Tertullian’s Challenge to Marcion

This week I’ve been reading some Tertullian when I’ve had the chance. Gotta quote his opening to book five from Against Marcion:

If you challenge us to your belief, (pray) tell us what things constitute its basis. Either prove the truth of what you believe, or failing in your proof, (tell us) how you believe. Else what conduct is yours, believing in opposition to Him from whom alone comes the proof of that which you believe? Take now from my point of view the apostle, in the same manner as you have received the Christ—the apostle shown to be as much mine as the Christ is. And here, too, we will fight within the same lines, and challenge our adversary on the mere ground of a simple rule, that even an apostle who is said not to belong to the Creator-nay, is displayed as in actual hostility to the Creator—can be fairly regarded as teaching nothing, knowing nothing, wishing nothing in favour of the Creator whilst it would be a first principle with him to set forth another god with as much eagerness as he would use in withdrawing us from the law of the Creator. It is not at all likely that he would call men away from Judaism without showing them at the same time what was the god in whom he invited them to believe; because nobody could possibly pass from allegiance to the Creator without knowing to whom he had to cross over. For either Christ had already revealed another god—in which case the apostle’s testimony would also follow to the same effect, for fear of his not being else regarded as an apostle of the god whom Christ had revealed, and because of the impropriety of his being concealed by the apostle who had been already revealed by Christ—or Christ had made no such revelation concerning God; then there was all the greater need why the apostle should reveal a God who could now be made known by no one else, and who would undoubtedly be left without any belief at all, if he were revealed not even by an apostle. We have laid down this as our first principle, because we wish at once to profess that we shall pursue the same method here in the apostle’s case as we adopted before in Christ’s case, to prove that he proclaimed no new god; that is, we shall draw our evidence from the epistles of St. Paul himself. Now, the garbled form in which we have found the heretic’s Gospel will have already prepared us to expect to find the epistles also mutilated by him with like perverseness—and that even as respects their number.

Roberts, A., Donaldson, J., & Coxe, A. C. (1997). The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. III : Translations of the writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325 (430–431).  Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems.

  • David Starling

    The opening to Book I is good in a whole different way:

    ‘…Nothing, however, in Pontus is so barbarous and sad as the fact that Marcion was born there, fouler than any Scythian, more roving than the waggon-life of the Sarmatian, more inhuman than the Massagete, more audacious than an Amazon, darker than the cloud, (of Pontus) cooler than its winter, more brittle than its ice, more deceitful than the Ister, more craggy than Caucasus…’

    They just don’t write polemics like that these days!

  • Rey Jacobs

    “Tertullian’s Challenge to Marcion”

    You do realize that Tertullian wrote all this like 40 years after Marcion’s death, right? He obviously didn’t expect Marcion to come back from the grave and answer the challenge. Its pure polemics.

  • Rey Jacobs

    What I prefer, however, in Tertullian’s book 5 opening is where Tertullian is obviously paraphrasing a little Justin Martyr with the whole “Who is this Paul that Marcion keeps claiming is an apostle? I’ve never heard of this guy.” Because there we get a glimpse of what the ‘orthodox’ in Marcion’s time actually were thinking.

  • Col

    It was in the early decades of the twentieth century, and at a time when the European churches were again finding any link with the Jewish people onerous, that Marcionism had its greatest revival. Adolph von Harnack wrote:

    If one carefully thinks through with Paul and Marcion the contrast between “the righteousness that is by faith” and “the righteousness that is by works” and is persuaded also of the inadequacy of the means by which Paul thought he could maintain the canonical recognition of the Old Testament, consistent thinking will not be able to tolerate the validity of the Old Testament as canonical documents within the Christian church.

    Jews and Judaism were not ignored, they provided the antithesis of their faith. “Paul”, Harnack wrote, “held fast to an indefinite compromise with Jewish convictions; and that, instead of carrying the fight along the whole line, he on important points yielded to the Jew in the Jewish Christian-not from cowardice or insincerity, but because the Jew in himself was still too strong”. Harnack also considered Marcion to be “the first Protestant.”

