“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves…” is not about you

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Lets put it back into context

11 Thus Solomon finished the house of the Lord and the king’s house. All that Solomon had planned to do in the house of the Lord and in his own house he successfully accomplished. 12 Then the Lord appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice.

13 When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, 14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place. 16 For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that my name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time. 17 And as for you, if you will walk before me as David your father walked, doing according to all that I have commanded you and keeping my statutes and my rules, 18 then I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man to rule Israel.’ 2 Chronicles 7:11-17

Very little about this makes sense in our 21 century context, nor does it make sense as a believer in a New Covenant context. First of all, the Lord is not speaking to me living in 2013, but rather he is speaking to King Solomon in 950 BCE. The Lord had just consecrated his temple and his glory filled it. Solomon slaughtered 142,000 animals and offered the burnt offering and the fat as a peace-offering to God. After this the Lord appeared to Solomon in the night and stated that “I have heard your prayer” and “I have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice”

What is the prayer God that heard? It had different facets, but we read about it in Chapter 13. It boils down to a series of “if-then” statements, where Solomon recognized and vocalized that under the Old Covenant God either blessed or cursed the nation corporately  based on how they kept the law. His prayer might be summarized as “Lord, when the people sin against you, you respond. In your terrifying anger you justly bring famine, plagues, exile and death upon them. If they repent of their sins and seek you, stop the famine, deliver them from exile, lift the plagues, and stop bringing in our enemies to kill us.” This has been the history of Israel up till this point, as a theocracy and later under a king in Old Covenant rule. If they honored God they had peace and prosperity and God would heal their land. The flip side is the implicit reiteration of the other half, whch is that if their hearts became full of idolatry and sin they were punished until they repented.

So in context, God’s statement in verse 14 isn’t a unique promise given to every person in every age meant to apply to every geo-political climate and nation state systems. This is not a promise for us or to us. Rather it is a summary of the entire prayer that Solomon just prayed in the previous chapter, and a promise to honor it. God is saying that in response to Israel’s spiritual rebellion and idolatry he will send death, disease, famine and captivity. But if the people of Israel turn from their sin, he will forgive them and heal their land remove these blights from them, which he continued to do for the next 400 years up to and including the fall of Jerusalem and the Babylonian exile.

The predatory claims of Daniel King.

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Daniel King, the worldwide evangelist and alleged healer I mentioned in a previous post, has a website advertising his books where he makes some claims that some might consider pretty spectacular. I thought in light of the post I made a few days ago, it might be worth following up with some more insight and thoughts on the matter. As a side note, I think its worth mentioning that Daniel King has responded to me a few times and engaged with me on these matters. This is a rarity and something that is appreciated. In a small way it sets him apart from the overwhelming majority of word-faith preachers, and I think this is a virtue worth being lauded.

In any case, let’s get to the thrust of the post, which is to review and comment on the promo page for a recent book that he wrote and some of the claims that he makes about not only his ability to heal, but the means and extent in which he heals.  The book is called “Healing Power”.  I would post the link, but after I spoke to Daniel about, the website was taken down and redirected.  It was healingpowerunlimited.com. If you can find it in the interweb achieves , anyone, please link in the comments so I can update this post with it.  I have saved the entire page, however, and will quote it verbatim.

In the first section, we see a few claims. We see him saying that the powerful truths that have cured thousands are available to “you” indiscriminately. If you buy his book, you will be the recipient of the knowledge of God’s healing power. You will learn that much of the secret of healing originates in Daniel Kings ideas, which he says he proved repeatedly. He also states that because he has witnessed countless miracles, he knows that the person buying this book will also be the recipient of a miracle

“To: YOU

From: Daniel King

Subject: How YOU can be HEALED!

Dear Friend,

EVERYONE needs healing in some area

For the last fifteen years of my life, I have intensely studied God’s Healing Power…I read over two hundred books on healing…I have tested and proved every one of my ideas in countless services on almost every continent in the world…I have personally witnessed thousands of miracles with my own eyes…and I KNOW God can perform a miracle in your life! In our services, blind eyes are opened…deaf ears hear…cancer is cured…the lame walk…bad backs are repaired…”

What part of your life needs healing? Is your body sick? Do you need healing from bitterness, fear, or loneliness? Have you ache from abuse in your past? Do your relationships need healing? Do you need spiritual, sexual, emotional, or physical healing? Do you suffer from Alcoholism, Allergies, AIDS, Arthritis, Asthma, Back Pain, Bleeding, Blindness, Bruises, Burns, Broken Bones, Cancer, Crippled Legs, Colds and Flu, Coughs, Curvature of the Spine, Depression, Diabetes, Deafness, Down’s Syndrome,  Eye Problems, Epilepsy, Fear, Fever, Heart problems, Tooth Aches, Infections, Infertility, Liver Problems, Lung problems, Mental illnesses, Skin Diseases, Sore throat, Sprains, Stomachaches, Smoking, Swelling, Growths, Tumors, Warts, Effects of Strokes, Ulcers, Uneven legs or any other physical ailment?”

We see that the miracles consist of curing major physical illness and life threatening conditions. We’re not simply talking about bad backs and leg lengthenings. If you have cancer, AIDS, Down Syndrome, blindness, or any other major problems, you do not have to suffer these anymore. You do not have to experience the pain, isolation, crushing financial burden, anxiety, fear or heartache that this must cause you or your loved one. Daniel King knows for a fact that you will be healed if you purchase this book.

Are you interested in discovering proven “step-by-step” secrets to DRAMATICALLY improving your health?

Would you like to learn how to QUICKLY receive the healing you need?

If so, I know you will find this book EXTREMELY valuable!

Because I’m going to show you what took me over fifteen years to perfect…a proven, “Battle-tested” system for tapping into God’s healing power…

Daniel King then gives us some testimonials of those who have been healed. To say they are vague and non-specific is generous.

