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Mark Roberts: Can We Trust the Gospels?

 

Mark D. Roberts, Can We Trust the Gospels? Investigating the Reliability of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2007), 202 pages., ISBN 9781581348668.

There are more books in print on the subject of biblical criticism than anyone cares to read, so why look at another one? Roberts responded to my unasked question with a very readable book, or as he clarified—a “blook.” This book started as Roberts’ blog (pastoral comments and dialogue on his internet web-log) and then was massaged into a good old-fashion paper book. Therefore, the book had gone through the ample processes of interaction, peer critique, and conversation, long before it appeared in the form that I now hold in my hand.

Roberts has taken the academic subject and has transformed it into terms and formats that are both understandable and interesting to the non-academic reader. The book makes an excellent introduction to biblical criticism for the lay minister, college student, or seminarian struggling to make sense of this academic conversation. Roberts does not overload his readers with technical footnotes, but he does provide enough to point his readers where to find detailed information. Additionally, he provided links to his blog, where he has further dialogue on the subjects.

Rev. Dr. Mark D. Roberts

The strength of the book is its readability. And because it is readable, its subject matter comes to life. Roberts assures his reader that the Gospels are indeed trustworthy; he does so by stabilizing his balance between a naïve or uncritical acceptance of the gospels and the conspiratorial theories that skeptically distrust any tradition of the church (such as Brown’s Da Vinci Code). Although Roberts’ frequent references to Brown’s fiction are rapidly becoming dated, the significance of his point remains the same. Roberts compiles substantiation for the reliability of the gospels through scholarly reasoning, historical evidence, and archeological verification.

If there were time to only read one book on biblical criticism, Roberts’ book would contend for that spot. He clearly communicates the most significant points in conversational terms, bridging the gap between academic sophistication and commonplace comprehension.

Reviewed by John R. Miller

 

Preview this book online at: books.google.com/books?id=wy-_jkkfIegC

 

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Category: Biblical Studies, Summer 2010

About the Author: John R. Miller is an ordained minister with Elim Fellowship of Lima, NY and serves as Pastor of Education with Living Word Temple of Restoration, Rochester, NY. He has a degree from Elim Bible Institute, a B.Div. (Trinity Theological Seminary), C.P.E. (University of Rochester), M.Div. (Northeastern Seminary), and Ph.D. (Regent University). He teaches at Regent University and Elim Bible Institute & College.

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