Is Roman Catholic Views of Tradition, Biblical?

This is from a larger debate between Ken Samples and Fr. Mitch Pacwa . I think this intro does it’s due diligence in explaining many of the false views I have heard from people as of late. In other words, one should not define Protestants as believing Sola Scriptura wrongly, and then responding to this false view.

The below is from an excellent book by William Webster:

  • William Webster, Salvation, The Bible, and Roman Catholicism (Edinburgh, UK: Banner of Truth Trust, 1990), 13-20

AUTHORITATIVE STATEMENTS OF ROMAN CATHOLIC TEACHING ON TRADITION AND THE WORD OF GOD

The Documents of Vatican II

Hence there exist a close connection and communication between sacred tradition and sacred Scripture. For both of them, flowing from the same divine wellspring, in a certain way merge into a unity and tend toward the same end. For sacred Scripture is the word of God inasmuch as it is consigned to writing under the inspiration of the divine Spirit. To the successors of the apostles, sacred tradition hands on in its full purity God’s word, which was entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit . . . Consequently, it is not from sacred Scripture alone that the Church draws her certainty about everything which has been revealed. Therefore both sacred tradition and sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same sense of devotion and reverence. Sacred tradition and sacred Scripture form one sacred deposit of the word of God, which is committed to the Church.[1]

The Question and Answer Catholic Catechism

59. Where do we find the truths revealed by God?

We find the truths revealed by God in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition.

60. How does Sacred Scripture compare with Sacred Tradition?

Both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition are the inspired word of God, and both are forms of divine revelation. Sacred Scripture is divinely inspired writing, whereas Sacred Tradition is the unwritten word of inspired persons.[2]

89. Why is Sacred Tradition of equal authority with the Bible?

The Bible and Sacred Tradition are of equal authority because they are equally the word of God; both derive from the inspired vision of the ancient prophets, and especially from the infinite wisdom of God incarnate who gave to the apostles what he came down on earth to teach, through them, to all of mankind.[3]

TRADITION AND THE WORD OF GOD – SUMMARY OF NEW TESTAMENT TEACHING

The first issue to be addressed in any discussion of spiritual truth is that of authority. To say something is true or false implies an authoritative standard by which we can make such a judgment. But is there such an authoritative stand­ard by which we can judge whether a particular teaching or system is true or false? The answer is an unequivocal ‘yes’. That authoritative standard is the Word of God, the Bible. Jesus Christ himself said of the Bible, ‘Thy word is truth’ (Jn. 17:17). In settling issues of spiritual controversy the Lord Jesus always appealed to the Word of God as an authoritative standard by which to judge truth and false­hood.

Mark’s Gospel records an incident in which certain Sad-ducees came to Jesus to question him. The Sadducees were the religious liberals of Jesus’ day and they rejected many of the teachings espoused by the more orthodox sect of the Pharisees. They did not believe in angels or in the resurrec­tion of the dead. A number of these men came to Jesus to ask him a trick question about life after death. Jesus demolished their trick question but went on to say this:

Is this not the reason you are mistaken, that you do not understand the Scriptures, or the power of God?… But regarding the fact that the dead rise again, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the burning bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living; you are greatly mistaken (Mk. 12:24,25-27 NASB 1963).

Twice in this passage Christ tells these men they are greatly mistaken in their views. The reason is that they do not understand the Scriptures. He appeals to those Scriptures to correct the false concepts these men held. He points to the Word of God as an authoritative standard by which to judge truth and error. These men are greatly mistaken because the views they hold and the doctrines they teach contradict the Word of God.

Here you have two opposing views of truth. One says there is no resurrection from the dead, the other says there is. How do you determine which is true? You go to the Word of God. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is God in human flesh and therefore whatever he teaches is absolute truth. And according to him the Word of God is the final and authoritative standard by which all claims to truth are to be judged.

This principle obviously has a direct bearing upon the whole issue of tradition. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that tradition as well as the Bible constitutes the revealed Word of God. It teaches that the teaching of the Church Fathers, the Church Councils, and the Traditions of the Church are all ‘one sacred deposit of the Word of God’.

