"pious fiction"

From the post-Christian Times of London, a Christmas-Eve piece by Geza Vermes, “The world’s leading Gospel scholar”, who “separates the myth from the historical facts of Jesus’s life.” The article’s tagline is, “[W]hen you strip away all the pious fiction, what is left of the real Jesus?”

Mr. Vermes then gives a nicely nuanced portrait of Jesus, briefly deflating the piety of Christmas (which I, too, find quite distracting from the real message of salvation among us). He then gives us a whirlwind tour, in very few paragraphs, of what to him are the essentials of the Gospels.

As a sophisticated and learned type, Geza Vermes is not really a Fluffy Bunny Christian. And yet, he is, as, in the entirety of this popular synthesis of the life and times of Jesus, there is not one word about salvation. Not one word about how He is the way, and that no one will come to the Father but through Jesus. Not one word about sin and judgment, as in, Jesus telling us He loves us, but to repent and sin no more. And, oh yes, how he will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.

Jesus’ earthly message of love and healing are marvelous. He will be peace; He is peace. But Mr. Vermes focuses on this message to the exclusion of Jesus’ other, more important message of salvation. I do not know what this author, “The world’s leading Gospel scholar”, actually believes. If this article is indicative, he would fit right in to the so-called mainline Protestant churches, and sit in the pews with the well-dressed Fluffy Bunny Christians. In which pews sin does not matter, and there are no bad thoughts, and we shall all be saved because we are so darned well-meaning.

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