Please note, that after I am finished with this giveaway (Feb 25th), I will be giving away Thom’s book (great guy, met him in Atlanta this year at SBL), at which time, I will finish my review.
Anyway, Thom (great guy, met him in Atlanta at SBL) takes on Loftus (never met him, the Joker to my Superman):
First, I’d like to thank John Loftus for taking the time to write such a strong review (click here to read it), and for caring enough about the material to make the criticisms he’s made. Thanks, John.
But I’d like to respond to his criticisms, because I think many of them reflect a misunderstanding of my language or, in some cases potentially, a misrepresentation of my arguments. The easiest way for me to respond is piecemeal, so I’ll do it that way.
Because John Loftus shares a name with one of the Gospel writers, I’ll refer to him by his surname, rather than his Christian name.
Loftus said: Chapter eight argues that Jesus was wrong about the end of the world. It did not take place as he predicted. In this chapter Stark says of my chapter on this topic in “The Christian Delusion” that “the claims made Loftus cannot be ignored by Christians.’” I liked that.
I just want to clarify that although I certainly do think every Christian should read Loftus’s chapter on Jesus’ apocalyptic expectations, that does not mean I endorse his overall conclusion. Loftus quotes my footnote from p. 168. But on p. 207, I ask whether Loftus is correct that, in his words, “at best Jesus was a failed apocalyptic prophet.” On that page, I do not offer an answer but I do offer my response in the final (tenth) chapter of my book, where I state clearly that I believe Jesus, while indeed a failed apocalyptic prophet, was much more than that, and that all of his teachings should not be dismissed just because some missed the mark. I am very critical of Jesus’ apocalypticism in that chapter, but I also highlight the aspects of his apocalypticism that are beneficial, in my estimation. I also point out that not all of Jesus’s teachings can be traced to apocalyptic roots, and that other facets of his teaching are valuable. So, while I agree with many of John’s conclusions about Jesus’ apocalyptic expectations and failed predictions, I disagree with John that Jesus was nothing more than a failed apocalyptic prophet and should be totally disregarded.
Read the rest here:
Let me state that while not every Christian will like Thom’s book, I do believe that it should be read and wrestled with. Think of him as Amos – coming from the outside (or inside, actually) to make you uncomfortable. Can you challenge his challenges to you?