Saturday, March 31, 2018

Evolution And Cuteness

"Given atheism and evolution, it's odd we find small furry animals "cute". From an evolutionary perspective, wouldn't it make more sense (such as be better for our survival as a species) to be neutral about cuteness?

If we didn't find small furry animals cute, then we could kill and eat them without hesitation. It's not as if other animals seem to find small furry animals cute. Like foxes don't find bunnies cute. Like sea lions don't think about baby penguins that way. (Not that penguins have fur as such, but you get the idea.)

Perhaps evolutionists will explain it by saying we only find small furry animals that look most like our own babies cute. We see our own babies as cute since it helps us bond with our own babies which in turn helps us want to raise our own babies rather than toss them aside the moment they're born. However, even if so, why should that apply to babies that aren't our own? It's not as if chimps think of other baby chimps as cute when they kill other baby chimps."

If We Want To Repair Our Governments, Then Start With Families

"Not even the best of governments can compensate for a broken society with broken families, and a broken society with broken families will produce the government it deserves, which will not be the best of governments."

Os Guinness, Impossible People, p.187

On The Study Of Good Moral Conduct

"In matters of human prudence, we shall find the greatest advantage by making wise observations on our own conduct, and the conduct of others, and a survey of the events attending such conduct. Experience in this case is equal to a natural sagacity, or rather superior. A treasure of observations and experiences, collected by wise men, is of admirable service here. And perhaps there is nothing in the world of this kind equal to the sacred book of Proverbs, even it we look on it as a mere human writing."

Isaac Watts, Logic: The Right Use of Reason in the Inquiry After Truth, p. 236-237

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Did Jesus Christ Literally Descend Into Hell?

  • Discussion:
          -There are a number of professing Christians who subscribe to the viewpoint that the soul of our Lord Jesus Christ suffered for three days in hell after His death by crucifixion. On the contrary, we should take into consideration the words that He spoke to the repentant thief on the cross:

          "Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last." (Luke 23:43-46)

          So, it is abundantly clear from Scripture that Christ did not descend into hell. His soul entered into the Father's presence during the three days that His physical body was buried in the tomb.

          Furthermore, the notion that Jesus Christ needed to be punished in hell to somehow complete His atonement sacrifice is logically absurd. He already paid the full debt full for our sins when He was crucified on the cross. He Himself testified plainly to this when He said of His work, "It is finished" (John 19:30). His suffering ended when He died.

           His soul entered into heaven, a temporary abode for all the righteous. He entered the blessed side of Sheol or Hades (terms are used synonymously). Christ was there for three days, until the moment of His bodily resurrection from the grave and glorified ascension.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Society Is Engrossed In Moral Perversion

"Centuries from now, people who do not suffer our current psychoses will read about professors who gave their students credit for dressing in drag (Muhlenberg College), or who advised students that arguments against sexual perversion would not be admissible in class (Marquette University), or who elevated the trivialities of mass entertainment to the states of great art (everywhere), and shake their heads with dismay, using them as examples of how people can study themselves into a degree of stupidity for which Nature alone would never suffice. We do not produce many great comedians in the present. We produce a lot of material for comedians in the future."

Anthony Esolen, Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture, p. 83

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Comments On Separation Of Church and State

        "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." (First Amendment of the Bill of Rights)

        The very first section of this amendment is the subject being addressed in this article, namely the fact that the secular world has intentionally misused it to suppress our religious freedom. It appears that many Americans have been deceived into believing that this clause prohibiting the state from enforcing a particular religion on the people and the free exercise of religious profession somehow means that religion should have no influence in the political sphere of society. The term coined for this notion of religion being excluded from governmental affairs is known as the "separation of church and state", which had actually originated from the U.S. Founding Father Thomas Jefferson in a private letter to a Baptist congregation located in Connecticut for the express purpose of soothing fears revolving around the possibility of the federal establishment of what would essentially be a religious dictatorship. Thus, this boundary exists to defend, not hinder, the freedom to act in accordance to deeply held religious convictions. It was meant to prevent the government from interfering with religious freedom, not to provide government aid in suppressing it. This metaphorical reference to a "wall" has been misinterpreted by Everson v. Board of Education, resulting in the formation of a dangerous mindset among people in modern times. It has been taken completely out of its respective historical context.

        The phrase "separation of church and state" has been reinterpreted in such a manner that was never even imagined by the earliest predecessors of American governmental offices. Ironically, neither the word nor the concept (as defined by atheists) appears in the Bill of Rights and Constitution. All that the first sentence to the First Amendment is saying is that the government neither has the authority to enforce a particular religion on the general populace nor that state can prohibit religious freedom. The First Amendment exists to protect religious expression. It is there to uphold freedom of religion. It is there to promote the diversity of belief systems, not suppress them. The meaning of the First Amendment has been redefined by secularists to fit a meaning directly contrary to its original intent. It does not exist to separate God from the American government. The First Amendment exists to keep government out of religious business. Our nation's forefathers believed both the church and state to be held accountable to God, and, in fact, to be led under His authority. It is because of the lofty moral principles taught in Christianity that America has ever been a prosperous and blessed nation. America was founded on Christian principles. No religion is to function as the state religion. A person can practice any religion that he or she desires, insofar that it does not infringe on the rights and security of others. That is the authentic meaning of the First Amendment. Politics should operate on moral principles. It would be impossible to create an absolute gap between religion and politics because people make decisions based on their worldviews.
        "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man & his god, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state."
          -"...not one of the ninety Founding Fathers stated, argued for or against, or even referred to such a phrase when they debated for months about the specific words to use when writing the First Amendment. Congressional Records from June 7 to September 25, 1789 reveal that none of these men, including Thomas Jefferson, ever used the phrase, "separation of church and state."
  • Consider The Words Of Chief Justice William Rehnquist Of The U.S. Supreme Court:
          -"The ‘wall of separation between church and state’ is a metaphor based on bad history, a metaphor which has proved useless as a guide to judging. It should be frankly and explicitly abandoned.”
  • Consider The Words Of Late Chief Justice Antonin Scalia During A Speech At Colorado Christian University:
          -“I think the main fight is to dissuade Americans from what the secularists are trying to persuade them to be true: that the separation of church and state means that the government cannot favor religion over non-religion…That’s a possible way to run a political system. The Europeans run it that way… And if the American people want to do it, I suppose they can enact that by statute. But to say that’s what the Constitution requires is utterly absurd.”
          -"A church had been meeting in the United States Capitol for more than five years before Congress officially occupied the Capitol. The first session of both houses of Congress at the Capitol began on November 17, 1800."
  • Consider The Confession Made By Professor Samuel Walker On The Issue Of Emerson v. Board of Education:
          -“In the 1947 Everson decision, the Supreme Court gave new meaning to the establishment clause of the First Amendment.”
  • Consider The Words Of The Northwest Ordinance Of 1787 In Article III:
          -"Religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged."

