Myth, Allegory, and Parable: -- By: James R. White

Journal: Reformed Baptist Theological Review
Volume: RBTR 03:1 (Spring 2006)
Article: Myth, Allegory, and Parable:
Author: James R. White


Myth, Allegory, and Parable:

The Presuppositions of John Dominic Crossan and The Jesus Seminar and Their Importance to Reformed Baptist Theology and Apologetics

James R. White

James R. White, D.Min., Th.D., is an elder of Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church and Adjunct, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary and Columbia Evangelical Seminary.

On August 27th, 2005, a debate took place in Seattle, WA. The thesis statement was, “Is the Orthodox, Biblical Account of Jesus of Nazareth Authentic and Historically Accurate?” The affirmative was taken by myself, a Reformed Baptist elder and professor, and the negative was taken by John Dominic Crossan, Professor Emeritus in Religious Studies in DePaul University, former chair of the Historical Jesus Section of the Society of Biblical Literature, and co-founder with the late Robert Funk of the Jesus Seminar. Crossan’s books line the shelves of most major bookstores in the United States and Canada, and include such noteworthy titles as The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant (Harper, 1993), Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography (Harper, 1995), Who Is Jesus? (Westminster/John Knox Press, 1999), The Birth of Christianity: Discovering What Happened in the Years Immediately After the Execution of Jesus (Harper, 1999) and his most recent, In Search of Paul: How Jesus’ Apostle Opposed Rome’s Empire with God’s Kingdom (Harper, 2004). Crossan is often featured in the national media, taking a prominent role in the 2000 Peter Jennings special, “The Search for Jesus,” often appearing on various news journals as one of the leading “Jesus scholars” of our generation.

This was not Crossan’s first debate. He has debated a number of leading scholars, including William Lane Craig and N.T. Wright. But this was certainly the first time he had debated a Reformed Baptist, who combined the highest view of Scripture as set out in the 2nd LCF (a higher view than that held by his previous opponents) with a view of truth and epistemology deeply influenced by a biblical doctrine of soteriology. I sought to give a focused examination of the presuppositions on which Crossan’s system of religious study is based. The resultant debate was

eye-opening for all in attendance, and illustrated clearly the importance of approaching apologetic tasks from a thoroughly biblical, and hence a thoroughly Reformed, perspective.

Though firmly committed to the truths of the past, Reformed Baptists also must be a people who look to the challenges of the present and future. We seek to apply the truths of God’s Word within the context of invasive post-modernism and rad...

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