Today … Erhman. The “gamekeeper turned poacher” and his Detailed Response.
“My sense is that when people today want to know whether the Gospels are historically accurate, what they want to know is this: Did the events that are narrated in the Gospels actually happen in the way the stories are told or not? … For most people that means: Did the stories happen in the way they are described or not? If they did happen that way, then the stories are accurate. If they did not happen in that way, they are not.”
That is how I was taught the bible, and that is how I was taught to teach the bible.
And any serious questioning of the Christian Tradition forces one out of Christianity. So the teaching remains insular and to an agenda of belief – but always taught and believed as historically accurate.
We “defend the bible” because we wish to “defend God”. But is that the truth? Or are we defending all that for much more intimate reasons – personal reasons: our own personal “need” for “me” to be right?
“The historical disciplines are forced by the very nature of things to build their case about what happened in the past on shared assumptions — shared by everyone engaged in the investigation. There are certain assumptions that everyone in the field can be expected to have: for example, that there is a past, that things really did happen before now, that evidence survives that can demonstrate what happened before now. Historians share those views … That means that historians — using historical methods — cannot show that the Christian God has intervened in history in order to accomplish his will. They may think so, some of them. But belief in the Christian God is not one of the assumptions that historians share, and so when doing history, it cannot be part of the equation.”
I see many “ologies and isms” around the Christian faith. I see many denominations. I see many different beliefs all rooted in the same bible. Some believe the King James version to be “the only true bible”.
And I was told (and believed) this was good thing – this was the very rich diversity of a very generous God of Creation at work.
Or is it?
Isn’t all the “diversity of denomination and ologies/isms” simply the product of (acceptable) “false teaching”? An evolution of belief (that some cannot ascribe to nature) – a diversity not of health but of hypocrisy?
“Did the stories happen in the way they are described or not? If they did happen that way, then the stories are accurate. If they did not happen in that way, they are not.”
Because NOT having something to rely on (the bible as an historically accurate record) throws everything up in the air.
God, Jesus, miracles, resurrection, the supernatural, the divine.
Which may be why the church has evolved “faith by sight” and “faith by committee” and “faith so long as we all agree and stick together” and “some of us know how things work around here – so faith is what we say is (or is not) faith”.
I was taught that “those who know how things work around here” were those who were “mature Christians”. Something I might achieve in time. But to be a mature Christian … ?
Never teach the bible as anything other than an historically accurate document – accept all the theological language as useful and interesting – listen to denominational head office but feel no obligation to act on the many “commandments” they issue – be on as many committees as one can – have “missions” – give money – pray together – socialise together – turn up to church on a regular basis – be seen to be a Christian – but always because “the bible says so” as our evidence.
My curiosity is this.
How is all the diversity of denomination and faith – the magnitude of ologies and isms – the ignoring of a lot of what “denominational head office” says because “no one reads/does all that” … and the (universal?) denial that the bible is anything other than historically accurate …
How is that NOT false teaching (as warned against in the bible that “says it is”)?
(tomorrow the “gamekeeper stayed gamekeeper”)