If Jesus Gave A Speech At Liberty University (Here Are Some Things I Think He’d Say)

If Jesus Gave A Speech At Liberty University (Here Are Some Things I Think He’d Say) March 24, 2015

Screenshot 2015-03-24 13.26.00

Yesterday, Sen. Ted Cruz became the first candidate to announce they’re running for president in the 2016 election cycle, during a speech he gave at Liberty University. Liberty students were required to attend or face a fine, so Cruz had a pretty decent crowd to help try to insert some perceived energy into his political campaign.

As I sat last night and listened to the speech, and thought about the ways in which secular political loyalty has bled into the Kingdom of God, it made me wonder if Jesus himself would be invited to give a speech at a Christian university in America? And, if he did get invited, would he get thrown out mid-speech for sounding liberal or un-American?

Personally, I’d be shocked if he were invited and even more surprised if they didn’t cut his mic– because here’s some things I think Jesus would say about our current culture that would rub people the wrong way:

 “You have heard some of my opponents say that we must kill and destroy every last member of ISIS… But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who hate you, so that you can become God’s children!”

“You have heard some of my opponents say that we must find ways around the drug shortage for executions in America, but I tell you: Let he who is without sin administer the first injection!”

“You have heard some of my opponents say that we are exceptional,  but I tell you: No, we are not! There is none exceptional except for God.”

“You have heard some of my opponents say that the poor should go and find their own healthcare, but I tell you: Woe to you who say this yet will not touch their burdens with your own fingers.”

“You have heard some of my opponents downplay the seriousness of police violence against minorities in our country, but I tell you: It would be better for one to fling themselves into the sea than to harm a child.”

“You have heard some of my opponents say there’s nothing wrong with a Christian being filthy rich, but I tell you: It will be easier for a camel to fit through a needle’s eye than it will be for a rich Christian to enter heaven!”

“You have heard some of my opponents say there’s nothing wrong with corporate wealth and greed, but I tell you: Just wait and see what I’m going to do at the temple this passover.”

“You have heard some of my opponents say that we must get rid of all restrictions on guns, but I tell you: If you want to follow me you must put away your weapons! If you live by them, you’ll die by them.”

“You have heard some of my opponents say we must be tougher in the area of justice, but I tell you: Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy.”

“You have heard some of my opponents say we should build a giant wall to keep people out, but I tell you: Invite the poor, the lame, and the blind– then you will be blessed because they cannot repay you.”

“You have heard some of my opponents say we must be bold and draw hard lines in our churches, but I tell you: What sorrow awaits  you who slam the door to the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces!”

“You have heard some of my opponents say we must return mandatory prayer to our public schools, but I say: you hypocrites! You love to pray in public where everyone can see you. Instead you should go to your house, close the door, and pray to your father in secret.”

“You have heard some of my opponents say we must ‘stand with Israel’, but I tell you: Oh, Israel! You who kill God’s messengers. How I longed to stand with you, but you would not receive me. You will not see me again until you are ready to bless me.”

“You have heard some of my opponents say we must pass laws ensuring that we don’t have to bake cakes for gay weddings, but I tell you: If a gay person asks you to bake a cake for their wedding, bake them two!”

“You have heard some of my opponents on both sides say we need to ‘take this country back’ but I tell you: It will be the meek, not the politically powerful, who will inherit this country.

“You have heard some of my opponents promoting ‘rugged individualism’ and that the poor must fend for themselves, but I tell you: Depart from me! For I was thirsty and you didn’t give me water. I was hungry and you didn’t feed me. I was naked and you didn’t clothe me. I was a prisoner and you didn’t visit me. I was an immigrant, but you tried to keep me out.”

See? I just don’t think the message of Jesus would be all that popular today in many Christian universities. These are just a few of the things Jesus said that I think would rub our culture the wrong way, but I’m sure there are many, many more that would offend people on both sides of the political spectrum.

In the end, I know the message of Jesus is crazy. But it’s the only message I’ve found that’s beautiful enough to give my life for- so this message of Jesus is where you’ll keep finding me, regardless of whether or not he ever gets invited to speak at a Christian university.


Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Progressive Christian
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Guy Norred

    Sounds about right to me.

  • Herm

    I’m glad I found you exactly where you’re at and growing as a sincere, loving and responsible child of God! Perhaps this can be a better week. Thank you for the Truth in your heart! Love you!

  • You could absolutely substitute Gardner-Webb University (aka, Liberty Lite) for Liberty University. I’m a young, gay Episcopalian here at GWU and my classmates NEED to hear this stuff.

  • Thank you for reminding us that the true Christian message is so different from what the Pharisees have been telling us.

  • Smellin’ Coffee

    Outstanding! Thanks for posting this!

  • Linda Hall

    This made me weep. Thank you for sharing.

  • I don’t think it would be that hard for a camel to fit through the doors of a gymnasium. It kind of loses the point to change it that way.

  • I would say, “Benjamin Corey” for president, but I doubt you’d accept the nomination. ;)

  • Good point- I changed that. But only because you’re a #MennoNerd too.

  • Thanks, Herm. I appreciate how loving and patient you are with everyone around here. You have a beautiful witness.

  • Matt Wyns

    You make some very good points. Jesus is definitely way more loving than any of us. He also commanded people in love to stop sinning. His unconditional love never gave liberty to sin, it caused people to fall in line with His Father.

  • dave_cornwell10

    Rather than Jesus, the university would probably prefer inviting a well known Pharisee. Then Fox News could provide live coverage.

  • HappyCat

    Politics should be completely and utterly secular. Filtering politics through religion leads to some really nasty stuff and I doubt a leftist theocracy would be any less offensive that a right wing one. Jesus avoided the politics of his day like the plague, he refused to get into it with both the religious leaders and with Simon the Zealot. While I am progressive, I’m very careful to keep my spirituality out of it. It is important to posses reasons for policy that even those with a differing religion or no religion at all can agree with.

  • Jennifer

    I love this so much!

  • I love this. I love this. How I thirst for someone to actually say those things in a public speech.

  • Jordan

    I whole heartedly agree with this and with equal wholeheartedness disagree with the political and religious ideology of Señor Cruz, but a thought occurred to me as I was reading a few of these, as occurs to me often when I read more progressive material. Regarding firearms and healthcare, are using violence to regulate gun ownership and using violence to compel charity really better policies than those promoted by the far right? This is what I infer from your post. Certainly one cannot follow Christ without altruism and peacemaking, but gun-enforced gun control and gun-enforced healthcare aren’t any different than the fascist moral enforcement of the nationalist elements of American conservatism. I share the disdain for the frequent ignoring of Jesus’ teaching in American conservatism, but Jesus never even implied policy as a viable solution to injustice.

  • I think I agree with you, but let me clarify what I was highlighting in those two points:

    On healthcare, I used a quote from Jesus where he criticized people for not lifting a finger to help the afflictions of others. My point in this was a critique of people who don’t want healthcare access provided for the government, yet who aren’t actually doing any of this on their own. Essentially, it’s a critique of those who don’t want government to do it, yet won’t do it themselves.

    On the guns, my point wasn’t to advocate for a specific law, but to critique Christian support of gun laws instead of being faithful to the teachings of Jesus to put away our weapons and nonviolently love our enemies.

    As I’ve said before (and will keep saying so that folks don’t assume otherwise): we are to put no hope in human government, and I see no precedence in the NT for Christians to participate in government (I hold to a traditional/conservative Anabaptist position on that one). My intended critique here was more on hypocrisy, neglecting what Jesus actually said, etc.

  • EJG2

    Thanks for the Jesus speech – sounds like it came from the Bible. It would be so refreshing to hear Jesus’ words in Christian universities and Christian churches. However, I do wish your introductory paragraph had noted that Liberty University students’ attendance is always mandatory at a convocation on Mondays – it wasn’t unique to Ted Cruz’s appearance. No need to create a false impression.

  • Jordan

    Too often I hear critiques of American conservatism that make it too easy to infer that state coercion is the solution to injustice. I think this a pretty big problem for American progressivism. Since I don’t expect you to muddy up your writing with endless qualifications for every nit-picking commenter (like me, I admit), I’ll assume your aversion to policy solutions from here on out.

  • Great stuff!

  • My only personal experience with “Christian universities” is with seminaries, and my personal experience would suggest that (in some of those halls, at least) Jesus would be welcomed by most of the students and certain members of the faculty, but not so much by the administration.

    But again, my experience is limited to seminaries, and I get the feeling that the culture there is substantially different from the culture in “Christian universities” like Liberty.

  • Hilarious. A call to “put no hope in human government” by a progressive whose entire political and social worldview depends almost exclusively on human government. Forget the conservatives. You are your own worst enemy.

  • You know my “entire political and social worldview”? That’s an amazing feat. Is it ESP or are do you have some sort of charismatic gift that tells you that?

  • Andy

    Isn’t that what they did? (See def. 2)

  • Stephen Robert Froeber

    Benjamin, thanks for this. I’m an atheist, or perhaps humanist is a bit more accurate. I’m also formerly a fundie christian as well.

    It’s been a very long time since a faith based perspective moved me, mainly because faith perspectives can usually be so utterly self serving and lacking in empathy.

    However, this was something totally different. I actually really got a lot out of this.

    I think we’d be a healthier society if we really valued perspectives from different world views, instead of demonizing and sensationalizing them.

    Thanks again for being a great representative of a faith perspective. Hopefully more will follow suit.

  • Are you lecturing me on making presumptions about people I know nothing about? Seriously? After that article you just wrote above? My earlier comment still stands, and is very correct.

  • Timothy Hawk

    Great job bringing current issues to the sermon on the mount. I enjoyed the intersection of the two.

  • Carl John Martin

    Rarely do I get to read the words of Christ used as snark and dripping with self-righteous cynicism as here; nor witness the toppling of so many simplistically drawn strawmen with such brevity. Well, economy of words is a virtue.

  • Jeff Meredith

    Ben, for goodness sakes you write a blog where you continually share your worldview. Fyne nailed your blatant hypocrisy, and you are trying to get him with the word ‘entire.’

  • Ron McPherson

    Which part(s) of Ben’s article did you find objectionable? I found it to be inconveniently true.

  • Dalin Drake

    This is pretty spot on. I’d like to point out that “liberty” means freedom and if you have a mandatory assembly you steal the liberty from your students and should be asked to put aside the name: “Liberty University”. I know this is the gist of what Jesus would say, and yes he would be thrown out and most likely put in gitmo.

  • Ron McPherson

    Thankful for your courage, Ben!

  • dave_cornwell10

    Meets the definition!

  • Jeff Meredith

    Well, Fyne is obviously capable of speaking for himself, but I’m guessing he didn’t like the part where Ben seems unable to comprehend that a command given by Jesus can be fulfilled by an individual rather than the government.

    Personally, I think it is insanely presumptuous and rather dangerous to put words in Jesus’ mouth based on my political ideology.

  • Dalin Drake

    The only true form of “gun control” is to take every gun in the world and melt into slag so we can build more useful items with the resources. Of course gun-enforced gun control is crazy. So is any authority past parenting though as science has demonstrated several times it’s ability to corrupt and cause problems through sheer symbolism in the human brain. The only real approach to societal health is radical (latin: radix = root) reform from the foundation up through anarchical democracy and resource management (yes, a form of communism) with a cap on (or completely get rid of) profits of any person or institution. It’s silly for me to see any person pulled into a conservative vs progressive dichotomy that has been manufactured by the rich and their government and it’s imperative that we do not infer that if something seems progressive it is “anti” conservative and vice versa. We are all a fluid, interchangeable mix of these polarized ideas and we all fall in the middle somewhere, never for or against one side completely so it is silly to even give this dichotomy the time of day. I am NOT a Christian and was very nearly atheist for a long time due to a bad Christian upbringing. That said, Jesus’ words are a great place to start from. Mr. Corey may admit it seems “crazy” but his teachings are logistically simple and accurate. Things just work out in human psychology if you follow his methods.

  • dave_cornwell10

    “inconveniently true” This is the objectionable part! That was the problem many had with Jesus also– the total inconvenience of the truth.

  • Irene McGuinness

    So does this mean I have to love Cruz??
    Oh dear… “God, I pray, please prepare my heart because his position worries me.”

  • R.M.Kameo

    Right to the heart of the matter! Excellent! A word of caution, however: Not all Christian universities are like Liberty University. Many would endorse Benjamin Corey and approve of his message.

  • Dalin Drake

    Hello! It’s all about the good fight against the media and these war-profiting psychos hell-bent on oil collecting when we should be using the sun for our energy.

  • Ron McPherson

    Well, Ben can also speak for himself too, but I’m not convinced that Ben necessarily has a political ideology. However, the radical message of Jesus may at times topple the political ideology of others.

  • Ron McPherson

    Yep, those were kinda my thoughts as well

  • Yup, you have to love him. Everyone gets loved in this Kingdom.

  • I found all of it objectionable. If you want more, I actually have a blog, and may write a more detailed rebuttal. But it’s a long blog post, and dismantling it point by point is not something I can do in a comment section. Whatever conversation we have here, have to be more pithy back and forth. Not an entire evaluation.

  • Trust me. I saw that coming. Which is why I put the word “almost” in there.

  • Chris Esparza

    Stellar and unashamed as usual!

  • Don Lowery

    This blog reminded me of John Denver in “Oh God!” when he attempts to talk to the TV “evangelist”. Priceless!

  • Don Lowery

    When you understand how Liberty “University” came into being with Falwell being a lifelong racist and starting his “university” for the same reason as Bob Jones “University”…don’t think Jesus or anyone like him would be welcome there.

  • Jeff Meredith

    I will give you an example, Ron, out of many possible objections. His second comment from neoliberal Jesus:

    “You have heard some of my opponents say that we must find ways around the drug shortage for executions in America, but I tell you: Let he who is without sin administer the first injection!”

    If “Jesus” is to be taken consistently here, doesn’t Ben realize that the logical conclusion of this comment is that no one can punish crime — ever? Murderers, rapists, child molesters . . . they all have immunity because we’ve all sinned! It’s nonsense, of course.

    The problem with Ben is not that he’s stupid. It’s that he’s intellectually lazy. He’s never bothered to understand why his opponents disagree with him. As a result, he gives conservative straw men a beating that’s sure to please lefties, but doesn’t actually address anything seriously:

    “You have heard some of my opponents say that the poor should go and find their own healthcare . . .”

    Or

    “You have heard some of my opponents say that we must get rid of all restrictions on guns . . .”

    Absolutely, positively no conservative ever said anything like either of these things. We do question the *federal* solution for healthcare. We do not want machine guns or bazookas legalized. Ahh, but caricatures are so much easier.

    I have similar criticisms about Ben’s other points, but what’s it matter, when the answer is likely to be another ignorant liberal stereotype about conservatives.

  • Adam

    Be careful dear brother… you are assuming you know another brothers intentions.

  • Jeff Meredith

    Is it really radical? Based on Ben’s column, I think it fits pretty nicely within the DNC’s platform.

  • Ron McPherson

    What about Jesus’ teachings from the Sermon on the Mount? Would you consider those to not be radical?

  • Don Lowery

    Actually…there’s no assuming or guessing anything about Falwell’s intentions or the reason he created Liberty “university”. He did it to continue segregation…pure & simple. Comes from his own “sermons” and from other Southern racists who personally knew him.

  • Guy Norred

    “mainly because faith perspectives can usually be so self serving and lacking in empathy.”. That is the saddest thing I have read all day (and honestly I thought I had read some downers). I get what you mean, but that is the complete antithesis of what I think the ideal of a faith perspective should be (at least that to which we should strive–not that we ever reach it).

  • Jeff Meredith

    Ron, my previous comment was sarcasm, because so many lefties say ‘Jesus was radical — he agrees with me!”

    But yes, I believe Jesus teaching is ‘radical,’ although I don’t much care for that word. Actually, I have come to believe that God’s ways are almost always the opposite of man’s ways. A better way of saying that would be ‘his ways are much higher than ours — as high as the heavens are over the earth.’

    This makes me wonder how much I have wrong. This is also why I don’t write articles where I put words in Jesus’ mouth.

  • whollyfool

    Powerful.

  • Tory Miller

    wow beautiful….just wow

  • Stephen Robert Froeber

    Guy, I think that’s one of the (many) things made faith untenable for me. You are correct: it is antithetical to what faith should be. Or to put it in my terms, it antithetical to being an ethical person.

    But that’s also not a unique problem to Christianity. It’s common across all world views and cultures (to include my own humanistic view). People, regardless of culture and belief, can totally lack empathy. And in the very next breath, people, regardless of culture and belief, can be really wonderful, perhaps in less quantity than we would like.

    It was Christianity’s non-uniqueness about this issue that eventually caused me to see it as merely one of many cultural perspectives in the world.

  • jetwideawake

    You rock, Ben!

  • Ron McPherson

    I seriously don’t believe this article is about trying to turn people into democrats, or liberals, or leftists, etc. No political agenda here

    Peace

  • otrotierra

    Indeed, putting Jesus first is terribly, radically unpopular, as Benjamin’s comment section illustrates so clearly.

  • If you think Fyne has hit Ben’s nail on the head, then I think you haven’t read nearly enough of what Ben’s written.

  • Yes, your “almost” almost hid the fact that you haven’t read much of what Ben’s written, and what you have read you read looking for something to disagree with.

  • Much easier to claim someone has a political agenda than to admit that maybe Jesus says some things that I dislike and would rather pretend He didn’t say.

  • If you think Ben’s use of Jesus’ words is snarky, you should see some of the things Jesus said in their original context. So much snark.

  • otrotierra

    Jesus was terribly offensive. When asked about the path to Everlasting Life, Jesus told a story about a heretic who showed compassion to a stranger!

  • otrotierra

    Maybe a charismatic gift from planet Kolob?

  • zb

    *Samuel L. Jackson voice* I’ve been saying this ish for years!!!!

    I really don’t understand why this view of Jesus is so controversial. Its plain as day.

  • Zion Moulder

    You can be an atheist AND a humanist! Atheism only refers to your belief (or disbelief) in gods. Humanism is more of a life stance.

  • GodsGadfly

    “You have heard it said that people should love whom they want. I say to you, ‘From the beginning, God intended them make and female, and the two shall become one flesh.

  • otrotierra

    Nice try, but once you actually read Jesus’ teachings, you’ll discover that Jesus–who never married–was silent on the topic of same-sex marriage politics. That’s why your attempt is fiction intended only to exclude in ways that Jesus himself refused to exclude.

    In contrast, Ben’s examples are firmly grounded in teachings that are indisputably foundational to the Gospel of Jesus. Jesus is more interesting than woeful bigotry, so I’ll just stick with Jesus.

  • Curtis Cornell

    But no mention of woe to those who abort their children and support abortion because “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him” (Psalm127:3). Jesus supported all the Scripture, and as He was God, inspired all of it. Also, the whole “Thou shall not murder” thing was a belief Jesus followed and preached.

  • Brandon Roberts

    honestly i find it funny the birthers are supporting this guy running for president considering he’s canadian and that’s unconstitutional

  • I’ll admit that the politics of same-sex marriage is complicated for me, and that’s no doubt because my emotions get in the way of my total objectivity. But simply stating that Jesus was silent on homosexuality is somewhat misleading. He was silent on it. But that’s because whenever he spoke of marriage, he assumed its definition to be between one man and one woman. In fact, everyone would have assumed that meaning, and if Jesus intended to shift the way we thought about it, he would have actually had to say something about it, rather than being silent. That’s what he did with divorce, after all, in Matthew 19.

    Thing is, so much of what Jesus really taught wouldn’t be palatable to the conservative church today. But there are certainly things that he affirmed, this being one, that are equally distasteful to progressives.

  • DB

    He is a natural born citizen of the United States; because he was born into a family with a mother who was a US expat, he fulfills the requirements of the Constitution ((Which also goes for Pres. Obama… he too, whether born in Kenya or not, is a natural born citizen on account of his mother).

  • Eddie Robbins

    We had Tony Campolo at Lee University. That ought to count for something. :)

  • Truth Telling Missionary

    Nope that’s not even remotely accurate… Jesus wasn’t silent at all on same sex anything… His words are not limited to the 4 Gospels or His time on this earth… He authored the WHOLE book… He is a member of the God head… So this ever growing tired argument that Jesus was silent on this issue is illogical and absurd of you hold true to any concept of Trinitarian doctrine…

    Moreover, when God created mankind before the fall of man, He looked at everything and said it was good…Put plainly and simply after the fall things were “not good”… Meaning anything that gets away from Eden is some sort of distortion of what was good… And in the context of relationships and marriage that starts to get pretty obvious really fast… Be it polygamy, sexual promiscuity, um yes same sex relationships and marriage, and anything else outside of what was good… And to point people to the Gospel gracefully and truthfully points them to Jesus of course but after regeneration the Spirit uses the Body of Christ, His Word, and conviction of the believer to continually move people back towards Eden and what was good… Not to stay as they were and even celebrate the sin that Jesus was crucified for… The Gospel is too powerful for that… And if that is bigotry in your mind, I’d suggest revisiting those Scriptures… Blessings!

  • Truth Telling Missionary

    He was silent on it brother… This argument needs to be dealt with Scripturally and with proper doctrine of Jesus as a member of the Trinity… He is a member of the God head and therefore His words are not limited to the 4 Gospels or His time on this earth… He authored the WHOLE book… Every word in it is His… If we look at through this lens it is clear that was not remotely silent on such issues… Blessings dude!

  • a mere skeptic

    Mike, it doesn’t matter what Paul and other apostles say in other portions of the New Testament. While Paul condemned and told Christians to abstain and not eat with others for this or that, Jesus was more about loving one another and accepting him. Though I no longer am personally a christian, Jesus’ positive message of loving one another was still pretty clear when it came to those who were outcasts in society.

    Jesus was all about hanging out with the sinners and those who were not wanted by society. The current Christian church would be the modern equivalent of the Pharisees and Sadducees of then. While they would chastise and condemn, Jesus would love and eat with them. One of the current most chastised classes by the church is homosexuals. You can bet that Jesus would eat with them and show them love.

    It doesn’t matter if Jesus really did view homosexuality as a sin. Even if he, deep down, as a portion of the tripartite Christian God, view homosexuality as, to quote Paul, an “abomination,” he would still fellowship with them and treat them with respect and be a good person.

  • Yup- the democrats don’t represent Kingdom values any more than the republicans, which is why I don’t vote for or support either party.

  • You’ll get no argument from me there. I agree with this 100%. My admission that he was silent on the issue was meant to be limited to his words as recorded in the Gospels, as it was the immediate context of otrotierra’s comments. But yeah, it can’t’ be forgotten that Jesus, as God, isn’t limited to JUST the words he said in the Gospels.

  • William Winner

    To be fair, he was saying it was ironic that people who claim Obama was born in Kenya are supporting someone who was physically born in Canada. I doubt Mr. Roberts would actually claim he wasn’t a citizen. But the irony is in people claiming Obama isn’t supporting someone who wasn’t born in this country (like McCain as well who was born in a military base in another country, though again is clearly a natural born citizen).

  • William Winner

    To be fair to the author, he was drawing distinctions between what he believed Jesus would say and what Cruz has said. Cruz and Jesus would agree on abortions so no need to bring that up here.

  • Hi Skeptic,

    While I can’t really get behind your first paragraph, I wholeheartedly, passionately agree with your second and third. In fact, I depend on those things being true.

  • Stephen Robert Froeber

    Zion, absolutely. My hesitation wasn’t because I don’t know what they are….it’s more that, in spite of the fact that “atheist” technically describes my stance on god correctly, the term often stops communication before it even starts because there is so much cultural baggage associated with the term.

    Yes, I can do the dance of setting misconceptions straight, but that almost always ends up being more hostile than necessary. Whenever I say “humanist”, most people ask “what’s that?”

    To me, at least, that seems to be a much more conversational platform to begin on.

  • Hi Eddie, I did not know you were interested in Formerly Fundie type issues. When Campolo was at Lee, what did he talk about? I can imagine some of his beliefs being upsetting to some of the COG constituency on campus. ~Tim Chastain

  • Eddie Robbins

    He was typical Campolo. Taking care of the poor, doing the things Jesus taught us to do. Same old Tony. :) The great thing about Lee is that there is diversity there. Over 5,000 students will bring diversity. Dr Conn does a great job bringing in speakers. I can’t imagine him bringing in someone to kick off their presidential campaign and forcing students to attend.

  • Michigan22

    You say: “Put plainly and simply after the fall things were “not good”… Meaning anything that gets away from Eden is some sort of distortion of what was good.” But if you want to take every word literally, you’d have to acknowledge that God created a state that was ‘not good’ / not satisfactory even before the fall (Gen 2.18; 2.20b). The notion that Eden was a state of perfection is nowhere supported by Scripture… it is a product of Greek-informed interpretation, such as Augustine’s.

  • I agree, Benjamin. As a follower of Jesus, I feel I must be an independent voter. I vote for the candidates and the issues that I think are right for people and the country regardless of party support. And care for people–especially the marginalized–is a major driving factor in my decisions.

  • gimpi1

    I’m going to derail this thread briefly with the follow-up I promised. After getting our year-end financial review and taxes done, my husband and I are now sponsoring two children. I am sponsoring a little girl from Bangladesh through World Vision and my husband is sponsoring a little boy from Haiti through Save the Children.

  • And I’m a few steps ahead of even that, with the conviction of not voting at all :)

  • Yes, this sounds like good Tony stuff rather than some of his more controversial ideas.

    I keep up with Lee somewhat but not comprehensively. I know Dr. Conn is a moderating influence and that the COG is moderating as well, but I wonder how the old guard responds to these ‘liberal’ trends–especially at Lee. Your thoughts?

  • This is abject nonsense (and Godhead is not 2 words). Jesus was silent because he didn’t say anything about it. How does that not make sense? And according to your argument I should be going to hell because I eat pork and am not circumcised. Oh, I forgot, Paul told me I didn’t need to be. But was Paul or Jesus the author of Galatians?

    You see, your assertion that Jesus wrote the whole thing makes everything more complicated, not simpler. It asks more questions than it answers. Saying that Jesus is silent encapsulates a small argument and makes it manageable – you can always expand it to test Jesus’ interpretation of other scriptures. But your argument of authorship needs testing first, if only to clarify what it means.

  • I can see the validity of that. Jesus and his followers were focused on changing the world–not political institutions. The Kingdom was an underground movement and still is.

