other spouse as a separate person with individual needs and feelings. Second, a spouse needs to understand the other spouse’s experience, identify with it, and have compassion. Exercising this kind of empathy is a bedrock of intimacy. Third, a spouse must allow the other spouse to exist in his or her own right by allowing the freedom to have certain differences without internalizing it as abandonment, rejection, or a challenge to change. When a person is free to cherish the spouse, a new sense of joy is being developed.

Chapter 5: Values

One of the treasures in our soul is the ability to have godly values. A healthy marriage will have two spouses who hold godly values up high, esteeming them, and pursue them together as a couple. One of the biggest mistakes a spouse can make is making happiness a goal instead of godly values. It is important to know the difference between seeking happiness and seeking values that result in happiness. The following seven main values will make or break a good healthy marriage: loving God, loving his or her spouse, being honest, being faithful, having compassion, forgiving, and welcoming holiness. When both spouses make an effort to value those seven values, the end result will be two happier spouses and a much better marriage. Chapters six through eleven take a closer look at each one of these values.

Chapter 6: Love God

One way to love the Lord God is to find out what kind of marriage He says works best and then make an effort to make the changes that are needed in order to achieve it. This effort is a life-long effort to continually maintain. The best way to make the changes needed is to first love God. Then we can experience the Spirit of God who empowers both spouses to make the changes necessary. Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God “with all your heart and with all your soul and with all our mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). If a spouse is led by his or her flesh to make the changes, then the spouse is limiting the marriage. The key to growing in character is found in a loving relationship with the Lord. In a loving relationship, a person will be led by and walk with the Holy Spirit. Once a spouse begins to love the Lord on a daily basis, he will find guidance. Once a spouse begins to love the Lord on a daily basis, he will begin to see the benefits of bearing good fruit. He will experience the empowerment needed to show godly attitudes and bear the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, goodness, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

Chapter 7: Love One Another

What kind of love should a spouse have toward his or her spouse? The answer is simple. Each spouse should give agape love to the other spouse. What does this mean? In a very basic sense, agape love is concerned with what is good for the other. A Greek translation of agape is “love that is affection or benevolence or charity”. Each spouse should think about how to make the other spouse’s life better. Agape love is godly love.

Jesus gave the second greatest commandment to “love one another as He loved one another” (John 13:34)). What kind of love is godly love? In the gospels, we see how Jesus loved one another, and He told us to “do just as I have done to you” (John 13:15). Jesus was patient, kind, and humble. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not boast (1 Cor. 13:4-7). Jesus had the heart of a servant (Philippians 2:1-8). How did he serve one another? He had empathy. He was committed, and He took the right kind of action. Three keys to showing agape love toward a spouse include empathy, commitment, and taking the right kind of godly action.

 

Chapter 8: Honesty

In order to have an honest marriage, it will be important to avoid deception (Lev. 19:11, Prov. 6:16-19, Col. 3:9-10). An honest marriage will value healthy communication that can share deep feelings, needs, hurts, desires, failures, or whatever else is tugging on a spouse’s soul. Healthy communication involves truth while being kind and loving (1John 3:11, 18, 4:7-11, 3John 1:4, 8, 12). Honest communication will help develop intimacy. In addition to speaking truthfully in a kind way, it is just as important to be able to receive the truth in a healthy way. When a spouse listens to a truthful statement, he or she will need to exercise giving grace.

Chapter 9: Faithfulness

What is a faithful spouse? A faithful spouse is one who can be trusted, depended upon, believed in, and one in whom you can rest (Ephesians 5:22-33). A faithful spouse will not commit an emotional affair with someone else. A spouse should not be faithfully emotional to someone else instead of being faithful to one’s own spouse. In addition to not getting involved in an emotional affair, a spouse should not get involved in a sexual affair (1 Cor. 7:1-16). A spouse is to remain faithful to his or her spouse (Prov. 5:15-23, Prov. 31:11-12, Eph. 5:33, Hebrews 13:4). Just as God remains faithful to us no matter what we do, a marriage requires faithfulness even if and when a spouse fails to love in a perfect way.

 

Chapter 10: Compassion and Forgiveness

The reality in this world is that every human person falls short of perfection, except for Jesus (Romans 3:23, John 14:9-11). Once we accept this reality, every spouse will need to exercise grace toward the other as well as heal from personal failures (Matthew 5:7). God calls us to clothe ourselves with compassion (Matthew 18:23-35, Luke 10:30-31). One way to be more compassionate toward a spouse is to say, “That could be me. How would I want to be treated if I were going through that?” Compassion should cause a person to become more kind, patient, and tenderhearted. In addition to showing compassion, we are called to forgive over and over, seventy-seven times (Matthew 18:21-22). We have been forgiven by God, and He calls us to forgive one another.

Chapter 11: Holy Character

Holiness is not some kind of boring life. On the contrary, holiness is desirable and attractive (Exodus 3:5, 30:29, Leviticus 11:44-45). It means to be pure and blameless (Gen. 6:9, 17:1). In order to be a pure and blameless person, one needs to live a sanctified life, day by day, repenting from sin, walking in step with the Holy Spirit, and remaining in the Lord’s Word (1 Thessalonians 4:3, 1 Timothy 4:5). In a healthy marriage, a holy spouse will take ownership with a certain issue, drive toward growth and development, give up what gets in the way of loving his or her spouse, turn away from anything that gets in the way of truth, and has a purity of heart, guarded where nothing toxic is allowed to grow.

Chapter 12: Resolving Conflict

The marriage union needs to be actively protected. It cannot revolve around other people nor can it revolve around other things like careers, houses, cars, or money. Protecting your marriage involves knowing your boundaries and making an effort to invest in your marriage. In a healthy marriage, a spouse cannot overlook the other spouse by saying yes to everything else. A good marriage will consist of leaving behind certain intruders that are keeping the marriage from being successful. Intruders could be inside or outside the marriage. If a marriage spends no quality time together then the marriage has been neglected. Spouses should set time aside for date night, for example, because it can help the marriage move forward in the right direction.

A good marriage will set good limits relating to time and energy. Instead of taking the marriage for granted or neglecting the marriage, each spouse should make an effort to resolve conflicts and invest in the marriage. If a conflict seems to be intolerable, both spouses should explore how he or she might be living in an immature way. When both spouses own his or her weaknesses and issues, they should move forward with a greater effort to resolve a conflict. If a spouse thinks the other spouse places greater value on other things, such as work or other people, a new awareness – of making a good investment in the marriage – is needed. Differences in a marriage do not need to be seen as an intruder. Differences can end up being a tremendous source of joy. In the next chapter, we will identify six different kinds of common conflicts.

 

Chapter 13: Six Kinds of Conflict

Every marriage will need to know how to resolve six different kinds of conflict: sin, immaturity, hurt feelings, opposing desires, marriage needs, and dealing with unknown problems. Once a spouse repents from being self-centered, the marriage will be able to deal with those six kinds of conflict much better. Whatever the conflict might be, each spouse will need to be patient and kind and pray for wisdom. In the next chapter, we will examine a six-step strategy to resolving conflicts.