    These ideas were further expounded upon by Emanuel Hirsch, who taught church history, New Testament and systematic theology at Guttingen University in the 1930s and 40s. In Das alte Testament und die Predigt des Evangeliums he wrote that even before he went to university, he had already recognized the Old Testament as “no Christian book”, and was therefore unsurprised when his professors expressed the same point of view. His motivation here was religious. In a further embrace of Marcionism, Hirsch stated that “honesty required a giving up of the New Testament use of prophecy as proof”.

    This Hegelian view of thesis/antithesis was also applied to this area by Kierkegaard, whose own work was then quoted by Emanuel Hirsch, “Christianity could have had no other religion as precursor, for no other but Judaism could establish, by means of negation, so definitely, so decisively what Christianity is”. While used in a different context, the words of Adolf Hitler also reflect this mythological antithesis: “The Jew offers the most striking contrast to the Aryan”.

    Some fear that Marcionism is again rearing its ugly head in these days.

    • Rey Jacobs

      @Col,

      Its not Marcionism that’s the cause of antisemitism. Its the Pauline Epistles that are the case of antisemitism. Even non-Marcionite Christians who accept Paul hate the Jews or at least hate JUDAISM as a present reality. They’re fine with glorifying Judaism in ancient times; but as a present reality they want it gone. Thus, on another blog, a Catholic said to me “Catholicism doesn’t want to remove Judaism from its HISTORY” — I said, not it doesn’t, but pre-Vatican II it wanted to remove Judaism from the PRESENT. Only recently did the Catholic church decide to view the “Old Covenant” as still salvific and valid for the Jews and therefore determine that they should stop ‘evangelizing’ the Jews. But the rest of Christianity lags behind them on this point and wants to exterminate Judaism by converting all the Jews to Christianity. This antisemtisim can’t be blamed on Marcion, but rather on his master PAUL and the morons who view Paul’s rantings as the word of God.

      • Col

        Hi there,
        I must confess to be rather taken aback by your response. The idea that Paul is the root of Christian anti-Semitism just does not ring true. Paul, who said Jesus came to confirm the promises to the patriarchs, who said he was on trial for the hope of Israel, who spoke of his undying love for the Jewish people, to the point where he would wish himself in hell if only they be saved, who collected offering from the gentiles to take to Jerusalem, who told the gentile Roman church that the Jews were beloved, and that all Israel would be saved, you think he is anti-Semitic?? Seriously?
        The Jewish Christians of the Nazarene church would not agree with you, as they rejoiced in Paul’s apostleship to the gentiles, and saw it as a fulfilment of prophecy. Jerome states; “The Nazarenes, whose opinion I have set forth above, try to explain this passage (Isaiah 9:1-4) in the following way: When Christ came and his preaching shone out, the land of Zebulon and Naphtali first of all were freed from the errors of the Scribes and Pharisees and he shook off their shoulders the very heavy yoke of the Jewish traditions. Later, however the preaching became more dominant, that means the preaching was multiplied, through the Gospel of the apostle Paul who was the last of all the apostles. And the Gospel of Christ shone to the most distant tribes and the way of the whole sea. Finally the whole world, which earlier walked or sat in darkness and was imprisoned in the bonds of idolatry and death, has seen the clear light of the Gospel.”
        Clearly the early Jewish church did not see Paul as anti-Jewish, and saw the mission to the gentiles as totally Biblical. Equally, the early Jewish Christians had clear differences with the parties of the Pharisees and Scribes.
        Christianity began as a messianic sect within Judaism. It should also be remembered that the Jewish community in the land of Israel at this time was itself already highly sectarian and divided. The ground rules for sectarian infighting and competition were already well understood by the time the Jewish followers of Jesus of Nazareth came on the scene. They were all claiming to be the “true Israel”, and attacking their opponents. Note also that while not all ethnic Israel was included in any one Judaism’s “true Israel” (Romans 9: 6, Sanhedrin 10:1), they were still generally acknowledged to be ‘ethnic’ Israel (Acts 18:6, Rosh Ha Shana 17a, Gittin 57a). R. Longenecker makes a highly pertinent point that in the New Testament, the Adversus Judaeos polemic was “an intra-family device used to win Jews to the Christian faith, in the second century it became anti-Semitic and was used to win Gentiles”. J. Carmichael comments that “What had been, for Paul, their error became, for the Church Fathers, their nature”.

