A Reading from the Gnostic Gospel of James the Deacon

Jesus had to pass through Samaria, and as he walked with his disciples he was teaching them, saying, “I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery; and he who marries a divorced woman, commits adultery.  And adultery is the font of great evils.  For when an adulterous woman find herself with child, she will often go to the magicians and herbalists, who will give her a potion that causes her womb to drop and the child within her to die.  Therefore, if anyone would be my disciple, that one must be wise as a serpent to expose adultery and child murder to the light.  For what is done in the darkness is evil, but what is brought to light is light.”

As they walked on the way, Jesus looked ahead and saw Jacob’s well.  And behold, there was a woman of Samaria carrying a jar to fill with water.  And Jesus, knowing in his spirit who she was, said to Matthew, “Come here.”

Matthew said, “Here I am, Lord.”

Jesus said, “Matthew, go ahead of me and hide behind that bush near the well.  And whatsoever you hear pass between me and that woman, take down in writing.”  And Matthew did as Jesus said.

Then Jesus commanded his disciples to stay where they were and approached the woman at the well.  Now the woman was an adulteress.  She had had five husbands and the one she was with now was not her husband.  Moreover, she was now with child by that man. And the woman’s name was Abigail, daughter of Johanan.

And Jesus said to her, “My name is Jacob, and I perceive that you find me attractive.  Come and lie with me and I will be your husband and provide you a dwelling place all the days of your life.  Only this I ask: that you destroy the child in your womb that I need not give my inheritance to another man’s son.”

The woman was troubled in her spirit. She had lived a sinful life and destroyed five of her children. Moreover, she had learned pharmakeia from the herbalists and had given potions to many other women and destroyed their children as well, so that the anger of the Lord was heavy on her and she wrestled greatly in her heart about these things. But she feared she would soon be of the age when men do not love women, and even that day her husband had threatened to put her away. So seeing that Jesus was young and handsome, and had promised her a dwelling place all the days of her life, she agreed to meet Jesus at a certain place, that she might lie with him.  And she promised that before the Sabbath, she would destroy her child as Jesus commanded her to do.  Then she departed from that place to await Jesus at the appointed hour.

But Jesus, taking Matthew with him, did not go to meet her.  Instead, he went into the woman’s village and gathered all the townspeople together, including the man with whom she had conceived her child, and read aloud to them all that had passed between them, that he might expose the evil of adultery and the great crime of child murder to which she had agreed. And he told them of all the other children she had helped to slay.

And some in the village were troubled and said, “Did you not speak falsely to her?”

But Jesus answered them saying, “I was not lying but acting, even as the Greeks do in their theatres.  Moreover, because my purpose was to expose to daylight the great evil this woman was doing, what I did not was not a lie but the truth.”

And another person asked, “But did you not tempt her to do great evil in the eyes of the Lord?”

And Jesus said, “As long as I did not lie with her, I did not tempt her or do anything wrong. The evil was all in her heart and not in my words, which are truth. In the same way, when I persuaded her to kill her child, this was not evil on my part since she had already killed five other children and was hardened in her heart or she would not have given her consent. Therefore, it was an act of righteousness to persuade her to kill her sixth.  My word only exposed the evil in her heart.  I am without sin.”

And saying that, he took up a stone and said to the crowd. “Do thou likewise and follow me.”  And then he led them to where the Samaritan Woman was waiting and together they stoned her to death, even as the law of Moses prescribed.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Blessed is the man who is not afraid to get his hands dirty in the fight against evil.  And cursed is the man afraid to oppose evil by any means necessary. That one is a Pharisee and will not see the kingdom of heaven. For just as the Hebrew midwives lied to save lives and Tamar lay with Judah for the greater good, so you must also speak falsely to sinners and draw them more deeply into sin, as their sin deserves, that the righteous may expose and destroy them.  As I have done, so must you also do.”

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  • m e wood

    I can see now why gnosticism is evil. They say the devil appears as an angel of light don’t they!

    • Barfly_Kokhba

      Lucifer literally means ‘bearer of light’ (luz + fer) the same way that Christopher means “Christ-bearer” (Christ +fer)

      You didn’t know that the devil was a well-dressed, soft-spoken white man? He is God’s most favored angel, according to the book of Job and Jewish angelology.

      • Pete the Greek

        I always pictured the devil as a cleaned-up Tom Sizemore in a white suit with a cigar. Maybe that’s just me.

        • Dr. Eric

          I would guess one like Joel Osteen, speaking platitudes that tickle people’s ears.

          • Pete the Greek

            Oh come on! The devil at least has SOME class. 😛

  • Sean P. Dailey

    You guys do realize that this is not an actual Gnostic Gospel excerpt, don’t you?

    • ivan_the_mad

      They don’t gno about the gnosis.

      • bob cratchit

        who gnu?

        • ivan_the_mad

          Richard Stallman did. He hurd it from a friend.

          • billTuba

            No … we know it was compiled from several sources!
            Known collectively as C which contains the Kernel of Knuth, just ask Linus.

            • ivan_the_mad

              Ha! Were the sources open or closed?

  • Jason C.

    I LOL’d.

  • kmk

    From today’s Gospel (Mk 9:14-29):

    When he entered the house, his disciples asked him in private,
    “Why could we not drive the spirit out?”
    He said to them, “This kind can only come out through prayer.”

    Fasting and prayer… (Now I need to get off my backside and do so!)

  • Rachel K

    Mark, I get that you’re trying to make a rhetorical point here, but this is just obscene. And that’s coming from someone who agrees with you about LA.