Chapter 14: Strategy to Resolving Conflict

Once a spouse decides to invest in his or her marriage, certain issues will need to be dealt with. If a person is willing to deal with the issue, then the issue can be much more easily resolved. However, if a person is in denial, then the issue will not be as easy to resolve. In this chapter, a six-step process is identified in order to help resolve a conflict when the person is willing to deal with the issue. This process is a general process, and it is biblical. The six-step process includes the following: Observation, confrontation, ownership, repentance, involvement, and reexamination. What happens if one spouse is not resolving the issue? In the next chapter, we will address unwelcome boundaries. We will examine several ways to deal with a person who does not want to resolve anything.

Chapter 15: Dealing with a Resister

In a healthy marriage, two spouses should be willing to embrace the reality of receiving and respecting the other spouse’s boundaries. However, sometimes one spouse will resist. This chapter explores what to do if one spouse is resisting. It will help if the resister can at least listen to the benefits of respecting boundaries.

One way to deal with a person who does not want to resolve anything is to discuss what a good marriage looks like. A resister should at least listen to what a good marriage is all about. A good marriage has flourishing love; compassion develops, self-control and patience develop, appreciation for who a person is develops, and a greater dependence on godly values develop. The resister should know that values are the key to bringing about the end result of happiness.

A second way to deal with a person who does not want to resolve anything is for the spouse who is willing to discuss his or her desire of wanting to love God and grow in good character. Whether the resister might not care about boundaries or might lack an understanding about boundaries, the resister might need to sit and listen to the willing person discuss his or her own shortcomings as well as the benefits to the willing person setting boundaries. A third approach is to go ahead and try again to correct a particular issue or set certain limits, depending on what the issue might be. Even if the resister seems as if he or she is resisting, it could very well be that the resister is somewhat open to getting help in a new and fresh way.

A fourth approach is to discover what is causing the resister to resist. One cause might be a lack of empathy on behalf of the resister. By discussing how it is good to become aware of how each person is affecting the other one, a new sense of compassion could begin to develop. Another cause might be irresponsibility. Another cause might be a lack of ability to recognize love, grace, and freedom. Another cause might be control. Another cause might be unresolved old feelings toward other people. Other causes might seem like denial or retaliation on the surface, but after discussing certain causes, the resister might open up to what is really bothering him or her.

A fifth approach is following the process of making a soul connection. It will help if a counselor or the willing spouse can be the example of growing and owning, identify a specific issue, validate feelings, make known that the goal is for two loving spouses to love each other, and create a welcoming conversation. A good soul connection will not have any fear about requesting a certain change. A good soul connection will identify boundaries with good consequences, giving time and patience for the resister to adjust. A good soul connection will not have any fear about giving a warning to the resister.

Leaving a marriage permanently is the last consequence called divorce. Is the resistor leaving or is the willing spouse leaving? The willing spouse can stay in the marriage and learn to make a better soul connection as much as it is possible. Boundaries are not designed to end a marriage. It will be important to understand how to avoid misusing boundaries in a marriage. In the last chapter, two ways in which boundaries can be misused will be identified. In the conclusion, ten keys will be given as to how we can avoid misusing boundaries.

Chapter 16: Avoid Misusing Boundaries in Marriage

Boundaries are designed to preserve and deepen a marriage. They are not designed to end relationships. If a person is found misusing healthy boundaries in marriage, it might be because an increase in alienation has occurred. Instead of increasing alienation, it will be important to make sure an effort is being made to increase the reality of showing love.

Some boundaries might cause temporary suffering, but healthy suffering is God’s way to move us into the reality of growing in character and maturing. When a marriage is growing, sometimes the spouses will feel some kind of discomfort, but in a healthy process, suffering should only be temporary. When we suffer for doing the right thing in God’s eyes, He will bless us for it. Godly suffering is actually good for us when we learn to trust and submit to God’s good and perfect will. Once godly suffering is welcomed and experienced as a fruitful process, maturity takes place and an increase in submitting to God develops (Romans 5:3-5). James said to “count it all joy” to meet various trials because it can produce good character (James 1:2-4). A mature person will understand that certain sufferings are like a stepping stone, moving us past something, toward better character.

The second way in which boundaries might be misused is if a spouse is using boundaries as a way to avoid growth. If boundaries are set in order to avoid repenting, for example, then the wrong kind of boundaries have been set. One of the best ways to avoid misusing boundaries is to make a greater effort to build a marriage on love, honesty, and freedom.

When a problem arises in a marriage, and problems will arise, the goal should always be to mature, nurture the marriage, and personally grow in character. The following are ten last keys to a successful marriage. The first key is for one spouse to establish and express that he or she has a desire for what is best for the other spouse. The second key is to make a commitment to speak in love, not out of anger. A third key to a healthy marriage is to receive loving care and support from outside the marriage, from God, from support groups, marriage groups, etc. The fourth key is to take ownership and be honest about what kind of contribution is being made to finding good boundaries. The fifth key is to request a change in a particular boundary, but the spouse should always do it with love and compassion.

The sixth key is to identify consequences to unchanged behaviors and discuss warnings about things that might happen in the future. Knowing about consequences can help avoid the reality of certain actions and help protect your marriage. The seventh key is to be certain about the difference between ungodly silent suffering and the process of patient endurance. The eighth key is to renegotiate boundaries as time goes by. A more mature marriage might find the need to develop new boundaries and find some of the old boundaries less useful. The ninth key is to practice forgiving every day. Walk in God’s grace each day and remember, it is important to receive forgiveness from one’s spouse. Give mercy just as mercy has been shown to us at the cross. The tenth key is to submit in a way that freely serves one another with a joyful heart.

Taking on the heart of a servant is the best way to bring glory and honor to the Lord. Serving one another with godly boundaries – and knowing what are within your boundaries – is the best way to have a good marriage.

Twelve Things God Hates

What does the statement “God hated Esau” really mean? (Malachi 1:3, Romans 9:11-13) Is it the same kind of hate that a person has for cheesecake or lemon meringue pie? The purpose of this article is to list twelve things that God really does hate. In doing so, we will discover that God loves all people, but it is not the same kind of love that a person has for dessert.

Does God Love and Hate At the Same Time?

It is so very important for us to understand the difference between loving a person and hating the sin. Generally speaking, “God hated Esau” means that God hated sinful behavior, not the actual person of Esau. Since God is love (1 John 4:16) and He hates sin (Proverbs 6:16-19), it follows that God must love all people in the world (John 3:16) unconditionally while also hating the person’s sin at the same time.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only unique Son, and whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

There are six things that the LORD hates,
seven that are an abomination to him:
haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers (Proverbs 6:16-19).