        Marcion’s anti-Semitism was a response to and an ownership of the anti-Semitism current within gentile culture at the time. From the mid 60s (for example, in the writings of Persius and Seneca the Younger) through to the aftermath of the Bar Kochbar revolt, pagan Rome was in conflict with Jews and Judaism. The wave of anti-Jewish writers included Quintilian, Martial, Plutarch, Tacitus and Juvenal. Vespasian placed a special tax on all Jews, while popular feeling towards the Jews was so strong after the Jewish war (66-74 CE) that Titus was forced to cancel his marriage to Bernice. The Jewish Diaspora uprisings of 115-117 CE (the “Trajan war”) greatly increased the popular resentment of Jews generally. Hadrian also came to be anti-Jewish, re-imposing the Jewish tax, and outlawing the Jewish feasts, Sabbaths, and Torah study.

        Interestingly, Synope, where Marcion came from was also where Rabbi Akiva’s disciple and gentile convert Aquilla translated his version of the Old Testament, using Akiva’s hyper literal approach (to the point of translating the “et”s in the Hebrew). Akiva also rejected the proof from prophecy idea, and so Marcion took these approaches and used them in an anti-Jewish fashion.

        Both Marcionism and Gnosticism were moves within gentile Christianity aimed at distancing Christianity from Judaism. Indeed, H. Jonas has written; “the nature of the relation of Gnosticism to Judaism in itself an undeniable fact is defined by the anti-Jewish animus with which it is saturated”. The true tragedy is that in combating Marcionism and Gnosticism, the gentile church chose to adopt much of their anti-Semitic platform (because it was so popular with gentiles). They retained the Jewish scriptures by means of damning the Jewish people. This most definitely was a sin which needs to be repented of, but please, don’t blame Paul, who loved Israel and wished himself cursed for their sake, for it.

        • Rey Jacobs

          When you condemn all Jews to hell unless they convert to your religion. When you say they don’t understand their own scriptures. When you say you want Judaism to cease to exist via all of them converting to your religion. When you say their religion can do nothing but damn because it involves works. That’s antisemitism.

          Now, Marcion, on the other hand, according to Tertullian taught that not only are there two gods but two Christs. He taught that Jesus is the Christ of the higher god and saves Christians but the Christ that the Jews expect was still going to come and save the Jews! In other words, he taught a two-track salvation. He taught that the Jewish Covenant is valid for Jews and the Christian Covenant valid for Christians, that each has his own god and his own covenant, his own Christ and his own salvation. That’s not antisemitism — that’s ecumenism.

          In contrast, Tertullian and the ‘orthodox’ taught and teach instead that the Jews are wrong and stupid, unspiritual, they are carnal and don’t understand their own book. You see the Christ that the “Old Testament” talks about isn’t a political figure like those stupid moron Jews stupidly think — no he’s a puresly spiritual figure who isn’t a warrior at all, that’s just allegory.

          Now, whose views do you think would be more offensive to a real living and breathing Jew (the kind that Christians don’t like; they like Jews in history books but living breathing Jews not so much) — which view would a real-life Jew find more offensive?

          Would a real life Jew be more offended by Marcion saying “You’ve got your god and we’ve got ours. You’ve got your book and we’ve got ours. You’ve got your covenant and we’ve got ours. You’ve got your Christ and we’ve got ours. Leave us alone and we’ll leave you alone. We won’t condemn you; just don’t interfere with us.”?

          Or

          Would a real life Jew be more offended by Tertullian and orthodox Christianity’s view, “You’re all carnal morons who don’t even understand your own Old Testament. The Christ is not a warrior but a spiritual savior! And the whole of the Old Testament was only temporary pointing to this spiritual savior which you ungratebuly sons of b****s crucified!”

          Which view is antisemitic? Yours not Marcion’s.

          In fact, Marcion had some affinity with the Jews in his interpretation of the Old Testament, to such an extent that Tertullian plagiarizes from himself and reuses large sections of text from Tertullian’s “Against the Jews” in his “Against Marcion.” (That Tertullian, the champion of orthodoxy, even wrote a treatise called “Against the Jews” shows the antisemitism of orthodoxy. As I said the orthodoxy position is that they want the Jews to cease to exist, for Judaism to become only a thing of history, via all the Jews converting to Christianity. They’re OK with Judaism as a historical artifact but not with co-existing with Jews.)

