18 May 2008

A sermon for Hillary

Poor Hillary had to sit through a long sermon on adultery this morning. The text was from Matthew 5 verses 27-30.

Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. Matthew 5:27-30

I'm sure the sermon was embarrassing for her, for obvious reasons, but that isn't what I want to discuss here. I am more interested in the biblical text itself.

Notice that Jesus says that anyone who looks at a woman with lust has committed adultery, and that it would be better for such a person to pluck out his eye (or cut off his hand if that is somehow involved) to avoid sinning. Because if you pluck out your eye (well you'd probably have to pluck them both out), then you can't commit adultery by looking at a woman. And since Jesus believes that all adulterers go to hell (including those who are "just looking"), wise men will pluck out their eyes. Can't argue with that.

Jesus' reasoning seems pretty clear here. 1) Anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has committed adultery. 2) All adulterers go to hell (which is a really nasty place -- much more unpleasant than plucking out eyes or cutting off hands). 3) Those who pluck their eyes out will never commit adultery by looking at women. Therefore, all men (at least those who might someday look lustfully at a woman) should pluck out their eyes (and maybe cut off their hands just for good measure).

But that's not what really bothers me. It's what Jesus said a few verses before.

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Matthew 5:17-18

Not one jot or tittle, eh Jesus? Then this law must still apply:

And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. Leviticus 20:10

So guys, Jesus gives you a choice. Either pluck out your eyes (and maybe cut off you hands) and thereby avoid committing adultery by looking or keep your eyes and hands, commit the inevitable adultery by looking at a woman, be executed for it, and then burn forever in hell. It's up to you.

Fair enough. But what about the woman with whom the man commits "just looking" adultery? Is she guilty of adultery too? Must we execute her also in accordance with Leviticus 10:20? And after we kill her, will she go to hell with the guy who was caught looking at her?

I'm just asking.

63 comments:

Anfractuous said...

Okay, I'm with you up to the end, but why should it be someone's fault you looked at her? By the same token, it’s the nice car’s fault you looked at it too. After all, it was “asking for it.” It should keep itself all covered up in a tarp so nobody gets their eyes plucked out in case they catch a little glimpse of chrome. Gee, cars only have chrome to make you look at them. Looking would be the same as stealing, wouldn’t it? And if you steal the car, shouldn’t the car be punished too?

Jason said...

Steve, please note this section of the verse in Matthew 5 you quoted: Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

Compare: He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” (Luke 12:44)

And: But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. (Mat 26:56)

Everything was fulfilled with the death and resurrection of Christ - this is why we don't kill adulterers according to Leviticus 10:20.

Aquaria said...

Hm. Let's look more closely at that scripture:

"Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."

From a precise reading of that scripture, it would appear to be a condition for continuing to maintain the law. Don't know what planet the Xians are living on, but this one is earth, and it's still here. Until the earth passes, it looks like the laws still apply.

Aquaria said...

Argh. "It would appear to be a condition" & etc. should have read "it would appear that till heaven and earth pass would be a condition for continuing to maintain the law."

Steve Wells said...

Thanks for clearing that up, Jason.

So when Jesus said, "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law", what he really meant was, "Completely ignore everything in the law after I'm dead (which will be in few years)."

And when he said, "Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven", what he really meant was, "Break all the Old Testament laws and teach others to do likewise."

Jesus really had a way with words, didn't he?

Would it be wrong (according to you and Jesus) to follow Old Testament laws? What if we chose to follow Leviticus 20:10, even though we don't have to (now that Jesus is dead)?

And what about the eye thing, Jason? Have you plucked out your eyes yet? WWJD?

Jason said...

Aquaria,

Yes, let's look closer. Here's the NIV: I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

You're confusing the condition and missing the figure of speech. Heaven and earth would pass away before one bit of the law could be changed - in other words, the law was unchangeable. However, the law could be changed if "all was fulfilled". Therefore, as Christ says in the verse immediately, he was come to "fulfill the law". Not that this should be a surprise - Christ taught the doctrine of baptism, not animal sacrifice, an impossibility if he believed he was bound by the old law.

Similar figure of speech is used in the Gospel of Luke - "And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail." (Luke 16:17)

Finally: "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster." (Gal 3:24)

Jason said...

Glad to help out, Steve.

And yes, Jesus was saying that after his death and resurrection, the old law was made null and void. Having said that, there's no reason to choose to follow Leviticus 20:10.

Regarding your reference to Matthew 5:19, what are the commandments he's referring to?

And what about that eye thing, Steve? My right eye hasn't offended me. Oh...you don't think plucking out your eye is literal, do you...?

Steve Wells said...

So you say "there's no reason to choose to follow Leviticus 20:10", eh Jason?

No reason, except that God said it, if you believe the Bible, anyway.

Would it be okay to do as God said in Leviticus 20:10? Or would it be wrong to do as God commanded in that verse?

Jason said...

God sure did say it - to the Israelites - in the Old Testament.

Your adultery question was asked by the Pharisees and answered by Christ. John 8:4-11.

Steve Wells said...

Oh, I get it. God said that before he became a Christian. Thanks.

But back to the question that you and Jesus refuse to answer.

Would it be wrong to follow Old Testament laws? What if we chose to follow Leviticus 20:10, even though we don't have to (now that Jesus is dead)?

Jason said...

Before God became a Christian. Good one.

Jesus didn't answer your question...? Read: "Neither do I condemn you". Seems a pretty obvious answer to me.

Steve, if you want to follow the OT laws, go right ahead. But remember, you'll have to follow all of it, not just the bits and pieces you like best (Gal 5:3). Christians either follow Christ entirely or they follow the old law entirely.

