Seventy-four—The Jesus Seminar

Seventy-four—The Jesus Seminar

Back in the early 90s a group of 74 self-proclaimed Biblical ‘intellectuals’ came together to decide which of Jesus’ sayings were actually attributable to him. They chose 5 gospels to work from. Yes, 5. They had decided that ‘The Gospel of Thomas’ was as canonical as Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. To cut a very long story short, here are some of the conclusions: 1. They decided that only 20% of Jesus’ sayings were authentic to him (with a good number of those coming from the Gospel of Thomas). 2. The other 80% were considered to be “close to what He said,” or “He didn’t say it in this form but there are echoes of His teaching in it,” or “the saying didn’t come from Him at all.” 3. They claimed legitimacy through scholarly consensus, and 4. They stated that no preconceived ideas affected their conclusions. The good news is that the ‘Jesus Seminar’ has long been forgotten. The bad news is that projects like these got some traction in the first place. Unsurprisingly, mainstream ‘Bible-believing’ scholars were not represented at the table. Also, ‘scholarly consensus’ sometimes meant: “two of its leaders would get together and, whenever they would agree on an opinion, they would announce to the rest: “There is a consensus among scholars…”” They would be incredulous if called out as being liars. The Jesus Seminar was made up of fringe radicals with nothing better to do than cause a stir, so as to put their names to it. For you and me the Bible is an open book. Take it and test every word. In fact, give it your best shot! Test what the ‘mainstream’ and the ‘fringe’ have to say, but don’t be dragged off into a corner to do it. The Bible has stood rock-solid for 2000 years, it does not need me to act as if I need to ‘prop it up.’ I’ll say it again: For the believer it contains words unto life. But for the unbeliever it contains words unto death—Test it! And I believe you will Choose Life.

johnstaiger1@gmail.com

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