          People like you are IGNORANT of church history from the firsthand sources. You read a wikipedia article on Marcion or maybe an article in the Catholic Encyclopedia but you’ve never read Tertullian’s works, neither his “Against the Jews” nor his “Against Marcion,” and are thus IGNORANT of what Marcion said and what Tertullian said. As a result you put out the IGNORANT line of the orthodox establishment that Marcion was antisemitic and Tertullian loved the Jews, when its reverse. Marcion was ecumenical — Tertullian hated the Jews.

          • Col

            Hi, I was never trying to defend Tertullian! Many Church fathers were anti-Semitic, and that is inexcusable. Paul, however was not anti-Semitic. The argument gets back to what is true. If Jesus, as Paul believed, was the promised Messiah, then how was telling Jews about him anti-Semitic? Paul says his heart’s desire for Israel is that they be saved, how is that anti-Semitic, that he could wish himself accursed if only they be saved.
            Clearly, the coming of the Messiah would change everything, Gentiles would be included in the blessings of God etc.
            While Marcion may not have been anti-Semitic (we lack any of his own writings except as they are presented to us through his opponents), I do believe the basic motivation for separating the church from Judaism was anti-Semitic. Furthermore, the the recent expressions of Marcionism, in Nazi Germany and with the “Palestinian liberation theology” are clearly anti-Semitic.
            Paul taught that the gentile believers were indebted to the Jewish people, and should bless them, just as Pharaoh blessed Jacob for the gift of Joseph.

        • Rey Jacobs

          “They retained the Jewish scriptures by means of damning the Jewish people. This most definitely was a sin which needs to be repented of, but please, don’t blame Paul, who loved Israel and wished himself cursed for their sake, for it.”

          This damning of the Jewish people was not from the Gnostics but from Paul. Marcion, as I said did not damn them. Go read Tertullian’s “Against Marcion.” It is Paul who damned them by saying constantly over and over “the works of the Law cannot save.” There is your antisemitism. To Marcion the works of the Law were good enough to save the Jews just not the Gentiles. But even if you will fight this interpretation of Marcion, you must ADMIT that Paul is the cause of the Gnostics. The Gnostics came from Paul. Paul’s constant insistence that the Law cannot save is what made the Gnostics REPEAT that. The Gnostics didn’t invent the idea that the Jews can’t be saved by their own covenant — they were repeating Paul. So, yes, it is Paul and the idiots who believe Paul’s writings are from God who get the blame..

  • Rey Jacobs

    What I respect in Marcionism is the admission that the Old Testament prophecies aren’t about Jesus, because they clearly are not. Isaiah 7 and Micah 5 are clearly not about the same child. Contextually, Isaiah 7 is about Hezekiah; Micah 5 is about Zorobabel. That’s not the same guy! And it isn’t Jesus either! But Marcion made the wrong choice when he figured this out. He decided to try and remain a Christian without the Old Testament, when he should have decided to kick Christianity to the curb and become a Jew.

  • Rey Jacobs

    And this is how Paul fits in. Paul condemned all Jews who would not convert to Christianity — in fact he condemned all Jews who DID convert to Christianity if they converted to Petrine rather than Pauline Christianity. Its also Paul who says in 1st Thessalonians 2:15 that the Jews “both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men” which is the ultimate in antisemitic statements! So don’t give me that crap that Paul is not the father of Christian antisemitism! He is the father of orthodoxy and thus of antisemitism, because they orthodox concept that there is only one way, Paul’s way or hell is by definition antisemitism. Marcion actually saw the Jewish covenant as still valid for the Jews, much like the modern Catholic position which is less than 10 years old that the “Old Covenant” is still salvific for the Jews and they need not convert. Paul would condemn EVERYONE who holds that position. Paul would not only condemn the Jews but he’d condemn the Pope for saying the Jews don’t have to convert! But Marcion wouldn’t — Marcion would agree with the Pope that the Jews need not convert — they’ve got their own Christ and their own salvation he would say.

