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Paulianity Refuted By Sam Shamo....BART EHRMAN

QUESTION:

There is no doubt that Paul had visions of Jesus. And as we all agree the gospels (and Acts for that matter) were written AFTER Paul and certainly influenced BY Paul. In one way or another they reflect his way of thinking (to a certain degree).

Wouldn’t it be possible that the story of visions started with Paul only and was incorporated into the gospels because… well, how could it be that Jesus appeared to Paul and not to his disciples?
I find it suspicious that there are such deep discrepancies in the different accounts of Jesus post-resurrection appearances….

In other words: Couldn’t Paul be the sole starting point of this vision thing?

RESPONSE:

This question gets to the heart of a very big issue: what was Paul’s role in the development of early Christianity. Is he responsible for starting it? Was he the first to claim that Jesus had appeared after his death, as the risen Lord of life? Is Paul the real founder of Christianity? Should we call it Paulianity?

Maybe I’ll devote a post or two to that question, as it is completely fundamental to understanding the beginnings of the Christian religion. In this post I’ll deal with the question this reader has asked directly; my answer will, of course, be related to the larger issue.

So my basic view is that Paul could not have been the sole source for the idea that Jesus was raised from the dead. I have a very big reason for thinking that he was not, and a subsidiary reason for it. There are probably lots of other reasons, but these two stand out in my mind.

As to the big reason. Paul…

To see this and other posts in full http://ehrmanblog.org/did-paul-invent-the-resurrection-for-members/ and join the blog by clicking the "Register" button!

Is Nabeel Qureshi a former Muslim?

Recently ITAZ Ahmad made an utterly bizarre effort to undermine the credibility and authenticity of Nabeel Qureshi by asserting Mirza Ghulam Ahmad claimed to be God Almighty. 

In this sense how could Nabeel be a Muslim at all since he wasn't a Unitarian who submitted to God alone?

However a simple fact-check would help one understand Mirza never himself claimed to be God.

While there is no doubt that Nabeel was never part of Orthodox Sunni or Shia Islam. A valid question still remains, was he a genuine Muslim? An adherent of Islam who is now a former Muslim?

Lets define what a Muslim is:
The first thing that one should know and clearly understand about Islam is what the word "Islam" itself means. The Arabic word ''Islam'' means the submission or surrender of one's will to the only true God, known in Arabic as "Allah". One who submits his will to God is termed in Arabic a "Muslim". (source)
And:
"Both "Muslim" and "Islam" come from the same root: "S", "L", "M" (silm) -
meaning; "to submit in peace"; "surrender in obedience"; and this immediately implies a relationship between two entities, one being superior to the other or in charge of matters." (source)
This is the exact same chain of reasoning Muslims utilize to argue Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and Jesus were "Muslims". They are Muslims in the sense that they surrendered their will to God.

Bart Ehrman Gone Under The Islamic Camel Bus

It was only a matter of time until Muslims decided to throw Biblical Scholar Bart Ehrman under the bus.

The first one being ITAZ Ahmad, in one of his latest blog posts asserts:

"There are some in the inter-faith dialogue community who condemn Muslims for being hypocritical for accepting some views of Ehrman and not all of his views. Why should Muslims accept all of Ehrman’s views? His views aren’t part of Islamic teachings, and if he writes something that is somehow related to Islamic teachings and some Muslims want to adopt those views because of a correlation, then they are free to weigh which views are acceptable and which aren’t. Rejecting some of his views is part of the critical thinking process, it is far too infantile to generalize Ehrman’s views and dictate that Muslims must either accept them all or reject them all, that’s clearly an appeal to the fallacy of a false dichotomy. There is a third option, weigh what he says against Islamic beliefs and use them accordingly.
In conclusion, Ehrman is not the be all and end all of information on Christianity. He certainly isn’t for me, but his views, especially on the Bible’s preservation are shared by vast portions of the textual criticism community, even if Muslims had to disregard anything written by Ehrman there is still quite a significant array of literature and authors who agree with him that we can learn from. Therefore, we say to those who condemn Muslims for reading his works, it’s silly to focus on the man behind the work, the real problem lies with the information he makes accessible to the Muslim community, the Christian community and to the larger public. So, focus on dealing with the information and not the person. Far too many Evangelicals and Polemicists are zealous in their abuse of Muslims for reading his works, when most of them are unaware of what his works actually contain. What a sad state such people are in."

