I sent this email to NPR after hearing Bart Ehrman interviewed today on Fresh Air.
Any first-year seminary student worth his salt could refute Ehrman’s constantly-recycled thesis in about two minutes– to say nothing of the many experts who have responded to him. So it was disappointing that Fresh Air didn’t bother to interview any.
As a quick example, Ehrman claims that the gospel sermons in Acts thought of Jesus’ death only as a “miscarriage of justice”– that Jews needed only to repent for their role in his crucifixion. Why, then, would Peter say in Acts that Jesus was “delivered up according to the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God”? Strange, if there were no divine plan operating in Jesus’ death.
Why, too, would Peter say in the same speech, “For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself”? Did children and “those far off” have anything to do with the execution of a political prisoner in Palestine?
No, for Peter in Acts Jesus’ death was something much bigger than a simple “miscarriage of justice.” Sadly, your listeners didn’t get the chance to hear even these 2 passages from the opening pages of Acts, because you made no attempt to challenge Ehrman, or even present another side of the story.