John Hardon S. J. makes the following statements in his Question and Answer Catholic Catechism:

Sacred Tradition is the unwritten word of God that the prophets and apostles received through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and, under His guidance, the Church has handed on to the Christian world.[4]

Both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition are the inspired word of God, and both are forms of divine revelation. Sacred Scripture is divinely inspired writing, whereas Sacred Tradition is the unwritten word of in­spired persons.[5]

Jesus Christ had some interesting things to say about tradition:

Then some Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem, saying, ‘Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.’ And He answered and said to them, `And why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, “Honor your father and mother”… But you say, “Whoever shall say to his father or mother, ‘Anything of mine you might have been helped by has been given to God,’ he is not to honor his father or his mother.” And thus you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, “This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me. But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men”‘ (Matt. 15:1-9).

In a parallel passage in Mark 7:5-13 much of the same teaching by Jesus is recorded. The Pharisees ask why the disciples do not walk according to the tradition of the elders. In response Jesus denounces the scribes and Pharisees and their observance of tradition which is in violation of the Word of God. In effect they have elevated the teachings of men above the Scriptures. The following sums up Jesus’ evaluation:

  1. You teach as doctrines the precepts of men.
  2. Neglecting the commandment of God you hold to the tradition of men.
  3. You set aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.
  4. You invalidate the Word of God by your tradition which you have handed down.

We should note that Jesus is not condemning tradition simply because it is tradition. All tradition is not wrong. What he is condemning is the elevating of tradition or the teaching of men to equality with the Word of God. He condemned the scribes and Pharisees for following tradition which violated and invalidated the Word of God. And then he rebuked them for so teaching others.

Tradition is not necessarily wrong, but tradition is not the Word of God, and for tradition to be acceptable to God, it must never contradict or violate the clear teaching of the Bible. All tradition must be judged by the truth of Scripture, including traditions which have their original roots in Scripture. The traditions that the scribes and Pharisees adhered to, but which Jesus denounced, were traditions which had their roots in mistaken interpretations of the Bible.

There is one obvious and definitive test which we can apply to all teaching and tradition to determine if it is true. That test is this: if the tradition or the teaching, even though it arises from the interpretation of a passage of Scripture, contradicts the clear teaching of another portion of Script­ure, then that particular tradition or teaching is incorrect, for Scripture never contradicts Scripture.

The Word of God alone is our final authority, never tradition. We are told in 2 Timothy 3:16,17 that ‘All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.’ All Scripture is inspired and is therefore authoritat­ive. And because it is inspired, that is, because it is the Word of a self-consistent God, it will never contradict itself.

Consequently, we can judge whether or not a particular teaching or tradition is true by comparing it to the Word of God. If it is consistent with the Word of God, then we can accept it as truth. However, if it clearly contradicts the teaching of the Bible or makes the Word of God contradict itself, then we know that it is error, and is to be rejected. Otherwise we shall fall into the same condemnation which Jesus uttered against the Pharisees.

One question this whole issue brings up is this: can the true church of God fall into error? The answer to that question, based upon the history of God’s people in the Bible is ‘yes’. It is possible for the church leadership to fall into error and be led astray from the truth. For example, the apostle Peter was publicly rebuked by Paul for the hypocrisy of which he was guilty (Gal. 2:11-14).

On an earlier occasion the apostle Peter was rebuked by Christ because he tried to hinder the Lord from going to the cross. ‘But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling-block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s”‘ (Matt. 16:23). The Lord Jesus actually addressed Peter as Satan, for Satan was using Peter to try to divert him from the will of God. This all transpired after Peter had been told that he was to be given the keys of the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 16:18-19).

Of course, the example of God’s chosen people, the Jews, during the time of the Lord Jesus himself, shows us clearly that it is possible for the church’s leadership to be deceived. Jesus’ words about tradition were spoken against the scribes and Pharisees, the religious leadership of God’s chosen people and the true church of that day. They had fallen into error and had become so blind that they failed to recognise

Jesus as the Messiah. They fell into the error of misinterpret­ing the Word of God and of elevating tradition and the teachings of the elders to a level equal in authority to the Scriptures, even though those teachings contradicted the Word of God. In addition to this Jesus claimed that the religious leadership of his day, because of their adherence to tradition and misinterpretation of Scripture, were actually responsible for hindering people from entering the kingdom of God: Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered’ (Lk. 11:52). ‘But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from men; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in’ (Matt. 23:13). If this was true of the religious leadership of God’s chosen people in the day of Jesus Christ, there is absolutely no guarantee that a church leadership will not fall into error and mislead people.

