Friday, May 4, 2018

Adult Sabbath School: The Evolution of Jesus in Early Christianity

The Evolution of Theological Belief in the Gospels, Letters and Subsequent Church History.

...and why there never was "One True Church" or "Faith ONCE delivered" 

Bart D. Ehrman is an American New Testament scholar focusing on textual criticism of the New Testament, the historical Jesus, and the development of early Christianity.




28 comments:

Connie Schmidt said...

AND...there never has been "One True Cosmology" or "Evolutionary Process ONCE delivered" either!

Byker Bob said...

What I’ve found to be interesting over the years is the sheer number of Herbert W. Armstrong marketing cliches (WCG “shibboleths”) that have taken on the aura of eternal truths amongst people who have been part of or affected by Armstrongism. People within the movement use these cliches to interpret or understand virtually everything from outside the movement.

In recovery, we should certainly make ourselves aware that this was done to us, and to realize the extent of the continuing damage which any mantras repeated over and over and over can inflict upon us. A lot of this stuff has entered the subliminal zones of our minds, and can remain as criteria. It must all be sifted through, carefully reevaluated, to determine what is valid. Reading widely, including such luminaries as Bart Ehrman, can be very helpful in that process.

BB

David Rickman said...

Great video. Very informative.

DennisCDiehl said...

Connie Schmidt said...
AND...there never has been "One True Cosmology" or "Evolutionary Process ONCE delivered" either!

Now you get it! No cosmologist or current testable theories on the nature of the Universe would ever say that it was the "true" one. The evolutionary facts also were never ONCE delivered . Our parents were taught the Milky Way WAS the entire Universe. Now we know there are trillions and suspect we are just one bubble in a sea of Universes, to either be proven in time or not. Your view does not reflect the nature of the scientific method and how we have arrived today at our present understanding of the nature of things. The key is "present understanding" based on testable and reproducible results to date.

Religious beliefs are not testable. Faith is faith and not subject to testing. We all will say, "Prove me now herewith and see if I don't open the windows of heaven..." etc as a scripture that shows God wants to be tested to prove himself. However, we know that does not test out so well or if you think it does, you are in denial. Also, "and the prayer of faith will heal the sick" is a sadly misproven text as are many others. Rather than ignore them or edit them out of the text, we blame ourselves for not having faith or "asking amiss." These are pure Bible apologetics by those who did the test and flunked God.

So you are correct. However I know the intent of your comment as a slam against cosmology and the facts of evolution but that is just based on a religious bias and need for the Sabbath school version of things to be so evidently.

Also, your comment does not negate the facts of the presentation and what the Book actually shows to be the case as belief and doctrine evolved. It deflects, but does not refute. This view is the majority view in all serious religious studies, schools and seminaries where men and women are actually trained in the history, politic and origins of scripture. These are not taught well, if at all, in every last Church of God and the ministry is totally ignorant of even the view as their proof texting and merely reading the text attest to.

DennisCDiehl said...

PS I KNOW how poorly I was trained in theology. That was the nature of that beast. I also know how long and hard I have studied to catch up over the past 25 years seeking out the experts in the field I wish I had met in the first place. This presentation is spot on as to the evolution of just who Jesus was and how he got that way. If you think that the True Church is the Jewish Christian of Peter, James and John, that's fine. But they also wrestled with who Jesus was or wasn't and did not agree with each other. If you like the Gentile/Pauline version of the nature of Jesus, that's fine. But you can't have both just as one could not be both of Arius or Alexander, Luther or the Pope, Herbert Armstrong or Billy Graham, Dave Pack or Gerald Flurry.....

Anonymous said...

Dennis
Faith is not subject to testing? This has been discussed many times here, which you conveniently ignore. Repeating, faith is belief in what is not directly discernable by the human senses, but can be proved by observation and reasoning. The laws of chemistry and physics are in this category. Eg, we cannot 'see' gravity waves even though we can prove they existence. Neither can we see Kepler's laws of planetary motion.

Why should we listen to you if you ignore what we say. This is typical (ex)minister double-standard privilege.

Most sincere atheists come here with the occasional comment. You by contrast, are waging a crusade against belief in God and the bible. This raises suspicions about you true beliefs and motivation.

DennisCDiehl said...

Often times, and especially in a set belief system, we are not ready for questions and even more common, the answers we get are disturbing. That's the nature of an explored belief . The nature of the unexplored beliefs is to be frozen and defensive often deflecting from the issue or attacking the messenger as they say. That is my experience anyway

In the COG's only those who fancy themselves at the top can bring new information, in the guise of New Truth, which is merely and mostly only new to them and not those outside their influence. Those down the food chain are not to bring "New Truth" as it causes division and since we are all the speak the same thing, must be ignored, punished or crushed. The New Testament, as the church evolved in its views to not be questioned, began to contain the way to separate those so inclined from the group through disfellowshipping or even cursing.

