How shall we wrap this up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
The final chapter doesn’t really have much else to add. It’s more of Ehrman asking if the Jesus of history would agree with the Jesus of Revelation. I ultimately then want to conclude with some thoughts about the book and Ehrman’s books in general.
For one, Ehrman doesn’t like the God in Revelation, but this does not show this God does not exist. If anything, if there is a God who is like this, it is a wonder why Ehrman would want to go against Him. If there is a God out there who is capable of judging us, does Ehrman want to risk it? Perhaps he could say “I give to charity and I’m a good person.” That could be so, but he is willing to bet that if there is a god, that is enough to please him.
Better hope he’s right.
However, what is important about Ehrman is not what he does say. It is what he doesn’t say. As I had predicted at the stop, Preterism doesn’t get mentioned one time. I would like to think that as a New Testament scholar, Ehrman knows about it, but considering he never mentions it, I have to wonder. The resurrection in the main body is mentioned only three times, although it does show up in endnotes.
There is no in-depth focus on the destruction of Jerusalem. For people like myself, this is mainly what Revelation is about. Ehrman rejects a futurist reading of the text, at least one that’s dispensational, but he fills it up with nothing in its place. If this book isn’t about the future, then what does it refer to?
Ehrman is really good at giving you the sound of one-hand clapping. Unfortunately, he doesn’t interact with the best critics of his position. There are evangelical scholars who do not have a dispensationalist or even futurist view of the book of Revelation. I do not recall Ehrman interacting with them and unfortunately, there is no bibliography that I saw in the book.
If you read Ehrman, you will definitely get one side of an issue, but that’s sadly the only side of the issue you will get. Ehmran’s book will be quite good at taking down those who do not have any real study in the text, but give this book to someone who has actually familiarized themselves with the eschatological issues and they will not be persuaded by any arguments.
Ehrman is a fundamentalist. He has an all-or-nothing mentality with the text. His mindset has not once changed from the time that he was a Christian. His loyalty is different, but he still has the same thinking going on.
The answer to this is simply to better educate Christians on what they believe. I realize there are readers of mine who will disagree with my take on futurism and/or dispensationalism, but I hope they will agree on this point. Be educated. If you want to be a futurist and/or dispensationalist, fine, but at least be educated on what you disagree with in Preterism.
Probably a year or so from now we will have another Ehrman book and it will still be a one-sided affair entirely from a fundamentalist perspective. We will see what happens.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)