To celebrate our 10th year anniversary from April 18, I’m reposting all my previous (ten) April 18 blog posts. Now I’m up to 2019. In that year I agreed to do a blog debate with a fellow named Matthew Firth, an Anglican rector who studied theology at Oxford University. Firth had challenged me to a debate on whether the Gospels contain contradictions, and offered to donate $1000 to the blog if I managed to convince him. That, of course, was a bit of a joke, since there’s no way on God’s green earth that someone with his mind made up (so much that he wants to debate) is going to change his mind. But it was an interesting ploy and so I said, Why not?
The debate involved a back and forth that spanned part of April including our celebratory anniversary. Here was my opening gambit; I will go ahead and post his response to it and my reply to his response, in the two posts that follow (to which he replied and then I replied to his reply: but I won’t provide the entire season of reruns here….)
This is the opening gambit in my debate with Rev. Matthew Firth on whether there are contradictions in the Gospels. I believe there are many. He believes there are none whatsoever. So who is right? I would strongly recommend that, if you are really interested in the matter, you actually look up the passages in question and see for yourself.
I will need to be brief on each one, since space is highly restricted. I ended up requiring 1300 words, and so obviously Rev. Firth can follow suit.
- I start with one that may seem completely unimportant, but is, to me, a clear contradiction. In Mark 5:21-24 a man named Jairus approaches Jesus in distress. His daughter is “very ill.” He wants Jesus to come heal her so she doesn’t die. Jesus agrees to go, but before he can get to Jairus’s home, he is delayed by a woman who herself desperately needs to be healed (5:25-34). While Jesus is dealing with her – it takes a while – someone comes from Jairus’s house to tell him that it is too late, the girl has now died (5:35). Jesus comforts Jairus, goes, and raises her from the dead. Matthew also tells the story (Matthew 9:18-26). But in this case Jairus comes to Jesus to tell him that “My daughter has just now died” (9:18). He wants him to raise her from the dead. Jesus goes and do so.
So the contradiction: when Jairus comes to Jesus: does he want him to heal his sick daughter, who unfortunately dies before Jesus can get there? Or does Jairus come only after the girl is dead, wanting Jesus to raise her from the dead? The ones I cite next are on more important matters. If you’d like to read on, join the blog! Click here for membership options