New and better information tends to be viewed as a virus to be eradicated from the body before it replicates and spreads. Ranting Sabbaths, sermons and shallow booklets with easy answers and lots of scriptures are used to inoculate the faithful so they don't get the "sickness" of free thought and updated views based on new and better information.

The NT wants the member to "Grow in Grace and Knowledge" but in the COG's growing in Grace is a threat to the lawmen and growing in knowledge is threatening to everyone and not something a group can do well to begin with. It is the individual who grows in their own grace in life towards themselves and others and knowledge according to their desire to ask, seek and find no matter the cost. It is not something organized groups do well from the top down.

Every church member has the right to speak up to "power" and say, "sorry I don't buy it" without fear of retribution but that's not how it works in the world of "the truth".

Those who buy Dave Pack's, Flurry's or Weinland's snake oil will get bitten sooner or later...guaranteed.

Hoss said...

I wouldn't put much credence in anything quoted from Philo of Alexandria - a neo-Platonist Jewish philosopher.

Claire Voighent said...

Anon11:43AM wrote:

"Faith is not subject to testing? This has been discussed many times here, which you conveniently ignore. Repeating, faith is belief in what is not directly discernable by the human senses, but can be proved by observation and reasoning. The laws of chemistry and physics are in this category. Eg, we cannot 'see' gravity waves even though we can prove they existence. Neither can we see Kepler's laws of planetary motion. Why should we listen to you if you ignore what we say."

Semantics.

In research, regardless of how a phenomenon is detected, and regardless of the type of phenomenon, yes including chemistry and physics, that detection is called an OBSERVATION. How do you think Kepler came up with his "laws" of planetary motion? Through copious observations.

I, for one, don't ignore what you say, but I have to discount it due to the simple fact that it's WRONG.

Faith is NOT testable.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for [wishful thinking], the EVIDENCE of things NOT SEEN.

By your own holy book, the believer's act of believing IS SUPPOSED TO ITSELF BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR EVIDENCE in the complete absence of any actual evidence.

Also, please note that arguments [reasoning] ARE NOT EVIDENCE.

If you want to tell us that the existence of gods is scientifically detectable, then your Nobel Prize awaits.

Until then, you're an idiot.

Anonymous said...

"AND...there never has been "One True Cosmology" or "Evolutionary Process ONCE delivered" either!"

Or one true Sabbath.

Anonymous said...

In the Bible the one true cosmology is supposed to be that the stars are fixed in place on a solid structure called the firmament.

Anonymous said...

Often times, and especially in a set belief system, we are not ready for questions and even more common, the answers we get are disturbing. That's the nature of an explored belief. The nature of the unexplored beliefs is to be frozen and defensive often deflecting from the issue or attacking the messenger as they say. That is my experience anyway.

Which helps explain why narrower minds will label more brave and inquisitive types as trolls all the while refusing to investigate the "troll's" ideas.

DennisCDiehl said...

"Why should we listen to you if you ignore what we say. This is typical (ex)minister double-standard privilege.

Most sincere atheists come here with the occasional comment. You by contrast, are waging a crusade against belief in God and the bible. This raises suspicions about you true beliefs and motivation."

Anything one ignores or appears to ignore may indicate either their disinterest or disagreement with what is ignored. The typical "exminister double standard priviledge" bull shit gets old. Nothing about me has anything to do with being and Ex WCG minister. The only one by the way who writes, shares and informs on this site. It sounds as if good atheists/agnostics only comment occasionally but not in any depth. I'd be pleased for you or any other who merely get miffed but offer no alternative thoughts we can examine to contribute more than your criticism.

Perhaps you can start with rebuffing Dr. Ehrman's explanation of how who Jesus was evolves through the NT and Church history. Can't wait.

WCG did not teach me to be whatever way you or anyone else wants to believe, blame or justify your own perspectives with. My interest in theology and science goes back to childhood and my teen years . It's how I think. Not how I was trained to be.

I am not waging a war against yours or anyone else's belief in God. I do find so much that I was never taught about the Bible, which to me is more accurate and true than what I was taught as a kid, was grossly deficient. Had I known then what I know now I never would have given WCG a second thought.

I supply a little theological food for thought between the specifics of the COG Circus. If you don't like it, don't read it and wait for another posting you like better. You can also drop the suspicion about my true beliefs and motivations as if you could discern them, What you see is what you get. Anything else perhaps is mere projection on your part.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't watch the video, it was to long and boring. Perhaps you could post a "cliff-note" version of this video.

Anonymous said...

Typical atheist, always insult and do the whole name calling thing.

Anonymous said...

10:17 AM, I read a comment of yours on a previous post in which you defended the changes Mr. Tkach made. Are you an atheist or a christian?