Were the Pharisees and scribes of Jesus’ day intentionally trying to deceive people? Not necessarily! Many of them were doing what they sincerely felt was right. But they were wrong and consequently they were deceiving people and leading them astray. Sincerity is no guarantee against error. A man can be sincerely wrong. In the final analysis, as Christ taught, the Word of God is the final authority for determin­ing what is truth and what is error. Any teaching which contradicts the Word of God must be rejected: ‘To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them’ (Is. 8:20, A.V.).

Luke records that when Paul came to Berea, and preached the gospel in the local Jewish synagogue, the Bereans ‘were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so’ (Acts 17:11). The Bereans compared Paul’s doctrines with the Word of God to see if his teachings were consistent with the teachings of the Word of God. Only then would they accept the gospel he was preaching. They knew that any teaching that truly originates from God would not contradict what he had already revealed in his Word.

It is in this spirit that we shall examine the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church….

[1] Walter M. Abbot S.J., The Documents of Vatican II (Westchester, IL: Follett Publishing Co., 1966), 177.

[2] John A. Hardon, S.J., The Question and Answer Catholic Catechism (New York, NY: Image Books, Doubleday, 1981), 37.

[3] Ibid., 41.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid., 41.

Hank Hanegraaff’s Conversion (Friel, White, Craig)

(A good quick summation of Orthodoxy can be found here at GOT QUESTIONS) Here is WRETCHED’s take:

(Below) A two hour program today playing nearly 50 minutes worth of comments (ok, at 1.2x speed!) by Hank Hanegraaff relating to his conversion to Eastern Orthodoxy and asking the simple question: can an Eastern Orthodox believer function as the Bible Answer Man? Important issues to be sure!

I have to include this discussion by William Lane Craig on the matter:

Islam’s View of Jesus’ Diety

Here are some ways to deal with Muslim apologists questioning Jesus’ Divinity:

(Above) Nabeel Qureshi, a former Muslim, answers a question from a faithful Muslim about how Jesus could have both a Divine (God) nature and a human nature without confusion or contradiction. See more from Nabeel HERE  Follow him on TWITTER as well.

Nabeel is battling stomach cancer, so any prayers would be a gracious help.

Here is a more in-depth presentation dealing with how the question is typically raised.

Muslims around the world are being trained to ask Christians, “Where did Jesus say, ‘I am God, worship me,’ in those exact words?” However, if Muslims are suggesting that Jesus could only claim to be God by uttering a specific sentence, we may reply by asking, “Where did Jesus say, ‘I am only a prophet, don’t worship me,’ in those exact words?” The unreasonable demand for a particular statement, if applied consistently, would thus force Muslims to reject their own view!

Fortunately, we have a simple way to examine what Jesus said about himself. According to both the Bible and the Qur’an, there are certain claims that only God can truly make. For instance, God alone can correctly state that he created the universe. Of course, a mere human being can pronounce the words, “I created the universe,” but the statement would be false coming from anyone other than God.

Hence, if Jesus said things that can only truly be said by God, we must conclude that Jesus claimed to be God. Interestingly, Jews, Christians, and Muslims agree on many of the claims that cannot be properly made by (or about) mere human beings. In this video, we consider several examples of such claims.

For more on the deity of Christ, watch these videos by David Wood:

More from David Wood:


A Couple Debates/Discussions


A good back-and-forth between  Imam Mustri and Dr. James White:

“Did the Earliest Followers of Jesus Believe in His Deity?” James White debates Shabir Ally at the University of Pretoria in South Africa.

Dennis Prager Stumped By the Trinity

From the video description:

In an honest dialogue via a caller to the show, Dennis Prager tells us his lack of understanding of what seems so clear to Christians — MIND YOU, it is still a mystery, but not self-referentially false. In other words, coherent.

Two quick explanations are from two men I respect:

Here is a four part series by theologian Wayne Grudem:

See his books for more doctrinal specifics:

Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine
Bible Doctrine: Essential Teachings of the Christian Faith

Jehovah’s Witness’ vs. The Trinity by Papa Giorgio

Prager Makes A Common Mistake In Regards To Jesus’ Divinity

Listening to the Dennis Prager Show the other day, Dennis said two things that caught my attention. They are:

a) he likened Jesus to other Messianic figures;

b) he said the Gospel of John was the only place Jesus called himself “Divine,” God.

