Thursday, April 5, 2012

Frazer on the Jefferson Bible and Easter

This note from Gregg Frazer was circa Easter 2009. One of the biggest problems with the self proclaimed "Christian" Thomas Jefferson is he disbelieved the resurrection. Many of the unitarians who, like Jefferson, understood themselves "Christians" did believe in the resurrection (just not of an Incarnate God). Indeed, even Joseph Priestley, Jefferson's guru, believed in the resurrection of Jesus.

A taste:

[A]ny account of the Gospels which cuts out the resurrection guts the core of Christianity. It's not just "another" passage or story which can be left out. Paul put it about as plainly as it could be put: "But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and IF CHRIST HAS NOT BEEN RAISED, THEN OUR PREACHING IS IN VAIN, YOUR FAITH ALSO IS VAIN. ... IF CHRIST HAS NOT BEEN RAISED, YOUR FAITH IS WORTHLESS; YOU ARE STILL IN YOUR SINS. ... IF WE HAVE HOPED IN CHRIST IN THIS LIFE ONLY, WE ARE OF ALL MEN MOST TO BE PITIED." [I Corinthians 15:13-19]

Jefferson some kind of Christian and "Life and Morals" an honest, soul-searching attempt to find the real Jesus and to understand Christianity? I don't think so.

As a Christian, I understand that my faith stands or falls on the validity of Christ's literal, bodily resurrection. Although I exult in it always, I will celebrate that reality with a special focus this weekend


Tom Van Dyke said...

Jefferson was not a "unitarian" in the sense the great majority of Founding era unitarians were. They saw Jesus as sent directly by God to deliver the Word of God to man.

I've seen no evidence that Jefferson believed the Bible was divinely inspired. To lump him in with the Founding era unitarians is to misunderstand what he was, and what they are.

Jonathan Rowe said...

May TJ shouldn't be lumped in with them. But he lumped himself in with them. He felt affinity towards them.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Jefferson also said

"I am of a sect by myself, as far as I know."

which is more accurate than any "lumping."

You might get him to Joseph Priestley, but they had fundamental differences as well. Neither was Priestley in theological harmony with the America unitarians of the Founding era.