Anonymous said...

Claire Voighent
You're projecting into me with your accusations of semantics. Your definition of hope (wishful thinking) and 'evidence' is you playing with definitions.
Follows are some translations of Hebrews 11.1.

(ASV) Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of
things not seen.

(CEV) Faith makes us sure of what we hope for and gives us proof of
what we cannot see.

(Darby) Now faith is the substantiating of things hoped for, the
conviction of things not seen.

(ESV) Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction
of things not seen.

(ISV) Now faith is the assurance that what we hope for will come about
and the certainty that what we cannot see exists.

(KJV) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of
things not seen.

(Murdock) Now faith is the persuasion of the things that are in hope,
as if they were in act; and [it is] the manifestness of the things not seen.

(RV) Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the proving of
things not seen.

(YLT) And faith is of things hoped for a confidence, of matters not
seen a conviction,

In the King James bible, the word evidence (Strongs G1650) is: proof, conviction - evidence, reproof.
Hence 'evidence' doesn't sound like todays indirect 'scientific evidence.' Rather it's direct five sense perception that is being referred to. You cannot directly see gravity.

There is also the body of evidence which you ignored. The bible says 'prove all things,' 'you shall know them by there fruits,' 'beware of wolves in sheeps clothing,' 'examine yourselves' (including for 8 days during feast of unleavened bread, 'try the spirits.' Meaning belief without proof is unbiblical. Not forgetting, Christ showed the greatest respect for thinking. He rebuked His disciples on several occasions for not thinking. Eg Matth 16:10 Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?
Matth 16:11 HOW IS IT that ye do not understand that I spake it not to
you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the
Pharisees and of the Sadducees?

Note that Christ did not expect belief without proof. Eg Matth 9:6 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house

When Christ marveled at someones faith, was it 'wishful thinking' or belief without proof?:
Luke 7:8 For I also am a man set under authority, having under me
soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come,
and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.
Luk 7:9 When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned
him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you,
I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
Be it according to your faith.

The soldier earned/developed his faith through a repetitive experience. It wasn't blind belief.

You are the idiot for not knowing your bible.






What About The Truth said...

That video reminds me of the exuberant historian who with glee defines all of the thoughts and actions of the participants in a three day battle over 150 years ago in Gettysburg Pennsylvania. This fellow tries to define evolutionary thought concerning Jesus Christ in a linear basis over a three hundred year period almost 2000 years ago. As weak as this presentation is, evolutionary thought concerning Christianity - Christ or doctrine is a surety that has worked its way through all of the Christian denominations not even excluding the Worldwide Church of God. When I came into the WCG in the early 80's all doctrine was established. I was completely comfortable with the doctrine but young and dumb as well. And some 40 years later I can emphatically state that being young - dumb and comfortable is no condition to be in when your habitation is a modern church of god. Now in the golden age of what HWA started, doctrinal interpretation and utterance is a wide open happening and why not, didn't HWA spend over 50 years doing the same? I confess that I have entered the DYI process of doctrinal interpretation and am on my way past what Hwa or any other leader professes as doctrinal salvation. And isn't that the crux of the problem with the COGs - the requirement to believe the self interpretations of a man as a requirement for salvation? At what point in time I wonder, did these men get past belief, faith and love for the receiving of salvation? Did evolutionary thought lead these men to regulate salvation in every shape and form imaginable?

Mr. Diehl is correct, there is no one church or one faith in these modern entities titled as COGs nor will there be. The scripture is clear; "Evil men and seducers shall wax worse an worse, deceiving, and being deceived". (2 Tim 3:3)

Atheist And Gun Owner said...

Herbert Armstrong was an atheist.

Anonymous said...

Dennis
Drop the suspicion about your true beliefs and motives? I can't do that Dennis. The Big Huncho instructs me to beware of wolves in sheep's clothing. Neither do I need a Vulcan mind meld or Gods ability to read minds in order to discern others motives. Patterns in peoples behavior typically gives them away, together with the tones in their voice and body language. With experience, one can become very proficient at this, as you well know in your old age. There is the added phenomenon that most COG members are cut from the same cloth, making them easier to read. One such trait is that they believe themselves psychologically invisible. This might be true in some work environments, but not when most people in a church are so similar.

Claire Voighent said...

Anon11:43AM/7:25PM

"It wasn't blind belief. You are the idiot for not knowing your bible."

So, is faith subject to testing or isn't it?

You claim it is, so tell us where we can find this reliable, verifiable data about bible god, about which everyone can agree, and which anyone can use to test religious claims for bible god. Can it be that hard? Bible god is supposedly the most powerful, pervasive force in the cosmos, but just where does the evidence for him show up?

Point me to it.

Go ahead.

I'll wait.

