Fleming Rutledge—Marcus Borg’s message

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Last night at a gathering, Marcus Borg said (twice), “Jesus trumps the Bible.”

This is an extraordinarily irresponsible thing for a scholar and leader in the church to say. It can’t be said often enough: we have no access to knowledge of Jesus except through the Bible and its interpretation. There is no record of him outside the Bible until years after his death. The only way to understanding who he was is through the witness of the New Testament apostles. Therefore to suggest that he “trumps the Bible” is to suggest that we can cut loose from the Scriptures and construct a Jesus according to the perspectives of our own time. It has been shown over and over again that attempts to construct a “historical Jesus” or “real Jesus” apart from the faith-based witness of Scripture end in failure because such attempts are grounded, not in the text, but in the bias of those who undertake them....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryAdult Education* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

6 Comments
Posted October 30, 2011 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Archer_of_the_Forest wrote:

Amen and amen. I ran into this historical Jesus debate in seminary many times, and I never got an answer as to how this “historical Jesus apart from faith” was anything but the personification of the person’s own thinking. “Well, the historical Jesus wouldn’t have said this or done that.” Well, the gospels say he did, and for you to say you know better is arrogant and little more that you saying that if you were Jesus, you would not have said this or done that.

October 30, 8:38 pm | [comment link]
2. Ralinda wrote:

He came to Louisville a week ago.  Here’s the lowdown on that: http://www.episcopalky.org/dfc/newsdetail_2/1741.  Reading someone else’s opinion is about as close to the event as I want to get.

October 30, 8:54 pm | [comment link]
3. paradoxymoron wrote:

Here’s more about the reverend, Lucinda Laird, as described in her bio as guest speaker at the 2006 Roe V. Wade dinner:

Her pro-choice and feminist outlook is based on
her understanding of the Christian Gospel as a
radical call to justice, love, peace and mutuality,
and she is committed to proclaiming a gospel of
grace over against a currently prevalent gospel
of fear.

http://www.krcrc.org/Documents/vfc_2006_Jan.pdf

Yay, fear! Go fear, go!

October 31, 2:22 am | [comment link]
4. NewTrollObserver wrote:

No knowledge of Jesus outside the Bible? What about the Holy Spirit acting today?

October 31, 2:47 pm | [comment link]
5. Rich Gabrielson wrote:

4. NewTrollObserver wrote:

No knowledge of Jesus outside the Bible? What about the Holy Spirit acting today? 

I think her first footnote gives part of the answer directly and implies the rest (emphasis added):

Of course the living witness of Christians is essential. We serve a living Lord, not an inert book. But since Jesus is himself the Word of God, the link between his living presence and the verbal testimony is indissoluble.

November 1, 10:56 pm | [comment link]
6. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

I’m glad to see Fleming Rutledge+ debunking Borg, who likes to try to debunk the orthodox Christianity he despises.  Alas, Marcus Borg is the most popular writer in TEC and other so-called “mainline” churches in the USA.  He is the most sought-after speaker at diocesan events and conferences around the country, which is a very telling symptom of what’s wrong with TEC these days, its utter confusion over what the true gospel is.

Unfortunately, because Borg cloaks his skepticism in traditional religious language and is pro-religious (just anti-orthodoxy) he is far more dangerous than more obvious heretics.  He is a true wolf in sheep’s clothing.  It reminds me of why Carl Jung is so much more popular among TEC clergy than Freud or other much more obvious threats to authentic Christianity among leading figures in psychology; Jung’s not blatently anti-religious like Freud.  Likewise, Borg is much more devout than other crusaders out to debunk biblical Christianity, such as Bart Ehrmann, Robert Funk, or Dominic Crossan.

A few weeks ago, my wife and I went out for lunch with friends from our church after the Sunday service.  The other couple are very mature Christians, passionately committed to the healing ministry, and avid readers of Christian books, but perhaps a little naive.  The other wife mentioned to us that they were planning on attending a conference soon where Borg was the featured speaker.

I was stunned, as I knew they wouldn’t go anywhere near him if they had any idea how heretical he was.  As soon as I mentioned that Borg didn’t believe the tomb was empty on Easter morning, they quickly abandoned their plans to go hear him speak.  I later loaned them my copy of the book that Borg co-wrote with +N. T. Wright, The Meaning of Jesus, which shows the glaring contrast between the two men’s approaches in stark relief.

Clearly, TEC has the equivalent of AIDS when it comes to heresy, a total breakdown of its immune system.

David Handy+

November 3, 1:56 pm | [comment link]
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