The Bible – Forged?

March 22, 2011
Holly Deyo

Romans 14:13 states "... endeavor never to put a stumbling block or an obstacle or a hindrance in the way of a brother."

In simplest of terms this means never say or do anything that might cause a fellow Christian to doubt or in any way impede his relationship with God.

This past Saturday night on Coast To Coast Am, we became concerned the program host, Ian Punnett, did just that. That night's topic entitled New Testament Forgeries did its utmost to place doubt in the minds of people as to the truth of scripture. For Christians, the Trinity and the Bible are at the heart of our faith. To denigrate or attempt to take away from God's truth is akin to blasphemy.

Photo: Rev. Ian Punnett

The bottom line claim of guest and author, Bart Ehrman, is that 11 of the 27 books of the New Testament are forgeries. Fakes. Lies. At the heart of his discussion is the disputed authorship of 6 Pauline epistles, 1 & 2 Peter, Jude, and James.

At the time the Bible was scribed, it was commonplace to use a pseudonym and attribute material to someone that had a "name". It was a way to get the message heard. This has long been understood by Biblical scholars and no dramas have ensued. People still trusted the core message, its parables and teachings. It is the guide stone of moral courage, a rudder for correct living and the path to salvation. It is the material and message contained in those books that is of value, not who wrote them.

However, Saturday night Bart Ehrman gained notoriety/publicity insisting these 11 books of the New Testament are forged, which is the name of his book he's promoting: Forged.

He went on to claim that unnamed church fathers back in the day did not approve of using pseudonyms and subsequently referred to these books by two Greek words: pseudos meaning "lies" and nothos meaning "bastard". Mr. Ehrman stated they referred to these books of the New Testament as "lies and bastards" ...nasty things. Instead of taking issue with anything Mr. Ehrman said, Mr. Punnett encouraged the guest in his line of thought and asked why is it so difficult for people to just say the Bible contains numerous forgeries?

Little by little the world chips away at Christianity and where is the outrage? Who has the courage to speak against this garbage? Where is the righteous indignation? Had Ian Punnett taken the Koran to task in such a blasphemous manner, he'd probably be room temperature by now. Muslims do not brook insults to their faith and many have been slain for it. Remember the Fatwa taken out against that Dutch cartoonist, Kurt Westergaard, that portrayed Mohammed in a comical manner? Muslims were out for blood for perceived insult to Islam and the wrong done to their deity, which doesn't begin to approach the magnitude of this forgery scenario. A simple cartoon does not have the power to cast doubt in the minds of Christians. This material does. That which Mr. Ehrman denigrates is minute, but in doing so, he casts doubt on the entire Bible.

What is most disturbing is that Ian Punnett is a deacon in the Episcopal Church. He has a Masters of Divinity degree from Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta. Does this sound like a man who should teach and instruct anything to do with God and Jesus?

Over the years that Mr. Punnett has guest hosted on C2C we have seen him turn from a mild mannered, considerate, convivial host to one that is egotistical, over-bearing and often rude. He overtalks guests, cuts them off mid-sentence and if they are in disagreement with him, they are treated to verbal castration. None of the other hosts from George Noory, to George Knapp, to John B. Wells, Barbara Simpson, legendary Art Bell and others have ever exhibited such behavior.

Photo: Bart D. Ehrman, author of Forged: Writing in the Name of God--Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are

They have shown more common decency for the opinions of guests than this man of the cloth. Mr. Punnett has embraced some of the most bizarre guests and many who advocate tenets contrary to scripture. It is as though Mr. Punnett has something to prove... that he can be a man of God and very cool to boot. Tell me, is it cool to be a clergyman and denigrate God's words? Is it right that he place doubt in people's minds about the words of Jesus and God?

Our concerns are not for bedrock Christians as they will see through this garbage and dismiss them and the messenger. We worry for new Christians whose faith may not yet be solid and for fence sitters that are still contemplating their decision for Christ. This material turned the author, a professed evangelical Christian into an agnostic. By his own definition he sounds more like an atheist. Erhman states on the cause of evil: "I don't blame suffering on God because I don't believe He exists."

Time is short. Very short. The way current events are shaping up in the Middle East for massive war, the rapid escalation of Earth changes, the regathering of the Jewish people to Israel, global economic collapse and a whole raft of prophetic signs show that Biblical events of Revelation are about to unravel on a specific Tribulation Timeline. Very shortly the Antichrist will step out of the shadows. As soon as the world is in complete chaos, people will beg for someone to come fix this mess. That person will be the Antichrist.

Mr. Punnett's very disillusioning message may well put souls in jeopardy. To hear that the very heart of our Bible might be forged could make all the difference to their salvation. To cause Christians to stumble in their faith would be a heavy burden for any person as he or she sits before the Throne of Judgment.

At heart, authorship is a non-issue, but the message of the Bible is everything. We have never seen a cheaper shot taken to make a shadier dollar. If you are bothered by this broadcast, we encourage you to stand up as Christians and take action. Act as Jesus chastises the Laodicean church in Revelation 3:15-16: I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

It is our hope that people will boycott this book and at the very least, ignore its poisonous message.