I’m a Christian, but I’m Not Interested in Living “Biblically”

I’m a Christian, but I’m Not Interested in Living “Biblically” September 19, 2017

biblically

For those of us who were raised in Christianity, growing up we were often taught the importance of developing a “biblical” worldview and living “biblically.” Even as our childhoods come to a close, we’re often told that we should go to specific Christian schools or colleges so that we can prepare for the workforce while also solidifying that “biblical” world view we’re supposed to carry with us through life.

I see and hear the term every day in a variety of contexts.

“Biblical.”

It’s as if the term “biblical” is some code-word that signifies rightness, correctness, or purity, in a way that nothing else can. It’s as if there is no higher authority, that the “name above all names” to distinguish right from wrong, is “biblical.”

Now, don’t mistake what I’m about to say– I am a Christian. A committed, devoted Christian– and I have been for more years of my life than I have not been.

But… and here’s the kicker: I’m not interested in having a “biblical worldview” or even in following the Bible.

This isn’t to say I don’t love the Bible; I do. I believe the Bible is “inspired” and “useful” just as the New Testament claims.

It’s just that the Christian life is not about developing a “biblical” worldview or following the Bible– the Christian life is all about Jesus. And, I have to be honest: those two things don’t always align in harmony.

The Bible is a collection of 66 books written over wide spans of time, from a variety of different cultures, and penned by a wide array of people– from kings and death row inmates. One can find many different ethics, examples, and world-views, all of which could be rightly considered “biblical.” However, the fact they may be “biblical” doesn’t mean they line up with the teachings and example of Jesus.

The divine unfolding of the Old Testament is a long and winding road that ultimately lands us at the feet of Jesus– and that’s the entire point. The goal has never been to follow the Bible, or to be more like the Bible– the goal has always been for us to follow and to become more like Jesus.

We do not follow the “biblical” laws that commanded stoning people to death, burning people alive, condoned slavery, or that commanded sacrificing animals to God. We follow Jesus– the one who taught us that if we are not without sin we’d better put that stone down, that we are to love our neighbors as ourself, and that God doesn’t desire sacrifice at all.

We do not embrace the “biblical” teaching of the author of Ecclesiastes who wrote that all of life is “completely meaningless,” but instead we look to Jesus as an example of all that God is doing in the human story, and how we are invited to participate in that narrative of beauty, purpose, and direction.

We do not emulate the “biblical” example of violent warriors like Joshua who believed that God’s calling was to slay his enemies. We follow the teachings and example of Jesus who taught us to love our enemies, to do good to them, and to not use violence against them.

We do not obey the biblical command to take an eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth– we follow Jesus who directly told us to defy that law and follow a higher one.

No, my fellow Christians: The goal was never for us to have a “biblical” worldview, to follow the Bible, or to be more like the Bible.

The goal has always been for us to meet Jesus, and to follow him.

Saying that is not an assault on the Bible, and it is not heresy– to see it as such is a great example of how divorced we as Christians have become from the reality that Christianity is about following Jesus, and nothing else.

When Jesus began his ministry and called his disciples, he did not say “come, sit down and let us memorize Leviticus together.” Instead, he simply said, “Come, follow me.”

When Jesus taught the crowds, he did not say “the one who hears the words of Joshua and puts them into practice is like the wise man…” but said, “The one who hears my words and puts them into practice is like the wise man…”

When Jesus encountered the biblical scholars of his time, he did not commend them and then send them away so they could focus on following it. He actually rebuked them and told them that even though the knew the Bible backwards and forwards, they had missed the entire point of it all: following him.

And in that glorious moment we call the transfiguration? Well, in that moment the disciples put Jesus on equal footing with authors from the Old Testament– until the voice of God redirected them with the emphatic words: “This is my son– listen to him!”

Yes, I am a committed Christian– as much as I can imagine one being a committed Christian.

But no, I’m not interested in having a “biblical” worldview or following the Bible.

Instead, I just want to be more and more like Jesus as I strive to follow him each day… because that’s always been the point of it all.

It’s always been about Jesus. It always will be.

And I refuse to let anything get in the way of that– even the Bible itself.


unafraid 300Dr. Benjamin L. Corey is a public theologian and cultural anthropologist who is a two-time graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary with graduate degrees in the fields of Theology and International Culture, and holds a doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary. He is also the author of the new book, Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith, which is available wherever good books are sold. www.Unafraid-book.com. 

Be sure to check out his new blog, right here, and follow on Facebook:

"Jesus said follow me, persecution is what you have to face, willingly, for Jesus to ..."

Some Things You Should Know About ..."
"I forgot you are biblically illiterate. The sign of Jonah is that Jesus would be ..."

No, The Gospel Isn’t “Good News” ..."
"Where is the concrete evidence for your claims? If anyone in Palestine were to dig ..."

No, The Gospel Isn’t “Good News” ..."
"I had a chance to look at some of your articles. I see we have ..."

No, The Gospel Isn’t “Good News” ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


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

    amen

  • The older I get, the more I kind of start buying into Ecclesiastes’ philosophy.

    Good post, Ben. Thought I’d get in before the slew of wags desperate to point out that there’s no contradiction between Jesus and the Bible.

  • Ron McPherson

    Just imagine how disadvantaged Jesus’ original audience was by not having a biblicist in the crowd to clarify at that time what Jesus REALLY meant when he said “but I say…”

  • Frank Blasi

    I agree with you that we are to be followers of Jesus, and it’s true that when he called his disciples, he said “Follow me” and not “Let’s obey the words of Leviticus” or “Follow the instructions of Joshua”. But Paul also praised the Christians in Berea for using Scriptures to verify Paul’s testimony of Jesus (Acts 17:11) – which we assume we call the Old Testament today. Jesus himself often asked the question, “Have you ever read…?”
    Jesus, by dying on the cross to atone for our sins and by rising from the grave, fulfilled all the Old Testament Law. So we are no longer under the Law. And so we are free to follow Jesus without the need to entangle ourselves with the Law. But to have a rich knowledge of the Bible, including the Psalms, where David and others have expressed their thought and emotions to everyday life, and Solomon’s book of Proverbs, make excellent groundwork for our faith in God, along with Prophecy, especially from Isaiah to Malachi, which main purpose is to prove that the coming Lord Jesus is the long awaited Jewish Messiah, and there is no other. Also Prophecy set the Bible above all other religious scriptures, including the Koran and the Hindu Vedas.

  • Frank Blasi

    By the way, one of my comments posted on “No, Natural Disasters are not Signs…” went into spam and failed to appear in the forum. I would like to know whether this was done deliberately or was it a victim of a technological glitch. Many thanks.

  • Tim

    John 5:39-40 English Standard Version (ESV)

    “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.”

    Says it all right there.

  • Tim

    I’m guessing it was a glitch. Disqus is a bit unpredictable that way.

  • Etranger

    Isn’t it a catch-22? I can’t find any other source for what Jesus preached and advised for living a good life than the bible.

  • I definitely did not put it there.

  • Dan Bartlett

    Christ-splaining?

  • Linda Coleman Allen

    Thank you.

  • Alan Christensen

    Yes, but if we enshrine the Bible above all else as an object of devotion we’re missing the point.

  • Frank Blasi

    Can it be restored? After all, I have put in a couple of hours work to compose it, including checking references. I would greatly appreciate it.

  • Etranger

    Oh that makes sense. But it makes it harder to criticize those who do (since the parts on Jesus are taken so seriously).

  • Datura_in_LA

    I see it on my feed, a few lines below the end of the article.

  • Bones

    Jesus also says of the Old Testament, “Didn’t Moses…..”, so to Jesus the writings of Moses are not the writings of God.

    Also the Bereans obviously weren’t fundamentalists.

    As for being prophetic, well hardly any of it is about forecasting future events. It’s about re-interpreting the past and present.

  • Bones

    Yes, but Jesus didn’t write anything…….nothing……we have, instead, interpretations…..

  • Etranger

    Good point – a whole religion founded on hearsay! I guess Scientologists are sort of the modern-day Christians. Might have been a different world if people were more skeptical 2000 years ago.

  • Etranger

    Have you looked at protestant churches lately? They got the exact same problems as the Catholic churches…

  • Craig

    The problem with this thought process is that Jesus lived out the Mosaic laws perfectly. Jesus also condemned the pharisees for teaching things that were not part of the law. The commands the author of the article mentions were given to specific people for those specific times. We don’t destroy our enemies like Joshua cause that command was for Joshua alone. We don’t follow the prescribed punishments that were given in the Mosaic law because those were for the Jews, and we are given grace now by the perfect sacrifice of Jesus. After the pharisees left the woman alone and didn’t stone her, Jesus said to sin no more. How is sin defined? The bible describes for us what is sin, and because Jesus said to sin no more we should learn what sin is in order to avoid it.

    The author of Ecclesiastes said all life was meaningless, unless it is lived for God. Ecc 12

    Jesus even said that He was sent to fulfill the law (not destroy it), and that not one letter of the law would be erased until the end of time. Matthew 5:18

  • Hi Herm been missing you!! My Wi-Fi I was down for a couple of days and I thought of you. I’m so glad I know you!! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/edbe986d1065739708c71b39010ec60e348cda86141d2852d80e44616cd37929.jpg

  • Etranger

    There you go for starters: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/29/protestants-abuse-catholics-methodist-church

    Also – you mentioned riches initially but probably upon further reflection realize protestants are equally guilty of hording wealth. In any event, both Catholics and Protestants are generally despicable institutions but to get on here and spread idiotic lies about only Catholics is pretty lame.

  • Etranger

    Oh, also, your comment is so off topic from the article it is sad :(

  • Etranger

    Here you go – more reading for you – even from a conservative source which I bet you love!!

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/2007/06/24/sexual-abuse-minors-in-protestant-churches.html

  • Bones

    What a load of nonsense….

    Btw the law has been erased…..

    We must have reached the end of time then…..

  • Craig

    Would you like to explain why what I said was nonsense?
    How has the law been erased?

  • Bones

    The founder of Hillsong, one of the largest Protestant churches and most influential in the world was a paedophile who was protected by his son, Brian Houston.

  • Bones

    The whole lot.

    Can you give us an example of Jesus killing someone as required in the LAw. I mean you’ve already quoted John 8 where Jesus violated the commandments of the Law to put adulterers to death (btw according to the Law, men could only commit adultery with married women, married men were free to screw single women).

    Jesus didn’t live out the Mosaic law perfectly. He wasn’t rendered unclean when he touched menstruating women or lepers. In fact that ignores the different schools of Judaism in the first century from liberals to ultra-fundamentalist.

    The Joshua commands are laughable because the book is contradicted by Judges and populations supposedly exterminated by Joshua are back threatening the Israelites in a generation.

    I’m not aware of one person in the world who keeps the law in it’s entirety….(eg a wife could not divorce her husband for ANY reason)

    Not even in Israel.

    It’s been erased….just like the Temple was.

  • Etranger

    Oh boy, you are kind of nuts huh?! Spouting crazy crap now.

  • Etranger

    Not lying. You have serious mental problems. It is a sad side effect of religious indoctrination. Get on some mess or something.

  • letjusticerolldown

    And what it points out is not what this article argues. The scripture argues for the rightful place of scripture (it bears witness to Jesus).

  • Etranger

    Child abuse is a competition for you? You are sick. Flagging your comments for depravity.

  • Bones

    Brian Houston is the pope of Pentecostal churches…..Btw I know a few protestant ministers who were rooting kids…..It brought down our Governor-General who used to be my archbishop in the Anglican church.

    We have a Royal Commission into institutionalised child abuse and while the Catholics won hands down, the other churches weren’t that great dealing with it either.

    “Allegations against other churches are: Anglican, 871; Uniting Church, 411; Presbyterian, 123; Methodist, 69; Salvation Army, 519; Jehovah’s Witnesses, 137; Jewish, 80; Baptist, 59; Seventh Day Adventist, 56; Australian Christian Churches, 50; Lutheran, 32; Brethren, 30; Mormon, 18; Coptic Orthodox, 4; and Greek Orthodox, 2.”

    That was two years ago and the commission is still investigating.

    http://www.theherald.com.au/story/3341681/child-sex-abuse-inquiry-hears-4000th-testimony/

  • Bones

    No…it argues against Judaism – the Darkness…that’s the whole point of John’s Gospel.

  • The Prize Fighter

    I am glad to know that you are Christian.

    In many ways I agree with your point that modern Christians no longer need to wage war against the Canaanites, Stone people to death or to view life as vanity. But I think the points your are making about the old testament is not exactly fair.

    Pt 1: Joshua’s War Against the Canaanites

    Joshua did not wage a war against the Canaanites out of hatred or because he was a war mongering Chief. It was God who wanted the Israelites to execute his judgement against the Canaanites. For the Canaanites had been given ample time to repent and God had given them many warning through the plagues in Egypt, and Israel 40 years in the wilderness. Joshua was carrying out God judgement as ordered by God. Indeed today as Christians there is no longer need for us to do this, for Christ had come and he had sacrificed himself to cleanse us from sin. That is why we have to convince and ask people to believe in Jesus and have their sin forgiven.

