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Can We Trust the Gospels?: Investigating the Reliability of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John [Paperback]

By Mark D. Roberts (Author)
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Item description for Can We Trust the Gospels?: Investigating the Reliability of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John by Mark D. Roberts...

Explores the claims of critical biblical scholarship and reveals the confidence in Jesus that is ours through the historical reliability of the four Gospels.

Publishers Description

Attacks on the historical reliability of the Gospels--especially their portrayal of Jesus Christ--are nothing new. But are these attacks legitimate? Is there reason to doubt the accuracy of the Gospels? By examining and refuting some of the most common criticisms of the Gospels, author Mark D. Roberts explains why we can indeed trust the Gospels, nearly two millennia after they were written.

Lay readers and scholars alike will benefit from this accessible book, and will walk away confident in the reliability of the Gospels.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Crossway Books
Pages   202
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.48" Width: 5.58" Height: 0.45"
Weight:   0.55 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 8, 2007
ISBN  1581348665  
ISBN13  9781581348668  

Availability  113 units.
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More About Mark D. Roberts

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Mark D. Roberts (PhD, Harvard University) is a pastor, author, retreat leader, speaker, and blogger. He is the senior director and scholar in residence for Laity Lodge, a multifaceted ministry in the Hill Country of Texas. He was previously the senior pastor of Irvine Presbyterian Church in Irvine, California. Mark also serves on the editorial board of Worship Leader magazine, where he publishes articles and reviews, including his regular column Lyrical Poetry. Mark and his wife, Linda, have two children.

Mark D. Roberts has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Story of God Bible Commentary

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Jesus > Historical Jesus
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Jesus
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Commentaries > Commentaries
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > New Testament > Study
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > New Testament
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Apologetics

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Books > Theology > Theology & Doctrine > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about Can We Trust the Gospels?: Investigating the Reliability of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John?

Author's Too Gullible to Trust  Nov 27, 2008
Roberts makes a huge mistake. He assumes that a story about ghosts and demonic spirits can be evaluated on "historic" terms. Nonsense.
Today, we often see examples of an "End of the world" cult. In 70 AD, the Temple of Jerusalem was destroyed by Titus. This gave many "End of the World" cults trying to recruit Jewish victims a huge boost. The Temple was too important in their spiritual lives for its' destruction not to have "a reason."
Everything in the Gospel of Mark was written for one reason, to fool victims into joining an End of the World cult called The Way, or the modern name, Christianity.
Jesus is asked about a woman whose husband has died. "If she marries his brother... whose wife will she be in the resurrection?"
Jesus gives the Sales Pitch... "In the resurrection, she will not be anyone's wife, for when the dead are raised up, they will live as angels, without marriage." In another place, Jesus explains, "Our God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. This PROVES that the Dead won't stay dead forever, but will come back to life."
How did Jesus KNOW... when the dead come back to life, at the End of the World, people won't be married to each other any more?
Total nonsense.
But the question is, Why does such nonsense exist? And the simple answer is, Peter went to Rome and addressed a church group, and he wanted to convince them to go out and recruit new members. So, he made up a story. An incredible, ridiculous story, about 500 people having seen a dad man brought back to life. Not because the story was true, or credible, or reliable, but because he was the leader of a cult that was recruiting.
Is the Sales Pitch for a Resurrection Cult reliable? Of course not. And Mark Roberts is part of the con because he's too gullible to use the proper methods to evaluate an ancient document.
Pastor Mark Turcio  Oct 1, 2008
Mark Roberts has done the church of Jesus Christ a great service. In his book entitled
"Can we trust the gospels?" Mark has taken the information that has generally been for graduate students and professors, and placed it in the lap of the layperson. This work equips the layman, with a clear concise walk thru history and textual criticism, giving the layperson the ability to stand for the faith. The book enables the layman to answer the critics of the New Testament concerning the authenticity of the New Testament documents, the historic documentation concerning the authorship of the gospels and the early church's attesting to that truth. Mark sets out in his book to answer such questions as "When were the gospels written", "are there contradictions in the gospels"," and did the political agenda of the early church influence the content of the gospels". Since these issues are being brought up today to an audience that is unfamiliar with the historical record this book comes in as a refreshment course setting forth what is history and how we are to approach the investigation of it. I highly recommend this work to all even to those who have questions concerning the historicity of the New Testament documents. I encourage anyone who reads this book come to it with an open mind and you will see why the gospels as Irenaeus has stated in150 AD are as "solid as the four winds of the earth" Take up and read!
A successful defense of the historicity of the gospels, written in accessible language  Jul 16, 2008
With three degrees in New Testament from Harvard, Mark Roberts is currently a pastor in Irvine, California, and a teacher at Fuller Theological Seminary. He's an evangelical, with conservative views on the New Testament and its historicity. In other words: he knows how the scholarly New Testament game is played, but he comes at the game from a different perspective than most of the liberal theologians who write on the historicity of the gospels.