Here is the Audio:

To be clear of what is below.

  1. First, that Jesus refers to himself as Deity (GOD) in the Gospel of Mark;
  2. Second, how did ancient rabbi’s view Isaiah 53;
  3. Then I show Jesus referenced himself as Diety in Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

While I deal with two points, the third (Psalm 110) deals both with Jesus being different than past Jewish Messiah’s, as well as showing Prager’s statement about the Gospel of John to be wrong.

So lets deal with this two fold then. I will deal with “B” first, as it is a short response, needing only one example to show Prager’s assumption to be wrong (and remember, he loves truth for truths sake). He seemingly accepts the typical attribution to the age of the books by modern Biblical critics because he accepts their premise that John is the only book Jesus claims divinity. Then, using the attributed idea that Mark is the oldest book and is itself from “Q” material, any claims of Divinity in it should be THAT MUCH MORE powerful (early).

Mark 14:60-64

Here is Josh McDowell intimating an encounter many years ago he noted in his now classic apologetic work, “More Than a Carpenter.”

So, that short, succinct, recapping of a challenge I the university class room by a professor is just one example to show a clear claim to Divinity by Jesus in another Gospel other than John.

Now to the larger response, “A.” Jesus is not, was, not, like any other Jewsish pseudo Messiah, He, yes He, is much different. Why? Because he alone has fulfilled the Messianic prophecies in Scripture.

Isaiah 53

The first thing that came to mind about this comment from Prager is how Jewish people/culture have changed the book of Isaiah over time to mean something different than the earlier Rabbis believed. Here, we get into some reading, I will of course put some video to it as well… but a serious subject requires a bit of reading, and I was impacted by Chuck Smith’s and Mark Eastman’s work on the subject, “The Search for Messiah,” of which the following is from…. again, it is long (13-pages to be exact).

This post is meant for the serious student, or Dennis Prager:

In the book of Isaiah there are a group of passages called “The Suffering Servant Songs.” These four vignettes are found in Isaiah 42:1-7; Isaiah 49:1-6; Isaiah 50:4-9; Isaiah 52:13-53:12. We will focus on the fourth suffering servant song since it is the most disputed portion of Isaiah.[1]

“Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently, He shall be exalted and extolled and be very high. Just as many were astonished at you, so His visage was marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men; So shall He sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths at Him; for what had not been told them they shall see, and what they had not heard they shall consider. Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem him. Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; he was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare his generation? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people he was stricken. And they made his grave with the wicked; but with the rich at his death, because he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he has put him to grief. When You make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see the travail of his soul, and be satisfied. By his knowledge My righteous servant shall justify many, for lie shall bear their iniquities. Therefore, I will divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul unto death, and he was numbered with the transgressors, and lie bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”

From the time of the development of the written Talmud (200-500 C.E.) this portion of scripture was believed to be Messianic. In fact, it was not until the eleventh century C.E. that it was seriously proposed otherwise. At that time Rabbi Rashi began to interpret the suffering servant in these passages as reference to the nation of Israel.[2]

One of the oldest translations of the Hebrew scriptures is known as the Targums. These are Aramaic translations of very ancient Hebrew manuscripts that also, included commentary on the scriptures. They were translated in the first or second century B.C.E. In the Targum of Isaiah, we read this incredible quote regarding the suffering servant in Isaiah 53:

“Behold, My servant the Messiah shall prosper; he shall be exalted and great and very powerful. The Righteous One shall grow up before him, lo, like sprouting plants; and like a tree that sends its roots by the water-courses, so shall the exploits of the holy one multiply in the land which was desperate for him. His appearance shall not be a profane appearance, nor shall the awe of an ignorant person, but his countenance shall radiate with holiness, so that all who see him shall become wise through him. All of us were scattered like sheep… but it is the will of God to pardon the sins of all of us on his account…Then I will apportion unto him the spoil of great nations… because he was ready to suffer martyrdom that the rebellious he might subjugate to the Torah. And he might seek pardon for the sins of many.”[3]

According to this commentary, the Messiah would suffer martyrdom, he would be, “The Righteous One” and would provide a way for God to forgive our sins. This forgiveness would be accomplished, not because of our goodness, but on account of the righteousness of Messiah. As we shall see, this is the very message of Jesus as recorded in the New Testament!