    • chezami

      Rachel: There are, at this hour, people arguing over in Jimmy Akin’s comboxes that Jesus was a liar and using every every rationale I have put in the mouth of this false Jesus. The *real* obscenity is their arguments, not that I have mocked them.

      • Rachel K

        To argue this sort of thing sincerely is definitely *more* obscene–no question there. And maybe you’re completely right, and I’m being hypersensitive, and I’d be more able to see it if I were reading Jimmy Akin’s comboxes, and satirized obscenity doesn’t skirt real obscenity as closely as this feels to me. I just worry that by posting this, you’re coming close to the same trap as LA–exposing sin by resorting to it. (It’s hard to read tone on the Internet, but please know I’m not being angry and accusatory or “I’ll pray for you and the horse you came in on” here–I’m genuinely worried.)

  • Imp the Vladaler

    Note also that Jesus did not say “hey girl, I’m a single man with a bunch of followers who think I’m the cat’s pajamas. What do you have to offer me, if you know what I mean, and I think you do?”

    Lying is bad. But be careful with deception, too. Just because it’s not lying doesn’t mean that it’s not evil and not an offense against truth.

  • Kevin O’Brien

    Mark, this is brilliant. It shows how there are times when only satire works. And Rachel K., this is not obscene; it’s showing up how obscene the arguments are of those who claim, “Jesus Lied, I Can Lie, Too!” – speaking of which, somebody needs to call a spade a spade and blasphemy blasphemy – http://www.thwordinc.blogspot.com/2013/05/the-lying-debate-has-moved-from-mental.html

    • Rachel K

      Maybe you’re right and I’m just being overly sensitive (I’m one of those people who drives everyone crazy at the pro-life meetings because aborted fetus pictures make me want to vomit), but even putting these sorts of words in our Lord’s mouth as satire feels wrong to me.

      • chezami

        It should feel wrong. It means your moral instincts are healthy. I only do it because others are calling him as witness to their lies to vouchsafe for tempting people to grave evil. What they are doing is taking the Name of the Lord in vain. It is very serious evil.

  • Amy

    Good perspective…love is more important than “using any means necessary” I think that’s what you’re getting at here…compassion. At least I should hope so. 🙂

  • David

    I don’t think the analogy fits. The scenario above would be more like Live Action seeking out women that want to terminate their pregnancies and planting a bug on them in order to expose them for the purpose of shaming.

    An abortion provider is hardly being tempted- that is what they do. If anyone is doing the tempting, it is the abortion provider that tempts desperate women with unwanted pregnancies to take care of their “problem.”

    • chezami

      The woman in the scenario *is* an abortion provider and an abortion victim–and very conflicted. Note the name: a pun on Abby Johnson who worked in a clinic, had a couple of abortions and was tormented in conscience). And like many abortion providers, the woman in my tale fears for her livelihood and so is susceptible to promises of earthly provision at the cost of killing children. That is, after all, what Live Action agents are promising, right? “I will pay you money to help me kill my child.” That’s bread on the table for these clinic workers, many of whom are not rich–like the woman in my story.

      • David

        Still, temptation implies some sort of persuasion, which Jesus in the story certainly did. She was just going about her day when Jesus approached her and made his pitch. However, when you are an abortion provider at a facility that exists primarily to perform abortions, abortions are the status quo, and someone approaching you about the service you offer hardly seems to be a matter of temptation.

        Also, it seems like the woman in the story aborted her child at Jesus’ request, just so he could expose her. Live action may well be dishonest in pretending to contract an abortion, but they have certainly not gone so far as to actually get one in order to show the horror of it…

        • chezami

          Like it or not, what LA does is go to clinic worker and say, “I want an abortion. Will you help me get one?” That is, like it or not, a request for somebody to help commit murder. And, like it or not, some clinic workers (Abby Johnson, Sue Thayer, Bernard Nathanson, Carol Everett, to name a few) are very conflicted. But even if they were not, it is *still* a grave sin to ask them to commit another murder. How can you not see that? Far better is Abby Johnson’s approach of calling clinic worker out of the evil they are doing with love and truth, instead of shoving them further in with lies and trickery: http://www.attwn.org

          • David

            On reflecting more, I get what you are saying about temptation. A good question to ask though, is there a time when lying is justified, such as when killing is justified i.e., in defense of self or another from an aggressor?

  • John

    This is a spurious piece of writing! When did we Catholics start quoting the Gnostic gospels?
    Jesus (in this account) acted with deceit – there are no other words for
    it. Please provide an example from the New Testament where Jesus acted in this manner. Jesus ALWAYS tried to lift people up never to put them down and to offer to “lie with them” and to entice them to commit abortion, come on.
    Did Jesus go back to Abigail and sayeth thusly, “Chill Abigail, I was just kidding!” Or did her leave her to abort while making a big name for himself with the townfolk.
    I agree with David, Rachel and Sean, this is crap logic and a crap example.

    • IRVCath

      It’s a satire. It’s not an actual Gospel, heretical or no. That you could not see our Lord acting in such deceit is a good instinct – because it’s meant to take a shot at those who would endorse such deceit in the prolife movement, and claim they do it in the name of our Lord.

    • chezami

      Your moral instincts are healthy. Well done!

  • Patrick J Loveless

    Oh, MAN. You really have it out for them, don’t you?

    I get the point, I do, but really, this is a bit much. :-S

    “And the LORD saith: Let there be scathing satire.”

    • chezami

      Sorry, but when the apologetics for lying descend to calling Jesus a liar and saying that God wants us to tempt people to commit murder so we can catch them at it, I know of no way to speak of it other than with mockery–unless you’d prefer screaming.