But I'm sure you knew this already. :)

And what about that eye thing, Steve. You don't think it's literal, do you...?

busterggi said...

I notice Jason that you say you still have both your eyes. Is this because you've never lusted after a woman? Because the alternative is that you've lusted after men and you know what that would mean - you're going to hell you sodomite!

Jason said...

Another good one!

Kirk said...

Even running with Jason's interpretation, *all* was not fulfilled when Jesus died. There are prophecies left undone, there's another coming yet to go, there's a battle to be won, etc.

ALL has not been fulfilled. Given Yahweh's words of "keep these my commandments FOREVER" and Jesus reinforcing that, you guys are still stuck with OT law. Sorry. Better start dusting off those stones.

RR said...

All of this is silliness... The ancient texts have been lost.. The versions we have (ancient Greek) are so varied and discordant that no one has a clue as to what the early christians really said/believe (ref: Ehrman's 'Misquoting Jesus').

And even if true, I guess god (in the old testament, before jesus) was worried about making cloths of more than one cloth... was interesting in stoning people to death for sex... was interested in exterminating entire tribes (genocide) so the Israelites could claim a strip of desert in the middle east.

Come on -- you really believe this mythology?

It all boggles the mind (if you believe it god's truth). But if you believe it to be the ramblings of an iron-age tribe of barbarians who used a priesthood to justify barbarism and possessiveness of women -- well, it all makes sense.

Jason said...

Kirk,

Jesus fulfilled the law, as is apparent by the text.

Anon said...

Jason, at least admit that Jesus (or whoever quoted him) either made a mistake or was pretty unclear here. Let us examine Mat 5:18.

NIV: "Until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished."

Jesus is giving two very distinct end points here. You seem to think "everything" is referring to his death and resurrection (and what led up to it), correct? Well, certainly Jesus knew he would accomplish these feats a good 2000 years or so before heaven and earth disappeared. Unless Jesus incorrectly thought heaven and earth disappearing and everything being accomplished would happen at the same time (which didn't happen, so of course the infallible Jesus wouldn't have thought this!), then at the very least it was meaningless, unnecessarily confusing, and plain dumb for him to mention the whole end of heaven and earth thing.

All Jesus had to say was "Follow the old law until I'm resurrected."

If I wanted to be like Jesus, I could start talking like he did in Mat 5:18. I can say for example, "Until heaven and earth disappear, I will not watch Law and Order until my wife comes home at 9:00 tonight." This would be no different from what Jesus said. I know my wife will be home at 9:00, and heaven and earth aren't going to end at 9:00 tonight. But it will be before heaven and earth end, so I'm not technically wrong.

It would just show that I'm really stupid and think the end of heaven and earth will come at 9:00 tonight, or else that I like adding really stupid, confusing, meaningless phrases to my sentences.

Jason said...

Anon,

Heaven & earth passing away is a figure of speech symbolizing timelessness. It's expressed here also: "And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail." (Luke 16:17) All Christ was saying is that the law couldn't be changed, ever, until everything was fulfilled.

Rewording it to make it sound more 21st century'ish doesn't change anything. Jesus was quite clearly saying he was come to fulfill the law and that it would be changed once everything was fulfilled. You'll find this to be inline with all popular schools of thought since the 1st century and inline with the teachings of the NT.

Anon said...

But Jason, the modern wording isn't the issue here. You're ignoring the point of my post and the very obvious contradiction and/or senselessness in Jesus' quote.

The period he was talking about *wasn't* timeless at all, as the expression Jesus used would indicate. On the contrary, everything being fulfilled (i.e. Jesus' death and resurrection) was imminent. How old was Jesus when he made these statements? In his late 20s? Maybe 30? Everything was going to be fulfilled in very short order, even from a young earth perspective.

You're claiming that Jesus was basically saying "You have to follow every letter of the Law forever and ever until I die in a couple of years." This doesn't make sense. What makes sense is that Jesus either thought that his death would be further off, that Jesus thought the end of the world was nigh, or else he was simply a fallible speaker and made a slip of the tongue or poorly used an expression here.

If you don't like the 9:00 tonight example because it is hours instead of years away, I can say "I will forever and ever obey every letter of the Bible until my dog dies."

A dog might live one year, two years, maybe 15 years if I'm lucky. But not "forever and ever". There is no place for a timeless expression like "until the heavens and earth pass" or "forever and ever" in this case. There was also no reason for such an expression when Jesus was talking about an event (the fulfillment of all things) happening in short order.

At best, either is silly to say; at worst it indicates that I foolishly think heaven and earth will pass on at around the same time as my dog does, or that heaven and earth will go caput around the time Jesus is resurrected.

Unless you admit that "everything is fulfilled" refers to something other than the events leading to and including Jesus' death and resurrection, that "until the heavens and the earth pass" means something different than what you just stated (timelessness), or that Jesus was wrong or at best made a mistake while speaking, then it makes no sense to include "until heaven and earth shall pass" in this verse.

BaldySlaphead said...

Jason talks an awful lot of shite on this blog, regularly defending the indefensible and discerning meanings that are entirely missing from the text and I'm quite positive he's deluded. However, I think he's on fairly strong ground on this one occasion, and the objections are a semantic argument too far.

Matthew 5:18 states:

"For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."

The first time 'Till' appears, it's means 'up until the time of' and the second 'before', being used as a conditional.

It means "If we go from now until the end of time, the law will not change *unless* conditions XY and Z are fulfilled."

Jason said...