In the Dominican Republic, a seven year old boy named Valintino who was born deaf and dumb was completely healed!

In Honduras, a deaf girl’s ears were instantly healed because of the secrets in this book.

In Sudan, Africa a blind baby was suddenly healed as his mother listened to my message.

In Brazil, a man jumped up out of a wheelchair and began running because of the truth he heard.

If you were sceptical up to this point, and you think of your mother dying of breast cancer in a hospice, your brother hooked up to a dialysis machine, your best friend wasting away from HIV, your father-in-law losing his mind to the ravages of dementia, or your young son battling leukemia, and you think this sounds too good to be true, Daniel King wants to allay your concerns and suspicions.

“This book is bare-bones facts about how to be healed…no nonsense about trying to figure out if it is God’s will to heal you…this book proves it is God’s will to heal you…and teaches you how to apply this truth to YOUR life.  Learn the healing secrets that work…both in receiving your own healing and in helping others to get healed.  If you have a friend in the hospital, don’t buy them a bouquet of useless flowers (roses won’t heal cancer) get them a copy of this book so your friend can LEAVE THE HOSPITAL.  Stop sitting around complaining about your aches and pains…learn some faith principles that are GUARANTEED by God to succeed.”

Stop complaining about your cancer and your friends and family suffering. That cold, helpless feeling you feel in the pit of your gut  is unwarranted, as its quite the simple process to take care of any frightening situation. All your loved ones need is a copy of the book. Don’t believe him yet? Well here are a few more objective, properly sourced, medically confirmed testimonials to convince you.

“The doctors found four tumors on my ovaries…after prayer I visited the doctor for another sonogram…the tumors disappeared!  – Woman in Brazil “

Whenever I start feeling sick I pull out your book “Healing Power” and re-read the stories about how God heals the sick…without fail, I feel better almost immediately.” – Man in Ohio

And another guarantee that everyone can be healed of anything

Now, Daniel King is on record sharing the facts on how anyone and everyone can be COMPLETELY healed.  You will learn in a few pages what many Bible school students have spent years studying.

We learn the benefits of what buying his book will do, which include courses on  “17 Secrets to Healing Power” and “the healing power of positive confession. If you buy this book and do what it says, you will see these benefits

Pain Free Living
Reduce Doctor’s Bills
Help Your Sick Friends or Family Members
This is not heavy reading…just bare-bones essentials to what you need to know to be healed.

We are then given another quick assurance which again attests to the secrets found within [notice that the term "secrets" is a major theme here]  Daniel King has discovered the secrets to perfect health, and in fact, he markets it as “healing insurance” so that you never get sick in the first place.

Everyone needs healing…but the reason so few are healed is because they don’t use any of the secrets in my book. If they knew and applied these faith building techniques, healing would quickly appear! Not only will this book help you get healed…it will also help you STAY HEALTHY. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Don’t wait until you get sick to turn to God…buy healing insurance today by using the valuable information in this book to build your faith for when tough times come.

So Daniel King has made some pretty astronomical claims, which could be summarized as follows “God will definitely, definitely, definitely cure and heal every sickness and disease if you buy this book, thereby allowing you to discover the secrets that I knows, and then apply them to your own life.” I imagine it is a great and awesome responsibility to bear- knowing that you have discovered secrets that are so profound and earth shattering, yet also being super easy to learn and can be done in a step-by-step process. Is Daniel King going to hospitals in North America and emptying them out? Is he going to the oncology department in a childrens hospital and imparting his gifts? What is he doing with this information?

Well, he’s selling it. Allow him to explain

“How much does the book cost? I’ll be honest with you…the truths in this book are not cheap by any means…it cost me tens of thousands of dollars to learn what is in this book…you can learn in a minute of reading how to activate what took me years to learn.

A single week in the hospital can cost thousands of dollars…insurance costs keep rising year after year…a visit to the doctor’s office can be extremely expensive…

The  wisdom in this book is worth thousands of dollars…but I’m making it available to you for just $19.99.”

A few things here. First, why did it cost Daniel tens of thousands of Dollars to learn these secrets? Are not all these secrets found in plain view in the Bible? Wouldn’t all the effort involve him simply reading the texts and doing what it says,  or are the secrets found in extra-biblical texts written by other human beings? Second of all, this strikes me as an implicit chastisement to all the people who are in hospitals being overwhelmed by hospital bills because they or they’re loved ones are battling debilitating illnesses. If only you were willing to pay 20$ for this book, you would have had healing insurance and you would  not gotten sick in the first place. Your husband wouldn’t  have gotten prostate cancer and your little girl wouldn’t have been born with down syndrome. Daniel King knows the secret to get everyone healed of anything, and he is willing to share his secret knowledge, but you have to pay for it first. No money, no miracle. Freedom from grief and pain isn’t free. It’ll cost you. 20 bucks.

“If you think that is too much, you can keep paying enormous doctor’s bills.

But, if you want healing in your life, sow a seed that will produce a miracle harvest. By selling this book, I’m not trying to get money FROM you, I am trying to get God’s blessing TO you.

If I did not believe these secrets would help heal you, I would not make them available to you. These are the most valuable ideas of my years in ministry…all in one place for you to access.”

This book is available as a free instant download. That means there are no production cost involved. He doesn’t have to pay for the paper, or the printing press, or the labor, or the overhead. He could easily make this a free download without costing him any money and more easily get this into the hands of those who need it most if he truly believes that they will be healed. But like he said, if you don’t want to pay 20 $ for it, then keep on paying your medical bills. Keep on selling your home and cashing in your kids savings funds and RRSP’s and 401k’s, all in a desperate bid to keep hope alive and to survive.

Once you order, you will be able to INSTANTLY download the entire book “Healing Power” to your computer as a pdf file…NO WAITING TIME…NO SHIPPING CHARGES… you can keep the book on your computer…or you can print a copy out for FREE if you want.

