This past weekend we kicked-off the new church year with a sermon series intended to reflect on and respond to Reza Aslan’s bestselling book, Zealot. In it, Aslan makes the familiar argument that the Jesus of faith is different than the ‘real’ Jesus of history and that what we find in the New Testament are accretions and attributions affixed to Jesus much later by the church.
The Gospels, in other words, are not reliable records of who was the ‘real’ Jesus.
Indeed, by Aslan’s logic, the Gospels are not reliable. They’re often at odds with one another in terms of detail and chronology. Did Jesus give his sermon on the mount or on the plain? What day did Jesus die? Did he celebrate the Passover the night he was betrayed or did he just wash his friends’ feet? Was he born of a virgin and, if so, why do only Luke and Matthew tell us so? Why does Mark hardly tell us anything, including anything about people actually seeing the Risen Christ?
Since I’m the one stuck preaching, I’d like your help. How would you answer the question?
How can we trust that the witness of the Gospels is a reliable testimony to Jesus?
Why do you, personally, trust the Gospels or for that matter not trust them?
Leave a comment here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Better yet, email me audio of you answering the question and I just may use it in the sermon.