St Augustine teaches, “Whoever thinks he understands the Holy Scriptures, or any part of them, but interprets them in a way that does not build up this two-fold Love of God and love of neighbor, does not truly understand the Scriptures. If, on the other hand, a man draws a meaning from Scriptures that builds up the two-fold Love of God and love of his neighbor, although he does not precisely understand the exact meaning of the author, his error is not pernicious, and he is wholly clear from the charge of deception.” […]
This discourse on the Apostle’s Creed was delivered by St Augustine to a local church council in North Africa. In this treatise he repeats his classical explanation of the Trinity:
The Father is truly God, the Son is truly God, and the Holy Spirit is truly God.
The Father is not sometimes the Son, and the Father is not sometimes the Holy Spirit, and God is One. We have God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, but “there are not three Gods in that Trinity, but One God and one substance.” […]
We will not be talking about the Jesus of Meier because he respects the Tradition of the Church. Witherington credits Meier’s work with “caution and careful, detailed argumentation.” Unlike many other modern scholars, Meier does not dismiss the spiritual Gospel of John as a source of historical data about Jesus. Like the other historical Jesus scholars, Meier uses criteria to sift through the Gospel material, but he does not use the criteria to discard material, and he uses the criteria more conservatively. Most importantly, Meier sees the resurrection as a happening in the spiritual realm rather than the historical realm, but that this does not disprove the resurrection. It is still very real to the believer. Like Johnson, he distinguishes between the historical Jesus and the real Jesus, the Jesus of faith, Jesus who is truly the Son of God. […]
Scripture is derived from tradition, and through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit we must believe it true, that Jesus said what Scriptures quote Jesus as saying. We must Love Scripture as we Love God, burning the words in our heart. […]
What is the theological agenda for this third historical Jesus movement? Opposition to fundamentalism. They do not want the fundamentalists to monopolize the airwaves, so they shamelessly promote their views so they fit in thirty second sound bites. They value radical academic independence, and denigrate subservience to tradition, and have no fear for ignoring Scripture they personally do not judge is historical, and for elevating newly discovered gnostic writings over Scripture in their quest for the historical Jesus. Witherington quotes Funk as saying, “methodology is not an indifferent net – it catches what it intends to catch.” […]
Let us vote on each of the sayings on Jesus, a red bead for each truly authentic saying of Jesus, a pink bead when the saying sure sounds like Jesus, gray, maybe, a black bead for a saying Jesus could not have said, although centuries of biblical scholars thought and taught otherwise. Using this voting method, the self-appointed members of the Jesus Seminar in 1985 pronounced that only fifteen sayings were truly said by Jesus, while another seventy-five sayings were probably words of Jesus. […]