Anon,

It makes perfect sense. The law would not and could not be changed until all was fulfilled. Jesus was saying the law would be fulfilled and that he was THERE to fulfill the law. I don’t see where the confusion is coming from. Everyone in the NT understood it, everyone in the 1st century church understood it, and every believer since then has understood it as well.

As for your dog analogy, that’s correct. You’re making a conditional statement. Jesus’ conditional statement was that the law couldn’t ever be changed until all things were fulfilled.

There’s no indication whatsoever that anyone, including Christ, thought the heavens and earth literally had to pass before the new law was put into place. Even Christ’s instructions at the Last Supper clearly indicate he knew he death and resurrection meant a change in the law – “In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”

You can argue all you want, but the fact remains that no one, other then the Jews, understood believers were now under the new law. Not even the NT apostles spent time explaining to the people that the heavens and earth didn't need to pass away before the law was changed.

In other words, there's no evidence whatsoever that supports your claim. Until you provide some, the BIble is clear: believers aren't bound by the old law and thus aren't required, or expected, to kill adulterers.

Anon said...

baldyslaphead, I understand what you are saying, and I appreciate your honesty in coming to Jason's defense. I only find one Bible translation (New Life Version) that supports this interpretation, however.

BibleGateway.com has a host of Bible translations. They all use the unclear, non-sensical "till...till" or "until...until" construction indicating two very distant end points for the same thing, except for the following:

The Message: "Long after stars burn out and earth wears out, God's Law will be alive and working." (which contradicts Jason's assertion and contradicts his claim that "every believer since then has understood" that the law is no longer applicable now)

Contemporary English Version: "Heaven and earth may disappear. But I promise you that not even a period or comma will ever disappear from the Law. Everything written in it must happen." (This comes close to what baldyslaphead said, but the ending is very unclear: everything written in the Law must happen sounds like Deuteronomy et al. should still be followed, although that's not the case apparently).

New Century Version: "I tell you the truth, nothing will disappear from the law until heaven and earth are gone. Not even the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will be lost until everything has happened." (I suppose Jason can argue that the law hasn't disappeared, just that no one has to follow it anymore...)

New International Reader's Version: "What I'm about to tell you is true. Heaven and earth will disappear before the smallest letter disappears from the Law. Not even the smallest stroke of a pen will disappear from the Law until everything is completed." (Again, the whole 'heaven and earth will pass until a couple years from now' bit, just worded differently)

The New Life Version is the only one that clearly states things the way baldyslaphead says, and in a way which I assume Jason agrees with. "I tell you, as long as heaven and earth last, not one small mark or part of a word will pass away of the Law of Moses until it has all been done." Since "it" here is vague, it could refer to just the death and resurrection and not all the rest of the Law.

So there is not widespread agreement on this, and it is not clearly stated except in one version of the Bible in English. Either (nearly) all English translations are wrong or unclear, or else Jesus himself was wrong or unclear, or both. This just reinforces my ongoing belief that a God who really loved us and wanted to save us would have made the Bible a whole lot less confusing.

Anon said...

"one version of the Bible in English" of the ones I consulted from biblegateway.com, I mean. If you find other English translations of this verse that support a clear interpretation that the Law no longer applies now and that Jesus wasn't nonsensically applying two very distinct end points to the same proposition, then I'm all ears.

Otherwise, it's no wonder people don't know whether or not we should still following the old law.

Jason said...

Anon,

Who's confused about whether or not believers should still be following the old law? Christ wasn't confused, the disciples weren't confused, neither were the apostles, and neither is any Christian today. You're arguing from ignorance. Nothing in Scripture or the early church indicates a struggle with Christ's wording in Matthew 5:18 specifically relating to the universe ending as a prerequisite for the law being changed. Christ said he came to fulfill the law, and he did. He said as much at the Last Supper. Throughout the remainder of the NT, the teachings of the old law and new law don't once touch on the universe ending. For example, the author of Hebrews goes through great lengths to explain why believers are under the new law but not once does he address the issue of the universe not ending. This tells me the issue of the universe ending wasn't an issue.

The evidence is overwhelming - the NT clearly teaches that believers are under the new law, not the old.

Steve Wells said...

Jason said: "Who's confused about whether or not believers should still be following the old law? Christ wasn't confused, the disciples weren't confused, neither were the apostles, and neither is any Christian today."

You're wrong on all counts, Jason. Jesus and his disciples were confused, and modern Christians are still confused today. Some believe that none of the Old Testament's laws apply today; others believe that only certain bits apply; and still others believe that all the Old Testament laws should be obeyed and enforced today on everyone everywhere.

But I'm sure you know this. Why do you pretend otherwise?

sconnor said...

Jason said: "Who's confused about whether or not believers should still be following the old law?

...so believers don't have to follow the Ten Commandments -- right? ...Or is it pick or choose laws from the OT, to follow?

--S.

Dumont said...

Why does no one read this passage the way I do? Jesus is basically saying that the Old Testament commands you not to commit adultery, yet there isn't a man alive that won't at some point in his life stare at a woman in lust, so he might as well gouge his eyes out, isn't he? Sounds more like he's criticizing the old ways than saying we must follow them to the letter. Am I alone here, or does anyone else think that Jesus wasn't *seriously* suggesting that men pluck out their eyes?

Jason said...

Steve,

You're also arguing from ignorance. There's no evidence anyone was confused. Christ and his disciples didn't offer animal sacrifices for forgiveness of sins nor did they think they had to. They taught salvation not only to the Jews but also the Gentiles. They taught baptism, which under the old law, did nothing. Christ's death atoned for the sins of mankind, also a impossibility if the old law was still in effect. No disciple or apostle taught the people to see a Levitical priest to have their sins forgiven. And the list goes on and on.