And don't say "creation," because that only gets you to deism. Many other gods and demiurges could account for that, if we even had need of that hypothesis.

You accuse me of ignorance of the bible, and yet you appear to be even more ignorant of it:

You quote Matt 9:6 and claim that Jesus did not expect blind belief without proof. But why is that even a reasonable conclusion to extrapolate from Matt 9:6? If you or I did find ourselves in a similar situation in real life, why wouldn't the claim put into the mouth of the pharisees, that's it's only evidence of withchcraft be an equally reasonable conclusion to reach? Or the conclusion that we're witnessing advanced alien technology? Without special pleading, please explain what would make one conclusion objectively preferable to all others? So witnessing an anecdotal event you can't explain doesn't "prove" much, if anything. So much for your "knowledge" of the bible!

And apparently you don't you realize Jesus is portrayed in the gospels arguing for blind faith right in line with the earlier claims from Hebrews 11:1?

In Jesus' parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man in Luke 16:19-31, he says evidence that religious mumbo jumbo were real is Promethian fire: something reserved for the gods that humans on earth aren't supposed to have.

Jesus admits that people actually do need more evidence, but that they should believe the "right" people anyway, even though the information necessary to identify such "right" ones (or indeed be sure that there's any such thing) has never been supplied. The rich man requests that Lazarus be spirited back from beyond the grave to supply just such information to his five brothers, so as to spare them from a similar fate, but his request is denied.

So Jesus parabolically admits we do need more evidence, says we'll be held accountable as though we did have it, but we're not supposed to have it. It is Promethian fire. Blessed are the lucky guessers, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven? Faith is meant to be blind and untested after all, I guess.

In John 20:24-29 there's the pericope of "Doubting Thomas." He doesn't believe that Jesus has been resurrected. Bayesian reasoning shows exactly why he shouldn't. The claim is about as far from mundane as it's possible to get, and so Thomas, responsibly, requires evidence commensurate to it. In the pericope, however, as in every fictional paranormal story or ancient myth (like Euripides' The Bacchae), this evidence turns up in corporeal form, neutralizing Thomas' reasonable doubts. And then Jesus is portrayed as taking that opportunity to shame Thomas, and by extension everyone else with equally reasonable doubts:

John 24:29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Literally, Jesus is saying here that faith is supposed to be blind. Again, the evidence is Promethian fire. He even says we're blessed for the blindness. In what way he doesn't say, probably because there isn't one to be come up with.

The difference between every paranormal fiction and reality is that in reality the reliable, verifiable data never shows up. Which is why faith isn't subject to being tested.

Anonymous said...

Typical atheist, always start an argument and try to backtrack by dodging the case in point and dance around the facts that has been presented before them. Go ahead and begin the insults as most atheist are known for. Please, prove me right.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:25, you made a very valid point. Kudos to you.

Claire Voighent said...

Anon11:43AM/7:25PM/2:52PM

"Typical atheist, always start an argument and try to backtrack by dodging the case in point and dance around the facts that has been presented before them. Go ahead and begin the insults as most atheist are known for. Please, prove me right."

Yeah, typical atheist, always asking christians why their religion doesn't make any sense by quoting scriptures that prove they don't even know their own holy book and asking the difficult questions that christians can't answer.

Contrary to HWA's career, and every doomsday preacher who is proven wrong when Jesus is once again a no-show, there's nothing new about christianity. There's no esoteric "evidence" that hasn't been in the public domain for centuries.

Go ahead, "prove all things," and do it without the evidence necessary. The floor is yours.

I'll wait.

Anonymous said...

The JW's still hold to an early Christian Arian christology reinforcing their claim to being true to teachings of first Christians.

Anonymous said...

Claire, If you think I am a Christian you must think the moon is made of blue cheese. I am neither a Christian or an atheist, I don't support HWA teachings. But, I will defend a person's right to believe in a higher power. I know a few people who profess to be Christians and they are very good people who would do anything to help those in need. But, I know a few atheist who wouldn't lift a finger to help out if the time allows. The atheist I know do nothing but criticize and downgrade people. I have ZERO respect for atheist because that have no respect for anyone but for people who hold the same views as their own. What gives you the fucking right to tell others what to believe or not believe? I'm waiting...

Byker Bob said...

What the hell? Why does everything need to be monolithic or binary for some people? There is wide variation within each category. I thought everyone realized that. Everything has its own spectrum. You don’t get to neatly classify everything and place it into a nice neat little box which you can then attack. At this late date, doesn’t everyone know the definition of “straw man”?

BB

RSK said...

Did it occur to anyone that Dennis' choice of material for this post might have been strictly "of interest" because its different and more detailed than the "just-so", highly summarized view of Christian history we received in WCG? Doesn't have to have a giant complex agenda behind it.