Predictably no documentation was provided for the assertion that Evangelicals abuse Muslims for reading Ehrman. But then ITAZ has an odd mental fixation with what he perceives as abuse. We also didn't get any documentation for the claim that Biblical Scholars accept Ehrman's philosophical conclusions about textual criticism. A distinction ought to be made. The facts he reports are widely accepted, his own personal conclusions are frequently disputed.

But we did learn some rather interesting provocative thought for all Muslims:


  • Why should Muslims accept all of Ehrman’s views? His views aren’t part of Islamic teachings
  • Weigh what he says against Islamic beliefs and use them accordingly.
  • Ehrman is not the be all and end all of information on Christianity
  • Rejecting some of his views is part of the critical thinking process

Well I'm sure many a Christian couldn't have said it better! 

DaQuavia Glover majoring in social science will have a up coming website

Her purpose for her website  is to inspire people and giving women hope to strive during tough times.
Once being abused, neglected, mentally destroyed by her past boyfriend, forsaken by her father , death of a younger brother which was gang related and coming from a household of growing pains, she has experienced first hand real life issues. She has overcome many obstacles and now seeks to reach out to those who are going through or has gone through similar circumstances.

Is Jesus God? Catholic vs Erhman

Erhman Debunks Injeel

If we had the Injeel? What would it actually look like? Bart Erhman obviously doesn't believe it would look like Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. But what about if we had something more closer to Jesus?

Erhman provides a fascinating answer:

"THOSE OF US WHO are deeply invested in the early Christian traditions would give a great deal to discover a Gospel written by one of the first followers of Jesus a year or so after his resurrection. Unfortunately, we almost certainly never will. Jesus’s disciples were lower-class, illiterate peasants from remote rural areas of Galilee, where very few people could read, let alone write, and let alone create full-scale compositions. We don’t know of a single author from that time and place, Jewish or Christian, who was capable of producing a Gospel even had she or he thought of doing so. The first followers of Jesus probably never thought of doing so. They, like Jesus, anticipated that the end of the age was imminent, that the Son of Man—now thought to be Jesus himself—was soon to come from heaven in judgment on the earth and to usher in God’s good kingdom. These people had no thought of recording the events of Jesus’s life for posterity because in a very real sense, there was not going to be a posterity.

But even if the original apostles had been forward-looking and concerned about the needs of posterity (or at least the longings of twenty-first-century historians), they would not have been able to write a Gospel. The only way they could pass on the story of Jesus was by word of mouth. And so they told the stories to one another, to their converts, and to their converts’ converts. This happened year after year, until some decades later, in different parts of the world, highly educated Greek-speaking Christians wrote down the traditions they had heard, thereby producing the Gospels we still have.

Even so, historians can at least dream, and even if it is an idle dream, it is worth considering what a Gospel written in the year 31 CE by one of the surviving disciples might have looked like. If the views I have presented in this chapter are anywhere near correct, this imagined Gospel would look very different from the ones we have now inherited—and its view of Jesus would not at all be the view that came to be dominant among later theologians when Christianity became the official religion of the Roman world.

