Unit XII THE HISTORICAL JESUS THE MYTHOLOGY OF LIBERALISM

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Unit 12 THE HISTORICAL JESUS THE MYTHOLOGY OF LIBERALISM

 

Introduction

For some years there has been a certain liberalism which seeks to discredit the historical reliability of our New Testament. This liberalism affirms that the portrait of Jesus that we find in our gospels of a virgin born, miracle working, bodily resurrected son of God, is in fact a myth, a myth that was invented by the church. And what the liberals says that he wants to do is to demythologize the Bible, that is he wants to get rid of all the supernaturalism and get back to the real portrait of Jesus.

In 1980 when I (the author of this course) was in Sydney, Australia, I ran into this when John A. T. Robinson, who had just written his book, Re-dating the New Testament, had  come to McQuarry University to lecture on the book. When his lecture was finished, it was thrown open for questions, and I had the opportunity of asking one of the questions of the evening. My question was this: On the ground of historical fact that the church of Christ was established in the city of Jerusalem only 53 days after the death of Christ on the belief that Jesus was the resurrected son of God, does this not refute liberals’ claim that it took another thirty years for the church to invent the supernatural Jesus? Now, if you are perceptive you see the answer is in the question. Dr. Robinson’s answer to this was, “I will not accept such a simplistic answer to such a complicated subject.”


 

LESSON AIM:

To investigate the liberal view of Jesus Christ and the Bible and offer proof that their view is contrary to all reason and evidence.

 

LESSON PREVIEW:

You will…

Learn why and how liberalism believes the New Testament should be demythologized.

Discover five reasons why the church could not have invented a supernatural Christ.


 

Now you are going to have to be the judge as to whether or not I (the author of the course)  had a simplistic answer or whether it was simply a refutation of liberalism. There are two very good reasons for investigating the nature of criticism. First, in order to see that the critical view has no real genuine value as a means of deterring Biblical Truth, and Second, to enable the Christian to distinguish between true Bible exposition and plain unbelief in the guise of religious scholar sip. Now let’s see what constitutes the church myth theory.

 

PREVIEW

Christianity is an historical religion. It is not to be viewed as merely ethical or moral, consisting simply of rules and regulations. Jesus came to provide redemption from sin and death by the means of his life, death, and resurrection. That redemption is only as real as those events. It is necessary, then, to view the New Testament as a record of the genuine historicity of those events if Christianity is to become a dynamic sufficient to change lives and to create a genuine hope for a future life.

 

THE CLAIMS OF LIBERALISM

 

  1. The Jesus Of History Is Not Really The Jesus That We Read About In The Gospel Records.
    1. The Church is the culprit in this matter.
    2. The Gospel was being invented by the church during the years from 33 to 62 A.D.
    3. Liberals deny that Jesus made claims of deity.
      1. John 6:38 – I am come down from heaven
      2. John 10:36 – I am the son of God.
      3. John 11:25 – I am the resurrection and the life.
      4. John 12:48 – His own words would be the standard of judgment.
    4. John 14:6 – I am the way and the truth and the life.
      1. Liberalism Recommends a Demythologizing of the Gospels
        What they say is that we want to get rid of all the supernaturalism that is in the New Testament and get back to the real picture of Jesus.
      2. The lack of evidence.
        There is not one shred of evidence in existence, historical, material, or otherwise, that the church invented the supernatural Christ.

        1. The supernatural Christ was in the mind of the church from the beginning of its history
        2. The church did not GROW into a concept of Jesus as supernatural.
    5. Where did the church myth originate?
      1. It came from the liberals.
        • They believe that we are the chance product of an evolutionary process.
        • They don’t believe God created the world.
        • They don’t believe that Christ being God intruded into our history.
        • They don’t believe in supernaturalism.
      2. They hold to the doctrine of uniformity.
        The doctrine of uniformity affirms or asserts that the very causes that have always caused events to happen are the same causes that have always caused all events to happen. Since you don’t see miracles today, therefore miracles never took place.

 

CONCLUSION

It is amazing that any Bible student would seriously consider the modern view based as it is on mere conjecture without evidence, and in total  disregard for the historical evidence available to us.

 

THE CHURCH WAS BUILT ON A SUPERNATURAL CHRIST

 

  1. The Church Began On The Belief That Jesus Christ Was Resurrected From The Dead.
    1. Peter’s proposition concerning the resurrection, Acts 2:22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: 22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: 22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
    2. Peter’s proof of the resurrection.
      1. He appeals to the miracles that Jesus did which should have confirmed to them that God endorsed him.
      2. Their eyewitness testimony. And we are witness of these things.

 

CONCLUSION

On what belief did the church have its beginning? On the belief of a supernatural Christ. The church would never have begun without the belief from the beginning that Jesus was the Son of God.

What is the church? It is people who believe Christ was crucified, buried, and resurrected from the dead. There would have been no church had Christ not been raised, had these people who constituted the church not believed that Jesus was the resurrected Son of God who would raise them from the dead.

 

  1. The Church Was Persecuted For Her Beliefs
    1. Reasons the church was persecuted, Acts 4:1
      1. Because the church taught in the name of Jesus, the resurrection from the dead.
      2. The church was persecuted for that belief and teaching.
      3. They were persecuted for already believing in a supernatural Christ. It didn’t take thirty years to invent the supernatural Jesus.
    2. The Church Endured The Persecution
      1. They endured the persecution precisely because they believed that Jesus was the Son of God.
      2. They endured persecution rather than give up their New Testament documents.
    3. The Resurrection Of Christ Was Taught Before The Church Began
      1. Acts 2 when the church began, the apostle Peter stated in verse 32, this Jesus did God raise up whereof we are all witnesses.
      2. John says that he was a participant in what took place, John 19:35. He said, He that hath seen hath born witness. And his witness is true, and he knoweth that he sayeth true that you may believe.
      3. John’s propositional statement, John 20: 31
        31 but these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. John says he was recording what he saw.

        1. John said he saw Christ change water into wine, John 2
        2. John says he saw where he healed a man that was lame in his legs thirty eight years, John 5
        3. John says he saw Jesus walk on water, John 6.
        4. John says he saw Lazarus resurrected from the dead, John 6

 

CONCLUSION

These are eyewitness accounts, John, Matthew, the apostolic writers, these men who wrote the gospel either were eyewitness or like Mark and Luke were careful researchers of what they said they got from eyewitnesses. These are eyewitness accounts of what they said they participated in and saw with their own eyes. So rather than the church myth theory that says the church invented it and the gospel writers wrote down what the church invented, the apostles say that what we are writing in the gospels is what we saw, what w participated in. We were eyewitnesses.

 

  1. Paul’s Epistles Reveal A Resurrected Christ
    1. Paul began to write his epistles about 42 or 43 A.D.
      Paul makes it very clear that the churches to whom he is writing these epistles had already believed that Jesus was the Son of God and they were baptized into Christ by their faith that he was the miracle working, virgin born, bodily resurrected Son of God.
    2. You can reproduce in Paul’s epistles the supernatural Christ.

 

 

I think that from all of this we can draw a conclusion that liberalism’s church myth theory lacks any substance at all. What we need to understand is that the New Testament is totally historically reliable to report the events that have taken place in the past. You can believe your Bible. You can believe it because it is historically the testimony of eyewitnesses, and it reports to us that Jesus Christ lived, worked miracles, was resurrected from the dead, and ascended into heaven.
 

 


 

 

 

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