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Featured Taking a New Testament Class by a Secular Author?

Discussion in 'Christian Advice' started by tuliplane, Jan 9, 2019.

  1. tuliplane

    tuliplane Newbie

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    I recently signed up to take a class on the New Testament that gets into the history of the early church, the origins of the writings, etc. I read the first chapter in the textbook so far. The author makes it clear that he is only offering history and no leanings as to what the reader should believe about spiritual matters. I did some research on him and found out he recently declared himself an atheist after years of being what he referred to himself as a "liberal Christian". He even received a reward from the American Humanist Association.

    He talks a lot about how the early Christians didn't agree with one another and there were several Christian belief systems because of this, and he also talks about how the apostles didn't necessarily agree with one another as well. I don't really believe that.

    Anyway, as a Christian is it a bad thing to take this class that is based on the writings of a man who fell away from the faith and may have skewed writings? Would this be a stumbling block to my faith or could it be an "educational experience"? Advice needed! Thank you!
     
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  2. maintenance man

    maintenance man Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If this is a college course for which you are getting college credit it can be a worthwhile "educational experience" as long as you are aware of the instructor's errors. You'll end up doing twice the work though double checking everything he says. That's a good exercise to help confirm your own Christian point of view.

    If there's no college credit I'd walk away.
     
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  3. HTacianas

    HTacianas Well-Known Member

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    I recommend you take the class. The new testament stands on its own. But sometimes it is a good idea to get the opinion of a neutral party.
     
  4. com7fy8

    com7fy8 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hi, Tuliplane :) I just had a piece of bread right out of the freezer with egg salad together with caramelized onion hummus. And I am now 71 years old; so you are welcome to take whatever I offer with a grain of salt.

    For one thing > what matters about what you eat is if it gets digested. What combination it is in when you chew and swallow it is not the main issue. Likewise > you might get some things of God's word while you do this study, and what matters is how it digests, not necessarily who brought it to your attention.
    Do I assume the teacher of the class is not the atheist who wrote the book? In case the teacher is not the author of the book, you might get to know your teacher and see where he or she is at, and discover how the teacher uses the book.

    One might be "objective"; or one might use the book to show how writers can be wrong; or the teacher might feel the author is correct.

    So, what has been the slant of the teacher?

    If I were to use an atheist's book, I am a born-again guy; but I might use it for intelligence gathering, to show how atheists and former liberals are representing things and who and what they consider to be authoritative sources.

    And I am informed that very high-level scientists and other scholars have at times been mistaken about things which they were convinced were true. So, I would not assume anyone really knows anything, including myself.

    But God is able to communicate. You can test everything with God >

    "Test all things; hold fast what is good." (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

    Again, like I say, the teacher might or might not have some leaning. And the atheist can claim he has no leaning or is being objective, but . . . this does not guarantee that what the atheist claims is true.

    And . . . by the way . . . in a way an atheist might not have any leanings about spiritual matters, because he or she does not believe there is such a thing as spiritual being in existence. And the person is possibly studying church stuff in order to get some sort of entertainment, feeling ones are being silly, plus the atheist might be looking to discover why so many folks can be what the atheist considers to be misled . . . though they are also, even, human like the atheist and very highly educated and some number are scientists.

    So, his perspective will not be exactly the same as that of some number of other atheists. You might get to know him, some, from things he says. You might grow to see his motives, deep down inside.

    And some number of Christians might have not exactly correct motives, even the same as those of some number of atheists. So, you might see however you need to evaluate yourself, in the sight of God.

    Our character and motives can have more or less effect on what we want to believe.

    There are people who just do not want Christianity to be true; and they can point the finger at how false Christians live, then claim that the fakers are proof that Christianity is not for real. And ones can say look at how Christians do not agree, but it can be the person is acquainted with people who all are mistaken, all not really Christian the way the Bible means.

    Anyway, thank you for sharing :) God bless you :)
     
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  5. JackRT

    JackRT Flat earther waking up ... Supporter

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    Who is the author?
     
  6. Radagast

    Radagast is a Trinitarian Christian

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    It's certainly not what I would have chosen.

    Sounds like good advice.
     
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  7. tuliplane

    tuliplane Newbie

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    Bart D. Ehrman
     
  8. JackRT

    JackRT Flat earther waking up ... Supporter

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    I suspected that he might have been the author. He is very highly regarded as a first class Bible scholar but he is not an "apologetic Bible scholar".
     
  9. tuliplane

    tuliplane Newbie

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    So what is your take? Will his writings be a waste of my time or is there anything to gain?
     
  10. Sketcher

    Sketcher Born Imperishable

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    Sounds like you need to balance it with respected scholarship from believers in the academic field. Have you read up on Christian apologetics at all?
     
  11. Radagast

    Radagast is a Trinitarian Christian

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    I would think that they would be a waste of your time. There are far more informative people to study -- people that will actually teach you what you need to know about the New Testament.

    This remains good advice.
     
  12. JackRT

    JackRT Flat earther waking up ... Supporter

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    Whether or not it is a waste of time is entirely up to you but if you do take the course I think you will gain a whole new appreciation for Biblical context.
     
  13. Radagast

    Radagast is a Trinitarian Christian

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    But life is too short to take bad courses.
     
  14. A Realist

    A Realist Living in Reality

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    Take the class. I am not an atheist sympathizer, but I do believe in looking at both sides of the issue. You may find out that some of the stuff you were taught growing up is highly questionable.
     
  15. Radagast

    Radagast is a Trinitarian Christian

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    I disagree (life is too short to take bad courses), but even on that approach, the OP should take actual Christian college courses first.
     
  16. A Realist

    A Realist Living in Reality

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    The term "bad course" in this instance is subjective.
     
  17. Radagast

    Radagast is a Trinitarian Christian

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    No, a course based on Bart D. Ehrman would be a bad course: full of errors, spiritually harmful, and taking time away from more helpful courses.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019
  18. A Realist

    A Realist Living in Reality

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    Again, that is subjective. However, I am not going to debate you as that is not the purpose of this forum. If you disagree with my advice, then maybe you should start a thread in the "My Two Cents Worth" sub-forum here that offers advice to prospective college students.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019
  19. jesus316

    jesus316 All Truth is in Jesus Supporter

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    This sentence by the author of the book is disingenuous. These kinds of writers know full well that you can't believe what they teach and also be a fundamentalist evangelical Christian. A liberal Christian maybe (but is liberal Christianity even Christianity at all?)
     
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  20. Sketcher

    Sketcher Born Imperishable

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    His deal is attacking inerrancy and literal interpretation.
     
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