Five More Things God Hates

In addition to dealing perfectly with each person, God also deals perfectly with nations and groups of people. In Malachi 1:1-3, we find out that Edom refers to Esau’s descendants who are called the Edomites (Genesis 25:30, 36:1, 9). The Lord calls Edom a Wicked Land (Mal. 1:4), meaning a wicked people always under the wrath of the Lord. Why were they under wrath? They were under wrath for the following reasons:

1.) Siding with Israelite enemies (Psalm 83:1-8)

2.) Inflicting revenge on Judah (Ezek. 25:12-14)

In the context of Malachi chapter 1, Edom suffers as a group of people not because God inflicts punishment in a cruel random way, but rather, God is perfectly just when He gives both warnings and consequences. Malachi uses the illustration of “Edom under divine wrath” in order to warn the Israelites that the Israelite priests need to repent from showing contempt for the name of the Lord Almighty. Otherwise, Israel will also suffer divine wrath. Israel was warned about their following sins:

1.) Priests who despise the name of the Lord Almighty (Mal. 1:6)

2.) A people who do not offer the best to the Lord Almighty (Mal. 1:11)

3.) A people who do not fear the name of the Lord Almighty (Mal. 1:14)

Another Thing God Hates

In the book of Revelation, we find out that God commended a certain group of people for hating sin. What sin was that? The people in the church of Ephesus were approved by God for hating the sinful work of the Nicolatians. (Early church Fathers explained that the sin of the Nicolatians refers to allowing heretical doctrine.)

Revelation 2:6 – (The Lord Almighty said,) Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolatians, which I also hate.

The key word in Revelation 2:6 is the word works. It was not the person, per se, that was hated. It was the work of those people. Everyone is called to honor the Lord, no matter who you are or where you live, by following sound doctrine. In addition to being saved by grace through faith in order to do good works, we are also commanded to live by sound doctrine. In order to reject heresies and unorthodox doctrine, one must know the truth of sound doctrine. This is why it is so important to be a student of the Word of God, learn from educated theologians, let the Holy Spirit reveal truth to you, and daily put on the new life in Christ, walking in step with divine guidance.

Does God Only Love Some People?

Maybe you’ve heard a Christian such as a Calvinist say that God only loves some people. Oddly enough, atheists often say the same thing. It is not a good interpretation of Scripture to conclude that God only loves some people. It is false to say that God only loves some people. John 3:16 does not say, “For God so loved only part of the world…” Telling people “God only loves some people” can actually end up triggering hopelessness, anger, and depression.

God’s character is so loving that it is impossible for Him to not love. God is love (1 John 4:16), and that means God naturally loves you. He is always loving in all that He does and in all that He says. The word that we use for God’s all-loving moral attribute is called omnibenevolent. It means He is always good, always loving, and perfectly limitless in being good and loving toward everyone. Nothing is forcing Him to love you. He just does love you with an infinite amount and a divine eternal love. He is so good, that He extends grace and carries out perfect justice to individuals as well as nations.

Just as a parent disciplines his child in order to keep him from repeating dangerous actions, our Heavenly Father pours out divine wrath in wicked places – out of His desire for people to repent from sin. Even though He actively hates sin, His loving character does not change. His loving character is constantly loving and constantly unchanging. The way God loves is not the exact same way a person loves dessert. The way God hates is not the exact same way a person hates cheesecake. Psalm 5:5 says, “You hate all workers of iniquity.” Psalm 11:5 says, “The Lord’s soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.” Divine hate and divine wrath are a means of divine discipline in order to get a human being to repent from sinful behavior.

How Do I Know If God Really Loves Me?

I met a lady one day who told me she thought God did not love her. When I asked why she thought that, she said it was because someone told her that God only chooses to love some people, and He decided to love other people but not love her. What?! That is a terrible misunderstanding of God’s unchanging nature. I assured her that God does love her with an everlasting love that endures forever, and He is just waiting for her to love Him back. Rest assured, you can be confident that God first loved you. Most certainly! “God shows His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). The love that God has for all people is impartial, universal, and unconditional. He loves you so much that Jesus willingly died for you in order to pay the penalty for all your sin. The natural response is for you to thank God for the good work He did for you. We love, because he first loved us (1 John 4:19).

I might never know if God hates cheesecake, but I do know He hates pride, lying, murdering innocent blood, devising wicked plans, rushing into evil, false witnesses, and stirring up conflict. Never give up what you know for what you don’t know.

It is very clear in the Bible that God does not love sin. In the Scriptures, we find out that He loves all people. Likewise, we are commanded to love one another just as Jesus loved one another. We are never commanded to love the sin in a person’s life. Rather, we can dislike the sin in a person’s life while continuing to love the person. A parent is always expected to love his or her child unconditionally, impartially, and at all times.

If you have not done so already, get in a good Bible study with a teacher who follows sound doctrine and prays for you. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey my commandments” (John 14:15). Never give up being a student of the Bible. The best way to genuinely love God is getting to know His divine attributes, the good work He has done, and all the good promises He has for you. And praise Him for it all!

Ultimate happiness is found in a right relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

 

Story of the Woman Caught In Adultery

Was John 8:2-11 in the original book of John or not? (The story of the woman caught in adultery.)

Bartolomeo di Giovanni “A Bishop Saint”

One of the very earliest complete Greek copies of the New Testament, the Codex Sinaiticus from circa AD 350, does not have John 7:53-8:1-11. The purpose of this article is to give a few possible reasons why those verses might have been intentionally removed by a bishop in circa AD 350.

Story of the Woman Caught In Adultery

from John 8:2-11

2Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. 3The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” 6This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10Jesus stood up and said to her, Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

I was recently told that most people are not interested in finding out if the story of the woman caught in adultery was in the original book of John. That might very well be true, but I am hoping to find some clues. In Bible study, when we get to that passage, we usually ignore the note attached to that passage. Someone brave enough might say something like, “Well, the early manuscripts didn’t have that story.” No one really wants to ask why in a small group study. An awkward silence clouds over when someone says it: an early manuscript did not have it. Someone with a keen mind might respond, “Yes, but earlier manuscripts probably had it.” Your Bible might give you the following note related to that passage:

“The early manuscripts and many other ancient witnesses do not have John 7:53-John 8:11.”

I’ve been in enough Bible studies to know that the group usually leaves it at that. Are you one of the few people like me who walks away and wonders, “Well, did the original book of John have it or not?”

Out of curiosity, I gave a poll on Twitter, asking people if John 8:1-11 was in the original. After seventy-three people voted, the results came in as follows: 41% said yes, 36% said no, 12% said probably yes, and 11% said other. If those verses WERE in the original, then why were they removed? I would like to explore a few possible reasons, one in particular. Was it an accident? Did the scribe simply not place that story in the manuscript by mistake? Scribes were trained to not make that kind of a mistake. Was the scribe directed by a bishop to remove that passage? Was the scribe actually a bishop who left that passage out on purpose? If so, why did he leave it out?