Friday, March 23, 2018

The Roman Catholic Church On The Second Commandment

  • Defining The Issues:
          -The Roman Catholic and Protestant churches have divided the numbering in the Ten Commandments differently. While non-Catholic churches have traditionally listed the second commandment as being a prohibition against worshiping carved images, Rome has omitted this reference and split the last commandment which condemns coveting into two separate, specific prohibitions against lusting after other people's spouses and material possessions. In short, both sides of the debate uphold different renderings of the same Ten Commandments that were originally given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai. This is highly suspect, considering that Roman Catholics do indeed rely heavily upon religious iconography in their worship. Due to the fact that the ancient Israelites constantly struggled with idolatry, one would think it wise to leave a clear condemnation of worshiping objects in the listing of the Ten Commandments.
  • The Iconoclastic Controversy:
          -"In the early church, the making and veneration of portraits of Christ and the saints were consistently opposed. The use of icons nevertheless steadily gained in popularity, especially in the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire. Toward the end of the 6th century and in the 7th, icons became the object of an officially encouraged cult, often implying a superstitious belief in their animation. Opposition to such practices became particularly strong in Asia Minor. In 726 the Byzantine emperor Leo III took a public stand against the perceived worship of icons, and in 730 their use was officially prohibited. This opened a persecution of icon venerators that was severe in the reign of Leo’s successor, Constantine V (741–775). In 787, however, the empress Irene convoked the seventh ecumenical council at Nicaea at which Iconoclasm was condemned and the use of images was reestablished. The Iconoclasts regained power in 814 after Leo V’s accession, and the use of icons was again forbidden at a council in 815. The second Iconoclast period ended with the death of the emperor Theophilus in 842. In 843 his widow finally restored icon veneration, an event still celebrated in the Eastern Orthodox Church as the Feast of Orthodoxy." (Encyclopedia Britannica, "Iconoclastic Controversy")
  • Roman Catholic Scholar Rachel Bundang says the following:
          -"Christianity emerged from Judaism, which itself rejected figurative religious art as being too much like idol worship (see Ex 20:3). But once Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire under Constantine in the 4th century CE, it was not long before Roman practices of portraying and honoring the divine (their gods and emperors) would make their way into Christian practices as well."
  • How Roman Catholic Officials Reason Out This Issue:
          -"The Christian veneration of images is not contrary to the first commandment which proscribes idols. Indeed, "the honor rendered to an image passes to its prototype," and "whoever venerates an image venerates the person portrayed in it." The honor paid to sacred images is a "respectful veneration," not the adoration due to God alone." (CCC, 2132)
  • Scripture Prohibits The Making Of Images For Religious Devotion. We Have The Inclination To Turn Objects Into Idols. Moreover, Trying To Replicate The Glory Of God Makes A Mockery Of Him:
          -"You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me." (Exodus 20:4-5)
  • How The Apostle Paul Cited The Commandment Against Coveting:
          -"What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” (Romans 7:7)
          -"The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Romans 13:9)
          -Notice that the Apostle Paul, in his quoting of the commandment against coveting, does not split it in half (coveting a neighbor's wife and coveting a neighbor's goods). The Catholic rendering of the Ten Commandments here is both redundant and highly suspicious (especially knowing that their devotion to statues so closely resembles worship).
  • Other Points Of Consideration:
          -While it is true that the numbering of the Ten Commandments is more peripheral in nature, it nevertheless remains a fact that a statue-infested environment where saints are incessantly venerated is not a spiritually safe place to be.
          -Interestingly, Hebrew does not allow for a distinction in the word worship, which in that language would be avad. Thus, the terms latria and dulia in the original Old Testament would be treated as the same form of worship, which of course would rightly belong to God alone. In the Greek Septuagint, the Hebrew avad is rendered as dulia and latria. This proves Catholics wrong when they attempt to defend their veneration of saints. In a religious context, our service belongs to God alone. The Church of Rome is no doubt a museum of idolatry.

A Quote From Atheist Historian Richard Carrier's Book "On The Historicity of Jesus"

"Even before Christianity arose, some Jews expected one of their messiahs heralding the end times would actually be killed, rather than be immediately victorious, and this would mark the key point of a timeta­ble guaranteeing the end of the world soon thereafter...First, the Talmud provides us with a proof of concept at the very least (and actual confirmation at the very most). It explicitly says the suffer­ing servant who dies in Isaiah 53 is the messiah (and that this messiah will endure great suffering before his death) [b. Sanhedrin 98b and 93b]. The Talmud likewise has a dying-and-rising 'Christ son of Joseph' ideology in it, even saying (quoting Zech. 12.10) that this messiah will be 'pierced' to death [b. Sukkah 52a-b].

There is no plausible way later Jews would invent interpretations of their scripture that supported and vindicated Christians. They would not invent a Christ with a father named Joseph who dies and is resurrected (as the Talmud does indeed describe). They would not proclaim Isaiah 53 to be about this messiah and admit that Isaiah had there predicted this messiah would die and be resurrected. That was the very biblical passage Christians were using to prove their case. Moreover, the presentation of this ideology in the Talmud makes no mention of Christianity and gives no evidence of being any kind of polemic or response to it. So we have evidence here of a Jewish belief that possibly predates Christian evangelizing, even if that evidence survives only in later sources.

The alternative is to assume a rather unbelievable coincidence: that Christians and Jews, completely independently of each other, just happened at some point to see Isaiah 53 as messianic and from that same passage preach an ideology of a messiah with a father named Joseph (literally or symbolically), who endures great suffering, dies and is resurrected (all in accord with the savior depicted in Isaiah 53, as by then understood). Such an amazing coincidence is simply improbable.

But the Talmud and the Apocalypse of Zerubbabel are not our only evidence of a pre-Christian dying-messiah theme. The book of Daniel (written well before the rise of Christianity) explicitly says a messiah will die shortly before the end of the world (Dan. 9.2; 9.24-27; cf. 12.1-13). This is already conclusive. Given my definition of 'messiah' (in §3), Christianity looks exactly like an adaptation of the same eschatological dying-messiah motif in Daniel.

Isaiah 53 was already under­stood to contain an atonement-martyrdom framework applicable to dying heroes generally...But of the more specific notion of a dying messiah, we also have other pre-Christian evidence in the form of a Dead Sea Scroll designated 11Q13, the Melchizedek Scroll...There are many such pesherim at Qumran. But this one tells us about the 'messenger' of Isaiah 52-53 who is linked in Isaiah with a 'servant' who will die to atone for everyone's sins (presaging God's final victory), which (as we have already seen) later Jews definitely regarded as the messiah. At Qumran, 11Q13 appears to say that this messenger is the same man as the 'messiah' of Daniel 9, who dies around the same time an end to sin is said to be accomplished (again presaging God's final victory), and that the day on which this happens will be a great and final Day of Atonement, absolving the sins of all the elect, after which (11Q13 goes on to say) God and his savior will overthrow all demonic forces. And all this will proceed according to the timetable in Daniel9.Thus, 11Q13 appears to predict that a messiah will die and that this will mark the final days before which God's agent(s) will defeat Belial (Satan) and atone for the sins of the elect.

Regardless of how one chooses to understand the text of 11Q13, we still have Dan. 9.24-27, which is already unmistakably clear in predicting that a messiah will die shortly before the end of the world, when all sins will be forgiven; and Isaiah 53 is unmistakably clear in declaring that all sins will be forgiven by the death of God's servant, whom the Talmud identi­fies as the messiah. So there is no reasonable basis for denying that some pre-Christian Jews would have expected at least one dying messiah, and some could well have expected his death to be an essential atoning death, just as the Christians believed of Jesus Even apart from 11Q13 there is evidence the Dead Sea community may have already been thinking this, since one of their manuscripts of Isaiah explicitly says the suffering servant figure in Isaiah 53 shall be 'anointed' by God and then 'pierced through for our transgressions'. For this and the following points see the discussion of the pre-Christian interpretation of Isaiah 53 in Martin Hengel, 'The Effective History of Isaiah 53 in the Pre-Christian Period', in The Suffering Servant: Isaiah 53 in Jewish and Christian Sources (ed. Bernd Janowski and Peter Stuhlmacher; Grand Rapids, Ml: William B. Eerdmans, 2004), pp. 75-146.

The Christian gospel is thus already right there in Daniel, the more so if Daniel 9 had been linked with Isaiah 52-53, which is exactly what 11QI3 appears to do. But even without such a connection being made, the notion that a Christ was expected to die to presage the end of the world is already clearly intended in Daniel, even by its origi­nal authors' intent, and would have been understood in the same way by subsequent readers of Daniel. The notion of a dying messiah was therefore already mainstream, well before Christianity arose.

The suffering-and-dying servant of Isaiah 52-53 and the mes­siah of Daniel 9 (which, per the previous element, may already have been seen by some Jews as the same person) have numerous logical connections with a man in Zechariah 3 and 6 named 'Jesus Rising' who is confronted by Satan in God's abode in heaven and there crowned king, given all of God's authority, holds the office of high priest, and will build up 'God's house' (which is how Christians described their church)

In the Septuagint text, Zechariah is commanded in a vision to place the crown of kingship upon 'Jesus' (Zech. 6.11) and to say immediately upon doing so that 'Jehovah declares' that this Jesus is 'the man named ''Rising" and he shall rise up from his place below and he shall build the House of the Lord'. The key noun is anatole, which is often translated 'East' because it refers to where the sun rises (hence 'East'), but such a translation obscures the fact that the actual word used is the noun 'rising' or 'rise' (as in 'sunrise'), which was not always used in reference to a compass point, and whose real connotations are more obvious when translated literally. In fact by immediately using the cognate verb 'to rise up' (anatelei, and that explicitly 'from his place below') it's clear the Septuagint translator under­ stood the word to mean 'rise' (and Philo echoes the same pun in his interpretation...

If this 'Jesus Rising' were connected to the dying servant who atones for all sins in Isaiah (and perhaps also with Daniel or 11Q13), it would be easy to read out of this almost the entire core Christian gospel. Connecting the two figures in just that way would be natural to do: this same 'Jesus' who is named 'Rising' (or, in both places, 'Branch' in the extant Hebrew, as in 'Davidic heir', or so both contexts imply) appears earlier in Zechariah 3, where 'Jesus' is also implied to be the one called 'Rising' (in 3.8). Both are also called 'Jesus the high priest' throughout Zechariah 3 and 6, hence clearly the same person. And there he is also called God's 'servant'. And it is said that through him (in some unspecified way) all sin in the world will be cleansed 'in a single day' (Zech. 3.9). Both concepts converge with Isaiah 52-53, which is also about God's 'servant', whose death cleanses the world's sins (Isa. 52.13 and 53.11), which of course would thus happen in a single day (as alluded in Isa. 52.6). And as we saw earlier, Jews may have been linking this dying 'servant' to the dying 'Christ' killed in Daniel 9 (in 11Q13), whose death is also said to correspond closely with a conclusive 'end of sin' in the world (Dan. 9.24-26), and both figures (in Daniel and 11Q13) were linked to an expected 'atonement in a single day'...These dots are so easily connected, and with such convincing I am concerned only with the existence of the scriptural coincidences.