  • gimpi1

    The problem with your idea of care for the sick, the disabled, the poor “fulfilled by an individual rather than the government,” is that it doesn’t work. Providing modern, high-tech effective health care, seeing disabled people cared for with dignity, and the harshest aspects of poverty mitigated is a huge job – much bigger than any individual or small group can handle. It’s sort of like expecting each person to build their own roads – it’s both ineffective and foolish.

    Want evidence? Look around the world. Where do you see the most people with access to effective health-care? Where do you see the fewest homeless, mentally ill people wandering the streets. The lowest crime-rates? The lowest infant-mortality rates? It’s not places with little governmental support.

    If you believe that your concept of Jesus cares more about how the sick, disabled and poor are helped, rather than that they are helped, I question your views of Jesus. You seem to believe Jesus viewed suffering people as an opportunity for Christians to show their charity, not people in their own right, who should have their suffering ended in the fastest possible way, with the most suffering people helped, by whatever means works best.

    But, frankly I don’t really care about individual views of Jesus. I care that people are aided. I want to do it in the most effective way. I don’t view that as ideology. I view it as compassion. And I support and vote for people who appear to feel the same way.

  • gimpi1

    If an outsider could guess, you have to love him. You are under no similar obligation to support his political aspirations or social agenda.

  • This is excellent Ben. I could hear conservative objections in my head as I read. I can hear heads exploding when Jesus says you cannot assume that being a Christian is a ticket into heaven. As Ted Cruz was speaking I can imagine Jesus sitting outside the auditorium challenging the very foundation of the university, calling its founder a hypocrite and telling the students not to pay any attention to their lecturers (Ted who?). People like Franklin Graham who have no qualms about challenging the President’s credentials should be held to account. Lets welcome the Nicodemuses as true Christians and call out the Caiaphases for what they are.

  • Guest

    Wait…don’t you mean “make and femake”?

  • Jeff Meredith

    GImpi, my comment was not remotely about the merits of centralized healthcare. But your comment captures perfectly my criticism of Ben. You wrote: “I care that people are aided. I want to do it in the most effective way.”

    Thus, you imply that everyone who disagrees with you doesn’t care about those things. You’re just like Ben — you haven’t gone to the trouble of understanding why people disagree with you. Because it’s so much easier to pummel a straw man conservative.

  • “His second comment from neoliberal Jesus”

    I’m pretty sure Jesus (or the blog host for that matter) is not a neoliberal. “Neoliberal” is generally associated with people who have a “modified form of liberalism tending to favor free-market capitalism.” It’s often associated with people who have a positive disposition to globalization, development, and laissez faire economic approaches to problems. There’s no way to tell for sure, but I’m pretty sure Jesus would have viewed that mindset as a form of empire in opposition to the kingdom of heaven. That’s not to say Jesus would’ve been a socialist (political categories like this would be hard to translate into a 1st century Ancient Near East context), but he wouldn’t have been a capitalist either. And I also don’t think the blog host would consider himself neoliberal, or at least he wasn’t portraying a neoliberal Jesus in the post. I think the generic term liberal or better yet progressive is more in line with what you would want to use in this case.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoliberalism

    Before you take the axe to somebody’s arguments (no problem with that) and call them an intellectually lazy person who hasn’t bothered to understand his opponents’ arguments, you might consider getting a better idea of who you’re talking to and use correct terminology.

  • I understand perfectly well, because I used to be in that camp. Folks believe it is the church’s job to provide, not the government. My position always has been, as soon as your church provides comprehensive access to healthcare for people- et al, complain away. Until then, one has no moral standing to complain that government is doing what the church either cannot do on a grand scale, or will not do on a grand scale. With evangelical giving at 2-3% over the past few decades, that doesn’t go very far.

    I also find it amusing that there’s this attitude of “the government shouldn’t do it” as if the bible forbids governments for providing for citizens, when it does not. Instead of complaining about what government is doing, the American Church should be embarrassed that government has to do it in the first place.

  • gimpi1

    OK, what I read you as saying is that you disagree with what you assume are Ben’s views about governmental aid for the poor, and you feel he misrepresented Jesus’s words. I don’t think he did, (since he used direct quotes) but that’s another story.

    What I addressed was your specific statement regarding individual as opposed to governmental aid. I pointed out that individual aid is unable to address such problems as health-care, care for the disabled or poverty-relief. I offered as my evidence the countries around the world with better results that rely on governmental programs.

    How is that “pummeling a strawman conservative?” When I hear people talking about individual aid, I hear them talking mostly about themselves. Their beliefs, their needs. “I don’t want to pay for this,” or “I want to offer the help to those I consider deserving myself” or “I regard taxation for aid as theft.” I seldom hear those people calling for elimination or massive cuts in aid talking about the sick, poor or disabled people those cuts hurt. At best, I’ve heard a nonsense psudo-libertarian “Let’s free them from the slavery of being helped,” with no real concern with what happens after they are “freed.”

    People who talk about private charity picking up the slack would be well-advised to look at what the directors of charities say. They are up-front about the impossibility of doing that.

    To be clear, I’m not saying conservative people are selfish or not compassionate. I’m saying that the specific people who argue for dismantling most governmental aid (something not all conservative people favor) often don’t appear to care about what happens to the people left in the lurch. That’s what I’ve seen. That’s my personal experience. And that’s all I’m saying.

  • And let’s not forget Jesus talking about the blind leading the blind, openly calling people hypocrites and vipers, telling the Sadducees (who prided themselves on knowing Scripture) that they didn’t know either the Scriptures or the power of God… and when the Sanhedrin sat him down in their kangaroo court and asked him if he was the Son of God, his response was “that’s what you say” (to people who, quite obviously, did not believe He was the Son of God). I’m really not sure how to read that last one, except as snark.

  • Exactly so, though it runs dangerously close to that damned “hate the sin, love the sinner” nonsense. It’s a really difficult line to tread…

  • It’s great to see someone with my same family name share a very similar world view!

  • Jeff Meredith

    This is great! This is amazing. You wrote several hundred words explaining to me why neoliberal was the wrong term.

    I thought the lack of capitalization in my post made it clear that I was not referring to a ‘Neoliberal Jesus,’ but a ‘new liberal’ Jesus. Sort of like the difference between being a democrat and a Democrat — get me?

  • Better than that, I’ve legitimately heard someone argue that, even though they conceded that Obama was born in Hawaii, he still wasn’t a natural born citizen, on account of his father being Kenyan. Yet this guy has no problem supporting Cruz, whose father is Cuban.

    EDIT: Wait… wasn’t that actually what Cruz himself said about Obama, at one point? I think it was; anyone care to confirm?

  • Adam

    Can you provide links to those “sermons” and quotes from other Southern racist who personally knew him? If not, your comments are speculative and gossip.

  • R Vogel

    Like that speech is gonna get you elected! :) In the wise words of Pogo: We have seen the enemy and he is us!

  • Jeff Meredith

    Ok. Some conservative people don’t care about the poor. And some liberal people desire government dependency. What’s say you don’t accuse me of the first, and I won’t accuse you of the second.

  • Don Lowery
  • Matthew

    Thanks so much for this Ben. I know you are not a left or right political spectrum kind of guy, but rather a kingdom perspective person. That said, it does appear that the kind of things being advocated here would fall to the American left in more cases than to the American right I think. Nevertheless the conservatives don´t like Hillary at all, but a closer look at her politics (i.e. her foreign policy) reveals that not even she fits the kingdom example completely.

    I suppose the main point is — left or right — none of what I´ve just mentioned has anything to do with Jesus´ overall plans for humanity. It´s just American politics.

  • KimDP

    What I find scary is that students were REQUIRED to attend a political speech. I guess if you go to “school” there, you are pretty far to the right anyway. And then the speaker, after promising to defend their privacy, asks them to text to a website that will collect their information. ??? I agree with your statements – thank you for putting them out there.

  • gimpi1

    I don’t want to accuse you of anything. I don’t know you. Assuming I understand a person’s beliefs based on one or two internet posts is a level of stupidity I can’t aspire to:-)

    As to your statement, “…some liberal people desire government dependency,” I’ll have to take your word on that. I know people I’m sure you would consider liberal, but I don’t know anyone who wants to create dependency. I think most people want to help others, we just differ on how to best do it.

    I view my ideas as more fact-based and less theologically driven than some conservative Christian people I know. My views are also informed by having been raised by badly-disabled parents. I’ve seen first-hand how little individuals can (or really want to) help.

    Were my parents “dependent?” Probably. Being a survivor of childhood polio or having a drill-bit perform an accidental pre-frontal lobotomy can do that. But without Worker’s comp (my dad was injured in an industrial accident) and Social Security Disability, we would have died. With that aid, both my sister and myself grew up to be productive people. No church, no individual could have provided for our family after my father’s accident. And, perhaps that experience has left me a bit touchy about the word “dependent.”

  • Herm

    thedocsin, I feel your pain but not your conclusion. You just gave Ben a pass fail judgment according to what? In your judgment what defines a “Christ-ian”?

    I do love your need to get involved to risk vulnerability for you and yours. I do wonder, although, if you might be crying out to learn what you know you are ignorantly uncomfortable with rather than what seems at first glance, to your chosen audience, your demand that our shared mankind in the image of God accept your certainty of conclusion. How much more do you think we might have yet to learn before each of us knows what God knows?

    Love you! I wish you peace and joy!

  • Randy Myers

    Ben, what grabbed me as I read your paraphrase of Jesus is that you didn’t have to paraphrase much at all!

  • DrewTwoFish

    If it helps, let me assure you that we don’t want him back…ever.

    A relieved Canadian.

  • Jeff Meredith

    Right Gimpi. I don’t think any conservative has ever said that no one should receive help. I think we have questioned whether or not a monolithic federal entity is the best means of distribution. I also believe that hundreds of millions of documented fraud cases have caused us to believe that welfare should be granted a little more judiciously, and prosecution enforced a bit more vigorously. But not one conservative leader has ever stated categorically that no one deserves help.

  • gimpi1

    I’m sure you’re right about no one denying the need. I would question your numbers. (Hundreds of millions? The U.S only has a population of around 300 million, and welfare has never been granted to more than a small percentage of the population. May I ask where you got that figure?)

    My case for federal intervention is based on my knowledge of how other countries address these universal needs. However, I’m always interested in alternatives – as long as those alternatives take both facts and compassion into account.

    If I may ask, what is your objection, specifically, to a governmental system for aid?

  • Herm

    I kinda’ feel like we must tread a line Jesus left us no example of according to the gospels. It does change the dynamic when born into a governing society which clearly a government “of the people, by the people and for the people”. A nation whose forefathers established a foundation built first from a revolt against taxation without representation. I sort of feel a strong obligation to give Caesar what is Caesar’s when brought up to be responsible to just who my neighbor’s taxation representative is through my vote and voice.

    The most shocking study I have been following is pretty well introduced in the following article:

    http://publicsphere.ssrc.org/anderson-international-affairs-political-science-and-the-public-sphere/

    It seems we are growing and strengthening partisan divides from too much information available than not enough. I would like to believe little old me is discerning enough to vote according to the love of God. Knowing that, relative to the capabilities of God, I am no more capable than my fellows of mankind I am now truly concerned that I have been inundated with too much information to make any informed decision.

    The only peace I find with the responsibility to my patterned freedom to choose my actions is that I do recognize the love of God from my heart and mind, influencing Earth today. I find great joy knowing that am required to grow into that love no more responsibly than a little ignorant child trusting in my Father to provide what I cannot. No matter what, as fair warning, don’t ever rely on me to be as graceful in what I do as is our Father and Brother in Heaven. Love you, as always!

    Tread lightly and leave it at least as good as you found it. That’s my rule when camping out.

  • I second gimpi – I would really appreciate you directing us to the documentation of these hundreds of millions of fraud cases.

  • trevor s

    that preaches, bro

  • Brandon Roberts

    good. honestly the only people who want this guy are the tea partiers

  • Brandon Roberts

    awesome! honestly i just hate the hypocrisy of those people

  • DrewTwoFish

    Hypocrisy and racism – full steam ahead!

  • Jeff Meredith

    Sorry. I did not mean to write hundreds of millions *of* cases. That’s obviously absurd. I meant hundreds of millions *in* fraud. What a bummer of a typo. Sources for fraud are abundant online, including from mainstream papers like the LA Times.

    I have no objection to government aid, in general. I do, however, have concerns about specific federal programs that lack accountability and bribe people into poverty. If you want to actually explore a conservative view of state welfare, I’d recommend The Tragedy of American Compassion by Olasky.

    I’d also recommend the leftists Gramsci and Engels to understand the deliberate Marxist strategy of the left to create dependence and destroy the family.

  • Meriem

    Being required to attend the speech has nothing to do with it. I attend liberty university and i would not identify myself as an extreme right wing. honestly, I am still figuring out where I stand on many issues. I appreciate being able to listen to all stances of political thought. Because many people have differing opinions and we have so much to learn from one another! But just because we were required to attend doesn’t mean we were forced to support. If you want to support you can but if not you don’t have to agree with the man. Also the only students who are required to attend are on campus residential students. But I know many off-campus students who came out of their own will. Regardless of what He was saying I felt it was a unique experience. This has nothing to do with whether or not I agreed with Him but the point is being exposed to all ideas are important. The school is known for their conservative views but I can testify that many people hold views differing than the administration. and to stereotype people like this is just wrong.
    All in all, I think we need to stop bashing each other and look at the truth. This article represents the truth of the gospel so well and I loved every word. But I am begging you to stop pointing fingers. The change starts with each of us and that is what this article was pointing out.
    I make so many mistakes on a regular basis… HOW DARE I compare myself to others and say how I can do things better? Let us not turn our backs on the broken-hearted. But also, let us not turn our back on our brothers and sisters… it is with unity that we can achieve the unimaginable. Until we start to find the good in one another and figure out how we can collaborate we are bound to fail….
    sorry for the long post but I just need for us to learn how to love one another amidst our shortcomings. We are all fallen and in need of redemption.

  • Jeff Meredith

    Again Ben, this comment reaffirms my belief that you haven’t gone to the trouble of understanding people who disagree with you.

    I have never once heard a single conservative thought leader say ‘the bible forbids governments for providing for citizens.’ I have, however, heard some constitutional scholars suggest the 10th Amendment does, though.

    You also fail, as is typical of the left, do differentiate between state and federal governments. This is why I don’t find it overly problematic that some people support Romneycare and not Obamacare (not that I care for either).

    I have also never once heard any conservative thought leader suggest that churches should be the nation’s primary provider of poor people’s healthcare, although I admittedly could have missed this. Who said this?

  • gimpi1

    Into each life some typos must fall.
    Is there some fraud? Yes. Any human endeavor will generate some waste, some fraud. I haven’t seen any numbers that indicate the classic triad, “waste, fraud and abuse” of governmental aid is any higher than, for example, private insurance fraud.

    This, to me is a perfect example of “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” as an example, stores could eliminate virtually all shoplifting. However, it would be so expensive and invasive that it’s better business to take common-sense precautions and allow for some losses through theft. If you need perfection before you are comfortable with aid, I would encourage you to re-think that.

    I actually read “The Tragedy of American Compassion” on the recommendation of a friend. I was disappointed. His “rose-colored” view of the past is not realistic at all, and he totally failed to address the reasons why virtually every other first-world country has better results with more classically liberal policies. He had some good information on some aspects of culture, but I didn’t feel those were outweighed by his mistakes or oversights.

    I’m puzzled by your “deliberate Marxist strategy of the left to create dependence and destroy the family,” statement. Frankly, it’s pretty over-the-top. Are there a very few people who may have endorsed such things? Yes, just as there are a few Christians who have called for a genocide against all Muslims. (Ben has a post about Charisma) I assume you wouldn’t want to be tarred with that brush. There are extremists (and nutters) in all groups. It’s important to remember that every person that might be in a group is not an example of the extreme. Do you realize that?

    Lumping the current Democratic party with Marxists is no more rational than lumping the current Republican party with Nazis, if I may risk a Godwin.

  • otrotierra

    Indeed, the only agenda is affirming Jesus above all else. How terribly, radically unpopular it is to do so!

  • Guest

    Jesus had me at hello.

  • Jeff Meredith

    Gramsci and Engels aren’t fringe nuts. They’re Marx’s Peter and Paul. I don’t believe your average Joe liberal wants to destroy the family. But there are plenty of college professors who understand the goal.

    By the way, a private company has a strong incentive to correct waste, fraud, and abuse. The government does not. After all, it’s spending other people’s money — on other people (to quote the great M. Friedman).

    Also, no other first world country is like America. No other first world country absorbs millions of immigrants each year. Based on my understanding of UN population trends, none of these countries with expansive welfare safety nets are sustainable anyway. Europe is slated to lose 50 million people in the next few decades. We shall see in the years ahead how sustainable the Nordic model is.

  • gimpi1

    So, if you don’t think churches can provide for healthcare, and you don’t like governmental support for healthcare, what do you want to do?

    You do know that, before the ACA, people with pre-existing conditions couldn’t get coverage at any price, and that more and more people were being dropped or priced out of the market for health-insurance, right? You do understand that individuals really can’t pay for modern, high-tech healthcare as they paid for health care in the past, right? (And they can’t. A cancer treatment program without insurance coverage will cost as much as an average suburban home, and with insurance will still generally cost tens of thousands of dollars in out of pocket expenses. In the past, cancer-treatment was simple, there wasn’t any. I’m old enough to remember when a diagnosis of cancer was generally a death-sentence. People didn’t have to pay for care because there was none.)

    Every other first world country has gone with either a governmental system. They range from a single-payer governmental system – Canadian style, true socialized medicine – Great British style or a heavily-regulated, mandated and premium-supported insurance system – German-style. No first-world country does not have massive governmental involvement in providing health-care. From what I can see, the very nature of modern medicine makes this necessary.

    If you don’t want a governmental solution, what is your solution to this problem?

  • gimpi1

    Some private companies work hard to correct waste, some not so much. I’ve worked in the private-sector for 30+years, and I assure you, there is plenty of waste, mismanagement, graft, back-room deal-making and such. I’ve never worked in government, but my husband has been a professor (Yes! An evil Professor! YAY! He’s a geologist.) and I’ve never seen massive abuse. I’ve also never met a college-professor who wanted to destroy the family. Have you?

    The most pronounced governmental waste I’m aware of is in military-contracts. I live in Seattle (Boeing country) and I could tell you stories… however, few people seem to worry about military-contracting abuse, even though it is far more costly than any social program.

    No country is exactly like another, but I don’t see such massive differences between the U.S. and Canada or the E.U. that I think we can’t learn from them – or they from us. E.U. immigration is as much of an issue as it is here.

    Good discussion.

  • Jeff Meredith

    Again, this wasn’t a blog about centralized healthcare and I’m really not up for a debate about it. There are plenty of resources that make a comprehensive case for a patient-centric, not government-centric solution. I believe Heritage makes a fairly thorough case for reform.

    I can tell you that since the ACA past, 3 of my close relatives have lost their insurance. Not to worry though — there will always be a liberal around to tell me that my family members had bad coverage, and to provide a link from healthcare.gov explaining why they should be happier now.

  • footballexpt

    Liberty should be stripped of its non profit status.

  • Ruaidhrí Ó Domhnaill

    Jesus has opponents?

  • footballexpt

    How do we know? have we seen the birth certificate for his mother?

  • Ruaidhrí Ó Domhnaill

    Careful you don’t dislocate your shoulder.

  • Herm

    Ben, I am concerned here, searching my heart and mind right this moment I am drawn to the commands of Jesus. You know them as you so well live them. They all relate to love; from the Father, unto others as we would want for our self, toward whomever we choose as the Lord our God (but only one), of self as the gauge for our neighbors, and not the least of which is toward our enemy.

    In my growth I rule of thumb the basics Jesus teaches me as indexes to my continuing lessons. Eg: the study of “Good vs Evil” is indexed under constructive/productive vs destructive. The potential infinity of love applied is newly indexed under empathy and compassion as each command to love requires empathy and compassion every time including for self.

    Jesus used two dominant themes throughout His mission on Earth to illustrate our undeniable relationship with each other as one example being a single body and the other being a single family. What each of us chooses to do or not do affects the entire family and body of mankind on Earth constructively or destructively. Altruistic empathy and compassion for all in the body and family of mankind was taught theoretically and by example, in real time, as the most constructive way for each individual to exercise their freedom of choice within the boundaries of realized available resources and environmental constraints. When choosing only from egotistical empathy and compassion for self alone (known and regulated by individual hoarding, coveting, profiting, subjugating, intimidating, envying and manipulating) has only destructive results for the family and body of mankind. This would have been true for the body and family of God, of which mankind is in the image of, if They weren’t of empathetic and compassionate hearts and minds bound by all love for the whole of God through the Holy Spirit as one eternally constructive and productive God. Individual empathy and compassion from those of God would be ineffective if it were not for the single loving ultimate authority exercised by our Father to organize, regulate and coordinate the efforts of all individuals, including our Lord and Brother Christ Jesus.

    I’m not going to draw this out as far as making everything clear as it is in my mind today. Aren’t you lucky?!?!

    My point is that as long as we are an influence in the body of mankind we will choose to be constructive or destructive. Whether we are a little ignorant seemingly insignificant little child in the family or a little toe at the furthest extremity of the body we are responsible to what we signal through the nervous system to the governing parent and/or brain. Our not signaling danger that we sense to the brain may cause our body not to step out of the way of destruction that we could have potentially averted. Our choosing not to be a functioning part of the body we occupy for our temporary comfort may cause the body to trip and fall because we didn’t perform constructively for the body. I am sure Jesus knew this for both the body of mankind and the body of God when He accepted the finalization of His mission given Him by the Father, against His own will of self-preservation (Matthew 26:39, 42).

    I know that we are not of this world, oh how I know it, but we are still influential children of mankind feeling and influencing the joys and pains of all mankind through love. It seems to me that is not whether we, children of God in the Spirit, exercise our constitutional privilege for influencing our representation in government, or not, but it is how we exercise that privilege of influence no matter how slight. Jesus did not have that privilege of influencing His government representatives under Rome as do we. I do not read the constitution of the United States of America guaranteeing or intending the right of citizen hoarding, coveting, profiting, subjugating, intimidating, envying and manipulating. I actually read and understand it as trying to guarantee quite the opposite and yet espouse “Christian” factions are fighting openly for the freedom and independence. This nation declared independence to “hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. Isn’t this summed up and works constructively to accomplish just the intent of that declaration found in Matthew 7:12? Why would any disciple of Jesus resist the opportunity to influence the governing of their fellows of man whom they have the command to empathize with and be compassionate for? My personal questions are not whether to be a part of a government established as we the people but how.

    Ben I honor your choices as more loving in Christ and diligently responsible than mine. I just need to take this opportunity to voice that my convictions different. I don’t think that it is possible to separate religion, business, family or neighbors from politics. I don’t believe Jesus did either. It is not a matter of who my Lord is but is a matter of how I choose the direction of my minute influence, egotistically or altruistically. As long as I am physically alive I have influence and in the image of every individual of God I have choice of how my influence is applied. As a child of God, connected by the Holy Spirit, I am directed and provided for by my Lord and Brother Jesus to do to the best of my influence that mankind allows for mankind and God.

    I do know that “Christian espousers” misrepresenting Jesus in the government of our nation sends worldwide a very cruel and distorted picture of the Christ I know intimately in my heart and mind. I thank you in every way I can for providing this venue, and through it stimulating conversation, that serves greatly to introduce the Lord our God as constructively loving to all as justly as all allow. You are a productive and constructive influence on Earth and in Heaven. Love you!

    “This is my command: Love each other.” John 15:17 (NIV2011)

  • Herm

    You heard His voice, also? He is pretty charismatic and oh so instantly and endearingly lovable. Weird thing is I’ve found Him to be more trustworthy and faithful as I apply His lessons. No one before or since Jesus, in my life, has been able to pass that test. I have no reason to believe that His truth won’t last to at least the end of eternity. Love you, you little ole’ romanticist you!

    You had me at Jesus.

  • georgeor

    I’d like to respectfully push back a little. Don’t get me wrong, you say a lot of good things. That said, I don’t know anyone who simply says, “The poor must fend for themselves,” with two exceptions: people who lived during times when humanity wasn’t producing enough to feed the poor and possibly Ayn Rand who was an avowed Atheist and believed that we need an alternative morality. I know plenty of people who say that large one-size-fits-all entitlement programs are both expensive and bad for the impoverished. I know other people who have expressed frustration when they spend 40 to 50 hours a week away from their family only to learn that somebody else stays home with his or hers in a publicly funded apartment and eats with food provided by various government programs… It can come across as insensitive to the plight of the poor, I’ll admit it, but I have a degree of sympathy for them. I’ve also seen people who’ve said things like that go serve in soup kitchens, mentor at risk youth and do other such things. I think that their anger is more about the force used to take the money than it is about the poor getting healthcare or

    The issue of gun restrictions is something that I find complicated. I can’t help but notice that nobody is in favor of entirely doing away with guns. The issue, once you look behind the rhetoric, is that some people think some other people should have less access or no access to guns and that others should have unfettered access to not only guns, but weapons that have the potential to destroy all life on our planet. I wholeheartedly agree that no human, and especially not a Christian, should live by the gun. I disagree that this means that I ought to support the concentration of weaponry among the relatively few and relatively powerful.

  • Dina poggione

    I think he was speaking as if he was running for President and was giving a political speech.

  • Rob Stewart

    The point is NOT, to quote you, “whether or not I agreed with Him but the point is being exposed to all ideas are important.” The POINT is that in a supposedly FREE country, that any university (or church, or country club, or sports club) would REQUIRE someone to do something not at all related to academia boggles my mind. You don’t even understand that you’ve been made a prisoner of LU. Wow!

  • Andrew Gilford

    Jesus quoted Genesis. In Matthew 19:4-6, Jesus specifically says, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning, made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife: and they will be one flesh?” You’re correct, Jesus doesn’t say anything about same-sex marriage…he talked about God’s self ordained plan for marriage, one man and one woman. If you verbally support something, do you need to then say what you’re against? It was self explanatory.

  • Fined for not attending? Ouch. Interesting thoughts. I agree.

  • Yep, this is the part that’s irking me too.

  • Jeff Preuss

    Being forced to attend, you provided a large captive audience as a backdrop for his announcement speech. While you in particular may not be a voluntary Cruz supporter, the school mandating you appear at his political candidacy announcement made you into a supportive prop for his campaign.

  • LogicusPrime

    “You have heard some of my opponents say that we must find ways around the drug shortage for executions in America, but I tell you: Let he who is without sin administer the first injection!”