    Pt 2: Of Stoning
    Actually the bible only recorded 3 incident of stoning, 2 of them are done unjustly EG: Achan (Jos 7:25), Naboth (1 Kings 21) and Stephen (Acts 7:54-60)
    The law of Moses did not specifically prescribe stoning all the time. But here are the known reason why someone had to be put to death under the Mosaic Law
    1. murder (Leviticus 24:17),
    2. idolatry (Deuteronomy 17:2–5),
    3. going near Mount sinai when God is there (Exodus 19:12–13),
    4. necromancy or the occult (Leviticus 20:27),
    5. blaspheming the name of the Lord (Leviticus 24:16),
    6. sexual sin (Deuteronomy 22:24)

    The old testament Law is a law of fairness. “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” everyone under it had to pay for his sin. If there is no sin, there is no need for punishment. The old testament code is the basic moral standard of God. It is a law where those sin will be punished and those who had not sin will not be judged. This basic standard is still enforced and kept by Jesus and his disciples.. Matt 5:17-21. They are well understood by the people and there is no need for Jesus to go back reiterating the Law of Moses to them

    But the biggest difference in the New testament is that today when we transgress these law, there is no need for us to offer sacrifices through Priest. For we can now come boldly before Christ to ask for forgiveness. Judgement no longer falls directly on us (as in Joshua time) but there is time for one to repent and turn back to God. Even when Jesus stopped the stoning of the adulterous woman Jesus said to her “Go and sin no more” (Jn 8:11) . Jesus did not change the standards set by God, but he died for our sins so that man can now turn back to God directly. He nailed the writing on the Law that are against us to the cross. So we have the chance to change ourselves and turn back to God without facing immediate judgement from God.

    All the records of the Old Testament points to one fact, That man is unable to keep the basic standards of God. They need salvation from Jesus. The law is in fact raised to a much higher level than the Mosaic covenant. Under the mosaic law, sin is only counted if one commits the act. But under the teaching of Christ. Sin are committed in the heart (Matt 5:21-48) . But it is because of that God gave grace through Jesus to help us uphold this higher standard.

    Pt 3: About Ecclesiastes

    Ecclesiastes is not a book that tells us life is completely meaningless. The Preacher reminds us that everything under the sun is meaningless. He is stating the fact that once we die, nothing that we do on earth will hold any value. This is a fact that all cultures agree on. For we have the similar proverbs talking about it. This is not meant to be taken negatively but serve as a reminder to Christians. The Preacher had taught about life and he conclude that Only by fearing God and keeping his commandments brings value to life and it is the whole duty of man. This is in lined with the teaching of Jesus we discussed above

    Conclusion:

    All these are precious lessons that Christian ought to know. Understanding them and keeping them in our lives is living biblically.
    Yes, we do not need to do what Joshua did, we do not need to stone people to death, we do not need to live life negatively just because all is meaningless. But doing any of these is not living biblically in the first place.

    I hope that this would set the old testament in perspective better. Thank you for your wonderful article.

  • Craig

    First some questions: do you believe that Jesus died and rose from the dead and was a perfect sacrifice to forgive all your sins and the sins of the world? Do you believe the bible is the word of God?

    On the committing adultery aspect for married men being allowed to sleep with single women, where did you find your information? From my understanding men in that time married women and then divorced them so they could marry and sleep with another woman in a lawful way. Which is why Jesus said divorcing one’s wife to marry another woman was adultery.
    Did Jesus have authority to kill anyone because of their sin? I don’t think Jesus violated the law by letting the woman go. The male adulterer was not present, and the law states that both adulterers are to be stoned. The pharisees only brought the woman.
    I don’t think Jesus followed a school of Judaism. He is God and He spoke and acted according to God’s understanding of the law. What do schools of thought, or the Talmud matter to God who wrote the law?
    If you read Joshua, then you will see that not all the nations were exterminated. The Israelites failed in getting rid of all the cultures that lived on their land. That is why Judges happened.
    So how has the law been erased? Are you saying that because there is no temple to perform sacrifices that the law is void?

  • Tim

    Saying that this passage argues for the rightful place of scripture is correct as far as it goes, however it also points out (very clearly) what this article argues; that scripture itself is not the thing, it is merely the signpost pointing to Jesus.
    So, saying that it does one and not the other is incorrect. It does both.

  • Tim

    No idea. I just know Disqus can be glitchy at times.

  • Bones

    Pt 1

    This judgement against the Canaanites didn’t work.

    In fact a couple of books after being completely annihilated they pop up again to OPPRESS the Israelites.

    In fact according to Judges, the Israelites couldn’t defeat the Canaanites because they had chariots and they had to hide in the hills whereas Joshua burned everything, chariots and all.

    Pt2
    The moral code of the Old Testament is immoral and is no different to ISIS.

    It’s hard to believe people think Late Bronze Age tribal laws and priestly codes are somehow divine.

  • Bones

    Wow, a quiz which has nothing to do with anything.

    “On the committing adultery aspect for married men being allowed to sleep with single women, where did you find your information?”

    The Torah……

    eg

    From the Jewish Encyclopedia

    Adultery

    “Sexual intercourse of a married woman with any man other than her husband. The crime can be committed only by and with a married woman; for the unlawful intercourse of a married man with an unmarried woman is not technically Adultery in the Jewish law.”

    Why do you think married men had concubines??????????????

    Divorce

    Dissolution of marriage. The origin of the Jewish law of divorce is found in the constitution of the patriarchal family. The fundamental principle of its government was the absolute authority of the oldest male ascendent; hence the husband, as the head of the family, divorced the wife at his pleasure. The manner in which Hagar was dismissed by Abraham illustrates the exercise of this authority (Gen. xxi. 9-14). This ancient right of the husband to divorce his wife at his pleasure is the central thought in the entire system of Jewish divorce law. It was not set aside by the Rabbis, though its severity was tempered by numerous restrictive measures. It was not until the eleventh century that the absolute right of the husband to divorce his wife at will was formally abolished.

    The wife’s right to sue for divorce was unknown to the Biblical law. There is a germ of this right in Ex. xxi. 11, but it was not until the Mishnah that this right was established. The wife never obtained the right to give her husband a geṭ, but when the court decided that she was entitled to be divorced from him, he was forced to give her a geṭ. During the reign of the Herodians, under the influence of Roman practise, cases are recorded in which women sent bills of divorce to their husbands (Josephus, “Ant.” xv. 11, xviii. 7). These were recognized as breaches of the law, and never became precedents. The following causes are recognized as entitling the wife to demand a bill of divorce from her husband: refusal of conjugal rights (Ket. v. 6); impotence (Ned. xi. 12); when the husband has some loathsome disease, or leprosy, or is engaged in some malodorous business (Ket. vii. 9); the husband’s refusal to support her (Ket. 77a); cruel treatment and deprivation of her lawful liberty of person (Ket. vii. 2-5, v. 5); wife-beating (Eben ha-‘Ezer, 154, 3, gloss); the husband’s apostasy (Maimonides, “Yad,” Ishut, iv. 15)—in the last-named case the Jewish courts, having lost their authority over him, could appeal to the courts of the Gentiles to carry out their mandate (“Bet Joseph,” 134); the husband’s licentiousness (Eben ha-‘Ezer, 154, 1, gloss).

    http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/5238-divorce

    It took a while but even the Jews recognised that the Torah was a patriarchal nightmare.

    Jesus understood that too.

    It’s amazing that Christians living in the modern world haven’t understood that.

    “Did Jesus have authority to kill anyone because of their sin?”

    Oh dear……You’re saying if the other person was there Jesus would have stoned them? Well Jesus being God could have picked him out easily, couldn’t he?

    No….you’ve missed the whole point of ‘Neither do I condemn you’.

    According to you Jesus would’ve condemned her, if they found the other bloke. Well done, you just made Jesus out to be no better than ISIS.

    How many other people do you think Jesus killed given He knows everyone’s sins?

    The quotes attributed to Jesus are also attributed to Hillel who followed a more liberal view of Judaism.

    It’s bizarre because the Judaism you ascribe to is the one the Fundamentalists (Shammaites) believed to crucify your own God.

    “If you read Joshua, then you will see that not all the nations were exterminated. The Israelites failed in getting rid of all the cultures that lived on their land. That is why Judges happened. ”

    Rubbish.

    Numbers 31 recorded every Midianite male was slaughtered. Even the babies. In Judges 6 these same Midianites rise up to oppress the Israelites and were so powerful the Israelites had to hide in the mountains.. (See also Judges 1 for a list the Israelites couldn’t defeat.)

    Btw DNA shows that Lebanese are direct descendants of the Canaanites.

    So no, they weren’t wiped out.

    The whole campaign is fiction.

    The Law has been erased….No one follows it….Do you consider women unclean when they are bleeding?

    Do you consider sick people unclean?

    You are aware that these ‘laws’ led to much social exclusion for women and the sick which the Gospel writer Mark clearly points out. That’s without pointing to the end of Temple worship.

    And if you’re going to talk about the Law, you might want to educate yourself in Judaism instead of Christian nonsensical interpretations.

  • Ron McPherson

    You’re such a doctrinal party pooper

  • Matthew

    Has anyone read “The Year of Living Biblically” by A.J. Jacobs? Thoughts?

  • Nanci

    You are so right. Many churches worship the written word, not the Living Word, a dangerous thing to do. They preach Old Testament Sunday after Sunday, and even if they venture into say, Thessalonians, or Hebrews, Jesus is never mentioned. And the “biblical” view of marriage? Don’t get me started! As early as the third generation of God’s “chosen people,” (Jacob) we had polygamy and children by four different women. Great examples, huh?

  • Pope Hilarius II

    Then you aren’t a christian. True christians follow the teachings of the bible and they hate others. If god says people are an abomination, then dammit, who are you to say differently?

  • Bones

    Before I answer that I have some questions for you to answer to deem if you are worthy of discussion.

    1) What is your favourite colour?

    2) What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?

    3) Do you agree with the addition of the Filioque in the Nicene Creed?

    4) What do you believe about the hypostatic union: is it homoousios or homoiousios?

  • Pope Hilarius II

    that’s a BS cop out because Jesus came right out and SAID follow the 613 commandments in the OT as well.
    But even still, even if you don’t follow the teachings (which is a lie! you follow the 10 commandments and other cherry-picked passages). How do you rectify WORSHIPPING a god that murders babies?

  • letjusticerolldown

    This is a helpful caution–but overstated.
    We worship the Creator. Not creation.
    We worship Jesus. Not the revelation of Jesus.
    We can lift up the Bible and walk right past Jesus.
    We could walk with Jesus, hand-in-hand, up the Mount of Transfiguation, have a transcendent experience–and immediately want to build and “camp out” in the experience or in remembrance.
    The instant we give ANY human expression of faith (the unseen)–we will, to some degree, turn that to an object of worship.
    We make a theological conclusion: “God is love.” And we worship our words.

    So we can always issue your caution. The Bible is a form. It is not what we worship.

    But to fail to give form to faith–is also not faith. To know and enjoy God without applying a thought and saying, “God is love;” to know God and not love; IS NOT faith. It rejects what God has formed. You. It rejects creation. It rejects your mind. It rejects the Body of Christ.

    Read Hebrews–a summary of a self-revealing God and superior revelation in Christ. But it puts all of the scriptural story in the context of a great eternal community of faith focused on a consuming God. This eternal story of scripture GIVES FORM to our faith. It shapes our minds, heart, habits and community. It is essential. It is not god.

    It is perfectly legitimate to uphold scripture. Sola scriptura. Can that be isolated, frozen, overstated, ……and become dead religion? Certainly.

    But what we face right now is a rejection of Christ’s divinity; of scripture and of God. This is true in culture AND in the church. The primary access point of the world to Jesus is Christ’s love expressed in His people. The primary guide for this people to give form to this great Gospel is scripture. And it is perfectly fine to seek a ‘Biblical Christianity.’ That should be a redundancy. But too many (apparently including this writer) conceive of some kind of Christianity that detaches itself from scripture, from Jesus, and from taking on any form. It might not be dead Christianity–but it is a non-existent Christianity.

  • Pope Hilarius II

    except you can’t prove ANY of your claims so logic dictates, none of it is real.

  • Pope Hilarius II

    hmmm didn’t mention god COMMANDING we murder our own children.

  • letjusticerolldown

    Oh, please.
    No, I can’t prove I exist, either.
    If everything is meaningless–why make a meaningless statement about it.

  • Bones

    I have no problem condemning Catholicism for its role in child sex abuse around the world which is ongoing and disgracefully hiding behind secular bankruptcy laws to avoid paying victims but the simple facts are that Catholics weren’t the only ones hiding child rapists. The Salvation Army over here turned their backs on victims. So did the Anglicans.