And there you go. That’s the end of his advertisement for his book. As nice as he comes across, as well meaning as he tries to be, as much as I appreciate him responding to me and trying to interact with me, this ultimately comes down to an issue of predation. Daniel King is a predator. He preys on the hope and desperate fear of people looking for a miracle and promises them the world, all the while delivering nothing. He preys on the destitute, the desperate, and the dying. It takes a special kind of  brazeness and audacity to prey on people this way, and to use this particular tactic. He promises them miracles in exchange for money. Blessings for bucks. Deliverance for dollars.  He promises things that he cannot and does not deliver, and he will not allow himself to have his claims seriously examined by his critics and by those who would disbelieve him. Its simply not believable, and this is just a small part of a larger whole of dangerous beliefs that he holds. Avoid at all costs.

I don’t believe in healing ministries or crusading faith healers

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I believe that God heals. I believe that the Lord, in his mercy, can do wondrous miracles. I believe that a man or woman can be healed from the most frightening, hopeless illnesses. I don’t think its common, but I believe it happens. That being said, I don’t believe any one person has a gift for healing, or that there is such thing as a healing ministry that actually heals anyone on a regular or semi-regular basis. Furthermore, I think the extreme vast majority of all so-called faith healers who hold huge crusades and rallies are all charlatans, and I don’t believe anyone is ever healed at those things.

Much of the reason for this is theological. At this point I won’t name their collective names so as not to detract from the point, but when I survey all the big name and many smaller names who are in the game and claiming to perform amazing miracles, I am struck by the non-coincidence that none of these men are sound in the faith. Instead, what you have is a rag-tag collection of prosperity-gospel heretics who are fleecing the flock in exchange for some impartation of very bad theology . While everyone in this crowd has a different tweak on how they preach and emphasize the gospel of health and wealth,  I would consider it a monstrous, demonic belief and the calling card of this particular brand of heretic.

In the scriptures, we see that whenever a miracle was done it was to support the message that was being preached, which invariably pointed to Christ and was always indirectly the repentance and the forgiveness of sins in the finished work of Christ. Heretics didn’t get to perform miracles. In the same way we don’t consider healings from witch doctors and shamans as being legitimate miracles from God,  so likewise do should we disregard these faith-healing prosperity preachers, whose message is just as useful and sanctified as the shamans is.  So whenever you hear some prosperity preacher telling you that you can get your miracle if you send him 10 bucks as a seed offering, or whatever, you know this is someone is in the process of slaughtering the sheep and who is not from God, and therefore does not have God’s power to do miracles through his name and through the shed blood of his Son.

But there is another, less theological and more practical point to consider. These men claim to have healed hundreds of thousands of people of every terrible, wasting, incurable illness and physical calamity known to man, but there is no proof. I’m not the first person to suggest this, but why not open up the crusade to journalists and other medical professionals? I’m going to pick on one person in this post, and that is Daniel King. Daniel King is a traveling evangelist/miracle worker who came out to speak to Fort McMurray a few years ago at the behest of a local church. When he’s not preaching convoluted messages about the gnostic secrets of Obed Edom, he has massive rallies where he claims that  says  he has healed thousands of people from ailments such as cancer, blindness, deafness, infertility, HIV and Aids, crippled legs, Down Syndrome, tumours, and every other affliction that a man could be burdened with.

So why not contact CNN, BBC, the New York Times, or some other major players in the industry and invite them out to the event? Invite them to bring their high definition cameras, recording equipment, broadband connection,  and grant them an all- access pass to be on stage, back stage,  or mingling with the crowds and being wherever they want to be. Let them come with their equipment, their manpower, their sceptics, and then promote the hell out of this thing. Run full-page ads in every newspaper for a month. Rent TV time to run ads during primetime television. Start an on-line media blitz using every social-media means you can muster.

And then start the revival.

And then start the healings.

You could invite the best and brightest of the scientific world to attend- men and women from the most renowned universities and think-tanks in the world. You could also invite the most hardened sceptics to observe and interact with the crowd and with those being healed. They could stream the entire thing, with commentary, to hundreds of millions of people around the world who could then witness these amazing miracles being done in the name of God.

After all, Jesus and the apostles did their miracles publicly. Their miracles were done to believers and non-believers, in the presence of believers and non-believers, and the reality of their healing was without dispute. In the scriptures, no one was questioning that the miracles had taken place. Instead the sceptics and unbelievers were left grappling for explanations as to how this could be done. Can Daniel King not do the same thing? The doctors could examine the people right before they go on stage, the journalists could talk to their friends and families and their own family physicians, and then Daniel King could do his thing and heal this person who has so much faith. Once healed, the doctors could examine the newly minted recipient of miracles. They could run some quick tests and see what physical transmogrification has taken place, confirm for the world that these indeed were all legitimate healing, and then after that they could stick around for a few days after to do follow up and make sure all the proof is in good order, which would then lend even more credibility to what has transpired.

Wouldn’t that blow the world up? Wouldn’t that set the world on fire for God? Invite the New Atheist out to the party and see what happens when the power of God and his miraculous healing falls on people in a way that has them disbelieving their own eyes.  Wouldn’t that absolutely shake to the core the spiritual state of the world? They could put it up on YouTube and the Atheists, Agnostics, Muslim, Hindus, and every other non-Christian group out there would witness first hand the power of the true and living God, confronting them in a way that they could never deny, and opening the floodgates to give an unbelieving world something to believe in?

We could take this out of the context of secrecy and suspicion. Instead of telling people about some guy you know who know a guy who knows a missionary who raised someone from the dead somewhere “in Africa”, we could say “God is all powerful, and his son Jesus Christ proved he was God by being raised from the dead. And as a sign of his power and great might, we are going to perform some miracles, so you can see the power of the one true God, and these miracles will confirm our message and the gospel we preach, which is that whoever repentant of their sins and outs their faith in Christ will be saved.” and then in front of hundreds of millions of people- Daniel King can do what he does best- he can perform these miraculous acts of healing, in the same way and same vein as the thousands upon thousands he has claimed in the name of Jesus to have done.