You are not going to be able to prove anyone, other then the Jews, thought the old laws were still binding. The NT makes it very, very clear exactly which law believers are supposed to follow.

Jason said...

Sconnor,

Christ repeated nine of the ten commandments during his ministry. Thus, we follow them. No picking and choosing required.

Cathy said...

Actually there was quite a bit of controversy over the law in the early church. James, the brother of christ, and his church in Jerusalem said you must continue to follow all the rules of the torah (remain a jew) while Paul said you didn't. Paul won.

Anon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anon said...

Jason, it is simply dishonest for you to claim that there isn't "any Christian today" confused about whether the Old Law still applies. There are reportedly over a billion people alive today who call themselves Christians.

So I looked into it and found out that Seventh Day Adventists, who are Christians, believe that parts of the Old Law (notably the 10 commandments) should be followed, including the Sabbath. Their "Questions on Doctrine" clearly states

"The will of God as it relates to moral conduct is comprehended in His law of ten commandments; that these are great moral, unchangeable precepts, binding upon all men, in every age (Exodus 20:1-17)." (source)

You are free to disagree with them of course, but they are Christians and they don't share your views on old law vs. new law. They think some of what you consider to be the old law still applies. If you're right, then apparently they got things confused, too.

Thank you Cathy and Steve for your posts. Cathy, you make a good point. I knew a lot of doctrine was decided well after Jesus' death, but I didn't realize Old Law vs. New Law was one of these issues that was debated.

Why would this and other issues be debated? The answer should be obvious: because it is not clear in the Bible (if it was clear, why would biblical scholars debate it and hundreds of denominations spring up since then?). If I am misinterpreting these and other unclear or contradictory verses in the Bible, then I am not alone.

As a final note, there's this Idaho man who recently took Matthew 5 verse (cited in the original post) literally and cut off his hand because he felt he had the mark of the devil, as mentioned in Revelation. I don't remember if this was posted here or not, but I had read about it in a couple of places.



Do you think this man was justified in cutting of his hand? If not, what in the Bible says that he shouldn't have listened to Revelations and Matthew 5?

If Jesus wanted people to follow the Old Law, he should have said "Follow the Old Law". If he wanted them not to follow the Old Law, he should have said "Don't follow the Old Law". If he was speaking figuratively about plucking out eyes and cutting off hands, then he should have said he was speaking figuratively.

Dumont, I think most people would figure out that this should not be taken literally, but look at all the other crazy stuff in the Bible and how God acts if people don't follow it. I feel sorry for the man for really thinking he should cut off his hand, but I don't see what in the Bible would lead him to believe he shouldn't.

Certainly an all-knowing God, if he exists, would know the havoc he would wreak by not being a little clearer, would it have been so hard for him to do?

Jason said...

Cathy,

Where does James say you must follow the old law...?

Jason said...

Anon,

I don't see how someone can be a "Christian" (a follower of Christ) and a follower of the old law. The two don't work together. In fact, they're in complete opposition. Someone who accepts Christ as their saviour cannot follow the Mosaic Law since the Mosaic Law renders the sacrifice of Christ, and thus salvation, invalid. Then there's the Galatians 5:3-4 problem.

Having said that though, I'm not about to argue this point. If you want to consider SDA's as "Christians", so be it. This now means only 985 million Christians out there agree that the Mosaic Law was replaced by the law of Christ.

I wonder though, if I was a SDA, would you be proving Christians aren't under the old law any more...?

Cathy said...

The Jersulem church was Jewish and they continued to follow the Jewish law. Paul in contrast, preached to the Gentiles and came to believe that following the law was unnecessary. I guess it was hard to convert people when they found out the foreskin had to be removed. Here are some verses that highlight the controversy:

Galatians 2:11-13
"But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood self-condemned; for until certain people came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But after they came, he drew back and kept himself separate for fear of the circumcision faction. And the other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy."

Galatians 5
"2Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. 3Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. 4You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace."

Acts 15
"1Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: "Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved." 2This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question. "

Paul wouldn't have been preaching this if some Christians were not trying to follow Jewish law by continuing to become circumcised, etc.
Divisions in the early church are downplayed in the New Testament, but you can tell from how often Paul has to address the issue of law vs faith that there was significant controversy. There's a good book written about this, I think it was by Bart Ehrman, but I can't remember the title! Remember the gospels were written by the winners otherwise Christians would be circumcised in church instead of the hospital.

sconnor said...

Jason,

Christ repeated nine of the ten commandments during his ministry. Thus, we follow them. No picking and choosing required.

So you follow the 9 commandments.
Which one don't you follow?

--S.

Anon said...

Jason, thank you for conceding the point considering SDAs. I'm not just being the devil's advocate, so to speak; and I'm not specifically arguing against you since I don't know your specific belief system. I'm just discussing the Bible or certain interpretations of it that you or others have put forward. (I very strongly believe the Bible says nothing about the Trinity, and you seem to agree with this based on what you said in another thread. So we can agree on some things.)

It's not just the SDAs though. Cathy found very interesting verses within the Bible itself showing that people in Biblical times were confused about what should or shouldn't be included under the new law of Christ. Thanks for pointing these out. I think the only way to refute these fairly straightforward verses would be to say that these accounts in the Bible aren't factual, which I'm sure Jason would not do.

You have every right to say that you believe that the old law was fulfilled and therefore no longer needs to be followed by Christians. But your claim that every Christian has always understand the old law vs. new law distinction clearly was incorrect.

We all make mistakes in presenting arguments sometimes. In this case, it turns out that in addition to some/most unbelievers, some Christians have a different view than you do (or may be unclear about it).