    I know several who were ‘moved on’ in the Anglican Church. I even brought up my own concerns about several clergy and their indecent dealings with members of MY youth group to Diocesan committees which were met with uncomfortable silence. And it was clear to me at the time that people didn’t want to know.

    In fact churches (that goes for all of them) were far more concerned about maintaining their reputations than in justice for the victims. Even to the extent of blaming their victims. Members of the JWs are told that any reporting of a fellow JW is the same as bringing slander to the church. The simple fact is authoritarian churches (and yes that goes for protestant churches too) used and abused their authority.

    Btw the Uniting Church over here has thousands of allegations since 1977…the Uniting Church is the joining of Methodists, Presbyterian and Congregational Churches.

    Once again – its church reputation over victims.

  • Pope Hilarius II

    just like a christian! Reads something and comprehends complete BS. WHERE DID I SAY EVERYTHING IS MEANINGLESS? you deceitful, twit??

  • Pope Hilarius II

    so, you are all criminal organizations. You should be shut down

  • letjusticerolldown

    Because that is the logical conclusion of your thinking.
    What is one statement you assert is true and meaningful?

  • Pope Hilarius II

    that may be a christian conclusion. Not a thinking persons.
    I didn’t assert a truth. I asserted a lie. You really CAN’T COMPREHEND the written word

  • Bones

    I wonder if people are aware of how complicit they’ve been?

  • letjusticerolldown

    Thanks for admitting your assertion was a lie.
    If you cannot make assertions of truth–then why write? Why question whether another human can comprehend, if no comprehension is possible. And then uphold your comments as some kind of defense of logic?

  • Pope Hilarius II

    like I said, you cannot read. People dislike christians because of their dishonesty. You are proving that in spades.
    Explain how you can worship a “god” that murders babies? This should be fun,watching you twist this!

  • letjusticerolldown

    Still waiting for your one truth.

  • Pope Hilarius II

    lmao. I win. Your question doesn’t even make sense. I am refuting YOUR CLAIMS. You are fucken imbecile!

  • letjusticerolldown

    Real logical.

  • Pope Hilarius II

    Did I not refute your claims? LOGIC dictates when I do that, you provide a defense, you have no defense

  • Etranger

    Not what I said.

  • Etranger

    I am not defending any religion. You are.

  • letjusticerolldown

    You did not refute anything. You simply asserted that anything not proven to you is not real.

    When asked for one truth you accept (ie on which basis any kind of proof might be logically developed) you can provide nothing. Because in your thinking there is neither any truth or meaning.

    Yet–interestingly you engage in conversation about it. Which might give rise to a question: “Is it possible there is meaning? Is it possible something is knowable? Is it possible beyond all our ‘non-knowing-with-certainty’ that there is something to ascertain?”

  • Etranger

    I defend no one. You defend child abusers who are not catholic. Sad.

  • Pope Hilarius II

    No. I stated a LOGICAL TRUTH. If there is insufficient evidence to believe in a topic, you must NOT BELIEVE.
    By asking for “a truth” whatever the HECK that means! you are PURPOSELY avoiding my comment and changing the subject entirely. I will gladly answer your question, after you answer mine. That’s just the way it works!

  • Bones

    Btw I realised I couldn’t be complicit in a rotten system.

    So I resigned my ministry and my membership…..

    Not to say I wasn’t perfect. I took kids on a national church camp and was told by a friend to guard them at night from other leaders. Like wtf! I was a naive 20 something who found out later that the Christian organisation I was in was part of a paedophile ring.

    It still sickens me.

  • letjusticerolldown

    There is no evidence you will accept. There is no truth. When I ask you to state something that is true, you cannot even grasp what a “true” statement is. Why look for evidence of truth–if truth is impossible? Why expend energy contending anyone else’s conclusion that something is knowable must be rejected–if you cannot know that?

  • Pope Hilarius II

    I see. You already know what I will or won’t accept. How can you do that?
    That simply tells the world, “I have what I call ‘evidence’ but people that think logically, won’t accept it”.
    As far as your continued truth rant, it is a STUPID question because 2+2=4 is a truth statement and I feel holds no relevance to the topic

  • Tim

    You obviously haven’t read Ben’s piece on your last sentence. Fulfilling the law for all intents and purposes destroyed it. Is there a difference between fulfilling and abolishing the law? There is, but the effect is the same. The law is no more, because it has been brought to its natural end.

  • letjusticerolldown

    Can you prove 2+2=4 without starting with a mathematical hypothesis or axiom?

  • Bones

    Can you find it in your list of posts on your profile?

    If so….copy and paste it again.

  • Tim
  • Pope Hilarius II

    we will get back to your question, when we finish the first one. What is your BEST piece of evidence that god exists?

  • letjusticerolldown

    I am out the door for a school drop off. My interest is not in slap-downs; and I apologize if I came off in that way. It is certainly legitimate to not accept assumptions that I do.

  • Tim

    See my comment and link to Ben’s article (2 separate replies) on this above. The law has been erased because it has been fulfilled.

  • Etranger

    Usually the moderators here (Phil?) are quick to jump on anyone who offers a slightly different opinion than the author. I know I have suffered that treatment in the past. Fine. But right now you have an unhinged commenter – neil allen – defending child abuse and making absurd claims about the Catholic Church. It would seem an appropriate time to either a) ban him/delete his disgusting comments or b) chime in and reprimand him like you usually do (to even much more rational comments).

  • Ron McPherson

    “1) What is your favourite colour?”

    You’ve resorted to ad hominem because I’m color blind, and you must know it. I’m telling Ben on you. I’m one of his favorites, so you’re gonna be in big trouble now, my friend!

    “2) What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?”
    Trick question. Domestic or migratory? BTW, do you not know that I see right through your little schemes.

    “3) Do you agree with the addition of the Filioque in the Nicene Creed?”
    Is it in the KJV? That’s how you determine validity.

    “4) What do you believe about the hypostatic union: is it homoousios or homoiousios?”
    See answer on item 3 above.

  • Etranger

    You refuse to address the child abuse in protestantism. You are defending them simply because there were not 271 cases in one city…it is absurd.

    EXACTLY where was I defending a Catholic child rape program?! LOL

  • Etranger

    This was your response to an article about protestant child abuse cases:

    Ha! Typical Catholic lying.

    It said NOTHING about 271 pedophiles in a single city, all of which were 100% protected by a religion.

    But good try lying! The god of pedophilia will love you!

    Since you refuse to admit it exists and you insist that the Catholic Church is the only guilty party, you are defending child abusers who are not Catholic.

    Now, where EXACTLY did I “defend the Catholic child rape crime syndicate”?

    (Is lying still a sin? I remember a commandment against bearing false witness against thy neighbor. All of your comments so far seem to be breaking that commandment. Watch out – the eyes of God are upon you!)

  • Gary Roth

    Another way to think of this is that Jesus is the “lens” through which we understand scripture, and the Gospel, the “good news about Jesus,” is the lens through which we see him.

  • Gary Roth

    Actually, we have two – Mr. MacDonald is apparently unhinged as well. Perhaps they need to do their trolling somewhere else.

  • David Boyle

    i agree, we are to follow the life of Jesus and we also need to be cautious of misinterpreting His Divine message, we also must inform the world and those who are new in Christ, that whatever we go through in this life Jesus has already overcome

  • Kanawah

    Creeping insanity.
    All religion is built on mythology, and is all mythology.

  • Spirituality is about being ready. All the spiritual disciplines of your life – prayer, study, meditation or ritual, religious vows – are there so you can break through to the eternal. Spirituality is about awakening the eyes, the ears, the heart so you can see what’s always happening right in front of you.
    -Richard Rohr

    I hope ,by coming here and aggressively getting in people’s faces who have had more spiritual experience than you, that you are becoming ready for an Awakening. But I have a feeling from looking at your profile it’s more likely you’re having this sort of a life:

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9e022eb7dd68b6f4f92fd3dc2f283a4d2bc20a1928281c87d135fa1ee9f5da54.png

  • Bones

    I see what this is about.

    This is about protecting protestants who raped kids.

    The insidious evil of protecting one’s reputation against justice for victims lives on.

  • Pope Hilarius II

    got something intelligent to say or just a troll?

  • John Purssey

    Everyone’s life is built on some mythology

  • John Purssey

    Even in Jesus’ time the Rabbis and Pharisees didn’t take the Torah on stoning literally. The Tanakh was something to ponder on, not to be a literalistic about. Seems like the fundamentalists are too simplistic in their use of the Bible.

  • John Purssey

    You have the wrong connotation of “fulfilling”. You seem to think it means obeying. The Jews saw in the Torah and The Prophets (and The Writings) that God would come and deliver his people. Matthew, as a writer to Jewish Christians, sees Jesus as saying he fulfills that promise. He quotes Jesus as saying “‘In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets” which in a nutshell is how Christians are to fulfil the Tanakh. This passage is a key phrase in Matthew 5-7 which itself does away with a literalistic understanding of the (613) casuistic laws. Of course, He fulfilled them differently from how his disciples expected, as the narrative about disciples meeting Jesus on the road to Emmaus illustrates. They thought he would be a military deliverer from the Roman Empire, but they had to “meet” him to understand the spiritual dimension.

  • John Purssey

    Hey Mark,

    We had a fairly constructive discussion once before. But I do wonder why you bother with this.

  • Bones

    It’s scary that people see Jesus as the equivalent of Al-Baghdadi.

    They really haven’ t understood anything.

  • Bones

    The Force is strong with this one.

  • Richard Worden Wilson

    Rather sad that so few people respond directly to what Benjamin is saying. There is no doubt in my mind that many supposedly “biblical” Christians aren’t devoted to the Jesus that the Bible reveals, aren’t actually paying close attention to his particular teachings, his command to “observe (do) all that he has taught.” (Matt. 28). Still, the only Jesus we can know is known through the Bible, the “biblical” Jesus. Dichotomizing rhetoric rarely makes the point it is intended to convey.

  • Benjamin, I am an Editor with The Good Men Project. Just wondering if I can have your permission to republish this piece on The Good Men Project? https://goodmenproject.com/author/seanswaby2015/

  • Pope Hilarius II

    glutton for punishment? You?

  • Tim

    Since when is an atheist an expert on what a christian is? Secondly, which biblical teachings are christians supposed to follow? There are some conflicting ones, not least between Old and New Testaments. Not every voice in the bible is God’s voice. To pretend otherwise is to read it more flatly then the most fundamental fundamentalist.

  • Pope Hilarius II

    Since when is a christian an expert on what a christian is? Never met 2 christians that agree on a damn thing about their bible.
    Sorry dude. Your god starts off by murdering babies and never loses his lust for killing. On top of that, you actually believe this imaginary terrorist douchebag deserves to be worshipped!
    If you ACTUALLY read the bible, you would realize even if this god is real, he’s not a god. He’s satan

  • What is your evidence for your “feeling” that “There is no doubt in my mind that many supposedly “biblical” Christians aren’t devoted to the Jesus that the Bible reveals…”

  • Tim

    Christians have been taught a lot of conflicting things about what is in the bible for a variety of reasons. Jewish sects in Old Testament times disagreed with each other over interpretations on many issues. The Hebrews attributed a lot of things to their God that had nothing to do with him. Some of which other biblical writers called them out on.

    Oh, I’ve read the bible, many times. I’ve read responsible scholars who are actually trained in all of the cultural and other nuances influencing the writing in there that have studied it and read it many more times. Don’t confuse common fundamentalist readings or understandings with those of people who have done the hard work and actually know what they’re talking about. You wouldn’t ask someone untrained in science to explain something scientific to you, would you? Why do you then accept common, oversimplified misunderstandings of the literature in the bible? Hell, most of the reason that Jesus came on the scene was to point out to people that they had been getting God all wrong for hundreds of years.

    It’s the height of arrogance to presume you know more about a religion than those who practice it, and particularly the informed opinions of those who have studied the nuances of those scriptures in depth.

  • Pope Hilarius II

    I practised it for 35 years. “It’s the height of arrogance to presume you know more about a religion than those who” USED to practice it.
    Bottom line: Your silly bible cannot be independently verified. In fact, there aren’t even originals around to further study.
    Logic dictates, until there is sufficient evidence, god DOES NOT exist. No evidence has been found in the billions of years of our universe. So, why would you think YOU are right??
    And, let’s assume you are right. How could you worship a douchebag that MURDERS children??

  • How do you reconcile these two statements? “But… and here’s the kicker: I’m not interested in having a “biblical worldview” or even in following the Bible.This isn’t to say I don’t love the Bible; I do. I believe the Bible is “inspired” and “useful” just as the New Testament claims.

    When you say “The goal has never been to follow the Bible, or to be more like the Bible– the goal has always been for us to follow and to become more like Jesus”, what do you say to the the billion people who lived and died before Christ was born?

    “Christianity is about following Jesus, and nothing else.” Jesus said that He was only doing the will of His Father. Perhaps that is why Christians have lost their way; they do not know the Father which is also revealed in the bible and why people study it.

