Historical Jesus: Part One

In Sunday’s message I mentioned that for the last two hundred years or so scholars have made a distinction between the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith.  Let me briefly explain.

The premise is Jesus was a real historical figure who actually said things and did things.  However, the New Testament authors and in particular the apostle Paul added extra material to the Jesus story presenting us with the Christ of faith.  Subsequently, scholars have tried to deduce how the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith differ in order to present us with the real Jesus of history.

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I’m skeptical of this whole enterprise. I doubt the premise that NT authors promote a different Christ of faith than the Jesus of history. I don’t see any evidence that such a gap exists. It’s simply presumed by scholars studying the historical Jesus.

However, it is worthwhile to follow what some scholars say about Jesus.  And I also believe the church can learn from this quest.  While I doubt the Jesus of history differs from the Christ of faith as presented in the New Testament, I don’t doubt that the Church’s presentation of Jesus Christ has not always been accurate.

In short, if there’s a gap between who Jesus really was and how Jesus is presented, the fault lies not with the New Testament, but with the presentation by the church today.

 

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