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The God of Jesus

What Did Jesus Really Believe?

June 23–24, 2017
Waterford, Michigan

The writers of the Christian gospels expressed their beliefs in Jesus while relaying little about Jesus’ own beliefs. What did Jesus believe about the nature of God, the vision of the Kingdom of God, and the reality of God in life? Who was the God of Jesus? In this Jesus Seminar on the Road, David Galston and Bernard Brandon Scott introduce the historical Jesus, focus on his vision as relayed through parables, and seek to enliven theology today with the God of Jesus.

Photo of Bernard Brandon Scott

Bernard Brandon Scott (Ph.D., Vanderbilt University) is the Darbeth Distinguished Professor Emeritus of New Testament at the Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa, Oklahoma. A charter member of the Jesus Seminar, he is the author of several books including The Real Paul (2015) and Re-Imagine the World (2001).

Photo of David Galston

David Galston (Ph.D., McGill University) is Executive Director of the Westar Institute, a University Chaplain, and Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario. He is the author of Embracing the Human Jesus (2013) and God’s Human Future (2016).

Program Details

Introducing the Historical Jesus

The Christian gospels offer theologies about Jesus. They do not reflect verbatim reports of what the Jesus of history had to say. Fortunately, the gospels preserve traces of what Jesus really said. This session will introduce the scholarly background and techniques that allow a distinction to be made between the Christian gospel and gospel of the historical Jesus.
Friday evening, 7:30–9 pm

The Parables as Jesus-Speak

Jesus conveyed his vision of the “Kingdom of God” in parables. For centuries, parables have been misunderstood as illustrations of ethical or unethical behavior or as allegories about heaven. Overcoming this misunderstanding is central to hearing how Jesus speaks and how his vision of God’s reality comes to life in common, every day occurrences.
Saturday, 9:30–10:30 am

The God of Jesus in Parable

Does the God of Jesus reside in heaven? What, according to Jesus, is the point of believing in God? Is it about getting to heaven? The parables are striking in their use of hyperbole, paradox, and irony to displace God from heaven. Jesus typically imagines the reality of God in everyday images of vulnerability. When it comes to the God of Jesus, parables change everything.
Saturday, 11 am – noon

Theology with the God of Jesus

Common expressions of Christian theology tend to involve the majesty of God and the sinful weakness of human beings. The God of Jesus offers a different view. He challenges traditional notions of God by finding the reality of God in the actions of our enemies, symbols of uncleanliness, the folly of our greed, and the vulnerability of individuals. How might Jesus’ God change theology today?
Saturday, 1:30–2:30 pm

Question and Answer Period

Galston and Scott host a period of short reflections and an opportunity to ask deeper questions.
Saturday, 3–4 pm


Bethel United Church of Christ

Local Contact and Information

All events at:

Bethel United Church of Christ
6650 Elizabeth Lake Rd.
Waterford, MI 48327

For local information, contact:

Rev. Dr. Diane Baker
Office: (248) 682-9240


All Sessions

  • Individual Rate $75
  • Pre-registration Rate (by June 9th extended to June 22nd) $60
  • Additional Family Members $50

Single Sessions

  • Friday Evening Lecture $20
  • Saturday Morning Workshop $30
  • Saturday Afternoon Workshop $30

Refunds are available until two weeks before the event if requested in writing, minus a $10 administrative fee. No refunds will be given after that date.