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Tuesday, February 16, 2010 

The Bible As History, No Modernity Or Post Modern Goofiness In This Class

I started teaching a class this past Sunday on whether the Old Testament can be viewed as an account of a historical nature or if, as many modern and postmodern would have it, we should look at the Biblical narrative and accounts as myths, fables, or morality tales similar to parables in that they are only meant to teach us how to play nice and love one another but have no grounding within genuine history. Guess which side I’m taking?

It’s remarkable how much Jesus talked about events recorded in the Old Testament as if the events really, really occurred. Imagine that… He talks of the flood recorded the Genesis account in Matt. 24:36-39 as if it is a real event. He also speaks of Sodom and Gomorra as if they were real cities destroyed for their wickedness in Matt. 11:23,24 and Jonah as a real person swallowed by a real fish in Matt. 12:39-41.

In the texts we are looking at in our study it is clear that at no time is Jesus using the kind of language He uses when He teaches by parables, such as “the kingdom of heaven is like…” or ”the kingdom of heaven can be compared to…”, when referring to events recorded in the Books of Moses and the prophets! Jesus speaks to his hearers and to us of real events occurring within a recorded history.

Now it could be that I’m just cherry picking verses out of context except that the Gospel writers are very careful to tell us when Jesus is using parables to ‘splain things. In addition, Jesus always explains his parables to the disciples even if not right away (another case for is meaning is at the last supper, meaning, yes, He really did mean that the bread and the wine are His Body and Blood and not some allegorical representation supposed by my evangelical friends!)

What surprised me most about how the class started off (This if the first week of the study. I suspect I’ll spend three or four weeks on going over Jesus’ understanding of Scripture before moving on to a look at the evidence of the historicity of the New Testament.) was how these high school students were able state in an unsolicited manner and with a high degree of certainty that the Bible can and should be looked at as a historical document. I really assumed that their secular education would have beaten any notion of the historicity of Scripture completely out of their systems by now. I see so much influence of modernity and postmodern thinking that sometimes I take for granted that the youth might actually be on the right track and capable of critical thinking.

I was even pleasantly surprised when one of my students even recommended a book to me that his grandfather had given to him: Josh McDowell’s book “Evidence Demands A Verdict” for making a case that Scripture is historical in it's very nature. As the kids say: w00t!

There’s no doubt that it’s gonna be fun five or six weeks for everyone in the class.

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That sounds like an awesome class. I love the OT. Most definately historical in nature. I hope it goes well.

Deana, Thanks! I love to teach the Gospel by starting in the Torah. As soon as I get back to my other computer I'll email ya my notes. Your email hasn't changed has it?

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  • I'm Frank Gillespie
  • From The Haut South
  • Confessional Lutheran
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