As I mentioned, an 'exoteric' reading of Zechariah 3 and 6 would con­clude the author originally meant the first high priest of the second temple, Jesus ben Jehozadak (Zech. 6.11; cf. Hag. 1.1), who somehow came into an audience with God, in a coronation ceremony (one would presume in heaven, as it is in audience with God and his angels and attended by Satan) granting him supreme supernatural power over the universe (Zech. 3.7)...As it happens, the name Jehozadak means in Hebrew 'Jehovah the Righteous', so one could also read this as 'Jesus, the son of Jehovah the Righteous', and thereby conclude this is really 'Jesus, the son of God'. This is notable considering the evidence we have of a preexistent son of God named Jesus in pre-Christian Jewish theology...And all from connecting just three passages in the OT that already have distinctive overlapping similarities.

The pre-Christian book of Daniel was a key messianic text, laying out what would happen and when, partly inspiring much of the very messianic fervor of the age, which by the most obvious (but not originally intended) interpretation predicted the messiah's arrival in the early first century, even (by some calculations) the very year of 30 CE...By various calculations this could be shown to predict, by the very Word of God, that the messiah would come sometime in the early first century CE. Several examples of these calculations survive in early Christian literature, the clearest appearing in Julius Africanus in the third century.47 Julius Africanus, in his lost History of the World, which excerpt survives in the collection of George Syncellus, Excerpts of Chronography 18.2.

The date there calculated is precisely 30 CE; hence it was expected on this calculation (which was simple and straightforward enough that anyone could easily have come up with the same result well before the rise of Christianity) that a messiah would arise and be killed in that year (as we saw Daniel had 'predicted' in 9.26..."

Richard Carrier, On the Historicity of Jesus (Sheffield 2014), chapter 4, originally cited by Steve Hays

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Media And Islam

"The real Muhammad is no longer revealed in numerous books or in much of the media, a phenomenon largely the result of the ubiquitous presence of political correctness in the West. With few exceptions, he is falsely portrayed as an irenic man who founded a religion of peace, contrary to the Koran’s numerous verses that specifically advocate violence and the killing of “infidels.” . . .

In recent years, the Western print media, movies, and television have produced various negative portrayals of Jesus Christ and of Christianity. But Muhammad’s past violent activities, clearly stated in the Koran and in the Hadith, are overlooked by the media and by apologists of Islam."

Alvin J. Schmidt, “The American Muhammad: Joseph Smith, Founder of Mormonism,” p. 208-209

Notes On The Byzantine Manuscripts

"Many of the versions were translated from Greek at an early date...Almost one hundred extant Latin manuscripts represent this Old Latin translation—and they all attest to the Western texttype. In other words the Greek manuscripts they translated were not Byzantine. The Coptic version also goes back to an early date, probably the second century34—and it was a translation of Alexandrian manuscripts, not Byzantine ones. The earliest forms of the Syriac are also either Western or Alexandrian....

The significance of these early versions is twofold:37 (1) None of the versions produced in the first three centuries was based on the Byzantine text. But if the majority text view is right, then each one of these versions was based on polluted Greek manuscripts—a suggestion that does not augur well for God’s providential care of the New Testament text, as that care is understood by the majority text view.38 But if these versions were based on polluted manuscripts, one would expect them to have come from (and be used in) only one isolated region. This is not the case; the Coptic, Ethiopic, Latin, and Syriac versions came from all over the Mediterranean region. In none of these locales was the Byzantine text apparently used. This is strong evidence that the Byzantine text simply did not exist in the first three centuries—anywhere..." (Daniel B. Wallace,, "The Majority Text and the Original Text: Are They Identical?")

"(1) The Byzantine text (i.e., the group of Greek MSS behind the Textus Receptus) was not quoted by any church father before AD 325, while the Alexandrian text was amply represented before that period. (2) The Byzantine text was shown to depend on two earlier traditions, the Alexandrian and Western, in several places. The early editors of the Byzantine text combined (or conflated) the wording of the Alexandrian and Western traditions on occasion, while nowhere could it be shown that the Alexandrian combined Western and Byzantine readings or that the Western combined readings of the Alexandrian and Byzantine.

In a word, evidence. WH’s argument was solid. Interestingly, in WH’s day only one NT papyrus fragment was known. Now, almost 100 have been discovered. These antedate the great uncials by as much as two hundred years! What is most significant about them is that not one is Byzantine. But if the Byzantine text was the original, why did it not show up in either patristic evidence or MS evidence until much later? In fact, for Paul’s letters, the earliest Byzantine MSS belong to the ninth century. The earliest Alexandrian witnesses? Second century." (Daniel B. Wallace,, "The Conspiracy Behind the New Bible Translations")

Monday, March 19, 2018

America Was Founded On Christian Principles

"The general principles, on which the Fathers achieved independence, were the only Principles in which that beautiful Assembly of young Gentlemen could Unite.... And what were these general Principles? I answer, the general Principles of Christianity, in which all these Sects were United: And the general Principles of English and American Liberty, in which all those young Men United, and which had United all Parties in America, in Majorities sufficient to assert and maintain her Independence."

John Adams, Letter to Thomas Jefferson, June 28, 1813

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Christianity Was Not Influenced By Pagan Religions


Many Christian college students have encountered criticisms of Christianity based on claims that early Christianity and the New Testament borrowed important beliefs and practices from a number of pagan mystery religions. Since these claims undermine such central Christian doctrines as Christ's death and resurrection, the charges are serious. But the evidence for such claims, when it even exists, often lies in sources several centuries older than the New Testament. Moreover, the alleged parallels often result from liberal scholars uncritically describing pagan beliefs and practices in Christian language and then marveling at the striking parallels they think they've discovered.

During the first half of the twentieth century, a number of liberal authors and professors claimed that the New Testament teaching about Jesus' death and resurrection, the New Birth, and the Christian practices of baptism and the Lord's Supper were derived from the pagan mystery religions. Of major concern in all this is the charge that the New Testament doctrine of salvation parallels themes commonly found in the mystery religions: a savior-god dies violently for those he will eventually deliver, after which that god is restored to life.

Was the New Testament influenced by the pagan religions of the first century A.D.? Even though I surveyed this matter in a 1992 book,[1] the issues are so important -- especially for Christian college students who often do not know where to look for answers -- that there is considerable merit in addressing this question in a popular, nontechnical format.


Other than Judaism and Christianity, the mystery religions were the most influential religions in the early centuries after Christ. The reason these cults were called "mystery religions" is that they involved secret ceremonies known only to those initiated into the cult. The major benefit of these practices was thought to be some kind of salvation.

The mystery religions were not, of course, the only manifestations of the religious spirit in the eastern Roman Empire. One could also find public cults not requiring an initiation ceremony into secret beliefs and practices. The Greek Olympian religion and its Roman counterpart are examples of this type of religion.

Each Mediterranean region produced its own mystery religion. Out of Greece came the cults of Demeter and Dionysus, as well as the Eleusinian and Orphic mystery religions, which developed later.[2] Asia Minor gave birth to the cult of Cybele, the Great Mother, and her beloved, a shepherd named Attis. The cult of Isis and Osiris (later changed to Serapis) originated in Egypt, while Syria and Palestine saw the rise of the cult of Adonis. Finally, Persia (Iran) was a leading early locale for the cult of Mithras, which -- due to its frequent use of the imagery of war -- held a special appeal to Roman soldiers. The earlier Greek mystery religions were state religions in the sense that they attained the status of a public or civil cult and served a national or public function. The later non-Greek mysteries were personal, private, and individualistic.

Basic Traits

One must avoid any suggestion that there was one common mystery religion. While a tendency toward eclecticism or synthesis developed after A.D. 300, each of the mystery cults was a separate and distinct religion during the century that saw the birth of the Christian church. Moreover, each mystery cult assumed different forms in different cultural settings and underwent significant changes, especially after A.D. 100. Nevertheless, the mystery religions exhibited five common traits.

(1) Central to each mystery was its use of an annual vegetation cycle in which life is renewed each spring and dies each fall. Followers of the mystery cults found deep symbolic significance in the natural processes of growth, death, decay, and rebirth.