A reading from a Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah prayer book contains this passage:

“Our righteous anointed is departed from us: horror has seized us, and we have none to justify us. He has borne the yoke of our iniquities, and our transgression, and is wounded because of our transgression. He bears our sins on his shoulders, that we may find pardon for our iniquities. We shall be healed by his wound, at the time that the eternal will create the Messiah as a new creature. 0 bring him up from the circle of the earth. Raise him up from Seir, to assemble us the second time on mount Lebanon, by the hand of Yinon.”[4][5]

In this beautiful prayer, a commentary on Isaiah 53, we discover several of the ancient beliefs on the mission of God’s righteous Messiah:

1) He would apparently depart after an initial appearance: “Our righteous anointed is departed.”

2) The Messiah would be the one who justifies the people:[6] “Horror has seized us, and we have none to justify us.”

3) The Messiah would be wounded because of our transgressions and would take upon himself the yoke or punishment of our iniquities.[7] 

“He has borne the yoke of our iniquities, and our transgression, and is wounded because of our transgression.”

4) By his wound we would be healed when he reappears as a “new creature.”

“We shall be healed by his wound, at the time that the eternal will create the Messiah as a new creature.”

In the Babylonian Talmud there are a number of commentaries on the suffering servant in Isaiah 53. In a discussion of the suffering inflicted upon this servant we find the following statement:

“This teaches us that God will burden the Messiah with commandments and sufferings as with millstones.”[8]

In another chapter of Sanhedrin we find a discussion on the name of the Messiah. In this remarkable portion of the Talmud we read:

“There is a whole discussion in the Talmud about Messiah’s name. The several discussants suggested various names and cited scriptural references in support of these names. The disciples of the school of Rabbi Yehuda Ha’ Nasi said ‘The sick one is his name,’ for it is written, ‘Surely he has borne our sicknesses and carried our sorrows and pains, yet we considered him stricken, smitten, and afflicted of God.'”[9]

In the Midrash we again find reference to the “Suffering Servant” of Isaiah 53. In characteristic fashion we read one rabbi quoting another in a discussion of the Messiah’s suffering:

“Rabbi Huna in the name of Rabbi Acha says: ‘The sufferings are divided into three parts: one for David and the fathers, one for our own generation, and one for the King Messiah, and this is what is written, `He was wounded for our transgressions.”‘[10]

In a portion of the Midrash, called the Haggadah (a portion which expounds on the non-legal parts of Scripture) in the tractate Pesiqta Rabbati[11] we read an interesting discussion of the suffering of the Messiah:

“And the Holy One made an agreement with the Messiah and said to him, ‘The sins of those which are forgiven for your sake will cause you to be put under an iron yoke, and they will make you like this calf whose eyes are dim, and they will choke your spirit under the yoke, and on account of their sins your tongue shall cleave to your mouth. Are you willing to do this?’ Said Messiah before the Holy One: ‘Perhaps this agony will last many years?’ And the Holy One said to him: ‘By your life and by the life of my head, one week only have I decreed for you; but if your soul is grieved I shall destroy them even now.’ But the Messiah said to him: ‘Sovereign of the world, with the gladness of my soul and the joy of my heart I take it upon me, on condition that not one of Israel shall perish, and not only those alone should be saved who are in my days, but also those who are hid in the dust; and not only should the dead of my own time be saved, but all the dead from the first man until now; also, the unborn and those whom thou bast intended to create. Thus I agree, and on this condition I will take it upon myself.'” (Pesiqta Rabbati. chapter 36)

Another section of chapter 37, Pesiqta Rabbati, says the following:

