This is call for potential (formal) founding members of Jesus Christ in History Society to nominate themselves. For logistical purposes, such members must be in Australia, and preferably in Sydney. I need a total of 5 members to incorporate the Society. I am also looking for members who are willing to contribute, either academically or in a support role.
Purpose of the Society
The purpose of the Jesus Christ in History Society is to promote the understanding of Jesus’ role in history, through the study of the Bible, church history and secular history, thus helping to make Christianity the first and reasonable choice of all people. It is deliberately and explicitly a conservative Christian organisation, based only on reasonable evidence; it will avoid unsupportable theories.
Ethos of the Society
The Society is to be free of all meaningless slogans and labels, with a particular aversion to claims like “The Bible is “inerrant in original manuscripts”? Weasel words like “original manuscripts,” which we do not have (therefore making this claim meaningless), are to be avoided in the Society.
Instead, the Society will take the Bible seriously as a historical resource, being one that reveals God’s dealing with mankind. Equally importantly, the Society will recognise that the Bible contains the responses, both good and bad, to the challenge of living experimentally in the light of God’s teachings as revealed to us.
The Society will look carefully at the authorship of each text of the Old Testament. It will accept as a working premise the Documentary Hypothesis for the Pentateuch, but taking a conservative position that pushes back the authorship of each of the “Sources” as early as evidence will reasonably support. It will also accept as a working premise the proposition that the Old Testament was brought together from disparate texts by the scribe Ezra and his fellows, with the result that most works of the Old Testament are composite constructions, with more than one original author contributing to each of the majority of texts.
The Society will look at the evidence for the authorship of the works of the New Testament. It will take a conservative position on authorship where the evidence supports that position, rather than taking a sceptical position. Where necessary, it will accept that there is more than one author for a given text, for example the Gospels, with the final text having been brought together by an editor.
The Society will take the Bible seriously as a theological resource. As a result, it will put the analysis of the Bible’s teachings, particularly those of the New Testament, ahead of any theory that puts itself ahead of a fair reading of the text.
The Society will not overlook Church History, reflecting in its study the high and low points of the Church’s life, not being afraid to examine the human failures of its leaders, but also being aware of the steady progress of “the Kingdom of the Heavens” against which the “Gates of Hades” will not prevail.
The Society will take science seriously. It will be afraid to confront the challenge that scientific discoveries and theories have given to the Christian Church over the last century and a half.
Philosophically, the Society rejects the idea that our “highest ideals” are a fair measure of God’s nature and purposes. Rather, the Society will hold to the position that God’s revelation of himself through Jesus Christ and his teachings are our best measure of God’s nature and purposes. On the basis of this, the Society will take the view that God’s intervenes in our world to bring about His purposes, rather than holding to a logically indefensible absolute determinism.
In order to give potential (formal) Founding Members a chance to see how these ideas will work out in practice, here is a lecture series that I am currently planning to hold later this year under the auspices of the Society:
- Was Joseph in Egypt? An examination of the claim that this story is not historical, and my evidence for Joseph being in Egypt at the time of Thutmose IV and Amenhotep III.
- Reuben’s Family History. An examination of the historical context of the lives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and his twelve sons, revealed by Jacob’s eldest son.
- The Exodus events according to Aaron and Gershon.
- Did the Israelites “invade” Canaan? An examination of the claims that there was no invasion, and highlighting the evidence for the Israelites taking Canaan by force.
- Were the Hittites in Canaan during Abraham’s time? An examination of the claim that the Hittites never entered Canaan, and the evidence for a branch of the Hittites establishing a kingdom there, based on Hazor.
- Pre-Christian “righteousness.” A new look at the original stories embedded in Judges.
I am hoping to create a video of the lecture series and to post on YouTube.
What to do?
If you are interested in becoming a founding Member, or if you wish to contribute in another way, please send an email to me at glovell “at” christ-in-history.org, including some information about yourself.