  • Pope Hilarius II

    maybe it’s because they believe a god made a son that wasn’t his son, it was really him and together they both preached hatred and bigotry and tried to sell it as love
    Maybe that was confusing?

  • Tim

    One of the first lessons I learned in basic logic in university is that logic cannot be used to prove OR disprove the existence of God.

    It is a logical fallacy to say that we should presume God does not exist until there is sufficient evidence otherwise. It’s called proof by lack of evidence.

    For someone who supposedly relies on logic, your posts do not come across as logical at all, they come across as angry, irrational rants.

    And I don’t worship a douchebag that murders children. Besides, how does something that supposedly doesn’t exist murder anything?

    Done and done.

  • Pope Hilarius II

    wow!!! So, here’s what we KNOW: you either LIED about taking a logic class or you FAILED it miserably.
    1. If you cannot logically prove or disprove something LOGIC DICTATES you withhold belief until that changes. Not my law. That’s what LOGIC is. Go back to school
    2. What you stated is a complete UNTRUTH and the opposite of logic. I’m saying you can’t believe without evidence. You’re saying, you must believe without evidence. Do you seriously think that’s accurate? gimme a break
    3. anger doesn’t mean illogical, you TWIT
    4. You are a LIAR. You already told me you worship this douchebag god. And the fact you ask, ‘how does something that supposedly doesn’t exist murder anything?’ shows a lack of Logic and Reasoning. I am pointing out the hypocrisy of your god. You worship this animal that regularly murders children. It doesn’t matter what I believe. it MATTERS THAT YOU CAN WORSHIP A DICKHEAD THAT WOULD THINK nothing OF MURDERING YOUR BABIES

  • jekylldoc

    “The only Jesus we can know is known through the Bible”? Not really. We use scholarship to know more about his times, so that the things in the New Testament are in context. We use logical analysis to interpret the trajectory of understanding about a peaceful Messiah so we better understand the astonishment of Jesus’ disciples and the meaning of their reaction. We use our experience of the body of Christ to get a tangible sense of how “being Jesus” feels in life. We use our prayer life to be more sensitive to “what Jesus would do” and what “the presence” of Jesus accomplishes.

    “Rather sad that so few people respond directly to what Benjamin is
    saying. There is no doubt in my mind that many supposedly “biblical”
    Christians aren’t devoted to the Jesus that the Bible reveals”
    I would tend to agree with that.

  • Pope Hilarius II

    wow, you get all that out of your imagination? Incredible

  • jekylldoc

    “It’s as if the term “biblical” is some
    code-word that signifies rightness, correctness, or purity, in a way
    that nothing else can.”

    Well, yeah, that is obviously what is going on. “Biblical” is code for “absolute” and “incontrovertible”. It is what makes my side right, which is the main reason for living a good life.

    Except not. The beginning of understanding is to understand that we are not given a spirit of fear. In fact, living for others is not living for others if it is done out of fear of authority. If this sounds like a Catch-22, a trap waiting for the unsuspecting pietist, (“I did what you asked, Lord, how can you tell me now that doing what you asked is the wrong motive?”) then you have not yet grasped the nature of the new creation. God wants us to be new creatures, with renewed hearts, not pious conformists doing what we are told.

    A “Biblical” Christian is a submissive Christian. Maybe not so bad as a first step, but definitely not complete.

  • Robert J Naumann

    Racheal Held Evans wrote an amusing book about her attempt to “live biblically”. I would highly recommend it.

  • jekylldoc

    These are time-honored understandings. Not sure why you find them incredible.

  • Pope Hilarius II

    what’s incredible is you believe this bible is the word of god and his very word brags about constantly murdering humans. Babies, children, teens, adults, Doesn’t matter! He slaughters them. So, you say, Wow, I wanna worship that!
    Then he tells you slavery is ok and rape is ok (except for women but he made it clear they aren’t up to the male in usefulness) and then you say, hey another good quality to worship!

    THEN, you make a claim abut a “peaceful messiah”. That’s the tip of the incredibility

  • jekylldoc

    Mark, actually you have very little idea what I believe. The ancient Hebrew understanding of God, Yahweh the war god, was probably a helpful Bronze Age conceptualization. People’s ideas about morality pretty much always start as “in group” morality, meaning what you owe to the homies who got your back. Later, if there is sufficient reflection (and sufficient mutual loyalty, so the group doesn’t just abandon their religion when circumstances go badly) they learn to think in more universal terms. Most of the leaders in OT time went around bragging about the monstrous deeds they did for the glory of their deities. Check out Sennacherib sometime.

    I don’t consider it any particular source of pride, much less of authority, that some of those same murderous impulses are ascribed to Yahweh. But I do recognize that when various cultures progress to universalized morality, they tend to arrive at very similar ideas about how that works. Jesus had some pretty good insights along those lines, and took it further with a willingness to die to show us that the saving Messiah was not a military leader who would establish justice by force of arms, but rather a courageous and dedicated person who put truth ahead of his own life and selfish wishes.

    That was the peaceful Messiah.

  • Pope Hilarius II

    Pretty sure the peaceful messiah said:
    “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

  • Pope Hilarius II

    no comment?

  • DebbyJane65

    We are New Covenant Christians that follow Jesus. We are bible taught, bible inspired, bible promised, and so much more; all leading to follow Jesus. I think your point has no value and undermines the Living Word of God as the text in which we have studied and journeyed with most of our lives. You cannot successfully follow Jesus unbiblically; He is the Living Word of God made flesh. Jesus is the Word of Life. Jesus is the reason your heart beats. Jesus gave His life for you. You cannot separate Jesus from the Living Word of God! (Personally, I am disgusted with the continued rhetoric to undermine the Bible in which the effort does not edify the body of Christ; especially for a new generation; and I believe it is evil. We need the Bible more today; more bible reading, bible studying, bible knowledge, bible discernment; because it all points to the one we choose to follow> His name is Jesus and His story is in the Bible.)

  • Pope Hilarius II

    if only the bible was actually god inspired, MAYBE you’d have a point!
    But, alas, it is a book of hate led by a baby-murdering god. Worship him all you want. Me, I’ll save it for something real and something that doesn’t threaten to torture me for all eternity

  • DebbyJane65

    If you actually read the bible, you would honestly know that it is not a book of hate. You also would understand the New Covenant; a real God; no baby murdering, no torture in eternity. The inspiration of God is grace filled in scripture and storytelling and parable and poetry, etc. Satan can steal, destroy, or kill you. God loves you.

  • Pope Hilarius II

    I’ve read it numerous times. Why does my version have god drowning babies and murdering egyptian children and commanding we stone our own babies to death?
    Did I get the evil bible? Let me look…no it’s the same fantasy as your book. I just know how to comprehend murder and refuse to worship douchebags that get off on power and control

  • DebbyJane65

    No name calling. So foolish. Maybe someday you will know the full story…it has a beautiful ending. It is not a fairy tale fantasy. It is not about power and control. Maybe an updated version of the bible will help. I like the New Living version. You are going to have be more detailed in your accusations of which scriptures you are referring to that has you convinced of murder and evil. Peace.

  • Pope Hilarius II

    I see, you think showing murder in a different light makes it easier to worship this terrorist?
    Sorry, murdering babies is murdering babies. Crap is still crap. No matter how much perfume you put on it
    Check out Exodus for the egyptian babies, genesis and the flood when he murdered every child and every human but 1 family and deuteronomy 22 for commanding us to stone our children.

  • DebbyJane65

    Clean up your comments. Have a good evening. Bye.

  • Pope Hilarius II

    this is an adult sight. Grow up. Oh wait, you still believe in santa claus
    Carry on!

  • Pope Hilarius II

    lmao ANOTHER christian thwarted by their own bible!

  • DebbyJane65

    When you understand the flood in Genesis and the stories in Exodus and the Book of Deuteronomy; then we can communicate. Clean grownup comments are respected. Santa Claus is a friend of mine! And, I will carry on. Bye!

  • DebbyJane65

    hohoho!

  • Pope Hilarius II

    lol, I understand them perfectly. I, too was brain-washed for 35 years. You can’t change the fact your god is just an angry d*ck. May the flying spaghetti monster hug you with his noodly appendages!!

  • DebbyJane65

    Thwarted fool. Wicked mind.

  • DebbyJane65

    You do not understand. You just want to argue with your disgusting and crude comments! You know what you can do with your hugs and noodle!

  • Pope Hilarius II

    I understand the words. I don’t understand the rage and hatred and murdering ways.

  • DebbyJane65

    Dear Mark, You know rage and hate and murder are evil ways of Satan. We have to choose to follow one way or the other. Choosing the way of love has better consequences. And sometimes it is okay to not understand. God does not expect us to understand everything. I think “why God” questions are often answered by “just breath”. His grace kinda works that way :)

  • Pope Hilarius II

    I agree completely. Your god is actually satan.

  • DebbyJane65

    uh, wrong! what is wrong with you?!

  • Pope Hilarius II

    I just said god is filled with hate and murder and you said that’s satan and I agreed!
    What did satan ever do?? He offered knowledge. I remember that. I believe he was responsible for 10 deaths (authorized by god). God murdered about 45 million according to estimates.
    I think you made a very compelling case that satan is god and god is satan. Man, the devil IS tricky!

  • DebbyJane65

    DEAL WITH IT AND DO NOT EVER REPLY TO MY COMMENTS AGAIN. I KNOW WHO YOU ARE AND THE EVIL YOU ARE TRYING TO DO. IF YOU NEED LAWS FOR HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS, READ DEUTERONOMY 21. DO NOT WASTE MY TIME WITH YOUR DECEPTION. AND STOP CALLING ME. DISQUS IS NOT FOR YOUR SICK AMUSEMENT. MAY GOD HELP YOU.

  • Pope Hilarius II

    wow! Agree with a christian and they flip their lid!
    It’s not my fault your god murders babies!
    Sheesh, talk about shoot the messenger!

  • I think there are *many* biblical worldviews, since, as Rob Bell observes, we all interpret, we can’t just “do what it says”. As I found out when I started reading JW literature, I realized that things like our theology and culture influence our interpretation, acting as filters. (Jewish writings are extremely insightful: they have thoughts that Fundamentalists likely would never have thought of.)

    Generally, a “biblical worldview” is contrasted with a “relativistic worldview”. However, you can make a biblical case for relativism: St. Paul’s comments on “being all things to all people” and “we know in part and we prophesy in part”.

  • The Prize Fighter

    HI Bones

    PT1 :
    The bible never said that Israel manage to completely annihilate the Canaanites
    In fact Israel’s failure to complete that judgement is the reason why they became a problem of Israelites later on (Judges 2:1-3) .

    Joshua burnt the Chariots as it was instructed to him by God (Jos 11:6-9) Israel did not lose to the Canaanites because they do not have chariots. They lost because they fail to keep God commands and continue fighting. War is not won by superiority of weapons alone.

    Before Israel cross over to the land of Canaan. God already told them that they are facing an enemy that is stronger and more powerful than them (Deut 7:1-3). The fact is , many of the enemies faced by Israel were technologically superior to them. That is why they are to rely on God to fight (Deut 7:17-19) . Israel only entered iron age when David brought back the ability to work with Iron when he allied with the Philistines. But it is safe to say that prior to the time of David Israel was never technologically on par with the nations they are fighting against.

    But that doesn’t change the fact that eventually Israel received judgement from God for failing to keep that Covenant. Like the Canaanites before them, they were exiled to Babylon for 70 years for their failure to keep that law. So the treatment that they receive is the same when they sin against God.

    Pt 2:
    The reason that is it divine is simply because it is by God to Israel. It is the law that wanted Israel (a Bronze age nation at that time) to keep while living in the land of Canaan, it is only fair to read and understand them base on the context it is given. Perhaps some of the laws today may be hard to relate in the modern era, but that does not negate that fact in any way.

    Today Christians should look at it and understand the attitude and the principle behind those law. These are the spirit of the Law that should be uphold even today in the New Testament. For today Christians no longer follow the letter but the Spirit of the law (Rom 7:4-6).

  • The Prize Fighter

    I agree that the fundamentalists can be too simplistic in their use of the Bible.

    But I do believe it is stoning is done during the time of Christ. That is not just something that is pondered on.

    For the bible records of people wanting to stone Jesus, Paul, the adulterous woman (Jn 8) and Stephen (who was killed) .
    But I believe that the bible records these incident as a fact. Just because an incident is recorded there doesn’t equate that the bible promotes that these are the right things to do.

    For EG: Jephthah sacrificing his daughter, the Levite who cut up his dead concubine, Noah planting the vineyard and getting drunk. Judah visiting a temple prostitute, King David’s adultery and plot to kill his subordinate.

    These stories are all there to tell us, that man was unable to keep the law of God properly. Even good man like David, Noah, etc does things that are contrary to what God command.

    I believe that God had created man with basic discernment and basic common sense to read and to discern between what is reasonable and what is not.