Once I began studying early church history, three main things stood out. First, the Roman laws were extremely hostile against Christians during the first three centuries, forcing many to deny the Christian faith or face a death sentence. In a letter from governor Pliny the Younger to the emperor Trajan in AD 112, Trajan gave a reply, commanding Pliny to punish Christians. Pliny requested a consultation, and the emperor’s reply can be found in the letter, Pliny the Younger and Trajan on the Christians. Roman leaders were instructed to punish anyone who said he was a Christian. However, Christianity continued to spread. In AD 185, sophisticated philosophers such as Pantaenus were converting to Christianity. By AD 249, Roman Emperor Decius thought Christians were a threat to the empire and Christianity had to be eliminated by law. He issued legislation for every Christian to recant, earning a certificate for recanting, while bishops were punished to death.

Second, a new form of church structure began to take place in church congregations where the bishop became the sole leader in a local church. Third, a major split was happening among the church bishops over whether a Christian should be kicked out of church for apostasy, murder, and adultery. Some bishops wanted to kick a Christian out of church while other bishops wanted to welcome them back. Kicking Christians out of church for adultery is a legitimate reason why John 8:2-11 might have been removed on purpose by a bishop.

Today, some people refer to the story of the woman caught in adultery as Pericope Adultrae or Pericope de Adulterae. For the sake of conversation, I will abbreviate it PA from here on out.

Here is a simplified account of what might have happened if the PA story WAS in the original.

  1. PA was a story in the original book of John. It was not a parable. The adulterer was forgiven by Jesus.
  2. During the first few centuries, three big sins were major issues for the local church: apostasy, murder, and adultery. By the second century, some church leaders were kicking Christians out of church if any of the three big sins were committed. However, many many of the followers of Christ thought that a Christian who committed any one of those big sins should somehow be allowed to return to the local church. In AD 251, Cornelius was elected Bishop of Rome, claiming the bishop has the power to forgive sins in a public act of humiliating penance where the offender displayed genuine sorrow.
  3. During the second or third century, a bishop may very well have been motivated to leave out the story of PA on purpose. Augustine of Hippo stated that some of the “men of little faith” were fearful of wives committing adultery. It could be that in an effort to keep adulterers permanently out of church, he removed the passage. Finally, it might be that the bishop wanted to kick Christians out of church since bishops wanted no part of the sin of sexual immorality in church.
  4. By the third century, Christians were still considered outlaws. Copies of the New Testament books were secretly being made, some with the PA story and some without, depending if the bishop was for kicking Christian adulterers out of church or not for kicking them out. Church theologian Didymus the Blind (c. 313-398) stated that some people removed the story of the woman who committed adultery, saying people knew the story before Jerome’s time (c. 350), and the story was well known in the entire area of Alexandria. Didymus was from Alexandria.
  5. By circa AD 350, a copy of the Codex Sinaiticus was finished. That copy does not include the story of PA. In 1844, the Codex Sinaiticus was discovered somewhere at Mount Sinai.

    Codex Sinaiticus John 8
    Codex Sinaiticus John 8
  6. Early church Fathers had been writing many books. Some of them made reference to the story of PA.  Jerome, Ambrose, and Augustine of Hippo refer to the story of PA. Augustine clearly stated that some men of little faith left out the story of the woman who committed adultery. The reason he gave was because some husbands feared their wives would commit adultery if the passage was left in.
  7. During the third century, the first century originals might have still existed. Copies that were made during the first and second centuries could have included the story of PA. Copies were made from those copies, and that is why we have the story today.

The reason why the Codex Sinaiticus left out the PA story might have been because 1.) A scribe made an error and left it out by mistake. However, scribes were trained not to make such mistakes. 2.) It could be that the PA story was never in the original, but then why did the early church Fathers refer to it as an issue that some bishops wanted to remove?  3.) Like Augustine said, it could be because husbands feared their wives would commit adultery if the passage was left in. 4.) It might be that since some of the bishops wanted to kick Christians out of church for committing adultery, they removed the story on purpose.

It is unbiblical for any bishop to refuse to welcome a Christian who repents. Paul was a murderer. Peter denied the Lord three times, and Mary Magdalene used to have seven demons. They all repented, turned to the Lord, asked God to forgive them, and thanked Jesus for paying the penalty for all their sins – past, present, and future.

Whatever the reason was for leaving the PA story out of the Codex Sinaiticus, we can’t ignore the fact that many early church Fathers wrote about the PA story and even stated that at least one scribe removed it.

As for the scribe of the Codex Sinaiticus, handwriting experts say that at least three scribes wrote it, possibly four. Whoever wrote the copy of the book of John in the Codex Sinaiticus might have left out the PA story on purpose or the scribe might have been advised by a bishop who managed the writing process.

 

 

4 Ways To Respond To Wellhausen Problems and Astruc Cuttings

 

It has been estimated at least 90% of the Christians today and perhaps 99% of all people have no idea what is being taught in liberal universities today under the disguise of biblical criticism, textual criticism, source criticism, or literary criticism. In this blog, I will be opposing a (failed) hypothesis that is being taught at the college level by some professors who call themselves specialists, scholars, and critics.

The Documentary Hypothesis was first presented in 1878, just twenty years after Darwin published his hypothesis on how one living species might have started a process of biological changes in a macroevolutionary process called natural selection. In this blog, I will be examining the Documentary Hypothesis, but I will most often refer to it as the Wellhausen Hypothesis. Liberal scholars who devote entire careers on biblical criticism like to call the complex Wellhausen Hypothesis by its more traditional name, the Documentary Hypothesis. At the heart of it all, the Wellhausen Hypothesis is much more than just a four source claim on the origins and development of the first five books of the Bible. It wrongly posits that many contradictions exist, and it literally rips apart the text in an attempt to conclude, “See? I found two authors.” 

Wellhausen Followers Continue to Fool the World

In the fall of 2018, the problem of Wellhausen’s teaching and his followers came to my attention while working on my master’s degree. Julius Wellhausen (1844-1918) was a German historian, linguist, and Bible critic who lost his faith in the Bible. He began to research certain people in the past who made incorrect assumptions and speculations on whether or not Moses was the author of the first five books of the Bible. These historical Bible critics who opposed Mosaic authorship include Abraham Ibn Ezra, Benedict Spinoza (a pantheist), and Jean Astruc just to name a few. Each one of those figures stumbled upon difficulties that they struggled with in the Pentateuch, and they did not find good answers to their satisfaction. Even if they did find a good answer that explains why a verse does not contradict another verse, for example, or why two divine names are sufficiently used, they rejected it. Today, Wellhausen followers continue to claim they have found a multitude of contradictions, and then they reject honest answers to their literary problems. Underneath the surface of opposing Mosaic authorship, Wellhausen followers bask in a sea of alleged contradictions and confusion by misreading Scripture. They present contradictions in what they call doublets, triplicates, conflicts, style issues, gaps, anachronisms, and repetitions. The most unusual act is when Wellhausen followers continue to perform an “Astruc Cutting” to certain passages – in an attempt to claim two different authors wrote it. 

Two Sources?