    Many people on Death Row have been exonerated and there’s good evidence that innocent people have been executed. Imprisonment can be undone (going forward, at least), but death is permanent. A just society must also compensate the wrongly imprisoned.

    “If you want to follow me you must put away your weapons! If you live by them, you’ll die by them.”

    There’s a big difference between living by your weapons and being able to protect yourself and your loved ones (or anyone else).

    “You have heard some of my opponents say we must pass laws ensuring that we don’t have to bake cakes for gay weddings, but I tell you: If a gay person asks you to bake a cake for their wedding, bake them two!”

    Technically, there’s no need to pass a law saying someone doesn’t have to bake a cake for a gay wedding. It would require the repeal of anti-discrimination laws, however.

  • Meriem

    I may not agree that people should be fined but I am an avid supporter of learning.
    The classroom is not the only place you learn.
    The point is not to brainwash people but to offer them another perspective for learning.
    This is strongly related to academia. Learning encompasses all of life.
    I am not a prisoner.
    If I felt the need to leave convocation, I would get up and walk out.. and I sit near the front.
    The fine does not influence my opinions, it definitely does not make me a supporter and most of all it does NOT make me a prisoner.
    Anyways,
    Nothing about this concept was taking away a person’s freedom.

  • Meriem

    The POINT it doesn’t matter who supports who.

    THE POINT is that maybe, just maybe, we should try to find a way for our country to move forward instead of trying to find everything wrong in people.
    The thing that irks me is saying bad things that are merely based on our opinions of people and institutions.
    These petty arguments we have are the problem. How are we to be a light to the nations when we as christians can not agree on issues that in the long run are not so important? And the issues I am talking about are like the fact that the people are required to attend convocation.
    This argument is a waste of time. There are people in the world suffering and we are worried how Cruz got his supporters? At the very least, let us be analyzing how He plans to do things as President.
    And, this is not the point of the article. THE POINT of the article is how Jesus is the only answer to the world and how we only have redemption in him. Christ is radical and we need to be all in and devote our lives to glorifying him.
    That is all.

  • Jeff Preuss

    Wow. Didn’t think the single thing I pointed out counted as petty or divisive in any way. I didn’t make any presumptions about your political leanings.

    Ted Cruz has made himself a very public divisive figure, and claims to make a lot of his political moves because of his purported beliefs in Christ. And, when I see an entire student body forced to be a backdrop of support, visually endorsing his candidacy by simply being there, that strikes me as a manipulative thing for a Christian institution to do, and that does worry me as a fellow Christian.

  • Respectfully, I disagree. While I have never heard anybody explicitly state that “the poor must fend for themselves” (doing so would be rather foolish, after all), I have most definitely heard and seen people saying and doing a combination of things that amounted to exactly that. Funny enough, most of these were people who are big fans of Ayn Rand (who as you say was an avowed atheist – I’d even go a step further and call her an anti-theist, because of how strongly opposed to religion she was) and who also believe that Randian philosophy and Christianity are perfectly compatible.

    EDIT: Disagree is… not the best word. But I can’t think of a better one. Apologies.

  • Ohyetwetrust

    I’m an atheist but I support your belief as long as you don’t shove your religion at me or try to influence US governmental policy.

  • steefeets

    Ten bucks. Think I might have paid it.

  • otrotierra

    Sorry, but neither Liberty University nor Ted Cruz are the light to the nations you are calling for. I suggest giving Benjamin’s post another read.

  • Yeah. I would have done the same.

  • georgeor

    No reason to apologize.

  • jimmy

    Hmm…I wonder what He would say about abortion.

  • JustAggie

    Thought provoking. I like it!

  • BBoerman

    There is one thing that both Jesus’s followers and adversaries both got confounded by, and it seems to be confusing you too. Jesus steadfastly and consistently refused to be tangled up with any political agenda. Jesus was profoundly and confoundingly apolitical, as was His Gospel. He stated no opinions on politics then. Why must His followers persist in trying to ally Him with a political agenda now? He couldn’t have been more clear. As a citizen of a putative democracy, you are entitled to your political opinion. But do not EVER associate the name of Jesus with it, because that is contradictory to His life, His words, His example.

  • It’s gratifying to think of what Jesus might say to others, especially those whom we dislike or with whom we disagree.

    It’s much more edifying, though, to wonder what Jesus would say to us. “Brood of vipers,” and the such weren’t reserved for a particular group of people, or people who treat others in a particular way, but for the very group who took it upon themselves to go around imaging what Jesus would say to others, as it were.

  • Joris Heise

    I appreciate both your sincerity and your peace-making words. In that, we are “on the same page,” as they say. I too have had enough of divisiveness, aware that Jesus himself pointed out that he would be a divisive figure, even in families.
    Personally I go back to the Sermon on the Mount, and (as this article includes) many passage contradict the current public statements of politicians who call themselves Christian. (I think of Paul Ryan in particular here, once a devoted–very devoted–follower of Ayn Rand.)
    My problem with Senator Cruz is that his words do seem to fly in the face of the Sermon. He does seem to disdain the poor (in spirit); he does not seem strong in the practice of the beatitudes (meekness, peace-making, grieving) IN HIS PUBLIC STATEMENTS AND PRACTICES. As Matthew 7–devoted to Christian leaders and such as it seems to be, the Senator does not seem to lead in DOING the will of our common Father in heaven, but rather to do the things that make him leader of a coterie of Christians who selected a certain fairly small segment of Christianity to brandish in this country. I speak with compassion about both Senator Cruz and Congressman Ryan as men who are blind, who neither see the Father’s view of compassion, nor do things to heal and help the suffering of others. Nor do they seem to really seek Jesus to ask for faith in Him.

  • Catherine Belles

    I have to say I find it offensive that anyone believes they know what Jesus would say anywhere anytime. all through the gospels we see the disciples completely confounded by what he said. So no thanks.

  • celtblood

    I knew he’d get his anti-firearms agenda in there somewhere.

  • LogicusPrime

    It’s not explicitly stated. The premise is only that Jesus is invited to speak. I wonder if Ben leaves things vague to see how people interpret what he’s writing.

    I can’t imagine Jesus saying any of these things the way they are written whether he were running for President or not. They seem a bit too strident.

  • Doug

    Thank you, I think the same things all the time. What a shame most people just don’t get it.

  • ufo42

    The Christian right cherry pick a different set of teachings from the Bible than do more enlightened Christians. The parts about how to treat your slaves (don’t beat them so hard they die right away, but if they die 3 days after the beating, no biggie…) among many, many other highly questional bits of biblical “morality”.

  • Herm

    “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” John 16:12-15 (NRSV)

    Did not the Pharisees and authorities of Jesus’ church during His walk on Earth find offensive what He said He knew His Father would say? Are we not in the Holy Spirit children of God with Jesus speaking to and through us as our only Lord, High Priest, Rabbi and Brother everywhere and at all times?

  • Guest

    “The point is not to brainwash people but to offer them another perspective for learning.” I’m curious if Liberty offers any progressive speakers to offer that other perspective? Somehow I think not.

  • Herm

    … even a government under a covenant with all its citizens founded upon of the people, by the people and for the people??? Jesus had no such example of governing by elected representative to teach from beyond the admonition “in everything do to others as you would have others do to you”.

  • Herm. Nice try, but you might want to try posing that question both at the mirror and Benjamin. Benjamin gave a pass fail judgement, and according to what? He had no argument to offer. He just claimed out of thin air, that his views (views he never actually bothered to explain or debate), was Jesus’ official view, and that every other view was diminished and devoid of compassion or morality.
    We all believe that our views though political, do not keep us at odds with scripture. Both sides believe that about themselves. The difference is that some of us are adult enough to know that arguing is about presenting your views, and throwing it into the “arena” per se, to be evaluated, debated, and maybe either solidified or re-evaluated if need be, vs What we do not (idiotically) do, is mount a high horse, claim unilaterally and without any debate at all, that our views are the only possible views that Christ would hold, and then castigate the other side not as people you disagreed with, but as people who are un-christlike (again, without any discussion at all on the matter). Also if we ever did that, we could at least get their views accurately, and not dishonestly contort it into some childish immature straw man that neither side recognizes.
    One more thing. You guys desperately need to shed yourselves of this chronic self-flattery you seem to endlessly heap on yourself whenever you see a blog post you like. Especially if you have no clue what the possible arguments against that blog post is yet. I have seen progressives (though very rare in my opinion) who at least presented their opinions brilliantly, and to some extent, somewhat impressively. Benjamin Corey doesn’t even come close to it. That’s ok btw. My point is, you assume way too flippantly that people like me find Benjamin threatening or discomforting. Sorry, that’s more a fantasy in your head. What I read above didn’t make me uncomfortable or feel like my theology was threatened. It strikes me as intellectually lazy, disingenuous, and quite amusingly desperate. To make my point, I’m going to respond somewhere else on this thread using the tactics he employed in this post, to show you just how easy it is.

  • Nick

    Or you could join in praising God that some kids needs are going to be met. Rebuke if you feel you must, but I don’t think your comment was meant to do that or edify.

  • lorasinger

    21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

  • lorasinger

    Keep in mind that the writers of the gospels are anonymous converts of Paul’s, not eye witnesses, who wrote generations after that fact and not one could vouch for anything they documented as anything more than hearsay.

  • “He just claimed out of thin air, that his views (views he never actually bothered to explain or debate), was Jesus’ official view, and that every other view was diminished and devoid of compassion or morality.”

    I think, Fyne, that if you were to compare Ben’s words here to the words of Jesus as recorded in the Gospels, you’d find that Ben has hardly pulled them “out of thin air.” A great many of the phrases that Ben is “putting into Jesus’ mouth” were, in fact, already there, spoken by Jesus originally. All of them, to be honest. Every single quote from Ben’s imagined Jesus is either a word-for-word quote from the Bible or a quote from the Bible “updated” for a modern audience.

  • Consider it a personality quirk – when someone’s being polite (as you are), I’ll bend myself over backwards to avoid offending.

  • lorasinger

    Why must His followers persist in trying to ally Him with a political agenda now?
    …….
    Because they’re herding the believers into a solid voting block using them and their hatred of abortion, gays and such. His followers are the sheep that don’t realize that shepherds eat sheep. Those shepherds are in it entirely for power.

  • lorasinger

    The original Jewish teacher would have had nothing to say about abortion just as the bible has nothing to say about it. A fetus wasn’t considered to be a person until it had taken its first breath (its head was born).

  • Herm

    Fyne, the man Senator Cruz was compared against was Christ Jesus and not some straw image. Your ire is clear but your logic is clouded as is this not the “arena” you demand while presenting your argument?

    Where is it you disagree with the nearly verbatim quotes taken from scripture? Why do you set yourself up to defend your truth as fully understandable to the smart ones like you while castigating the dummies like me as not qualified to read and understand scripture? What might you respond with if I were to tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt I rely on the Spirit of Truth to share as I am ready in all truth? What might you respond with if I were to tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that I know nothing relative to what I know there is to know, as do you? I’m open to listen to your relationship with God exactly where it is at. I would be wasting both yours and my time to just refute your perspective based only on what you just shared with me. Tell me, what does God tell you that I may share the fruits of in everything doing to all others as we would mutually have all others do to us? That’s what all disciples of Jesus have in common.

    Love you!

  • lorasinger

    Re: I think that their anger is more about the force used to take the money”
    ……..
    No “force” would be required if they weren’t dragging their feet in helping out to begin with.

  • Jake

    Putting words in the mouth of Jesus, that’s smart.

  • lorasinger

    The entire NT is putting words in the mouth of Jesus, Jake. The NT was written between 30-80 years after his death by people who weren’t there and didn’t know him in life.

  • Exactly. Make no mistake, Benjamin is not arriving at his progressivism based on some understanding of scripture. He’s a progressive who is looking for ways to crowbar Christ into already held progressive inclinations. So to him, when Jesus gives commands to people, they naturally apply it to government policies.

  • lorasinger

    Good start. Now how about right here?

  • I should clarify my initial reply to you, Skeptic:

    To tell the truth, I’ve had a much more difficult time accepting some of the things taught by Paul than what I see of Jesus’ life and teaching according to the Gospels. But Paul was accepted by the first Christians, even those who had lived and walked with Jesus the closest during his earthly ministry. I think they would know, better than I, some two thousand years later, if Paul’s messaged jived with who Jesus was. Even Peter affirmed Paul’s writing as scripture in II Peter 3:16. So, at the end of the day, I’m left to wrestle with my discomfort at some of his wording, if not the actual content of his writings.

    Your comments about the current church vs. the attitude of Jesus is, in many cases, absolutely true. I know that and have felt the brunt of that at times. In fact, the realization that Jesus is so different from what his church often portrays is one of the main things that kept me from giving up on the faith. I’ve written about it a few times. Here’s a link, if you’re interested:

    https://adventureinshanghai.wordpress.com/2015/02/21/this-jesus-who-makes-me-want-to-follow-him/

    And you’re exactly right, that Jesus would fellowship with gay people and treat them with respect, even if he saw same-sex relationships as sinful. You get that as a skeptic, but that’s something I think that’s lost on many progressive Christians. They seem to think that it would be impossible to have a traditional sex ethic and still love gay people. I’m very thankful that this just isn’t true.

  • lorasinger

    Jesus supported The Law which was Torah. The NT wasn’t in existence in his time. Jesus wasn’t God.
    .
    According to the bible, life begins at first breath. You cannot murder that which has no life and that includes the fetus that hasn’t taken its first breath.

  • lorasinger

    Cruz is a Pauline Christian. Jesus was a Jew from birth to death. No they would not agree on abortion.

  • lorasinger

    Nonsense!

  • a mere skeptic

    Appreciate the response. I understand your dilemma as I previously tried to reconcile the two. My first paragraph in the initial comment: I understand why you can’t agree with it, especially how it’s phrased which wasn’t really intentional (though the phrasing would be in line with my philosophy/beliefs).

    Glad we could come to an understanding on the later paragraphs – Jesus was all about love and it’s frustrating to see Christians do the exact opposite of that. I’m glad to find those who do understand his message and, regardless of their beliefs on the subject, still are willing to treat people equally, respectfully, and justly.

  • lorasinger

    Jesus quoted Genesis because, as a Jew, he was under The Law. Christians are under a new covenant and no longer under The Law, according to Paul, so what is in the OT and what Jesus quoted isn’t for Christians.
    .
    Galations 5:4, “Those of you who try to be put right in God’s view by obeying the Law have cut yourselves off from Christ. You are outside God’s grace

  • LogicusPrime

    Because some cherry-picking is better than other cherry-picking?

  • Haha. Now you’re essentially slandering me. I’ve written an entire book about how I started out as a conservative but that my years studying theology and the Bible made me more progressive.

    Seems like you’re actually the one trying to push a false narrative and agenda. I’m all for disagreement, but you could at least get your facts right- or even just pretend you’re familiar with my work.

  • More like direct quotes (some slightly paraphrased) that are contextualized to today’s world.

  • LogicusPrime

    That’s hardly a universal view among Christians, particularly Calvinists.

  • Gimpi. Whether or not it works is not the argument (though that’s not necessarily a bad conversation to have). The argument is what Christ commanded. Also, you are working under the false idea that government policies work, or are more practical. Actually this is ironic coming from you because most progressives tend to run away from discussions of practicality when it comes to policy, clinging more to arguments of emotion and ego.
    But more to the point. The command of Christ to feed the poor, was not intended to imply that we could end poverty, or sickness. Christs’ command was about creating a certain kind of behavior in his followers. As far as the fate of the poor, he made it clear to Judas. “You will always have the poor with you.” This isn’t a call to stop being charitable (C.S. Lewis was clear. Give till it hurts). This was a call to something bigger than just stopping poverty (which as bad as it is, there are tons of things that are worse. Things that affect the eternal fate of the soul).
    Now this comment kinda cracked me up: “Want evidence? Look around the world. Where do you see the most people with access to effective health-care? Where do you see the fewest homeless, mentally ill people wandering the streets. The lowest crime-rates? The lowest infant-mortality rates? It’s not places with little governmental support.”
    First, if you want to present “evidence” you need to present both details and sources. If you can’t present both, present the sources. The sources are highly more important than your conclusion of it.
    But also your statement strikes me as funny because of how false it is. There’s a reason why progressives historically make their big government case by running away from facts and figures. It’s because they never add up. They stick instead to arguments of “empathy” and “kindness” in a way that turns empathy and kindness into pseudo religions. But again, government policies aren’t about “are you compassionate or not?” My government is not an arbiter of my religious beliefs. They are not in any way (both in and out of scripture, both in and out of the words of Christ) obligated to force me to observe any moral inclination. That is a matter of each individual and his/her heart. The government is there to prevent the encroachment into the right of the people it serves. That’s it.

  • lorasinger

    Jesus apostles accepted Paul only for a short time until they found he was a Roman citizen while having called him back to explain his doctrine and the rumor that he was teaching his Christians to turn their backs on Moses Law which is Torah (first five books of the OT). Paul was having problems with getting converts because they didn’t want to be circumcised (the sign of the covenant between them and God) so Paul assured them that they didn’t need to but that meant they weren’t under the covenant any more, so Paul made up a new covenant and that is the one Christians are under today.
    .
    Paul broke with the apostles at Antioch and became the first apostle to the Gentiles – the father of Christianity. Later followers of the apostles in old writings describe him as a liar and heretic.

  • lorasinger

    Nonetheless, that is what Paul said. Christianity is Paul’s masterpiece. The other group, the apostles, were all practicing Jews who taught Torah/circumcision as the outward sign of the eternal covenant between Jews and God/( and believed that Jesus was a man – not a god).

  • bc some cherries are ripe some are not?

  • yes! I am in Christ at all times and he speaks to me and I speak to others bc I am the gospel according to Charles. aren’t I?

  • Joshua Jeffery

    There is a large body of scholarship that very much disagrees with you, and it doesn’t take much of a critical eye to see that your thesis is absolute bull.

    Jesus talked a lot about “Good news.” This was a roman political term. Look it up. Jesus was proclaimed as “King of Kings, and Lord of Lords,” and these were titles that were ascribed to the Roman Emperor. Jesus was executed by Rome with the charge “King of the Jews” posted above his head on the cross. Jesus was PROFOUNDLY political. You don’t know what you are talking about.

  • I think this is political;

    10 So Pilate said to Him,
    “You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release
    You, and I have authority to crucify You?”
    11Jesus answered, “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given
    you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me to you has the greater
    sin.”
    12 As a result of this Pilate made efforts to release Him, but the Jews cried out saying, “If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar.”…
    John 19:10-12

  • lorasinger

    He wrote: “There’s a big difference between living by your weapons and being able to protect yourself and your loved ones”.
    .
    He’s right. There is a huge difference between a guy carrying a concealed gun, ready to commit crime and a guy out in the country who has a single small calibre gun who uses it only when it’s necessary. For this reason, Oversight and background checks are totally necessary.

  • Honestly Herm, it’ll take all day to figure out what the heck you just wrote, so I’ll respond to the little I could make out. I agree with the words of scripture. I’ve also lived past puberty, so I’m aware that it is quite possible to take scriptural quotes out of context. Even people who mean well do it. Of course, all that is impossible to know IF WE HAVE NO DISCUSSIONS ABOUT SAID QUOTE! Get it?

  • Joshua Jeffery

    I’m pretty sure Jesus had some sharp words for someone who tried to defend him with a sword…

  • Joshua Jeffery

    Just as Jesus had an anti-sword agenda.

  • See my answer to Herm above about quotes and context.

  • Joshua Jeffery

    Cruz dares to compare and say how he can do things better all the time…

  • yeah I think you are rite abt that but I wonder why.

  • yeah me too cuz forced abortions have been happening since there were reasons to not want a pregnancy.

  • Sorry pal. Read it all. Also read it before when other more articulate (and less articulate) bloggers, professors, lefty preachers and pundits wrote the same thing for years. Trust me Benjamin’s words may be new to you. Not new to some of us.

  • Jake

    “Contextualized” meaning of course you say what you think is right theologically and then insert that into a saying he said to a different people in a different time. Look, I’ll be the first to say Jesus would call me a hypocrite, he would piss me off and I would probably crucify him before who I knew who he was too, but thats the point; none of us can say what he would say today with any more authority than any other, we can only try, and Liberty is doing that too. So I say let’s give them a bit of a break, they aren’t my favorite, but saying things like this seems to justify ourselves by putting them down with our own ideas of what Christ would say, which are probably also wrong.

  • Jim Knowles-Tuell

    Excuse me, but if I can’t try to influence US governmental policy, then you can’t either. I hope that what you really meant was I shouldn’t impose my beliefs on governmental policy (just as you shouldn’t impose your beliefs on governmental policy).

  • David Patrick

    Yeah, Mr. Corey, go to Iraq, love ISIS, and see what happens,. Verily I say unto you, if ISIS had existed in Jesus’ time, he would never have lived long enough to be crucified. Jesus and his twelve disciples would have been beheaded and there would be no Christianity.

    You are a bit full of yourself if you think you can put words into the mouth of Jesus.

  • Merwyn Haskett

    “…and there would be no Christianity.”

    So you’re saying ISIS is powerful enough to stop God and His plan?

  • LogicusPrime

    I would think that all Biblical cherries would be ripe.

  • Jesus lived under something worse than ISIS, so I’d encourage you to visit first century history.

  • LogicusPrime

    ;^)

  • Again: clearly you have not, or you wouldn’t have chosen that particular accusation to throw out. And to be clear, when I say “you haven’t read nearly enough of what Ben’s written,” I’m talking about beyond this one article. He’s got a whole blog, you know. Sort of hard to find from here, though.

  • David Patrick

    How do you define “worse”. The Romans weren’t good. The Nazis weren’t good. ISIS isn’t good. I don’t believe Jesus had anything against self defense.

  • You mean the one where basically all you said was that you didn’t have time to read what he wrote? Or a different one?

  • LogicusPrime

    Nonetheless, many Christians are of a different opinion. I’m not saying they’re right.

  • Mahatma Muhjesbude

    Clever, Ben, but your ‘political agenda’ is showing. Or, as so many other ‘educated’ ministerial/theological students, You still don’t know diddly about the reality of scriptures and the philosophy of Jesus, assuming there was actually some form of personification in the flesh related to the ‘philosophy’ in the first place, because you really never perused it completely and analytically just as most Christians never did?

    So assuming that with all your ‘divine’ education you at least comprehend the self serving interpolations of ‘scriptures’ carefully crafted in the bible and adapted just for such purposes, you still made a rather significant blunder with your paragraph about our opponents saying that “we should get rid of all restrictions on guns”. and Jesus responding by saying that we have to put away our weapons if we want to follow Jesus because if we live by them, we will die by them”

    That’s not correct, Even in the binary redaction of relative passages. You bastardized a different verses, LOL!

    The most significant being Luke 22:36, LOL! Don’t see old JEEze telling anybody to toss their weapons there?

    So much biblical BS spewed to so many gullible sheeple by so few unholy ones.

  • David Patrick

    Of course not. A bit of hyperbole on my part. Do you think Jesus could have preached in ISIS territory for three years? God’s plan was to not have ISIS in existence at that time.

  • One might feasibly argue that some cherry-picking isn’t really cherry-picking, because even though the verses are presented out-of-context, they’re interpreted in a way that is faithful to the context.

  • LogicusPrime

    I think we’d all agree that Jesus was a special case. His death was necessary to fulfill prophecy. The rest of us, not so much.

    He also said to buy a sword. Yes, based on context I believe he meant it literally.

  • Always with Luke 22:36… yet nobody ever seems to want to touch on the surrounding context, in which Jesus explicitly explains why his disciples should have swords (that he might be counted among the lawless) and says that two is enough for the twelve of them (certainly not enough for defense!). Nor do people seem particularly keen to discuss what Jesus says the very instant that one of those two swords gets used: “No more of this!” and “all who take the sword will perish by the sword.”

  • You don’t have to believe that Jesus was opposed to self defense, but if you’re going to try to get others to believe you’re right, Scriptural support would sure be helpful. Especially in light of those “love your enemy” and “don’t resist an evil person” lines.

  • LogicusPrime

    Yep, and there’s just as huge a difference between a guy carrying a concealed gun ready to commit a crime and a guy carrying a concealed gun who is willing to put himself at risk to protect his loved ones and/or others when necessary.

    Not a big fan of the 2nd Amendment, are you?

  • LogicusPrime

    He did?

  • Herm

    To me it is good news that He says fills your heart and mind to overflow to many who thirst. Many who you may not know but He truly knows their heart, mind and need. Thank you!

  • Nerdsamwich

    Seems Ol’ J-dawg is a lot like Karl Marx: a lot of folks have put his name and seal on a lot of things over the years, but none of them seem to have been very interested in living by the concepts he taught.

  • lorasinger

    I understand logicus, and I know what you mean. That comes from cherry picking and at the same time, not knowing the ins and outs of the old covenant as compared to the new. In the old (eternal) covenant, the Law is in effect forever, God is one and indivisible with no son, God abhors and forbids human sacrifice, consumption of blood is forbidden, the messiah has not yet come and when he does, he will be fully human. The concept of original sin does not exist. There are no man gods in Judaism. Christianity is based on syncretism of Judaism and pagan based Greco Roman religion.
    .
    It would be no different than hijacking the holy books of any other religion, editing them and adopting that as a religion and quoting from those edited scriptures to prove a point.

  • Nerdsamwich

    Assuming he was ever a real live person in the first place.

  • Joshua Jeffery

    His sharp words were “Those who live by the sword, die by the sword.” I don’t think that is an indication of Jesus as a “special case.” He’s making a pronouncement against the use of violence.

    If you read the context, and refer to the prophecy that he mentions, he tells his disciples to “buy a sword” so that he can fulfill the prophecy of being counted among the lawless….other translations say so that he can be counted among the brigands, the thieves and robbers. Jesus himself associates the sword with thievery, sin, and evil.

  • Joshua Jeffery

    See my other comment to you.

  • LogicusPrime

    Try Luke 22:35-36:

    “Then Jesus asked them, ‘When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?’

    “‘Nothing,’ they answered.

    “He said to them, ‘But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.'”

  • Joshua Jeffery

    I think most of us care much more about the ethics of Jesus than the 2nd Amendment… which, btw, doesn’t say what you think it means.

  • Why stop at 22:36? Continue on to 22:37 and Jesus explains exactly why his disciples need swords: “For I tell you, this scripture must be fulfilled in me, ‘And he was counted among the lawless’; and indeed what is written about me is being fulfilled.”