  • jekylldoc

    Mark, that is not an easy passage to make sense of. It directly contradicts a number of others, and historians such as Reza Aslan have built entire interpretations around considering the “embarrassing” passages such as the one you quoted to be genuine while the “peaceful” passages are interpreted as later modifications. I don’t know how the evidence will be sorted in the end, but I know there are alternative interpretations of the more warlike passages, (as there are of the more peaceable passages) and that it looks to me like the broad sweep of Christianity’s story points to an anti-militarist interpretation, not to a militarist one.

  • Pope Hilarius II

    Of course!! Why is it ONLY christians understand the context and even they DISAGREE?
    Why is it, when I was a christian, I STILL didn’t get the context?
    How come I don’t get the concept that god condones rape and slavery, too?
    In which context is rape or slavery ok?

    Sorry, dude. That excuse is a pile of crap. If your book was divinely inspired, the deity sure made a confusing book!!

  • jekylldoc

    The way to think of it is that it was inspired by the divine in us, the spark of divinity, if you like. I don’t think the Bible is a supernaturally authoritative text. It definitely is confusing if you try to treat it as one.

    As to why you didn’t “get the context”, we both know that nobody wanted you to. Both progressive and evangelical Christian leadership want to emphasize the positive appeal of love, not the negatives right there in the Bible. I know there are some conservative Christians who just argue that we have to accept it was some sort of divine plan that required genocide, rape and slavery. I disagree with them, and I let them know that, but it is what it is, and I can’t “context” it away. I do hope I have given you some sense that there are Christians who see the matter more realistically and still want to follow Jesus.

  • Pope Hilarius II

    May I FRAME this answer?

    You’ve admitted there are problems. What is wrong with understanding the bible has problems contained within in it? I, for one, would respect believers so much more! Sometimes you simply can’t explain away some of these stories! OWN IT don’t spin it!!

    I often think, if a believer said, “ya, that quote doesn’t make us look so good”, it would render my arguments useless!

  • Pope Hilarius II

    why are you yelling at me? We are in agreement! God is satan!

  • jekylldoc

    Well, of course there is nothing wrong with understanding the bible has problems contained within it. I guess I thought I had said as much, for example, in noting that the “not peace but a sword” passage directly contradicts other passages.

    It’s healthy, in my opinion, to recognize that the bible wasn’t created to make 21st C. people look good, or to give them direct guidance on issues of the day. “Own it, don’t spin it” is good advice.

  • apoxbeonyou

    2) LOL’d so hard I coughed up some sausage. Thank you.

  • Hey Mark,

    On a fairly regular basis, atheists will drop by the blog and respond to whatever article with some variation of, “Well, God doesn’t exist, so all this is stupid.” It’s your right to both believe and express that in any public forum.

    However, I also want to point out that such a response, on a Christian blog of all things where Christians talk about Christianity, is not really related to the article, especially when done in a purposefully inflammatory way. If you’d like your comments to stand, here, I’d request that you actually talk about the article not just generic anti-theist drive-by rants. Thanks.

  • Neil,

    It is your right to both believe and express negative things about the Catholic church in a public forum.

    However, I would point out that the article is not about the sexual integrity of various Christian denominations, and your comments seem less like discussing the article and more about seizing the opportunity to make inflammatory statements about Catholics. I’ve deleted your comments that the Disqus system -itself- flagged as inappropriate, and I would encourage you, if you’d like the rest of your comments to stand, to try to stay on topic. Thanks.

  • Pope Hilarius II

    Hey Phil,

    On a fairly regular basis, you can ignore me.

    Thanks.

  • Hi Etranger,

    I don’t remember our discussion, so it must have been some time ago, but obviously you do, and the accusation that I was a jerk in our discussion is entirely a believable one, so I’m going to go ahead and apologize for that.

    I can assure you that anyone I have “jumped on” has nothing to do with the fact that they offered a “slightly different opinion than the author.” Ben and I do not agree on everything. We do agree on a lot of things. I engage people with whom I disagree (rather than, say, banning them or deleting their comments) regardless of whether they agree with Ben or not, and that accusation is unfounded. I am not interested in actually creating an echo chamber where nobody ever disagrees with what Ben writes, but like anyone else, I have the right to my views and I have the right to debate and discuss, and if I disagree with you, it is unfair to write that up to ideological oppression by a Moderator.

    As to the consistency in moderation, well, that’s mostly a function of moderating when I see stuff. This is just a favor Ben asked of me, and I made it clear that I would not be able to proactively comb comment threads regularly looking for moderatable offenses. If I don’t come back to an article, there’s a lot of comments I don’t see and a lot of stuff goes under the radar. What’s more, it’s very difficult to know exactly the best way to proceed with this, sometimes. Most people get abrasive from time to time in the comments. Should I ban them? Regularly, atheists show up here and respond to articles with some variation of, “Well, God doesn’t even exist, so this topic is stupid and so are all of you.” Should I ban them? Just as regularly, if not more so, evangelical Christians respond to an article with some generic accusation about Ben’s level of heresy or evil intent rather than the topic. Should I ban them? It’s tricky.

    That, and both Disqus and Patheos have changed their structures considerably over the past few weeks, and it is really, really much harder to do moderation tasks that used to be relatively easy.

    But as it happens, I read your comment, here, and looked down to see what neil was up to. I agree with you, and I deleted the comments Disqus had filtered as inappropriate and posted him a warning.

  • Thanks for the permission. Done.

  • Etranger

    Hi Phil – I did not mean to imply you were a jerk! I am sorry for that. Sincerely. I was just surprised that I have had some comments critiqued (maybe removed, not sure) just because I was questioning progressive Christians’ critique of fundamentalists on some things. To be honest, it could have been that my comment deserved criticism or deletion, I am fully prepared to admit I don’t always have the best day and might come across wrong!

    I appreciate you looking at the offensive comments from Neil.

    I agree with everything you have said in the comment and always enjoy reading the articles here!!

  • It’s ok to imply I was a jerk. I’m sometimes a jerk. I just want to make sure people call me a jerk because I was actually a jerk and not because they assumed a jerk motive. :)

  • Um, yes it does. I can’t imagine you get invited to moderate very many discussions, but the system itself actually scans comments for keywords, scores them, and flags some.

    And I don’t condone the abuse of children to any extent done by any party, but this is also not a forum for you to copiously accuse the entire Catholic church of some of the crimes that have happened in their ranks. Protestantism is full of its own glorious history of slavery, abuse, murder, swindling, and the vociferous defense of segregation.

    You have nothing constructive to say except to level widespread accusations that sound like you’ve been huffing paint. I asked you very respectfully to dial it down and stay on topic rather than use it as a thin veneer to post anti-Catholic screeds. You are clearly unwilling to do this.

    Good luck explaining yourself to God. You don’t sound anything remotely like Jesus, or even a sane person.

  • John Purssey

    I will look into this further, but Stephen’s killing was mob rule rather than an judicial action, despite the presence of the elders and scribes, it was an action instigated by a group from the synagogue of the Freedmen and there is no indication that it was a ruling by a Jewish authority such as the Sanhedrin.
    At that time Judah was under Roman rule and Judaism was splintered in to may groups such as the Pharisees, Saducees, Zealots, Essenes, Christians, disciples of John The Baptist, all vying for dominant position or influence. They all held to different authorities and interpretations for their positions. Through the Christian Bible we rarely see this as by the time most of the writings that got into the Christian cannon were selected the Pharisees had emerged triumphant and we tend to assume that all the Jews lived by the same code and interpretation of the Tanakh, which the Pharisees used as their authority, in contrast to the Saducess which had their own oral tradition and did not ascibe to the Tanakh which the Pharisees ascribed to Moses in a successful attempt to imbue it with a venerable history, though it was probably compiled in the exile.

    Similarly, the people wanting to stone Jesus was not a judicial process under the law.

    The woman caught in adultery (a late addition to John) can also be seen as part of their contemporary debate over which tradition (Pharisees or Saducees) should be followed.

    IMHO the Tanakh stories cannot be used to justify anything similar today. We have moved on, I hope.

    Mob rule still occurs today. The Kent State killings can be seen in that light, and we had similar acts against the IRA and the Irish in Britain.

  • You stated this well. Ben believes only the words of Jesus are inspired; the rest is relative; unless he is debating then he will quote from the bible. It constantly amazes me that the Jesus Ben follows is only reveled in a book called the bible that Ben says he is “not interested in even … following the Bible.”

  • Bones

    I find it amazing that people like you can read the Bible and not have a clue about what it says.

  • Bones

    Unfortunately for you, you’ve missed out on the discernment and are just a walking meme. Which is basically what your type of Christianity has boiled down to. Unintelligent, ignorant memes and cliches.

  • Bones

    Mark, the Bible has a beautiful ending – not for you though…..apparently, nor most of humanity.

    Beware of Rambo Jesus….
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8ed99c993dd7534c7f7770b1b8043f2c42000fc1bd1fff0a132137bb9c335551.jpg

  • Bones

    Is this ‘beautiful ending’ the one where Jesus kills everybody who’s not a Christian (ie like you) and throws them in a Lake of Fire to burn forever?

  • Bones

    You…..

  • I’ve read your comments. Are we to be shocked with your take on God? Atheists are a dime a dozen (well maybe a half dozen).

  • Bones

    Hi John. This was also seen in the Roman-Jewish War where the Jewish rebels executed any leader who didn’t support Nationalism.

    Also there were different schools of pharisees in the first century….which Christians don’t get.

  • If I knew what facility you were staying at I would send a card.

  • Time for your medicine mate…

  • Bones

    Hi Prize Fighter….

    Pt 1.
    There’s plenty of contradictions in the supposed genocide, heaps of threads which if you pull on start to unravel…And that’s looking at the internal evidence and not the archaeological evidence. …..

    For starters we have….

    “Moses allotted to the Gadites half of the country of the Ammonites as far as Aroer, which is east of Rabbah.” (Joshua 13:24) “Moses allotted to the tribe of Mannessah as their holding the lowlands of Moab east of the Jordan.” (Joshua 13:31)

    We find that after all this assignment of territory, that the battles were finished, and, “the land was now a peace.” (Joshua 14:15)

    In the book of Deuteronomy, we find that Moses said,

    “when you reach the territory of the Ammonites you must not harass them or provoke them to battle for I will not give you any Ammonite land as a possession.” (Deuteronomy 2:19) “You avoided the territory of the Ammonites, thus fulfilling all that YAHWEH God had commanded.” (Deuteronomy 2:37) “Do not harass Moab or contend with them in battle, for I will not give you any of their land for a possession.” (Deuteronomy 2:9)

    So either Moses parceled out the territory of the Ammonites and Moabites or he did not.

    Continue pulling on this thread and other books start to unravel as well. In the 11th Chapter of Judges, Jephthah quarreled over land with the Ammonites. The Ammonites said,

    “when the Israelites came up out of Egypt, they seized our land all the way from Arnon to the Jabbok and the Jordan. Now return these lands peacefully.” (Judges 11:13)
    Jephthah replied,

    “Israel took neither Moabite or Ammonite land. They sent envoys to the King of Edom asking him to grant them passage through his country but he would not consent. The king of Moab would also not agree, so Israel journeyed through the wilderness and skirted the territories of Edom and Moab.” (Judges 11:15)

    Yank on this thread and another rip appears in another book. Moses is portrayed as speaking in Deuteronomy, and directly contradicts Jephthah.

    “Edom granted us passage, and so did the Moabites in Ar.” (Deuteronomy 2:29)

    As well the Book of Joshua tells us that Moses assigned both the land of the Ammonites and the Moabites to the tribes, and that this land was parceled out by Joshua after the conquest was complete. Jephthah then concludes,

    “for three hundred years (wtf??) we have been living in Heshbon, Aroer, and Arnon. Why did you not retake them in all that time?” (Judges 11:26)

    This seems to be a retroactive admission that Israel did in fact take Ammonite land, as described in Joshua. Jephthah then attacked the Ammonites, making
    ‘a great slaughter’. “Thus Ammon was conquered by Israel.” (Judges 11:32) (As YAHWEH had commanded Moses, and Joshua fulfilled, no doubt, or then again, as Deuteronomy insists, maybe not.)

    If we continue with account of what took place after Joshua died, as it is given in Judges, we find that after taking Jerusalem, Judah conquered the Negeb,the Shephelah, Hebron, Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai, and Debir. Of course, it turns out that the Negev, the Shephalah, Hebron, and Debir were all attacked by Joshua during his lifetime. (Joshua 10:36-40)

    In Hebron, “he left no survivor,destroying every living thing in it.” (Joshua 10:37)

    An identical passage is used to describe the fate of Debir at Joshua’s hand. (Joshua 10:39) As for the Negeb and the Shephalah, Joshua, “left no survivor. destroying everything that drew breath, as YAHWEH the God of Israel had commanded.” (Joshua 10:40)

    That all these places and people indeed survive to battle Judah after Joshua’s death is surely the first example of so many others in the Bible of a mass raising from the dead.

