However, sometimes, the likes of Borg doth critically protest too much. Like this:
“The notion of Jesus’ death as a substitute for our sins was not found in the first 1000 years of Christianity.”
Although it does not have a line-for-line spelling out, I'd argue that, say, the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed does:
he was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate
who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven
No, actually, it goes back to two of the three Synoptics. Here's Matthew 20:28, which is paralleled by Mark 10:45:
Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
If Jesus as social crusader was that successful, why did Paul feel the need to hijack this idea of Christianity? And, if it were not, why did he think this was the best budding away from the rootstock of Judaism into which to graft (punning on Romans) his take on Jesus?
Jesus matters for Christians because he was for us the decisive disclosure of God.
Ahh, process or depth theology. Shouldn't it be capitalized as "Decisive Disclosure," like "Ground of Being"? What does that even mean?
In reality, not a lot.
This is also why, in both critical and conservative Christianity, systematic theology is supposed to be a separate field from exegesis.
None of this is to deny that Borg was among scholars who has pushed for reinterpreting Jesus as a crusader for social reform, and just what he was challenging, including looking at Jesus' parables and sayings in a new, fresh light.
In that sense, yes, maybe he did get a lot of people to look at Jesus again for the first time, as noted here.
But, he never explained how the Jesus as perhaps accurately construed by the Jesus Seminar got trumped by Jesus the dying-rising Savior God.
That said, this is not the first time I've talked about liberal Christianity's wrongness. In the past, I mentioned that liberal Christianity, as well as even secularists, were wrong in claiming there's nothing outrightly anti-gay in the Old Testament, and making an even stronger claim to that end about the New Testament.
Final note. For anybody who claims there's one "pure" version of any or all of the great global religions, this blog post shows just how wrong you are about Christianity.
For Islam, considering the Sunni-Shi'ite split pretty much hardened by 75 years after Muhammad's death, you're wrong there.
And in Buddhism, assuming a historical Siddhartha Gautama, the forerunner of the Theravada-Mahayana split had started within a century of his death.