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Can we separate the historical Jesus from the Jesus of the Bible?

Part 2 of 4
1) The implications are enormous. If the Bible is true, there really is a God and He has revealed Himself to us. If the Bible is true, He has revealed Himself as Creator, Judge and Lord of the universe. If the Bible is true, God has revealed His moral standards and it does matter how we live our lives. If the Bible is true, then there is an after-life and how you respond to God in this life will determine your eternal destiny. That's worth a little of your time, isn't it?
If the bible is not true, of course none of it matters. If it's not true, then let's do what Solomon suggested: "Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die!" Let's just go get a beer and forget the whole thing-we can debate politics and sports and global warming instead. But if it is true-as Solomon later concluded-then we must "remember... (and) fear God". I hope the possibility that the Bible is true will cause you to investigate things for yourself because your eternal destiny just might depend on it.
2) This is why it is so important to figure out whether the Bible can be trusted. If it cannot be trusted, then we're in a sea of relativity and your opinion is as good as mine and we can call each other names and shout each other down 'til Democrats and Republicans all agree on everything but it doesn't really matter. But, if it is true that God has spoken and the Bible contains what He had to say, then the only opinion that really matters is His-since He is Creator, Judge and Lord. It means some things are true whether we believe them or not.

Christianity is an evidential faith-it is based in history and is therefore, what scholars call "falsifiable." In other words, if the Bible reported to us that the sun revolves around the earth and the moon is made of cheese, we could declare it false. But, because it is scientifically, historically, geographically accurate, we have good reason to believe the parts that can't be proved. Can we prove there is a God? The deity of Christ? The existence of heaven and hell? No. But if we can show that the Bible is reliable when it talks about science, history, geography, etc. (the falsifiable matters) we can have great confidence that it is reliable when it comes to the greater, improvable matters.
(continued)

July 23, 2007 at 5:10 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Can we separate the historical Jesus from the Jesus of the Bible?

Part 1 of 4
I'm one of the "bald, white, fundie, holy rollers" who started this discussion (the second bald, white guy). I'm not sure what "bald" and "white" have to do with anything, and I'm not a "fundie" or a "holy roller" technically speaking, but if it's easier to call me (and the other bald white guy) names than to consider the validity of our ideas, then I understand. I've been guilty of such things in the past, too. I'll try not to resort to that here, though. Many in our culture have decided that it is better to shout down someone or attack them personally than to actually listen to what he/she has to say. I think that's pretty sad. Obviously, my beliefs and ideas are not so popular these days (if, indeed they ever have been), so it's really no big surprise to read here that many of you disagree with me. I'm a big boy-I can handle it. I think this forum makes it easy for us to depersonalize persons, though. I'd much rather meet you all some place and talk about these things face-to-face.

I don't know how some of you might define "scholar". I don't know if I am one or not. I have a Masters of Theology and have spent the past 25 years studying the Bible as well as the history and archaeology and manuscript evidence surrounding the Bible, so I know a few things (more than I did 25 years ago). I think this makes my opinion worth listening to, but I don't know if that qualifies me as a scholar. I tend to think, though, that this subject doesn't necessarily require a "scholar" to help us understand. I'm thankful for scholars and there are many that I know and read and respect. But anyone who is willing to objectively consider the evidence, can do a little reading and figure out what this is all about. I can honestly say I've done that and I came to the conclusion I stated above--that the Bible Jesus is the same as the historical Jesus. In other words, my faith is not a blind leap, but an evidential faith.

I should also say that when one of us is asked to write for "Faith Forum" we're only given 275 words to answer the question. I'm thankful for the opportunity to participate and I understand the need for brevity, but with a subject as vast and complex as this, 275 words isn't enough. I won't try to answer all the comments above, nor will I try to list all the reasons why I believe what I wrote. But, I do want to encourage those of you who are honestly looking for truth to do two things. 1) Really think about the implications of the discussion; 2) Do your homework and base your opinions on the evidence. (continued)

July 23, 2007 at 5:09 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

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