(2) As noted above, each cult made important use of secret ceremonies or mysteries, often in connection with an initiation rite. Each mystery religion also passed on a "secret" to the initiate that included information about the life of the cult's god or goddess and how humans might achieve unity with that deity. This "knowledge" was always a secret or esoteric knowledge, unattainable by any outside the circle of the cult.

(3) Each mystery also centered around a myth in which the deity either returned to life after death or else triumphed over his enemies. Implicit in the myth was the theme of redemption from everything earthly and temporal. The secret meaning of the cult and its accompanying myth was expressed in a "sacramental drama" that appealed largely to the feelings and emotions of the initiates. This religious ecstasy was supposed to lead them to think they were experiencing the beginning of a new life.

(4) The mysteries had little or no use for doctrine and correct belief. They were primarily concerned with the emotional life of their followers. The cults used many different means to affect the emotions and imaginations of initiates and hence bring about "union with the god": processions, fasting, a play, acts of purification, blazing lights, and esoteric liturgies. This lack of any emphasis on correct belief marked an important difference between the mysteries and Christianity. The Christian faith was exclusivistic in the sense that it recognized only one legitimate path to God and salvation, Jesus Christ. The mysteries were inclusivistic in the sense that nothing prevented a believer in one cult from following other mysteries.

(5) The immediate goal of the initiates was a mystical experience that led them to feel they had achieved union with their god. Beyond this quest for mystical union were two more ultimate goals: some kind of redemption or salvation, and immortality.Evolution

Before A.D. 100, the mystery religions were still largely confined to specific localities and were still a relatively novel phenomenon. After A.D. 100, they gradually began to attain a widespread popular influence throughout the Roman Empire. But they also underwent significant changes that often resulted from the various cults absorbing elements from each other. As devotees of the mysteries became increasingly eclectic in their beliefs and practices, new and odd combinations of the older mysteries began to emerge. And as the cults continued to tone down the more objectionable features of their older practices, they began to attract greater numbers of followers.


It is not until we come to the third century A.D. that we find sufficient source material (i.e., information about the mystery religions from the writings of the time) to permit a relatively complete reconstruction of their content. Far too many writers use this late source material (after A.D. 200) to form reconstructions of the third-century mystery experience and then uncritically reason back to what they think must have been the earlier nature of the cults. This practice is exceptionally bad scholarship and should not be allowed to stand without challenge. Information about a cult that comes several hundred years after the close of the New Testament canon must not be read back into what is presumed to be the status of the cult during the first century A.D. The crucial question is not what possible influence the mysteries may have had on segments of Christendom after A.D. 400, but what effect the emerging mysteries may have had on the New Testament in the first century.

The Cult of Isis and Osiris

The cult of Isis originated in Egypt and went through two major stages. In its older Egyptian version, which was not a mystery religion, Isis was regarded as the goddess of heaven, earth, the sea, and the unseen world below. In this earlier stage, Isis had a husband named Osiris. The cult of Isis became a mystery religion only after Ptolemy the First introduced major changes, sometime after 300 B.C. In the later stage, a new god named Serapis became Isis's consort. Ptolemy introduced these changes in order to synthesize Egyptian and Greek concerns in his kingdom, thus hastening the Hellenization of Egypt.

From Egypt, the cult of Isis gradually made its way to Rome. While Rome was at first repelled by the cult, the religion finally entered the city during the reign of Caligula (A.D. 37-41). Its influence spread gradually during the next two centuries, and in some locales it became a major rival of Christianity. The cult's success in the Roman Empire seems to have resulted from its impressive ritual and the hope of immortality offered to its followers.

The basic myth of the Isis cult concerned Osiris, her husband during the earlier Egyptian and nonmystery stage of the religion. According to the most common version of the myth, Osiris was murdered by his brother who then sank the coffin containing Osiris's body into the Nile river. Isis discovered the body and returned it to Egypt. But her brother-in-law once again gained access to the body, this time dismembering it into fourteen pieces which he scattered widely. Following a long search, Isis recovered each part of the body. It is at this point that the language used to describe what followed is crucial. Sometimes those telling the story are satisfied to say that Osiris came back to life, even though such language claims far more than the myth allows. Some writers go even further and refer to the alleged "resurrection" of Osiris. One liberal scholar illustrates how biased some writers are when they describe the pagan myth in Christian language: "The dead body of Osiris floated in the Nile and he returned to life, this being accomplished by a baptism in the waters of the Nile."[3]

This biased and sloppy use of language suggests three misleading analogies between Osiris and Christ: (1) a savior god dies and (2) then experiences a resurrection accompanied by (3) water baptism. But the alleged similarities, as well as the language used to describe them, turn out to be fabrications of the modern scholar and are not part of the original myth. Comparisons between the resurrection of Jesus and the resuscitation of Osiris are greatly exaggerated.[4] Not every version of the myth has Osiris returning to life; in some he simply becomes king of the underworld. Equally far-fetched are attempts to find an analogue of Christian baptism in the Osiris myth.[5] The fate of Osiris's coffin in the Nile is as relevant to baptism as the sinking of Atlantis.

As previously noted, during its later mystery stage, the male deity of the Isis cult is no longer the dying Osiris but Serapis. Serapis is often portrayed as a sun god, and it is clear that he was not a dying god. Obviously then, neither could he be a rising god. Thus, it is worth remembering that the post-Ptolemaic mystery version of the Isis cult that was in circulation from about 300 B.C. through the early centuries of the Christian era had absolutely nothing that could resemble a dying and rising savior-god.

The Cult of Cybele and Attis

Cybele, also known as the Great Mother, was worshiped through much of the Hellenistic world. She undoubtedly began as a goddess of nature. Her early worship included orgiastic ceremonies in which her frenzied male worshipers were led to castrate themselves, following which they became "Galli" or eunuch-priests of the goddess. Cybele eventually came to be viewed as the Mother of all gods and the mistress of all life.

Most of our information about the cult describes its practices during its later Roman period. But the details are slim and almost all the source material is relatively late, certainly datable long after the close of the New Testament canon.

According to myth, Cybele loved a shepherd named Attis. Because Attis was unfaithful, she drove him insane. Overcome by madness, Attis castrated himself and died. This drove Cybele into great mourning, and it introduced death into the natural world. But then Cybele restored Attis to life, an event that also brought the world of nature back to life.

The presuppositions of the interpreter tend to determine the language used to describe what followed Attis's death. Many writers refer carelessly to the "resurrection of Attis." But surely this is an exaggeration. There is no mention of anything resembling a resurrection in the myth, which suggests that Cybele could only preserve Attis's dead body. Beyond this, there is mention of the body's hair continuing to grow, along with some movement of his little finger. In some versions of the myth, Attis's return to life took the form of his being changed into an evergreen tree. Since the basic idea underlying the myth was the annual vegetation cycle, any resemblance to the bodily resurrection of Christ is greatly exaggerated.

Eventually a public rehearsal of the Attis myth became an annual event in which worshipers shared in Attis's "immortality." Each spring the followers of Cybele would mourn for the dead Attis in acts of fasting and flagellation.

It was only during the later Roman celebrations (after A.D. 300) of the spring festival that anything remotely connected with a "resurrection" appears. The pine tree symbolizing Attis was cut down and then carried corpse-like into the sanctuary. Later in the prolonged festival, the tree was buried while the initiates worked themselves into a frenzy that included gashing themselves with knives. The next night, the "grave" of the tree was opened and the "resurrection of Attis" was celebrated. But the language of these late sources is highly ambiguous. In truth, no clear-cut, unambiguous reference to the supposed "resurrection" of Attis appears, even in the very late literature from the fourth century after Christ.

The Taurobolium

The best-known rite of the cult of the Great Mother was the taurobolium. It is important to note, however, that this ritual was not part of the cult in its earlier stages. It entered the religion sometime after the middle of the second century A.D.

During the ceremony, initiates stood or reclined in a pit as a bull was slaughtered on a platform above them.[6] The initiate would then be bathed in the warm blood of the dying animal. It has been alleged that the taurobolium was a source for Christian language about being washed in the blood of the lamb (Rev. 7:14) or sprinkled with the blood of Jesus (1 Pet. 1:2). It has also been cited as the source for Paul's teaching in Romans 6:1-4, where he relates Christian baptism to the Christian's identification with Christ's death and resurrection.

No notion of death and resurrection was ever part of the taurobolium, however. The best available evidence requires us to date the ritual about one hundred years after Paul wrote Romans 6:1-4. Not one existing text supports the claim that the taurobolium memorialized the death and "resurrection" of Attis. The pagan rite could not possibly have been the source for Paul's teaching in Romans 6. Only near the end of the fourth century A.D. did the ritual add the notion of rebirth. Several important scholars see a Christian influence at work in this later development.[7] It is clear, then, that the chronological development of the rite makes it impossible for it to have influenced first-century Christianity. The New Testament teaching about the shedding of blood should be viewed in the context of its Old Testament background -- the Passover and the temple sacrifice.


