Who was Christ ?

I have been sitting here pondering that question.  First of all you have prosperity theology and then we have the theology of evangelicals to  turn your back on sin.  Then we have the new one I guess something called Enneagram as a tool for spirituality.  Seriously!  Christ did not preach spirituality but an adherence to the commandments. How you get spirituality out of the Word is beyond me.  We all want something to motivate us toward a certain plateau . I understand that . However that is not enmeshed in reality.

I come across a young lady a couple of days ago and she was talking about sin and quoted scripture ie, look at the plank in our own eye before we judge someone.  We are to turn our back on sin and not say anything to the person in sin.  Her premise was wrong in the context that , that particular scripture was talking to the Pharisees and not the gentile. Paul talks to the gentle.  She was equating that scripture to pertain to all gentiles and that is not the case.  For the most part Christ was talking to the Pharisees and not the gentiles.  Paul talks more to the gentile and thier walk with Christ.

When dealing on the internet and we ascribe to a certain belief.  We have to keep in mind that there are children in Christ trying to learn. If we bring light to darkness on the internet then we are wrong.  All judgements are regulated to a one on one conversation.

People miss the point in the Bible if you teach someone a wrong doctrine then the blood of their sins are on your shoulders and yours alone.  You have to be careful what you say and what you tell others.

American Churches have become pompous.  I would like to see any of these so called sheppards to cross the border in Mexico or any of the other poor countries and live there under these circumstances for years and explain how Christ is in their lives. All the churches do is build a better mousetrap to capture the hurting people out there.  Then they wonder why their membership is declining.  The only reason is that they lie about Christ.   I see the younger generation gravitating towards the latest appetizers that crosses their tongues. You ask any young person where Christ lives.  That cannot tell you. Who is Christ?  They cannot tell you.  But if you ask them what church is all about.  You are going to get a basic answer.. They have songs, then they want money, then they say something about the  scriptures.  Me I would be asking, tell me about Christ. Who is he ? Where does he Live?  The last time I asked a youngster where Christ lived he pointed to the heavens.  Sorry wrong answer.  This is why so many people do not understand that sins are forgiven.  The Holy Roman Church and the American Churches put Christ out of reach to the average person.  That is why they cannot comprehend that Christianity is simple, Love God as you love your neighbor, paraphrasing.  There is no spirituality in that commandment, nothing you have to do but treat others as you want them to treat you.

The American churches send you down a rabbit hole and everybody feels good.  Go down to Laredo and look across the Rio Grande and look at the housing situation.  Look at the government that has been corrupted for hundreds of years.  The poor cannot defend themselves they took away all the firearms. The murder rates are high and the innocent die every day.  People are starving in Mexico and America and around the  world.  Christ requires responsibility.  Nonetheless your paradise and freedom lies in Christ and that is what should be preached.

Is this righteous angry! Yes. Americas Christians the ones that know the Truth have keep silent.  America is like Christ the Pharisees have convicted America and are crucifying her the Cross and the blood is dripping.

So to the Evangelicals that believe turn your back on sin and to the prosperity believers and to the other forms of Christianity.  Your blood is dripping along with America because you sat in dumb silence and let it go.  Because you listen to the Church instead of the voice of your Lord.

Like I said all you pompous christians go down to Mexico and eat what they eat, use the bathroom like they do, wash like they do  and live in squalor.  Then come back to me with your pompous sayings and the ability to write scripture. Clothe yourself with there clothes.

I am not a progressive socialist christian.  I walk alone with Christ and understand the mechanisms of the devil.  I help whoever Christ puts in path and seek no recognition. I understand Christ and life for my sunset is coming soon.

Read your Bible and wash yourself in righteousness and dry yourself with the Truth.

 

 

Contradictions

We are going to look at Contradictions.  Does the Bible contradict itself?  There are basic kinds of contradictions.  The first is the synoptic contradictions.  How do you explain the contradictions between Matthew, Mark, and Luke as to the events of Christ.  How do you explain the contradictions or similarities?  There are differences in wording if you look at Matthew, Mark, and Luke.  In Matthew and Mark they are reviling Christ and in Luke one of them repents. There are also similarities in order of things, Christ had a ministry in Galilee, he has a traveling ministry and a ministry in Jerusalem.

