I just read an excellent book by Mark D. Roberts called Can We Trust the Gospels? Technically, this is a “blook,” that is, a book that developed out of a number of blog posts. This is a great foundational book for the defense of the Christian faith. The bottom line in any criticism or support of Christianity is the reliability of the Gospels. Everything stand or falls on that question.
In this book, Roberts does not argue specifically for the inspiration or errancy of Christian Scripture but rather for the Gospels to be taken seriously as historical sources. One of the things that I like about this book is Roberts inclusion of his own journey of wrestling with critical scholarship and what that meant for his faith. Roberts’ story is a nice counterpart to Bart Ehrman’s fall from faith under the same pressures. Roberts deals with almost every issue that one would be interested in regarding the reliability of the Gospels, including: authorship, genre, textual criticism, oral tradition, development of the canon, comparison to extra-canonical gospels and so much more. What I really appreciate about this book is that Roberts is in many ways a moderate. While solidly evangelical, Roberts does interact with critical scholarship and is not afraid to point out the faults of a fundamentalist interpretation of the Gospels. This book is scholarly and reflects the knowledge of one at home in the academic world. At the same time, it reflects a pastor’s heart and it is written with the layperson in mind and is accessible to people without a seminary education. I highly recommend this book.
If you are interested in more about Mark Roberts, check out his blog here.