A French physician and professor named Jean Astruc (1684-1766) is often called the father of the Documentary Hypothesis because he presented his speculation that the Pentateuch has two sources, neither of which is Moses. In this blog, I am pointing to Astruc as the person responsible for so many of the Wellhausen followers today who continue to cut passages apart verse by verse. Astruc worked with two divine names in the text, YHWH and Elohim, claiming the two divine names give evidence of two authors. By cutting up the Pentateuch verse by verse and placing certain YHWH verses in one document and certain Elohim verses into another document, Astruc claimed he found two authors. Immediately, Astruc’s two source speculation faces a problem because there are a multitude of passages that use both YHWH (Yahweh/Jehova/LORD) and Elohim, and there are a multitude of verses that contain neither. Finally, in 1941, Umberto Cassuto gave an excellent response to Astruc’s two source speculation in his book, The Documentary Hypothesis and the Composition of the Pentateuch: Eight Lectures by Umberto Cassuto. In his book, Cassuto gave a clear reason why Moses used both divine names, YHWH and Elohim. YHWH is used mainly to refer to the personal deity of Israel. Elohim is used in a general sense for the creator over all people. 

Four Sources?

Building onto Astruc’s teaching, Wellhausen came along and proposed two more authors, a priestly author and the mostly Deuteronomic author, introducing his four source speculation, the Documentary Hypothesis, which I will continue to refer to as the Wellhausen Hypothesis. To complicate the matter further, Wellhausen followers play the innocent joker card by claiming redactors (editors) could have changed any number of words at any place in the Pentateuch at any time up to about 400 BC. By leading students into a sea of confusion about origins, development, and editing, students of Wellhausen scholars might walk away confused instead of reading what is actually in the text, namely, that 1.) Moses wrote down the words of the Lord and 2.) No textual contradictions actually exist. Moses wrote down ceremonial laws, cultural laws, moral laws, and regulations for the festivals as he was instructed by the Lord. Wellhausen imagined four authors wrote an imaginary J-document (written by an alleged author who preferred using the term Jehova/YHWH/Yahweh), an imaginary E-document (written by an alleged author who preferred using the term Elohim), a P-document (written by an alleged priestly author/authors), and a D-document (written by an alleged Deuteronomy author). However, Wellhausen followers fail to give credit to Moses as the author of the Pentateuch who wrote it during his lifetime. In his book, Cassuto reduced the Wellhausen Hypothesis down to five main flimsy pillars that supposedly hold up the four source speculation.

1.) Divine Names

2.) Language and Style

3.) Contradictions

4.) Duplications and Repetitions

5.) Composite Structure

Cassuto did a very good job in his book explaining why all five pillars fail. He presented a case where the Wellhausen Hypothesis has no real basis to hold it up.

Wellhausen Followers Today (Neo-Wellhausen) 

The new Wellhausen follower’s method includes four main offenses that still need to be challenged by anyone who honors truth. By responding to the following four ways Wellhausen followers continue to uphold the failed Wellhausen hypothesis, we can be salt and light shining truth in dark places. Below are four ways Neo-Wellhausen followers continue to live in the dark. Just beyond that, you will find a list of four ways we can shine the light of truth in a kind and gentle way.

4 Ways Neo-Wellhausens Live In the Dark

  1. Neo-Wellhausens continue to look for contradictions. They continue to claim contradictions and errors in the Pentateuch. They continue to consider/assume a second author is at work in places where the Wellhausen follower struggles to understand a difficult passage.
  2. Neo-Wellhausens  continue to work on cutting/dividing up the text. They continue to mentally apply the “Astruc Cutting” to short stories within a chapter.
  3. Neo-Wellhausens  focus on each of the four sources having a history. They focus on the compilation also having a development after compilation. They continue to approach Scripture with far fetched speculations and presuppositions such as the story and certain phrases were changed by redactors (editors) who came along and changed words and terms.
  4. They continue to teach that the Pentateuch is incoherent without acknowledging a lack of understanding or a misunderstanding coming from the human being.

Here is how we can point Wellhausen followers to truth.

  1. Let us examine any alleged contradiction or duplicate or triplicate presentation and discover the real context. We cannot be too quick to conclude that there is a contradiction when in reality, the struggle always ends up with the reader’s lack of understanding. Take the time to pray for wisdom and revelation and consider asking other good theologians who may have already discovered good answers to seemingly difficult passages.
  2. Let us find out why we arrive at knowing the Pentateuch is one literary piece written by mainly Moses during Moses’s lifetime. Become familiar with an explanation of why two divine names are used; Cassuto’s book is a good place to start. Know why we arrive at understanding the Book of Moses is a historical document from about the 1440s BC, written during Moses’s lifetime. We need to give credit to Moses, but we also need to be able to tell Wellhausen followers why the five flimsy pillars of Wellhausen fail. Cassuto began paving a way for us to approach Wellhausen followers in a kind and gentle and truthful way. Instead of just claiming Moses wrote it, let us take time to understand Wellhausen problems and carefully address them.
  3. Let us present all the verses in the text that refer to the Book of Moses, the Law of Moses, and the Book of the Law of Moses; there are many. Chapter after chapter, book after book from Exodus to Deuteronomy, we read that the Lord told Moses to “write down the words of the Lord.” In addition, let us present other biblical and non biblical texts that also refer to the Book of Moses.
  4. Let us present the theme of redemption and read the literary piece in context as one coherent message of God calling his people, God redeeming his people, and God preparing his people to go into the promised land. In Genesis, we find a historical account of Adam to Joseph being kidnapped and sold in Egypt. In Exodus, God calls his people out of Egypt. In Leviticus, God gives moral, cultural, and ceremonial laws so that the Israelites can live good lives. God gives directions and regulations to celebrate festivals at certain times each year. Two years after leaving Egypt, the book of Numbers covers a span of 38 out of 40 years of wandering in the desert. God reminds the Israelites in the desert that there are consequences for rebelling against Him, complaining, and disbelieving Him. God taught them how to walk with Him, not against Him. In Deuteronomy, we read the final preparation before they entered the promised land. God prepared His people one last time before Joshua led them into the promised land when Moses was 120 years old.

Who Wrote the Pentateuch?

The first five books of the Bible are called the Pentateuch or the Torah which include Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, typically dated to either 1440 BC or the 1200s BC. For about three thousand years from about 1440 BC to the 1700s AD, the author of the Pentateuch was commonly and widely accepted as Moses. Even though the Pentateuch and the rest of the Bible refer to the Pentateuch as the Book of Moses, the Law of Moses, the Book of the Law of Moses, or the Book of the Law, Wellhausen followers reject a multitude of verses throughout the entire Bible. At the end of this blog, you will find a more comprehensive list of verses from the Bible that specifically refer to Moses as the author who wrote down the words of the Lord (Ex. 17:14, 24:4, 38:21, Nu. 33:2, Deut. 31:9, 24-26). Wellhausen followers blatantly reject Moses as the author. Wellhausen followers often point to the death of Moses (that is recorded at the end of Deuteronomy) and the verse that says, “Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3) as supporting evidence that Moses could not have been the author of the entire Pentateuch.