  • Col

    Hi there,
    I am rather surprised by your comments, as you seem to be generally taking an Orthodox Jewish position in this thread. Old Testament prophecies aren’t about Jesus? While that is an Orthodox Jewish position, the reason for it is quite different and in fact opposite the reason you give. The Talmud, in Berachot 34B states; R. Hiyya b. Abba also said in the name of R. Johanan: “All the prophets prophesied only for the days of the Messiah.” That is, the argument is on whether Jesus fulfils these prophecies, on whether or not he is the messiah, not on whether these prophecies relate to the messiah, as you seem to be arguing. Orthodox Judaism joyfully asserts/affirms that these prophecies do indeed relate to the messiah, and the debate starts from there.
    As with many prophecies, Isaiah 7 has both an immediate, incomplete fulfilment, which serves to authenticate the prophecy, and also a longer, complete fulfilment in the Messiah. Clearly the initial fulfilment concerns a child born in Isaiah’s day, but that hardly exhausts or does justice to this prophetic word. The original meaning was telling Ahaz not to fear (and as a result, rely on Assyria) because God was with him. Within just a few years, the dual threats of Israel and Syria would be gone. That the child initially referenced was Hezekiah is doubtful due to the dating of the passage, nor is it suggested within the passage. In any event, Ahaz rejected the advice, and Assyria devastated Israel and much of Judah. Hardly the final proof that God is with us!
    Another child would however be born to a virgin, a child whose origins are eternal (Olam, as in Adon Olam), that child would also be a descendant of David, making them a legitimate claimant to the messianic title. That child, unlike Zerubabel, this child was also born, as Micah prophesied, in Bethlehem, and his origins were eternal. Likewise, the Rabbinic expository work, The Priestly Gift says, “The last saviour is the Messiah, the son of David, who is descended from Judah’s son Perez… This is the Messiah who will soon appear, because it is written of him that, ‘One who breaks open the way will go up before them.” Here a prophecy initially intended for Hezekiah is seen as also refering to the messiah (the text was written way after Hezekiah’s reign).
    Interestingly, Leviticus Rabbah, 30 says; “The word generations (תּוֹלְדוֹת) whenever it occurs in the Bible is spelt defectively, and for a very significant reason. Thus the word is spelt fully [with a vav] in the case of ‘these are the generations of the heaven and of the earth’, because when God created His world, there was no Angel of Death in the world, and on this account is it fully spelt; but as soon as Adam and Eve sinned, God made defective all the generations mentioned in the Bible. But when Perez arose, his generations were spelt fully again, because from him the Messiah would arise, and in his days God would cause death to be swallowed up, as it says, ‘He will swallow up death forever’” Here the Messiah is seen as a universal saviour, and a scripture describing God is applied to him.
    Genesis Rabbah 12:6 adds that the vav corresponds to the six things (the numeric value of vav) that Adam was created with, yet through his sin were lost or spoiled, i.e., his lustre, his immortality, his height, the fruit of the earth, the fruit of trees and the luminaries. Verses are quoted to show;
    a. that Adam originally had these in full,
    b. that as a result of the fall he lost them, and
    c. that the Messiah will restore them.
    So again, the issue is not mis-use of scripture, but is Jesus the Messiah – if he is, then all these prophecies rightly apply to him.

  • Col

    Hullo again!
    Deuteronomy 18:15 says “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him.” Again, the only question is, is Jesus the messiah? – If he is, then clearly ignoring him is to disobey God. Jesus himself came to bless Israel (Acts 3:26), the angel said to Mary “But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.
    You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” What is anti-Jewish about that?
    A final point, the Law is not Israel – the Jewish people are the descendants of Abraham, not Moses. Jesus is the only one who could give a new commandment to Israel, see john 13:34; 4 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
    The idea of the Messiah as lawgiver goes right back to Genesis 49:10, where “ruler’s staff” (וּמְחֹקֵק) can also mean “lawgiver” . This suggests that while expressing eternal truths, the Torah in its present form was only given for a certain time, until the Messianic age, where there would be Messianic Torah