This book argues forcefully that if you start from a less thoroughly skeptical position than many theologians, it's pretty easy to take most of the four evangelists at face value. For example, rather than pointing out the problems of getting a completely accurate version of a 1900-year-old text, we should consider how much better attested the four gospels are than the writings of almost any other ancient author such as Suetonius or Thucydides. While we should be realistic about the decades that elapsed between the events of the gospels and when they were written down, this time span compares well with many other ancient narratives - - moreover, the existence of strong oral traditions and availability of some eyewitnesses eases the problems.

More controversially, if you start from a worldview that allows for the possibility of miracles, the texts are convincing and consistent in their details. So too is the Resurrection narrative. Skeptics may well exclude miracles and resurrection by assumption, but then one has to wonder why they are reading the New Testament in the first place.

While this could have been a weighty and closely-argued tome, Roberts has decided to write it at the ever-popular tenth-grade reading level. He pulls it off - - the book is easy to read but serious in content. He clearly knows the scholarship, and he does a good job explaining it to people who don't.

In short: this is one of those rare books that accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do. You might not like what Roberts is doing, either in terms of his theology or his popularization, but he has succeeded well in his own terms. That's not to say that I always agree with him, but I would recommend this book to skeptics and literalists alike.
using accessible history to remove an obstacle to faith.  Apr 24, 2008
The Christian faith really rests, on an individual level, what is a person to make of Christ. Is the witness provided by others reliable that it changes everything, or is the witness nothing more than the exaggerated telling of a mystic teacher in Roman Palestine 2,000 years ago. Mark Roberts, a Harvard educated, PC-USA minister has made available to as probably a broad a modern lay audience as possible, a most unusual apologetic for the trustworthiness for the gospels of the New Testament.

What makes this book unusual is that Roberts was trained in the higher critical schools that doubt the veracity of the gospels, and he uses those methods to show how the four NT gospels are an acceptable and trustworthy account for the life of Jesus. There has been a great divide between higher critical Biblical scholars and traditional, orthodox ones, to the point where they do not interact with each other at all. Roberts, in using the language of the higher critical world that he studied in, is able to at least dialogue with a general population, who knows little of the back and forth debates and has picked up the information in a second hand matter. This book started as a blog series for Roberts, so in its 200 pages, its writing style takes on the familiar `jotty', FAQ style that is common online, yet it is informed by Roberts years of study in ancient history, manuscripts and theology.

This book is primarily for people who have doubts about the trustworthiness of the gospels. Roberts apologetic, is to attempt to remove obstacles to faith, in this case doubts about the historical validity of the four gospels. What permeates his writing is a sense of reasonableness, that what he presents is based on the best sort of reason. He cannot, for no person can, make the case of absolute certainty. You cannot do that with history. But as a believer and in this case most importantly, a pastor, he wants to remove objections to faith, so that individuals can come to faith with one less objection.

He assumes the reader is not at all deeply familiar with much, other than there are four gospels in the Bible that they have doubts over. As such, his writing on historical, archeological, and cultural evidences for the veracity of the gospels is strong. His explanation of strength of the oral tradition is particularly strong in relating to our non oral culture just how different and effective the transmission of teaching by word of mouth was in that culture.

This is a most effective, and accessible presentation of the facts for the historical reliability of the gospels. In an era buffeted by the popular fiction like the da Vinci Code, popular news stories and the unbending world of modern academia, this little book could be a welcome relief for those concerned and troubled with doubts of the gospels.
A Beautiful Synopsis  Mar 26, 2008
This book is a great little piece (Roberts calls it a "blook") on the trustworthiness/historicity of the Gospels. Although Mr. Roberts doesn't go into grand detail in every chapter (something he states could easily be done), he does illustrate vividly, and in ways the lay reader can understand, the points he is making in each chapter. I loved the book for its brevity and clarity. Roberts does point his reader to other more detailed works in the footnotes as all good authors do.

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