“The Patriarchs will one day rise again in the month of Nisan and will say to the Messiah: ‘Ephraim, our righteous Messiah, although we are your ancestors, you are nevertheless greater than we, for you have borne the sins of our children, as it is written: `Surely he has borne our diseases and carried our sorrows; yet we regarded him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our sins, bruised for our iniquities, upon him was the chastisement that makes us well, and through his wounds we are healed.’[12] Heavy oppressions have been imposed upon you, as it is written: ‘As a result of oppression and judgment he was taken away[13]; but in his day, who considered that he was torn from the land of the living because of the transgressions of my people?’ You have been a laughing stock and a derision among the peoples of the world, and because of you they jeered at Israel, as it is written, You have dwelt in darkness and in gloominess, and your eyes have not seen light, your skin was cleaving to your bones, and your body withered like wood. Your eyes became hollow from fasting, and your strength was dried-up like a potsherd, as it is written.[14] All this happened because of the sins of our children, as it is written: ‘And Jehovah laid on him the iniquities of us all.’ ” (Isaiah 53:6)

In these fascinating portions of the Midrash we see language which closely parallels Psalm 22.[15] he writer specifically ties together the sufferings of the pierced servant in Psalm 22 (tongue shall cleave to your mouth… dried up like a potsherd) with the servant in Isaiah 53, whose sufferings provide a way for the children of Israel to be saved. The fact that the writer of this portion of the Midrash would tie the sufferings of the servant in Psalm 22 (the pierced one) and Isaiah 53, the despised and rejected one, is nothing less than astonishing. Clearly at least some of the rabbis of the ancient Midrashim believed that the Messiah would suffer and that the sufferings found in Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 belong to the same person.

In the eleventh century C.E. the rabbinical interpretation of Isaiah 52-53 began to change. Rabbi Rashi, a well-respected member of the Midrashim, began to interpret this portion of scripture as a reference to the sufferings of the nation of Israel. However, even after this interpretation took root, there remained many dissenters who still held onto its original, Messianic view.

In the fourteenth century Rabbi Moshe Cohen Crispin, a strong adherent to the ancient opinion, stated that applying the suffering servant of Isaiah 53 to the nation of Israel:

“distort[s] the verses of their natural meaning…As then it seemed to me that the doors of the literal interpretation [of Isaiah 53] were shut in their face, and that ‘they wearied themselves to find the entrance’, having forsaken the knowledge of our Teachers, and inclined after the ‘stubbornness of their own hearts’ and of their own opinion, I am pleased to interpret it, in accordance with the teaching of our Rabbis, of the King Messiah, and will be careful, so far as I am able, to adhere to the literal sense: thus possibly, I shall be free from the forced and farfetched interpretations of which others have been guilty. This prophecy was delivered by Isaiah at the divine command for the purpose of making known to us something about the nature of the future Messiah, who is to come and to deliver Israel,”[16]

Rabbi Isaac Abrabanel (143 7-1508), a member of the Midrashim, made the following remarkable declaration regarding the suffering servant of Isaiah 53:

“The first question is to ascertain to whom this prophecy refers, for the learned among the Nazarenes expound it of the man who was crucified in Jerusalem at the end of the Second Temple, and, who according to them, was the Son of God and took flesh in the virgin’s womb, as is stated in their writings. Jonathan ben Uzziel interprets it in the Targum of the future Messiah; and this is also the opinion of our learned men in the majority of their Midrashim.”[17]

Two centuries later we find the comments of another member of the Midrashim, Rabbi Elijah De Vidas, a Cabalistic scholar in sixteenth century. In his comments of Isaiah 53 we read:

“The meaning of ‘He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities,’ is, that since the Messiah bears our iniquities, which produce the effect of his being bruised, it follows that who so will not admit that the Messiah thus suffers for our iniquities must endure and suffer them for himself.”[18]

We have also the writings of the sixteenth century Rabbi Moshe el Sheikh, who declares in his work “Commentaries of the Earlier Prophets,” regarding the suffering servant in Isaiah 53:

“Our rabbis with one voice accept and affirm the opinion that the prophet is speaking of the King Messiah, and we shall ourselves also adhere to the same view.”[19]

These remarkable references from the ancient rabbis leave no doubt that the suffering servant in Isaiah 52:13­53:12 was indeed believed to be the Messiah. Even more remarkable is the fact that the suffering servant of Isaiah is connected with the suffering servant of Psalm 22. Finally, we find the ancient rabbis claiming that the suffering and death of the Messiah would have the effect of freeing us from our sins. This is in complete agreement with the Christian concept of the Messiah!

Even without these ancient references, there are several other reasons why the suffering servant in Isaiah 53 could not be the nation of Israel.

