How God Became Jesus at Christianity Today

How God Became Jesus at Christianity Today April 16, 2014

Over at Christianity Today, I have a piece on How God Became Jesus – And How I Came to Faith in Him.

Here’s the money quote:

Some have great confidence in skeptical scholarship, and I once did, perhaps more than anyone else. If anyone thinks they are assured in their unbelief, I was more committed: born of unbelieving parents, never baptized or dedicated; on scholarly credentials, a PhD from a secular university; as to zeal, mocking the church; as to ideological righteousness, totally radicalized. But whatever intellectual superiority I thought I had over Christians, I now count it as sheer ignorance. Indeed, I count everything in my former life as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing the historical Jesus who is also the risen Lord. For his sake, I have given up trying to be a hipster atheist. I consider that old chestnut pure filth, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a CV that will gain me tenure at an Ivy League school, but knowing that I’ve bound myself to Jesus—and where he is, there I shall also be.

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  • Hi Michael, I assume you converted in your late teens, early 20s, while in the military, before studying religion in college? You read the NT, and it wowed you? At that time did you realize it was the Gospel author’s intent to wow you, and how easily they succeeded?

    It’s highly probable that at such a young age and/or low level of knowledge concerning religion in general that you fell in love with a propagandist’s view of Jesus: Also…

    Who knows what you might think of the historical Jesus if you had the chance to meet him back in that first century, possibly an apocalyptist as Ehrman and Allison argue. Who know what he might think of you, or of “degrees in biblical studies” for that matter, or even whether Paul would have gotten along well with the historical Jesus. We don’t know. The question remains as to how certain we can be of Jesus’ words and doings. I daresay one can see some evidence of the growth of stories told about Jesus over time when viewing the Gospels in a relatively well acknowledged trajectory from Mk and Matthew to Luke and finally John:

    My testimony is that I was raised and confirmed Catholic, but not very enthusiastic about it, then I fell in love with Jesus after reading the Gospels, as you did, remained very enthusiastic and Evangelical throughout four years of college, but after college I studied the Bible, Christian theology, history, science, psychology, sociology, philosophy, with some friends, two of which had left the fold before me, and more questions arose than definitive answers.

    Neither does one need to “mock churches,” or become a “hipster atheist” to entertain more questions than answers. The trajectory for many young “born again” Christians once they start studying the Bible and reading more widely includes moving away from conservative interpretations toward more open and questioning points of view, including more moderate or liberal theological viewpoints. The same goes for institutions of higher learning that were founded by the most conservative Christian scholars of their day (Harvard, Yale), and which grew more moderate and liberal over time as they continued to attract the most intelligent professors and students and continued to interact with biblical scholarly questions from around the world.

    • Rick

      But the reverse takes place as well.