    “The world is to exist 6,000 years. In the first 2,000 years there was desolation [no Torah]. 2,000 years Torah flourished; the next 2,000 years is the Messianic age.” Sanhedrin 97a
    “The Torah which man learns in this world is but vanity compared with the teaching of the Messiah.” Midrash Qohelet 71:8.
    “”The thought of the Torah changing in the ‘Age to Come’ is again made perfectly clear in the rendering of Deuteronomy 17:18, in Sifra. Here it is stated that the Lord wrote a copy of the Mishna-Torah for Himself, and that He would not be content with the Mishna-Torah of the fathers. The question is asked: ‘why does He say Mishna [from the root shana, to repeat] -Torah? Because it is destined to be changed.”
    There are a number of hints as to how this will occur.

    1). through simplification;
    Moses was given 613 precepts; of these there are 365 (thou shalt) in accordance with the number of days in the year, and 248 (thou shalt not) according to the number of bones in a man’s body… Came David and cut them down to eleven (Psalm 15)… Came Isaiah and cut them down to six (Isaiah 33:15-16)… Came Micah and cut them to three (Micah 6:8)… Isaiah came back and cut them down to two (Isaiah 61:1)… Came Habakkuk and cut them to one, as it is written (Habakkuk 2:4), ‘the righteous shall live by faith’.

    This prophecy is fulfilled in the gospel of Jesus Christ; “For in this gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘the righteous shall live by faith’” Romans 1:17.

    2). Through the giving of a new law.
    Yalqut Isaiah [26, siman 296] states that, “The Holy One – may He be blessed – will sit and draw up a new Torah for Israel, which will be given to them by the Messiah”.

    This was fulfilled in John 13:34, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another just as I have loved you.” No one but the Messiah could give a new commandment.

    3). Through the closure of the sacrificial system, and its attendant regulations.
    This is taught on the Midrash on the inauguration of Aaron’s priesthood; “‘In the Time to Come all sacrifices will be annulled, but that of thanksgiving will not be annulled, and all prayers will be annulled, but [that of] Thanksgiving will not be annulled.’”

    This was fulfilled in the sacrifice of Jesus, “Unlike the other High Priests, He has no need to offer sacrifices day after day … this He did once and for all when He offered Himself” Hebrews 7:27. Concerning the point of the continuation of the sacrifice of thanksgiving, see Hebrews 13:15.

    4). Through the abolition of dietary laws.
    The Midrash on Psalm 146:7 states that even the laws of kashrut (diet) will be abolished ”’The Lord sets the prisoners free’… What does this ‘setting free of prisoners’ mean?.. in the future the Holy one will make all unclean animals fit for eating.”

    This was fulfilled in Mark 7:19, “thus He declared all foods clean” .

    5). By leading us out from the realm of the Torah (Micah 2:13).
    The Rabbis taught that the jurisdiction of the Torah ended with death. “And thus R. Johanan said, ‘What is meant by the verse, Among the dead [I am] free? Once a man dies, he becomes free of the Torah and good deeds.’” Shabbat 30a. This is also taught elsewhere; “Our Rabbis taught: A garment in which [both linen and wool threads are woven may not be worn by the living] … but it may be made into a shroud for a corpse. R. Joseph observed: This implies that the commandments will be abolished in the Hereafter. Said Abaye (or as some say R. Dimi) to him: But did not R. Manni in the name of R. Jannai state, ‘This was learnt only in regard to the time of the lamentations but for burial this is forbidden’? — The other replied: But was it not stated in connection with it, ‘R. Johanan ruled: Even for burial’? And thereby R. .Johanan followed his previously expressed view, for R. Johanan stated: ‘What is the purport of the Scriptural text, Free among the dead? As soon as a man dies he is free from the commandments’”. Mas. Nidah 61b Thus in the resurrection life, we are not under the law.
    Thus the resurrected Jesus is no longer under the law, and as we follow Him (Micah 2:13), so we also are led out from it. This is the teaching in Romans 7:4 So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God.
    How is any of this anti-Jewish??

