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Sorting out the realities of Jesus from Nazareth (Wacko "minister" alert)
Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman ^ | June 21, 2012 | Howard Bess

Posted on 06/21/2012 10:36:04 PM PDT by AlaskaErik

About 2 million people in our world call themselves Christians. We are divided into innumerable groupings. However, there is one belief that identifies us all. God was uniquely present in the teacher/prophet Jesus from Nazareth. Almost all Christians believe in some sort of incarnation. In Paul’s words, “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself.” Christians almost universally believe that Jesus was fully human and also fully divine.

Put another way, Christians believe there is a Jesus of history and a theological Jesus somehow united in one person.

Through history and continuing today, Christians have been much more interested in the theological Jesus than in the Jesus of history. Churches have focused on the miracle worker who healed the sick, raised the dead, multiplied loaves and fish and walked on water. This was the Jesus who died for the sins of the world, was raised on the third day and ascended into the heavens, and now sits at the right hand of his father/God.

It is this Jesus that Christians praise and worship each “Lord’s Day.” Read the words of our hymnals, read the words of our confessions of faith and listen to typical sermons, and the church’s obsession with the theological Jesus is easy to confirm.

The great neglect of Christians is the Jesus of history. Christians have been more interested in ecstatic experiences with the theological Jesus than in being simple followers of the teachings of the Jesus of history. Over the centuries, lonely souls have attempted to give greater importance to the historical Jesus, only to find frustration and failure in their journey. In my writings, I have made generous references to the current ongoing search for the historical Jesus. Following is a brief summary of what has happened during the past 100 years. A monumental event happened in 1906 when Albert Schweitzer published his “The Historical Quest of the Historical Jesus.” Though lessons were learned, everyone, including Schweitzer, agree that his effort failed to establish a workable historical Jesus. The search for the historical Jesus was revived in the mid-1950s in the context of existential theology. The combination of existentialism and finding the historical Jesus was a poor match. Lessons were learned, but the historical Jesus remained elusive.

We are now in the midst of the third search for the historical Jesus. The third search began in the mid-1980s without any stated goal of finding the Jesus of history. Rather, it began with historical research about the area in northern Palestine that we call Galilee. Social scientists have been able to reconstruct the social, political, religious, economic and symbolic world of Galilee in the first half of the first century CE. The abundance of information that has been generated is giving interpreters of the historical Jesus a working context for the things the Gospels say that he said and did.

The list of historical facts about Palestine in the first half of the first century CE is growing. Here are four examples.

Galilee was a rural area with a history of farming that had become an advanced agrarian society. Ownership and control of land had passed from the farmer who farmed the land to wealthy aristocrats who lived in large cities removed from the farms. Those who tilled the soil had been reduced to poor day labors.

Galilee was a hot bed of the Zealots. The Zealots advocated violent overthrow of every oppressor. The typical Zealot was always armed with a knife and was always ready to commit violence. Zealots were regularly killed with the charge of insurrection.

Galileans resisted the cultural changes that were taking place in the nearby large cities, Sepphoris and Tiberius.

They were intentional in resisting the sinful ways of those cities. Galileans maintained their Jewish identity, but practiced their faith differently than the Jews in southern Palestine, who tied their worship to the Jerusalem Temple. Galileans were at odds with the religious authorities in Jerusalem.

The geography of Galilee lent itself to the settlement of small villages in which clan relationships were maintained. Resistance to outside cultural pressures was strong and the reinforcement of local customs and values was maintained.

All of the four dynamics to which I have referred have been established by research that is completely outside the domain of study of the Bible. Yet they have powerful effects on the Bible interpreter, who takes placing Jesus into historic context seriously. In particular, the study of the parables that Jesus told takes on far ranging implications and understandings.

The third search for the historical Jesus turns him into an advocate for justice, who confronts his followers with a relentless demand for reform. Are we ready?

Jesus taught and believed in a radical redistribution of wealth.

Jesus was strongly identified with the poorest of the poor.

Jesus was an insurrectionist who renounced violence as a tool of reform.

Jesus was thoroughly Jewish and eagerly debated the application of Jewish Torah (law).

The first time Jesus ventured out of his Galilean society, he was killed as an insurrectionist.

The emerging historical Jesus is not a rejection of the theological Jesus. It does demand that we discuss and even argue both sides of the incarnation puzzle.

The Rev. Howard Bess is a retired American Baptist minister, who lives in Palmer. His email address is hdbss@mtaonline.net.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: jesus; leftist; marxist; nutjob
This guy is a total wack job. I can't believe he doesn't just come out and say he's a Marxist.
1 posted on 06/21/2012 10:36:14 PM PDT by AlaskaErik
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To: AlaskaErik
About 2 million people in our world call themselves Christians.

He's missing a set of zeroes in that number.

2 posted on 06/21/2012 10:39:15 PM PDT by boatbums (God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him.)
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To: AlaskaErik

Hopefully be “retired” he means he was kicked to the curb by his congregation.