First, the suffering servant is an innocent person without sin:

“And they made his grave with the wicked; but with the rich at his death, because he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.” Isaiah 53:9

Israel has an admittedly sinful past; the Hebrew scriptures even admit this fact. Psalm 14:2-3 says:

“There is none that does good, no not one.”

I Kings 8:46 says:

“…for there is no one who does not sin.”

Ecclesiastes 7:20 says:

“For there is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin.”

Secondly, the suffering servant of Isaiah 53 suffers on account of the sins of others.

“Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:4)

Thirdly, the suffering servant of Isaiah 53 is willing to suffer.

“He was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; he was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7)

In the entire history of their nation, the Jews have never suffered willingly.

Finally, the suffering servant’s end was death.

“Therefore I will divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul unto death, and he was numbered with the transgressors, and lie bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:12)

The nation of Israel has suffered much, but she has never died. In fact, the nation of Israel was re-gathered back into the land after nearly 1900 years of world-wide dispersion, an event unprecedented in world history.

“Let Israel now say; Many a time they have afflicted me from my youth; Yet they have not prevailed against me.” (Psalm 129:1)

Finally, listen to the words of nineteenth century Jewish scholar Herz Homberg;

“This prophecy is disconnected with what precedes it. According to the opinion of Rashi and lbn Ezra, it relates to Israel at the end of their captivity; the term `servant’ and the use of the singular number referring to the individual members of the nation. But if so, what can be the meaning of the passage, ‘He was wounded for our transgressions?’, etc.? Who was `wounded?’ Who are the ‘transgressors’ Who `carried’ the sickness and ‘bare’ the pains? And where are the sick? Are they not the same as those who are ‘smitten’ and who ‘bear?’ And if ‘each turned to his own way’, upon whom did ‘the Lord lay the iniquity of them all?’ The Ga’on, Rabbi Sa’adyah, explains the whole Parashah of Jeremiah: and there are indeed numerous parts of Scripture in which we can trace a great resemblance to what befell Jeremiah while persecuted by the false prophets. But the commencement of the prophecy, ‘He shall be high and exalted and lofty exceedingly’, and similarly the words ‘with the mighty he shall divide the spoil’, will not admit of being applied to him. The fact is that it refers to the King Messiah, who will come in the latter days, when it will be the Lord’s good pleasure to redeem Israel from among the different nations of the earth…and even the Israelites themselves will only regard him as `one of the vain fellows’, believing none of the announcements which will be made by him in God’s name, but being contumacious against him, and averring that all the reproaches and persecutions which fall to his lot are sent from heaven, for that he is ‘smitten of God’ for his own sin. For they will not at first perceive that whatever he underwent was in consequence of their own transgression, the Lord having chosen him to be a trespass-offering, like the scapegoat which bore all the iniquities of the house of Israel. Being, however, himself aware that through his pains and revilings the promised redemption will eventually come at the appointed time, he will endure with a willing soul, neither complaining nor opening his mouth in the siege and distress wherewith the enemies of Israel will oppress him (as is pointed out from the passage here in the Haggadah).”[20]

Here we have in the clearest term possible the belief that the prophet was speaking of King Messiah. Furthermore, Homberg states that the Messiah, when he comes, will be rejected “as one of the vain fellows, believing none of the announcements which will be made by him in God’s name.” Finally, he sees the rejection and death of the Messiah accomplishing the role of the trespass-offering for the sins of the people. The Messiah suffers not because of the sins of himself, but on account of the sins of the people. Through Messiah’s suffering and death “the promised redemption will eventually come!”

As we will see, in his understanding of Isaiah 53, Herzog has pointed out the very heart of the Christian message!


FOOTNOTES


[1] Messianically applied in Targum of Jonathan, written between first and second century C.E.

[2] See The Messianic Hope, Arthur Kac.

[3] See comments on Isaiah 53 in Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Appendix IX.

[4] Yinon is one of the ancient rabbinical names of the Messiah.

[5] See The Messianic Hope, Arthur Kac, The Chapter of the Suffering Servant.

[6] To justify is to make one acceptable and righteous in the sight of God.

[7] i.e. Our individual sins.

[8] Talmud, Sanhedrin 93b .

[9] Talmud, Sanhedrin 98b.

[10] The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Alfred Edersheim, Appendix IX.

