GLEANINGS FROM THE SCRIPTURES
"And The Beat Goes On"
By Keith L. Estes
The Jesus Seminar swept into Pinellas County for meetings to be held in a local church. The St.Petersburg Times carried the headlines, "Scholars seek Jesus as myth and a man." The article stated that they were seeking to discern between fact and fiction in the quest for a historical Jesus. Obviously they were not "seeking" or they would have invited other persons with different viewpoints to speak. What they espoused was evidently a forgone conclusion.
"So what else is new?" They are simply parroting the old viewpoints of the extreme theological liberals from the last several hundred years.
Because the liberal message was essentially optimistic, with its denial of the sinfulness of man and the progressive betterment of society, the First World War was devastating to its teaching. The advent of the war destroyed the myth that man is getting better and dealt a death blow to liberalism as it had been known. Liberalism would reappear, but in a different format.
Karl Barth had trained under Harnack but with the World War discovered he had no message to preach. His liberal message of optimism had nothing to say to people devastated by war. Barth returned to the Scriptures to search for a new message. He would lead the theological world into a new theology as a result of this crisis.
Here are some of the religious beliefs (or what they don't believe) of the Liberal Theologians.
Schlieiermacher: 1763-1834 He emphasized feeling and experience: He was the father of modern religious liberalism. He rejected the fall, original sin, virgin birth, and substitutionary atonement. He believed sin is interest in the world; faith is feeling, not response to what God says.
Ritschl: 1822-1889 He emphasized ethical and practical aspects; his teaching became the ground for the social gospel. He rejected original sin, incarnation, deity, atonement, and resurrection of Christ. He denied miracles and defined sin as selfishness.
Harnack: 1851-1930 He taught that Paul corrupted the teaching of Jesus and Christianity. He taught the "fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man." He denied the deity of Christ and His substitutionary atonement. He taught that Paul corrupted the religion of Jesus.
Bauer: 1792-1860 He developed the historical-critical method. He emphasized the historical evolution of the New Testament. He denied revelation, incarnation, and the bodily resurrection of Christ. He taught Christianity was a conflict between Jewish (Peter) and Gentile (Paul) factions.
Bushnell: 1802-1876 He believed children are born good and can be taught to grow into Christianity. He opposed sudden conversions. He denied substitutionary atonement of Christ; and Christ's death was only an example.
Rauschenbush: 1861-1918 He emphasized the social gospel; He believed that Jesus' love would transform society. He taught the gospel is social concern, collective ownership, and equal distribution of goods. He rejected the substitutionary atonement of Christ, His second coming, and a literal hell.
If we say that Jesus did not perform miracles, we make Him a liar, for He said to His disciples in the Gospel of John (10:37-38) "If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works (miracles) that ye may know, and believe, that the father is in me, and I in him."
Evangelicals believe, teach, and defend the historic doctrines of the Christian faith as found in the Holy Bible. Second, out of the evangelical endeavor have come many heartening developments: a strong emphasis in missions, both through denominations as well as through independent foreign missions; the resurgence of evangelistic campaigns; the multiplication and growth of Bible institutes, Christian colleges, and seminaries; and the prospering of evangelical publications. The current results of all this in the United States alone has been that some fifty million people identify themselves at least nominally as born again, and that the glorious gospel of Christ has received a greater public awareness and more respectful hearing than ever before.
Oswald Chambers writes, "Jesus Christ reconciled the human race, putting it back to where God designed it to be. And now anyone can experience that reconciliation, being brought into oneness with God, on the basis of what our Lord has done on the cross."
Ref. Handbook of Theology, Paul Enns, and the Holy Bible. Used by permission.