    EDIT: And hey, why should I stop at 22:37? How about 22:38? 22:38 has the disciples saying that they have two swords already, and Jesus says “that’s enough.” Enough for what? Enough to defend twelve people? I find that unlikely. 22:39 is a scene change, so 22:38 is probably an okay stopping point for this discussion. Except of course that in 22:50, one of those two swords gets used (in self-defense), and Jesus rebukes the one who used the sword.

  • LogicusPrime

    See my reply to Snommelp.

  • See Snommelp’s response to your reply :-P

  • LogicusPrime

    Actually, it does.

  • Joris Heise

    Rome WAS worse than ISIS. First century history. Crucifixion was not only common–but rampant. 10,000 crosses surrounded Jerusalem when it fell in 70 A. D. When Jesus was about 10, Romans lined the road from Jerusalem to the Mediterranean with crosses. Look up your history. Josephus and others are pretty reliable on this. His kindness to the Centurion is astonishing to a historian. The Gospels–written AFTER the fall of Jerusalem–omit and soften the hostility between Romans and Jews [to save the “jew-christians” from more persecution], and they point to the Pharisees as the villains. Pontius Pilate–objective history paints him as cruel and arbitrary–that hand washing is almost certainly fiction. ISIS IS bad, no doubt, and like a cancer on the world/body politic needs to be excised, but Jesus was shrewd enough to avoid crucifixion (the Romans did it!) until his task was finished. (Except for Romans citizens, of course, they did not usually behead people–it was far too quick.)

  • Herm

    I trust that you see something destructive that is very important to you. I am trying even harder to understand why you are now screaming something about how we have no discussions about the quotes, from my perspective, you are not in any way being denied discussion about right now. Ben has provided and maintains this venue for all respectful discussions regarding all quotes in his articles. Have I missed something? No, Fyne, I don’t get it.

  • lorasinger

    Have you read the entire 2nd amendment, log? Keep in mind that in 1789, there was no standing army or police force worth mentioning. It reads: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”
    ,
    So what attack are you expecting that the police forces and the army can’t handle – so that every person must have a gun for in order to help out?

  • lorasinger

    The real person may or may never have lived. Without any writings about him from contemporary historians, it’s hard to tell. The God man in the NT is the invention of Paul.

  • Herm

    Your call Nerdsamwich. Just for your edification there are some of us who know Jesus directly. You don”t have to but you are obviously not in a position to assume or not. No need! Love you!

  • lorasinger

    There is no prophecy in the OT for the sacrificial death of a god man. That is a Greco-Roman concept and doesn’t exist in Judaism. Human sacrifice was forbidden to Jews. The Jewish God doesn’t have a son.

  • Ohyetwetrust

    I was referencing Bishops /Catholic Church trying to write US policy regarding disallow birth control coverage for women. This would be for women who work for Church run organizations not within churches). They are trying to make their religious dogma be the law of the land.

  • lorasinger

    Just for your edification, those “some of us who know Jesus directly” are no different than the alcoholic who “knows pink elephants directly’. Others certainly are in a position to observe and form conclusions about your behaviour.

  • lorasinger

    Religion belongs in church and at home and should stay there. It doesn’t know how to behave in public, fights with other religions and tries to beat them down and hasn’t learned any manners yet, as well as being a constant liar, bully and troublemaker. It’s attitude of “nya nya nya, I’m saaaved and YOU”RE not” is pretty childish too.

  • Ohyetwetrust

    excuse me, but who appointed you to speak for God? Seems to me the main problem with Republican presidential candidates today is their thinking God has told them to run for President. 2012, the same thing. They can’t all be right. Will the read God-mouthpiece please stand up!!!

  • Betsy

    It sounds like you should check your facts before posting a blog about a school that you know nothing about. First of all, you don’t get fined for not going to convo. Second of all, I would ask you to check out what Liberty University believes and stands for before ever posting such ignorance. I would ask you to talk to the gay student who wrote a book about his experiences at Liberty University and how it tore apart every preconceived notion he had about Liberty. I would ask you to check out the godparent home that Liberty started for young single mothers who are at the end of their rope. I would ask you to go serve with some of the students on Saturday mornings with Campus Serve. I could go on and on. This article makes Jesus sound like He is wimpy and Christians need to be a doormat. I beg otherwise and would suggest reading Revelation 19:11-16 which paints the other side of our Savior.

  • LogicusPrime

    You’re ignoring the first part of Luke 22:36 about the purse and the bag. Those are all related. My reading of verses 35-36 is that Jesus is telling the disciples that things will be different in the future and that they will need to be prepared.

    The structure of verses 35-38 is a bit vague. The exclamation mark at the end of verse 38 in some translations could indicate that Jesus is exasperated with the disciples because they are misunderstanding Him. Starting with verse 24, it’s pretty clear that the disciples aren’t getting what He’s saying.

    Verse 37 could be interpreted in several ways. One interpretations is that Jesus could be numbered with the transgressors because his followers had swords. Another interpretation is that because He will be convicted, His followers will be considered transgressors and they must be prepared to protect themselves. Yet another interpretation is that He is telling them that because prophecy will soon be fulfilled he will no longer be with them. There are probably others.

    The third interpretation makes the most sense to me because it fits well with verses 35-36.

  • Ohyetwetrust

    When Liberty College forces its students to attend this performance, punishes them if they skip it, then they are not at liberty to be other than a captive audience.

  • LogicusPrime

    Yeah, I was wondering if you’d bring that up. I don’t find your interpretation terribly convincing.

  • lorasinger

    Revelation is so heavily edited and crazy, it almost didn’t even make it into the bible in the fourth century, squeaking in by only three votes. Eusabius considered it to be spurious as did Martin Luther and many more. I wouldn’t put too much stock in Revelation if I were you.

  • Betsy

    Yes.

  • Ohyetwetrust

    Jesus appears to be convinced that violence is not the answer even to save his own life. Too bad more of our nation’s leaders didn’t follow Jesus in this. They call themselves Christians but carefully avoid the injunction to Love they neighbor and even “thine enemy.”

  • LogicusPrime

    See my reply to your response to my reply.

  • Betsy

    That’s not even my point. I actually take stock in every word of Scripture.

  • Ohyetwetrust

    oh, but that’s the point, Evangelicals want the End Times to come. An apocalypse. Great, put together the Islamic desire for an apocalypse with a Waco, TX style / David Koresh-type Apocalypse and we’ll all burn to toast in a nuclear holocaust. Please let’s have some sanity in the US about apocalyptic thinking.

  • Hmm…I don’t think that’s quite what the historical record shows. There’s no evidence that the apostles, after having accepted Paul’s apostleship, changed their minds about him. They affirmed the things he taught, and the controversy over circumcision and the Old Covenant laws was settled very early on, at the Jerusalem Council. Furthermore, when Paul and Peter were in disagreement about the matter, Peter eventually capitulated and admitted his error.

    I’m unfamiliar with later writings that consider Paul a heretic, but if they exist, they were certainly not accepted by the majority of Christian leaders, and the point still stands that the original followers of Jesus, who actually lived with him in the flesh, accepted Paul as a messenger of God, and affirmed his writings.

    Also, I would say that Paul didn’t just make up a New Covenant. The New Covenant was foretold all the way back in the OT by the prophet Jeremiah, referenced again by Ezekiel.

  • Ohyetwetrust

    how can you when Jesus says contradictory things, never mentions abortion, doesn’t condemn gays, tells people to hate their family. The whole bible is riddled with contradictions, misogyny, racism, justifies slavery, etc. etc.

  • Betsy

    If you would like to give me specifics, then I can respond to you with specifics.

  • Ohyetwetrust

    The Pax Romana was a reign of terror in Hebrew times. Jesus lived in occupied territory and the occupiers were brutal.

  • LogicusPrime

    See my reply to Snommelp.

  • Contemporary writings did mention him. Josephus, for one, also a couple of Roman documents. Nobody at the time ever questioned whether he existed or not. They questioned whether he rose from the dead.

  • The third interpretation doesn’t jive with verse 37, though, and neither does the second. The Greek makes it clear that the swords are “in order that the prophecy might be fulfilled.” (ὅτι τοῦτο τὸ γεγραμμένον δεῖ τελεσθῆναι ἐν ἐμοί) The swords are not because the prophecy will be fulfilled, but in order that the prophecy may be fulfilled. That’s exactly what the original text says.

  • LogicusPrime

    Yes, I’ve read the entire 2nd Amendment and I understand what it really means. The grammar isn’t as convoluted as some people make it out to be. If you want me to explain it to you I can copy & paste my reply to Herm in the anti-white-guy-with-guns comments, but it’s pretty long and I’d rather not repeat myself.

  • Ohyetwetrust

    Surely if you know your bible so well, then you must be aware of some. My friends who gave up on religion did so because of foolish inconsistencies, that and religious violence down through the centuries. You can look for yourself but here is a list. http://ffrf.org/legacy/books/lfif/?t=contra

  • Ohyetwetrust

    the attitude of superiority in some Christians, the self-aggrandizement of saying “we have the truth” is pretty un-Christian. Esp. to the true pietists whose practice is humility.

  • Betsy

    Thanks for sharing

  • Jack Beans

    Powerful words…..Jesus’ words spoken two thousand years ago, still ring true today. Thanks for the reminder Ben. I didn’t see any hint of bashing Liberty University in the piece. Ben is only relaying Jesus’ words, if you disagree with what Ben said, it is Jesus who said it…..

  • Elizabeth 44

    Personally, I’d rather be beheaded than crucified.

  • C’mon man. We don’t need your fancy Greek knowledge and theological degrees to know what the passage is saying. Just like we don’t need to go to medical school in order to best understand how to diagnose diseases.

  • Sorry :-P

    I’m more comfortable with Hebrew, so I tend to go a bit overboard researching the Greek, just to make 100% sure I haven’t screwed anything up.

  • LogicusPrime

    Since I don’t read Greek, the original doesn’t help me. That’s a pretty important thing to leave out of a translation. Do you have any other examples where the English translation doesn’t reliably convey the meaning of the original?

  • Betsy

    As a Liberty grad, I appreciate your comment.

  • Betsy

    Convocation is three days a week. As a Liberty University student, you agree to go to it. You aren’t fined if you don’t go. I don’t know where the author even got that.

  • LogicusPrime

    Those are interpretations of the English translation of verse 37.

  • Ohyetwetrust

    http://www.salon.com/2011/04/05/liberty_university_federal_money/ Liberty University gets huge amounts of federal monies. I wonder how it’s biology students and its biology program ever get accredited. 18 class hours of biology is a lot when your biology is based on creationism.

  • David Patrick

    “excuse me, but who appointed you to speak for God?”

    The same authority who allows Mr. Corey to put words into the mouth of Jesus.

  • In fairness, it wasn’t left out of the translation; it’s just an unfortunate effect of translating, that sometimes things that are obvious in the original become more veiled in the translation. As you yourself noted earlier, the meaning that I tell you is apparent in the Greek is a possible interpretation of the English. It’s similar to how (as I’m sure you’ve heard many pastors mention) Jesus in John 3 says something that means both “born again” and “born from above,” but there’s no English phrase that means both simultaneously. Or how both Greek and Hebrew have a word that means breath, spirit, and wind, all at once. English does not, and so any time those words should come up, the translator has to make a choice, recognizing that something will be lost.

  • David Patrick

    Since you didn’t capitalize “his”, I’ll assume you are speaking about Mr. Corey. I’m pretty sure I comprehend what he said.

  • David Patrick

    Me neither. Forgiving an adulteress is hardly condoning adultery.

  • LogicusPrime

    I would think that accurate translation of meaning would be paramount if we are to be able to rely on the translation. Literary (or any other) concerns should be secondary. Otherwise we are being led astray.

  • Precisely the reason why I think more Christians need a working understanding of Greek and Hebrew; your translation can only get so “wooden” in its accuracy before it becomes unreadable. Unfortunately, it’s a balancing act. It’s not really a matter of “literary concerns,” so much as it’s a problem inherent in translation itself. There are very few languages between which perfect translation is possible. That’s simply the reality of the situation.

  • Merwyn Haskett

    He preached in Roman territory for three years, why not ISIS territory? Nobody, not the Romans, the Muslims, The Russians, nobody, can stop Him without it being His will. You give corrupt humans power and abilities they plain don’t possess.

  • And that, funny enough, is the logic given within Islam for why all adherents must know Arabic – because any translation of the Qur’an is, by virtue of how translation works, an interpretation, and therefore not truly the Qur’an.

  • Herm

    Thank you!

  • David Patrick

    Unlike ISIS, the Romans didn’t give two hoots about religion. They were only interested in peaceful subjects. The Romans didn’t take any action until Jesus became a problem for them in maintaining peaceful subjects. That took about three years.

  • I’d rather neither, but if I had to pick one, I’m right there with you…

  • LogicusPrime

    +1

  • BBoerman

    To remind Pilate that he too is subject to higher authority is not to either affirm or reject Pilate’s (or any other) politics. It is to remind him that he is not, in fact, all-powerful. This is, in secular terms, a reminder of Caesar’s power over Pilate; in spiritual terms, of God’s power over us all. Not a political position statement at all.

  • BBoerman

    I believe that your observations prove my point rather than refute it. Is the absolute authority on Earth secular-political, or is it God alone? Jesus claims the latter by the choice of words you cite. This is an apolitical if not anti-political statement — it is not a political one.
    Caesar claims to be God. For Jesus to refute that claim, and claim that God alone is God, and Jesus His only Son, is a theological statement, and not a political one. The fact that politicians try to co-opt theological high ground does not turn the theologian into a politician.
    To say that calling the Gospel “good news” is a political statement only makes sense in the context of Jesus’s “kingdom of Heaven” theology, which again is absolutely not a statement of secular politics; it is exactly the opposite — the Good News is precisely that His kingdom is “not of this world” and that’s why His followers don’t fight the secular political powers with swords and spears..
    Perhaps we just disagree — but might we disagree with some measure of civility?

  • zb

    “This article makes Jesus sound like He is wimpy and Christians need to be a doormat”.

    And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

    Jesus conquered satan by “wimpiness” not by a show of “strength”. It appears that this “wimpy” attitude is the call that the savior has on Christians. Unfortunately many Christians in our country don’t truly understand what it means to put aside pride and live the way biblical christians are supposed to live.

  • BBoerman

    I’m afraid you’re right.

  • Betsy,
    I’m sure Liberty is doing some great things. But they did promise to fine students $10 each if they didn’t attend this speech…so I think that is what this post refers to about fines.

    And you are right – Revelation shows a much more aggressive Jesus. But that in no way cancels out all his “wimpy” (your word, not mine) sayings throughout the first three gospels. What do you do with those? All this blog did was quote what Jesus said, directly, and you view this Jesus as wimpy. Perhaps there’s an entire part of Jesus that you are overlooking by just focusing on Revelation and disregarding what has been quoted that Jesus said above? Just putting that out there for your consideration.

  • BBoerman

    Such a government affords you & I the right and the responsibility to choose our own political views. Hopefully our understanding of Jesus informs our political views. But that is not the same thing as saying that there is a political view that is necessarily what Jesus’ political view was, or “would have been.”

    Example: Any good Jew (and in retrospect any modern Christian) would have understood Rome’s occupation and oppression of Israel to be evil. But Jesus blatantly refused to take up anti-Rome or anti-occupation political positions. That doesn’t mean his followers couldn’t or shouldn’t. But it means that they couldn’t (shouldn’t) legitimately claim Jesus’s politics as the basis of their own.

  • Joshua Jeffery

    It isn’t an apolitical statement at all. Jesus in his statements was subverting Roman authority in the community in which he taught, and his followers continued to subvert such authority in the ancient Christian communities. It is, as you say, an “anti-political” statement as far as it is against the political structures of the Romans, which of course, were not secular, they were very much theocratic and religious.

    The description of Jesus as the only Son of God is as much political as it is theological. To paraphrase Moltmann, all politics are theological, and all theology is political. To put it another way, John Howard Yoder argues quite well that Jesus was interested in the everyday things of life. Jesus came to organize a community on Earth, not in heaven, under his Lordship. This is overtly political, but it is very much against the political system of the day. It is, for lack of a better word, Christian anarchy. I would highly commend Yoder’s The Politics of Jesus, as well as Ellul’s Christianity and Anarchy.

    As far as civility, I was matching your tone in the statement, “But do not EVER associate the name of Jesus with it, because that is contradictory to His life, His words, His example.” If civility is what you want, you might emulate it. I’m not particularly concerned with it either way.

  • Hi lorasinger,

    There are a lot of bold assertions in that statement. No doubt, you’re familiar with at least some of the OT passages that Christians refer to as prophecies about the “sacrificial death of a god man”, Jesus. I’d be interested to hear your take on Isaiah 53, for example.

    Also, the first time we hear this supposed “Greco-Roman idea” stated expressly is by Peter in his sermon at Pentecost. Peter was about as Jewish as they get, my friend.

    I know this isn’t just a simple matter of copying and pasting a bible verse or two into the comment section. There’s no single smoking gun verse that will perfectly prove the point of historic, orthodox Christianity. But I’ve seen a lot of the comments you’ve made here and there on this thread. And it seems that you’re ignoring a lot of things (or maybe just overlooking) in order to promote what amounts to a lot of revisionist history.

  • AmyHerrmann

    Excellent post. Youve made it extremely easy to see how Jesus’ message is being perverted. Wolves in sheep’s clothing, indeed.

  • Matthew46

    The reason for the two contradicting views of Jesus are because you are looking at two schools of thought who have combined using syncretism. One portrays Jesus as he would have been more Jewish (which is what he was) and would have been more aggressive as a Jewish messianic candidate would be. The more gentle Jesus began to take shape later as portrayed by strictly gentile writers more interested in the heavenly kingdom. The two views were woven together and at times Jesus is the Jew and at other times the man god and the two are contradictory by nature.

  • Matthew46

    2 Corinthians 4:4
    .
    New International Version
    The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
    ….
    New Living Translation
    Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God
    ,,,,,
    King James 2000 Bible
    In whom the god of this age has blinded the minds of them who believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

  • Matthew46

    You are right David. If a messianic candidate came forth and showed promise that he was who he said he was, then all the Jews would follow him and the Romans would be out on their collective ear. As such, he was a danger to them and so on a trumped up charge of sedition, he was crucified. End of problem for Romans.

  • Matthew46

    This is a list of historians who lived at THE VERY SAME TIME who said absolutely NOTHING about Jesus. Philo (20BC-40AD), Pliny the elder (23AD-79AD), Seneca the elder (54BC-39AD), Seneca
    the younger (4BC-65AD)

  • yes! jesus is lord. w his statement to pilot i think he reframed what politics really is; a delusion that ppl are in control & have ultimate power.

  • kin diggit!

  • Matthew,
    I never stated that these are contradictory views of Jesus per se; I was simply refering to Betsy’s comments in which she seeks to cancel out the words of Jesus in the gospels (quoted above) with one fell swoop of one passage in Revelation.
    As to there being a Jew Jesus syncretized with a Gentile Jesus, you have presented one theory on the topic but stated it as if it were an unquestionable fact. While I’d be willing to toss around your viewpoint, I must admit I’m a bit put off by your presentation of it as the unquestionable explain-it-all theorem of Jesus’s peacemaking statements and the portrayal of Him as much less peaceful.
    I do think there are immediate problems with your theory as stated, but since that is not the purpose of this particular thread, I’m going to abstain from discussing it with you further in this venue.

  • Herm

    Your point would be well taken if Ben was suggesting by this article that our Lord is in any way telling His disciples to begin a Jesus Party to rule the USA. There would have been no need for this article if it wasn’t necessary to refute the misrepresentation of Christ’s disciples by openly declared Christians in our government. All Ben wrote was truly in the spirit of what Jesus is already quoted to have said. This is really serious because if we can’t project the beauty of Jesus available right now to the world as a loving and capable Lord then the Crusades continue perpetrated by the vocal pseudo Christians. We as a nation only then serve to alienate the lost from ever being found. I could care less about populating the Christian church but I sure care for the suicide bombers inspired by our destruction of their family. If we can’t influence OUR government in the Spirit of Jesus rather than the religion of Christians then we harm the least of these. It is late and I’m sorry I can’t make this more clear. Love you and thanks for your concern!

  • Matthew46

    Isaiah speaks of the suffering servant. How do we know that Israel is the “servant” Isaiah is talking about? The “suffering servant” is clearly identified in Isaiah as being the nation of Israel:

    Isaiah 41:8-9 But thou, ISRAEL, ART MY SERVANT, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham My friend. Whom I grasped from the ends of the earth, and from it nobles I called you, and I said to you, “YOU ARE MY SERVANT”; I chose you and I did not despise you.

    Isaiah 44:1-2 Yet hear now, O JACOB MY SERVANT AND ISRAEL, whom I have chosen. So said the Lord your Maker, and He who formed you from the womb shall aid you. Fear not,
    MY SERVANT JACOB, and Jeshurun whom I have chosen.

    Isaiah 44:21 Remember these, O Jacob and Israel, for THOU ART MY SERVANT; I have formed thee; thou art MY SERVANT, O ISRAEL, thou shalt not be forgotten of Me.

    Isaiah 45:4 For the sake of MY SERVANT JACOB, and Israel My chosen one, and I called to you
    by your name . . . .

    Isaiah 48:20 Leave Babylon, flee from the Chaldeans; with a voice of singing declare, tell
    this, publicize it to the end of the earth; say, “THE LORD HAS REDEEMED
    HIS SERVANT JACOB.”

    Isaiah 49:3 And said to me, THOU ART MY SERVANT, O ISRAEL in whom I will be glorified!

  • Matthew,

    With all due respect, it matters very little who didn’t say anything about him if there are some who did.

    And if all this commotion were going on about somebody who didn’t even exist, you’d think there would be somebody from that time who said, “hey, this guy isn’t even real.” The controversy isn’t over Jesus’ existence; it’s over his alleged divinity and resurrection.

  • Matthew46

    Regarding the Pentecost. Paul’s writings were unknown in history until 70 AD and the gospels followed those. I agree Peter was as Jewish as one can get and for this reason he would have looked at Baptism as a Jew would, a Mikvah or ceremonial wash that could be done even several times a day.
    .
    Jospehus describes it for example: “For immersion in water, it was clear to him (John the Baptist), could not be used for the forgiveness of sins,but as a sanctification of the body, and only if the soul was already thoroughly purified by right actions.
    Josephus A Baptism of Purification -Antiquities 18.5.2 116-119.
    .
    There is a difference between the meaning of Baptism for a Christian and a Jew, which for the writer of Acts presents a problem.

  • Matthew46

    I’m using sources, mainly Jewish historians who know their own history and traditions and thus can pick them out and separate them from the syncretic story told in the gospels. They are able to identify what later gentile converts have added on because it’s simply not Jewish. For instance, the last supper where Jesus says something to the effect of “this is my blood shed for you – drink this in memory of me”. Now keep in mind that Jesus stated that Torah Law was in effect to the end of time with not even a word unchanged and that he supported it. A Jewish historian will know that God said: Any Israelite or any alien living among them who eats any blood, I will set my face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from his people.” God forbade the consumption of blood. Now do you really think that Jesus, as a Torah abiding Jew, would ask for this? A Jewish historian would know immediately that this is a later Christian interpolation and yet Christians to this day celebrate communion never knowing any different.

  • Brandon Roberts

    ikr

  • Hi,
    Really good points. You have a lot of challenging stuff to say. I’ll definitely spend some time mulling it all over.

    In all fairness, though, the example you gave (about Jesus’ statements at the Last Supper in light of his affirmation of the Torah) doesn’t really pose a problem for the Christian if what we’re saying is true. He said that he came, not to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. And that, he did.
    The gospel writers weren’t gentiles who were ignorant of Jewish culture; they understood full well that many of Jesus’ statements would be unacceptable to the hearers. Elsewhere, when Jesus told a crowd that they must eat his body and drink his blood, he lost the majority of those who had been following him. And he was definitely doing something new with the Last Supper. He was
    instituting the New Covenant, which he stated in Mark 14 and Matthew 26.
    But the fact that it was different isn’t, in itself, an evidence that it didn’t
    originate from a Jew.

    Still, you clearly have a much better understanding of Jewish belief and more knowledge of historical documents than I do, and you’ve got some fascinating things to say. I’m sure I can learn a lot from your input here.

  • Hi Matthew,

    I had read that most Jewish sources today would say that the suffering servant in Isaiah 53 is Israel, but I hadn’t really pursued the matter. Your post is the first time I’ve heard a defense for why. Those verses from elsewhere in Isaiah that refer to Israel as God’s servant, help make a pretty good case for you. Definitely good hermeneutic principles involved there. ;)

    My initial thoughts when confronted with the idea of Israel as the suffering servant are just about how little Israel actually resembles the description in chapter 53. They are God’s servant, and they suffer, but that’s pretty much where the similarities end.

    Israel doesn’t bare the griefs or iniquity of anyone else. (v.4-6)

    Israel doesn’t suffer silently without complaint. (v.7)

    It can’t be said that Israel had done no violence and had no deceit in his mouth. (v.9)

    Israel’s soul isn’t an offering for anyone’s guilt. (v. 10)

    Israel, again, doesn’t make many to be accounted righteous or bear their iniquities. (v. 11)

    And again, Israel doesn’t bear the sins of many or make intercession for transgressors. (v. 12)

    In fact, the only one who atones for Israel’s (or anyone’s) sins is God:
    “When iniquities prevail against me, You atone for our transgression.” – Psalm 65:3

    And I did a quick search and found a handy webpage that provided quotes from multiple ancient Jewish rabbinic sources who interpreted the suffering servant to be the coming Messiah. I then googled the original sources, making sure that the websites I clicked on were either Jewish sites or otherwise reputable. And sure enough, there in the Babylonian Talmud, and Ruth Rabbah, and several others that I’d never heard of before, all these rabbis understood the Messiah to be the one who was “wounded for our transgressions and broken for our iniquities” “has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, yet we did esteem him a leper, smitten by God.”

    And then there was the 1969 book from Rabbi Mosheh Kohen Ibn Crispin, in which he had pretty harsh criticism for those who had, in his mind, forsaken the teaching of the rabbis, and he reaffirmed that Isaiah 53 is indeed about the coming Messiah.

    So, at this point, I’m not so sure that your case is as air-tight as it might seem at first.

  • Matthew

    It´s what Jesus did with and to the law that makes the difference Matthew46. Jesus certainly was a Jew, but all through the New Testament we see the story developing of how Jesus was challenging the very tenants of his own religion. As such, and as Mike has already said, the Last Supper issue you cite poses no real problem(s).

