Part 2 Assessing the critics of the historical Jesus

During this series I will not attempt to make the case the Bible is God’s inspired word.  Even if I believe this is true it isn’t necessary.   I am simply defending the Bible is historically reliable.  I will first identify the critics and then spend the majority of my time answering their contentions.

Assessing the critics

Whereas author Lee Strobel looked at the evidence for the historical accuracy of the Bible and was convinced it was true, others have a different approach to evaluating the historical Jesus.  These individuals say they are taking an objective look at the evidence and in the process attack the Bible and redefine traditional Christianity.  If you are unaware of these attacks upon the Bible you haven’t kept up with the different media outlets.  These assaults come from popular magazines (Time, Newsweek, and US News and World Report), the internet, television programs such as the History Channel or the Discovery Channel, and many books. They are continually teaching the Bible cannot be trusted as a historical source or taken literally.

Who are these critics?  One of them is the Jesus Seminar, a group of 80 “scholars” who say the vast majority of the words of Jesus in the Bible were not said by him.  They voted for the authentic words of Jesus using a colored marble system to reach their conclusions.   Another critic, John Shelby Spong an Episcopalian Bishop, has authored many books attacking the Bible and traditional Christianity.  We also have the writings of the New Atheists headed by Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, and Sam Harris.  They try to destroy all religious beliefs especially focusing their attention on Christianity.  All of them think you have to be a fool to follow the Jesus of Christianity.

The major area of assault is the miracles found in the Bible.  The vast majority of these critics believe the supernatural is impossible.  Any place the Bible speaks of God acting in a miraculous way, the Bible is wrong and has to be explained in natural terms.  Robert Funk, founder of the Jesus Seminar says this:  “Jesus did not ask us to believe he would be raised from the dead.”  In addition he said “Jesus did not call upon people to repent, or fast, or observe the Sabbath.  He did not threaten with hell or promise heaven[1].”  In actuality all of these teachings can be found in the Bible. What we find in the writings of Robert Funk and other critics is an anti-supernatural bias that comes into play even before the evidence is looked at.  They believe every Biblical miracle has to have a natural explanation.

As I go through different evidences in favor of the Bible, I will show examples of how this anti-supernatural bias plays out.  Just remember according to all these critics, if it looks like a miracle, smells like a miracle, it can’t be a miracle because miracles are impossible.

I have only identified a few of the critics who are trying to convince the world Christianity needs to change and the Bible cannot be trusted.  The mantra they continually push is the Jesus of the Bible is not the Jesus of history.  I will spend the rest of my posts to make my case the historical Jesus is the Biblical Jesus.

Go to part 3 here

[1] Funk, Robert, Keynote address to the Jesus Seminar in spring of 1994 [Probe Ministries by Jimmy Williams “The Jesus Seminar”]

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