What do you say, Daniel King and the rest of the faith healing gang? You’ve been quoting us John 14:12 for years, and saying that we can do greater things than Jesus. What on earth could possibly be stopping you from implementing this and reaching half the world for Christ in one, single, solitary day?

The Message Bible is not a fan of St. Paul


I heard a sermon recently where the Pastor quoted extensively from The Massage Message bible. Specifically he read a long portion of Romans 9, and then made attempts to exegete it. I don’t even know why he bothered.

I have a theory on why pastors use the Message bible. I wrote in another post that:

Why use the Mb? Because it words things in a way that the pastor finds compelling and gripping and in which he thinks he congregation will get a kick out of. And the congregants go along with that because it has ceased being important for a translation to accurately reflect what was being said. It has ceased being important that Jesus’ words, meaning, and intent-without additions or interpolations- are immortalized and cannonized.

It has become wholly acceptable to abuse and molest the original meaning  because for some people, the intent isn’t to know what the original meaning is, but rather to develop an emotional response. And as long as that emotional response in brought on by something remotely bibley, they can interpret their feelings as a spiritual encounter, which is the source of their security, affirmation and joy. The Pastors putting these paraphrases are are not doing it so that will have a cerebral or intellectual impact, but rather an emotive one.  Its not for piercing clarity, but for vague etherialities. Its not for maximum accuracy, but for maximum sentiment. That’s the thrust of the appeal- because warm fuzzies are an easier sell than  rigorous faithfullness to the text.

What I wanted to focus on in this post is the issue of accuracy and what it means to faithfully represent what was written by the apostles. We believe that the Scriptures are given by inspiration of God and are theopneustos. That is, God-breathed. Some Bibles seek to get as close as they can to the original texts, with our best scholars who painstakingly pore over every nuance so that they can give us a product that represents the best and most accurate and most faithful rendering of the originals we have. The Message bible is not one of those bibles..

When doing a critical scholarship of all the manuscripts that we have, our problem isn’t that we don’t have enough of the original, but that we have too much of what came after. We don’t have 95% of the originals, but rather we have 120% of them. Its like we have a puzzle with 20 extra pieces, and by doing textual and source criticsm, we can weed out the extra pieces, the variants, the transcription errors, the scribal interplorations, etc. The ultimate objective of the textual critic’s work is the production of a “critical edition” containing a text most closely approximating the original.

The Message bible is wholly unconcerned with trying to figure out what was actually said or trying to minimize the excess. I think this is seen well in Romans 9. In the ESV translation, there are 734 words.  The NIV has 738. In Romans chapter 9, the Message bible has 836. In many ways the Mb is similar to Codex Bezae- a codex infamous for its many strange and bizarre renderings, as well as gratuitous flourishes and additions. The horrific gluttonous additions to the Mb is bad, but it actually gets worse than that. Not only are there many places in the Message bible where it’s incredibly bloated with whole sentences added in, there are other places where there are whole sentences missing! There are concepts missing.  There are There are important details missing. There are important statements about God’s character missing. There are important details about God’s purposes missing. In short- it’s just not there.

The twoexamples I wanted to examine are found in Romans 9.

Romans 9: 17 and 18

17. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. ESV

17. The same point was made when God said to Pharaoh, “I picked you as a bit player in this drama of my salvation power. Mb

18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. ESV

18. All we’re saying is that God has the first word, initiating the action in which we play our part for good or ill. Mb

Here we’ve left out half of a verse. Evidently its not important to know that God’s purpose in hardening Pharaohs heart was so that his name would be proclaimed in all the earth, and so that the demonstration of power would yield him glory. I don’t know why that wasn’t included. Its not like it would be difficult to add that segment in. So that is a little strange, and in continuing the trend we see verse 18.  In verse 18, its nothing but vague obfuscation.  There is no mention of God’s mercy, nor is there any mentioning of the hardening that God enacts on whoever he desires. There’s no way to read the Mb and find that information in the scriptures  It doesn’t bring clarity to the texts, and it does not accurately reflect what is trying to be said.

Romans 9:21-23

21-Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? ESV

21-Isn’t it obvious that a potter has a perfect right to shape one lump of clay into a vase for holding flowers and another into a pot for cooking beans? Mb

22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, ESV

23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—ESV

23 and 24 If God needs one style of pottery especially designed to show his angry displeasure and another style carefully crafted to show his glorious goodness, isn’t that all right? Mb

In verse 21, there is no mention of honorable use or dishonorable use in the MB. Instead we see merely a utilitarian difference . In verse 22 and 23, I actually can’t even figure out which verse is what. But look how much is being left out!

1. There is no mention that God has a desire to show his wrath

2.There is no mentioned that God is enduring the vessels of wrath

3.There is no mention that God is showing patience while doing so

4. There is no mention that these lumps of dishonorable use, these “pots for cooking beans” ‘are vessels of wrath

5. There is no mention that these vessels were intended  for destruction

6. “Glorious goodness” is not the same as “the riches of his glory”

7. There is no mention that the wrath of God towards his vessels of destruction was to show his glory to the vessels of mercy

8. There is no mention this this was prepared by God beforehand

9. There is no mention that this was prepared by God for the the purpose of glory

10. There is no mention that the eternal state of the Vessels of mercy is glory. 

It amazes me at how much is missing, and how much we are being robbed from knowing by following this so-called paraphrase. And again, evidently its not important that we know these things. I would also recommend checking out verses 30-32 in both translations. In the case of the Mb, it is shocking bad and inadequate.