  • Joris Heise

    Matthew48: contradictory or paradoxical? Some say (and I am among them) that Jesus’ humanity conveys His divinity. As the most human of beings, He is the most “son of the Creator” and I develop this further. The Jewish Messiah did in my view develop into the messier “Son of God.” The problem lies in the meaning of “god”–(Cleopatra, Caesar, Alexander were all called “Theos/god” sometimes on coinage, sometimes by decree, sometimes by popular view. Herod Antipas was called a god (Acts). Read Christ Actually by James Carroll for a similar view. (I do not agree with the whole book, but it conveys the messiness of namings of god.)

  • Joris Heise

    Secondly–about the speech. I think Cruz is about as close to an Anti-Christ as we are going to get in our generation. His views of the Bible contradict the essence of The Word of God (humility, meekness, charity, caring for others, faith in God–all of which He seems to focus on his own virtue and self-righteousnes); his views on Domnionism, anointing, The End Times and Warfare are egotistical interpretations (by his father on earth) that, like the temptations of Jesus, use Scripture to justify an fleshly view of Jesus’ mission, rather than a spiritual one. Most obvious example of his form of Christianity seems to be his contempt for lesser people, pawns in his ambition.

  • You are correct- we can’t rely on an English translation. Not everything translates equal or cleanly.

  • (a) Yes, they do get fined.
    (b) this article didn’t discuss anything that Liberty believed or didn’t believed- it simply stated that Cruz gave his speech there, and that’s the totality of any Liberty reference.
    (c) I’ll be happy to show you my Liberty transcripts if you’re ever in Maine and want to grab coffee.
    (d) and, Rev 19 does paint an interesting picture of our savior– someone who arrives in battle with his clothes already soaked in blood? (hint, it’s his own blood) A “sword” that comes out of his mouth? What a beautiful symbol of how non-violent self-sacrifice wins in the end.

  • Betsy

    You get a rep for not going to convo. A certain number of reps will lead to a fine. One miss convo and you are not fined.

  • Betsy

    I would beg to differ. It’s just different perspectives. My God is not a wimp.

  • gimpi1

    Well, I’m not a Christian, so I’m not concerned with anyone’s views on the Biblical justification for governmental actions.

    As to the rest of your post, I agree, sources matter. Mine are objective, simple data gathered about things such as violent crime rates, life-expectancy, infant and maternal mortality rates, rates of communicable disease, rates of poverty as measured by basic indexes. In most of these, many countries do far better than the U.S. The ones that do have more governmental involvement in matters such as health-care, safety regulations and poverty aid. I don’t know what sources you consider reliable, but I’ve done research for a living in the past, and I’m married to a scientist. I know how to vet a source. Do you?

    I do care about results. I want the most people possible to be healthy, free of fear, able to live with dignity. I want that for disabled people, for orphans, for people afflicted with sickness. That matters to me.

    As to your view of the role of government, I don’t share it. The majority of people in this country don’t share it. Because of that whole “Government by and for the people” thing, that matters.

    I’m not going to go any further with this. Your mind is made up, and you are, frankly, pretty rude. I don’t want to waste my time or drive up my blood pressure. Fair well.

  • Guy Norred

    ^^this^^

  • You’ve showed clearly the difference between the Kingdom of God and the kingdoms of Empire. Things haven’t changed much since Jesus was executed by Rome. It’s like we’re stuck in Friday and can’t quite understand Easter Sunday.

  • BBoerman

    well stated, and absolutely clear. Thank you!

  • Herm

    You’re hurting Betsy, I’m hurting with you. The “great commission” is to teach by living His commands, all commands to bond together in love, and then by that light lead those lost, receptive and lovable others (enemy or not) to become students of Christ Jesus.

    What a divine coincidence, my God is not a wimp, either. He is available right now to provide, protect and teach each and every one of mankind personally who comes to Him with an open and vulnerable heart and mind as a little child, stripped of all human baggage. My God is so much so not a wimp that He chooses to stand up against the bully in my behalf. My God asks that we be perfect like our Father to love our enemy enough to be willing to die on a cross, His yoke, today that our enemy might live carnally long enough to see the Light of His love by our sacrifice on faith in Him that we will live.

    My Father has at least four legions of angels armed to defend the frailest of His children and is strong enough to take our beating unto himself directly. Only the strongest parent can accept the grief from the sacrifice of their one child that the lost oh so many other children may be found.

    This is the truth of strength and commitment for those now enrolled students of Jesus:

    “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
    Luke 14:26-27 (NRSV)

    This is the prerequisite for children found of God to inherit from their Father eternal life:

    He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”
    Luke 10:27 (NRSV)

    To love with all our strength is not wimpy when it’s all we got! You are not wimpy standing up for a God who doesn’t need your protection, just an adorable child. My now 33 year old son did the same for his perfectly capable mother when only two years old; sweet and adorable but totally unnecessary for him to have placed himself in harms way for a much more capable parent.

    Jesus can teach truth, beyond that of our human traditions derived from family influence, only to the heart and mind vulnerably open to Him which is as clean, ignorant and naive as that of a little frail child who hungers for love, nourishment and protection.

    I no longer defend as a disciple and child of God any institution, church or God. I defend from the depths of my heart and mind purely out of love for those now lost who, without my effort to influence in their behalf, might never ever otherwise know the Family of God as theirs.

    Speaking for the Family I am absolutely certain Jesus sees and respects your otherwise needless defense of God. He showed the same respect for the sincerity of the Pharisees Saul.

    Love you! Thanks for speaking up!

  • celtblood

    I agree, but within reason, and only so long as they don’t infringe on the right of every law-abiding American citizen to be as well armed as he or she chooses. Those who carry concealed firearms are often the good guys, not just potential criminals. And having a “single, small-calibre gun” is not sufficient for the purposes necessary to maintain a free society.

  • celtblood

    That was his choice, and you see where he ended up… at least according to the scriptures.

  • GodsGadfly

    Yet, He said it on three distinct occasions. St. John Paul II wrote an entire book, _Theology of the Body_, based on the implications of that teaching. And celibacy is the evidence against marrying for lust (whether “same sex,” contraceptive or divorce and remarriage), not for it.

  • Sarcasm_101

    Take a look at Matthew 6 sometime.

  • billypk311

    It is concerning when someone assumes’ and attempts to put words in Jesus mouth. We have no idea how he would respond. Those who walked with Him daily were continually dismayed and bewildered by his responses. Would be no difference today. I found the post alarming.

  • Matthew46

    Imagine a situation on a bus where a crazy has attacked someone and the bus is full of fully armed people who normally fire guns only infrequently. All you’re going to achieve is mayhem in the crossfire.
    .
    One can sort those who would actually do some good in an emergency situation from those with a lot of talk and little experience. The first uses his gun often enough that, like driving a car, it needs no thought to use and one can focus on the situation – a policeman, hunter or soldier. The second one is often all mouth but when the situation arises does nothing but aggravate the situation, hurt people and pee his pants – a Zimmerman type with a gun.

    . Nobody needs a gun normally meant for war.

  • Rick Oliver Millward

    God should be our focus.

  • Rick Oliver Millward

    Religion means to bind, you nor your friends can free yourself from this inherent yoke.

  • Matt Soldano

    The author seems to be paraphrasing things Christ said – as recorded in the Bible. I don’t think that is “putting words in his mouth”. You are being quite ‘nit picky’, if you know what I mean., If you realllyyy want to get technical with it, every time the Bible is translated again we are putting “new words” in Jesus’ mouth…

  • Herm

    I find it more concerning that an apparent Bible reader doesn’t recognize that every New Testament gospel writer put the same words, different structure each, in Jesus’ mouth. Oh, wait, it couldn’t possibly be Jesus putting the same words today and then in the hearts and minds of His disciples just as the Bible speaks to. No, that would be physically impossible, right? Thanks for voicing your alarm! In the Spirit I truly love you!

  • Rick Oliver Millward

    Duality veils non-duality and adds mystery or transformation to their being different polarities of the same divine substance.

  • Herm

    God can focus on us much more capably if we allow Them to. Do any healthy children you know, in the image of God, focus on their family more than simply accepting and enjoying, on faith alone, the peace and joy provided by their divinely healthy family?

  • Delta

    So. You DO get fined. You just have to do it several times. Why is that OK?

  • Ohyetwetrust

    Yes, and I would ask those Christians/non-Christians who tend toward hubris to develop more of the human virtue called humility.

  • Ohyetwetrust

    “be ye perfect” is best translated as “be ye whole”. Let us help one another to be whole, not hurting from being bullies. Let your god heal the bullies and admonish the authoritarians among evangelical Christians and then everyone, Christian or non- to get along.

  • Ohyetwetrust

    sounds like the notion of original sin, which is the most depressing, limiting teaching in the Christian churches

  • Ohyetwetrust

    Thank you Joris. I think evangelicals like Cruz turn more people off of religion (not just Christianity) all together then they attract. It’s too bad. I would probably still be a Christian if I had grown up in the tradition of the gentle Jesus.
    As it is, I graduated from theology school and ministered to others using universal ministry of caring, and honoring the dignity and worth of reach person. All my classmates drank from the same refreshing well. Six years of hospice interfaith chaplaincy, taught me the need to be kind and gentle since so many are beaten down by life and a harsh theological teachings they learned in childhood.

  • Ohyetwetrust

    crucifixion was deliberately chosen and put into practice so that the condemned displayed the maximum pain and suffering. One ends up suffocating and in great pain. Crucifixion was done freely on thousands of people. It was a reign of terror.

  • Ohyetwetrust

    more of that biblical contradiction…

  • celtblood

    You’re making a very wild assumption that (a) the bus is full of armed people and (b) they’re all just going to draw their weapons and start shooting. The possibility of either case is so slim as to be almost non-existent (much like the dangers of so-called “secondhand smoke”).

    Those who care to carry concealed weapons, especially those who have permits to do so, are by a great margin responsible and cautionary. (I know, because almost all of my friends, relatives, and co-workers have CC permits.) Of course, there will always be exceptions, but that’s the trade-off for a free society, and well worth it. (Same as the trade-off we make to be able to have automobiles and highways, when we accept a certain number of fatalities each year.)

    Chances are, what would really take place is the majority of people would freeze as they tried to take the situation in and figure out what was going on. If the attacker were armed with a knife or machete, he would likely be subdued once those around him were able to focus. If he came on the bus shooting, even if several passengers were armed, there would probably only be one or two who would register the situation quickly enough to respond and take out the attacker.

    The most likely outcome of your little scenario is the one we see all too often, wherein no one is armed except the attacker, and he simply mass-slaughters as many sitting ducks as he can, then usually takes himself out when he’s done all the damage he can inflict.

    I’ve heard your type of argument over and over from the liberal activists who would disarm the entire citizenry if they could get away with it. When Kentucky was passing our Concealed Carry Law, we were inundated with dire predictions of wanton, mindless bloodshed in the streets, possibly thousands a day dying from road rage shootings, or whenever someone carrying a firearm became agitated or upset over just about anything. “Just wait and see, you’ll find out!” was the bitter rallying cry from the Democratic activists who had lost their battle. Well, as always, they were wrong.

    There were no daily (not even weekly) shootings, no vast increase in firearm violence, and the crime rate, as usual, dropped. And yes, there have been a few questionable incidents involving people who happen to have CC permits, but those are less than .00001 %. Then there’s the reality that we have no way of knowing how many crimes have been prevented because the criminals know many Kentuckians are now carrying firearms legally.

    As to your remark, “Nobody needs a gun normally meant for war”, that’s probably one of the most foolish and anti-American statements a person could make. You’re free to make it, and I will stand by your right to do so, though I am both confused and frightened by the fact that anyone could be so far removed from reality and from the foundational principles of our Constitution.

    (Not that we need the Constitution to embrace reality and use common sense, but it’s nice to know the right of the legal, lawful citizen to keep and bear arms is spelled out in the Second Amendment for the benefit of those who don’t.)

  • Ralph Cruzan

    I have to wonder about a school that would force you or pressure you to attend a speech by Ted Cruz seems to me like you should have a choice its not like it is a class for credit. Second just seems typical Ted Cruz something tells me he knew he would have a forced built-in audience. Cruz rants about the constitution yet choosing to speak in such a religious environment forces me to question his attitude toward separation of church and state

  • Herm

    Greek Strong’s Number: 5046
    Greek Word: τέλειος
    Transliteration: teleios
    Phonetic Pronunciation:tel’-i-os
    Root: from
    Cross Reference: TDNT – 8:67,1161
    Part of Speech: adj
    Vine’s Words: Age, Man, Perfect, Perfectly
    English Words used in KJV:
    perfect 17
    man 1
    of full age 1
    [Total Count: 19]
    from (telos); complete (in various applications of labor, growth, mental and moral character, etc.); neuter (as noun, with (ho)) completeness :- of full age, man, perfect.

    Matthew 5:43-48

    pennyroyal, I’m not exactly sure what your point is though I am sure, to be prompted to respond this strongly, it is sincere.

    From my heart and mind I know there are many bullies who will never choose to be “healed” and that is their never to be denied God graced prerogative. I feel and think both of us are driven to admonish the learned authorities misrepresenting the Spirit of God in Christ’s name, still, it is their choice to be healed or not from their ignorance.

    Those otherwise lost and mugged that we can carry to God’s quiet Inn, to heal with one on one time with Jesus, are those who have not yet heard past the loud intimidating voices of those reigning church lords to hear the welcomed soothing whisper of our Lord in their hearts and minds.

    None of this inner city mission can we serve to heal without the omnipresent leadership of God and the receptive hearts and minds desiring of God’s divine familial love. We can never expect, nor can it happen, people of free choice to ever get along without the binding of the Holy Spirit by love to become as one with the hearts and minds of God.

    In God’s image always we maintain our responsibility of choice even as a little child. We can point to the Way but we are not the Way!

    Love you! Thanks!

  • Rick Oliver Millward

    I’m not into dividing God.

  • Herm

    We have been saved from the deadly yoke of the religious when we come as a little child into the loving embrace of God as our family, invited by the Son who paved the Way. As a disciple of Rabbi Jesus I’m bound in a reciprocal relationship of eternal love nothing like the religions of this world.

  • Herm

    I’m into multiplying love!

  • Noah

    I agree that he would need more protection from the father/spirit under ISIS, but that’s all.

    All but one disciples, it appears, came to death by mob anyways.

  • Rick Oliver Millward
  • Stephen DuMont

    we need a bigger wall between church and state.

  • billypk311

    You most welcome. I stand by my alarm. Do I hear a tone of spiritual arrogance? Yes, I do.

  • gimpi1

    May I ask why you capitalized the pronoun in referring to Mr. Cruz? That’s usually only done in referring to a deity. I just noticed it and it seemed odd…

  • billypk311

    I stand by my alarm. Why not just quote scripture? Seems we share the ‘nit picky’ characteristic concerning your view on technical—— translation…………………..

  • gimpi1

    ” I think that their anger is more about the force used to take the money than it is about the poor getting healthcare…”

    Well, by that standard, I was “forced” to pay for the (in my view) misguided Iraq war that shattered the power-balance in the middle-east and paved the way for ISIS, an outcome I foresaw. (As did many people with some sense of history for the region.) Yet, I don’t get all outraged about the “government-taking” that funds an oversized military-industrial complex that has more than it’s fair share of waste, fraud and corruption.

    I understand that no system is perfect, that mistakes, sometimes horrible ones, will be made, and that while I have some say in a representative democracy, I don’t get to make the final call about how taxes are levied or spent. In short, the country is not all about me or my beliefs.

    If I can understand that, surely the people you know that are upset about governmental aid can?

  • LogicusPrime

    The problem with that is the questions it raises for non-believers: “The English language Bible isn’t really accurate? I have to understand Greek and Hebrew to really understand God’s Will?” Possibly followed by: “Are you nuts?!”

    That’s going to be a tough conversion.

  • LogicusPrime

    While we’re on the topic of Greek, what about verses 35-36?

  • Well, that leads right into an important question: is it more important for Christianity to be attractive, or for it to be faithful to the teachings of Christ?

  • Matt Soldano

    Well then I would advise you to think long and hard about what causes you to become alarmed. A blogger paraphrasing Christ’s words and putting them into a current events setting should not be on that list.

  • LogicusPrime

    My point is that a more accurate translation would avoid the problem entirely.

  • Problematic or not, it’s still true: English translations aren’t always accurate, because not everything has a 1 to 1 functional equivalent between ancient Greek and English. It all requires a judgement call on the part of the translator, which is why we have so many different English versions.

    And, to really understand what the Bible is saying at any given time, one need understand far more than just the biblical language- one also need understand the culture of the author, the culture of the recipient, how they thought and viewed the world around them, and all sorts of other stuff. This is precisely why theology should be held only in an open hand.

  • What about them? They lead into 37 logically; 36 says ἀλλὰ νῦν, which is translated “but now” and which denotes an emphatic contrast between the past and the present (the present, as opposed to the future).

  • LogicusPrime

    So I can assume that you don’t share the opinion of many Christians that the Bible contains everything we need to know about Christianity? ;^)

  • billypk311

    Thanks for your spiritual advise. I will remain firm in my opinion and alarm. In my humble view I saw more than paraphrasing. Seems we can humbly agree to have different views and opinions. My comment is not personal concerning the blogger. I assume he is a fine individual in his spiritual walk with an impressive education.

  • Sure, the Bible contains what we need to know. But if things like language and context wasn’t crucial to discovering that knowledge, we wouldn’t have seminaries where people go learn it, and most Christian traditions wouldn’t require a minimum of 3 years at seminary to be a Bible teacher in a local church.

  • Right, I get that, but I’m not quite sure you’ve grasped what I keep trying to say: a more accurate translation is not always possible. It’s just how languages work. One Hebrew word carries three different English meanings, one English word carries the weight of four Greek words. Greek synonyms that each have their own nuances only have one English word to associate with, which itself has different nuances from any of the Greek words. This is simply a reality of language, and it means that no translation is going to be perfect. All translations are interpretations. Period.

  • LogicusPrime

    I was thinking of the literalness of the purse, the bag, and the sword. The way I read it, Jesus was saying that previously, the disciples wanted for nothing, but that would change and they would need more to be prepared. The fact that all were grouped together in one verse in the translations would seem to indicate that they were to some degree of a kind (in the mind and judgement of the translators) in that they would be needed in the future when they weren’t in the past.

  • LogicusPrime

    I guess my humor was a bit off the mark. I’ve read plenty of comments by seminary graduates that the Bible is all we need. It was a bit of a sarcastic joke at their expense.

  • Yup.. I remember one of the first times translating a verse from Greek and realizing that one particular word had 17 possible uses- any of the choices would have given the passage a slightly different theological flavor. Having to give an educated guess as to what use Paul had in mind when he wrote it was my “aha moment” in seminary when I realized that theology needs deep humility because of how translator opinions impact it in English.

  • Thank you for clarifying. In that case, I should note to you that I edited my response for clarity: ἀλλὰ νῦν denotes contrast between the past and the present (or immediate future), but not between the past and any future beyond the immediate future. Simply by virtue of the vocabulary used, Jesus cannot be talking about any future beyond that very night, where the swords do indeed serve their purpose.

  • LogicusPrime

    Does that also apply to the purse and the bag, too? I’m trying to understand.

  • My go-to for “aha moments” is usually πíστiς Xρiστoȗ. The way Paul used it was just so perfectly ambiguous, in a way that can’t be replicated in English.

  • Why not just quote scripture? Because then we can keep it safely “over there” and not have to engage it or think about how Jesus’ words would apply to our circumstances. We no longer have Roman soldiers forcing us to carry their packs, so what would today’s correlate be? That’s all this author is exploring. You may disagree with his application (though you never state why), but he’s at least trying to imagine what Jesus would say in modern day situations. That’s better than reading scripture every Sunday but never allowing it to challenge our own assumptions and lifestyles.

  • LogicusPrime

    Then I guess I’d have to say is that nothing less than an annotated study Bible that elaborates on all that stuff is an adequate translation. I’d far rather have a wooden translation than an inadequate one.

  • Yes, funny enough, it does indeed apply to the purse and bag as well. I’m honestly not sure why the disciples needed purse and bag at Gethsemane, but the Greek doesn’t lend itself to any other reading.

  • LogicusPrime

    I hate to say it, but that makes no sense. I’m assuming there was a reason for Him to say it.

  • I’m not saying there was no reason for him to say it. I’m saying that I’m not sure what the reason was. There’s quite a difference.

  • David, I don’t know if you consider yourself a Christian or not, but your words remind me of the disturbingly large chorus of Christians who dismiss and mock Jesus’ words. “Yeah try it, see where that gets you.” That it’s hard to put into practice is precisely the point. I don’t consider it a stretch or putting words into Jesus’ mouth if we identify modern day enemies and apply this clear and difficult teaching to it. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do?

  • LogicusPrime

    Perhaps there was a grammar problem in the copying of the Greek texts at some point in time?

  • Possible, though the Greek I’m looking at is copied directly from the oldest extant version of Luke. And if we’re going down that path, we end up saying the text means whatever we want it to mean, because “maybe there was a copy error.” That gets way too speculative for my taste.

  • LogicusPrime

    Then it seems that we are left with a choice of interpretations, neither of which makes total sense given the original Greek.

  • But one of which makes more sense. They aren’t equally nonsensical.

  • Thx for opening this topic. I have been pondering and this came to mind abt words. The ‘rhema’ word is a spoken word. Spoken in the present (by the holy spirit). It think it implies a living relationship that has agency, is fruitful, transends the written page, is ‘ripe’. Logos is general, the whole bible, all at once & rather more of an unripe or untranscendant thing than a live person tho it contains the rhema.

  • Herm

    Rick, I’m not certain how to respond to your link as a response to my comment. It would be so easy to be my childish self and leave it as, “I rest my case”. I am not sure, though, whether you are supporting or refuting.

    I have come to a fuller picture of the yoke Jesus offers over my relationship with Him. It is in no way to be likened to the spiritual disciplines enforced for membership by the authorities overseeing religions, Christian or not. It is made of the same tree as is the cross from the center of the garden. I so love speaking in biblical code for us students of the Christian Bible. The yoke picture is developing in my heart and mind inspired from my studies under the direct tutelage of our only faithful Rabbi.

    Jesus’ physical trade when growing up before His ministry was that of carpenter. One of the wood items He tailor built and maintained was yokes. He knows yokes to use analogously to illustrate relationships to us who might also know yokes. A yoke is normally used between a pair of working animals to enable them to pull together on a load when working in pair. There are also yokes for more than two to enable them all to pull together. His yoke binds us one to another to move efficiently, effectively and harmoniously bound by His commanding love as one heart and mind by way of direct and constant relationship in the Holy Spirit, the Advocate for all of God, to pull together in and under the same direction. The cross is made of the same material from the same tree as His yoke. Whether we are pulling as one inside Jesus’ shared yoke, or picking up our cross pulling as one to share His love with all nations, we are harnessed by the tree of life from whence our fruits will be harvested.

    Again, at the risk of belaboring a point, the law that I am inspired to choose to labor under is purely relational and not in any way disciplinarian.

    Thank you for the link! Love you!

  • LogicusPrime

    True, but I suspect that’s somewhat an individual thing. To me, the command to get literal items for which there appears to be no immediate use but will be useful beyond the immediate future tends to have more weight than a reference to the immediate future, especially when one of the items could be useful in both situations and the others only in one of them. But that’s just me and, like everyone else, I can’t claim to be completely unbiased.

  • Herm

    I love the pictures flowing from your brain. You make it just too easy to return exactly your judgment back at you in kind. In the spirit of “judge not lest ye be judged”, humorously as between discussing (or disgusting?) siblings I ask, “might that “tone” you hear be emanating from your own vocal cords?” Love you and wish you peace.

  • If I had to make an exegetical guess, I’d guess that he’s referring to the fact that they’re about to be scattered when stuff goes down in the garden. Would be practical advice to make sure they didn’t leave their stuff behind before they ended up running off in different directions.

  • paganheart

    Hate is easy. Love – real love – especially loving people that we consider enemies – is really, really, really hard. Ultimately that’s what makes Jesus’ message revolutionary, I suppose.

  • Herm

    We need a village to raise our children to love one another without walls. Love of God, neighbor, self and enemy breaks down the walls that keep us apart. Then we need no legislation or enforcers to force us to respect the other as ourselves. We are one mankind in the image of one God. One is sharing all and never dividing into separate many mes.

  • Everett Kier Jr

    the arrogance and condescending nature of this opinion and thread toward others who are attempting to follow the master as they see fit is rather disheartening

  • Herm

    Everett, would you then say that Jesus was arrogant and condescending in His most loving opinion of those who crucified Him as their attempt to follow the master as they saw fit? Do you find that His words are always so disheartening?

    ***arrogant

    adjective

    having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance or abilities

    ***condescending

    adjective

    having or showing a feeling of patronizing superiority.

    ***patronize

    verb

    treat with an apparent kindness that betrays a feeling of superiority.

  • billypk311

    Clairvoyant! Why didn’t I see that. I love professed Christians!!!

  • billypk311

    Your response totally befuddles my simple mind. I did say why in my initial sharing. Please read again. It’s ok!!! Just relax and don’t over analyze my stated opinion. Its a waste of time. I do hope you read scripture more than just Sunday. I do daily and sometimes many times a day cause I really need the help!!

  • Herm

    I even love the ones who aren’t!!! Thanks!

  • billypk311

    I guess we have something to agree on! Praise the LORD!

  • Nerdsamwich

    I’m not assuming anything; just pointing out that there is considerable debate over whether a Jewish messiah named Yeshua ben Yosef ever walked the dusty roads of Nazareth.

  • Ben Wideman

    This is so wonderful. Thanks for your prophetic voice!

  • “Considerable” debate? You you’ll find some Salon articles that argue that, but you won’t find “considerable debate” among scholars.

  • Herm

    Once a considered debate but not now in my heart and mind. The debate has been decided in counsel with the Spirit. Just have to go to the Source to know the Truth.

    I understand your doubts and truly wish there was a way beyond my testimony to rest them. I can tell you that you don’t need me or the debaters because if you truly are asking, seeking and knocking God will answer you. There is always growing debate over dead and gone presidents and heroes. The good news for all who care is that Jesus is neither dead nor gone. Divine Teacher, too, but then inspite of that I’m failing at my attempt to be Teacher’s pet!

