John C. Rankin
Thank you, Bob, and thank you for a delightful evening. Thank you for all those who asked questions. It’s interesting in Bob’s final comments, when he talked about authority and we just do not accept something because, quote, of an authority. We do not accept a second hand belief. I agree with that. And I agree and I believe that the nature of the Bible is first-hand evidences for first-hand relationships. And having been raised as an agnostic and having come to faith, it’s all been first hand and continues to be first hand.
And I think ultimately the question we’re dealing with when we look at “Jesus: Fact or Fiction?,” is the bottom line is, there is no other person in recorded history, whether or not we ultimately decide it is historical, in recorded history who demands, but not demands, but whose very representation requires of us a response. Because you can go to all the other so-called gods and goddesses, historical figures, but when you look at the recording of who Jesus Christ is claimed to be, you have the most compelling figure in all of history. And I think it’s somewhat disingenuous to challenge the historicity of the one upon whom western history’s concept of history is based. And again, to go back to my original perspective here about Genesis, which Jesus roots himself in. That’s the only basis for a historical worldview, for science, for law, for hard questions, for testing the empirical evidence, for proving something to be true on the basis ethically as well as scientifically of the scientific method. If it’s true it will always be true.
Now, the other reality is that apart from God’s grace we are sinners and we have clouded perspectives of realities. And I think that many times it depends on what agendas we bring to Scripture itself. And the only agenda I’m trying to bring is that I’ve encountered in my life the reality of Jesus Christ; I have studied the Scriptures and I find in the Scriptures the most delightful ethical basis for love of God and love of neighbor. I find no other basis. And one central element for the love of neighbor is that we love people enough to let them disagree with us, because biblically, ethically, God loves us enough to let us not accept that love.
And so when we come to authority and power, I have a vastly different definition of authority and power than most of this world. Power is not for self- aggrandizement. It’s not to tell people what to do. It’s not to brandish it for other people. Power is the power to give and to bless and benefit those you have the power to give and bless and benefit. And that is the very nature of Yahweh-Elohim in Genesis 1 and 2, in contrast with every other god and goddess, Marduk, Tiamat, on down. Their powers are limited, finite powers of petty, jealous destructive gods and goddesses, whose highest view for us is to be slaves to a defeated pantheon. Whereas in Scripture, the view is we are the crown of God’s creation, to which I say amen. Thank you. [applause]
“The Price-Rankin Debate” is copyright © 1997 by Robert M. Price. All rights reserved.
The electronic version is copyright © 1998 by Internet Infidels, Inc. with the written permission of Robert M. Price and John C. Rankin.