This book demolishes the idea of early Christian "heterodoxy" that unfortunately undermines biblical authority in the minds of so many pastors. My one critique would be that "contemporary culture's fascination with diversity" is not expounded on much in the book.
Every student of theology should be required to read this book. This is a conservative response to an ill-conceived theory that has burdened the Christian church since Walter Bauer began teaching it in the first half of the 20th Century-a theory that suggests that the "canon" of Scripture was picked by the winners of a wildly diverse Christian society.
This book examines the tenuous evidentiary basis of Bauer's theory and presents strong arguments that the "canon" was actually received by the church very early, and was challenged by errant views as they developed over time.
The views presented are heavily footnoted, and will no doubt be a standard for scholarship to come.
I only regret that the the author failed to mention the early heretic Tatian, and his attempt to write a harmony of the Gospels.
The typical Christian probably has never heard of Walter Bauer or Bart Ehrman. But they are representative of an academic stance that maintains a wide influence over popular culture and its misunderstanding of Scripture. Ehrman especially, while citing his opinions as historically grounded, is actually attempting to create a retrospective into a world that, quite frankly, never existed. Because of the way he has been embraced by today's media and academia, this book is both timely and necessary. The authors are to be commended for their rigorous and faithful efforts. We are all in their debt.