  • Nerdsamwich

    I did. In my younger days, I sincerely sought the relationship of which you speak. I cried out to the void, and only the void answered. I looked to the Book they had raised me to revere, but the more I read of it, the less of the divine I found within it. As seems to be the case with most–at least in this country–finally reading their book was what finally made me turn my back on the church. I’m touched by your offer of understanding for my doubts, but you may rest assured that I have resolved them. Man creates gods in his own image. That’s why none of them seem to be better than the average man.

  • Herm

    When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

    signed, the Rabbi who speaks

  • Nerdsamwich

    Nice subtle burn, sir. However, if I may rebut: http://www.rationalrevolution.net/articles/gospel_mark.htm

  • Buddy Cook

    Agreed

  • Rick Oliver Millward

    Like everything in life accept what you can and the rest will take of itself. I’m not into dividing – only uniting. Jesus was called Immanuel by the angels meaning “God is with us “

  • Herm

    Your plight really pains me deeply. To contrast the picture you just painted with the one I know and live with daily, in my heart and mind, is like absolute nothing compared to absolute everything, both too big for me to even want to understand fully until the end of eternity.

    I don’t know how to paint without flowery words the peace and joy I feel from my relationship with the Jesus who walked our roads then and walks our roads today, really.

    The only scripture that nearly describes where I am at is:

    “The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8 (NRSV)

    I guess you would have to experience the same before that could mean anything of value to you but I feel compelled to share it anyway.

    I am heartened that you would discuss with us. I realize that to be here means you are searching further or you are trying to save us who are deceived. Either way you care, thank you!

    Jesus doesn’t teach what works for just His disciples but what works for all. In everything if we do to all others as we would have all others do to us mankind flourishes no matter our individual spirituality or physicality

    You are truly loved! peace

  • thinkingforyourself

    “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
    Jesus was not a liberal….

  • Herm

    … nor a conservative! Thanks!

  • Herm

    And the rest were killed by the sword of the rider on the horse, the sword that came from his mouth; and all the birds were gorged with their flesh. Revelation 19:21 (NRSV)

    Love you!

  • jimmy

    Wrong.
    Psalm 139:13
    For You created my inmost being, You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
    Jeremiah 1:5
    Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…

    Just one of many scriptures emphasizing God’s intent and knowledge in human existence.
    Try again.

  • When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. Ezekiel 3:18

  • Angel

    You missed every other word Jesus said written in the article by clinging to your one little sentence. A sentence that you are interpreting entirely different than I see it. Going against the conservative terrorist that are trying to take over America under the guise of “godliness”, feeding the greedy capitalist beast would definitely be shaken up and have their peace disturbed by Jesus if he were here today, he would be in their mega churches flipping their tables telling them all what sinners they are and how they have defiled his name. He definitely would not be bringing them peace. He would use his words, the ones in the article above, to shake the very foundation of their false prophets. Jesus was very much a liberal, but you go ahead and cling to that belief. I see the very thought of it disturbs your peace ;)

  • Angel

    I love this very much! This is the Jesus I know, thank you for saying it! Keep on speaking your truth <3

  • how?

  • what are you ‘into’?

  • i am learning to love the trolls!

  • control freek much? That alarm is a trigger giving you a hit of adrenalin.

  • Nick

    That would have been a much better response to gimpi1 than Mr. Domhnails’s post. That can start a discussion about what Jesus meant so that both parties can glorify him more.

  • Herm

    that is progress

  • David Patrick

    Yes, I am Christian. I even sing in the choir. :)

    I’m a right wing conservative politically, but my theology would be considered very liberal. Definitely not a fundie.

    We’ve all heard the “love the sinner, hate the sin” line. I can love my enemy but I don’t believe that means that I have to lay down in front of them and allow them to have their way with me. I don’t have to love what they do. If what they’re doing is evil, I believe that the evil needs to be stopped. We did that with Japan and Germany and both countries are better for it today. We do love the Japanese and Germans as they are some of our best friends these days.

    I see news reports of the Yazidis in Iraq and the Copts in Egypt. They are being tortured and killed. Their churches are being destroyed. I do not believe that Jesus’ command to love our enemies means that we are supposed to stand idly by and watch this happen.

    As someone else mentioned, Jesus often spoke in riddles. Even his disciples had trouble understanding him. How many of us have actually sold all that we have and given it to the poor to follow Jesus? Other than a few monks and people following a cult leader, I know of no one who has done that. How could that even work? I pay taxes which helps the poor and I donate to many charities (including my own church). A lifetime of doing that does far more good for the poor than a one time gift of all that I own, which would only make me another of the poor needing help.

  • timhelms

    Cute idea, but very flawed logic and a flawed understanding and interpretation of Scripture. For example, off the top of my head, I could come up with “proof texts” for almost each of your points stating the opposite . Unlike writers for magazines, newspapers, journals, etc. who must face the scrutiny of a team of people including editors, bloggers carry the heavy burden of making sense all on their own…you might want to consider employing the skills of a team of thinkers, writers, and editors who could advise you on your premises and how you articulate them!

  • Matthew46

    You have it straight from the Jews whose book it is, a book written for them, by them, in their own language, with its own idioms and based on their own traditions and YOU think you know better? I doubt it very much.

    Read Psalm 139 in its entirety. It begins with ” A Psalm of David” in other words, David’s opinion – so what?
    .
    Again, Jeremiah’s words ” The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah”
    .
    In principle, Judaism does not regard the fetus as a full human being. While deliberately killing a day-old baby is murder, according to the Mishnah, a fetus is not covered by this strict homicide rule. In the reading of Biblical homicide laws, rabbinic sages argue that homicide concerns an animate human being (nefesh adam from Lev. 24:17) alone, not an embryo… because the embryo is not a person (lav nefesh hu).

  • timhelms

    You are describing the millenium…not life on earth. Read Romans 1…read it carefully, and stop denying the TRUTH of Scripture and the TRUTH Himself…Jesus! People…get your heads our of your pansy self-interests…”11 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.”

  • David Patrick

    I agree with you on the politicians. Many of them claim God to be on their side. They are doing nothing more than pandering to the voters in the Bible belt. As for humility, you are more likely to find a unicorn than a humble politician. The thing that concerns me about your post is the reference to Republicans. Democrats are equally arrogant.

  • zb

    Of course hes not a wimp. But he fights his major battles in ways that American christian’s think is “wimpy”. Like sacrificing His life gladly for people who curse Him to his face. That’s what makes the argumentative of Christianity so intriguing.

  • Matthew46

    Paul said in Galations 5:4, “Those of you who try to be put right in God’s view by obeying the Law have cut yourselves off from Christ. You are outside God’s grace.”
    ….
    The Law is Torah, the first five books of the OT where most of your quotes are coming from.

  • timhelms

    You, nor Salon, know anything about what you are espousing! EVERY school that accepts pell grants, et. al. for its STUDENTS is technically accepting Federal aid. There are only a very few schools in the entire nation that do not even accept pell grants, et. al. One is Hillsdale College in MI. The reason they don’t accept ANY pell grants, et. al., even though they are FULLY allowed to and it is their right under the constitution of the United States and under current laws governing colleges and universities…is because of people like you. It’s so they can look people like you in the eyes and say that they have taken $0.00 dollars and they can teach whatever in the world they want to and people like you can’t say one daing thing about it. By the way, under the constitution and under the current laws governing colleges and universities here in AMERICA, you, as a citizen still have the right to CHOOSE where you want to attend college and you, as an individual are granted the RIGHT to seek FEDERAL FINANCIAL AID, which, as Salon so naively points out, is, theoretically, the school “accepting” federal monies via the students who they “allow” to receive the federal funding in order to attend the school. Would you PLEASE read up on issues such as these and do us all a favor and STOP spewing your ignorance and misleading others along the way.

  • timhelms

    Then don’t go to that school. It’s America. Nobody is forced to go Liberty. Try saying that crap that you are saying at West Point. That’s another school that one can CHOOSE to go to and do I need to list for you the REQUIRED meetings they have? You should think before you post.

  • Matthew46

    Jesus’ words spoken two thousand years ago, still ring true today.
    …………..
    Have you ever looked at the Codex Bobiensis and Codex Sinaiticus? I wonder what those words were, considering there are some 14,600 differences between those two and today’s bible.

  • timhelms

    I’d be happy to show you my undergraduate degree certificate and my graduate degree certificate from Liberty…all done on campus if you would really like to discuss what goes on there…I can assure you it’s not what you wrote about! As others have said, including myself in earlier responses to your post, you really should be more careful and through in your posts. Bloggers carry a tremendous burden of truth since most other writers have editors and a team of people who can catch their errors both technical and in premise. FYI.

  • Matthew46

    He is a true Dominionist, interested only in power and using the religious to boost him into power – short, he is a very dangerous man.

  • David Patrick

    I hate to use a cliche, but God works in mysterious ways. Look at the evil in the world, and the people killed by that evil. Look at the natural disasters that kill tens of thousands. Look at the tragic deaths of infants and children due to disease. We don’t know why these things happen, we just say it’s “God’s will”. It is a result of God’s plan and we don’t understand that plan. There are a whole lot of people who didn’t get a whole lot of protection from God.

    Jesus didn’t need protection from ISIS because he was not sent to us during the time of ISIS. God’s perfect plan was to send Jesus during the time of the Romans. God gave him three years to serve his purpose on earth. God didn’t protect him from the Romans. Quite the contrary as he suffered an excruciating and humiliating death. Had ISIS been in power at the time, Jesus might have had about three weeks, certainly not enough time to complete his mission.

    God’s plan worked, as it always does. It wasn’t because God protected him. It was because God chose the perfect time to send Him to us.

  • Ohyetwetrust

    Yes, many are right.
    My local state rep. though has humility and is busy helping the mentally ill and trying to get a permanent homeless shelter.

    My federal rep. is a young Kennedy and committed to serve and has proven to be well regarded in this conservative area. Elizabeth Warren is one of my senators and she is devoting herself to saving the middle class from the banks, Wall St., and corporations.

    I can’t stand arrogance and excesses of hubris. By the way, humility and humble are slightly different in definition in my mind, at least. We can be humbled by events but true humility is an attitude of seeing others/loving others “as thyself” (without any hierarchy).

  • Matthew46

    Most of the early pre-Christian rulers were considered sons of God, even down to Alexander and the present day north Korean leader. To the Jews, mosioch meant only an anointed, fully human leader/king like David or Solomon. A God born of a virgin is not a Jewish concept. In the present day pope claims the title Pontifex Maximus, a title reserved for the Caesars, however, early in Catholic history, church tradition believes that Constantine ceded his temporal authority to the then pope. The “Donation of Constantine” is actually a forgery but the church doesn’t advertise it.

  • David Patrick

    I understand you differentiating between “humility” and “humble”. Humility is a noun and I needed and adjective. Humble is the only adjective I could think of to express my idea.

    Personally, I’d rather see all those good things you mention being done by the private sector rather than the government. I can already tell that we’re on opposite ends of the political spectrum and will have to agree to disagree.

    As it happens, one of my Senators is Ted Cruz. I voted for him. I’ll quickly say that it’s one thing to elect him as one voice among a hundred. It’s quite another to elect him POTUS. I’m not sure I’m ready for that either.

  • Matthew46
  • Matthew46

    It got worse after that. truthbeknown.com/victims.htm

  • Herm

    Other than homophobia, I assume, how in your apparent hell do you see Romans one as pertaining to walls, villages and love? I am describing Jesus’ disciples intents as Jesus is teaching. Tim, what triggered your bitter tirade?

  • Rick Lasater

    So you think Jesus would be OK with making government fulfill his commandments instead of individual actions?

    In that same light, I guess you like the idea that the federal government should be established and should act and execute it’s policies based on the Christian Bible.

  • Ralph Cruzan

    think before you post? great point did it ever cross your mind that I thought before I enrolled in College? I can promise you it was not Liberty or West Point for that matter. There is a reason I posted I believe in freedom of religion and political thought does Liberty have the right to regulate these behaviors on their campus sure but I also have the right to think notice the word think that Liberty policies are lame and would discourage anyone from attending Liberty. How can you compare West Point to Liberty? At West Point you are entitled to both freedom of religion and political thought. but to realize that would have required thought.Please do not waste your time or my time listing the meetings at West Point I knew long ago that they had required meeting

  • Ralph Cruzan

    My other point is I question Ted Cruz fitness for office as my impression is he has trouble separating church from state can you imagine John Kennedy announcing for office from Notre Dame? It would have never happened.

  • jimmy

    You lack critical thinking. Come back when your ready to discuss on a rational level with a correct biblical mindset.

  • Matthew46

    Isaiah 53:5 is a classic example of mistranslation: The verse does not say, “He was wounded for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities,”
    which could convey the vicarious suffering ascribed to Jesus. Rather, the proper translation is: “He was wounded because of our transgressions,and crushed because of our iniquities.” This conveys that the Servant suffered as a result of the sinfulness of others – not the opposite as
    Christians contend – that the Servant suffered to atone for the sins of others

  • Matthew

    Individuals alone cannot possibly do all that needs to be done in society without the help of government. Could you build your own highway? Your own space station? Would you want to?

    Also I believe Romans talks about the government serving the common good. I´m certainly not in favor of a political theocracy, but there are simply some projects that the government must take on.

  • Matthew46

    Well, Mike, there is a problem with Jesus coming to fulfil the law, not abolish it. The Law/ covenant was eternal and that would preclude there being a new one.
    .
    There is a whole lot more to that story but in a nutshell, what we aren’t told about is that the Jewish Christians were just that. They were a sub-sect of Judaism, Jewish in every way, who believed that Jesus was the fully human messiah of Jewish prophecy. Circumcision is the covenant between Jews and their God. These were later called Ebionites.
    .
    The Antioch incident set off the division between them and Paul.

    .
    Paul further said that the Jews were under the old covenant and his followers, with the resurrection of his newly invented man god, Jesus, were now under a new covenant. By making it no longer necessary for converts to undergo circumcision which was the sign of the eternal covenant, that covenant had to go as well. This is what is meant by “casting aside the law of Moses”. His Christianity, the one we follow today, is that new covenant and that the law of Moses didn’t apply to his converts.
    .
    Galations 5:4, “Those of you who try to be put right in God’s view by obeying the Law have cut yourselves off from Christ. You are outside God’s grace.”

  • Matthew46

    Exactly right. I’m sure he or someone like him did exist to give rise to the story but evidently much has been added since contemporary writers seem to have taken no notice of him. Philo especially would have written something since he had a niece living in Jerusalem at the time of the crucifixion and he did have a keen interest in the afterlife.
    .
    The Jews, of course were awaiting a fully human leader like David and Solomon – both messiahs. The concept of a sacrificial offspring of God and a virgin is not a Jewish concept.

  • Except the Old Testament itself promises a new one.

    Jeremiah 31:31-33 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a NEW COVENANT with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, NOT LIKE THE COVENANT THAT I MADE WITH THEIR FATHERS on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

    And please note, that while many commenters who frequent this blog seem to use all caps to simulate shouting, I’m merely using them for emphasis. :)

  • I’ll check in to the translation issue. But it doesn’t at all change the fact that ancient rabbis and even modern ones took this passage to be about the coming messiah, not Israel. And those rabbis’ words are curiously similar to the supposed mistranslation of Isaiah 53. Hmmm…

  • No need for me to be more careful. The only thing I said about Liberty, is that Cruz gave a speech there. The post had nothing to do with Liberty other than the context of where his speech took place.

  • Joris Heise

    Why do so many people not appreciate the significance of his anointing, his efforts to fulfill his father’s insane ambitions, and the terrible consequences of any power he has? Certainly people know it, and yet they deny, deny, deny (as the original article suggests)? Why is it so hard to change minds about this, to wake up to the perversions that this article specifies?

  • BA

    So . . . Jesus would be a Democrat? Hmmmmm.

  • celtblood

    Saul/Paul is actually in conflict with the original teachings and traditions of “Jesus” (actually Yeshua, or Joshua), who was Jewish. So if I were attempting to be a follower of the latter, I wouldn’t put a lot of stock in anything Saul said.

  • Matthew

    Hello MS. I´m not certain how long you have been a “Formerly Fundie” reader, but if you´ve been around long enough you´d know something:

    Although it appears at first glance that what Benjamin writes about is of an American “leftist” political flavor, I think Benjamin would be the first to say that Jesus isn´t about the divisions and polarizations and problems that exist in most all governmental systems.

    Jesus wouldn´t be a Democrat or a Republican. Remember, Jesus´ kingdom is not of this world nor is American politics (from either side of the aisle) representative of said kingdom — at least not completely.

  • I don’t see how Jesus’ statements would line up with the DNC platform. I don’t see them saying we should “love our enemies”- they kill as many of our enemies as Republicans.

  • Matthew, your point about Philo really boils down to pure conjecture. Jesus was a marginal figure during his life. And so what, Philo’s niece lived in Jerusalem? There were other, more important figures in Judaism at that time whom Philo didn’t mention. Why then is it so shocking that he didn’t mention Jesus? This is much ado about nothing, I’m afraid.

    And the point that you keep making, that Jesus isn’t the kind of Messiah that the Jews were expecting, doesn’t discredit Christianity. The gospel writers said that the whole time. Just about everything Jesus said and did turned his hearers’ understanding on its head. And they often found his words blasphemous. That’s no more an evidence that Christianity is a Greco-Roman distortion of Judaism than it is that Israel simply didn’t understand what God was really doing. That certainly was a theme throughout Old Testament history.

  • Joe M

    So you think Jesus would be OK with everything Ted Cruz said?

  • Herm

    I feel the pointed word you insert is “making” as though the government were an entity unto itself.

    The colonists got righteously upset because the tea, England’s addiction, was taxed without representation. The little ole’ people of the colonies rose up inspired by what was churning in their hearts and minds. They were “mad as hell and they weren’t going to take it any more”. Thus the United States of America was formed with a representative government later quoted to be, “of the people, by the people and for the people!” That’s the capsule form of what spawned our forefather’s unity to fight against the oppressive tyranny from a monarchy rule without empathy or compassion for the primitives across the Atlantic.

    Today we have a oligarchy rule without empathy or compassion for the primitives so far below them that they can’t represent themselves at a simple $100,000.00 a couple dinner.

    It is the government we of the nation control, at all times, by what is in our hearts and minds. We always have the freedom to choose by what we’re willing to lose. No carnal being will ever have the freedom and independence to do exactly what they want to do exactly when they want to do it.

    Have you ever witnessed a child placed in a playroom full of what you know are all the delights of her/his heart and grant them the freedom to do exactly what (s)he will? If this is the first time the child will grab all the closest goodies they can but find they can’t enjoy any until they lose the others, all but one. It’s excruciating to watch the consternation on the child’s face.

    We are all mortals on the wane after age 18. We will die before we reach 120 of our sun years, most 40 years earlier, and no one will have experienced or had the control of responsibility for everything available to do or have on this Earth, not even close. We will never reach our heart’s and mind’s content on this Earth, none of us. There is no amount of constitutional guarantees, government facilitation or Yankee ingenuity that will grant any of us the freedom or independence to fill the capacity of our individual hearts and minds. That’s the lure of eternal life for that is how long it would take for any of us to choose to die satisfied. That’s what is so repugnant about a final no recovery death because all hopes for fulfillment are dashed without any further anticipation and hope.

    Short conclusion: with the Holy Spirit in my heart and mind I find a peace and joy because I can anticipate more without end and know the Guide through it all. The spirit of love with empathy and compassion for all means I am driven to fill the needy hearts and minds depleted and open up the closed hoarding hearts and minds to know the peace and joy of savoring one relationship at a time because there’s the promise of plenty of time (note: when this path is taken we find even if we die finally just enjoying that one toy or friend fully made even this short life all worthwhile).

    We each have freedom of choice, relatively the same short time to employ and be responsible to our choice, and none of us will achieve all we might want as finite beings. “Making” mankind governments do anything is what rules each and every one of our hearts and minds enough to speak out and take action to be represented. The MESSIAH spoke out for three years, took action choosing to culminate His mission on the cross and has been represented in name for a couple thousand short years now (over 40 expired now unrepresented human generations).

    What are the fruits that we may have to savor if we all had the Holy Spirit leading our hearts and minds to make the government work for us all?

    There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. Acts 4:34 (NRSV)

  • Noah

    Your words: “God gave him three years to serve his purpose on earth.”

    That’s not protection?

    God -chose- to be crucified by the Romans and could have easily lived for another whatever years.

    God could have (and did/does) done anything to make his plan work, including ISIS.

    The ‘what if’ question is out the window w/ God’s plans.

    (I also don’t think it’s God’s ‘will’ for people to die, in general)

  • “True, but I suspect that’s somewhat an individual thing.”

    No. I’m saying that one makes more sense in light of what the text actually says. One interpretation is more faithful to the Greek than the other. That’s only an individual thing if you want to call the text’s authenticity into question.

  • Noah

    Didn’t know (or saw in passing) you went to Liberty! I’m ‘guessing’ that was a while ago.

  • Herm

    … about the same amount “of stock” I would put in anything my fellow disciples of Jesus, in the same relationship by the Holy Spirit, say today. We still remain as God sees us all, little children, with not one expert among us siblings. I do agree with the point I understand you are making. Thank you!

  • Herm

    Are you saying you find that Jesus had no continuing agenda? … done and over at the cross … mission complete thank you very much!

    Just exactly how do you interpret the great commission? … don’t say a word and have no plan?

  • Curious George

    So, Mr. Corey, your version of Jesus is forgiving and liberal and meek, whereas Mr. Cruz’s version is unforgiving, conservative and power-hungry. Whose version is right? I suspect that your version says more about you, and Mr. Cruz’s one more about him, than about a “desired state” Jesus that, sorry to say, doesn’t exist.

  • Herm

    If you’re truly Curious the “desired state” of peace and joy does exist in the hearts and minds baptized of the Holy Spirit by our Lord Jesus, today. That may be a new testament to you but not to all. Love you George.

  • Curious George

    Love you too, George. American “christians” – so proudly wearing their religion on their sleeves – convinced me that all religion and gods are human constructs. I remain curious – thus visiting this site for new ideas – but time and again I am confronted with the pride, arrogance and self-righteousness that are the direct opposite of what I learned to mean to be a “christian”. Thus, I am always more and more reassured that religion is nothing more than pledging allegiance to the imaginary friend of my choosing.

  • Herm

    Go for it. You’re free to choose. My hope, based on what I know to be faithfully working in my heart and mind, is that the new ideas you glean here and throughout your curious search lead to the same pleasurable state. You are blessed with opportunity and the responsibility to value choices!

  • Stephen DuMont

    If you think religion is going to help us live together in peace, you are completely ignorant of history.

  • Matthew

    If we all gave up on things simply because of bad apples, would we ever partake of the fruit salad?

  • LogicusPrime

    Well, I’ve been doing some research since my last post and it seems that, among the commentaries I’ve found, the interpretations of the Greek, as well as other commentaries not directly referencing the Greek, are rather divided in their interpretations. Given that the commentaries don’t even agree, I suggest that it’s best that we amicably agree to disagree since neither is going to convince the other. Peace.

  • Ruaidhrí Ó Domhnaill

    I don’t give a rat’s ass if you disapprove of the post, but get the name right. it’s “Ó Domhnaill.”

  • Arbustin

    How is what he said wrong? His statement of halacha on this subject is correct. We don’t derive legal positions from poetry.

  • Herm

    Where do you see any reference to religion?

  • BA

    Thanks, Benjamin. Honestly, I haven’t been a reader of your blog, and my comment was sarcastic. I apologize for my uncharitable, knee-jerk response — really. Though I wouldn’t categorize myself as politically conservative (whatever that means), I find myself increasingly irritated by Christians who merely offer a “religious left” alternative to the “religious right”. For example, I think that Sojourners has increasingly tilted in this direction over the past number of years. (Has Sojourners’ access to power affected its capacity to be prophetic?) I simply want the church to be the church. Anyway, I was responding out of my own “stuff” and did not give you a fair reading. Again, sorry about that.

  • BA

    Thanks, Matthew. I agree completely. See above.

  • Neil Parker

    I don’t think it’s a specifically liberal idea to believe in the possibility of peace, nor is it illiberal to point out that strong, life-changing ideas and radical demands, such as Jesus brought, might occasionally upset the comfortable pew.
    I’m pretty sure Jesus would run as an independant.

  • Neil Parker

    John Killinger (a Presbyterian pastor in Lynchburg, VA) once preached a sermon entitled “Would Jesus appear on the Old-Time Gospel Hour?”
    He decided that, yes, he would, “because Jesus accepted a lot of strange invitations.”
    “But”, he added, “He would embarrass his hosts!”

  • No worries mate. I hear your frustrations- one of my upcoming books is called Christian Outsiders and is specifically for folks who feel caught between the religious right and the Christian left, which I call in the book false binary options.

    Also, FWIW, I’m an Anabaptist and don’t believe in voting- and even when I did, I only voted for a Democrat once in my life, so I’m not an apologist for the democratic party regardless of where I may fall opinion wise on any particular issue.

  • BA

    It sounds like we agree on a lot of things. I will look for your book — thanks for letting me know about it.

  • Rick Lasater

    I agree. But I didnt see mention of highways or a space station in this article.

  • Rick Lasater

    Of course not. I did not say OR imply such.

  • Arbustin

    The truth is that some Jewish sources had the “Israel” interpretation of 53, and some the “Messiah” interpretation. Even the Talmud itself is divided on the matter. The same can be said about Midrashim other than Ruth Rabbah. It even was cited in late antique times for the idea that seminal emissions were a good omen for a person (“He shall see seed”). Most importantly is that it is categorically false that only with the rise of Christianity and missionaries did the “Israel” interpretation take hold. Anyway, in Judaism’s view the redemption of Israel IS messianic — so the interpretations aren’t so much at loggerheads, unless one insists that it’s a prophecy about Jesus. One more thing, Ibn Crispin was a medieval Spanish writer, there was a 20th century book citing his work though.

  • Arbustin

    It’s a new covenant, a new brit, a promise or contract, not a new law or a newly-stated abolition of the old law. Jeremiah was exhorting the people, who had broken the original covenant at Sinai. In the prophet’s view, the people’s sins led to terrible consequences, like Assyria deporting taking the tribes of Israel in the 700s. Soon it would lead to the Babylonian exile in 587. Yes, Jeremiah is speaking messianically, but never says that the law will be abolished.

  • celtblood

    I think it’s tragic that so many who place every last ounce of their faith in their religion often, in turn, know almost nothing about that religion. I was once the same, as I think most of us in this country were because we are so deeply indoctrinated, even to a degree on a secular level, to “just accept” it.