I think there are some good things in the Bible, it's just too bad there are also unclear, contradictory, and otherwise troublesome passages in it.

Jason said...

Cathy,

Firstly, the Jews have always followed the old law since they don't consider Christ to be the Messiah. This isn't a matter of confusion between the laws, it's a matter of rejecting Christ. Secondly, James certainly had strong Jewish connections but he didn't preach anything contrary to the rest of the NT teachings regarding the new law. The verses you provided don't mention anything about him teaching the necessity of following the old law. The fact is, if James did think it was necessary to follow the old law, then he also would have had to reject the teachings of Christ regarding baptism and the "new covenant" in his blood. No Scriptural evidence exists for either two.

Jason said...

Sconnor,

The keeping of the Jewish Sabbath.

Cathy said...

One last thing...
The name of the book was "How Jesus became Christian" by Barrie Wilson. Get it and read it.
This is a quote from the review that goes right to the heart of this discussion:

"Wilson brings the answer to life by looking at the rivalry between the "Jesus movement" led by James, informed by the teachings of Matthew and adhering to Torah worship, and the "Christ movement," headed by Paul which shunned Torah. "

Jason said...

Anon,

The fact remains though: 950+ million Christians follow the new law. They don't offer animal sacrifices, they don't have Levitical priests, they don't keep the ancient feasts and celebrations, they don't tithe food, they don't follow the laws of cleanliness, and the list goes on and on and on. Why? Because they understand the law of Christ no longer requires this. And for those who do follow the old law, they're obligated to follow all of the law, but they don't do this either.

Again, the Bible makes it abundantly clear which law believers are to follow. If someone chooses not to, it's not because of confusion, it's because they're trying to create a law that suits their own needs.

Cathy said...

Jason said...
Cathy,

Firstly, the Jews have always followed the old law since they don't consider Christ to be the Messiah. This isn't a matter of confusion between the laws, it's a matter of rejecting Christ.
No, these were Christian Jews which was all there was in the very beginning. Jesus was a Jew.
Secondly, James certainly had strong Jewish connections but he didn't preach anything contrary to the rest of the NT teachings regarding the new law. The verses you provided don't mention anything about him teaching the necessity of following the old law. The fact is, if James did think it was necessary to follow the old law, then he also would have had to reject the teachings of Christ regarding baptism and the "new covenant" in his blood. No Scriptural evidence exists for either two.
If this were the case, why did Paul have to preach so vigorously against those Christians who followed the law? Why would "certain people from James" refuse to eat with Gentiles?" They were Christians too. Why would there be some men who came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers that they must be circumcised? They were also Christians preaching to Christians. Why would Peter have a dream that gave approval to eating non Kosher, if dietary laws were null and void under Christ? Peter obviously needed to be convinced of this.
Read the book "How Jesus Became a Christian". It does a much better job than I could ever do explaining the early church. Did you ever wonder what good new Jesus was preaching in the bible? He couldn't have been talking about forgiveness of sins and his death and resurrection because it hadn't happened yet. The good news was that the Kingdom of God was at hand! That is another can of worms, because Christians don't often talk of two different messages- one before Jesus died and another one after.

Jason said...

Cathy,

I understand Jesus was a Jew. Paul was a Jew as well. As were the apostles.

I'm not really sure what you're arguing out of Galatians 2. You haven't provided any proof James was preaching something contrary to Paul. In fact, Galatians 2 makes it quite clear James and Paul were on the same page since it was James, along with Peter and John, who gave Paul the "right hand of fellowship". They "agreed" Paul would preach to the Gentiles while the preached to the Jews. There would be no reason for this to have happened if both men believed, and taught, two completely opposing laws.

The issue with the Christian converts in the NT wasn't about confusion regarding which law to follow, but about some being unwilling to let go of the traditions they had followed for so long and others claiming a Christian entering the church first had to convert to Judaism. This is why Paul and James argue that that if one part of the old law was followed, (e.g. circumcision), the individual was bound to follow the entire law. The force of the argument stems from the fact these Christians would have understood that by doing so, they were rejecting Christ and the new law of liberty.

sconnor said...

Jason,

Is it an abomination or wrong to be gay? Does the new law cover necrophilia, or bestiality or pedophilia?

Jason said...

No, no, yes, yes, yes.

sconnor said...

Jason,

What does Jesus say about homosexuality?
What does Jesus say about fucking dead people?
What does Jesus say about fucking animals?
What does Jesus say about demented-fuck, child molesters and child rapists?

--S.

Jason said...

There's no need for that kind of language. Clean it up and I'll gladly respond.

sconnor said...

Jason,

You responded to about twenty of my posts, where I berated you endlessly, with colorful language and now you want me to clean up my language? Fuck you, asshole. You are a very confused and inconsistent, dick head. Last I checked, I live in America, where I can say whatever I want. If you don't want to answer or can't answer that's your fuckin' choice; I don't give a shit, but I refuse to be censored by a holier than thou, religious zealot, who thinks he is the judge of what is or is not appropriate language. I refuse for you to stifle my free speech. When you really think about it dip shit, there really is no difference from me calling you an asshole and you calling me a retard -- they are both disparaging words; you just choose to arbitrarily deem my language as wrong, while your language is acceptable.
Fuck off, you insecure, little piece of shit.

BTW have you repented for calling me names. Has your fairytale, hero, Jesus, forgiven you for calling me retard?

As a reminder:

Little Jason Christian said,

Jason, getting bent out of shape says, Are you RETARDED? Seriously. Have you been reading the verses that say Jesus “laid down his life” or that Jesus “offered himself” to God?
RETARD, God doesn’t say “sin offerings are unacceptable”. He says He didn’t desire them or take pleasure in them.