This nonexistent Gospel would be filled with the teachings of Jesus as he went from village to town proclaiming that the kingdom of God was soon to arrive with the coming of the Son of Man. The day of judgment was imminent, and people needed to prepare for it. My guess is that this Gospel would not be filled with the miraculous things that Jesus had done. He would not spend his days healing the sick, calming the storm, feeding the multitudes, casting out demons, and raising the dead. Those stories were to come later, as Jesus’s followers described his early life in light of his later exaltation. Instead, this Gospel would tell in detail, probably from eyewitness reports, what happened during the last week of Jesus’s life, when he made a pilgrimage with some of his followers to Jerusalem and enraged the local authorities with his outburst in the temple and his incendiary preaching of the imminent coming of judgment—a cataclysmic destruction that would be directed not only against the Roman oppressors, but also against the ruling authorities among the Jews, the elite priests and their followers.

The great highlight of the Gospel, though, would come at the end. Jesus had been rejected by the scribes and elders of the people and handed over to Pontius Pilate, who found him guilty for insurrection against the state. To put a decisive end to his troublemaking, rabble-rousing nonsense, Pilate had ordered him crucified

But even though Jesus had been unceremoniously executed by the power of Rome, his story was not yet 
over. For he had appeared to his disciples, alive again. How could he still be alive? It was not because he survived crucifixion. No, God had raised him, bodily, from the dead.

And why is he still not among us? Because God not only brought him back to life, he exalted him up to heaven as his own Son, to sit on a throne at God’s right hand, to rule as the messiah of Israel and the Lord of all, until he comes back as the cosmic judge of the earth, very soon.

In this Gospel Jesus would not have become the Son of God for his entire ministry, starting with his baptism, as in the Gospel of Mark and in a tradition retained in the Gospel of Luke. And he would not have been the Son of God for the whole of his life, beginning with his conception by a virgin who was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit so that her son would be God’s own offspring, as in Luke and in traditions preserved by Matthew. Nor would he be a divine being who preexisted his coming into the world, as attested by such authors as Paul and John. No, he became the Son of God when God worked his greatest miracle on him, raising him from the dead and adopting him as his Son by exalting him to his right hand and bestowing upon him his very own power, prestige, and status." [Bart D. Ehrman. HOW JESUS BECAME GOD: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee, Kindle Edition (San Francisco, CA: HarperCollins, 2014.) pp. 208-209]

Notes:

  • Erhman thinks the Injeel was not even conceived of by Jesus or his disciples
  • If it was conceived of there would be no way for them to write it or preserve it due to their own intellectual incapacity
  • However if such a gospel did exist it would primarily focus on Jesus last week not his teachings or miracles (sorry Quran and Muslims!)
  • It would come from eye witnesses reports (not Allah)
  • It would report Jesus crucifixion under Pilot (bye Q 4:157)
  • It would report the disciples believed Jesus rose from the dead, rather than surviving crucifixion (so long Islamic swoon theory and apparent death theorybye Deedat and Ally)
  • It would testify Jesus became the Son of God at his Resurrection (umm Allah has no divinely adopted Son)
  • Because Jesus became the Son of God at his Resurrection it would show how he is highly exalted and worshiped as the divine Son of Man, a divine judge and ruler, the King-Messiah and Sovereign Lord over God's creation. (Sounds like Issa, not)

Can you be a Christian and accept Bart Erhman's Book? A Controversial Yet Possible View Point

I think Erhman offers one possible view, but there is a secondary view I believe is more convincing (also adhered to by many Scholars) which I will endeavor to go through later. But for now I ask:

How can you be a Christian and believe in a developing Christology?

