Many current critics will argue that the Gospels are obstacles to understanding the historical Jesus, but I believe they are the means. I think what plagues many modern scholars is a distrust of the past itself, an almost disdain for people of the past. We live in an “enlightened” age in which we seem to almost study all the horrible things in the past—colonialism, slavery, sexism, war, ignorance, oppression—as if looking for little happy things that stand out because they are like the values we have today. In this way I think most current historians and textual scholars dismiss the Scriptures. As Bauckham quotes Coady,
“The independent thinker is not someone who works everything out for herself, even in principle, but one who exercises a controlling intelligence over the input she receives from the normal sources of information whether their basis be individual or communal.” Continue reading →
In his book, Bauckham explains that although Mark’s Gospel bears his name, Peter is preeminent to the story as a witness, the main reason being that Peter exemplifies the experiences of the disciples as a whole, and exhibits their qualities in extremes. “He is typical of them all in his failure, but surpasses them in the manner of his failure.” Peter is the best choice, because we can all identify with him, not to mention his history with Christ and the apostles. He’s also prominent in all 4 Gospels, not just Mark. And the fact that he allows the story of his own denial to be told—that’s powerful testimony of honesty! Continue reading →
Papias was a bishop of Hierapolis, a 3rd generation Christian who compiled oral reports of the life of Jesus. In his book, Bauckham spends a great deal of time on Papias, who naturally assumed that the elders he received his reports from had spoken with the disciples of Jesus directly. Continue reading →
What is the difference between what the Bible says about Jesus (testimony carried on), and what history can tell us (history outside of the Bible)? It is claimed that when true scholars subject the Gospels to objective scrutiny, much doubt is cast on their storytelling. It seems legit that we believe what we see in the Bible not because it said so, but because “the historian has independently verified it.” To an extent, this is understandable, but when we refuse to treat the Gospels as historical documents themselves, we rob them of their legitimacy as witness reporting. In our study with our skeptic friend, we began to talk about why the Bible is mistrusted as a source of history.
Press release: [WASHINGTON, DC] Farea Al-Muslimi, a Yemeni youth activist and writer, testified today at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights chaired by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) on the moral, legal and constitutional issues surrounding targeted killings and the use of drones.
It is a lie to say “they” hate us for our freedom. The US is committing war crimes against humanity. The Pentagon harbors terrorists. Who’s going to invade us?
Sunday night during a Bible study with some saints in Blacksburg, we discussed the nature of the kingdoms of the world and the kingdom of God in accordance with a theme one of our ministry leaders, Frank Sullivan, has been carrying us forward on: The Real Jesus. On this night he brought up four things about Jesus we teach in particular that we must confront both the world and ourselves with:
Jesus is God
Jesus allowed people to choose to follow him by responding to testimony.
Jesus is a man (not that he is still walking the earth, but that he came in the flesh and that experience is in his “memory” today and he lives in his saints, who themselves live in fleshly bodies, today)