OOOOOOhhhhhh, looks like I struck a nerve. Poor little Jason christian is in trouble. your gonna get it. Jesus isn't gonna like you calling people names.

Matthew 5:22 -- "But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever * says to his brother, 'You good-for-nothing,' shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, 'You fool,' shall be guilty into the fiery hell."
Murder is wrong (Exodus 20:13). However, a person might feel angry, and he might become more and more angry. Then he is guilty as well. People sometimes used the word ‘Raca’ which meant that a person was stupid. He had little worth. The word ‘fool’ has the same meaning.
Someone might accuse such a person because they were not behaving well. But that is putting yourself in God’s place as judge. ‘Gehenna’ was another name for Hinnom valley. It was just outside Jerusalem city, and the *Jews threw out their rubbish there. They burned fires there all the time. So it became the name for God’s punishment place. People usually translate it as ‘hell’. God will judge people by the way that they think. He will also judge them by the way that they speak. And he will judge them by the way that they behave. God will judge anger. He says that evil insults are like murder.
1 John 3:15 -- Anyone who hates his brother is murdering him.
You just got your ticket to paradise revoked, asshole, you better suck Jesus' dick a lot or you're fucked -- to oblivion for you, bitch.

And I'm way ahead of you, I've called you all kinds of names, but I don't believe in your sky-fairy or your reputed fairytale book -- the Bible. So fuck off, retard!

Let's not forget what the lord said in Psalm 15:1-5,

1 LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
Who may live on your holy hill?
2 He whose walk is blameless
and who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from his heart

3 AND HAS NO SLANDER ON HIS TONGUE,
WHO DOES HIS NEIGHBOR NO WRONG
AND CASTS NO SLUR ON HIS FELLOW MAN,

4 who despises a vile man
but honors those who fear the LORD,
who keeps his oath
even when it hurts,
5 who lends his money without usury
and does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things
will never be shaken.

Uh, oh, jason -- there goes your imaginary sanctuary and your imaginary holy hill. Are you on your knees yet? I can hardly wait to hear what twisted logic and loony rationalization you will have, why you haven't sinned against your sky-fairy for calling me a retard. (You'll say something like, I called you a retard, not a fool, you're not my brother, I wasn't angry, I didn't mean it to be mean, I'm telling the truth -- excuse, excuse, excuse.)


And now I add this to my list below:

What does Jesus say about using supposed clean language vrs. supposed bad language?

What does Jesus say about homosexuality?
What does Jesus say about fucking dead people?
What does Jesus say about fucking animals?
What does Jesus say about demented-fuck, child molesters and child rapists?

--S.

Penn and Teller skewer your arbitrary judgment of what is right or appropriate language on their show Bullshit. Learn something Jason, you ignorant, douche-bag.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojEpASQi_7o&feature=related

Cathy said...

Jason,
If James and Paul were on the same page why did Paul have to go to Jeruslem and discuss the question (Acts 15)? After hearing all the testimony James gives a compromise:

19"It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. 21For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath."

You notice James puts conditions on the Gentiles. And those conditions had little to do with conventional morality. He didn't say the Gentiles must follow the ten commandments. The things James mentions are purity issues.

As for Gal 2
"James, Peter[c] and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews."

This is also a compromise. When James, Peter, and John went to the Jews did they tell them to stop being Jews and stop following the torah? No, they agree to disagree. This was not a quibble about Jewish tradition. And honestly, I believe both sides believed Jesus would be back at any moment and the main goal was to spread the word as quickly as possible. Yes, they all agreed on many things such as the resurrection. But all we have to read today is Paul's version of events. Paul crushed the Jesus movement. The New Testament is not an unbiased account.

James vs Paul is a side issue. It seems to outsiders that Christians want to pick and choose which directives from the Old Testament they want to follow. If Christians want to condemn homosexuals they dip into Leviticus. When non-Christians point out that Leviticus also says to stone adulters they say Jesus frees them from following the law. You want to have your cake and eat it too. It looks to many of us as if Christians use Old Testament rules when and only when it is convenient.

Jason said...

Thanks Sconnor. You're a beacon of hope for atheism.

Jason said...

Cathy,

Firstly, Paul and Barnabas went to Jerusalem to deal with a question regarding circumcision and following the old law, an issue raised by the Pharisees, not one of the apostles.

When Paul and Barnabas arrived in Jerusalem, there were welcomed by the church, and apostles and elders. There’s no animosity or an attempt by either group to correct the other in terms of their respective teachings on the two laws - because that's not why they were there.

The group discusses the question: Is it necessary to be circumcised before one can be saved and is it necessary to follow the old law? Paul stands up and tells the group that salvation is given by grace, not by becoming a Jew first. James agrees.

The group then decides to write a letter to the church. There's no mention in it whatsoever that the Gentiles should follow the old law. Why not? Because no one at the meeting of apostles and elders thought they did. From this we can conclude that if James did in fact think it was necessary to follow the Torah, he certainly didn’t mention it here.

Christ also repeated nine of the ten commandments. There was no reason why James should have mentioned them during their discussion.

In Galatians 2, what exactly is being compromised? Paul and Barnabas would preach to the Gentiles, James, Peter and John would preach to the Jews. I don’t see how this is anything less then a basic delegation of duties.

