A few months ago I bought a book on a whim from InterVarsity Press. IVP is a really great publishing company, and they consistently print thought provoking and balanced books on a variety of subjects. Fabricating Jesus is no exception to this.
The author, Craig Evans, is Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament at Acadia Divinity College in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. In Fabricating Jesus he takes to task the narrow, brittle point of view of fundamentalism.
I grew up in a fundamentalist culture, so what he writes strikes home with me. I’ve heard the same phrases that Evans cites, and I’ve seen some of my friends leave faith, God, and church because of the untenable positions they accepted.
Evans calls fundamentalism’s point of view “cramped starting points, which often are little more than presuppositions and not documented and argued conclusions,” page 34. He says, “I have heard fundamentalists say, “Show me one mistake in the Bible and I will throw out the whole thing,” page 31. The problem with this is that the moment a person discovers something they didn’t expect, their faith is at great risk.
I think a similar risk exists with those who allow bad theology to govern their thinking about God. So, based on that theology, when God disappoints them, they abandon their faith.
One of my favorite quotes is Evans’ assertion that “The truth of the Christian message hinges not on the inerrancy of Scripture or on our ability to harmonize the four Gospels but on the resurrection of Jesus,” page 31. This is certainly what Paul the apostle declared to the Christians at Corinth.
I handed on to you as of first importance, what I in turn had received:that Christ died for our sins…that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day… 1 Corinthians 15:3,4.