As anyone who has followed this blog will notice, I am a fan of Bart Erhman. I have read several of his books and listened to several of his Great Courses from The Teaching Company. Perhaps I identify with him because we are close in age and I also became a born-again Christian in my teens although I did not stick with it as long as he did. When he was studying at the Moody Bible Institute, I was a regular listener of their radio station WMBI. I was attending DePaul University at the time and I often would hop off the el or subway at Chicago Street to browse in Moody's bookstore when shuttling between DePaul's Loop and Lincoln Park campuses. In addition to blogging about Dr. Erhman, I frequently comment on other blogs where his works are discussed.
One of the things that evangelical Christians complain about is Ehrman's claim that there are more variants in the New Testament manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament itself. The Christians complain that he is just being provocative and that this is misleading because most of the variants have no effect on the meaning of the text. Well I will admit that Ehrman describes the number of variants this way for dramatic effect, but even conservative scholars admit that this is true. Moreover, Ehrman consistently qualifies his statement by acknowledging that the overwhelming majority of the variants are trivial.
On the other hand, conservative scholars and apologists like to talk about the sheer number of New Testament manuscripts to achieve the same sort of effect that Ehrman seeks with the sheer number of variants. However, in my experience, the Christians are much less likely to qualify their claim by acknowledging that 85% of those manuscripts date from more than 1000 years after the original. Some do, but most do not.