The  point is this; the Message bible isn’t a neutral, clever paraphrase. It doesn’t merely “re-word” things, but it adds whole sentences and it removes whole sentences. It actively seeks to distort what God said through his Son and through the writers of the scriptures.  In the case of Paul and Romans 9, it doesn’t care what Paul said. The important thing in not that we have an accurate record of what the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write, and that we relate that to people, but rather its more important to tell people how one person remixes and reinterprets the words of Paul.  And so when someone reads from the Message bible from the pulpit, purporting it to be some kind of bible, it is very hard for me not to lose respect for them. Ultimately what they are telling me that its not important to know what God inspired the Apostles to wrote. That its not important to know what Jesus actually said. That its not important to share the actual revelation of God.

51 Biblical Proofs Of A Pauline Papacy And Ephesian Primacy- Contra Rome

 

I heard a really bad argument for the primacy of the Petrine papacy  few days ago, which was that Peter was the first person to raise the dead, after Jesus, and therefore this biblical evidence demonstrated his primacy and his designation as the Pope. I found this quite silly  and amusing, but did not think much of it, and did not argue it. Then today I ran across this brilliant article by Jason Enwer [here]who demonstrates a more sure and true Pauline papacy and  Ephesian primacy. In it he purposefully and intentionally utilizes the same curious reasoning that Roman Catholics use when they are trying to demonstrate their beliefs.  I thought it a sting well worth enduring to see how the RCC can manufacture evidence of “Primacy” by selective citation and out-of-context “snippetry”

1. Paul is the only apostle who is called God’s chosen vessel who will bear His name before Jews and Gentiles (Acts 9:15).2. Paul is the last apostle chosen by God, apart from the other twelve.3. The resurrected Christ appears to Paul in a different way than He appeared to the other apostles (Acts 9:3-6).

4. Paul is the only apostle who publicly rebukes and corrects another apostle (Galatians 2:11).

5. Paul is the only apostle who refers to his authority over all the churches (1 Corinthians 4:17, 7:17, 2 Corinthians 11:28).

6. Paul is the only apostle to call himself “father” (1 Corinthians 4:15).

7. Paul is the steward of God’s grace (Ephesians 3:2). This means that Paul is the overseer of salvation. Fellowship with Paul and his successors is necessary for salvation.

8. Paul is mentioned more in the New Testament than any other apostle.

9. The book of Acts, which mentions all of the apostles, discusses Paul more than any other apostle.

10. Paul was the first apostle to write a book of scripture.

11. Paul wrote more books of the New Testament than any other apostle.

12. Paul is the first apostle to be taken to Heaven to receive a revelation (2 Corinthians 12:1-4).

13. Paul is the only apostle Satan was concerned about enough to give him a thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7).

14. Paul seems to have suffered for Christ more than any other apostle (2 Corinthians 11:21-33).

15. Paul seems to have received more opposition from false teachers than any other apostle did, since he was the Pope (Romans 3:8, 2 Corinthians 10:10, Galatians 1:7, 6:17, Philippians 1:17).

16. Paul seems to have traveled further and more often than any other apostle, as we see in Acts and his epistles, which is what we might expect a Pope to do.

17. Only Paul’s teachings were so advanced, so deep, that another apostle acknowledged that some of his teachings were hard to understand (2 Peter 3:15-16). Peter’s understanding of doctrine doesn’t seem to be as advanced as Pope Paul’s. Paul has the primacy of doctrinal knowledge.

18. Paul was the first apostle whose writings were recognized as scripture (2 Peter 3:15-16).

19. Paul singles himself out as the standard of orthodoxy (1 Corinthians 14:37-38).

20. Only Paul refers to himself having a rod, a symbol of authority (1 Corinthians 4:21).

21. Paul initiates the council of Acts 15 by starting the debate with the false teachers (Acts 15:2) and delivering a report to the other church leaders (Acts 15:4).

22. Peter’s comments in Acts 15:7-11 are accepted only because Pope Paul goes on to confirm them (Acts 15:12).

23. When the Corinthians were dividing over which apostle to associate themselves with, Paul’s name was the first one mentioned (1 Corinthians 1:12).

24. Paul was the only apostle with the authority to deliver people over to Satan (1 Corinthians 5:5).

25. Paul had the best training and education of all the apostles (Philippians 3:4-6).

26. Paul is the only apostle to call the gospel “my gospel” (Romans 2:16).

27. Paul writes more about the identity of the church than any other apostle does (1 Corinthians 12, Colossians 1, Ephesians 4-5), which we might expect a Pope to do. Paul is the standard of orthodoxy and the Vicar of Christ on earth, so he has the primary responsibility for defining what the church is and who belongs to it.

28. Paul writes more about church government than any other apostle does, such as in his pastoral epistles.

29. Paul discusses church unity more than any other apostle does (1 Corinthians 12-14, Ephesians 4), suggesting that he was the one responsible for maintaining church unity because of his papal authority.

30. Paul writes more about the gospel than any other apostle does (Romans, Galatians). As the leader of Christianity, Paul was most responsible for explaining the gospel and other Christian doctrine.

31. After Jesus, Paul speaks more about the kingdom of God than anybody else does (Acts 14:22, 19:8, 1 Corinthians 4:20, Galatians 5:21, 2 Thessalonians 1:5). After leaving earth, Jesus passed on the responsibility of teaching about the kingdom of God to Paul, the king of the church on earth.

32. Paul speaks of revealing mysteries more than any other apostle does (Romans 11:25, 1 Corinthians 15:51, Ephesians 5:32, 6:19, 2 Thessalonians 2:7), since he was the chief teacher of the church.

33. Paul was the only apostle other people tried to impersonate (2 Thessalonians 2:2), since he had more authority than anybody else.

34. Paul’s clothing works miracles (Acts 19:11-12).

35. Paul is delivered from death more than any other apostle (Acts 14:19, 28:3-6, 2 Corinthians 11:23).

36. The Jewish exorcists in Acts 19:13 associate themselves with Paul rather than with any other apostle.

37. The demons in Acts 19:15 recognize Paul’s primacy.

38. The Jews in Acts 21:28 recognize Paul’s primacy, saying that he’s the man they hold most responsible for teaching Christianity everywhere.