Even if a priest wrote Numbers 12:3 and Deuteronomy 34:5-12, it does not mean that Moses didn’t write the rest of the Pentateuch. Even if oral tradition and certain lists were carried down from Adam to Moses, it does not mean that Moses didn’t write Genesis. Even though some passages were written down by the direct command of Moses (Ex. 38:21), the main author who wrote most of the Pentateuch is Moses, a three thousand year traditional view which is also called Mosaic authorship. 

Is There an Error In the Text or In the Reader’s Understanding?

In the publishing field today, there is usually one main author of a book who wrote and compiled an entire manuscript. From what we know of publishing today, it is very much possible for one book to have more than one author, and it is very much possible for one book to have more than one editor as well as a compiler who formats and for example, a compiler who organizes the chapters of an anthology. When studying the origin and development of the Pentateuch, however, we need to keep in mind what kind of writing method was used back then, acknowledging the situation was completely different, and give credit to where credit is due.

At first glance, the Wellhausen problem seems to be lacking the ability to give Moses any credit at all as the main writer and author of the Pentateuch. Upon further investigation, Wellhausen and his followers carry a much deeper problem: they claim narrative and literary contradictions exist in the text when there really is no contradiction. Every time we closely examine a problem that Wellhausen, his predecessors, and his followers have or have had with a specific passage, we will discover the problem is not in any way a contradiction in the text. In every case, the problem always ends up being with the critic who was not understanding or does not understand the text in context. Next, let me review the nature of a real contradiction. 

What is the Law of Non Contradiction? 

The Law of Non Contradiction can also be called the Law of Contradiction. Either way, it is generally accepted as the same law, but more commonly referred to as the Law of Non Contradiction. Basically, it states that something cannot both “be” and “not be” at the same time in the same sense. In logic, we explain it this way:

“A” does not equal “non-A”

For example, a zebra either has fins or it does not have fins. A zebra either has black and white stripes or it does not have black and white stripes. A zebra either has wings or it does not have wings. When applying the Law of Non Contradiction to literature, a contradiction could also be something like saying Bob named his zebra “Ribbon” or Bob did not name his zebra “Ribbon.” Either Bob did name his zebra Ribbon or he didn’t, but it can’t be both in the same sense at the same time. It could be that Ribbon was the name at one time, and then Bob began to call Ribbon another name later on at a different time. It could also be that Bob regularly called his zebra Ribbon, but the kids regularly called that same zebra “Flash.” In that case, that particular zebra has two names. In addition, Bob could call his zebra Ribby as a nickname. Furthermore, we know Ribbon came from a certain zebra who came from a certain zebra who came from a certain zebra. That family line of Ribbon’s genealogy could go four or five generations back to a certain zebra named Band. Thus, Ribbon could also be called a Bandite zebra from the tribe of Band. Going even further back, the Bandite tribe could be from a tribe further back called the zebralite tribe. Thus, Ribbon could be both a Bandite and a Zebralite. This example serves to address more than one alleged contradiction from Wellhausen followers. Let us now begin examining a few alleged contradictions from two different Wellhausen followers. 

Responding To Wellhausen Problems

Below, I will closely examine a few problems from two Wellhausen followers. I will show why their literary problems are not contradictions.

  1. What is the name of Moses’s father-in-law?

In Exodus 2:16-20, the author says Reuel is the priest of Midian who had seven daughters. After Moses married one of Reuel’s daughters, Zipporah (2:21), the reader sees Moses’s father-in-law, the priest of Midian, is called Jethro (Exodus 3:1, 4:18, 18:1, 2, 5, 6, 9, 10, 12). Later, the author referred to Moses’s father-in-law’s name as Reuel (Numbers 10:29).  The text presents two names for Zipporah’s father, Reuel and Jethro. Naturally, the conclusion is that Zipporah’s father had at least two names. The conclusion is not that the text has a contradiction. The question should be, “Can Zipporah’s father have two names?” We would have to honestly answer yes, it is possible to have two names. The text tells us that he had at least two names as they were recorded. Furthermore, is it possible to be named after a deceased relative? Yes. We know that a few generations before, one of Esau’s sons was named Reuel (Gen. 36:4, 10, 13, 17). Oddly enough, Wellhausen followers typically apply their own rules. Here, their strange rule must be “a person can only have one name,” which is not what happens in reality. Thus, the Reuel/Jethro issue is not a contradiction. 

2. Was Adam created before the animals or after the animals? 

In Genesis 1, an order of creation is presented in six days from the view of someone on earth, ending with the creation of Adam and Eve on the sixth day. Genesis 1 clearly says the animals were made before Adam. In Genesis 2, the chapter begins with a short summary of creation before living things were on earth. It moves into details such as when Adam named the animals (Genesis 2:19). Wellhausen followers claim that Genesis 2 contradicts Genesis 1 because Genesis 1 has Adam being created after the animals whereas they think Genesis 2 has Adam being created before the animals. However, Genesis 2:19 NEVER claims that the animals were made after Adam. Thus, Wellhausen followers read Genesis 2 incorrectly. There is no contradiction between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2. Genesis 1 gives us the order of creation whereas Genesis 2 gives us details just after creation. 

3. Who sold Joseph to Potiphar? 

I was surprised to find out how a young Wellhausen scholar from Yale University made at least four mistakes when reading the very short story of Joseph being sold and taken to Egypt (Genesis 37:18-36). This Wellhausen scholar from Yale found what he called textual difficulties, but the problem remains with his lack of understanding, as we shall see below, not in the text.

The first mistake he made is only a slight misreading of verses 18 and 20. The text does not say that the brothers conspired to kill Joseph two different times. The text begins with a narrative where the brothers saw Joseph approaching. The brothers begin to conspire a plan to kill Joseph. The text moves next to providing a quote of the brothers speaking about the heinous plan to throw Joseph in a pit to die. Ultimately, they wanted to end Joseph’s talk of reigning over them. 

Second, Reuben’s plan (verses 21-22) to save his brother is not identical to the brothers’ evil plan to kill him (verses 18-20). The two plans differ. 

Third, Judah’s reason (verses 26-27) for not killing Joseph is different than Reuben’s reason (verse 22). Judah suggested they sell Joseph to the Ishmaelites so that they would not be responsible for whatever happened to him in Egypt whereas Reuben did not want to hurt Joseph in order to keep him alive, and Reuben preferred to restore him to his father Jacob. Later, when the brothers reunited in Egypt, Joseph affirmed that his brothers indeed sold him to the Ishmaelites (Gen. 40:15, 45:5). 

Fourth, this young Wellhausen follower examined an alleged error at great length, an error that he called an “Ishmaelite/Medianite problem.” He claimed it is an irresolvable difference that occurs. He is confused where the text says the brothers sell Joseph to both the Midianites and Ishmaelites who sold Joseph to Potiphar (verse 25-36). As the text reads, the Midianites lifted Joseph out of the pit and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. The main problem here is that the Wellhausen scholar wanted more details about the transaction than what the text actually gives. He isn’t satisfied with the information given in the story. He speculated as to what else may have happened. He speculated several different scenarios while rejecting what the text actually presents as sufficient for the purpose of the context. 

