THIS ISN'T SUNDAY SCHOOL
Each study is provided in a format to help non-trained Bible
scholars understand scholarly studies of the Bible (From a historical
perspective). My goal is to make you think. Please leave your questions and
WHO IS GOD? (INTRO)
Brett A. Todd
January 25, 2023
I took a little break from my little blog, “This Is Not Sunday School”. Now I'm ready to start writing again and I hope you are ready to read and think. In the next few articles, I will attempt to answer the question, “Who is God?” The question might seem easy to answer, but it is not. The question is bigger and more complicated than what one has been taught in Sunday school. However, before I begin, I have been reminded that for some, my articles are a little controversial, and maybe, a little heretical. So, before I approach the question, “Who is God?” I want to want to discuss my historical approach and maybe even ease the minds of those who may think my articles are controversial or even heretical.
I don't want to get into the details of my education, but my studies hail from Trinity and Northwestern University/Garrett Evangelical Seminary. Northwestern University and Garrett-Evangelical Seminary are sister higher educational institutions with strong Methodists roots. Professors in the field of Hebrew and New Testament, and theology are shared by both institutions. My mentor was Robert Jewett, a world-renowned New Testament scholar, who was also the New Testament scholar at the prestigious University of Tubingen, in Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany. My theology professor was James E. Will, he was a student of Paul Tillich. Dr. Will and Dr. Jewett have had a big impact on my research in New Testament studies and Philosophical Theology. Therefore, It should surprise no one that I am a Hegelian New Testament scholar at heart. Another field of study I spend an insurmountable time in is New Testament Textual Criticism. Daily, I am translating and examining ancient manuscripts, it is my passion. We will talk more about this down the road. I also work with several biblical languages as well as Spanish and English. My Greek professors use to tell me my Greek was better than my English. I don't know if that was criticism or praise, but probably a little of both. Hopefully, this will give you a blueprint of my thinking and writings.
Concerning the nature of my writings. Are they controversial and heretical? Well, that depends on who you ask. I know that I have been written off by Evangelical Bible Thumpers who may think I'm incarnate of the devil, and that is okay, whatever. However, it is important to understand that what I have and will share in my articles are the very things that have been taught in mainline seminaries for over a hundred years. This means if your pastor attended a United Methodist, United Church of Christ, Evangelical Lutheran Church, United Presbyterian Church, Episcopalian, etc. seminary they were taught these same things I have been sharing with you. Now, whether they were listening or not in their classes, is another story. I'm also aware that some pastors are afraid to teach what they were taught in seminary for fear of losing their job. Either way, for a pastor not to share and use what they were taught in seminary, is really a disgrace and it is also a big part of why so many churches today are dying. COVID is not the problem, the problem is that too many pastors and churches are still living in Sunday school.
What is my approach to the Bible? I use what is called the historical approach. What I mean by this is that I look at the Bible in light of all the evidence to understand and interpret the Bible. For example, did Matthew the tax collector write the Book of Matthew? By looking at all the evidence from the Book of Matthew, the answer is quite clear, no. Matthew did not write the Gospel of Matthew. In fact, we don’t know who wrote any of the four Gospels.
So, are my articles controversial and maybe even heretical? For those who want to continue living in Sunday school, the answer is maybe. But for those who want to hear what the Bible has in store for seeking minds, the answer is no. Rather, it is a whole new world of learning, discovery, and excitement.