    Now as for Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai, it turns out that Caleb accomplished this feat (Joshua 15:13) and in another of the internal inconsistencies in the book of Joshua it turns out that it was also Caleb who conquered Debir. (Joshua 15:15)

    The pattern continues to the end of the book of Joshua. In Judges we are told that after Joshua’s death, Judah attacked Zephath (formerly called Hormah).(Judges 1:17 -compare Joshua 12:14 ) They then took Gaza, Ashkelon, and Ekron. (Judges 1:18) According to (Joshua 10:40), Joshua took Gaza, killing their King at the same time as the countries mentioned in the previous paragraph, in a single sweeping campaign culminating in complete military victory, and, at the risk of becoming redundant, I point out that,

    “he left not a single survivor,destroying everything that drew breath.” (Joshua 10:40)

    Here we have another of those interesting internal inconsistencies in the book of Joshua. In chapter 13 of the book, Joshua had become ‘a very old man’ and yet, “much of the country remains to be occupied.” (Joshua 13:1)

    Among these areas are, wouldn’t you just know it, “Gaza and Ekron.” (Joshua 13:3) In Judges we are told that Joseph attacked Bethel( (Judges 1:22) – compare Joshua 12:16 where once again Joshua gets the credit.

    Mannessah, the book of Judges states, failed in their conquest of Taanach ( Judges 1:27 – Joshua 17:11, they failed; Joshua 12:21, Joshua succeeded in taking Taanach); Dor (Joshua 12:23, Joshua took Dor); Ibleam (Joshua 12:23, he took the place; Joshua 17:11, they failed); and Megiddo (ditto). So in these cases the familiar conflict is found between the Judges and Joshua account, and the Joshua account is also internally inconsistent. Ephraim failed to take Gezer (Judges 1:29-compare Joshua 12:10 and Joshua 10:33. Joshua took the place leaving ‘no survivors. He killed every living thing.’ Then again, maybe not, for (Joshua 16:10) they failed to take the place.) Naphtali failed to take Beth-shemesh (Judges 1:33) or then again compare Joshua 19:22 and 19:38. The Amorites forced the Danites into the hill country, and would not allow them to come down onto the fertile plains. (Judges 1:34) This must be another example of a mass raising from the dead. You see the Amorites were beaten by Joshua in another grand, sweeping campaign (chapter 10), and as it states in chapter 11, the Amorites were destroyed, and so were their cities and the people there. They were, “put to the sword, destroying them all.” (Joshua 11:12). All their cities were ‘plundered’. (Joshua 11:14) “They destroyed everyone. They did not leave anyone alive.” (Joshua 11:14) “Joshua conquered the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perrizites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.” (Joshua 12:7) “Jericho fought against you, as did the Amorites, the Perrizites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, but I delivered them into your hands. They were driven out from before you.” (Joshua 24:11)

    Or, maybe not, for

    “they did not drive out the Jebusites.” (Judges 1:21) “The children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perrizites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.” (Judges 3:5)

    The Kingdom described in Joshua corresponds closely to that of the united Kingdom under Solomon. In the book of Judges the scenario is different. There is no singular and triumphant campaign of military conquest. The Israelites are confined to the less inhabited (and easily conquered) unfertile mountain ranges, with the Canaanites maintaining a firm grip on the fertile plains, “because they had iron chariots.” (Judges 1:19)

    Thus we are presented with a different picture of God, a god who is easily foiled in conquest and war by those iron chariots. Conquest of the land is something that is going to take centuries to accomplish, with the justification given for this state of affairs, that God was testing the people by leaving the Canaanites in possession of the land.

    “The purpose of the test was to see whether or not the Israelites would obey God’s commandments.” (Judges 3:4)

    Thus the Israelites were confined to the mountain ranges while the fertile plains are described as remaining in the hands of all those people Joshua had supposedly wiped out, ‘leaving not a single survivor’. Included on the list of ‘survivors’ are, “the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and (of course) the Jebusites.” (Judges 3:5)

    The Books of Joshua and Judges are not historical, they are works of national revisionism.

    Consider also the Lebanese are descendents of the Canaanites (so were the Israelites but meh). In fact the only reason Lebanese survive today (according to you) is because the Israelites didn’t follow God’s instructions to totally annihilate their race.

  • Bones

    Pt 2

    It is not divine.

    It is the tribal laws and priestly codes of Ancient Israel dressed up as Divine mandates.

    Not only are these laws hard to relate in the modern era but they were hard for the Ancient Israelites as well hence the need for interpretation – the talmud and the mishnah. In fact Jesus specifically spoke against the patriarchal laws of adultery (only commit adultery with a married woman) and divorce (women couldn’t divorce a man at all) see Mark 10. Oh and Mark throws in the accounts of lepers and the bleeding woman to show how oppressive the Torah was to women and the sick. And you can add the poor to that.

    None of these laws apply to modern people – not even Israel.

  • Bones

    That would be a university unlike the mental institute you dwell in.

  • Bones

    I’ve already given you yours.

  • Thank you for writing this great article! No doubt you will receive all kinds of criticism in response.

  • John Purssey

    Probably, like me, you didn’t get the context because your teachers themselves only understood or believed a literalistic way of understanding the Bible. They brought a theology to their reading of the Bible which held:
    that the Bible must be internally consistent because God effectively wrote it,
    that it must be understood literally where that is not impossible,
    that it is a book of rules for living,
    that these rules are timeless and not culturally bound,
    that it is either propositional theology (prescriptive) or history (descriptive),
    and some etcs.

    While your arguments may cause difficulties for fundamentalists, if they even listen to you (would you have done while you were a Christian?), they won’t be relevant to those of us who believe in a different God from the one you don’t believe in, and who interpret the literature of the Bible differently from the literalism you are attacking.

  • Bones

    You understand none of that…..

    Your understanding would be at a Sunday School level.

  • jekylldoc

    Jesus is “revealed” in a book? You make it sound like the crucifixion only happened in a book. Suppose you only had stories passed down from one believer to another, would that mean that Jesus never lived? But that is what the original Christians had. “Only revealed in a book.” Wow!

  • DebbyJane65

    You would be surprised at how discerning I am. Your insults tell a great deal about your ignorance and lack of knowledge. I love the written word of God and have studied it for decades. Please bother someone else.

  • DebbyJane65

    If you knew the written scriptures better you would not make such comments about the Holy Bible and and a Holy God. Satan is the one who tortures.

  • DebbyJane65

    Nobody is yelling. God is the opposite of Satan oh foolish one.

  • DebbyJane65

    Get off the “murdering babies” point that is irrelevant to this conversation. Learn to understand a principle in scripture.

  • DebbyJane65

    You literally do not know anything about God or Satan to make such comments.

  • DebbyJane65

    sick minds…………..

  • DebbyJane65

    go away!

  • DebbyJane65

    go away

  • DebbyJane65

    Thank you. The article is futile.

  • If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your daughter or the wife you embrace or your friend who is as your own soul entices you secretly, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which neither you nor your fathers have known, some of the gods of the peoples who are around you, whether near you or far off from you, from the one end of the earth to the other, you shall not yield to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him, nor shall you conceal him. But you shall kill him. Your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. You shall stone him to death with stones, because he sought to draw you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. And all Israel shall hear and fear and never again do any such wickedness as this among you.

    —Deuteronomy 13:6-11, the murder everyone! chapter.

  • Interesting how atheists so often walk this line of “God definitely does X” and “God does not exist” while also simultaneously rejecting any argument that “God does X” is routinely subject to a great deal of nuanced argument. It’s like taking all the absolute worst traits of the worst of the fundamentalists and then inverting them upon each other.

  • Well said,.

  • Take two people who say that they read the Bible’s literal meaning with God-guided discernment and pose a couple critical questions, watch the fireworks begin. -_-

  • Not really? I mean, it’s made pretty clear that God is the one who condemns people to the lake of fire. Satan’s role there is never greatly embellished; he spends far more time in the Bible playing up his role as the one who tests faith. It’s worth noting that in Judaism, Satan is not considered a source of evil; humans do it all on their own.

  • No you can’t make a biblical case for relativism, c’mon you just make up as you go along- now THAT’S relativism.
    The concept of relativism would be foreign to St Paul so claiming he said it in retrospect is disingenuous to say the least especially as you’re probably one of those who insist scripture has to be viewed through a cultural lens.
    Do try and be consistent if you can’t be anything else.

  • And is that your final answer?
    Maybe the meme is all yours- ever considered the possibility?

  • The stories were not passed down. All the NT was written before the end of the first century and by eyewitnesses as well…

  • Though it was quite some time after that before there was widespread (but never unanimous) agreement as to which accounts were canon and which were not. I often wonder what the church would look like today if Origen’s canon had not been rejected.

  • The concept of relativism would be foreign to St Paul

    Um, I direct you to the entirety of Romans 14.

  • Bones

    Lol. …this is the same empty rhetoric we heAR all the time.

    Believe in my version OR ELSE.

  • Bones

    Spoken by someone who hasn’t done an ounce of study and wouldn’t know discernment if it bit you on the arse.

    And no the bible isn’t the word of God.

  • Bones

    Nonsense.

  • Bones

    As are your comments.

  • Bones

    Lol…you’ll be going away before me darling.

  • Bones

    You can’t handle the truth.

  • Bones

    That it is. The sick minds which believe in a god who punishes and tortures his creation.

  • The underlying problem with your understanding of hermeneutics is the same problem most evangelicals have with their view of Christian ethics: the word of God and the Word of God, i.e., the Bible and Jesus Christ, are put on an equal level. When this happens conflicts ensue and the resulting Christian ethic tends to not look much like Jesus. To understand the Bible correctly you do as the church did up to the time of Origen, you read it through the lens of Christ. He corrects and reinterprets it to properly reflect a loving Heavenly Father. You are right, you cannot separate the two, but Christ transforms the Bible. When reading Scripture always ask yourself how does this point to Christ, how would he have understood it, does this reflect the God Jesus introduced us to? Check out Brad Jersak, “A More Christlike God” and Gregory Boyd “Crucifixion of the Warrior God.”

  • Bobby, sorry to break up the mutual admiration party, but the Bible is ENTIRELY relative. Relative to Christ. As I pointed out to DebbyJane64, Jesus is the key to understanding Scripture. The Bible does not stand alone, alongside Christ, but bears witness to him and is interpreted through that lens. Standing alone, the Bible does not speak with one voice, but many. At times those voices conflict or contradict the Heavenly Father Christ introduces is to. It is Christ’s voice that tames the cacophony and brings meaning to it.

  • The Prize Fighter

    Hi John

    Yes , you are very right about the fact that there are the Pharisees, Sadducees, Zealots, Essenes, Christians, disciples of John The Baptist, all vying for dominant position or influence. They all held to different authorities and interpretations for their positions. Actually even in the NT their positions can be seen at times. I do agree that there is no single Jewish religion at that point of time. This is a very important point and I am glad it had been pointed out. For this is a point that is commonly overlooked by everyone . Especially among many who wanted to return to their Hebrew roots. Sometimes I almost wanted to ask if they want to be Pharisees, Sadducees, Zealots or Essenes for that purpose..

  • Kirk, that just doesn’t add up for me. The bible is the written Word of God; Jesus is the Word of God in the flesh. Without the bible you would never know what He said. But the two are completely integrated; nothing stands alone.

    However, you mention the cacophony of the many voices of the bible. What proof do you offer for that conclusion please?

  • San, I thought Origen was more into the OT canon? Origen is said to be “the most important theologian and biblical scholar of the early Greek church. His greatest work is the Hexapla, which is a synopsis of six versions of the Old Testament.”

    What was his NT canon?

  • gimpi1

    “The Bible is a collection of 66 books written over wide spans of time, from a variety of different cultures, and penned by a wide array of people– from kings and death row inmates. One can find many different ethics, examples, and world-views, all of which could be rightly considered “biblical.”

    Bingo! Few Christians worry about loaning money for interest, following Jubilee or killing people who convert to another faith or read astrology columns. Perhaps a bit of serious, honest Bible-study – not piecemeal deconstructing – would be something some folks might want to consider. Also, a study of context – what the ancient middle-east was like – might not go amiss.

    Dr. Corey has studied all these things.That’s one reason I like to read his blog. Those of us unable or unwilling to do so can just buy his books. (Plug totally my idea:-)

  • gimpi1

    I’m guessing glitch. Since they’ve debuted their new design, things seem to have gotten weird, depending on the posting media. I rarely put much work into posts, but, on the rare occasion I do, I learned long ago to copy the post into a word-doc or email before posting. Just something to consider…

    (I actually do that because I work in graphic and web design, and I’ve had whole documents up for proofing get devoured, including one for a bar-association publication design. Lawyers on the rampage for a missed deadline – shudder. The web-maw can be cruel. Back up, back up, back up. If you spent more than half an hour on something, a backup takes only a few seconds. It’s a lesson those lawyers taught me well:-)

  • gimpi1

    That can work, unless it got snuffed before it reached that point. That’s why I like home-backups. Even if the web-gremlins get your document, you’ve got a copy to go back to. Old-school, but old-school still works.

