The Jesus Seminar, a seriously misnamed organization composed of some 75 “experts in religion and New Testament studies,” began meeting in March 1985 (it was first announced in 1978) with the misguided objective of discovering which words of the Gospels are authentic.
Through the Jesus Seminar, the hiss of the slithering serpent can still be heard asking, “Hath God said?”
In the 1980s, the Jesus Seminar fellows cast ballots on the authenticity of Christ’s sayings in the four Gospels using pegs or balls. After discussing a passage, the “scholars” would cast their votes. Red indicated a strong probability of authenticity; pink, a good probability; gray, a weak possibility; and black, little or no possibility. The colors therefore indicate various degrees of doubt in God’s Word.
In 1993, the Jesus Seminar published The Five Gospels: The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus. This included a new translation called “The Scholar’s Translation.” The color coding was incorporated into the text to describe the degree to which the various portions of the Gospels are considered authentic.
The Seminar concluded that Christ spoke only 18 percent of the sayings attributed to Him in the Bible.
According to this group of modernistic scholars, Christ did not speak most of the beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount; He did not say anything about turning the other cheek; He did not speak the parable of the sower, the parable of the ten virgins, the parable of the ten pieces of money, or the parable of the talents; He did not say, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”; He did not pray in the garden of Gethsemane; He did not say, “Take eat, this is my body,” and the other sayings associated with the Lord’s Supper; He did not say, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do,” or, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me,” when He was on the cross. The Jesus Seminar determined that Christ did not walk on the water, did not feed the thousands with only a few loaves and fishes, did not prophesy of His death or resurrection or second coming, did not conduct the Last Supper as it is recorded in Scripture, did not appear before the Jewish high priest or before Pilate, did not rise again bodily on the third day, and did not ascend to Heaven.
According to the Jesus Seminar, “THE STORY OF THE HISTORICAL JESUS ENDED WITH HIS DEATH ON THE CROSS AND THE DECAY OF HIS BODY” (Religious News Service, March 6, 1995).
According to these modernistic scholars, Jesus Christ was a mere man who was filled with delusions and was caught up in some sort of political intrigue. At the Redlands, California, meeting in 1986, Jesus Seminar scholar Ron Cameron stated:
“THE DEATH OF JESUS WAS LIKE A CAR WRECK; IT’S AN ACCIDENT OF HISTORY. ... I’m not sure why the Romans killed Jesus, but the gospel stories are not historical in the modern sense of the word. I don’t think Jesus had the notoriety that the gospels say he had. His sayings don’t anywhere give evidence that he was trying to found a church or a reform movement” (Christian News, April 7, 1986).
One of the Jesus Seminar fellows, Marcus Borg, made the following statement to the religious press in 1992:
“I would argue that the truth of Easter does not depend on whether there was an empty tomb, or whether anything happened to the body of Jesus. ... I DO NOT SEE THE CHRISTIAN TRADITION AS EXCLUSIVELY TRUE, OR THE BIBLE AS THE UNIQUE AND INFALLIBLE REVELATION OF GOD. ... It makes no historical sense to say, ‘Jesus was killed for the sins of the world.’ ... I am one of those Christians who does not believe in the virgin birth, nor in the star of Bethlehem, nor in the journeys of the wisemen, nor in the shepherds coming to the manger, as facts of history” (Bible Review, December 1992).
The Jesus Seminar has been revitalized in recent days. After the death of founder Robert Funk in 2005, the organization nearly went out of business. As of 2009, though, it is moving to Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, and is receiving an influx of money to carry on its Satanic work of destroying people’s faith in God’s Word.
The Jesus Seminar is only one voice in a loud chorus of end-time unbelief that was supernaturally prophesied in the very Bible they so blindly denounce.
“But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13).
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction” (2 Peter 2:1).
“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts” (2 Peter 3:3).
Distributed by Way of Life Literature's Fundamental Baptist Information Service