  • Rey Jacobs

    Col, you can live in fairy tale land all you want, but the doctrine that the Jews have to become Christians or burn in hell (Paul’s doctrine) is the doctrine that fuels antisemtism. Big deal Paul and the church are OK with keeping the Jews in the history books. They hate Jews in the real world because they hate their way of life – Judaism. Judaism that says “live right” rather than “just believe in this mythology about a dying and rising godman and then go **** your neighbor’s wife with impunity” offends Paul because he wants to **** his neighbor’s wife with impunity. After 26 years of Christianity (or Paulianity) I am convinced this is the case not only of Paul but Christians in general. They hate the Law simply because it imposed moral requirements that they want to avoid. This doctrine that unless you believe in the Christian mythology you will burn in hell no matter how good a life you live, and that if you believe in the Christian mythology you will go to heaven no matter how bad a life you live — quite frankly its not only antisemitic but antihuman. It fosters hate towards everyone who isn’t Christian, and even more insideously, everyone who isn’t your type of Christian. Paul is disingenuous when he says “I COULD wish myself accursed for Israel” — he ‘could’ as anyone ‘could’ but he obviously doesn’t. He says “I wish all Israel could be saved” in the same way that a racist white might say “I love black people; I even have some black friends,” or a racist black who hates whites says he’s not racist just hate racists (but he is racist because in his mind he thinks all whites are racist and thus he hates them all). People lie, Col, and Paul’s doctrine proves he is lying when he claims he loves Israel, just as it proves he is lying when he claims to be an ex-Pharisee. Christianity fosters hate of anyone who doesn’t accept its mythology, plain and simple. Judaism on the other hand recognizes that Gentiles who live morally will be saved, the so-called Noachides who keep the so-called 7 laws of Noah. As to absolution of dietary laws and sacrifices and so on, the prophets themselves did this long before Jesus came along, so claiming that Christianity is superior to Judaism for these ‘advances’ is a croc. It may be the the majority didn’t listen to the prophets for a while, but ultimately they have. And the more the Jews listen to the prophets and reject those aspects of Judaism that seem silly, the more irrelevant Christianity becomes — if you can be a Jew without sacrifices and dietary restrictions, why bother with the Christian mythology and the idiotic and endless wranglings about faith vs works that Paul introduced?

  • Col

    Hi again,
    I am sorry you feel so angry, but also know that some Christians do not live as they should, and as Paul says, because of them God’s name is blasphemed. I still don’t think you can blame Paul for this – he says to flee immorality, not to touch a woman, and condemns those who say he is preaching a lax gospel; “Why not say–as we are being slanderously reported as saying and as some claim that we say–“Let us do evil that good may result”? Their condemnation is deserved.”

    Paul totally demanded morality from Christians. The point is, Paul taught that living a moral life was insufficient to cover our sins, which is what the sacrificial system was pointing to. But he also taught that once forgiven, we should lead holy lives. This is also the teaching of the Old Testament. Abraham came before Moses (faith before Law). In the Law, sacrifices come before commandments. Most importantly, the Feast of Passover comes before the feast of Unleavened Bread. You don’t tidy up your life so you are worthy to kill the lamb, the Lamb is slain, then, the next day, the Feast of unleavened bread begins. Paul makes note of this; 1Corinthians 5:7-11 “Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast–as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth. I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people– not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.” Paul is hardly being soft on sin here!! He is saying we cannot earn the blood of Jesus, but that the second we have accepted that sacrifice, we must immediately live holy lives and get rid of the old leaven of sin, not to become God’s children, but because we are God’s children.

    Also regarding sacrifices, Hosea prophecies (3:4-5) “For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or idol. Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the LORD and to his blessings in the last days.” They live many days without a king, sacrifice or priest because they rejected Jesus who is their king, sacrifice and priest. Again, David prophesied of the Messiah, The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” (Psalm 110:4). Regarding the Messiah as sacrifice, read Isaiah 53, and look at Zechariah; “they shall look on him who they have pierced.”

    Paul does note the blessing of having sins forgiven, and quotes King David here. David molested Bathsheba and had her husband killed. Clearly this was a disgusting sin, and God calls him on it. David confesses his sin (Psalm 51) and is forgiven. Does this offend you?
    Again, I am sorry you have experienced ungodly Christians, they are smoke in the eyes and sand in the throat.
    Take care,
    Col