39. Paul had authority over the finances of the church (Acts 24:26, 2 Corinthians 9:5, Philippians 4:15-18).

40. Paul acts as the chief shepherd of the church, taking responsibility for each individual (2 Corinthians 11:29). For example, Paul was Peter’s shepherd (Galatians 2:11).

41. Paul interprets prophecy (2 Thessalonians 2:3-12).

42. Only Paul is referred to as being set apart for his ministry from his mother’s womb (Galatians 1:15).

43. Jesus Christ is revealed in Paul (Galatians 1:16), meaning that Paul and his successors are the infallible standard of Christian orthodoxy.

44. Paul is the only apostle who works by himself, only later coordinating his efforts with the other apostles (Galatians 1:16-18).

45. Only Paul is referred to as bearing the brandmarks of Christ (Galatians 6:17).

46. Every Christian was interested in Paul and what was happening in his life, looking to him as their example and their encouragement (Philippians 1:12-14).

47. Christians served Paul (Philippians 2:30).

48. Paul worked more than the other apostles (1 Corinthians 15:10), since he had more responsibilities as Pope.

49. Paul was to be delivered from every evil deed (2 Timothy 4:18), meaning that he was infallible.

50. Only Paul is referred to as passing his papal authority on to [Ephesian] successors who would also have authority over the church of God (Acts 20:28).

51. Among the seven churches addressed in Revelation 2-3, the church of Ephesus is mentioned first, since the bishops of Ephesus have primacy as the successors of Paul. The church in Ephesus “cannot endure evil men” (Revelation 2:2), meaning that the bishop of Ephesus is infallible when speaking ex cathedra on matters of faith and morals. The Ephesian church puts false teachers to the test (Revelation 2:2) by exercising its papal authority. The bishop of Ephesus has the responsibility of evaluating all teachers and declaring which are orthodox and which are not. None of the other churches in Revelation 2-3 are described as having this authority.

A brief thought-excercise regarding pastrixes [female pastors]

In I Timothy, Paul tells us why he wrote what he wrote in this particular epistle. The entire book is a narrative that connects and ties in across all 4 chapters, and near the end He says. “I am writing you these instructions so that,  if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.” That’s the context and that’s important. Paul was not writing about how people ought to conduct themselves in their homes, or in their jobs, or in institutes of higher learning. Rather his concern was in creating parameters and theological fences that would safeguard the pillar and foundation of the truth- the Church. He was giving Timothy certain specific instructions and teachings that he, Paul, currently had in effect in the Churches that he oversaw and wanted his young charge to continue in likewise. Paul had planted the Church there years ago and had spent three years ministering to it and growing it. Now with Timothy as the evangelist and charged with her safekeeping, Paul taught Timothy what he must teach and point out to the people- things that he had taught elsewhere and in other Churches.

Let’s look at the list of teachings and ask ourselves three questions for each one. 1]  Is this how people should conduct themselves in the house of God? 2] Which of these conducts are cultural constructs and merely existed for this particular church for a very short period of time [a couple months, decades, years] , and are no longer applicable today. 3] What evidence do we see in the text that any of these are cultural constructs and should only be taken as such?

1. “I urge,then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”

2. “Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.”

 3. “I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.”

4. “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission.  I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve.”

5. “Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.”

 6. “He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect.”

7. “He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil.”

8. “He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.”

9. “In the same way, deacons are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain.”

10. “They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience.”

11. “They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacon.”

12. “In the same way, the women are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.”

13. “A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well. Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.

Later on, Paul exhort Timothy to “Command and teach these things. Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity” What things? What things are Timothy to command and teach?  The instructions of how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household. What does that include? Are we to suppose that it includes everything Paul said there EXCEPT for the one teaching and command that Paul roots in nature itself and the creative order? Even a cursory examination shows this is untenable. Paul says that Elders ought to be husbands of one wife. Is that a cultural construct only for a short time? We are told that overseers are to be faithful to their wives. Was that just a cultural thing “for them”? No. We don’t see any artificial breaks in his instructions that somehow vindicate or validate this position, but rather we see a seamless, purposeful instruction.

Paul appealed to the creative order only once in all of those 4 chapters. Are we supposed to believe that the one time Paul appeals to nature and creation itself as part of the basis for his argument is the one time that it’s only a fleeting cultural wisp of a suggestion, but all the other commands not rooted in nature and the creative order are to last for time immemorial regardless of time and culture? Paul tells Timothy that “If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters,you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed.” Point out what things? What truths of the faith which are good teaching? Things like men should pray and lift up holy hands without anger, women should dress modestly, deacons should not indulge in much wine, and women should not teach or assume authority over a man in Church. The truths of the faith and the good teachings were the instructions he had been given.

So I ask again, of the thirteen things listed there, look at each one individually and ask yourselves ” 1]  Is this how people should conduct themselves in the house of God? 2] Which of these conducts are cultural constructs and merely existed for this particular church for a very short period of time [a couple months, decades, years] , and are no longer applicable today. 3] What evidence do we see in the text that any of these are cultural constructs and should only be taken as such?

I’m convinced from the text that the answer is “Yes, none and none” and I would welcome any dialogue to the contrary.

How I learned to speak in tongues, and then resolved to never do it again

I remember being at one youth conference when I was in my teens where the speaker was encouraging us to speak in tongues and telling us how important it was. He spoke of  how it would radically change our prayer life, our sin life, and our personal walk with God. At the time I was dealing with some pretty heady stuff and I had been taught a lot about this gift and there was nothing I wanted more than to receive this.

For the last few months I had been having a lot of spiritual teaching regarding this. In fact my pastor devoted hours working with us and teaching those who hadn’t received the gift yet some techniques to start speaking in tongues. He told us that first we had to clear our minds of any thoughts, that because our minds wouldn’t understand what we are doing, and would want to war against and question what our mouth was doing, and so it was important not to overthink it, or think it at all. Then he told us some methods that would help get us going, and used the analogy that it was like starting a car on a cold day. Asking to speak in tongues was like turning the key, and all you needed was a little kick to help the engine turn over and get it to start roaring.  These were some of his suggestions.

