"The Historical Jesus"

Neal Pollard

When someone is given the title “Bible scholar,” they bear a lot of responsibility and should have a better grasp of what the Bible says before accepting such academic recognition.  Such is the case with Rachel Havrelock, interviewed by Jennifer Viegas of the Discovery Channel.  While she at times said things that seemed to honor scripture, other times reflected a bias that was either the result of her views or the views of those who interviewed her.

She contended that there is a misconception that the Bible is “meant to present a very conservative, traditional viewpoint.”  One wonders what she means by that.  What is a conservative, traditional viewpoint?  What would one call an alternative to this viewpoint?  She also said, according to the interview, that Jesus’ primary concern was spreading a social gospel.  See Luke 19:10, 1 Timothy 1:15, and a host of similarly worded passages.   Sure, the people wanted bread, but Jesus was more interested in giving them the bread of life!  She credits Paul, through a genius marketing ability, for causing early Christianity to spread so furiously.  One wonders what to do with the first twelve chapters of Acts.  Her last response is most telling, for what it says and what it implies.  Asked what Bible-related myths she thought most needed “busting,” Havrelock turned on that hanging curveball by saying, “It’s commonly thought today that the heterosexual family, with a mother, father and children, was the only family unit sanctioned by the church. The early Christians instead put more emphasis on community that allowed for gender equality and where everyone was equal in the eyes of God.”

Friends, we do not have the right to arbitrarily and subjectively reconstruct who we think or would like the historical Jesus to be.  It seems that history continuously finds man trying to remake God into his image (cf. Gen. 1:26-27).  While it seems that “experts” like Havrelock might fancy themselves as being unpredictable and untraditional, she seems to fall in line with so many of her peers and predecessors.  What would truly fit that description would be someone interviewed by a major media outlet having the courage to say what the Bible actually teaches without the dross of cultural pressure or personal, philosophical bias.  It is not likely that the Discovery Channels or MSNBCs of the world has great interest in finding such true scholars.  Those truly interested in learning more about the historical Jesus know just where to find Him.  He is in the book most scrutinized and criticized, but which shines truth more brightly every day!