Attempts to reconstruct the beliefs and practices of Mithraism face enormous challenges because of the scanty information that has survived. Proponents of the cult explained the world in terms of two ultimate and opposing principles, one good (depicted as light) and the other evil (darkness). Human beings must choose which side they will fight for; they are trapped in the conflict between light and darkness. Mithra came to be regarded as the most powerful mediator who could help humans ward off attacks from demonic forces.[8]

The major reason why no Mithraic influence on first-century Christianity is possible is the timing: it's all wrong! The flowering of Mithraism occurred after the close of the New Testament canon, much too late for it to have influenced anything that appears in the New Testament.[9] Moreover, no monuments for the cult can be dated earlier than A.D. 90-100, and even this dating requires us to make some exceedingly generous assumptions. Chronological difficulties, then, make the possibility of a Mithraic influence on early Christianity extremely improbable. Certainly, there remains no credible evidence for such an influence.


Enough has been said thus far to permit comment on one of the major faults of the above-mentioned liberal scholars. I refer to the frequency with which their writings evidence a careless, even sloppy use of language. One frequently encounters scholars who first use Christian terminology to describe pagan beliefs and practices, and then marvel at the striking parallels they think they have discovered. One can go a long way toward "proving" early Christian dependence on the mysteries by describing some mystery belief or practice in Christian terminology. J. Godwin does this in his book, Mystery Religions in the Ancient World, which describes the criobolium (see footnote 6) as a "blood baptism" in which the initiate is "washed in the blood of the lamb."[10] While uninformed readers might be stunned by this remarkable similarity to Christianity (see Rev. 7:14), knowledgeable readers will see such a claim as the reflection of a strong, negative bias against Christianity.

Exaggerations and oversimplifications abound in this kind of literature. One encounters overblown claims about alleged likenesses between baptism and the Lord's Supper and similar "sacraments" in certain mystery cults. Attempts to find analogies between the resurrection of Christ and the alleged "resurrections" of the mystery deities involve massive amounts of oversimplification and inattention to detail.

Pagan Rituals and the Christian Sacraments

The mere fact that Christianity has a sacred meal and a washing of the body is supposed to prove that it borrowed these ceremonies from similar meals and washings in the pagan cults. By themselves, of course, such outward similarities prove nothing. After all, religious ceremonies can assume only a limited number of forms, and they will naturally relate to important or common aspects of human life. The more important question is the meaning of the pagan practices. Ceremonial washings that antedate the New Testament have a different meaning from New Testament baptism, while pagan washings after A.D. 100 come too late to influence the New Testament and, indeed, might themselves have been influenced by Christianity.[11] Sacred meals in the pre-Christian Greek mysteries fail to prove anything since the chronology is all wrong. The Greek ceremonies that are supposed to have influenced first-century Christians had long since disappeared by the time we get to Jesus and Paul. Sacred meals in such post-Christian mysteries as Mithraism come too late.

Unlike the initiation rites of the mystery cults, Christian baptism looks back to what a real, historical person -- Jesus Christ -- did in history. Advocates of the mystery cults believed their "sacraments" had the power to give the individual the benefits of immortality in a mechanical or magical way, without his or her undergoing any moral or spiritual transformation. This certainly was not Paul's view, either of salvation or of the operation of the Christian sacraments. In contrast with pagan initiation ceremonies, Christian baptism is not a mechanical or magical ceremony. It is clear that the sources of Christian baptism are not to be found either in the taurobolium (which is post first-century anyway) or in the washings of the pagan mysteries. Its sources lie rather in the washings of purification found in the Old Testament and in the Jewish practice of baptizing proselytes, the latter being the most likely source for the baptistic practices of John the Baptist.

Of all the mystery cults, only Mithraism had anything that resembled the Lord's Supper. A piece of bread and a cup of water were placed before initiates while the priest of Mithra spoke some ceremonial words. But the late introduction of this ritual precludes its having any influence upon first-century Christianity.

Claims that the Lord's Supper was derived from pagan sacred meals are grounded in exaggerations and oversimplifications. The supposed parallels and analogies break down completely.[12] Any quest for the historical antecedents of the Lord's Supper is more likely to succeed if it stays closer to the Jewish foundations of the Christian faith than if it wanders off into the practices of the pagan cults. The Lord's Supper looked back to a real, historical person and to something He did in history. The occasion for Jesus' introduction of the Christian Lord's Supper was the Jewish Passover feast. Attempts to find pagan sources for baptism and the Lord's Supper must be judged to fail.

The Death of the Mystery Gods and the Death of Jesus

The best way to evaluate the alleged dependence of early Christian beliefs about Christ's death and resurrection on the pagan myths of a dying and rising savior-god is to examine carefully the supposed parallels. The death of Jesus differs from the deaths of the pagan gods in at least six ways:

(1) None of the so-called savior-gods died for someone else. The notion of the Son of God
dying in place of His creatures is unique to Christianity.[13]

(2) Only Jesus died for sin. As Gunter Wagner observes, to none of the pagan gods "has the intention of helping men been attributed. The sort of death that they died is quite different (hunting accident, self-emasculation, etc.)."[14]

(3) Jesus died once and for all (Heb. 7:27; 9:25-28; 10:10-14). In contrast, the mystery gods were vegetation deities whose repeated deaths and resuscitations depict the annual cycle of nature.

(4) Jesus' death was an actual event in history. The death of the mystery god appears in a mythical drama with no historical ties; its continued rehearsal celebrates the recurring death and rebirth of nature. The incontestable fact that the early church believed that its proclamation of Jesus' death and resurrection was grounded in an actual historical event makes absurd any attempt to derive this belief from the mythical, nonhistorical stories of the pagan cults.[15]

(5) Unlike the mystery gods, Jesus died voluntarily. Nothing like this appears even implicitly in the mysteries.

(6) And finally, Jesus' death was not a defeat but a triumph. Christianity stands entirely apart from the pagan mysteries in that its report of Jesus' death is a message of triumph. Even as Jesus was experiencing the pain and humiliation of the cross, He was the victor. The New Testament's mood of exultation contrasts sharply with that of the mystery religions, whose followers wept and mourned for the terrible fate that overtook their gods.[16]The Risen Christ and the "Rising Savior-Gods"

Which mystery gods actually experienced a resurrection from the dead? Certainly no early texts refer to any resurrection of Attis. Nor is the case for a resurrection of Osiris any stronger. One can speak of a "resurrection" in the stories of Osiris, Attis, and Adonis only in the most extended of senses.[17] For example, after Isis gathered together the pieces of Osiris's dismembered body, Osiris became "Lord of the Underworld." This is a poor substitute for a resurrection like that of Jesus Christ. And, no claim can be made that Mithras was a dying and rising god. The tide of scholarly opinion has turned dramatically against attempts to make early Christianity dependent on the so-called dying and rising gods of Hellenistic paganism.[18] Any unbiased examination of the evidence shows that such claims must be rejected.

Christian Rebirth and Cultic Initiation Rites

Liberal writings on the subject are full of sweeping generalizations to the effect that early Christianity borrowed its notion of rebirth from the pagan mysteries.[19] But the evidence makes it clear that there was no pre-Christian doctrine of rebirth for the Christians to borrow. There are actually very few references to the notion of rebirth in the evidence that has survived, and even these are either very late or very ambiguous. They provide no help in settling the question of the source of the New Testament use of the concept. The claim that pre-Christian mysteries regarded their initiation rites as a kind of rebirth is unsupported by any evidence contemporary with such alleged practices. Instead, a view found in much later texts is read back into earlier rites, which are then interpreted quite speculatively as dramatic portrayals of the initiate's "new birth." The belief that pre-Christian mysteries used "rebirth" as a technical term lacks support from even one single text.

Most contemporary scholars maintain that the mystery use of the concept of rebirth (testified to only in evidence dated after A.D. 300) differs so significantly from its New Testament usage that any possibility of a close link is ruled out. The most that such scholars are willing to concede is the possibility that some Christians borrowed the metaphor or imagery from the common speech of the time and recast it to fit their distinctive theological beliefs. So even if the metaphor of rebirth was Hellenistic, its content within Christianity was unique.[20]


I conclude by noting seven points that undermine liberal efforts to show that first-century Christianity borrowed essential beliefs and practices from the pagan mystery religions.

(1) Arguments offered to "prove" a Christian dependence on the mysteries illustrate the logical fallacy of false cause. This fallacy is committed whenever someone reasons that just because two things exist side by side, one of them must have caused the other. As we all should know, mere coincidence does not prove causal connection. Nor does similarity prove dependence.

