Wednesday, February 21, 2024

"Errors" in Mark's Gospel?

How many 14,000 foot peaks are there in the Rockies? Are there 53, 58, or even 74? It all depends on how you define "peak." 

On Saturday I hope to defend the inspiration, inerrancy, authority, and trustworthiness of the Bible against its detractors at our conference in Wilkesboro. In one of my two talks, I'll specifically answer the objections of a New Testament scholar who insisted that Mark's Gospel contains numerous "errors" (his word). Mind you, this scholar was no liberal. He taught at a prominent evangelical seminary for years. To be sure, Mark's diction is different from that of Matthew and Luke. But in my opinion, it goes beyond the evidence to argue that Mark's Gospel contains "errors" that were "corrected" by Matthew and Luke -- way beyond the evidence. An example is when Mark says that the rich young ruler "kept" [middle voice in Greek] all these things from my youth." Both Matthew and Luke, we are told, "corrected" Mark's "error" to the active form of the verb "kept." There are many problems with this argument, which I will discuss in detail at the conference. Now, I don't deny that the verbs are different. But it's a difference without any significance. It's like you saying "He pleaded guilty" and me saying "He pled guilty." In effect, the matter boils down to a mere stylistic choice (think judgment/judgement, dived/dove, "It's me"/"It is I"). The widespread but uncritical propensity of so many to resort to such fallacious arguments is, to me, simply intellectually indefensible. While Nietzsche was no friend of Christianity, he correctly saw the abyss toward which Western thought was heading. When Christianity reaches the point where its scholars glibly refer to "errors" in the Bible, dark and sinister days are ahead for Christ's church. 

Lots of things will be covered at the conference that I can't fully cover in a short blog post. I'll provide a longer report this weekend!