Monday, January 24, 2005

The Significance of the Historical Jesus

Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer in the year old issue of Radical Grace writes in the article "Reclaiming the Missing Jesus", "Jesus is missing and we need his guidance. He is missing because Christian theologies, creeds, and actions are disconnected from his life as a revelation of God. The Christ of faith is the object of worship and the subject of our creeds and New Testament Gospels. This Christ, however, is often at odds with the historical Jesus and the God revealed through his life. Jesus, who was experienced by some as good news and revelation of God and by others as a subversive threat worthy of scorn and death, has all but disappeared from Christianity. It should not surprise us that Jesus was killed by his enemies. More surprising is how Jesus has been distorted by his admirers, from New Testament times to our own."

I find this article incredibly interesting especially when compared to a "popular" Christian Television show where there is much talk about how individuals cannot not believe a God that the individual creates to fit their personal beliefs. It is obvious that there is much disagreement as to what Jesus Christ actually believed, lived and practiced (or at least there exists a few different ideas on the matter). I cannot really comprehend why it is wrong to understand the historical Jesus. I would think that it would only strengthen one's faith. I know it did mine when I took a class on historical christianity. I would compare studying the historical Jesus to studying the founders of our country. We can better understand the Constitution by better understanding who wrote it, and by better understanding the context in which it was written. Same goes for Jesus and the Bible. I know Jesus is eternal (unlike the Constitution and our nation's founders) but that does not mean that we should just forget where He came from and when he walked the Earth as man.

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