(2) Many alleged similarities between Christianity and the mysteries are either greatly exaggerated or fabricated. Scholars often describe pagan rituals in language they borrow from Christianity. The careless use of language could lead one to speak of a "Last Supper" in Mithraism or a "baptism" in the cult of Isis. It is inexcusable nonsense to take the word "savior" with all of its New Testament connotations and apply it to Osiris or Attis as though they were savior-gods in any similar sense.

(3) The chronology is all wrong. Almost all of our sources of information about the pagan religions alleged to have influenced early Christianity are dated very late. We frequently find writers quoting from documents written 300 years later than Paul in efforts to produce ideas that allegedly influenced Paul. We must reject the assumption that just because a cult had a certain belief or practice in the third or fourth century after Christ, it therefore had the same belief or practice in the first century.

(4) Paul would never have consciously borrowed from the pagan religions. All of our information about him makes it highly unlikely that he was in any sense influenced by pagan sources. He placed great emphasis on his early training in a strict form of Judaism (Phil. 3:5). He warned the Colossians against the very sort of influence that advocates of Christian syncretism have attributed to him, namely, letting their minds be captured by alien speculations (Col. 2:8).

(5) Early Christianity was an exclusivistic faith. As J. Machen explains, the mystery cults were nonexclusive. "A man could become initiated into the mysteries of Isis or Mithras without at all giving up his former beliefs; but if he were to be received into the Church, according to the preaching of Paul, he must forsake all other Saviors for the Lord Jesus Christ....Amid the prevailing syncretism of the Greco-Roman world, the religion of Paul, with the religion of Israel, stands absolutely alone."[21] This Christian exclusivism should be a starting point for all reflection about the possible relations between Christianity and its pagan competitors. Any hint of syncretism in the New Testament would have caused immediate controversy.

(6) Unlike the mysteries, the religion of Paul was grounded on events that actually happened in history. The mysticism of the mystery cults was essentially nonhistorical. Their myths were dramas, or pictures, of what the initiate went through, not real historical events, as Paul regarded Christ's death and resurrection to be. The Christian affirmation that the death and resurrection of Christ happened to a historical person at a particular time and place has absolutely no parallel in any pagan mystery religion.

(7) What few parallels may still remain may reflect a Christian influence on the pagan systems. As Bruce Metzger has argued, "It must not be uncritically assumed that the Mysteries always influenced Christianity, for it is not only possible but probable that in certain cases, the influence moved in the opposite direction."[22] It should not be surprising that leaders of cults that were being successfully challenged by Christianity should do something to counter the challenge. What better way to do this than by offering a pagan substitute? Pagan attempts to counter the growing influence of Christianity by imitating it are clearly apparent in measures instituted by Julian the Apostate, who was the Roman emperor from A.D. 361 to 363.A FINAL WORD

Liberal efforts to undermine the uniqueness of the Christian revelation via claims of a pagan religious influence collapse quickly once a full account of the information is available. It is clear that the liberal arguments exhibit astoundingly bad scholarship. Indeed, this conclusion may be too generous. According to one writer, a more accurate account of these bad arguments would describe them as "prejudiced irresponsibility."[23] But in order to become completely informed on these matters, wise readers will work through material cited in the brief bibliography.


1 See Ronald Nash, The Gospel and the Greeks (Richardson, TX: Probe Books, 1992). The book was originally published in 1984 under the title, Christianity and the Hellenist World.
2 I must pass over these Greek versions of the mystery cults. See Nash, 131-36.
3 Joseph Klausner, From Jesus to Paul (New York: Macmillan, 1943), 104.
4 See Edwin Yamauchi, "Easter -- Myth, Hallucination, or History?" Christianity Today, 29 March 1974, 660-63.
5 See Gunter Wagner, Pauline Baptism and the Pagan Mysteries (Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, 1967), 260ff.
6 When the ceremony used a lamb, it was the criobolium. Since lambs cost far less than bulls, this modification was rather common.
7 See Nash, chapter 9.
8 For more detail, see Nash, 143-48.
9 See Franz Cumont, The Mysteries of Mithra (Chicago: Open Court, 1903), 87ff.
10 Joscelyn Godwin, Mystery Religions in the Ancient World (New York: Harper and Row, 1981), 111.
11 See Nash, chapter 9.
12 See Herman Ridderbos, Paul: An Outline of His Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975), 24.
13 See Martin Hengel, The Son of God (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1976), 26.
14 Wagner, 284.
15 See W. K. C. Guthrie, Ortheus and Greek Religion, 2d ed. (London: Methuen, 1952), 268.
16 See A. D. Nock, "Early Gentile Christianity and Its Hellenistic Background," in Essays on the Trinity and the Incarnation, ed. A. E. J. Rawlinson (London: Longmans, Green, 1928), 106.
17 See J. Gresham Machen, The Origin of Paul's Religion (New York: Macmillan, 1925), 234-35.
18 See Nash, 161-99.
19 See Nash, 173-78.
20 See W. F. Flemington, The New Testament Doctrine of Baptism (London: SPCK, 1948), 76-81.
21 Machen, 9.
22 Bruce M. Metzger, Historical and Literary Studies: Pagan, Jewish, and Christian (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1968), 11. The possible parallels in view here would naturally be dated late, after A.D. 200 for the most part.
23 Gordon H. Clark, Thales to Dewey (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1957), 195.

Suggested Reading

- Seyoon Kim, The Origin of Paul's Gospel (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982).
- J. Gresham Machen, The Origin of Paul's Religion (New York: Macmillan, 1925).
- Ronald Nash, The Gospel and the Greeks (Richardson, TX: Probe Books, 1992).
- Gunter Wagner, Pauline Baptism and the Pagan Mysteries (Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, 1967).

By Ronald Nash, Copyright 1994 by the Christian Research Institute

Granville Sharp's Rule And Christologically Significant Verses

If any “rule” can exist in Koine Greek, the Granville Sharp Rule must qualify as the most contested yet most proven. Granville Sharp was the 18th century son of the Archbishop of York. He is best known for his work as an abolitionist but has left us a great legacy in his theological writings. Sharp had no formal education but, while working as a young apprentice to a London linen-draper, he taught himself Greek.

In his studies, Sharp discovered an important Greek idiom – the rule which now bears his name. He noticed that whenever an article+noun+“kai”+noun construction occurred, both nouns always referred to the same person. This construction is commonly called the “TSKS construction.” A key point to this rule is that only the first noun has the article (“the”) and the second noun is anarthrous. Additional points include that the nouns must be singular, personal, and not proper names.

The rule sounds more complicated than it really is. Here is an example in English so that you can see how the construction works: 2 Peter 2:20, “the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (τοῦ Κυρίου καὶ σωτῆρος ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ). This short clause has the article (“the”), noun (“Lord”), kai (“and”), and noun (“Savior”). Therefore, according to Sharp's rule, both of these nouns refer to the same person. In this context, they obviously both refer to Jesus.

Here are a few more instances:

Matthew 12:22, τον τυφλον και κωφον (the blind and dumb)

2 Corinthians 1:3, ὁ Θεὸς και πατηρ (the God and Father)

Ephesians 6:21, ὁ ἀγαπητὸς ἀδελφὸς και πιστος διάκονος (the beloved brother and faithful minister)

Hebrews 3:1, τον αποστολον και αρχιερεα (the Apostle and High Priest)

Revelation 16:15, ὁ γρηγορῶν καὶ τηρῶν (the one watching and keeping)

The context of these examples clearly demonstrates that both nouns in each verse are references to the same person. Setting aside textual variations, the TSKS construction occurs some 80 times in the NT and most scholars agree there are no exceptions to Sharp's rule.

Sharp's rule takes on considerable, theological significance when applied to two verses: Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1. Here are the verses in the Greek:

Titus 2:13, τοῦ μεγάλου Θεοῦ καὶ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ (the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ).

2 Peter 1:1, τοῦ Θεοῦ ἡμῶν καὶ σωτῆρος ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ (our God and Savior Jesus Christ).

In both of these verses, “God” has the article and “Savior” is anarthrous so, according to Sharp's rule, they are references to the same Person. In these contexts, that Person is Jesus. Therefore, this explicitly means that Jesus is both God and Savior.

Those who deny the divinity of Christ refuse to see what should be obvious. The usual objection raised is to question the intent of the original authors: was this “rule” in the minds of the writers as they penned the New Testament? Considering the frequency where the TSKS construction appears and the large number of unambiguous examples that exist in the NT, I would say the writers understood well and precisely meant to say that Jesus is God and Savior. Indeed, where such a large number of unambiguous examples exist, to insist that these two passages are exceptions is nothing more than special pleading.

