Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Religious Conversation in My Car

I gave a friend a lift today and part of the conversation went something like this (the purpose of which is to here address the question of Jesus and Qumran and give my view).

My passenger had Dead Sea Scrolls and associated Jesus with them. No, I said, Jesus wasn't associated with the Qumran community. If anyone was, it was John the Baptist, and he came out of the community and didn't stay with in it. Jesus followed John in order to set himself up, he wasn't one of John's disciples like Jesus had disciples. But both believed in a Messiah and a the world coming to an end and replaced by a new reality. If Jesus didn't fight the Romans it was because he thought God would just sweep them away when bringing in a new reality. She though Jesus was "special" and different from others. I said the gospels make him special but he's more alike than different. There were lots of people going about preaching in the same way to the same end, but the difference is Jesus had a Paul. Jesus didn't know Paul nor did Paul know Jesus: think about it that if Jesus was killed around Passover then Paul was in town and completely ignored him - it's only when he got the shakes that he changed his mind. Paul was going about synagogues telling them either to follow the Law or a Messiah and not both, first favouring the Law and then the Messiah as he also believed in the end time. We don't get the Jewish Church perspective in the Bible - it was destroyed by the Romans. These were the people closest to Jesus and would have been his successors, who believed he was coming back as the Messiah. There may have been some Jews who spread out but with destruction it became a Gentile Church.

[I also think there wasn't that much disagreement on the central issue of Jesus as Gentile salvation figure of Paul and Jesus as the transformed Messianic figure, both concepts being subject to believers' escalation of his titles and status: the difference was around secondary identity issues like diet and circumcision.]

I said of a church person who did a theology degree and realised what he'd been told by Baptists was just wrong. I said what puzzles me is the number of mainstream people who go to higher education and know all this and just carry on. I was asked about Baptists; are they born again Christians? Not all of them, no; it's just about adult baptism and self-governance. But in Hull three Baptist churches (via becoming one) merged with the Hull Unitarian church. The General Baptists and Particular Baptists split in 1802 and many General became Unitarian.

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