Erhman explains:
THE VIEW THAT THE earliest Christians understood Jesus to have become the Son of God at his resurrection is not revolutionary among scholars of the New Testament. One of the greatest scholars of the second half of the twentieth century was Raymond Brown, a Roman Catholic priest who spent a large chunk of his career teaching students at the (Protestant) Union Theological Seminary in New York City.  
Brown wrote books that were challenging and insightful for fellow biblical scholars and books that were accessible and enlightening for the layperson. 
Among his most famous contributions was a way of sketching the development of early Christian views of Jesus. Brown agreed with the view I have mapped out here: the earliest Christians held that God had exalted Jesus to a divine status at his resurrection. (This shows, among other things, that this is not simply a “skeptical” view or a “secular” view of early Christology; it is one held by believing scholars as well.) Brown pointed out that you can trace a kind of chronological development of this view through the Gospels. This oldest Christology of all may be found in the preliterary traditions in Paul and the book of Acts, but it is not the view presented in any of the Gospels. Instead, as we will see at greater length the oldest Gospel, Mark, seems to assume that it was at his baptism that Jesus became the Son of God; the next Gospels, Matthew and Luke, indicate that Jesus became the Son of God when he was born; and the last Gospel, John, presents Jesus as the Son of God from before creation. In Brown’s view this chronological sequencing of the Gospels may well indeed be how Christians developed their views. Originally, Jesus was thought to have been exalted only at the resurrection; as Christians thought more about the matter, they came to think that he must have been the Son of God during his entire ministry, so that he became the Son of God at its outset, at baptism; as they thought even more about it, they came to think he must have been the Son of God for his entire life, and so he was born of a virgin and in that sense was the (literal) Son of God; and as they thought about it more again, they came to think that he must have been the Son of God even before he came into the world, and so they said he was a preexistent divine being
The problem with this chronological sequencing of the Gospels is that it does not reflect the actual chronological development of early Christian views of Jesus. That is to say, even though it is true that these are the views as they develop through the Gospels (from the earliest to the latest), some Christians were saying that Jesus was a preexistent being (a “later” view) EVEN BEFORE Paul began to write in the 50s—WELL BEFORE our earliest Gospel was written. The reality is—and Brown would not have disagreed with thisviews of Jesus did not develop along a straight line in every part of early Christianity and at the same rate. Different Christians in different churches in different regions had different views of Jesus, almost from the get-go. Bart D. Ehrman. HOW JESUS BECAME GOD: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee, Kindle Edition (San Francisco, CA: HarperCollins, 2014.) pp. 201-202
As you can see, Erhman rather explicitly renounces his previous belief of a kind of chronological order of evolutionary christology. Erhman being a scholar had to concede this point, because there is no evidence for these types of assumptions, in other words there is no "snow ball evolving Christology" as Muslims like Shabir Ally have argued in the past.

One implication Erhman makes is completely correct. Christians from different regions did not have an entirely complete christology, they did not have access to the entire New Testament or all the apostles, most only seemed to possess one gospel or perhaps a few epistles. This means it is through stewardship and God's guidance that the canon, hymns, creeds and other traditions came to be collected. Wisdom and knowledge increased from the Holy Spirit and a multitude of pastoral and missionary work and contact with other churches.

The writings were eventually circulating and assimilated. The early picture and understanding of Christ became more complete and clearer with the integration of the epistles and early canons, and appointed prophets, teachers and so forth. What we then see from the beginning (as Erhman highlights) is that all of these views were taught. To argue that these views were so different as to be incompatible is an argument from silence, and ignores the clear indication that these views were integrated and not exclusive (to be expounded upon in a future post, remember: Bart Erhman often equates what he feels are incompatible or mutually exclusive theologies with others from the past which would be anachronistic). There is no contradiction between any of these views, but rather only an expansion of individual knowledge and intellectual ascent.

(Watch Out For An Upcoming Critique of Erhman's Work I Am Going To Post, Since There Is Another Similar Yet Different Scholarly Position That Seems More Convincing)

