The Memorial Speaker vs the Theologians

Somewhat better than the secular atheistic-leaning theologians are the ones from a believing background. But considerably worse are those from a fundamentalist background gone ‘scholarly.’ Mercifully, there are not many of them because Bart Ehrman is more than enough, thank you very much. He goes on and on about how Christians in the first century did this or that “because they didn’t want to go to hell.” Sometimes I call him “the Bible thumper who became a theologian but you can still see the Bible thumper in the theologian.” I far prefer some egghead professor discarding anything suggesting divine action because ‘critical thinking’ doesn’t allow that than Bart also discarding and justifying it as a departure from the unreasonable doctrines that because they are unreasonable does not infest the teachings of the secular scholars in the first place. 

He is also the only theologian I would characterize as a “smart-ass theologian.” Hear him go on about the “seven last expressions of Christ on the cross.” (there are that many phrases if you count up the gospels.) It never occurs to him to reconcile them. He takes for granted that since Jesus’ words from one gospel do not appear in another that the writers just interjected whatever words fit their own ‘theologies’ with the conclusion that there’s no way to know just what Jesus said and maybe he didn’t say anything other than ‘ouch.’

Whereas the Memorial speaker last night—I have never heard anyone combine the words this way—stated Jesus’ words at Matthew 27:46, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” then continued to Luke 23:46, “And Jesus called out with a loud voice and said: “Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit.” At first glance, these two verses don’t reconcile very well. Would you entrust your spirit to someone who had forsaken you? Then the speaker went on to reconcile them. The withdrawal of spirit (forsaking) was so that Jesus would face the final test of integrity without God’s finger on the scales. One unaided perfect man (Adam) rebelled against God. Another unaided perfect man (Jesus) proves loyal to God. The counterbalance is complete.

That Jesus absorbed this, accepted it, and perhaps figured it out is evident in the saying found in Luke’s gospel, “into your hands I entrust my spirit.” His love for God was such that, even unaided by God’s spirit, he would prove loyal to the end. 

The speaker reconciled the two. Why doesn’t Bart do it? Why don’t any of them do it? The tricky reconciliation is only possible to someone who has an overall grasp not just of scripture but of the main theme of the scriptures. The secular scholarly theologians don’t have that. They haven’t a clue as to the overall theme of the Bible and appear to assume there isn’t any, that it is just a religious hodgepodge of individual ‘theologiies’ competing to outdo each other. 

***The bookstore

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