There are also temptations in Matthew, turn the stone into bread and to jump off the temple. In Luke he turns the order to, turn the stone into bread, worship me, and jump off the temple.  How do you resolve the orders of things between both writers?

There are similarities in the events and the order of things. Still we have to resolve the differences.  Let’s look at Luke 1: 1-4

1: For as much as many have taken in hand to set forth (in order) a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,
2: Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word;
3: It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,
4: That thou mightiest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.

What Luke is saying here is that I am going to research things and present everything in an orderly manner.  It is like doing a college paper.  Luke wanted Theophilus to know that these things really occurred.  So what you have here is selection and purpose.  You can see the same thing in John 20: 30 – 31.

30: And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:
31: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

So what you see is that many things occurred in Christ but you see the writer’s selected events to convey the message of Christ to the world.  They might be out-of-order and the wording is different but the core message is the same.  What the learned scholars have left out is common sense, in regards that we are all individuals.  With our own perception of things in the world around us.  So the arguments on style and writing between the gospel writers becomes mute.  The core of the event is still there.

The other thing that occurs is harmonization of the gospels between each other.  We have to remember that in English we expect events to be in an orderly manner.  However when we translate to Greek, the same literary prose does not exist. You can have two witness to an event and ask them to tell what they saw.  You are going to get different accounts of what they say but both witnesses will be in harmony as to the essences of the event.  You have the same occurrences in the Bible.

If you look at the birth of Christ, Matthew starts with the genealogy of Christ and Luke starts with the angels visit.  Then they both come together and Jesus was born and the shepherds  came to visit them.  Then they both agree that Jesus ends up in Nazareth years later.  So you have a different beginning, the birth and the same ending then you have totally different things happening in between. When you look at Matthew you have the Magi coming , Herod killing the babies and the flight to Egypt.  Herod dies and Joseph comes back to Nazareth.  In Luke you have the circumcision, Jesus in the temple and then he is in Nazareth.  Circumcision occured after 8 days.  The Magi came a year later? How do you explain the time.?

So what you see here are the events of Christ’s birth, which are more interesting to the Jews instead of to the gentiles.  Gentiles where consider the heathens of the time.  So do all details have to coincide with each other?  No because we live in an imperfect world.  Scholars make their money off of creating doubt in the minds of Christians.  Harmonization will correct the contradictions in the synoptic gospels.

We can sit here all day all day and squabble about the syntax of the writers language but we forget the times they lived in and the education they received. These were men led by the Holy Spirit.  Why would Christ let them distort the Biblical events that occurred.  This would not have happened.

Look at the argument of two donkeys.  Matthew writes that Christ was riding on one colt and a fold going into Jerusalem and in Luke, Mark and John there was only one donkey.  In the overall scheme of things does it really matter. The core essence of the story he entered Jerusalem on a donkey.  Does it take away from the essence of the narrative?  No it does not.  We have an obsession with details but we have to remember we are dealing with individuals.

We look at another aspect of the Bible in the area of Hermeneutics the science of interpretation of the Bible.  How do we study our Bible?  We can see contradictions example; Christ says you are against me and in another place it says If you are with me.  At first glance that is the opposite.   The problem lays in the interpretation of the scriptures.  The first statement refers to the Pharisees and the second refers to the believer.  Interpretation of the scripture is paramount to the understanding of the Bible.

Then we cross the plateau of slavery.  I have seen the comments on slavery that the Bible is in concert with slavery.  All one has to do is look at the writings of Paul.

For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

Definition of menstealers is someone who deals in slaves.

So then you look at the last commandment in  the Ten Commandments;

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.  Slavery is debunk in the last commandment.

Christians don’t keep anyone in slavery.   So the agnostics and the others ask questions about slavery go back to the ten commandments.  The truth resides there.  Science and Biblical history do not always align with each other. Perhaps secular science is wrong and Christ is correct.  That would be your decision not mine.
 We can sit here all day and argue the fundamentals of Christianity but the fact remains that all writings are true.  The cross between science does not hold up to scrutiny.  Science tries to disapprove of the gospels but after 2000 yrs, this does not  seem to be the case.

When people come together and say there are contradictions in the gospels, ask them can you show me one?  The vast majority of people will have a problem in answering that question.  The majority of the time the question becomes mute.  The person asking the question does not know what he is talking about.

