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Critics of the Jesus Seminar

QUESTION: Why are there critics of the Jesus Seminar?


The Jesus Seminar has been the target of criticism almost from the moment that they published their first paper on the life and death of Jesus Christ. The question is why are there so many critics of the Jesus Seminar and is what the critics are saying about the Jesus Seminar based in any relevant information or just because of a difference of opinion? Before we can understand why there are critics of the Jesus Seminar we must understand whom the Jesus Seminar is and what they stand for.

Why are there critics of the Jesus Seminar? - Who or what is the Jesus Seminar

Those who have never heard of the Jesus Seminar can easily be fooled by the name. Here is a quick look at who they are and why they were formed:
  • Westar Institute formed the Jesus Seminar in 1985 in order to better to research the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.
  • It is made up of 30 scholars from various fields who use their talents to analyze the Gospels and other writing concerning Jesus.
  • The seminar meets twice a year to debate technical papers that have been written and published about Jesus.
  • They vote on authenticity of Jesus' words and deeds using colored beads:

    Red: That's Jesus!
    Pink: Sure sounds like Jesus.
    Gray: Well, maybe.
    Black: There's been some mistake.
The Jesus Seminar goes through the Scriptures seeking to find what they believe to be the truth that is there. The problem is how they go about doing it.

Why are there critics of the Jesus Seminar? The Reasons Behind the Criticism

It is not so much the idea that the Jesus Seminar researches the teachings of Jesus that has people upset. It is the method that they go about doing it.
  • They dismiss any of the miracles of Jesus as just stories used to spark interest in Christ.
  • They dismiss the virgin birth as well as the resurrection of Christ because they cannot be explained by natural means.
The problem is that all of the miracles and the resurrection are necessary to show that Jesus is the Son of God. If you take away the miracles of Christ, it undermines who Jesus is and Jesus becomes just another man among men. Doing away with the miracles is not the only thing that causes people to be skeptical; it is also what the Jesus Seminar does with the sayings of Christ.

The Jesus Seminar rejects over 80 percent of the sayings attributed to Jesus. One example is the Lord's Prayer which the Jesus Seminar reviewed for accuracy as being the words of Jesus. After the Jesus Seminar finished reviewing the Lord's Prayer, they found only two words "Our Father" which could have been actually said by Jesus.

Why are there critics of the Jesus Seminar? Not Subjective in their findings

All of this has led the critics of the Jesus Seminar to cry foul because they say that the Jesus Seminar is not subjective in their findings. This criticism is based on the knowledge that the Jesus Seminar eliminates any evidence they cannot explained using modern scientific principles.

The critics of the Jesus Seminar point to the fact that since God works outside the natural realm, you cannot eliminate the documented evidence of what Jesus did ( the miracles), and what Jesus said (His teachings) if you are going to make an accurate assessment of finding the truth of who Jesus said He is (the Son of God).

Learn More about the Jesus Seminar!

What do you think?
We have all sinned and deserve God’s judgment. God, the Father, sent His only Son to satisfy that judgment for those who believe in Him. Jesus, the creator and eternal Son of God, who lived a sinless life, loves us so much that He died for our sins, taking the punishment that we deserve, was buried, and rose from the dead according to the Bible. If you truly believe and trust this in your heart, receiving Jesus alone as your Savior, declaring, "Jesus is Lord," you will be saved from judgment and spend eternity with God in heaven.

What is your response?

Yes, I want to follow Jesus

I am a follower of Jesus

I still have questions

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