  • gimpi1

    I’ve heard that called “Biblidolatry.” Turning the Bible into an idol.

  • gimpi1

    Good point, John. We forget, modern times are not unique in schisms, dispute and factions. People have disagreed about their holy scriptures and how to interpret/understand/apply them since the first one was penned. Seeing the past as a monolith is mistaken.

  • gimpi1

    Yes! I loved it. I was especially amused by the need to carry his own small stool, to avoid sitting on any chair a menstruating woman may have used. Before reading his book, I wasn’t aware how frankly obsessed some ancient cultures were with the human menstrual cycle… It’s beyond weird to modern eyes.

  • Bob, cacophony was an ill advised choice of words. Conflicting and sometimes very disturbing would have carried my meaning better. The church has, for quite a long time understood that the Bible is about Jesus Christ. Jesus tells his listeners that the Scriptures testify about him John 5:39. But Jesus was not what his hearers expected, mainly because the OT prophets did not directly understand or explain that their messiah would be a parallel to the Suffering Servant, Israel. That their King would be the opposite of the sword wielding, enemy slaughtering messiah that the Tanakh promised.

    But as Gregory Boyd has said, “How are we to reconcile the God revealed in Christ, who chooses to die for his enemies rather than crush them, with the many OT portraits of Yahweh violently smiting his enemies? How are we to reconcile the God revealed in Christ, who made swearing off violence a precondition for being considered a ‘child of your Father in heaven’ (Matt 5:45), with the portraits of Yahweh commanding his followers to slaughter every man, woman, child and animal in certain regions of Canaan (e.g. Deut 7:2, 20:16-20)?” (1) As well as God’s judgement on his people by having parents cannibalize their own children (Lev 26:28-29; Jer 19:7, 9; Lam 2:20; Ezekiel 5:9-10)? Compared to Jesus’s love for children and warnings to those who would harm them (Luke 18:15-17; Matt 10:42; 18:6-14) there seems to be a major disconnect.

    When Scripture is made to stand on it’s own, to reduce it to propositional “truth” statements, without filtering it through what Christ has revealed the Father to be like (hint: He is like Jesus, John 14:9), then bad theology ensues. Case in point:

    The current Alabama senate front runner, Roy Moore, seeking to take the seat vacated by Jeff Sessions, “In February, several months after being suspended from court for defying federal orders on same-sex marriage, Moore appeared on the radio show of a pastor who has claimed the Bible calls for the death penalty for gay people.”(2) Moore has made it clear that he feels, unequivocally that Gay sex should be declared illegal. One would wonder if possible, would many Christians like Moore institute the death penalty for Gays if they could get it passed, like Pastor Kevin Swanson who has hosted the National Religious Liberties Conference in Iowa November 2015. Speakers included Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal. Pastor Swanson, as well as two other speakers have supported laws in Uganda calling for the death penalty for Gays. One of the men, Phillip Kayser wrote a pamphlet on it. “In the pamphlet, “Is The Death Penalty Just?,” Kayser unsurprisingly concludes that the death penalty is in fact just, and lists homosexuality among the offenses deserving of capital punishment. Ironically for a “religious liberties” summit, he also claims that the government should treat “breaking the Sabbath,” “blasphemy and cursing God publicly,” “publicly sacrificing to other gods” and “apostasy” as death penalty crimes as well.” (4)

    The problem arises for conservative Christians when the belief is held, because of their theological convictions about inerrancy, that God ACTUALLY told the Israelites to slaughter their neighbors, to stone to death adulterers and witches. When the woman is caught in adultery, the Law demanded capitol punishment. Jesus forgives her, directly conflicting with the Law which showed no mercy for this infraction. Kind of takes the wind out of the sails for Christians supporting capitol punishment! Likewise, Paul didn’t say witches should not be allowed to live, but said they would not inherit the Kingdom of God (Gal 5:19-21), completely subverting a command in the OT in favor of the new revelation in Christ.

    This is the problem I see with conservative Evangelicalism today. An ugly blending of Law and Grace, merging the violent understanding of God presented in the OT with the loving Father presented in Christ in the NT. Mercy is gladly accepted within the fold, but in short supply for those who are different or don’t adhere to what is deemed orthodox by the neofundamentalists now running much of the American church.

    1. Gregory A. Boyd, “Crucifixion of the Warrior God,” p. Xxviii.
    2. https://www.yahoo.com/news/alabama-senate-frontrunner-evolution-fake-212121903.html?soc_src=social-sh&soc_trk=fb
    3. http://www.rightwingwatch.org/post/kevin-swanson-no-death-penalty-for-gays-until-they-have-time-to-repent/
    4. http://www.rightwingwatch.org/post/death-penalty-for-gays-literature-at-right-wing-conference/

  • DebbyJane65

    Bible study for decades. I discern your comments are ass-provoked!

  • DebbyJane65

    Hey Kirk, Yes, Christ transforms human beings. Christ is the Living Word of God as written in holy scripture. Christ is the Word of Life as written in holy scripture. Seeing through the “lens of Christ” or rather “a Christ-Like view”, or as in Red Letter Christians per Jesus verbatim, is a method of understanding some of written scripture. “A More Christlike God” does not undermine evangelicals. “Crucifixion of the Warrior God” is seeing more of the loving nature of God. Our soul’s longing is to be more Christ-like. All of scripture points to Christ. Anything that distracts from that is what causes conflict. There is no understanding challenge; just different opinions we all have. Ethics is another subject. Scripture interpretation is varied and constantly being reinterpreted. Yes, we have loving Heavenly Father.

  • DebbyJane65

    Dear PsychoProfile: No darling for you.

  • DebbyJane65

    Satanic influencing human beings. He definitely is not a source of love!

  • Bones

    What you do isn’t Bible study.

    It’s parroting rubbish.

    All you discernment freaks are the same.

    You puff yourself as some sort of spiritual expert when in reality you don’t have a fricking clue.

    Hopefully you stay away from normal people.

  • Bones

    Honey, I’m actually taken.

    But maybe we could arrange something.

  • Bones

    sataan’s all in YOUR mind, dearie.

    That’s where he lives and dwells in your imagination.

  • Bones

    So when are you going to be more like Christ and less like a narcissistic Pharisee?

  • In Jewish theology, the Accuser cannot abide but by the will of God. He does God’s work by testing the willingness of man to follow God’s edicts. Somewhere along the line, this line of thought became polluted by a strange bit of corrupted mythology collected from the Canaanite religion, wherein Attar, god of the morning star, attempted to take the storm god Ba’al Hadad’s throne. Early Christians combined their misunderstanding of Isaiah 14:12-18 and came up with 2 Enoch 29:3 (not considered canon now by any church other than Orthodox Tewahedo), which further contributed to the corruption. Fragments of misunderstood theology made up a spider web of embellished storytelling which, over many centuries and pushed especially by the KJV translators deciding one specific usage of “morning star” should be turned into the proper noun Lucifer, became accepted as canon for Satan.

    Just some random theological tidbits. People thinking they need an outsider intervening in their subconscious in order to come up with malign thoughts tire me.

  • Thanks Debbie, I agree in part. Although I would think reading Scripture through the lens of Christ would not be “a method of understanding some of written scripture,” but the key to understanding all of scripture. In other words, what do we have if all we had was the OT? The story of God and a chosen people, destined to bless all nations, is incomplete without a messiah. We are left hanging with a rather mercurial God and wisps of promises of a future kingdom where mercy and justice rule hand in hand.

    Unlike conservative evangelicals who place scripture and Christ side by side, Jesus placed himself above scripture on numerous occasions. He corrected it, claimed to be the fulfillment of it, and at times, changed the meaning entirely from the original intent of the authors. Pete Enns has a wonderful book outlining these facts. (1) As Derek Flood describes it conservatives often downplay or attempt to condone the violent portrayals of God in an effort to “defend the faith.” (2) In essence they are not defending the faith of the Bible but defending “inerrancy,” a particular (some would say peculiar) scholastic philosophical framework that forces the Bible into a 19th century understanding of absolute “truths,” and propositional statements.

    The problem is not one-sided, however. Much of the Liberal social Gospel ignores the disturbing aspects of Scripture altogether. Reading the Bible faithfully requires grappling with and coming to terms with the violent, Zeus-like God presented in the OT. We can only come to terms with the warrior God of the OT when we realize he was crucified in Christ. Our wrath, our violence, our scapegoating, our limited views of a God made in our image, all died that day when we attempted to kill God.
    God bless

    1. The Bible Tells Me So, Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It
    2. Disarming Scripture, pp. 11-14.

  • DebbyJane65

    Hey Kirk, Yes to all of scripture: I was referring to seeing the sayings of Jesus (red letters) with the lens of Christ (verbatim) especially. Of course, Jesus is above all. It is mostly understood that when referring to scripture and Jesus (side by side), all points to Him above all. The Old Testament points to the New Testament. To assume “defending scripture is defending faith” is more like “standing up to personal witness”. The term “disarming scripture” is like ignoring the old testament all together. Jesus changed everything. (p.s. We did kill Jesus. He arose again!) Let us love one another and drop the labels: conservative, evangelical, liberal……

  • John Purssey

    Keeps me on my toes. Keeps me from being insular.

    Real Live Preacher expresses my need well

    I will never know exactly what Jesus said, how he said whatever he did say, or what he meant when he said whatever he said in whatever way he said it.

    You see my problem.

    What I have are the tattered words, songs, and gospel remnants from twenty centuries of people jumping two-footed into hope. That’s all I have, and I am keenly interested in these things.

    I’m like a rag picker, rummaging through a mountain of mouldy prayer books, old hymnals, triptych art, candle stubs, ancient texts, and other religious remnants. I crawl all over the pile, poking here and there with a stick. When I find something that interests me, I stop and take a closer look. I flip through the pages. I look at the pictures from every angle. Sometimes I tilt my head to the right, like a dog that has just heard something
    very interesting.

    My friend watches me, fascinated. “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” he asks with the purest heart in the world.

    His question stops me, and I look him right in the eye.

    This is THE question, of course. It is the only question; it is the beginning of ALL questions.

    Where exactly will you look for your answers? Why follow the yellow brick road unless you hope to see the Wizard?

    I do not have an answer for him. I’m not sure what draws me to old books and ancient voices.

    Later we’re sitting together in a booth at a diner drinking Diet Cokes. He’s working on the New York Times Crossword Puzzle while I look over my latest finds: a 1920 edition of The Meaning of Prayer by Harry Emerson Fosdick, a pre World War II BBC Hymn Book with its stately, formal language, The Way of a Pilgrim and a beautiful leather-bound copy of The Journal of John Woolman.

    I’m flipping through the Woolman when I speak without looking up: “I have an answer to your question.”

    My friend is delighted and immediately slides the crossword puzzle to one side. He puts his elbows on the table and leans forward, giving me his full attention.

    “I’m searching through all that has ever been hoped, in praise of what can never be known.”

    He thinks for a moment, sucking on his straw until the loud slurpy sound comes at the end. We
    love each other. We both know this. It doesn’t need to be said.

    “That’s cool. It sounds like a lot of work, though. Will you have time to talk to me when you’re on break?”

    This cracks me up. Then he starts laughing. Laughter begets laughter until we are out of control. It’s hard to say what we are laughing at. Just everything, I think. I don’t really care. It’s just so much fun.

    Between giggles, I manage to say, “You dumbass!”

    But this only makes us laugh harder’
    ——————————————————

    All that Has Ever Been Hoped in Turtles All The Way Down, Consafo Press

  • D.M.S.

    I couldn’t agree more with what you have stated here.

  • D.M.S.

    Who is torturing the lost souls in hell? When Satan is in the bottomless pit.

  • Kirk, the bible is about Jesus Christ but so much more. It introduces God and the Word. It explains that God created the universe by His Word. He also created Angels. Then he created man but man rejected Him and sinned. He thought of destroying man but Noah found favor and survived the flood. It prophesied Christ as the Savior of Man and His birth. These facts preceeded and explained who Jesus was before he was Jesus and what He did as the Word. Most on this site cannot accept, that as the Word, Jesus destroyed the First Age of Man. But without the OT you would not know this. Jesus’ sacrifice allowed us who are born after His death to be reconciled to God wherein we had been cutoff since the sin of Adam. We now have direct access to the Father without a human intercessor. We have salvation in our grasp but it is not inevitable. We have our part to do.

    The bible also explains the Plan of God for man and his ultimate destiny. It allows one to understand why God did what he did in the OT. It explains what happens to those who lived and died before Jesus and how they will be saved and they will. It is not hard to understand if you understand one fact: those born prior to Jesus and those not called in this lifetime will be resurrected to a physical life and their minds will be opened so they can understand and obey God; not going directly to heaven or hell.

