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The Mediator is the Message

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No historical Jesus, no salvation. What really happened in history matters to us.

Is the Christ in which the church has put its faith the same person as the Jesus who really lived? Some theologians of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have said "No." They claim that the real "Jesus of History" differs greatly from the church's "Christ of Faith." Some make this pronouncement with glee. So much the worse for Jesus. Free of the Galilean, the theologian is at liberty to spin a religion out of his own spiritual consciousness. Others who doubt the authenticity of the church's Christ of Faith embark on a quest for the historical Jesus. So much the worse for the church. She will have to bow to new scholarly findings if researchers discover a "new Jesus."

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1 [ Back ] Rudolf Bultmann, Jesus Christ and Mythology (New York: Scribner's 1958), p. 18.
2 [ Back ] Bultmann, p. 18.
3 [ Back ] Bultmann, p. 20.
4 [ Back ] Elie Borowski, "Cherubim: God's Throne?" in Biblical Archaeology Review (July/August 1995: vol. 21, number 4), p. 36.
5 [ Back ] Bultmann, p. 20.
6 [ Back ] C. S. Lewis, "Must our Image of God Go?" in God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics (Grand Rapids: Eerdman's 1970), p. 118.
7 [ Back ] See 1 Kings chapter 19 for the story. Prickett says that difficult passages such as the "still thin voice" of 1 Kings 19:12 have suffered at the hands of rationalistic interpreters, even when those interpreters were conservative evangelicals. The King James translators rendered it better, but the English language has changed leaving us without a good translation of this passage.
8 [ Back ] Stephen Prickett, Words and the Word (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986), p. 11.
9 [ Back ] C. S. Lewis, Fern-Seed and Elephants, and other essays on Christianity, ed. Walter Hooper, Collins (Fontana), 1975, pp. 107-108; quoted by Prickett in Words and the Word, p. 81.

Rick Ritchie is a long-time contributor to Modern Reformation. He is a graduate of Christ College Irvine and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

Issue: "O Come Let Us Adore Him: The Person and Work of Christ" Nov./Dec. 1995 Vol. 4 No. 6 Page number(s): 33-36

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