And if James, Peter and John “agreed to disagree” with the Jews regarding the Torah, then obviously the three didn’t think the Torah should be followed. Consider: in Peter’s letter, he mentions the importance of baptism and the redemption of men through the shedding of Christ’s blood. Neither were possible, or necessary, if thought the old law was still to be followed. So, now either Peter and James are in disagreement, or, as you said, the three disagreed with the Jews continuing to follow the Torah. This would be in complete harmony with Scripture. If they were in disagreement with the Jews over the Torah, they would have been in agreement with Paul.

And no, we’re not left with just “Paul’s version of events”. We also have letters written by Peter, James and John that all jive perfectly with the Gospels and Paul’s letters.

If Christians want to condemn homosexuals, they go to the NT. There’s no reason to go to the OT. And yes, you’re absolutely right, many Christians do use the OT rules only when it’s convenient for them. This is done in error though.

sconnor said...

Jason,

Jason still able to answer, in lieu of his objection to profanity, eroneously assumes and says, Thanks Sconnor. You're a beacon of hope for atheism.

Awwwwwwww Little Jason Christian's ears are burning by arbitrarily deciding for all what is right or appropriate language, giving him a false sense of superiority.

...and I can assure you, I'm not an atheist, fuck-wad. Your christian prophesy, fails you, asshole. I have not given myself any titles, but I can tell you what I am not. I'm not a delusional religious fuck-tard christian, who believes in magic, superstition and a fairytale book, like yourself. If anything I am a beacon of light illuminating your absurd, dumb-fuck, primitive beliefs for what they are -- complete and utter nonsense that has zero authority, except what is in your crazy, mixed-up, fucked-in-the-head, mind of yours.

Are you still sucking Jesus' dick and maybe whipping yourself to atone for calling me a retard, asshole?

Typical pussy christian, can't argue the difficult points, so now you have to diverge and puff out your chest as a moral crusader and preach to us what is or is not appropriate language.

What's the difference, ass-wipe, if you answer my questions or answer by making accusations that I'm an atheist -- You still answered in lieu of the vulgar language, which shows you can answer in lieu of vulgar language and it doesn't burn your little, precious, christian, virgin, ears.

...so again I say, and now I add this to my list below:

What does Jesus say about using supposed clean language vrs. supposed bad language?

What does Jesus say about homosexuality?
What does Jesus say about fucking dead people?
What does Jesus say about fucking animals?
What does Jesus say about demented-fuck, child molesters and child rapists?

And you still bury your head in the sand on these questions, like the pussy you are.

If god, so loved his earthly children, then why would he relay his, all so important messages and the Good News, in a book, using difficult or vague texts, parables, poems, songs, dream imagery, switching from literal to non-literal, that could so easily be misinterpreted, perverted or interpreted, so many different ways?

If it was so important for God to save his earthly children, from oblivion, then why did he put his message into a book that couldn't possibly get to the masses?

If the Bible is so important, how come only 30% of the world’s population is Christian, while the other 70% of the world’s population is another, non-biblical, religion or the non-religious? And out of the 30% of Bible-believing, Christians, there are 30,000 separate sects and denominations that have varying and vast ideas about the Bible and how one is supposedly saved?

Why would god use christadelphians and little Jason christian, to convey the "real" way one is saved, when, you only represent, less than 1% of christians with your uniquely warped interpretation?

If your all-loving, god is using the Bible to get his, all important, message across and truly wanted to save us, you would think, an all-knowing, all-powerful god, could do a better job at delivering the crucial laws, commandments and messages to everyone, equally and clearly, but most certainly this is not the case -- why is that?

Your god is doing a mega-shitty, job at getting his all-important, message across. (ESPECIALLY YOUR INSIGNIFICANT, UNIQUELY WARPED, VIEW OF SALVATION).
God's plan is seriously flawed and I would have to conclude the Bible and Christianity is a human construct, susceptible to fallibility and in your case gullibility and delusion, and there, really, is nothing gained from it, except an illusion of authority and the illusion of eternal life.

I await your thorough and twisted excuses... I mean, answers.

--S.

Jason said...

Thanks, Sconnor. I'm sure you do atheists proud. Keep up the good work.

sconnor said...

Jason,

Either you didn't read my last post or your level of comprehension is that of a nut sack, emphasis on NUT. Try reading it and you will realize why your last comment doesn't apply or make sense, is asinine and only proves you are capable of commenting, in lieu of profanity.

Has Jesus let you off the hook yet, for calling me a retard? Or do you have to scourge yourself daily, for the next month? Or are you, little Jason Christian, allowed to break Jesus' commands because you are a disciple? You can sin all you want because you are saved --hallelujah.

I see you are still hiding in your fort built from bibles, too big of a pussy to comment on my, "If god's message was so important" arguments.

--S.

Jason said...

Okay. :)

sconnor said...

OK? OK, you're a pussy and is sticking his head in the sand or OK you whip yourself or OK you are a disciple of Jesus, so sin doesn't affect you or OK you can't answer the questions, because you got nothing or OK you didn't read the last post or OK you have the comprehension of a nut sack? Or is it OK, to all of the above?

--S.

Jason said...

OK as in go away.

sconnor said...

Jason said, OK as in go away.

Jason,

Oooooooooo. Little Jason Christian's delusional beliefs have mutated into delusions of grandeur, and now he thinks he can tell people what to do.

I'm not going anywhere. I'm going to ride your ass, whenever I get the chance. You have zero authority and are only worthy of ridicule. I'm going to continue asserting that all your uniquely, warped, interpreted, beliefs are based on the delusional notion, that little Jason Christian, knows what god wants and knows how one is saved because the reputed Bible says so. You're nothing but a freak on a leash, ranting and raving like a lunatic, vomiting up scripture and using, the supposed voice of god, to lend credibility to your unsubstantiated, bullshit, when in reality (you know Jason, REALITY, where magic, superstition, virgin births, talking donkeys, talking snakes and the walking dead don't exist) -- when in reality, YOU GOT NOTHING!