Another Wellhausen Follower Perfoms the “Astruc Cutting”

The most unusual act of all is when this young Wellhausen scholar from Yale performed an “Astruc cutting.” By an “Astruc cutting” I mean that the Wellhausen scholar took the passage of Genesis 37:18-36 and cut, verse by verse, one short Scriptural passage literally into two separate stories; a “Reuben story” and a “Judah story.” He assigned the Judah story to the J-document author and the Reuben story to the E-document author. He then went on to argue over whether the Judah story was the original or the Reuben story was the original. Like all other Wellhausen followers, he speculated on whether an editor possibly changed a few words here and there. He concluded that the Judah story must be the original, that the Reuben story must be the supplement. Like all other Wellhausen followers, he claimed that the E source conflicts with the J source. However, in reality, no such conflict exists. 

Evidence That Moses Is the Main Author of the Pentateuch

In Exodus, we learn that the LORD instructed Moses to “write this as a memorial in a book and recite it in the ears of Joshua…” (Exodus 17:14). We also learn that Moses wrote down the Book of the Covenant and read it to the assembly just after God gave Moses the Ten Commandments and a multitude of other laws (Ex. 20-23). Moses gave instructions to the Israelites for when they enter the promised land (without Moses). After they entered the promise land, the king of Israel must write for himself on a scroll a copy of “this law, taken from that of the Levitical priests” (Deut. 17:18). At the end of Moses’s life when he was one hundred and twenty years old, a conditional promise of prosperity from the Lord was given to the Israelites if they turn to the Lord with all their heart and soul, keeping the commands and decrees that are “written in this Book of the Law” (Deut. 30:9-10, 31:11). Moses instructed the Levitical priests to read the Book of the Law to Israel at the end of every seven years during the Festival of Tabernacles (Deut. 31:9-13). Just before he died, Moses commanded the Levites to keep the Book of the Law by the side of the ark of the covenant in the holy of holies (Deut. 31:26). 

Many other books in the Bible affirm that Moses is the author of the Book of the Law; also called the Law of Moses or the Book of Moses or the Book of the Law of Moses (Josh. 1:7-8, 8:31, 1 Ki. 2:3, 2 Ki. 14:6, Ezra 6:18, Neh. 13:1, Dan. 9:11-13, Mal. 4:4, Luke 2:22, John 1:17, 1 Cor. 9:9, and Gal. 3:10). Jesus referred to the Law of Moses, the Book of Moses, teachers of the law, and experts of the law numerous times (Matt. 5:17, Mark 12:26, Luke 24:44, John 7:19, 23), saying that Moses even wrote about Jesus (John 5:46). The Quran also happens to affirm Moses as the author of the Torah. Other church Fathers throughout the centuries have affirmed Moses as the author of the Pentateuch. In 1265-1274 AD, Thomas Aquinas affirmed multiple times that Moses wrote Genesis and that Moses wrote Genesis chapter 1 in particular. 

In closing, we are long overdue in responding to the Wellhausen problem. Let us respond with truth and love. We are long overdue to encourage students to take a stand for truth in the college classroom by giving good reasons, in a kind and gentle way, why the Wellhausen Hypothesis fails.

 

SOURCES

Aquinas, Thomas. Summa Theologica: Part I Prima Pars From the Complete American Edition. New York: Benziger Brothers, 2012. Kindle.

Erickson, Millard J. Christian Theology. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1983.

Geisler, Norman L. The Big Book of Christian Apologetics: An A to Z Guide. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2015.

Hill, Andrew E., and Walton, John H. A Survey of the Old Testament. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1991. 

MacRae, Allan A. DEDP Lectures on the Higher Criticism of the Pentateuch. Hatfield, PA: Interdisciplinary Biblical Research Institute, 1994. 

Wellhausen, Julius. Prolegomena to the History of Israel.

5 Examples Why Agnostic Bart Ehrman Is Not a Gospel Expert

Is Bart Ehrman still claiming that the four New Testament gospel books (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) have contradictions? How can he still be saying that after many good explanations are available? How can he still be proclaiming his false teaching? Doesn’t he care to listen to the biblical experts who can explain how we can know that each one of his alleged contradictions is not a contradiction at all? Ehrman is an agnostic professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who presented at least three of his concerns in a video and went on to list about seven alleged contradictions. Unfortunately, the Christian he was talking to did not offer any significant explanation as to why Ehrman is wrong. The Christian went on to say, all that matters is that Jesus rose from the dead. What? Yes, the resurrection does matter, but so do false claims of contradictions. Working out every contradictory claim does not matter? Of course they matter. It takes time to present why the contradictory claim is not actually a contradiction. If a skeptic really wants to know if a contradictory claim is just an error on behalf of the reader or the critic, let the skeptic take the time to listen to several theologians and understand what the theologians are saying and why they are saying it. If a skeptic does not really want to find good reasons why particular contradictions do not exist in the biblical text, it might be because that skeptic has a difficult time admitting he is wrong. 

Ehrman, the agnostic professor and gospel skeptic, began with three concerns that he calls “problems with the gospels.” However, the problems remain with Ehrman’s lack of research and with his lack of understanding about the context, historical culture, and Mosaic law even though he is called a leading expert on textual criticism. If Ehrman continues to not accept the explanations for why his alleged contradictions are not really contradictions, then it might be because Ehrman just does not want to admit being in the wrong. Theologian Dr. Norm Geisler evaluated Bart Ehrman’s views and determined that Ehrman is not approaching the text as a neutral observer. 

“Bart Ehrman believes that people should approach the Bible without any presuppositions. They should not read the text through the eyes of faith but as neutral scientific observers. The difficulty with this claim is that even Ehrman does not approach the text as a neutral scientific observer but as one with presuppositions that are contrary to inerrancy. Thus it is no surprise that his conclusions oppose inerrancy.” – Dr. Norman Giesler, Defending Inerrancy, page 70. 

In this blog, I will give a short response to some of Ehrman’s claims, but a very much longer presentation can be made, perhaps in a book, showing how all of his contradictory claims are really not contradictions at all. 