1 If you know a foreign language, start speaking that and ask God to transform it into a different one on the go. 2. Repeat the words “shoulda-bought-a-honda-couldove-bought-a-honda. or “shabbada-shabbada shaka-whaoh” over and over again. This will train your mouth and your tongue to lose control and get used to making strange sounds. 3. Pick a phrase from the scriptures and say it over and over again, as fast as you can, until the words become unintelligible  in your mouth. When you can’t say it anymore faster take a leap of faith and say the first things that come to your mind-oftentimes this will be your new tongues 4. Start making intercession with groaning that can’t be uttered. Start to groan and moan while curled up in a ball on the ground, from deep within your chest, and visualize your sounds transforming into words. 5. Read Bible verses but take out the vowels from what you’re reading,  and try to pronounce them all the while asking God to give you the gift- this oftentimes acts like a kickstart 6. Hold your hands over your ears so that you can’t hear yourself speaking, and start saying words and making sounds as the spirit leads, and then have a friend come over and listen. The reason you are plugging your ears is because as you are getting disappointed with the English words that are coming out of your mouth and then losing faith, which will kill it.  If you do start speaking in tongues, your friends will be able to hear it and confirm it for you.

I spent months practicing these things, trying to get my mouth to turn over, but to no avail. I especially tried the groaning one, where I would crawl into my prayer closet and start to heave as I pushed my hands against my chest, growling and moaning and making sounds that I didn’t know I could make. I was warbling by tongues and lips in between guttural gasps in an effort to make something happen. Anything. But to no avail. Consequently I had become hopelessly disappointed. I had gone to the altar on a weekly basis for prayer, my cheeks wet with tears as I sobbed and wept and asked God why everyone around me could do it, but I couldn’t. Didn’t he love me enough to help me speak in tongues? I had been told that it was one of the main proofs of salvation, and my heart was becoming a ball of confusion and distress. I wasn’t good enough. I didn’t have enough faith. I didn’t repent enough. I didn’t tithe enough. All these things rocked my little ship of faith. And then this conference happened.

It had been two days of manic worship music, ultimate frisbee, and sleep deprivation. A man with a bald head and a beard appeared on stage and said that he was going to slay us all in the spirit, and when we awoke we would have the gift of tongues. The room was hot and sweaty and the stench of stale body air was everywhere. Under blue and pink lights he approached us and had all thirty of us line up around stage and starting left from right, he would put his hands on people and almost throw them to the ground. Thankfully there were adults behind us who would catch us as we fall, to ensure that the impact of throwing a body gone limp would not crack our skulls on the floor.  “SHANDALA-HUNDARA” he screamed as he picked us off one by one. Boom! Boom! Boom! Bodies were hitting the floor as if being cut down in a swath. I could hear some of the girls who had gone first starting to rise and stir as sounds of giggles filled the room.

Finally he came to me. I couldn’t breathe with anticipation. Finally it was going to happen. I knew it was. Oh. My. God.  This was going to be amazing. All I could think about was the coveted tongues. I wanted it so bad, and the knowledge that I would go under and come up a new man was exquisite. He gripped my head with his hands. I braced my soul.  He blew a rush of air and spittle in my face and then  yelled “Spirit be released in Jesus’ name!”

But I did not fall as almost every other had. No- instead I felt none of the impartation that I had hoped for, that I had built myself up for. I wanted my knees to go weak. I wanted my legs to buckle. I wanted my mind to be assaulted by a hundred million senses and to come up for air with new words and a heavenly language and the powerful rapture of being so close to God that we shared a secret language that only we knew. Instead my legs remained strong. I did not bend or bow. Instead, despite being nearly hurled towards the carpet, my instincts kicked in and I twisted my body in such a way that I was  able to catch myself on the front row chairs as I reeled back.

The speaker, content with seeing me displaced, went back to the center and compelled the praise band up to keep on playing while my friends and strangers laid with their backs on the floor. Their hands were raised slightly at their side and facing heaven, weeping and laughing . I could hear the sound of garbled voices while I sat there. Heads in my knees. Begging God’s forgiveness for being such a disappointment to him.

To be continued…

The Message “bible” is STILL not a Bible


Just wanted to do some compare and contrast as we ask ourselves- what is a Bible and what does it mean for something to be considered Scriptures? What does it mean for something to be the word of God? Better yet, what is the advantage of reading what one person paraphrases the scriptures as “kind-of/sort of meaning”,  versus having our brightest minds and scholarly experts painstakingly recreate for us the exactness of what God actually says? I already told you to stop using the message Bible to preach, and I also told you all tongue-in-cheek that I was writing my own Bible version, and yet sadly no pastors who use the Message Bible took me up on my offer, even though I demonstrated its much better than Eugene Peterson’s version.

But here is some further think-a-long; I have a theory that people oftentimes don’t choose a Bible to know with precision what God actually said, but rather they choose it and use it for how it makes them feel when they read it. You see this all the time in pulpits. Pastors will throw up some notes on powerpoint and they’ll have 5 different translations/paraphrases ranging from the excellent  [NASB] to the good [NIV] to the bad [NLT] to the utterly and completely appalling [Message Bible]. Why use the MB? Because it words things in a way that the pastor finds compelling and gripping and in which he thinks he congregation will get a kick out of. And the congregants go along with that because it has ceased being important for a translation to accurately reflect what was being said. It has ceased being important that Jesus’ words, meaning, and intent-without additions or interpolations- are immortalized and cannonized.