You are the equivalent to those brain dead women in that polygamist cult, in Texas.
You are nothing more than a primitive man thinking that an eclipse of sun was a punishment from god.
You posses the same deluded thinking that made it possible to burn witches at the stake.
You posses the same deluded thinking that made it possible to torture non-believers during the inquisition.
You posses the same deluded thinking that made it possible to kill non-christians during the crusades.
You posses the same deluded thinking that makes it possible for JWs to withhold blood transfusions, allowing their children to suffer and die.
You posses the same deluded thinking that made it possible for parents of an eleven year old girl to die, because they only prayed over her, neglecting medical intervention.
You posses the same deluded thinking that makes it possible to relegate women to a subservient role to their husbands.
You posses the same deluded thinking that makes it impossible for women to become pastors or priests in certain sects like evangelicals, Baptists, and Catholics.
You posses the same deluded thinking that made it possible for Jews to mutilate their baby boys penises.
You posses the same deluded thinking that made it possible to justify slavery in America.
You posses the same deluded thinking that made it possible for sick, fucks to blow up abortion clinics.
You posses the same deluded thinking that preaches creationism over evolution, breeding ignorance in the science classroom.
You posses the same deluded thinking that calls gay people an abomination.
You posses the same deluded thinking that makes it possible for christians to have a hundred different interpretations on how to obtain eternal life, with an array of endless combinations, all the while claiming their interpretation is the one and only truth?

Your deluded thinking is exactly equivalent to you having a thumb up your ass with one hand while holding your dick in the other hand -- YOU GOT NOTHING.

Sing it with me again, one more time,
Fairy tales, can come true, they can happen to you, if you are delusional at heart.

--S.

Anon said...

Sconnor, I'm sure your posts were probably just you venting your frustrations, and I certainly understand this...but there are other ways of making your point besides attacks like these. I'm a non-Christian and consider myself to be a very open-minded person, but I found them offensive, too. He already answered your original question by say no or yes for each of them; if that wasn't enough you should have just said so instead of attacking him. If there's something else from another thread going on, then it should have been addressed there.

Jason, I will just point out that neither of us has any data on how many Christians believe they must follow the old law (or parts of it). Your figure of 950 million is assuming that every single Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist, etc., etc. believes exactly what their church tells them to. I would very much dispute this assumption.

The best we can say is, presumably the majority of Christian denominations hold that the old law is out/fulfilled. What individual Christians do or don't believe is a whole other story.

As an example, according to this site, among British Anglicans,

http://www.religioustolerance.org/rel_comp.htm

"80% of both clergy and laity believe in the resurrection of Jesus"

I think most people would agree that Jesus' resurrection is a very basic, fundamental tenant of most forms of Christianity, yet only 80% of Anglican respondents agreed with it, *not* 100% of them. We can speculate as to what the others believe (that he wasn't literally resurrected but that it's just an inspirational story, etc.) but they say they don't believe in his resurrection.

I could look up examples having to do with other issues and see if there are data on them, but I think you would agree with my point that official church doctrine does not necessarily equal unanimous belief among individual Christians.

Unless there is a sudden rush on posting the 9 commandments in courthouses and schoolrooms, I'm going to assume some people have the old and new law issue confused.

sconnor said...

Anon,

You said, Sconnor, I'm sure your posts were probably just you venting your frustrations, and I certainly understand this...but there are other ways of making your point besides attacks like these.

Well I doubt there are many other ways of making my point. Either you don't use profanity or you do. Think of me as fighting crazy with crazy. I'm the Gordon Ramsay of apostasy.

Welcome to hell's kitchen you motherfucking donkey. (not directed at anon, but most assuredly directed to Jason Christian)

--S.

Jason said...

Anon,

I agree - I can't account for every individual Christian's beliefs. But the admittance that the majority of Christians presumably hold that the old law is out/fulfilled is fine with me.

As such, I'd like to point out that my defense of the new law here shouldn't be viewed as strange or uncommon. I'm simply explaining what millions of other Christians consider to be true.

sconnor said...

Cuckoo said, As such, I'd like to point out that my defense of the new law here shouldn't be viewed as strange or uncommon. I'm simply explaining what millions of other Christians consider to be true.

Yeah, so what -- asshole. Millions of other christians believe in hell as an eternal place of torment. While, Millions of other christians don't believe in hell. Millions of other christians believe you will go directly to heaven when you die, while millions believe they will be resurrected. Millions of Christians believe you have to be baptized as a baby to atone for original sin, while millions of other christians believe you have to be baptized as an adult and be born again. Other Christians believe in polygamy, dancing with snakes, drinking poison, literally crucifying themselves, flogging themselves, nude congregating, abstain from crucial blood transfusions, pray instead of crucial medical help, and believe woman are subservient. And guess what all these ignorant dumb-ass christians believe they possess the one and only truth on the matter. Let me know when christianity becomes cohesive and can agree on a unilateral message that is clear, concise, and unequivocal.

--S.

VoxMoose said...

Because if you pluck out your eye (well you'd probably have to pluck them both out), then you can't commit adultery by looking at a woman.

Actually, the obvious implication is that adultery can't occur in two dimensions. As we all know, by removing one eye, you remove lose optical perspective, effectively projecting the world onto a 2D plane in your brain. Who knew geometry and moral codes were so strongly linked. And who else but the creator of the universe could create such a nonsensical and convoluted relationship...