Seeking Truth and Meaning in Biblical Accounts about Jesus 

December 5, 2016

Three weeks before Christmas, explore what it means to follow Jesus! Join us for Faith & Life, at 10 am, Sundays, December 4, 11 and 18 in Hildebrand Hall, when Professor Matthew Whitlock leads us into “The Quest for the Historical Jesus.” Dr. Whitlock offers guidance to consider what scholarly efforts mean for our faith and life. How can we live as people who believe that Jesus’ life, the church and its members have something important for our 21st century world?

Biblical scholarship challenges the tradition of the church and Christians. Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther, a monk and Old Testament professor, agonized over how he could be certain that he was not going to hell. That agony and his study resulted in Protestant Reformation.

About 200 years ago, people began to study the gospels as historical documents with methods used to examine other ancient documents. They found inconsistencies, contradictions and saw a historical development. Results challenged traditional views that the gospels were written by eyewitnesses who traveled with Jesus before his crucifixion. Yet these scholars believed that Jesus, and the gospels, were important to their lives and to Western culture. Their challenge was: What do we know about Jesus and how does that challenge or strengthen church traditions?

We are still inside the resulting revolution! People argue about following Jesus vs. following teachings of the church. People site different Bible passages to explain their views (think homosexuality or women’s rights). Social issues are argued as faith issues (think churches that supported Clinton vs. those supported that Trump).

How we understand the Bible and its scholarly interpreters matters. Together, we seek to understand what following Jesus means in twenty-first century America. —Bob Turner



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