It has become wholly acceptable to abuse and molest the original meaning  because for some people, the intent isn’t to know what the original meaning is, but rather to develop an emotional response. And as long as that emotional response in brought on by something remotely bibley, they can interpret their feelings as a spiritual encounter, which is the source of their security, affirmation and joy. The Pastors putting these paraphrases are are not doing it so that will have a cerebral or intellectual impact, but rather an emotive one. Its not for maximum accuracy, but for maximum sentiment. That’s the thrust of the appeal- because warm fuzzies are an easier sell than  rigorous faith fullness to the text. To that end, here is a segment from Matthew 5:1-10. ESV first, the Message second

1-2.  Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.  And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

1-2. When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:

 

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

3“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

 

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

4“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

 

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

5“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

 

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

6“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.

 

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

7“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.

 

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

8“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

 

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

 9“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.

 

10“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven

10“You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.

 

Examine those few verses. Are they saying the same thing? Do they even sound the same? Are things being added in? Verses 3 and 4 are especially grotesque in their ability to take liberties with the text and add flourishes that not only do not exist, but actually changes the meaning of what was actually said by Jesus. Why is it necessary to do that? It adds foreign concepts that are not biblical and which Jesus never intended to say. So let’s call The Message bible for what it is- A sad testament to our modern-day churchy evangelical culture that values manipulation of the text for personal gratification, over fidelity to the text for corporate sanctification.

Playful Puppies Bible vs Velociraptor Kitten Bible.

So there is a new Bible soon to be released from Zondervan, who quite frankly need to give their heads [or their paws, badum tish] a shake. According to their press release, which is 100% legit

Playful Puppies Bible

If you love puppies, you will love this Bible! Inside you will find 12 color pages of adorable puppy photos with inspirational thoughts that will encourage you day after day. The Playful Puppies Bible is just the right size to take along wherever you go. Features include: * Presentation page for gift giving * Ribbon marker * Words of Christ in red * 12 pages of adorable puppy photos, Scripture references, and inspirational thoughts * The entire Bible in the New International Version (NIV)

Here’s the deal- If this is not an example of crass consumerism then I don’t know what is, only that this is yet another example of the church conforming to the culture because they don’t feel the Word is sufficient enough. Doesn’t this also mean that its open season on any Bible I want? For anyone who likes this idea, could I not, by the very same arguments that created this bible, make my own bible called “The Cute Kitten Raptor Bible”? And inside would be 12 pictures of Kittens posing like Velociraptors, much like this one here;

Here would be my press release;

Cute Kitten Raptor Bible

If you love kittens and dinosaurs, you will love this Bible! Inside you will find 12 color pages of adorable kittens posing like velociraptors photos with empathetic thoughts that will encourage you day after day and show you that even if your friends and peers reject you, Jesus never will. The Cute Kitten Raptor Bible is just the right size to take along wherever you go. Features include: * Presentation page for gift giving * Ribbon marker * Words of Christ in red * 12 pages of adorable raptor kitten photos, Scripture references, and inspirational thoughts * The entire Bible in The Message Edition.

 

What do you guys think? Which Bible would you rather buy?

Ancient Christian parody/mockery- we worship an ass?

In 1857, some early graffiti was discovered in an unearthed guardroom on the Palatine Hill. Known as the Alexamenos Graffito, it is an image which is scratched into the plaster of the wall and shows a man with the head of an ass being crucified, and then a man next to him- his hands possibly raised in prayer.  This graffito is thought to be conceived sometime between 50 CE and 200 CE  and is the earliest depiction of the crucifixion that we possess, with the first Christian depictions not arising until the early 6th century. The text in Greek reads:

ALE
XAMENOS
SEBETE
THEON

which means, “Alexamenos worships his god.”

Interestingly enough,  this was a common charge against the Jews and later the Christians in the infancy of the Christian faith.  Marcus Cornelius Fronto, a pagan orator and rhetorician, condemned the Christians in a lost speech, fragments of which are preserved by Minucius Felix in the Octavius. In it he writes

“the religion of the Christians is foolish, inasmuch as they worship a crucified man, and even the instrument itself of his punishment. They are said to worship the head of an ass, and even the nature of their father” (Octavius IX).

Tertullian mentioned that the pagans think “our god is an ass’s head” (Apology, XVI). when he writes

“For, like some others, you are under the delusion that our god is an ass’s head”

Tertullian refers again to this notion that “our god is actually the head of an ass” in Book I of Ad Nationes, where he accuses pagans of being no better and in fact gets a little feisty at the end. [a quip that can't help but make me smile.

Some of you have entertained the dream that our god is actually the head of an ass. Cornelius Tacitus first launched this fantasy in the fourth book of his Histories where he recounts the Jewish war. Starting with the origins of the Jewish people, he traces the source of their religion and its name. He relates how the Jewish people, hard-pressed for water and wondering abroad in desolate places, were delivered by following the lead of a herd of wild asses thought to be in search of water after feeding. For this reason the likeness of this animal is worshiped by the Jew. This is why I believe that we Christians, being linked to the Jewish religion, are associated with the same image. You in fact worship the ass in its entirety, not just the head. And then you throw in Epona, the patron saint of donkeys and all the beasts of burden, cattle, and wild animals. You even worship their stables. Perhaps this is your charge against us that in the midst of all these indiscriminate animal lovers, we save our devotion for asses alone!" (XI)

He also defends Christians against the charge of a Roman Jew.

There is now a new rumor about our God going the rounds. Recently a most depraved individual from Rome, your city, had defected from his own faith and allowed his skin to be shredded by wild beasts. Every day he would hire himself out for viewing while his skin was stripped. He would carry around a picture directed against us with the heading "Onocoetes," meaning Donkey Priest. It was a picture of a man wearing a toga and the ears of the donkey with a book in hand and one leg ending in a hoof. And the crowd believed this Jewish man. Who else plants the seed of our infamous reputation? As a result the whole city is talking about the Donkey Priest." (XIV)

The graffito also represents how contemptible and absurd the idea of a crucified god was to pagan thinking, and harkens pack to when St. Paul remarked that the crucifixion was "a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles," [1 Corinthians 1:23].