Critiquing The Roman Catholic View On Justification

  • Presenting The Roman Catholic View Of Justification:
Click on image to get a better view
          -First of all, it should be noted that Roman Catholicism maintains that salvation (how one is made right with God) is a complicated, lifelong process that is maintained through the performance of good deeds. It is believed that original sin is washed away at baptism, and that the Holy Spirit infuses grace into souls to make them righteous. While the initial stage of justification is claimed to be unmerited and achieved through water baptism, the progressive stage is maintained throughout life by means of charitable works, obedience to church laws, and participation in church rituals (CCC 980, 1459, 1460, 2010, 2068, 2080). In summary, the Church of Rome teaches that one must partake in the seven sacraments, obey the Ten Commandments, pray to saints, and obtain indulgences in order to merit eternal salvation in heaven. This is unmistakably a works-based justification system.
  • Consider The Following Quote From The Council Of Trent:
          -"If any one saith, that the justice received is not preserved and also increased before God through good works; but that the said works are merely the fruits and signs of Justification obtained, but not a cause of the increase thereof; let him be anathema.” (Canon XXIV)
  • Consider This Excerpt From The Apostolic Constitution On Indulgences:
          -“Good works, particularly those which human frailty finds difficult, were also offered to God for the salvation of sinners from the Church's most ancient times.”
  • Consider This Excerpt From The Roman Catholic Catechism:
          -“The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation.” (CCC # 1129)
          -"We can divide up this process into a number of stages: first, there is an initial justification which occurs at conversion; second, there is a progressive justification which occurs as a person grows in righteousness; and lastly there is a final justification which occurs on the last day. There is also the possibility of a loss of justification and a subsequent re-justification which occurs when a believer returns to the faith."
  • Consider This Excerpt From The New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia Online:
          -"Although the sinner is justified by the justice of Christ, inasmuch as the Redeemer has merited for him the grace of justification (causa meritoria), nevertheless he is formally justified and made holy by his own personal justice and holiness (causa formalis)."
  • Contrasting The Teachings Of The Roman Catholic Church With Scripture:
          -On the contrary, the New Testament Scriptures never recognize a distinction between the phases of progressive and initial justification. Nowhere does the Bible instruct us to split justification, as has been done by the modern Church of Rome. The written Word of God contains no examples, descriptions, or even explanations of this twofold process of justification taught by Roman Catholicism. Neither is biblical grace viewed as a substance that is transferred through physical objects and rituals (sacraments). A courtroom analogy is used to describe the instantaneous event of justification. We see words that have strong legal overtones such as impute, reckon, and counted (Romans 4). Romans 8:33-34 uses forensic categories. This means that God declares us to be righteous. God the Judge declares our status with Him, whether we be pronounced justified or condemned in His sight. Old Testament texts such as Deuteronomy 25:21, 1 Kings 8:32, Job 9:20, 13:18, and Proverbs 17:15 use the term "justify" in a legal sense. Paul drew his understanding of that term from the Old Testament. Justification is not a lengthy, ongoing process that is maintained through good works (Luke 18:9-14; Romans 5:1; 1 John 5:13). He is even given the title of Judge in Scripture (Genesis 18:25). The Old Testament writers even resort to legal imagery within the context of God pronouncing judgement (Micah 6:1-2; Isaiah 41:21). There is no such thing as being “partially saved.” According to the Bible, we are either justified or not. It cannot be both ways. Our righteousness is based on the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Philippians 3:8-9). He was punished on our behalf (Isaiah 53; 1 Peter 2:24). Justification is accomplished by the grace of God through our faith in the atonement sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ, and that alone (John 3:16). Works have absolutely no bearing on our justification in His sight (Romans 4:2-8; Ephesians 2:8-9; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5-7). We cannot possibly merit our justification, not even by keeping the Law (Romans 3:20; 27-28). Our own righteousness could never save us from eternal condemnation in hell because God’s Law demands perfect righteousness (Deuteronomy 27:26; Galatians 3:10-11; James 2:10-11). Our own righteousness is imperfect at best (Psalm 130:3-4; Isaiah 64:6; Mark 10:18). So Christ needed to obey the law perfectly in our place so that we could be redeemed (John 4:34; Romans 5:18-19; Galatians 4:4-5; Philippians 2:8; Hebrews 4:15; 1 John 3:5). Justification is strictly a free gift of God offered to us out of His love for us (John 3:16; Romans 3:24-26). It is not something we can earn, even in part. Justification is by faith, apart from the merit of good works (Galatians 2:16). Those who add their works to faith in Christ for salvation are in reality frustrating the grace of God (Galatians 2:21). Scripture equates doing good deeds with the intention of meriting justification with living according to the flesh (Galatians 3:2-4). The Law requires perfect obedience (Galatians 3:10-11). Scripture affirms that everybody has broken God's commandments. Thus, seeking justification through good works has been rendered an impossibility (Galatians 3:22). In fact, those who seek justification by works have severed themselves from God's grace (Galatians 5:4-5). Jesus Christ will be of no benefit to those who add even one work to His work on the cross (Galatians 5:2). A works-based gospel is a complete departure from the sufficiency of Christ, and so is a false gospel which has no power at all to save (Galatians 1:6-12). The gospel is based on the work of Christ alone and is to be received by faith alone.
  • Sanctification:
          -The process that concerns our spiritual growth is called sanctification, which means to be set apart by God according to His purpose. It is the process of God conforming us to the image of His Son Jesus Christ (Romans 8:28-30; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 9:13-14). This begins after conversion. We contribute to this process through good works with inexpressible gratitude for what God has done for us, not because we earn eternal salvation. While the Church of Rome correctly denies that works save us, the hierarchy contradicts itself when it requires that people do things in order to obtain salvation in heaven. Justification is either obtained by God’s grace, or solely by human effort. It cannot be both ways at the same time (Romans 11:6). Grace is unmerited. It is entirely a gift of God. Salvation is not something that we deserve (Romans 3:23; 6:23). Justification is by faith alone, but is never alone. Works will always accompany a genuinely saving faith. They are the result, not the cause, of a saving faith. Works are simply the product of faith. We are saved in order to do good works (Ephesians 2:10). Nonetheless, the biblical gospel is a gospel of grace, not law. The biblical gospel is not a works or performance based gospel. If we can make amends for sin, then Christ's atonement is either insufficient or unnecessary. The simple, biblical answer to the question of how man is made right with God is to believe on Him (Acts 16:29-31). We are to place our trust in Him. The Bible defines the Gospel as the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-8). Never is baptism, sacraments, observance of special days, or any other Roman Catholic concept prescribed in Scripture as criteria for salvation. These were "added" by man to the biblical gospel.
  • Comments On The “Logizomai” Controversy:
          -Critics of imputed righteousness occasionally argue that the Greek word logizomai that is found in commonly cited proof-texts such as Romans 4:5 do not mean “crediting” or “reckoning” righteousness to our account, but rather refer to as being “considered as” righteous. Even though the word can without a doubt mean what detractors of vicarious atonement claim fits with other scriptural passages, we also know from texts such as 2 Timothy 4:16 that logizomai can mean impute something on somebody’s behalf. So we can logically interpret the Greek word in the sense of the Lord Jesus Christ’s righteousness being credited to our account. Furthermore, opponents of penal substitutionary theory have the dilemma of explaining what it means for God to not impute sin to believers in passages such as Psalm 32:1-2, Romans 4:7-8, and 2 Corinthians 5:19. God credits righteousness to Christians "apart from works." Their sins have been "forgiven" and "covered" (Romans 4:7-8). God declares believers to be righteous, just as He declares unbelievers to be unrighteous. Justification is not an ongoing process, anymore than condemnation is an ongoing process. This source sheds more light on the meaning of this Greek term found in Romans 4, "The word logizomai is a bookkeeping term that means “to put on one’s record” or “to credit to one’s account.” In the Greek translation of the Old Testament (the Septuagint), the term often appears where individuals must treat a person or object as if it were something other than what it is inherently. For example, when the Levites received tithes, they were not to treat these tithes as actual tithes that had already been devoted to the Lord. Instead, they had to regard these tithes as their income and then pay a tithe to the Lord themselves from what had been given to them. Inherently, what the people gave were tithes. But the Levites reckoned them as income (Num. 18:25–32). Taking this all together, we see that in Romans 4 logizomai means to credit something to a person’s account and regard that person not according to what he has done or who he is but according to what is credited to his account." In the case of Romans 4:3, the word transliterated autō means "to him". This is important because it signifies what is being done in the "reckoning" or the "accounting". God is not looking at what is in Abraham, but He is giving to him something that he does not have. It is clear that the direction of the "counting" is from God to Abraham and not from Abraham to God.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

An Example Of Inconsistency In Liberal Logic

"Liberals support the "right" of an abortionist to kill a woman's unborn baby; of the state to terminate life (euthanasia); and the intentional destruction of human embryos for scientific research (embryonic stem cell research), but don't support the death penalty for convicted murderers because they say that is cruel, unjust and inhumane. The advocates of "choice" claim "innocent" people could unfairly die."

