Thursday, August 28, 2008

Book Review

"The Birth of Christianity" (John Dominic Crossan) - This is a big book, 586 pages - plus appendices. All of it, winding mumblings overturned by its own statement:

Pages 110-111: "Mark was used by Matthew and Luke as the first of their major consecutive sources... Wrong there, wrong thereafter."

Furthermore, Crossan uses absurdly late dates for all canonical books (Mark at 70, and the other Gospels all later).

The absurdity builds, as he uses early dates for Gnostic texts (the "Gospel" of Thomas).

I did learn more about the so-called "Q Gospel", which has always given me a sense of unease (why does John Macarthur never discuss this thing?).

It's totally made up! It's based on the assumption that Matthew and Luke are late and copied from Mark (and ignoring the power of the Holy Spirit). But, they contain common material not in Mark, so some have supposed another shared source for Matthew and Luke - "Q". There is not one physical artifact supporting Q! It is an interpolation backwards from Matthew and Luke (assuming a copied source, an earlier source).

Crossan compounds his error by comparing Thomas to Q, inferring a new text (the "Sayings Tradition"). This is like trying to form a uniform story by combining a history of the Skunkworks with the ramblings of Roswell conspiracy theorists! (Worse, an interpolation of two independent histories of the Skunkworks, by an author inclined towards alien conspiracies)

Of course, there is a motive behind his twisting of Scripture - to override the plain reading. Crossan's angle is "social justice", all the rage in liberal circles. That is, don't preach sin and wrath and repentance. Instead, preach about the evils of the current government, in favor of the government that you would like in power.

An excellent example of this is on page 372: "as Christianity moved more and more into the public and governmental sphere, men had actively to retake such control from women. Women as Luke 10:38-42 put it, should passively listen like Mary rather than actively administer like Martha." (italics in original)

This is wrong is so many ways! Here is the text from Luke:
"Now it came to pass, as they went, that He entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard His word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to Him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her."
This passage is contrasting distracted busyness with Godly dedication! There is no mention of men and women. That is, it applies equally to men.

Over and over, it is clear that Crossan has rejected the doctrine of the Bible as the Word of God. His theology (effective atheism) is corrupting his interpretation and application. He says it himself (page 524) in an exchange with a questioner at a book reading:
Questioner: "You said that the Barabbas story was created by Mark because, as he saw it, the Jerusalem crowd had picked the wrong savior, namely the brigand-rebels, in the war against Rome that started in 66 CE?"
Myself: "Yes."
Questioner: "Mark himself made it up? ... It's not true?"
Myself: "Yes."
Questioner: "Then why can't you just call it what it is: a lie?"
Crossan is unable to recall his immediate reply. But he justifies himself in the book:
"I have emphasized gospel as updated good news ... They are not straight history, straight biography, straight journalism." (italics in original)
So, lying is ok if you're writing a gospel. Convenient position for a gospel scholar, it allows you to pick and choose - because it's all lies anyways.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Seven is the number of completion. The creation was completed in seven days (including the day of rest).

Revelation 4:5 speaks of the "seven Spirits of God", and "seven churches". These are references to the completeness and holiness of God and the whole church being present before Him.

The final judgments on the earth are a set of three sevens. Complete and ultimate judgment. These take place during seven "days" (probably prophetic days, that is, years), the complete time allocated for this judgment. This is the completion of the shadow seen before the Flood (the first judgment) - Genesis 7:4 "For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth."

Monday, August 18, 2008

Obama on Life

I didn't watch the Rick Warren "debate" (double interview), but I have seen select parts, and I found the transcript. For me, the most telling exchange for Obama was:

Warren: [A]t what point does a baby get human rights, in your view?

Obama: Well, you know, I think that whether you’re looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade.
First thing, I think McCain looked better at this event (which most everyone agrees) because he was willing to just state what he believes. On nearly every question, Obama looks like he is squirming. He uses a lot of weasel words, and looks like he is dodging.

Second, Obama is a Senator, the highest level of lawmaker in the country. He is applying for President, the highest level of the executive. He would likely be responsible for appointing several Supreme Court justices, the very ones who will decide this issue.

There is no higher "pay grade" to defer to! (I don't think Obama actually logically thought this out, again, just weasel words).

