Several people alerted me to Mike Licona’s response to my post on our debate over a specific contradiction in the Gospels. I checked it out and thought it would be interesting to get your response before giving my own. I asked Mike if it was OK to share it on the blog, and yes indeed, it is.
As you’ll see, it is over a very simple matter. When Jesus sent his disciples on a mission to preach the kingdom, did he tell them explicitly to *take* a staff with them (Gospel of Mark) or tell them explicitly *not* to take a staff (Matthew and Luke)?
Mike does not think it’s a contradiction. If Matthew reports that Jesus said TAKE a staff and Mark reports that he said DO NOT take a staff it means basically the same thing. That may sound counterintuitive, but Mike explains his reasoning: if you look at the entire context, the gist of the saying is the same between the two accounts; Matthew is just simplifying a detail in Mark.
For Mike, it’s like girls who tell stories including lots of detail (as in Mark) and guys who just get to the point (Gospel of Matthew).
Moreover, Mike thinks that it’s pedantic (OK, he thinks *I* am pedantic) to argue there is a difference. (BTW: I may be pedantic :-), but I wasn’t the one who raised this point of difference. The moderator of the debate did.) (I don’t recall *ever* mentioning this passage in a debate about the Gospels. There are SO many more major contradictions that I prefer talking about….)
In any event, what do you think of his response? Let us know!