In this short article from The Gospel Coalition, Kyle Dillon briefly examines five popular theories about Jesus and general guidelines for how Christians can respond. The theories include:
1. Jesus the Pagan Myth: The stories of his birth, life, death, and resurrection were borrowed from pagan myths.
2. Jesus the Failed Prophet: Jesus mistakenly predicted the world would end within the lifetime of his disciples.
3. Jesus the Moral Philosopher: Jesus was a cynic philosopher renouncing worldly goods and social conventions.
4. Jesus the Violent Revolutionary: Jesus message was a call for national liberation from Rome but ended in failure.
5. Jesus the Ahistorical Existentialist: What is important is an individual’s experience of God, not the imaginative, irrelevant facts of the Gospel stories.
When Jesus is studied within a first-century Galilean historical and geographical context, he states, “we can arrive at certain conclusions about what he must have been like.” A historically plausible portrait of Jesus should include the following:
1. He was comprehensible: His words and actions fit in the historical and geographical context and his message was understandable to first century Jews.
2. He was crucifiable: His words and actions were offensive enough to make the authorities want to kill him.
3. He was consequential: He left an impact such that his followers were willing to suffer and die for their testimony that he rose from the dead.
But don’t take my word for it, read the article – don’t wait for the movie.
Have a little hope on me,