  1. Gospel Dates – Ehrman claimed that the (publication) dates of the gospels are a problem. No, the publication dates and writing dates are not a problem. The early dating of the four gospels add credibility and reliability to the text so much so that we can be certain that God preserved the original texts. First, can Ehrman bring more value to the fact that the publication process and writing process was vastly different back then? He completely overlooks the entire writing process that took place from 30 AD-70 AD. While qualified writers at that time were able to use certain materials to write down specific texts, the serious nature of some Jewish priests hating Jesus, being jealous of Jesus, and calling for his death made the writing process even more protective. It is quite amazing that the four gospels survived at all under terrible authority figures. Ehrman cannot expect to apply a writing process and a publication process from 2018 to a time so long ago. I would expect that the original was significantly protected, and the task of reproducing the original was also significantly protected, both tasks which are completely ignored by Ehrman. Second, not only have the four gospels been dated to the lifetime of the author, biblical experts suggest that a fifth document most likely did exist, a document they often refer to as the Q document, which part of it may very well have been written during the life of Jesus, for example, soon after an event, sermon, or conversation occurred. Ehrman may be a leading expert in applying criticism to a text, but he is most definitely not a leading gospel expert by any means. He is not a biblical expert at all. Third, since there is no mention of the temple being destroyed in 70 AD, we have yet another clue as to the early dating of the gospels, placed before 70 AD, because at least one of the authors, if not all of the authors, would have included the major historical event in the New Testament texts. 
  2. Authors and Eyewitnesses – Ehrman claimed that there were no eye witnesses in the video? Did he misspeak? Of course the four gospels have eye witnesses directly to Jesus himself. Matthew was a tax collector who was a direct disciple of Jesus. Mark worked closely with Peter who was a direct disciple of Jesus. Luke traveled with Paul who had a remarkable encounter with the risen Lord Jesus Christ that forever changed his life. John was a direct disciple of Jesus. The authors of the four gospels were most certainly qualified to report the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. For more information about early gospel dates and the reliability of the gospel writers, please read this short booklet, Why Four Gospels? The Historical Origins of the Gospels by David Alan Black. 
  3. Oral Reports Passed OnFirst of all, while verbal storytelling most likely did occur in history, how can Ehrman be so sure that no one wrote down anything? He can’t. The Q document hypothesis shows that if the story was written down and reproduced, which it was, then it did not have any time to be changed. Once a story is written and reproduced, such as anything from Gilgamesh to any other historical document, it becomes a specific story. Once a written story is reproduced and begins to circulate, the original becomes obvious. Today, we have thousands of early dated copies of the same gospel story. The story did not change from year to year like Ehrman imagines. Second, The “telehone operator game” that second graders play does not apply to the publication process, and it does not apply to a monologue that is memorized and performed in front of an audience. Third, some people have remarkable memories and can recite word for word from scripts and monologues. I personally witnessed in my lifetime a speaker recite the entire book of Revelation from memory in front of a large audience. Even if sermons were given verbally in the past, when the same sermon is given over and over, it most certainly does not change at all. Rather, it becomes even more ingrained into the memory, in a very precise way, much like a stage performer where the speaker recites exact lines night after night without error. 
  4. Date When Jesus Died – Ehrman is confused about Mark’s testimony of the day when the Passover meal was eaten. Ehrman compares Mark’s testimony to John’s testimony of the day when the Passover meal was eaten. There are a few reasons why some people might have trouble identifying the day of the Passover meal that Jesus ate. Here is how we can be certain that Jesus ate the Passover meal on Thursday night. First of all, the Old Testament is very clear in several different books of the Pentateuch when the Israelites were supposed to eat the Passover meal (Lev. 23:4-8, Nu. 28:16-25). It says the Passover meal is supposed to be eaten on the first calendar Jewish month (Abib, also called Nisan), on the fourteenth day at twilight. The Passover dinner was supposed to be a one time dinner once a year. Second, the Jewish day would begin at twilight and extend into the night and throughout the next sunlight part of the day. Ehrman completely overlooks this important cultural difference between the culture back then to the culture today. So the fifteenth can also be called Passover day, but the Passover dinner was supposed to be eaten at twilight on the fourteenth day of Nisan (Abib). Jesus knew all these festival rules and regulations. He followed them by eating the Passover meal that we refer to as his Last Supper, but other corrupt priests might have planned on eating a Passover dinner on another night during the seven days that followed, which they were not supposed to do. In other words, corrupt priests may not have been following the rules for when to eat the Passover meal. Third, the Feast of Unleavened Bread lasted seven days beginning with Passover (day) on the fourteenth/fifteenth. Some people may have referred to the seven day celebration by calling all seven days the Passover Week. In the gospels, we hear what the people were actually saying and doing, but the law of Moses describes what was actually supposed to happen (Ex. 23:14-15). Fourth, the “preparation day” most likely refers to Friday, the day before the Sabbath day. Every Friday was called the Jewish day of preparation in order to rest on the Sabbath (Saturday). On the fourteenth of the first month, however, the Israelites still had to prepare for the Passover meal. Thursday that year was also a kind of preparation day, preparing for the Passover dinner that night. According to the law of Moses, the Feast of Unleavened Bread required food preparations on all seven days of the celebration. If Ehrman would take the time to understand some of these things, he would not be concluding with contradictions. Further explained in this way: Thursday the fourteenth of Nisan is when Jesus had the Last Supper at its proper time when the Passover dinner was supposed to occur, according to the law of Moses. Jesus was arrested after dinner. The next day was Friday the fifteenth of Nisan when Jesus was crucified, but it was technically still called Passover Day. Friday happened to be the day of preparation for the Sabbath, but it was also the day of preparation for the first Day of Unleavened Bread when the sacred assembly celebrated. John 19:14 does not contradict any other gospel book. Some people began to call the seven day celebration of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, “Passover Week.” Fifth, in the Pentateuch, some people asked if they could still participate in the Passover meal even if they had been around a dead person. According to the books of Moses (Nu. 9:7-16; 19:11-16), a person who touched or was around a dead person was considered to be unclean for seven days. After Moses asked the Lord about this, the Lord instructed those unclean people to celebrate the Passover dinner in the following month, the second month of the Jewish calendar, at twilight on the fourteenth. In other words, no… anyone who touched a dead person or anyone who was around the dead person cannot participate in the ceremony because they are unclean for seven days. This might be why some people backed away from Jesus when he was dying on the cross: they didn’t want to be counted as unclean for seven days. 
  5. Time Jesus Was Crucified – Ehrman is confused about Mark and John’s testimony of when Jesus was crucified. Mark 15:24-25 says Jesus was crucified in the third hour whereas John 19:14-16 says Jesus was crucified in about the sixth hour. First of all, it is important to understand how they told time back then. Ehrman completely overlooks this historical time telling system. The first hour was at sunrise. The third hour was mid-morning. The sixth hour was mid-day. The ninth hour was mid-afternoon. The twelfth hour was twilight/sunset. Second, try not using a modern clock for just one month and see if you can figure out when it is 10:30 AM and when it is 11 AM. The point is that it is difficult to distinguish between the end of the third hour and the beginning of the sixth hour. Third, the third hour might have included anything from 9 AM-11 AM, which is the accepted time frame of when Jesus was crucified. John was not wrong when he said it was “about” the sixth hour. He was estimating. Fourth, the two accounts actually give us more information that the time must have been closer to the beginning of the sixth hour, closer at the end of the third hour, and not during the beginning of the third hour. 

For the sake of respecting your time, I will stop here, but much more needs to be said in response to Ehrman’s false teaching. If you can respond to Ehrman’s false claims of contradictions, I would encourage you to blog about it or write a book. These false claims and many more from Ehrman can be shown how they are not contradictions. We need to show why these false claims are false so that Ehrman stops misleading college students and stops with his false teachings about the gospel accounts. I am convinced that Ehrman has not given his claims enough research nor has he been fair to listen to the reasons why we can know for sure that his claims are not true contradictions after all. We really can know the Bible is the Word of God, without error.