The contradiction comes in the interpretations of the verses .  Sometimes Christ is talking to the Pharisees and then Paul is talking to us. People mimic others what they have heard they do not study the context of the Word.  They are just refusing to believe in Christ simple as that.  Like it says not everyone who says Lord ,Lord will enter the KIngdom of the Lord.  Again this why only a few will enter the Kingdom because the people have been led astray.

Pick up your Bible and immerse yourself in the waters of righteousness and dry yourself off in Truth and shed the darkness.

Historical Accurate Authorship

We have established in previous blogs the strict oral traditions to control the authorship of the gospels.  Now how do we know the accuracy of the authors about the events of Christ that they talked about?  How do we know which verses belong in the Bible and which ones do not?  Which verses are attributed to Christ etc.  Critical scholars use a rule called  multiple Attestation.

Def; (n.) The act of attesting; testimony; witness; a solemn or official declaration, verbal or written, in support of a fact; evidence. The truth appears from the attestation of witnesses, or of the proper officer. The subscription of a name to a writing as a witness, is an attestation.

Simple analogy of multiple attestation.   A friend of yours comes up and ask you if you saw the fire on first street. No you did not but then multiple people come up to you repeating the same story.  The probability of the accuracy of the story increases due to multiple witnesses.

When it comes to the gospels you have five traditional streams of authenticity.  The first stream we use is the gospel of Mark which is a commentary on Peter.  The things Christ said and did.  You have another stream which is a document called Quella in German or just Q.

Def: Quella,  A literary source; the source from which a concept, piece of information, etc., derives.

You can look at Matthew and Luke and the contents in some places are the same which indicate that they came from a historical document that is not in use today.  Matthew and Luke are clearly citing from another source.  Although in other places they are citing from Mark.  It is hypothetical that they were citing from another source but it seems to fit the motif of the similarities.

The third stream is called M (Matthew).  This is information that is only found in Matthew.  Information about Christ that is not in the other gospels.

The fourth stream is called L (Luke) this is only material found in Luke.

The fifth stream is the gospel of John which is his own material.

To simplify it Mark sits down and writes his own material.

Q is a literary document.

Matthew comes along and writes his own material with the help of Q and Mark. The texts that had already been written.

Luke comes along and writes his own material with the help of  Q and Matthew.  The texts that had already been written.

John as we have stated wrote his own material.

There is another literary device in play here called, “stream of consciousness” which means;  an uninterrupted and unhindered collection and occurrence of thoughts and ideas in the conscious mind. The phrase refers to the flow of these thoughts, with reference to a particular character’s thinking process.

Stream of consciousness is like looking at a handwriting expert.  Your looking at the flow of words, how they are used and correlating events within the three gospels that distinguish the three authors. In layman’s terms if you look at the way I compose words and my sentence structure.  You could readily ascertain that I wrote this blog and not assign it to someone else. It is the way I perceive things and put it to words which is different then others around me within my sphere of influence.  The same holds true for Matthew, Mark and Luke.  Their literary language consisted and was influenced by their upbringing and the sphere of influence they walked in. As Christians we are all constrained by those forces.

With the writers we have to look at also at why the early church would let embarrassing events ascribed to the authors?  Christ picked out 12 disciples and one of them Judas who decided to kill Jesus. Why would you make up that story.  Christ was man incarnate God according to the writers.  Would the church make up these stories?  I do not believe that would be the case.

Was it important for the authors to be historical accurate? You have the embarrassing situations how about the harsh sayings for instance;

But of that day and [that] hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father

Christ is part of the godhead why would the authors include that in their writings.  Perhaps because it actually was said by Christ?  Were the writers just reflecting the humanity of Christ?  What remains is that Christianity is grounded in historical fact.  There are no revised biased manuscripts or revision of history.  Did Christ walk? The answer would be yes! Were the authors reflecting the events as they say them? Yes! Why would they create another God in a land that had hundreds of gods, what would be the gain?  There would be no gain in this endeavor.

The only gain would be to wash the filth of death that encompassed their soul every day and to give them hope for the future.  The known world in the time of Mark, Matthew and Luke was small in comparison to our age with the internet.  We can spread truth across the world.  The only difference now is that we are unable to convey empathy to the Christians that are suffering.  Empathy conveys unconditional love to another.

