by Donald T. Williams
Jude wants us to "contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints" (1:3). In much New Testament scholarship today, you will find an unquestioned and unsupported assumption underlying the whole enterprise: that Jesus brought no theology with him at all, but his followers, in a long process, evolved many understandings of him which were reduced to one by arbitrary power at the Council of Nicaea in 325. Yet here is a voice from the 60s of the first century saying that the faith was not evolved from scratch but that there was a substantial and recognizable core of it that was delivered to the saints.
Now, who is likely to have a better understanding of what actually happened in the early Church: a scholar speculating about it two thousand years later or someone who was actually there? Maybe it's just me, but I trust Jude more than I do Bart Ehrman on this point.
Donald T. Williams Ph.D., is R. A. Forrest Scholar at Toccoa Falls College. He is the author of eleven books, most recently Deeper Magic: The Theology Behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis (Square Halo Books, 2016) and An Encouraging Thought: The Christian Worldview in the Writings of J. R. R. Tolkien (Christian Publishing House, 2018). He is a member of University Church, an interdenominational house church in Athens, Georgia.