    No one will ever have all the answers on this side of existence, because this side is imperfect, as are we. But we would all do ourselves (and our species) a great service by having the drive and guts to challenge those things that we question, and to question and investigate everything we’re told by religious leaders, be they the Buddha himself or Rev. Bob.

    As a dear friend and mentor of mine recently pointed out (who happens to be a Methodist minister), too many tend to forget that the Bible (along with all other religious tomes) was written by men. It didn’t get handed down through the clouds. It was an inspired thing, but also limited by the cultural views and personal perspectives and interpretations of the writers.

    Hence, there is no “absolute truth” so far as the religions we have created. Sometimes we can use our religions and spirituality to glean absolute truth as it exists, and then apply it to our personal beliefs for inspiration, but the two are not one in the same.

  • Jon-Michael Ivey

    In context it is clear that Jesus was not commanding his followers to wield a sword in judgement against the wicked. He was instead warning them that the task of being a christian is not an easy one, but will cause enemies to bring swords against them. We are sent as lambs among wolves, and can expect to have even our closest family members disown or try to destroy us if we are as radical as is required.

    Jesus was far from a typical modern American Left Liberal, but he was at least as far from being a contemporary Conservative too.

  • Jon-Michael Ivey

    I am pretty sure that Jesus would not run at all. If he wanted to be the ruler of a worldly State based on violence, he would have have eschewed that option to long ago to instead pursue a kingdom that is not of this world.

  • Herm

    Lynn, you and I are inspired to share the picture in our hearts and minds as we question. All the scribes and authors of each book of the Bible did the same. What we each write can be potentially compiled into a bible chronicling our time of relationship. That compilation will be inspired by the combined efforts of the collectors, researchers, editors and publisher because to them it was mutually supportive of the brilliance each saw as needed and salable. You and I both know, because we question, that there may be an eternity’s worth of brilliant material available to everyone to write down. What little we share might help the future a little but will be fraught with errors detectable by those who question after us. We each together know so little of the past eons of life and even less of what’s to come. So were the interpretations penned by the Bible writers of what they saw in and shared from their hearts and minds. Most of the first books of the Bible were based on inspiration from many generations shared vocally over the community fire at night.

    I understand your highlighting “just accept”. That is how I understand Luke 14:26 as the only way to break away from the blind leading the blind; tradition evolving solely from tradition.

    I am rather bold but sincerely honest in that I attribute all that I share that is good to the direct teaching of Jesus/God. I’m sure that will get my name as a book (well, maybe a sentence) in the New Bible Testament of Christ, yet to be published for 300 years from now, for Man to learn from Man religiously. So be it as by that time I certainly won’t be able to be held accountable for all my errors. That’s a relief off my shoulders, thank God for carnal passing! And you wondered why I buy my houses with a new roof and newly painted only to sell just before each must be painted and roofed, again! Okay, I’m a child at heart and mind.

    The only two in my family of birth who knew the “absolute truth” were my parents and they knew how to enforce it. They loved me more than enough to give me the safe room to prove I didn’t know the “absolute truth” by the fruits from my errors. My Father in Heaven does the same for us in a much larger safe room in which my parents, if they were still alive, would also get to know the fruits of their errors.

    Thanks for the thoughts and including me in your questions! I hope it wasn’t too much of a burden to read through my seemingly random musing. I love you! You are blessed to know to responsibly question. The Teacher welcomes all questions even though from His perspective I’m sure they all seem infinitely ignorant.

  • silicon28

    “Personally, I’d be shocked if he were invited and even more surprised if they didn’t cut his mic…”

    I would bet that what you said here is EXACTLY what would happen; at Liberty, Bob Jones U., Oral Roberts U. and scores of others of these last, dying bastions of evangelical conservatism. Then again? I don’t think Jesus would ever bother to either ask for or accept an invitation to many of these snake pits…

  • Monala

    Wow!

  • celtblood

    As the old adage goes, the more we learn, the more we see what remains to be learned.

  • Bryan Link Manning Hunt

    Anthony Campolo wrote a book entitled something like, Is Jesus a Republican or a Democrat. He wrote the book at a time that evangelicals, who had previously ben active and vocal in both parties decided, for the most part, that Carter’s Christianity was weak and that Reagan’s America was strong. I think his book was an important corrective for the times, even though it is hard to see it made much of a difference.

    I wish this “speech” had also included issues from “both” sides. Perhaps Ben will write that section at another time.

    Regardless, I think the following piece is well worth reading, learning, marking, and inwardly digesting.

  • Herm

    And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 (NRSV)

    It’s in the book but thanks for the sage advice! I’m not asking you to back off but to jump in on faith. No competition, first is last and last is first.

    Love you zumwalt and wish only the best for you; your choice, your responsibility. peace

  • Ron McPherson

    Ditto!

  • Jon-Michael Ivey

    The canonical books of the bible may not clearly address abortion, but we know that the Church has opposed it since before the New Testament was compiled.

    The Didache is the oldest Christian text not to be included in the biblical canon. Many of the early Church Fathers thought it should be included. It is a church manual which was used to introduce new converts to the faith during the first and second centuries. It is probably older than any of the gospel accounts and a few of the epistles. It may well include authentic quotes from Jesus which are not in our bible.

    The DIdache explicitly forbids abortion, saying “do not murder a child by abortion or kill a newborn infant.”

    It also explicitly forbids sex with prepubescent children, which the canonical bible also neglects to mention.

    It does not mention homosexuality specifically, although it could be argued that those fall under the categories of adultery (μοιχεία) and sexual immorality (πορνεία).

    (μοιχεία in antiquity would only mean sexual relations between a
    married woman and a man other than her husband. It would not include relations between a married man and a single woman, although I think we can agree that that sexual double standard should not be supported today.

    The term πορνεία if used in its strict sense denotes prostitution with the lowest class of hookers, who were usually slaves forced against their will to solicit sex from strangers on the street.

    The root word means “price,” but over time its usage expanded to include sex even when it was not for money. It was used more loosely to liken general sexual promiscuity to prostitution, or to refer to sex acts which upper class women stereotypically considered disgraceful and so which men generally sought from whores.

    In Koine Greek of the first century, the term was less commonly used in its technical sense than it was used as a general slur to denote anything sexual of which the speaker happened to personally disapprove.

    The first Christian author to explain in detail what he thought was included as πορνεία copied wholesale from an earlier Stoic text, expressing much more prudish views than most people held at the time. It did list homosexual relations as immoral, but spent more time denouncing the immorality of married couples having sex anywhere but a pitch-black bedroom.

    Many of the early Church Fathers who wrote against πορνεία did so on the grounds that such sex was likely to produce offspring who would either be murdered by abortion or infant exposure or else would be forced into prostitution at a very young age. They reasoned that a Christian man could not be complicit in any of that, and so must only have sex within the sort of relationships where he could fulfill his duty to raise any potential offspring as a father should.

    They did not talk so much about government issued marriage contracts. It is probably a stretch to apply to the term πορνεία to any loving committed relationships, although the hookup culture would certainly count.)

    It can be argued that the Didache’s condemnation of “sorcery” is actually about birth control, but I think that is a bit of a stretch to consider it that specific. The term is the root of our word “pharmacy” and does refer to potions and drugs in general, particular to drug abuse. It would include abortifactants, “love potions,” “date-rape drugs,” as well as drugs supposed to open up one’s mind to spiritual influences. Such drugs were often quite dangerous to the person taking them. I’m not sold on the idea that the prohibition must include modern means of birth control with more scientific backing for their safety.

  • Maine_Skeptic

    Given what you’ve expressed so well here in the words of Christianity’s Messiah, it’s sadly ironic that those who point these things out are said to be trying to “change Christianity to suit the spirit of the age.” Or, as another Patheos blogger described you, “Cultured despisers gonna despise.”

  • Hi Arbustin,

    Thanks for keeping me on my toes, and for the correction about Ibn Crispin. I want to be as intellectually honest as possible, while noting that I am as bias as anyone else in this conversation.

    So I’ve done a little more research – obviously not extensive – and yes, I see where the rabbinic sources were not unanimously in support of one interpretation over another. But for what it’s worth, if I’ve not made a mistake or come across bad information, the oldest authoritative interpretation is found in the Targum of Jonathan, in the first century. He interprets the suffering servant to be the Messiah. Also, from what I’m finding, it seems that there was a lot of controversy over the passage within Judaism in the 11th century. So I’m not so sure that the two interpretations are only at odds if one believes that Jesus is the Messiah.

    So a case could be made for both interpretations. I’m comfortable with that. Because it also means that Matthew’s original point, that the “Messianic” interpretation took hold only with the rise of Christianity and missionaries, is categorically false as well. So, the Christian interpretation of the verse is not at odds with historic Judaism, but well within the confines of it.

    And as I see it, if there were two possible interpretations, and a man came along and fulfilled the messianic one, I think that it tips the scales in favor of that interpretation. Whatever one has to say about Jesus, the record that we have of him certainly fits the messianic interpretation of Isaiah 53, better than the nation of Israel fits the alternate interpretation.

  • everyone must have some thot that’ll pull them thru somehow.~JACKSON BROWN bustin’ the christian bubble your’s george? I’d like to talk to you abt it!

  • depraved indifference.

  • Good points. And Jesus, the Messiah, said he didn’t come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. He makes a distinction, and I think it’s a legitimate one. He isn’t just arbitrarily doing away with it. As he is the Word made flesh, the Law finds its fulfillment in him.

    Paul does say that he “abolished” the law, but I’m sure you know that context makes all the difference. Paul’s purpose in Ephesians was to communicate that the dividing wall between Jews and Gentiles has been removed. He expounds on what he means in Galatians and Romans, and these passages bring what he teaches in line with Christ’s statement in the gospel.

  • Matthew46

    Agreed. This is the form that early Christianity took. I’m giving you the Jewish perspective. Now, Jesus died in 32 AD and James became head of the apostles. After the split in Antioch in about 60AD or so, the apostles preaching was mainly to Jews, preaching Judaism as Jesus did. Paul became the first apostle to the gentiles and it is with him that Christianity took its form. He introduced the concept of original sin and the new covenant. Paul’s first writings, I’m told by a biblical scholar, were unknown until about 70AD and Christianity began to develop after that. It’s converts didn’t exist in great numbers in the first century and according to Pope Clement, Paul went on to furthest westward reaches (Spain) and in contrast to present church tradition, died there.
    .
    Sorry to go on so much. There is certainly contrast between the Jewish point of view and what became the basis of Christianity which actually grew and developed in Rome.
    .

  • Matthew46

    Matthew 28:19 is an interpolation. Eusebius quotes the early book of Matthew that he had in his library in Caesarea. According to this eyewitness of an unaltered Book of Matthew that could have been the original book or the first copy of the original of Matthew. Eusebius informs us of Jesus’ actual words to his disciples in the original text of Matthew 28:19: “With one word and voice He said to His disciples: “Go, and make disciples of all nations in My Name, teaching them to observe all things whatsover I have commanded you.”
    /
    Trinitarian Matthew 28:19 is also missing from the old manuscripts of Sinaiticus, Curetonianus and Bobiensis.

  • Matthew46

    Jom – There was no church before the new testament. All the gospels followed Paul’s writings (60 AD and onward) and none of them appeared until generations after Jesus death. The Jerusalem Christians were all practicing Jews and were a sub-sect of Judaism. They believed Jesus was a man.
    .
    And there was no new testament until the fourth century when the texts were put together into the forerunner of your present day bible.

  • Andrew Dowling

    If you’re primarily going to use the words and actions attributed to Jesus in the Gospels, those in the former category have a lot more evidence on their side.

  • Andrew Dowling

    Given that collective (government) action is capable of alleviating far more suffering than voluntary human action, then yes.

  • Andrew Dowling

    “For example, off the top of my head, I could come up with “proof texts” for almost each of your points stating the opposite ”

    After saying that, please don’t tell me you affirm an inerrant Bible . . .

  • Andrew Dowling

    You aren’t understanding the different between allegory and literal language.

    If Jesus came to bring a sword and war, where is the big battle scene in the Gospels? Where is Jesus’s sword?

  • Andrew Dowling

    Yes, no-one has to go. No-one also has to say they think it’s a legitimate educational establishment. I CHOOSE to say Liberty is a charade.

  • Andrew Dowling

    30 AD was a helluva lot more violent than 2015; Jesus lived a life infiltrated with a level of violence the average American can’t even comprehend. ISIS crucifying a few hundred prisoners ?. . .try Rome crucifying 30,000 Jews on a well traveled highway. And they did much more than that.

  • Nick

    Sorry, the O with a symbol above it isn’t above your user name and I missed an l.

    Why do you post though if it is not to start a discussion about Jesus?

  • Herm

    Thank you Matthew46, I agree much more with the spirit described as the original text. I used the NRSV to illustrate that Jesus and His disciples do have an agenda and not the baptism enjoiner. We are called to go to all nations and make students of Jesus. Teaching others to observe all things the Rabbi commands is best accomplished by living with all nations according to all His commands. Thanks!

  • Herm

    I guess I’m just not on your wavelength. I am in no way proposing “universal salvation”. Jesus loves all regardless of whether they qualify for salvation or not. I am subject to Jesus as my Lord but have never been told isolate anyone by walls. Jesus tells me to love the Lord my God, my merciful neighbor, myself, my enemy and my fellow disciples. Jesus tells me that in everything do to all others as I would have all others do to me. All are welcome but few will inherit as children of God. Did I get anything destructively wrong in your judgment?

  • Herm

    Then the LORD appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him: “I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice. When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:12-14 (NRSV)

  • Herm

    Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the degrading of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind and to things that should not be done. They were filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, craftiness, they are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, rebellious toward parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. They know God’s decree, that those who practice such things deserve to die—yet they not only do them but even applaud others who practice them. Romans 1:24-32 (NRSV)

  • Noah

    He’d agree that Jesus is on his side, but care to elaborate with any scripture references to the rest of your rant?

    Ben essentially cited Jesus’s words, can you?

  • “Anyone who says ‘you fool!’ will be in danger of hell fire.” – Jesus of Nazareth

  • otrotierra

    Jesus would never make it to Liberty University, Bon Jones U, or Oral Roberts U. Why? He’d be stopped by border patrol and detained indefinitely. Jesus at the border: dark complected, no English fluency, no birth certificate, no money, no job, not a shred of patriotism. Off to Guantanamo!

  • kemalettin

    Just as, contrary to other living beings, man has relations with his home, so he has relations with the world, and just as he has relations with his relatives, so by nature he has earnest relations with mankind. And just as he desires temporary permanence in this world, so he passionately desires immortality in the realm of eternity. And just as he strives to meet the need of his stomach for food, so he is by nature compelled to strive to provide for the stomachs of his mind, heart, spirit, and humanity. He has such hopes and desires that nothing apart from eternal happiness can satisfy them. As is mentioned in the Tenth Word, even, when small, I asked my imagination: “Do you want to live for a million years and rule the world but then cease to exist, or to live for ever but have an ordinary and difficult existence?” I saw that my imagination wanted the latter, feeling pain at the first, and said: “I want to live for ever, even if in Hell!”

    http://www.nur.gen.tr/en.html#maincontent=Risale&islem=read&KitapId=22&BolumId=828&KitapAd=The+Rays&Page=278

  • You sound pretty angry and bitter to me. Is there any way I can help? I’d like to hear your story.

  • You are a leeeetle bit over the top for my taste my friend! I’m a leeeetle bit afraid to look at the link you posted. So how is it going today w you? Is the sun shining, birds singing where you are? Do you have a cat?

  • Birds gotta swim, fish gotta fly. I gotta love one savior till I die. Can’t help lovin that god of mine!

  • Nerdsamwich

    Well, as they say, there’s only one way to find out for sure who’s right, and that’s a step I’m not willing to take for a few more decades. Until then, if I have a creator, he created me to doubt, so if he’s worth praying to, he can’t blame me for not praying. If he does exist, though, he’ll have a hell of a lot to answer for when we finally meet.

  • Herm

    If the testimony of “they” is sufficient for you then from my perspective it is the blind leading the blind. Your arguments speak to what you do not know and your presence here speaks to what you sense enough to want to learn. You are welcome always to question as you are though it might help you to be empathetic to those who know what you believe unknowable. I can only testify from my experience that our creator is accessible to know for certain but only after we in all humility give up all responsibility to have to know it all before we ask, seek or knock. A little irresponsible child with nothing has more ability to know and accept the infinite spiritual from a humble heart and mind than a hardened adult who has taken responsibility solely for him/her self and the maintenance of his/hers.

    Your inflated self portrayal reminds me of the 150 lb defenseless man puffing up before the oncoming 1200 lb bear and yelling, “YOU HAVE A HELL OF A LOT TO ANSWER FOR”!

    Love you! Your bloated self image does not intimidate me of 70 years nor God of no beginning who loves you, also, with infinitely more capacity to do so than I.

  • Nerdsamwich

    Interesting that you compare your deity to a ravenous, bloodthirsty wild animal. I must admit that I’m inclined to agree with your characterization after reading his “Good Book”. That document served to convince me that if the so-called supreme being described therein were to really exist, it would be the duty of all decent people to oppose it in all its forms and manifestations.

  • Herm

    What makes people decent in your mind and in your heart? After reading any spiritual book what seems to be your biggest concern? If neither of us is going to exist more than 120 years why aren’t you out getting all you can before you’re gone?

  • Jon Phillips

    Corey, here is something we both know Jesus did say, with no paraphrasing or words added. “…. sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Mark 10:21

    What Christian welcomes these words of Jesus? Very few, it seems.

    Is not Jesus telling us in many scriptures “we” …”you and I” are to be doing these things, He Jesus is instructing us to do, as opposed to building a political system/government/agency to do them in our place?

    Doing these things personally is hard for us, as it was for this man in Mark (Mark 10:22 – Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions). Could it be that taking other peoples money to help the least of these is the easy way to avoid Jesus’ instructions to us personally and helps us feel like we are following Jesus when we are not really?

    This left vs right Christian politics reminds me of those who speak against the prosperity gospel but yet have their own less opulent prosperity gospel. Both are eyes of needles.

    Just some thoughts, may we both follow Jesus His way.

  • Nerdsamwich

    What makes people decent? How about compassion, concern for the wellbeing of one’s fellow man? The willingness to help out your neighbors? What do you think makes a decent human being? How about acting in such a way that people miss you when you’re gone? My biggest concern, no matter what I’ve been reading recently, is keeping my family safe and healthy. If you meant something else by that question, you’ll have to be more specific. Finally, why does something have to be permanent to matter? Some of our most meaningful experiences are some of the most ephemeral. Just because I’ll be dead before too terribly long doesn’t mean my life didn’t mean anything. We all leave memories behind that influence those who come after. We build things that continue beyond our span of years: Not only the work of our hands, but the work of our minds. And those things can have a profound effect on people we’ll never meet. The house I built a few years back will only stand for a few generations at most, but it may provide the backdrop for the fondest memories in someone’s childhood. The ideas I spin out into the ether may well disappear tomorrow, or they may encourage a kid like I was on his lonesome journey to rationalism. Our lives matter not at all in the grand sweep of the universe, but here, now, they make all the difference in the world.

  • bdlaacmm

    Really? And just where did he twist them? Specific examples, please. (I myself disagreed with two of his “quotations”, but for the most part he was all too accurate.)

  • Bubba

    “filthy rich” Oh yes,feeelin’ the love baby! Ewwww, those “filthy” people like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Job, David, Solomon … That’s quite the enemies list there. Confessing Carrie Underwood has more money than you. OMG! Filthy, filthy filthy!

    “You have heard some of my opponents say there’s nothing wrong with corporate wealth and greed, but I tell you: Just wait and see what I’m going to do at the temple this passover.”
    What the fudge? Eeevil Wells Fargo has offices in Churches now? Mobile Starbucks is crashing your services? Non sequitur much?

    It will be easier for a camel to fit through a needle’s eye than it will be for a rich Christian to enter heaven!” Oh goodie, a false quote perversion of the parable, salvation by works, counterfeit “Jesus.”

    The obsession with other people’s money is embarrassing.

  • John Smythe

    Agreed. It’s time for us to change. We must start taking the Bible seriously again. After all, it is the only religious text that sits on the bookshelves in American homes. Forget Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Greek gods, and many more. They don’t matter because the Christian Bible is the ONLY truth. In a country where we should be allowed to practice freedom of religion so long as it does not force it upon others or is used to infringe upon the rights of others, it only makes sense to pick one God and demand that he is the only one. You have no more proof that Jesus was the true son of god than you do that Zeus is the master of lightning. This spirit of empathy and compassion, as you so call it, also seeks to deprive so many wonderful human beings of the right to pursue their dreams, and their love. Using the Bible to legislate is a horrible demonstration of what the founding fathers DID NOT WANT. Everyone should be free to believe what they want. And they are. But a line is being crossed when members of the American government use cherry picked passages in scripture to flaunt their own agendas and force the beliefs they have on others. Sounds fair, right? Love thy neighbor, as long as your neighbor isn’t a homosexual.

  • Andie Scott

    Jesus is too liberal to be allowed there!

  • Herm

    John, did I say anything about governing the USA by any authority of the Bible? I was commenting inside a Christian forum so I did use the Bible to draw some illustrations. Beyond that you seem to have made some assumptions that have truly made an ASS out of U and ME. Could you possibly begin again and maybe expound on one point at a time? Love you!

  • John Smythe

    Let me just start with point one. Why do you believe that EVERY person has a drive to seek eternal life? Everyone wants it? Everyone wants heaven? Everyone knows that they can’t truly fulfill their wishes and goals in the time they have on Earth, so they want eternal life to complete it? I don’t. I recognize myself as mortal. At some point, maybe tomorrow, maybe in fifty years, I am going to die. I do not waste time surrendering myself to the idea that I can keep going after my body shuts down, and my brain turns off. I make the most of the time that I have. Every moment counts. The things great men do (I am not a great man) echo in eternity, but I find no evidence of eternal life in that. The true, as far as my opinion and evidence goes, definition of eternal life would be to do something that WILL echo in eternity. I take it upon myself to EMPOWER myself to do better things. I don’t ask someone else for that power. So far, all I have is school, war, and then more school. I am a long way from perfect, and a long way from making a difference – But I accept my mortality and embrace it. To do otherwise can often cause people to push away their goals because they belief they can obtain fulfillment in a heaven.

  • Javier

    BRILLIANT.

  • Herm

    And your angry about what? My word “lure” and your word “drive” have too different meanings relative to eternal life. I never once spoke for “EVERY person”. If you are happy I am happy for you. My whole comment was relative to the fact governments are not entities unto themselves and it is what citizens are inspired to influence determines in what ways government is effective. Yes, I do know the Holy Spirit in my heart and mind 24/7 continuously and I kinda’ like the peace and joy that relationship brings me. If you don’t have such a relationship and don’t feel you need it that’s absolutely fine with me. I don’t get any reward whatsoever for attempting to convert anyone, in fact quite the opposite. The sum of all the laws I adhere to insist in everything I do to all others it is what I would have others do to me. Are you attempting to convert me to something I am not? Love you but don’t understand your seeming ire.

  • John Smythe

    Well, for one, the fact that you claim you “know” that the holy spirit is within you means either one or two things 1) You are having a delusion associated with psychosis, and need to be treated…Or 2) You have actually have acquired the gift of knowing that their is a god, and he is present within you, something that no one has ever been able to prove so far.

    Which is more likely? I’m afraid to say that the evidence of every religion everywhere over time + psychology is definitely not in your favor.

  • kemalettin

    no I dont have cat. Shloud I have?

  • just making small talk. so…no cat huh?

  • Awesome! So glad that you’re able to join in!

  • Herm

    Did I forget to mention my major is in psychology from a major secular university? My journey to actually knowing the Holy Spirit was not earned nor did I even know to pursue it. I did not acquire anything that is not readily available to all who care. You seem to say you do not care but you are demanding that I prove the reality of the Spirit of Truth or I should shut the fuck up! You badger and goad on a forum advertised to be made up of many who have proven for themselves God is present within themselves. You can’t prove it for yourself so they are wrong, right? What do you fear?

    What are you so desperately searching for that would cause you to persecute a people who espouse and live in everything they do to all others as they would have all others do to them? We who live that as law really do love you and choose not to persecute you for what you have proven for yourself. If what I say is true which of us is more socially, mentally and spiritually healthy. Oops, forgive me, you haven’t proven to yourself that spiritual is a consideration so strike “spiritually”.

    I love you John and honestly do wish you well! Peace!

  • Matthew46

    When you have a historian interested in afterlife with family in Jerusalem, do you not suppose he would have been told of a crucified man who rose from the dead again – IF IT HAD HAPPENED at all?
    That’s my point. Would he not have known that dead saints popped out of the ground and went off to Jerusalem in a group on that day, IF IT HAD HAPPENED?
    .
    Mike, Judaism and Christianity are two distinctly different religions and cannot be combined into one. There ARE NO Judeo roots to Christianity except a name and the setting of the story. Nothing more.

  • Matthew46

    And do you really know what the original text even said?. There are about 14,600 variations in your bible from the oldest surviving copies. If you were students of Jesus, you would be a Jew. He was dead at least 30 years before Paul invented Christianity, original sin, the new covenant and some 40 years before his writings were in circulation and THAT was before the gospels were written – and for there to be numerous interpolations added before the bible was put together in the fourth century.

  • Matthew46

    “I will put my law within them,”
    …………
    “my Law” is the translation. It should be “MY TORAH” – the one that couldn’t be added to or changed and which stands, according to Jesus, to the end of time.
    .
    Now, Paul, the father of Christianity said: ” in
    Galations 5:4, “Those of you who try to be put right in God’s view by obeying the Law have cut yourselves off from Christ. You are outside God’s grace.”
    .
    Christians have their “new” covenant, and Jews have their “eternal” one.
    ……..
    The covenant with the Jews of which circumcision is the outward sign, was eternal. It could be renewed as in Jeremiah, but never changed.

  • Matthew46

    Absolutely, Lynn. Paul had been called back at Antioch to explain his teachings because of that very reason which led to his split with the apostles.
    .
    Jesus said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Matthew 15:24. He never preached to nor was interested in gentiles. Paul was the first apostle to the gentiles.
    .
    Becoming a Noahide is probably what you would want to do then – a righteous gentile, one who stood at the same level as Jews, in the eyes of Judaism.

  • Herm

    Matthew46, yes I know what a very many of the original texts say. No not all disciples of Jesus were Jews, just the closest 12. Most actual students of Christ today do not have any linage back to the Jewish nation. I happen not adhere to original sin and do consider the covenant of God to be more enlightened because of Jesus.

