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12.27.2004    |    "pious fiction"
From the post-Christian Times of London, a Christmas-Eve piece by Geza Vermes, "The world's leading Gospel scholar", who "separates the myth from the historical facts of Jesus's life." The article's tagline is, "[W]hen you strip away all the pious fiction, what is left of the real Jesus?"

Mr. Vermes then gives a nicely nuanced portrait of Jesus, briefly deflating the piety of Christmas (which I, too, find quite distracting from the real message of salvation among us). He then gives us a whirlwind tour, in very few paragraphs, of what to him are the essentials of the Gospels.

As a sophisticated and learned type, Geza Vermes is not really a Fluffy Bunny Christian. And yet, he is, as, in the entirety of this popular synthesis of the life and times of Jesus, there is not one word about salvation. Not one word about how He is the way, and that no one will come to the Father but through Jesus. Not one word about sin and judgment, as in, Jesus telling us He loves us, but to repent and sin no more. And, oh yes, how he will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.

Jesus' earthly message of love and healing are marvelous. He will be peace; He is peace. But Mr. Vermes focuses on this message to the exclusion of Jesus' other, more important message of salvation. I do not know what this author, "The world's leading Gospel scholar", actually believes. If this article is indicative, he would fit right in to the so-called mainline Protestant churches, and sit in the pews with the well-dressed Fluffy Bunny Christians. In which pews sin does not matter, and there are no bad thoughts, and we shall all be saved because we are so darned well-meaning.

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.