    But I don’t expect anyone on this site to agree with me at all. They either don’t believe in God, don’t believe in the bible, believe they are going to heaven or helI or find the OT abhorrent due to its violence. I find the site is populated with people who dream that we could all be like Jesus without conversion and obeying God’s word and wondering why it isn’t so.

  • Heh, heh. Good zinger Debby. Got a chuckle out of that one.

  • I think our fundamental difference is that you see the Bible explaining Jesus and I see Jesus explaining the Bible. It is the difference between a Bibliocentiric and a Christocentric view of inspiration and divine revelation.

  • Bones

    And yet you ended up here….

  • D.M.S.

    Quit running interesting articles and I’ll go away.

  • DebbyJane65

    The bottomless pit is tortured hell!

  • billwald

    The devil is always in the details. I think God and Jesus were Buddhists and their statements are a form of koan, a teaching tool. For example, wealth is always relative to economic, political, and social conditions.

    Thought experiment: Say every person gave away all excess assets to the poor. It would not take long for the standard of living of the entire population to stabilize to the least common denominator, not the highest possible standard of living. Would the world be more “spiritual” if every person was equally poor? Is this what Jesus commands? How could it be otherwise? God would again undertake the distribution of manna, whatever it was?

  • Bones

    Where is this bottomless pit that God will create to torture his creation?

  • billwald

    When I was a kid, most every American “believed in” the Bible and the Constitution but there was and never was agreement as to the meaning of the words. Obviously Lincoln’s interpretation of the Declaration Of Independence was was much different than the authors of that document and of the Articles Of Confederation. The first American Revolution was the ratification of the Constitution because it changed the political form of all the 13 colonies. 13 sovereign nations under a “NATO” became 13 provinces under a federal government. Lincoln put the final nail in the “states’ rights” coffin.

  • billwald

    Then you confess that the Tanakh Law was annulled and replaced by the New Testament Law? (“Law without punishment is merely advice.”)

  • billwald

    The NT Law as commanded by Jesus and reported in Matthew? The rules given by the Jerusalem Council to Paul may be safely ignored?

  • billwald

    Google Christian Reconstruction and come to your own conclusion. Think “Orthodox Presbyterian Church.”

  • Bones

    Lol….Did they break away from the True Reformed Catholic Apostolic Episcopal Orthodox Presbyterian Church of the Kingdom of God?

  • Ah, that explains the explicit libertarian influence in much of American conservative Christianity. Reconstructionists principals of theonomic government did not die as some have claimed but has had a strong influence among the Religious Right. The recent pick of Roy Moore to replace Senator Jeff Sessions among Republicans makes sense now. His approval of capitol punishment for practicing Gays in Uganda and the belief that Old Testament laws should affect modern government fits the Reconstructionist agenda.

  • D.M.S.

    No, it is not.
    God/Jesus/HolySpirit created hell.
    He is hell’s keeper.

  • D.M.S.

    No it’s not. Remember Satan is let out for a short time after the millennium.
    God/Jesus created hell and He enforces hell.

  • DebbyJane65

    I have no desire to argue with you. I know the story…yet if a bottomless pit is not a place of hellish torture, what else it could be is pointless. The triune God is your keeper.

  • ashpenaz

    I worship and follow Jesus; I read the Bible. The Bible helps me understand the matrix from which Jesus emerged. His ministry was largely a dialectic with the Bible. He didn’t agree with or ratify the Old Testament. He used the Old Testament as a way of starting the discussion. Then, He used His authority to establish new norms and new ways of approaching the Kingdom.

    Conservatives follow the Bible; Christians follow Jesus.

  • Steve Bailey

    Ben – your message needs to sink into the so-called Dominionists and Reconstructionists. These are dangerous abberations of Christianity that will ultimately destroy not only Christian witness but American democracy itself. Thank you for your work. You give hope.

  • Evermyrtle

    If you do not want to live as a Christian, how can that possibly make you a Christian? Christian means, believing in JESUS CHRIST, as the SON OF GOD, and living according to HIS teachings. Claiming to be a Christian does not make you a Christian. I can say I am a lion, I am beautiful, I can fly, but that does not make one word of it true, I would be just be lying and everybody would soon realize, that it is a lie. The same with a person calling him/herself Christian, it won’t take long for people to know they are lying. It is time for you to get off of the stage and give the floor to someone who is a Christian, one who can describe a real Christian!!!!!

  • Chaprich

    The “Living Word of God” is Jesus! The Bible is the written word that witnesses to the Living Word (who is Jesus). Too many Christians believe the Bible is the Quran for Christians; the book mediates God rather than the one who said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” (Jesus, the Word of God).

  • Chaprich

    What Kirk says. Amen.

  • Chaprich

    The synoptic gospels and the Gospel of John were not written by eyewitnesses of Jesus. They were written by men who were influenced by traditions of the apostles. Each gospel targeted certain audiences and were written with different theological emphases. Matthew was written for the Jewish audience, Luke-Acts had a more global (Greek) audience. The Gospel of John anchors Jesus as the Logos of God. The NT was not compiled within the lifetimes of the writers, yet the gospel was proclaimed, nevertheless.

  • Having been through this several times I have to completely disagree with you.
    If you have any other proof to offer I would go through it.
    There are many scholars who wrote books on the Harmony of the Gospels who also disagree.
    My belief is that all the individual books were completed before John wrote Revelation.
    The opinion you repeat is simply a way to denigrate the Bible for other reasons.

  • Ron McPherson

    Did you read the article? The author’s whole point is that he desires to follow Jesus and live according to HIS ways. Ben IS a committed Christ-follower, which does not always equate to a “bible follower”. Biblicists may have trouble understanding the distinction though.

  • D.M.S.

    Are you a Christ follower only?
    But not a bible follower?

  • Ron McPherson

    As a Christian, my desire is to follow Christ and him alone, led by the Spirit. The bible is a gigantic part of my life, but it’s the person of Christ that I desire to abide in, not merely the words of a book. In other words, Jesus showed us the character and heart of God, and I believe him to be the perfect representation of God. As such, I want to filter the entirety of the book thru the lens of Christ, rather than filtering Christ thru the rest of the book. Otherwise, the book itself becomes my God rather than Christ. It took me awhile to come to this realization and to understand the distinction.

  • D.M.S.

    Basically I believe the same as what you just stated.
    But I also know that Christ Jesus had a very good reason for choosing tha Apostles that He chose. To deliver His message to the entire world after His ascension.
    The HolySpirit resides in every true believer.
    But you and I disagree a lot on how we believe???

  • Chaprich

    “Denigrate the Bible”. That’s a good one. Another ad hominem attack without giving any objective support about “My belief”. On what or whom do you base your belief? Who are the scholars who wrote on the harmony of the Gospels. Why is there a need to write on the harmony of the gospels? I suspect because some “scholars” were unwilling to allow the differences between the Gospels to stand on their own and prop up their own theory of inspiration that cannot fathom the possibility of contradictions. Tell me, what did the Lord say at the baptism of Jesus? Matthew 3:17, ““This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” Both Mark and Luke render it, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.” One is an announcement to the crowd gathered for baptism and curiosity at the River Jordan, and two have it as a direct communication to Jesus. So what one is the accurate rendering? Or can we let the two different statements stand on their own without a forced harmonization?

  • Harmony of the Gospels was written to correct the misunderstanding that there are doctrinal differences between the Gospel accounts. The clear meaning of all three texts is that Jesus is the Son of God. What more do you need? These statement do stand on their own. If the Gospels were identical they would serve no real purpose and people on this site would just declare all four a fraud.

    Matthew 3:17 King James Version (KJV)
    17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

    Mark 1:11 King James Version (KJV)
    11 And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

    Luke 3:22 King James Version (KJV)
    22 And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.

  • D.M.S.

    You no more serve our Lord Christ Jesus in any capacity.
    All you teach is a false doctrine.
    You don’t teach what scripture teaches. You’re leading people away from our Lord Christ Jesus.

  • Bones

    Lol….the Pharisee has pronounced judgement.

  • Bones

    I disagree with you in the same way that I disagree with ISIS.

    You’re both extremists.

  • Bones

    Harmonising the gospels is the most brutal amount of dishonest bastardry you can do to the text.

    Mark 1

    9In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10Immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him; 11and a voice came out of the heavens: “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”

    12Immediately the Spirit impelled Him to go out into the wilderness. 13And He was in the wilderness forty days being tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts, and the angels were ministering to Him.

    Matthew 3

    13Then Jesus arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him. 14But John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?” 15But Jesus answering said to him, “Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he permitted Him. 16After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, 17and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”

    Luke 3

    21Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, 22and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”

    Mind you I’m more fascinated how you can harmonise other accounts of Jesus…..

    It would go something like this….

    …..and He instructed them that they should take nothing for their journey, except a mere staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belt— 9 but to wear sandals; (Mark 6:8-10) or maybe don’t take a staff or sandals (Matthew 10:9-10)……

  • Ron McPherson

    Apparently your idea of serving Jesus is spewing hate

  • Matthew

    It took me A LONG while to come to this realization as well. Thanks for the help along the way Ron :-) …

  • Ron McPherson

    Thanks brother. We help one another along the journey. By the way, I haven’t forgotten about a response to your email question. I’m just running a bit behind on some things.

  • Matthew

    No problem brother :-)

  • Spot on! As Brian Zahnd puts it… “Christians are to believe in the perfect, infallible, inerrant Word of God—and his name is Jesus.” So many Christians worship the word of God rather than the WORD of God, Jesus. He is the image of the Father, not the Bible. See “Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God.” P. 13.

  • RonT

    This is a bit confusing:”When Jesus began his ministry and called his disciples, he did not say “come, sit down and let us memorize Leviticus together.” Instead, he simply said, “Come, follow me.”
    Whether or not Jesus required the new followers to be conversant in Old Testament and Mosaic Law was not necessary because they were probably knowledgeable AND Jesus was there to educate them. This leads me to the question: without reading the bible, how do you know what Jesus expects of you? Where do you get the knowledge to know how to live like Jesus? Did Moroni, who visited Joseph Smith (Mormon) talk to you or maybe like Mohammad (Islam) you heard voices in a cave? Excuse my sarcasm, but without reading Scripture, how do you know?

  • The Mouse Avenger

    :D

    This! Oh, this, this, this! ^_^ If there were a feature to favorite blog posts on Patheos, this would be one of the first ones I’d add to the list! :-) Thank you so much for writing this–it means so much to me as a true Christian! :D

  • Clayton Gafne Jaymes

    To the article writer:

    Do you not know how to differentiate between what God sent Joshua(interestingly enough also said as ‘Jesus’) to do to take the ‘Promised Land’ that Godgave to Israel versus what God sent Jesus to accomplish in accordance with the Law that God gave Israel? Do you know that Jesus will come back and exercise some ‘violence’ just as even Joshua did under God’s instruction? Did you miss the account in Joshua 5 where that angel showed up and spoke with Joshoua before Joshua knew who this ‘man’ was?

    While you cited Ecclesiastes, did you miss the verse in there where it said there are times for this and times for that? Meaning sometimes there is a time for the use of war and violence and at other times it is time ofor peace even extended peace? Take for instance the kingship of David compared to that of David’s son Solomon. Is Solomon not responsible for the inspired writitngs of even the book of Ecclesiastes?

    I also do want to point out that the same Joshua you pointed to as be ‘violent, how old was he before he took the lead over Israel and carried out this war violence that Jehovah sent him to do? He was about 80 years old wasn’t he? How much violence do you recall him carrying out before this if he was so inclined to do violence according to his own will? What does Jehovah say about those who ‘love violence’?

    I think the real point of the overall Biblical ‘worldview’ is that Jehovah alone is the only true God and that He is Sovereign and to be obeyed over men who live in contradiction to Jesus and Jehovah the Father of Jesus.

    Also, Jesus*(*meaning ‘Jehovah Is Salvation’*)* is most likely the same angel=messenger that showed up quite a number of times in the OT seen over and over as ‘the angel of Jehovah’. Why should that be difficult to accept when we all already know that Jesus existed before com to this earth in the form of a human?

  • Rudyinbama

    Fundamentalist Evangelism was born in the American South to provide a Biblical justification for slavery. The toxic theology that results from embracing a Crime Against Humanity gave us Secession, Civil War and Jim Crow.

    Shown “the way” by Jerry Falwell, televangelists found anti-gay hate and anti-abortion to be a better cash cow than racism, and so they exported weaponized Bible-thumping to the rest of the country in the 70s.

    The new generation of Evangelical “leaders” like Franklin Graham and Falwell, Jr. are even more corrupt and hate-filled than their predecessors – so corrupt that they can claim a pathologically dishonest and crooked whore-monger with aspirations to be a dictator is somehow the Christian choice for the presidency.

    Evangelism needs to get back to its honorable roots when they could boast of great Christians like Roger Williams who founded Rhode Island as a slavery-free colony with freedom of and from religion for everybody.

    But is it possible?

  • Philip McFedries

    Old Testamentarianism.