So to understand the first century and the lifestyle you would almost have to have been there. To walk in their shoes.  They did not have sanitation facilities, they did not have bathtubs, they did not have cars, they did not have hospitals and the list goes on.  The point being there was no gain to revise history as it happened.  Did the writers really wanted to preserve history? Would the gospel writers have changed history?  There are alot of religions that would change history because there is no historical fact to support the assumption.  Christian theology is grounded in history.  So the writers knew these things of Christ actually occured or otherwise it would have been forgotten. Could we prove these things happened?  No.  Does it mean it is not true the history of Christ and the answer is no.

The end result is that Mark, Matthew and Luke wrote their respective gospels and the events were true.  Their expectations of Christ coming were real as are they should be. The second coming is when you accept Christ in your heart and you bathe in the waters of righteousness.

Accept Christ in your heart and bathe in the warm waters of righteousness and dry off with the truth. Clothe yourself in fine linens.

Tomorrow starts another series in Apologetics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do we know who wrote the Gospels?

We have explored some of the historical facts concerning Jesus .  The last blog dealt only perhaps on the surface the mechanics behind an oral society.  How events were retold, and how the accuracy of the event was safeguarded against exploitation or embellishment of facts.  So let us take a refresher course.

In an oral society there are three ways to retell an event;

  1. Informal uncontrolled, which means anyone could tell the event with no controls as to the accuracy of the story.
  2. Formal control, this meant that only the Rabbinical priest could retell the story.
  3. Informal control, this meant during the first century of Christ the apostles or disciples would retell the story.  This is where you see the different versions of events in the gospels between Matthew, Mark or Luke.  However if you were retelling an event.  You had respected folks in the community that would correct you on your story.  Perhaps they were an eyewitness to something or that was not the way they were taught. So you have differences in the story but it does not take away the core of the story. The differences boiled down to the use of grammar that is individualized to each of us .  The way we use words.

We are talking here about the synoptic gospels Matthew, Mark, and Luke.  If you got down to it no one is sure who wrote these three books.  The current thinking is that the names were not assigned until these manuscripts were put into a codex that the Church created some 60 yrs after the events of Christ.  So how do we resolve the issue of authorship of the synoptic gospels?

Mark was written sometime around 50 AD to 60 AD. Matthew and Mark were written around 80 AD to 90 Ad.  Luke was written around 80 AD to 110 Ad.  So we see all these gospels were written about 60 yrs after the events happen.  This seems like a long time but in an oral society this would not be the case.  You have a gap between the oral traditions and the written manuscript.

If you look at the exploits of Alexander the Great about 325 BC his autobiography was not written down till the latter part of the first century. This was 400 yrs after the events happened. So time in itself becomes irrelevant.  So in looking at the synoptic gospels these were written by people who knew Christ or walk with him or with the disciples as in the case of Luke.  So the authorship can be ascribe to the individuals.  The Church would not have just picked any name and assigned it.  This would fall out of the concept of formal control.

We know that Matthew was a tax collector hated by the Jews because he collected taxes and gave it to the Romans.  We know that Mark was writing the memories of Peter and Luke was a gentile that walked with Paul.  It must be noted that gentiles were consider heathens by the Jews at the time. To convert a gentile to Christ had to been an achievement in itself.  I know this to be true just by looking at my own life and how I came to Christ.

Matthew was a hated tax collector.  Why would the church put his name to the gospel?  We know Mark was writing about the events of Peter. Why not call it the book of Peter. We know Luke was not an eyewitness to Christ or to the events of Christ.  Why not assign the authorship to someone else?

The early 1st century church had strict criteria for the inclusion and authentication of authorship for the three gospels.  The only gospel that was known for sure of the author was the book of John.  However this does not take away from the authenticity of the other three gospels. The Rabbinical Rabbis had strict controls on the telling of events and this was passed on to the early church. Even though something can not be proved true this does not mean that it is not true.

Like a court of law a person can be convicted on circumstantial evidence.  The evidence in this case points to Matthew, Mark and Luke as the authors of their manuscripts.  There has been no other evidence over 2000 years to suggest otherwise.  A parallel to record keeping is the Mormon Church and their archives of over 2.4 million genealogical records of people’s ancestry.  To argue that such orality controls were not present 2000 yrs ago would I think stretch the imagination.  The early church did not have all the distractions that we have in today’s society.  They dealt with death and sin ever day so truth would have been a light in a dark world.

Remember to read your Bible and immerse yourself in truth accept Christs hand and put on the clothes of righteousness.