The best lie is a half-truth. To negate it, is to negate the truth it contains, while to affirm it, bolsters the lie. The greatest lie in our culture is: “Jesus was a simply a great teacher.” I wish I had a nickel for every polite (but wrong) agnostic or atheist who has ever said this to me.
It’s wishful thinking because it’s not true. Read the gospel of Mark and select only the teachings of Jesus, you will find the gospel to be pitifully slim. Or read the gospel of John, which is known to be content-laden with conversation. If you read it wide awake, you will find a good deal of direct instruction to his followers–the apostles. You also find much of the conversation to be prayer to His Father. Yes, there is some teaching in the gospels–but there is a lot of simple exhortation. No one ever says, “Jesus was a great teacher, and he said the Son of God.” Somehow the big points in his teachings go missing.
In fact, in the gospels Jesus more noteworthy as
1) a rabble-rouser who also created problems with most religious leaders
2) a miracle-worker – of all kinds of miracles
3) a living fulfillment of many Jewish prophecies
4) the only man in history who got up from a brutal death and ascended into heaven, as witnessed by more than 500 people. (Why doesn’t this make the Guinness book?) C. S. Lewis adds: “…He was never regarded as a mere moral teacher. He did not produce that effect on any of the people who actually met him. He produced mainly three effects—Hatred—Terror—Adoration. There was no trace of people expressing mild approval.”