    I was a student of the Bible, found Jesus actually does have much more to teach, and now rely wholly on the Counselor as my Guide. I will use whatever spiritual book one is familiar with to help bring others into a spiritual relationship with the Rabbi as their instructor as I am learning.

    Relative to how many variations are possible to humanly shared perspectives of God coincidentally is determined exactly by the number of humans sharing. At least the majority of humans today have finally accepted that all life does not actually revolve around them. Most of mankind today does seem to want to be considered more significant than others and are taught to feel they failed if they are not. Most short termed children of Man are not taught and do resist becoming long term children of God.

    The Arc of the Covenant was opened to all of mankind when the curtain was torn. I do not in any way find any of the canons to be the sacred word of God but can glean from most written scripture filtered by the counsel of the Spirit of Truth. There is no chain of command to get a hearing before our Lord.

    Does any of what I have shared in all sincerity tickle your sense of truth as you know it today? Love you! Thanks!

  • Herm

    Nerd, I agree wholeheartedly with you on what makes people decent both from a finite carnal influence and an infinite spiritual influence.

    You could not know how close you and I are relative to our values. I don’t give a damn about Heaven or Hell as motivators in my life’s choices of influence. Long before I knew the Holy Spirit I insisted on trying to be more decent today than I was yesterday. I have not changed that as my prime motivation to share in life today, tomorrow or ever.

    Your projections are truly wonderful and to many who have never considered their possibilities awesome. Even in your finite considerations today, this moment, matters most whether actively sharing in life or standing still to contemplate and savor life.

    You seem to follow the tenet of Matthew 7:12 to a tee.

    All of the enlightenment you have shared with me, thank you, I have considered for over 55 years now and concluded to be so for 46 years. You are a considerate and decent fellow. At the least I’d like to think for the most part I have been the same conscientiously for 46 years now.

    There is, although, the possibility of the infinite and eternal spiritual versus the finite physical aspect of influence. If such exists, like say distinguishable entities made up of heart, strength, soul and mind, their influence of choice has an affect even more long term than the carbon based entities which must eventually all pass away.

    All I can do is testify that there is sincerely a not so lonesome journey available to carnal and spiritual rationalism of which neither denies the other. Your choice and thank you for your decency. Love you in an empathetic and compassionate way as in Matthew 7:12. Peace!

  • Herm

    Jay, if Jesus is not inside your heart and mind you cannot know His teachings. Sin is separation from the only Word and authority of God. Now that I know the difference I too really hate sin. The only social mores necessary, taken, from scripture to adhere to, according to Jesus then and now, is found in Matthew 7:12. Who passes?

  • imokyrok

    You don’t believe in voting? How peculiar!

  • Herm

    I saw in my heart and mind that if I would be a destructive bad seed influencing forever I want to die to know nothing and influence nothing ever again. If One who knows determines I would be a constructive addition to forever then that is how long I want to live.

  • Eh, I think he might accept the invitation, were it extended; as Neil Parker pointed out using the words of John Killinger, Jesus accepted a lot of strange invitations.

  • Jared Gryce

    You have heard it said, “Don’t cause your brother to stumble”, but I tell you: If an alcoholic asks you for a beer, give him 2 beer. Make sure you celebrate his sin and glorify the event with cake and ice cream.” — Left Wing Jesus

    “When a psychopath asks you for a bullet, give him 2 bullets. Heck, when he breaks into your house to steal, kill and destroy, don’t protect your family, try to put flowers in his gun and invite him over for tea.” – Left Wing Jesus

    “If your eye causes you to vote Conservative then pluck it out. By the way, all black people are victims and if you don’t think so then you are a racist. Just sayin’.” – Left Wing Jesus

    “If you don’t support perversion then you are bad; if you think it’s wrong to murder your unborn then you must be silenced. Stop fighting! I’ve called you to peace.” — Left Wing Jesus

    I hope you get the point by now. There is no wisdom in politicising Jesus. All you’ve done is create more division within the body of Christ. Secondly, and
    most importantly, you have made an idol of Liberal Ideology. Your first god (liberal philosophy) is what reigns supreme in your message, the real Jesus (your second God) is then used to justify your first god. I would ask you to consider repenting, but I don’t think that is going to happen anytime soon.

    Anybody can take chunks or phrases from what someone said and warp them so it reflects their ethos and image. For example, I could say the Bible says “there is no God” by quoting David, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’. They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.”, and then I can have everyone praise me because I used his words, but is there any wisdom in doing so? … Absolutely not!

    You keep missing the point that Jesus was using Hyperbole because I think you are too busy making him in your image. When Jesus said, “when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret”, is he really condemning people who pray in public? If so, then he condemns himself and is a hypocrite since he prayed publicly when he raised Lazarus from the dead in John 11:41-43. Perhaps Jesus was using hyperbole to emphasize the fact that prayer is about relationship and love, not about performance nor is it about manipulating people into thinking you’re good.

    Jesus also says “If your eye causes you to stumble then pluck it out”, yet in your picture, I see you with 2 eyes. We all know a priori that your eyes caused you to sin at one point, so why are they not plucked out?

    Jesus also says “Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” I say to you Ben, “I’m begging you for all your money. I don’t just want some of it, but all of it! By the way, I might think about paying you back in the future.” Why do we both know that is not going to happen? Again, Jesus is using hyperbole and he’s not being anally literal, otherwise you would be one broke stump and I think Jesus wants a better life for you than that. Perhaps he’s saying that you should be generous?

    In an extreme, black and white dualistic mind, there will be a propensity to divide the world into heroes and villains (“Opponents”). You mix this up with an effeminate nature (which is sinful) and you often get extreme pacifism that is passed off as godliness which must be implemented at all times, yet none of these people who claim this are broke stumps! Why?

  • peace!

  • …just thinking out loud? WTF!

  • THX 4 that! You seem to have a gift of patience here I really appreciate in the now! Every day now since this has been posted I come back and look at the new comments. This is some class of a topic that brings out my trollishness! Something abt the way ppl seem disconnected fr their humanity, empathy… I haffta go ‘is it me or is it them or is it me or is it them? Well I realize that there is a limit to the possibility to connect w anyone in the blog o’ shere. Best I do every day is to look for the blogger who will start a convo that draws out the the holy spirit & thus the kingdom is revealed for me. I may even have something to contribute!

  • Stephen Abbott

    Um, clever. But I hope we’re not expecting Jesus to be our next President. Jesus didn’t aspire to political power or office and never dabbled in politics, despite those on the Religious Right and Religious Left who imagine he did.

    Those who mockingly (and perhaps unknowingly) call for a Theocracy – a government based on “Christian Values” may not like what they get.

  • Maine_Skeptic

    For the past forty years, Christianity has been used as a brand name by conservatives who ignore the quotes given by the author of this article. The moral relativism of conservatives is such that they can claim to worship a Messiah who was tortured to death while voting exclusively for politicians who think torture stops being torture if you call it “enhanced interrogation.”

    Just as it only becomes class warfare when someone points out that the country is being looted by the one percent, Christianity only becomes “divisive” when someone says the conservative emperor has no clothes.

    If more moderate and liberal Christians don’t start standing up to conservatives, the only Christian voices in political discourse will be those of the shameless politicians, rich sociopaths, and megachurch pastors whose corruption will someday be recognized as historically destructive.

  • Maine_Skeptic

    Do you find it less embarrassing to worship other people’s money and kiss the asses of the filthy rich?

  • Arbustin

    Mike, Targum Yonatan (the dating is not certain and it may come from the second century, well past the time Jews were familiar with the Jesus movement) actually goes with both the Israel and Messiah interpretations, sometimes verse to verse. It’s a running commentary and is the essence of my broader point: in Judaism, you can have two interpretations of the text that may seem contradictory but don’t have to be.

  • Andy

    Art Alexakis seems to think so.

  • Nicholas Weston

    Your idea of serving Jesus is downright boring! Let me summarize it for you: “let the world walk all over you…this is love.” Glad our founding fathers didn’t believe that! Glad Winston Churchill had sense enough to know that it is righteous to fight evil instead of “tolearting” it in the name of peace! The last thing we need is more pansies who are afraid of standing up for righteousness and who cower behind the facade of being a peace maker! Of course we love; but if our beliefs don’t translate into real actions against real evil in a real world…then what’s the point!?

  • trinielf

    Modern day Christians cannot understand Christianity being apart from political power because the religion evolved to become imperialistic once it became the state religion of Rome.

    In order to go back to ORIGINAL Christianity in the time of the First Century, they would have to remove themselves from politics and worldly power and chasing after and hoarding material wealth and instead exist in a communal society, sharing everything, helping each other and the poor and sick and waiting patiently for Christ to return.

    This is very inconvenient for most people.

  • trinielf

    Thankfully, many of the great political leaders of men were Freemasons and secularists groomed to know where religious idealism ended and instead what was needed was the bravery to make tough, pragmatic, decisions, which included going against Jesus Christ’s pacifistic approach.

  • kemalettin

    why not

  • kemalettin

    Man is a
    living machine who is grieved with thousands of different sorrows and receives
    pleasure in thousands of different ways, and despite his utter impotence has
    innumerable enemies, physical and spiritual, and despite his infinite poverty,
    has countless needs, external and inner, and is a wretched creature
    continuously suffering the blows of death and separation. Yet, through belief
    and worship, he at once becomes connected to a Monarch so Glorious he finds a
    point of support against all his enemies and a source of help for all his
    needs, and like everyone takes pride at the honour and rank of the lord to whom
    he is attached, you can compare for yourselves how pleased and grateful and
    thankful and full of pride man becomes at being connected through belief to an
    infinitely Powerful and Compassionate Monarch, at entering His service through
    worship, and transforming for himself the announcement of the execution of the
    appointed hour into the papers releasing him from duty.

    http://www.nur.gen.tr/en.html#maincontent=Risale&islem=read&KitapId=22&BolumId=828&KitapAd=The+Rays&Page=263

  • trinielf

    ALL Christians are cafeteria Christians when it comes to following Jesus’ EXACT words and sentiments.

    The only difference between Liberal Christians and Conservative Christians is honesty in owning up to this. It is only Conservative Christians making a big show of their strict biblical adherence, which only serves to make a bigger show of their lack of adherence to the bible when it suits their political needs, personal prejudices and profit margins.

    The only difference is one side uses political means to load up an unfair legalistic biblical burden on others, especially those not part of their sect or religion, when they know fully well, they do not and cannot follow the bible TO THE LETTER themselves.

    In fact it is that final point which is at the crux of the matter. For question of personal and sectarian biblical application, whether legalistic or discerning or conservative or progressive is not the issue. If someone wants to apply a legalistic and conservative biblical theology to their lives and in their home and house of worship they are free to do so. It is the expectation ALL must also follow THEIR sect and Government must get involved to make that happen, which causes the conflict.

  • Bubba

    Heyyyyy Dude, it’s like, we sit on the beach waiting for someone to feed us, change our diaper and behead us. Luvvv man.

  • trinielf

    Theocracy in America will plunge the nation into sectarian war, especially as the religious right believes in exercising MILITARY power to enforce THEIR religion on everyone else. I’ve been reading some of their Dominionist literature and it is VERY disturbing in its absolutism and imperialism. They believe in GOVERNMENT enforcing their particular religion on ALL. Those who do not submit are to be treated as second class citizens.

    The Founding Fathers would weep. Exactly the same kind of religious tyranny they were trying so desperately to avoid after knowing fully well the history of Church rule in Europe and sectarian violence and persecution of newer or smaller sects, those of other cultures and religions and of scientists and free thinkers.

  • Herm

    Ah, the beauty we find when knowing the source of all help is the One who designed us all in Their image. The most beautiful is the peace and joy I have found having given up all that was mine as an adult of Man to live as a child of the Father and little sibling to my Brother today, now. The altruistic passion to want to live for all for all time under the faithful nurture of my Family.

    Your verses are good when understood as a chain of command to discipline. I know a more familial relationship with God than those verses speak to. I don’t worship a remote God for God worships with me as Family. I don’t look to an alter, cross, pulpit or even to the East to worship at selected and dedicated periods for I have a continuous worship, learning and sharing without ceasing directly in my spiritual heart and mind with all of Allah by their sacred Spirit. I respect all who seek, knock and ask in their own way.

    I love you. I love your search for constructive good rather than destructive evil for all that Man, in God’s image, has been graced a domain of influence over from the authority of our infinitely powerful, compassionate and empathetic Monarch.

    According to the Prophet Jesus, personally to me Son of Man/Son of God, all authority comes from the Father to anoint the king of His choice. Jesus has been given all authority over Heaven and Earth to be our only Lord, King, Christ, MESSIAH, High Priest, Rabbi and Brother for us all today.

    Just between you and I it is obvious that most children of Abraham don’t know this to be true whether or not a card carrying citizen of the nations of Islam, Christianity or Judaism. It is clear by their fruits harvested from bitter sibling rivalry.

    “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” Romans 13:8-10 (NIV2011)

    “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
    Matthew 7:12 (NIV2011). I understand this in my heart and mind to mean All others, no matter whether merciful neighbors or vindictive enemies.

    To love all of Allah’s creation, especially so for all in God’s image, means in all things to be empathetic, compassionate, tolerant, forgiving and charitable in the example of Christ and His students. The Holy Spirit connects, as Allah’s Advocate representing amicably the interests of the whole Family, child to adult, the living spiritual hearts and minds of mankind to be as one with the spiritual hearts and minds of the entire Family of God bonded by love. Most of human kind don’t know this either.

    Thank you Kemalettin for those good words! Again, love you! Peace be with you!

  • this is just beautiful!

  • why not make small talk or…?

  • Nicholas Weston

    Yeeea ok…whatever

  • Modern day Christians .cannot understand…’X’
    because ‘Y’.
    in order to do ‘Z’,
    Modern day Christians would have to ‘A’, instead and also ‘B’ so they could do ‘C’ etc,

    ‘This is very inconvenient for most people’

    too true trinielf too true.
    I think what is missing from this equation is the holy spirit.

  • your post made me think of a song by the beatles;

    . “Across The Universe”

    Words are flowing out like
    endless rain into a paper cup
    They slither wildly as they slip away across the universe
    Pools of sorrow, waves of joy are drifting through my opened mind
    Possessing and caressing me
    Jai Guru Deva OM
    Nothing’s gonna change my world
    Nothing’s gonna change my world
    Nothing’s gonna change my world
    Nothing’s gonna change my world

    Images of broken light which dance before me like a million eyes
    They call me on and on across the universe
    Thoughts meander like a restless wind inside a letter box
    They tumble blindly as they make their way across the universe
    Jai Guru Deva OM

    Nothing’s gonna change my world
    Nothing’s gonna change my world
    Nothing’s gonna change my world
    Nothing’s gonna change my world

    Sounds of laughter, shades of life are ringing through my open ears
    Inciting and inviting me
    Limitless undying love which shines around me like a million suns
    It calls me on and on, across the universe
    Jai Guru Deva OM

    Nothing’s gonna change my world
    Nothing’s gonna change my world
    Nothing’s gonna change my world
    Nothing’s gonna change my world

  • Emilie Glidewell

    Some would question if all of this is actually what Jesus said or if it was taken out of context to fit your message.

  • Herm

    And it would be their question to ask Jesus for validation. Are you one of those some?

  • Fair enough. That’s certainly true for Christianity as well. But it seems that the Christian interpretation of Isaiah 53 better allows for both to be simultaneously true. The fate of God’s people is certainly wrapped up in the Messiah, right? But what I’m hearing from the opposing side is that this passage is exclusively talking about Israel and isn’t messianic at all. That excludes half the commentary in Israel’s history on the subject.

    Anyway, I don’t pretend to be any sort of expert or authority on the subject. But a cursory internet search at least proved to me that some of the statements being thrown around on this thread (not by you, necessarily) as if they are cut-and-dry, undisputed fact, are anything but. So I’m taking much of it with a grain of salt.

    In any event, the Jesus that I’ve come to follow is appealing enough that I’m compelled to continue, regardless. His is just a better narrative, in my view. And my only real hope is that he is who he claimed to be. Or, if you like, who the gospel writers claim him to be. I personally believe that those are one and the same.

  • celtblood

    The reason each of the blood moons fall on a Jewish high feast day is very simple… the Jews, like the Celts, use a lunar-based calendar, so it really isn’t that rare at all.

    Most Biblical prophecies were written after the fact, as opposed to beforehand, and only after a considerable time of oral history. And much of that which so many believe is prophecy directed at the future (Revelation is a prime example) was actually written about the events of that time.

    I’m not saying there aren’t or will not be coincidences. I’m just saying one should approach religion the same way one buys a used car– don’t be afraid to push it on the test drive and kick the tires. And always ask for the Carfax.

  • celtblood

    And, many times, truth itself.

  • as pilot said ‘what is truth?’

  • celtblood

    An excellent question!

    There is no “absolute” truth to be found in any religion, as all religions are created by man. All we can do is find one that appeals to us and gives us a vehicle for our personal spirituality, then strive to be as good and just as we can (within reason, which means if a criminal invades your home, you protect yourself and your family by whatever means possible), treat others as you would be treated as much as possible, and hope that all forms of faith lead to the greater good, because if they don’t we’re all in a mess.

    Of course, that’s just my personal opinion, but it seems to make sense.

  • Unfortunately, the author’s couple of decent points are lost in a sea of straw men, red herrings, and poor exegesis. Honestly, this reminds me of why I am not a liberal.

  • Yes! As obscurlyagnostic is fond of saying, (I am paraphrasing) ‘come on in the koolaid is fine!’

  • Benson

    Jesus never took $ from one person to give it to another as you are ever urging our government to do. He urged people to take care of the poor, including healthcare on their own volition with their own substance and blesses them for doing so. I know it’s a subtle distinction but think about it hard for awhile and you will get it. It makes all the difference in the world. Your misinterpretation of His doctrine to have the government take from one and give to another strips the morality, generosity, and love out of the transaction, and creates an entitled and less moral society. Of course taking from one to preserve another if society is not decent enough to do the right thing and take care of the poor themselves is preferable and less immoral than letting the poor die, but stop pretending that was Jesus’ doctrine. Less immoral does not = righteous. Quite a few of your points above are fraught with the same types of faulty logic and misunderstanding His positions.

  • celtblood

    Good to know at least a few are aware of this fact.

  • kemalettin

    then you mean that your life is meaningless

  • kemalettin

    thank you

    I love you too.
    I agree with most part of what you said.

    As a human, I love every creature in the universe since God created.

    We have a duty in earth, to find God.

    As a muslim, I should state that I accept all the prophets including Jesus, Moses,David and so on.

    I believe that Jesus will come in these years.

    I have a question: what is the only name of a women that was stated in holy Quran?

    by the way, Six days later, I will go to Jerusselam as a visit.

    Did you ever go there?

  • yes some times i feel life is a meaninless burden. Traumas have entered my life when I was too young and I have been trying all my life to find meaning and freedom. I’m 63. The thing that keeps me going is beautiful nature and making art and enjoying other ppl’s art and music. When I listen to bach or mozart I sometimes feel I am already in heaven!

  • Herm

    I do so love you kemalettin (as in the Turkish soccer player?). Thank you so much for your love, you cannot know how much I appreciate your attention.

    I am not opening my copy of the Quran but the first name of a woman’s name that comes to mind is Mary. Am I right?

    I have never been to Jerusalem though with all the confusion there I wish I could go to help receptive Muslims, Jews and Christians to support one another. What is happening in such a center of Allah’s influence on our Earth is not what God would ever want for His creation in Their image too often hurting each other in the name of Allah.

    I pray that your visit is safe and good for you.

    Peace and mercy and blessings of God be upon you!!!

  • thinkingforyourself

    evidently you believe he instituted as thousand years of peace…. just as evidently you are unaware of the crushing of the state of Israel by the Romans. this is much the same as his declaration that he would tear down the walls of the temple and rebuild them. But I suppose you feel you’re educated enough to think you have something valid or of importance to add here, why not, everyone else does, so why not the peanut gallery?

  • thinkingforyourself

    no, he was stating that there would be no peace, that the sword would rule til his return, and so it has.

  • thinkingforyourself

    nor is it a conservative idea to realize that peace is unattainable, ever.

  • thinkingforyourself

    I have a feeling that I know more about Jesus than lies in your humble dreams, dear Horatio.

  • thinkingforyourself

    love you too.

  • thinkingforyourself

    nor a liberal. I myself am neither conservative, nor liberal, for as was clearly written, god has chosen our government and our only duty is obedience.

  • Andrew Dowling

    ?? I’m not sure what you’re jabbering about re: a thousand years of peace.
    I know very much about the Roman-Jewish war, and a statement in 30 AD saying the Temple will be destroyed is an indictment of the Temple’s corruption and collusion with the Roman state. It doesn’t mean “in 40 years I pray the Romans will come here to crush a rebellion and massacre everyone”

    But “thinkingforyourself” clearly doesn’t equate to thinking logically or with any understanding of the subject matter.

  • Herm

    God did not choose Constantine, Constantine usurped the Holy Spirit. Our Lord today if we are disciples is the Christ and when Caesar leads to kill we take our cross, not Caesar’s sword.

  • kemalettin

    Yes as the name of a goal keeper.
    Mary is the sole woman’s name in Quran
    this is very interesting
    Thank you your pray
    I want to keep contact with you.

  • kemalettin

    so
    since you mention about heaven, do you believe in God?

  • kemalettin

    just small talk if you’d like

  • yes!

  • kemalettin

    Hi Herm
    May I share what Quran says about Jesus (peace be upon him)

    3/45. The Angels said, “O Mary, God gives you good news of a Word from Him. His name is the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, well-esteemed in this world and the next, and one of the nearest.

    3/46. He will speak to the people from the crib, and in adulthood, and will be one of the righteous.”

    3/47. She said, “My Lord, how can I have a child, when no man has touched me?” He said, “It will be so. God creates whatever He wills. To have anything done, He only says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is.”

    3/48. And He will teach him the Scripture and wisdom, and the Torah and the Gospel.3/55. God said, “O Jesus, I am terminating your life, and raising you to Me, and clearing you of those who disbelieve. And I will make those who follow you superior to those who disbelieve, until the Day of Resurrection. Then to Me is your return; then I will judge between you regarding what you were disputing.

    4/157. And for their saying, “We have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the Messenger of God.” In fact, they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, but it appeared to them as if they did. Indeed, those who differ about him are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it, except the following of assumptions. Certainly, they did not kill him.

    4/158. Rather, God raised him up to Himself. God is Mighty and Wise.

    4/159. There is none from the People of the Scripture but will believe in him before his death, and on the Day of Resurrection he will be a witness against them.

    43/57. And when the son of Mary was cited as an example, your people opposed.

    43/58. They said, “Are our gods better, or he?” They cited him only for argument. In fact, they are a quarrelsome people.

    43/59. He was just a servant whom We blessed, and We made him an example for the Children of Israel.

    43/60. Had We willed, We would have made of you angels to be successors on earth.

    43/61. He is a portent of the Hour, so have no doubt about it, and follow Me. This is a straight way.

  • julianenglish

    If more Christians acted according to the teachings of Jesus there wouldn’t be any need to impose taxes to care for the poor.

  • julianenglish

    Those people should check out the Bible.

  • julianenglish

    Agnostics, obscure or not, rarely kill for their religion.

  • julianenglish

    This is one of the most incisive critiques of Christianity I’ve ever heard, Nicholas. “It’s boring.”

  • I think you are right. Religion is a gig you get if you are in a community that offers it. I grew up in eastern washington in the 1950’s. My aunt bertha, who had religion, sugested to my mom that I might benifit from going to sunday school. Nobody got killed.

  • Mike Adams

    Hear, hear!

  • Sherry Vallier Heldt

    Jesus didn’t die so we could have religion. He died so we could have a deep, intimate, personal relationship with God.

  • Jerry Holden

    By your logic sir we simply didn’t LOVE Adolph Hitler enough. Opposing his tyranny through force of arms was just plain unchristian. Concerning the poor. I am poor and I want nothing of government handouts at the expense of my or someone else’s liberty. I believe you also may have a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of economies and how they function. Lastly Abraham was a very wealthy man and I have no drought I will see him in heaven.

  • I once read an interesting interpretation of the ‘Turn the other cheek’ idea, in regards to pacifism. Jesus said that if someone slaps your right cheek, offer him your left as well. So far, so good. But think about what that means. Given that more people are right-handed than left-handed, if your aggressor is right-handed, and he hits you on the right cheek first, this would mean that he has used the back of his right hand. He’s swung his right arm across to the left side of his body, then swung his hand left to right to clout you on the right cheek. He’s backhanded you. This is actually more of an insult than an assault? For a right-handed aggressor would clobber you on the left cheek if he was taking a proper swing at you.

    The idea was then proposed that Jesus was talking about people insulting you rather than downright attacking you with physical violence as their primary objective. Not necessarily a completely pacifistic parable, then.

    Yeah, it’s a long shot, I know. But I always thought it quite thought-provoking….

  • Of course, He may not be wearing a turban, which would probably be a point in His favour…. ;)

  • pacman925

    The majority of “religion” people in USA today, are judeo christian zionist’s = oxymoron !

  • Re:
    “God can focus on us much more capably if we allow Them to.” —
    God is a “Them”?!

  • Re:
    > something that means both “… again” and “… from above,” but there’s
    >no English phrase that means both simultaneously.

    There is: “from the top.”

  • Father, Son, Holy Spirit is what he means :)

  • Herm

    Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

    Genesis 1:26-28 (NIV2011)

    “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

    John 14:15-21 (NIV2011)

    As disciples of Jesus, the only Teacher/Messiah of God, there are here children in God and God in them as is the Father and His only begotten Son in each other. Baptism by the Holy Spirit is to be “whelmed” by the Spirit of Truth as was Jesus, at His baptism by water, when the Dove (the Holy Spirit) alighted upon Him. This is true of all children of the Father. Through the conduit of the Advocate in our spiritual hearts and minds we are one in God as little children of the Father, students of the Messiah and little siblings of our Lord Christ Jesus.

    When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

    Luke 3:21-22 (NIV2011)

    Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

    John 1:12-13 (NIV2011)

    KateGladstone, thank you for questioning! If you would like further study with me via the Christian Bible or as Jesus’ student one on one I would be happy to assist.

    Love, Herm

  • Pamela Diehl

    Wow! 3 Points for you! I hope this is helping your self esteem!

  • Pamela Diehl

    Wait….make that 4 points!