The conclusions of the quest for the historical Jesus, which casts the majority of Christ’s life as a myth, are a stark contrast to the orthodox view of Christ as presented in the Bible. Pate demonstrates that a critical analysis of the gospel text along with historical and cultural methods of investigation actually point toward an orthodox view of Christ. This work argues that the canonical Gospels are the most trustworthy information we have about the gospel writers as well as the life and ministry of Jesus, including his death, visit to hades, resurrection, and ascension. Readers will be encouraged by the reliability of the Gospel writers, the reality of Jesus’ humanity and deity, and the inferiority of the apocryphal gospels.
“First, she maintains that, before Irenaeus, diversity characterized not only early Christianity but even the New Testament. Second, she argues that a forced uniformity became the mark of the church’s teaching from Irenaeus on.” (Pages 92–93)
“Without question the most controversial ancient testimony and the most important witness to the historical Jesus comes from Flavius Josephus—the Testimonium Flavianum.” (Page 81)
“Therefore, I would rather suggest that the union of the two natures of Christ were united in the following way: at his conception the divine nature of Jesus prevented sin from entering his humanity and during his life the human nature of Jesus prevented the divine nature from removing anything human from his experience, including the temptation to sin. In other words, Jesus on earth was able not to sin. This to me seems to best explain the union of the two natures of Christ concerning his sinlessness.” (Page 147)
“Irenaeus in AD 125 recognizes the ‘four-fold gospels’ (Heresies, 3.11.8). Tatian, a student of the church father Justin Martyr, combined the four gospels into one harmony at around AD 175 (called the Diatessaron—Greek for ‘through the four’) because they were so well received in the churches.” (Page 23)
“Gnostic thought undergirding the Gospel of Philip and the Gospel of Mary dates no earlier than the second to third centuries AD, precisely the false teaching opposed by the church father Irenaeus (ca. 130–200), Hippolytus (ca. 170–236), and Tertullian (ca. 160–220).” (Page 23)
C. Marvin Pate (MA, Wheaton; PhD, Marquette University) taught for 13 years at Moody Bible Institute. Now he is chair of the Department of Christian Theology and professor of theology at Ouachita Baptist University. Pate has authored, co-authored, and edited numerous books, including Four Views on the Book of Revelation, The Writings of John: A Survey of the Gospel, Epistles, and Apocalypse, and Teach the Text Commentary: Romans from Teach the Text Commentary Series.