Third, scientifically, we cannot answer a question of rights. Science can tell us when life begins, and that is at conception. Logic can tell us the meaning of our decisions. That is, under the current interpretation, our rights are not inherent in who we are. The are gifted to us, by the state, upon our "good works" to please the state (in the current case, being born).

That is a dangerous position, and one contrary to the Declaration of Independence (which states our rights come from "the Creator").

Fourth, the Biblical (theological) perspective is that our rights come from our being created in the image of God, from conception. Nowhere to hide there.

Obama then goes on to spout the myth of "legal but rare". I addressed this over a year ago. If abortion is a moral evil, it should be illegal. If it is morally acceptable, then we shouldn't care how frequent it is.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Six is the number of man. It is noticeably one short of the number of God (7).

Man was created on the sixth day (Genesis 1:24).

Also, the Babylonians (often the model of human centered society) were facinated with 6, and 60's, and 600's. Our system for time is influenced by them (60 second minutes, minutes in hours, 360 (6 x 60) + some days per year, 360 degrees, etc.)

As, I mentioned earlier, the number of the ultimate (final) man is 666 (Revelation 13:18).

Saturday, August 9, 2008

New Link

I am adding a new link to the "Handy Links" section. Hopefully this will help me check over there more often.

Paul Apple is an excellent teacher, and devoted Bible student (which is an essential part of being a Bible teacher).

Thursday, August 7, 2008


There is no particular theme attached to five. Instead, I have selected a few verses (chapters 5, verses 5), and there contexts:
  • "And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died." (Genesis)
  • "In the same hour came forth fingers of a man's hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king's palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote." (Daniel) One of the three instances of God writing with His finger. The other two are in Exodus 31:18 (the Ten Commandments) and John 8:6 (Jesus writing in the sand)
  • "Blessed [are] the meek: for they shall inherit the earth." (Matthew)
  • "And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things." (Acts) Don't doubt that a single sin is not worthy of punishment. Adam and Eve were cast out of Eden for one sin. Ananias and his wife died for a single lie.
  • "For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God." (Ephesians)
  • "And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof." (Revelation) Referring to Jesus, set to open the title deed to the universe, and bring about the final judgment.
  • "For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith." (Galatians)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Story versus Clock

Pastor Wilson is ripping up a book "The Doors of the Sea", by Hart. Hart has a problem with Calvinism, and Wilson is (rightly) showing how there is little Biblical alternative to Calvinism. But one of his statements reminded me of a recent point I made (in "Miracles").
"If the world and all its heartache and resident evils were a clock, then the only sane conclusion would have to be that the clock is broken... But the world is not a clock. The world is a story." (italics in original)
Wilson is far more eloquent than me. If you doubt Calvinism, it is worth reading this post, and the others in its series.

Monday, August 4, 2008


Evolution is a long and brittle chain. For the atheist, every link must be strong and true - else the "God of the gaps" will leak in. Not that I am a fan of the "God of the gaps". But, it should help some atheists to see the futility of their problem. Thousands of smart people looking for decardes for some way to deny God (some ignorant, but many are intentionally searching for an alternative to God). But this is the best they have...

I have discussed the problem of the as-yet unknown atheistic explanation of the origins of life. I have also ridiculed the notions of macro-evolution (the assumptions of common descent and the transmutation of species).

But there is also the problem of "stellar evolution". This is the process by which clouds of hydrogen (the initial product of the Big Bang) becomes the first generation of stars. These stars are believed to have been short lived, and formed the heavier elements which make our sun more stable (and thus, longer lived).

Only one problem. There is no model by which hydrogen will form a star! (without the magic of dark matter)

This is a subject which is rather interesting to me, so I will continue to investigate. There is a apparently a "Millennium Simulation Project" which has a lot of relevant data.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


I had an interesting witnessing encounter. A person identified themself as "Concerned Christian Now Liberated" (not the shortest handle on the planet). They seemed vaguely Christian, although doctrinely weak.

Finally, he said he was "Crossanized". I've never heard that particular label. Nor have I read anything by Crossan. I have seen a couple of his books at the library (you know, the storehouse of apostates and heretics). I will have to read one of these books.