Pentecostalism is an antidote to the Desupernaturalism of Christ or Gospel historical Criticism

Al Ngu, New York                                          June 23, 2019

The historical criticism or gospel criticism started in the mid eighteenth century started by philosophers like Immanuel Kant and his cohort propelled the teaching that all supernatural acts and deeds of Christ are to be removed from the Bible because if you can’t explain it by rationalism and science, it cannot be true. They purported that the present must explain the past. If you don’t see it in present days, it couldn’t have happened in the past. 
I feel like these scholars need a plague of Egypt to wake them up. First of all, the entire Christianity anchors upon the supernatural works of Jesus. To take away the supernatural, you might as well join a Boy Scout or Red Cross or Soup Kitchen. 

There is a real sense of frustration among the Pentecostals that evangelicals would even spend time to deal with those what we call as unbelief. Those folks pushing denial of the miracles of Christ simply are not Christians. In the scholastic world we are engaging their minds because we will have to answer the atheist worlds challenge about the identity of Christianity . The reason now I know is as follow:

            Robert Strimple wrote: The so-called quest of the historical Jesus has seemed to grip the imagination of modern men and women the way it has. The modern, post-Enlightenment readers of the Gospels have not been willing to accept and follow the supernatural Jesus presented there. They found that the religious role for Jesus as written is uncongenial to their naturalistic mind-   set, and yet they find it hard to cut off all religious relationship with Jesus. Therefore they seek to find one, compatible with their unbiblical worldview.[1]

I find this astonishing that they rejected the miraculous Jesus which is the core of the very divine being of the Son of God incarnated into this world, and yet wanted to cling on to the same Jesus in some way and fashion. They really wanted their naturalistic mind to triumph over the super naturalistic legend Jesus. You see the naturalistic doesn’t go well with supernatural. That’s precisely the point. They wanted to convert or relabel Jesus to be naturalistic. Like the modern liberals wanted to relabel marriage, sexuality and the power is in the tongue they said. This is the potent weapon of the devil, from the Pentecostal background, my perception of this, is nothing less than spiritual warfare. It is nothing short of the highest warfare in the intellect. You see casting out demons may be dramatic & spooky & compelling, but that’s nothing compares with the relabeling of Jesus, the Son of God, by way of their intellect & writing books. That is far more powerful and darker as it affects a generation and more!

Interestingly this unbelief of the supernatural of Christ in some ways echo’s or mirrors the unbelief of the reformed teaching that embraces the cessationist view which is the supernatural gifts of speaking in tongues, prophecy, healing etc. have all ceased because they were to be used in the apostolic time only. Essentially the gospel criticism group merely extends the cessation backward to Jesus himself, claiming that the miracles of Christ never happened on the first place. 

And to argue against them in stuff like the historical Adam and Eve, we could just invite them to a Pentecostal meeting where supernatural healings happen, where prophecy happens, and where the palpable presence of the transcendent God is felt. The experiential aspect of the supernatural trumps any theological debate in a way that theology teaching has not known. This is what is called living my theology. You get what you believe. What one learns in the mind and what one learns in the heart and senses is vastly different and the latter is more compelling. Having said that, however, the supernatural can only go so far and indeed the teaching of the kingdom and the gospel must go for the long haul like how Jesus did it himself. Like how Paul and Peter did it in the epistles. The teaching of the kingdom of God and the gospel respectively.


[1] Robert Strimple   The Modern Search for the Real Jesus   p 10-11 P&R Publishing, Phillipsburg, NJ

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