Gregg Jackson, Conservative Comebacks to Liberal Lies, p. 142

Does Romans 2:13 Refute Justification By Faith Alone?

         "For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be saved." (Romans 2:13)

         There was a group of Jews who believed that they could be saved by keeping the Law (Romans 2:17). In other words, some Jewish people were relying upon the keeping of the Mosaic Law to save them. In response, the Apostle Paul dedicates much time to reprimanding them. He goes on (Romans 2:18-3:19) to call the Jews hypocrites because they had in reality failed to obey the Law. He finishes his indictment against them by saying, "Therefore, by the deeds of the law there shall be no flesh be justified in His sight: for by the knowledge of the law is the knowledge of sin" (Romans 3:20). Romans 3:27-28 declares, "Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law." Romans 2:13 is a part of a developing argument. In this passage, the Apostle Paul was speaking in a hypothetical sense to illustrate the point that we are not faithful to God's Law. That is why it condemns us. The "doers" of the Law will be "justified" because their hearts have been transformed (Romans 2:14-15). We are not justified through a system of works righteousness. People can only be justified in God's sight by His grace through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Historic Quotes On The Second Amendment

"The Militia is composed of free Citizens. There is therefore no danger of their making use of their power to the destruction of their own rights, or suffering others to invade them."

Samuel Adams, Writings, p. 251

"The Constitution shall never be construed to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms."

Samuel Adams, Massachusetts Ratifying Convention, 1788

"The police of a state should never be stronger or better armed than the citizenry. An armed citizenry, willing to fight, is the foundation of civil freedom."

Robert A. Heinlein, Chapter 9, “When we die, do we die all over?”, p. 97

"A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined…"

George Washington, First Annual Address, to both House of Congress, January 8, 1790

"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms"

Thomas Jefferson, Virginia Constitution, Draft 1, 1776

"A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be your constant companion of your walks."

Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, August 19, 1785

"The Constitution of most of our states (and of the United States) assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed."

Thomas Jefferson, letter to to John Cartwright, 5 June 1824

"On every occasion [of Constitutional interpretation] let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying [to force] what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, [instead let us] conform to the probable one in which it was passed."

Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Johnson, 12 June 1823

"I ask who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people, except a few public officers."

George Mason, Address to the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 4, 1788

"Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of."

James Madison, Federalist No. 46, January 29, 1788

"The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country."

James Madison, I Annals of Congress 434, June 8, 1789

"A militia when properly formed are in fact the people themselves…and include, according to the past and general usuage of the states, all men capable of bearing arms… To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them."

Richard Henry Lee, Federal Farmer No. 18, January 25, 1788

"Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined.... The great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able might have a gun."

Patrick Henry, Speech to the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 5, 1778

"This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty.... The right of self defense is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any color or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction."

St. George Tucker, Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England, 1803

"The supposed quietude of a good man allures the ruffian; while on the other hand, arms, like law, discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. The balance of power is the scale of peace. The same balance would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside. And while a single nation refuses to lay them down, it is proper that all should keep them up. Horrid mischief would ensue were one-half the world deprived of the use of them; for while avarice and ambition have a place in the heart of man, the weak will become a prey to the strong. The history of every age and nation establishes these truths, and facts need but little arguments when they prove themselves."

Thomas Paine, "Thoughts on Defensive War" in Pennsylvania Magazine, July 1775

"What, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty....Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins."

Rep. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, I Annals of Congress 750, August 17, 1789

"If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, and which against the usurpations of the national rulers, may be exerted with infinitely better prospect of success than against those of the rulers of an individual state. In a single state, if the persons intrusted with supreme power become usurpers, the different parcels, subdivisions, or districts of which it consists, having no distinct government in each, can take no regular measures for defense. The citizens must rush tumultuously to arms, without concert, without system, without resource; except in their courage and despair."

Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 28

"[I]f circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people while there is a large body of citizens, little, if at all, inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their own rights and those of their fellow-citizens. This appears to me the only substitute that can be devised for a standing army, and the best possible security against it, if it should exist."

Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 28, January 10, 1788

Monday, March 12, 2018

Debunking The Egyptian Corruption Argument

  • How King James Version Only Advocates Reason:
          -Members of the King James Version Only Movement commonly argue that since a number of the Greek manuscripts which form the basis of our modern Bible translations originated in Alexandria, Egypt, and because there were men who defended heretical views such as Origin who inhabited this city, that these English translations are inevitably corrupt due to the alleged transmission of textual perversions present in the Greek texts.
  • Refuting The Allegation Of Corruption In The Alexandrian Manuscripts:
          -The underlying problem with this line of argumentation is that it is simply fictional in nature; made up. The concept of an Alexandrian cult is mythical. There were people who held to orthodox theology in every corner of the early church, just as there were people who upheld heterodox theological views. Furthermore, the area from which the Byzantine manuscripts were produced, Antioch, was once infested with the heresy of Arianism, which maintained that Jesus Christ was a created being. Athanasias, the Patriarch of Alexandria, vigorously upheld the deity of Christ. All of this took place in the third century. 
          -Even if we were to grant the premises of this KJV only Egyptian corruption argument as being valid, it nevertheless remains that the Lord is sovereign over all creation. God can do whatever He pleases. Christ was taken from Israel as an infant to Egypt to escape the infanticide campaign set forth by Herod. Apollos, a man from Alexandria, Egypt, was "mighty in the Scriptures" (Acts 18:24). So, if Egypt is meant to be a category representing Satan, then that would be true for the rest of the world. In that case, this KJV only argument would be self-defeating because there would be no place safe enough for God to preserve His Word on earth. Sin has defiled the entirety of God's creation. Moreover, He used unbelieving Jews to accurately preserve the Old Testament.
          -If the same exegetical principles are applied to each of the known New Testament manuscript families, then we will inevitably reach the same doctrinal conclusions. In other words, the Alexandrian, Byzantine, and Western manuscript families reflect the same deposit of faith delievered by the apostles. The New Testament reads over ninety percent of the time identically in each manuscript family, with most textual variances bearing no significance and relevance. Not one endangers the veracity of Christian claims. The New Testament documents alone are almost one hundred percent textually pure. It is preserved in a quantity of manuscript evidence. The three manuscript families will inevitably have similarities because they were ultimately derived from the same original source. Ironically, both King James Version only advocates and apostate liberals advance the same logic regarding the nature of manuscripts to reach their verdicts. Both grossly exaggerate the nature and extent of textual differences. 
          -While King James Version only advocates contend that older does not mean better, the truth of the matter is that newer does not mean better. New Testament manuscripts were produced fairly quickly after the timing the originals were penned, which also means that heretics did not have time to deceive people by producing counterfeits. Copies were produced in mass amounts, which would lead heretics to exposure. Heretics were publicly rebuked by orthodox members of the Christian church. Notice that many of the cults which arose in the eighteen hundreds used the King James Version as their primary text.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

"Jesus Never Asked For A New Testament," A Strange Roman Catholic Quibble

  • Discussion:
          -Sometimes Roman Catholic apologists argue against Sola Scriptura by asserting that Jesus Christ never commanded the twelve apostles to write Scripture.

          The first way that one could counter this objection is to ask, "How do you know that?" It cannot be proven that Christ never said for His disciples to write down certain teachings at a later point in time. It is not as if the Roman Catholic apologists were alive in the first century to acquire such information. So, it is obvious that the claim that Jesus never asked for a New Testament is baseless and is merely designed to denegrade the authority of Scripture.

          Moreover, who said that Jesus had to specifically tell His disciples to write Scripture? Why does that even matter? If we were not supposed to have the New Testament, then it would simply not exist. Interestingly, Jesus did command the Apostle John to write down His teachings:

          "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.” (Revelation 1:10-11)

          "and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this." (Revelation 1:18-19)

          Those same apostles whom Christ had commissioned to preach the gospel knew that their writings were divinely inspired and thus to be considered inherently authoritative:

          "If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord." (1 Corinthians 14:37)

          "If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed." (2 Thessalonians 3:14)

          "how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit." (Ephesians 3:3-5)

          "and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction." (2 Peter 3:15-16)

          One may ask, "Why would Jesus Christ not want His teaching to be written down as Scripture?" The upcoming production of the New Testament was implied by Him saying that the Holy Spirit would lead the twelve disciples to all truth (John 16:13). Scripture was produced as the apostles died off and the Lord's return seemed distant.

          The Roman Catholic Church is chiefly focused on proclaiming the authority of its own papal office to the world. That is something which Jesus Christ never instructed the apostles to do. He never once mentioned the establishment of an infallible interpreter of Scripture.