When we look at the landscape of those who claim Christianity, what we often find is that people bring their presuppositions and world views to the Christian message before taking into account that what the Bible presents. Specifically we see many of those who attend churches, pastors who teach, and scholars who proclaim differing and conflicting declarations of who Jesus is. But we want to grow by the word of the Bible and live by its living bread that helps us endure those conflicting views.
In today’s day, we are living in a movement that began around 100 years ago and really took-off in the 1970’s. This movement began as “The Jesus Seminar” and continues today as “The Quest for Jesus” and “Jesus Project”. These scholars ignore staggering evidence for the Bible, but instead use their personal opinions on whether Jesus said certain statements as noted in the Bible.
Their presuppositions that drove their opinions can be boiled down to the statement that, “Jesus is nothing more than a travelling sage and wise man.”
So what does this mean to their opinion of the Bible? The whole gospel of John is not accurate, and very little of the other gospel accounts are not accurate. And they bring in, as an authority to them, the document of the gospel of Thomas that was written well after the time of Jesus and includes questionable accounts of Jesus’ ministry.
So why do we bring up this movement? Because more and more we see this belief coming up in the church, especially here in the United States. It is a part of how the church today is lessening the reliability of the Bible, and instead replacing it with the cultural pressure that continues to deviate from God’s truth. To do this, people have to diminish Jesus.
So what should be our response? We need to continue to point to the person and truth of Jesus. That he wasn’t misquoted or invented in the Bible. That there is staggering evidence to the authenticity of the Bible. And through that authenticity we have to take Jesus at his word.
Paul reminds Timothy to remember Jesus the Messiah. Not the wise man or sage, but the Son of God who was died for sin’s judgement and was raised in glory. That we might be chained in the world or could die for the Good News. But just because we are in chains, it does not mean that God’s word is in chains! That we will endure all the hardship if it means that one person finds salvation in Christ Jesus. All the pain doesn’t even compare to the joy of that moment.
John is saying that we are to not discarding what we have learned. That the Holy Spirit brings this truth to light in our lives. But it is a liar who denies that Jesus is Christ. John would further describe the physical antichrist in Revelation, but the spirit of the antichrist exists today, and it is that spirit that takes the place of the Holy Spirit when a someone denies the truth of Jesus.
We want you to live in confidence in the truth of God’s Word. And it is almost a guarantee that if you do stand on that truth, you will come into conflict with not just the lost of the world, but to the misguided churches and church members that have rejected that truth. This may leave you with more questions than answers, and maybe for some this is the first time you might be hearing of these things. But trust in God, stand firm with Jesus as our savior, and live in the truth of the Bible.
8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. (ESV)
20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. 21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. (ESV)