Is New Testament Against Women? ~ Bart Erhman

"We have good reasons for thinking that women were particularly well represented in early Christian communities. We know from the letters of Paul—from passages such as Romans 16—that women played crucial leadership roles in the churches: ministering as deacons, leading the services in their homes, engaging in missionary activities. Paul speaks of one woman in the Roman church as “foremost among the apostles” (Junia in Rom. 16:7). 
Women are also reputed to have figured prominently in Jesus’s ministry, throughout the Gospels. This may well have been the case, historically. But in any event, there is nothing implausible in thinking that women who found their newfound Christian communities personally liberating told stories about Jesus in light of their own situations, so that women were portrayed as playing a greater part in the life and death of Jesus than they actually did, historically. It does not take a great deal of imagination to think that female storytellers indicated that women were the first to believe in the resurrection, after finding Jesus’s tomb empty. 
Moreover, this claim that women found the empty tomb makes the best sense of the realities of history. Preparing bodies for burial was commonly the work of women, not men. And so why wouldn’t the stories tell of women who went to prepare the body? Moreover, if, in the stories, they are the ones who went to the tomb to anoint the body, naturally they would be the ones who found the tomb empty." Bart D. Ehrman. HOW JESUS BECAME GOD: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee, Kindle Edition (San Francisco, CA: HarperCollins, 2014.) p 144

Documentary By Keith Thompson: "Reformed Answers on the Roman Corruption of Christianity"

Keith Thompson is the man, we have waited a long long time for this film and finally he ends up with an 8 hour documentary (and an upcoming book on the same subject!). Definitely donate to Keith or support his ministry if you are financially capable, he has really put a staggering amount of effort into this.



If you're led to support the ministry, consider buying a copy of the DVD at: www.reformedapologeticsministries.com

My Thoughts


Before Seeing the Film


These are my thoughts before watching the documentary. 

Admittedly I don't know much about the Roman Catholic/Protestant controversies, I studied this more back in 2005-2009 period. 

I have only recently renewed my faith, so I believe I am just a babe in Christ in terms of my knowledge of these issues. 

I certainly don't have a clue what Martin Luther's 91 thesis are. But I am faintly familiar with the 5 solas, perhaps more sola scriptura and sola fide.

To describe my current view. Personally I don't feel comfortable with assumption of Mary/prayers to the deceased, and have never been compelled intellectually to accept papal jurisdiction and infallibility. The Eucharist from what I know has alot of ancient support, (although I'm aware not unanimous) and seems to be something worthy of serious consideration. 

On the other side: Sola Scriptura to me on the service level doesn't seem all to convincing, perhaps something like Primia Scriptura.

Other side issues like Maryam Dogmas: Mary Mother of God, Immaculate Conception, Mary's perpetual virginity, whether Jesus had brothers etc, are irrelevant for me personally, I wouldn't join/reject a Church based on these factors. 

After The Film


(Soon To Update With My Thoughts)

Happy Easter All! - Personal Update

This will be the first Easter in a long time, that I have renewed trust in God, I didn't ever think I would acquire God-belief again and it's still difficult at times, so it's amazing that I can think of God as a real person who is interactive with all our lives during this Easter season. 

I have not been to Church (other than weddings and other events) for along long time, so I am thinking about going on Resurrection Sunday, now that I believe in the Triune Lord and Resurrection of Christ, I have no idea which Church to pop into though, and I'm not at all interested in disputing Church doctrines just serving God. 

Today is a day we remember the death of Christ, I managed to see the movie "Son of God" for the first time, still haven't seen "Noah" yet. 

Many millennia ago God stepped among us and became a lowly human servant who suffered as we suffer, experienced pain like we do and faced all the same temptations we share in, despite earthly and spiritual torment, Jesus preached one of most beautiful messages to those who have an ear to hear.

God not only gave us the most morally attractive message, he put himself in our shoes, and placed his love of others above and beyond the love of himself, in taking the burden and yolk of humans upon himself. 

Jesus said:
" My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends...I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. (John 15:11-15 ) 
This event was alluded to 700 years earlier in the book of Isaiah 53.What a wonderful Lord and great Savior I will praise him with all other Christians. 

I leave you with this video, which I'm sure reflects the message in all our hearts as we give thanks to our glorious Father, and unchanging Son, who reveal themselves in love and grace. Thank you Yeshua for your sacrifice.

Personal Blog of Mark Bennett

Blog Of Mark Bennett with Jose Joesph

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