Saturday, December 20, 2008

one can be known by one's heroes

But in the name of historical accuracy as well as fairness, we need to remind ourselves, before we go any further, that "Scripture only and only Scripture" really was, if not badly wounded, then certainly badly bruised, well before Einstein and Heisenberg ever came along. Their work would only reinforce and broaden an investigation already in progress
Tickly, The Great Emergence, p. 80

What investigation is that (and what kind of word is that for a postmodern to use, anyway?)? The so-called Quest for the Historical Jesus.

Tickle points to two men in particular in this part of her book, Reimarus and Schweitzer. Here's a bit from Wikipedia's page on Reimarus.

Hermann Samuel Reimarus (December 22, 1694, Hamburg - March 1, 1768, Hamburg), was a German philosopher and writer of the Enlightenment who is remembered for his Deism, the doctrine that human reason can arrive at a knowledge of God and ethics from a study of nature and our own internal reality, thus eliminating the need for religions based on revelation. He denied the reality of miracles and is credited by some with initiating historians' investigation of the historical Jesus.

Modern estimates of Reimarus may be found in the works of B. Punjer, Otto Pfleiderer and Harald Høffding. Pünjer states the position of Reimarus as follows: "God is the Creator of the world, and His wisdom and goodness are conspicuous in it. Immortality is founded upon the essential nature of man and upon the purpose of God in creation. Religion is conducive to our happiness and alone brings satisfaction. Miracles are at variance with the divine purpose; without miracles there could be no revelation" (Pünjer, History of Christian Philosophy of Religion since Kant, Engl. trans., pp. 550-57, which contains an exposition of the Abhandlungen and Schutzschrift).

God cannot interrupt His own work by miracles; nor can He favour some men above others by revelations which are not granted to all, and with which it is not even possible for all to become acquainted. But of all doctrines that of eternal punishment is most contrary, Reimarus thinks, to true ideas of God; and it was this point which first caused him to stumble" (History of Modern Phil., Eng. trans. (1900), vol. ii. pp. 12, 13).

So, right off, we run into some pretty extra-biblical and un-biblical ideas in this man. Although the Bible is filled with accounts of miracles, he says that God cannot work miracle. He says that Hell is contrary to whatever he means by true ideas of God.

It's a dangerous and arrogant thing to say what God can and cannot do apart from what He Himself has told us in His Word.

And here is the page on Schweitzer.

Schweitzer realizes that critical First Century theology has been ignored by the faithful. Almost all early followers are known to have been illiterate. Only those few literate individuals, in power, could be aware of critical unfulfilled First Century theology. To expose this issue, the early leaders would surely lose power, and their employment. Schweitzer observes that the early Church leaders continued their employment by introducing a modified theology, once the prompt return, was found to be not literal.

Schweitzer concludes that First Century theology originating in the lifetimes of those who first followed Jesus is far removed from those beliefs later made official in Nicaea, almost 300 years later, under Constantine. Schweitzer writes that the variations of Christianity that now exist, in modern times, contradict the urgency of what Jesus originally proclaimed as his First Century theology. Each new generation of followers anticipates that their generation will be the one to see the world destroyed, another world coming and the saints governing a new earth.

Schweitzer seems to be claiming that a kind of "De Vinci Code" type of cover-up was done in regards to Christ's statements about His return, even though much of the difficulties in those can be explained by good theology (something that does well in explaining many difficulties).

By the closing decades of the twentieth century, Jesus scholarship, with Reimarus, Schweitzer, and Heisenberg as tis intellectual forebears, had become the life work, in public space of superb and popularizing scholars like Marcus Borg, John Dominic Crossan, Elaine Pagels, and Karen King.
Tickle, p. 81

Wow, there's a line-up to inspire confidence, yes-sir-ree (not). Jesus Seminar hacks and new-Gnostic pop stars. What a bunch of maroons.

Though it's probably a point she's making, but maybe not one she's wanting ot make--once you play fast-and-loose with the Word, what else can you end up with but people who think they know better than God, picking and choosing what they want from it (Jesus Seminar) and adding to it even the most contrived and stupid of works (Gnosticism and particularly the much-refuted (false) Gospel of Thomas).

From Reimarus' denial of miracles and revelation to the Jesus Seminar and the new rise of Gnosticism, not to mention the emergent church. What a hefty lump a little leaven can leaven.

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