Maryellen posted this great comment on my last post, “Apologetic Wars.”
"Wes, how can doubt that Jesus ever existed not exclude you from being a
Christian?If Jesus is not who He claimed to be, if the Biblical account of Jesus
is not true, than being a Christian is pointless.If He were not born of a
virgin, than was he completely human? If His life and death did not fulfill the
ancient prophesies then who is He? I peter 3:15: always being ready to make a
defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you
yet with gentleness and reverence...There are some bad teachers out there, and
some bad teachings...but the fear/respect/reverence of the LORD and of His Word
is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge. I think that leaders, teachers, should
Maryellen’s comment is awesome and I hope she won’t mind my responding to it in a post.
I first of all believe all these things are true, but I don't think that faith is dependant on these things. there are those who believe in a sort of metaphorical Jesus (so they don't believe He actually existed) they still call themselves Christians and claim to have the same sort of relationship we do with Him. I can't be arrogant enough to say "well, no ya don't."
The virgin birth is interesting. There are many Christian scholars who believe that Mary was impregnated on her first time having sex, which classified her as a virgin in the language of the first century. Another point: In that time there were two popular cults in the regions that the gospel writers wrote to. The Mithra and Dionysian religious cults both worshiped gods who were born from virgins. Maybe the gospel writers were simply making a point to these cults. (Do I believe that? not really, but I don't think I'd care if that were proven somehow. I could still be a Christian, and Jesus could still in some mysterious way be God.)
I believe that Jesus is "completely human" (and completely God) so there's room in my theology for that. His being "completely human" does not negate His deity, which is not essential for Jesus to be messiah anyway so it would not make Him a liar if He wasn't God. (Yes, I believe He is God.)
These things should all be argued, yes, apologetically. Now, in arguing these things I might be arguing with a Christian (hmmm, interesting...). If anything is true it's worth discussing, but let's not send the message that unless someone agree with us on these thing they can't be a Christian. There are people out there that would probably be Christians if they could do so and still believe in evolution. The beautiful truth is that they can. They can be really screwed up and still be a Christ follower moving closer and closer to what God wants them to be, to the life of beauty and peace and hope that we are living.
Let's stop arguing them in and start inviting them in. Let's invite them, and then worry about all the other details of knowledge (if you think it's worth worrying about). Send a message knowing Jesus is not the same as knowing about him.