3 posted on 06/21/2012 10:43:47 PM PDT by eclecticEel (Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: 7/4/1776 - 3/21/2010)
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To: AlaskaErik

But Jesus did not venture just once out side Galilee. More than one scholar now takes John as being at once the most theological and historical of the Gospels. As to redistributionism, that had been the constant them of the prophets.


4 posted on 06/21/2012 10:45:54 PM PDT by RobbyS (Christus rex.)
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To: AlaskaErik

“Almost all Christians believe in some sort of incarnation.”

Didn’t have to read any farther than that. I mean, ALMOST all? Can you be a Christian at all if you don’t believe in the incarnation?

And here is another of my little peeves...”first half of the first century CE”.

If you aren’t talking about “Anno Domini ‘the Year of our Lord’”, you probably aren’t a Christian. It’s absolutely idiotic to use CE, even if you don’t believe in Jesus.


5 posted on 06/21/2012 10:51:29 PM PDT by I still care (I miss my friends, bagels, and the NYC skyline - but not the taxes. I love the South.)
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To: AlaskaErik

Sounds like a disciple of John Dominic Crossan.


6 posted on 06/21/2012 11:03:23 PM PDT by F15Eagle (1 John 5:4-5, 4:15, 5:13; John 3:17-18, 6:69, 11:25, 14:6, 20:31; Rom10:8-11; 1 Tim 2:5; Titus 3:4-5)
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To: AlaskaErik

I’ll say. A personal savior in now way advocated or advocates today the theft of personal property. He wants a personal relationship and a personal decision. Anything else is a lie and from the devil.


7 posted on 06/21/2012 11:04:00 PM PDT by vpintheak (Occupy your Brain!)
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To: AlaskaErik; eclecticEel; I still care

Baptist Minister Howard Bess of Alaska Says Sarah Palin Scares Him (At a Marxist blog!)
http://theragblog.blogspot.com/2008/09/baptist-minister-howard-bess-of-alaska.html

Howard Bess is the former pastor of the Church of the Covenant in Palmer, Alaska. He is the author of “Pastor, I Am Gay,” a book he claims Sarah Palin tried to have banned from the local library during her time as mayor of Wasilla. Bess is an American Baptist minister and wrote his book after a homosexual in his congregation in Santa Barbara, California asked him for guidance.

Misunderstanding Jesus’s Execution by Howard Bess
http://consortiumnews.com/2012/04/01/misunderstanding-jesuss-execution/


8 posted on 06/21/2012 11:14:38 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (Ich habe keinen Konig aber Gott)
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To: AlaskaErik
>"God was uniquely present in the teacher/prophet Jesus"

I call him our Savior!

9 posted on 06/21/2012 11:49:32 PM PDT by rawcatslyentist ("Behold, I am against you, O arrogant one," Jeremiah 50:31)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
>"a book he claims Sarah Palin tried to have banned from the local library "

I don't blame her. Why should tax payers fund trash?

10 posted on 06/21/2012 11:57:21 PM PDT by rawcatslyentist ("Behold, I am against you, O arrogant one," Jeremiah 50:31)
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To: AlaskaErik

We, as Christians, get in trouble with one another, and the Lord when we leave the basics. Such as:

“But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son, cleanseth us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unfighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

We must not forget: “All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned every one to his own way: and the LORD hath on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6)

“By mercy and truth iniquity is purged; and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.” (Proverbs 16:5)


11 posted on 06/22/2012 12:04:51 AM PDT by Letmarch75
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To: AlaskaErik
"The first time Jesus ventured out of his Galilean society, he was killed as an insurrectionist.

All this time I thought he was killed for blasphemy.

12 posted on 06/22/2012 12:31:50 AM PDT by Ranald S. MacKenzie (It's the philosophy, stupid.)
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Coveting one’s neighbor’s property is a sin and this preacher seems to imply Jesus advocating coveting thru wealth redistribution.


13 posted on 06/22/2012 1:34:18 AM PDT by RginTN
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To: RobbyS
More than one scholar now takes John as being at once the most theological and historical of the Gospels.

There is also the testimony of Josephus as well as the Romans and the enemies of the Lord Jesus Christ. The author has to dismiss a ton of evidence.

A good book on this is "Evidence that Demands a Verdict" by Josh McDowell.

14 posted on 06/22/2012 1:41:06 AM PDT by sr4402
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To: boatbums

That’s what I thought....more like 2 billion.

Phew-thought I missed the rapture.


15 posted on 06/22/2012 3:12:18 AM PDT by JudyinCanada
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To: boatbums

There is probably 2 million who worship belly button lint.


16 posted on 06/22/2012 4:24:25 AM PDT by st.eqed
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To: boatbums

“Christians almost universally believe that Jesus was fully human and also fully divine.” And why do we Christians believe that? Well, because we believe witness testimony, for one thing. THos who recorded their meeting and being with Jesus after His resurrection have left their testimony for our perusal. One of those witnesses, Saul of Tarsus turned Paul the late Apostle has told us that Jesus knew no sin and could not sin because His seed of Godness remained within Him. God cannot sin.


17 posted on 06/22/2012 4:59:21 AM PDT by MHGinTN (Being deceived can be cured.)
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