I will be the first to say that I have questions about the long ending of Mark. But I do think there is solid evidence that the long ending of Mark is very old. I also think that ancient Christianity’s knowledge of questions about it is equally old. I am very skeptical of the texts that people apply to exclude the long ending of Mark. I think you find scholars applying those texts to other parts of Mark and excluding those passages as well – sometimes seriously, and sometimes in jest to point out the irony of it.
The persuasive power that Dr. Ehrman has is not the profundity of his argument. He’s a great scholar and he can make great arguments, but that is not what persuades students. I wish they were persuaded my great arguments. I would be more persuasive probably. But they are persuaded by the fact that their very first introduction to any of these issues is in his class. He is the first one to bring to their attention that there are a lot of scholars who do not think that the woman caught in adultery belongs in the text, for example. So students raise serious questions about who they can trust. There is a kind of an underlying conspiracy theory from Dr. Ehrman and similar scholars that suggests Christian leaders or scholars try to keep these issues secret. That is simply not the case. We have just done a really poor job of dealing with these things. These are the kinds of things that need to be talked about in Bible study groups, in Sunday school classes, and from the pulpit. We cannot shy away from them anymore. We have not been left that option. Nor should we have ever shied away from them. In that respect, I think the critics – guys like Dr. Ehrman – are doing us a great favor. Now all of a sudden, we have to man-up and say, “No, guys like Dan Wallace do not think the long ending of Mark belongs in the Bible, nor does he think the story of the woman caught in adultery does; and he may very well be right. He is an evangelical. He loves God. He loves God’s word. And you need to pay attention to that guy.”