[11] Compiled in the ninth century, but based on writings from Talmudic times from 200 B.C.E.- 400 C.E.

[12] A reference to Isaiah 53.

[13] A reference to the death of the Messiah.

[14] A reference to Psalm 22:15-16.

[15] In fact, there is no other portion of scripture that parallels the language in Pesiqta Rabbati chapter 37 as closely as does Psalm 22.

[16] A Commentary of Rabbi Mosheh Kohen Ibn Crispin of Cordova. For a detailed discussion of this reference see The Fifty Third Chapter of Isaiah According to Jewish Interpreters, preface pg. x, S.R. Driver, A.D. Neubauer, KTAV Publishing House, Inc., New York, 1969.

[17]The Messianic Hope“, by Arthur Kac, pg. 75.

[18] ibid, pg. 76.

[19] ibid, pg. 76.

[20] From the exposition of the entire Old Testament, called Korem, by Herz Homberg (Wein, 1818). 

  • Mark Eastman and Chuck Smith, The Search for Messiah ([Co-Published] Fountain Valley, CA: Joy Publishing, 1996; Costa Mesa, CA: Word for Today, 1996), 16-28.

  • Dr. Erez Soref – The Messiah is the purpose of the Torah

Psalm 110:1-7 ~David’s Son and David’s Lord

A Psalm of David. The affirmation of Jehovah to my Lord: ‘Sit at My right hand, Till I make thine enemies thy footstool.’ The rod of thy strength doth Jehovah send from Zion, Rule in the midst of thine enemies. Thy people are free-will gifts in the day of Thy strength, in the honours of holiness, From the womb, from the morning, Thou hast the dew of thy youth. Jehovah hath sworn, and doth not repent, ‘Thou art a priest to the age, According to the order of Melchizedek.’ The Lord on thy right hand smote kings In the day of His anger. He doth judge among the nations, He hath completed the carcases, Hath smitten the head over the mighty earth. From a brook in the way he drinketh, Therefore he doth lift up the head!

In Matthew 22:41-46 (Mark 12:35-37; Luke 20:41-44), citing Psalm 110, Jesus said, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’ [Messiah]?” Jesus stumped his skeptical Jewish questioners by presenting then with a dilemma that blew their own neat calculations about the Messiah “Lord”(as he did in Ps. 110), when the Scriptures also say the Messiah would be the “Son of David” (which they do in 2 Samuel 7:12.)? The only answer is that the Messiah must be both a man (David’s son or offspring) and God (David’s Lord). Jesus is claiming to be both God and human, at the same time!

Here is the Matthew verse:

While the Pharisees were together, Jesus questioned them, 42 “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose Son is He?” “David’s,” they told Him. He asked them, “How is it then that David, inspired by the Spirit,[a] calls Him ‘Lord’:

The Lord declared to my Lord,
‘Sit at My right hand
until I put Your enemies under Your feet’?

“If David calls Him ‘Lord,’ how then can the Messiah be his Son?” No one was able to answer Him at all, and from that day no one dared to question Him anymore.

It is bullet pointed thus:

  • Double-question by Jesus (42a)
  • Answer by Pharisees (42b)
  • Second double-question by Jesus (43–45)
  • Silence (46)

Richard B. Gardner, Matthew, Believers Church Bible Commentary (Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1991), 329.

Matthew Henry notes the importance of this verse as a call to reflect on WHO Jesus is:

22:41-46 When Christ baffled his enemies, he asked what thoughts they had of the promised Messiah? How he could be the Son of David and yet his Lord? He quotes Ps 110:1. If the Christ was to be a mere man, who would not exist till many ages after David’s death, how could his forefather call him Lord? The Pharisees could not answer it. Nor can any solve the difficulty except he allows the Messiah to be the Son of God, and David’s Lord equally with the Father. He took upon him human nature, and so became God manifested in the flesh; in this sense he is the Son of man and the Son of David. It behoves us above all things seriously to inquire, What think we of Christ? Is he altogether glorious in our eyes, and precious to our hearts? May Christ be our joy, our confidence, our all. May we daily be made more like to him, and more devoted to his service.

Walter A. Elwell also notes that “Only a person who recognizes Jesus as both God and man could understand and answer the question of verse 45.”

Jesus is truly the son of David (1:1–17), but not merely so. For he is preeminently the Son of God (16:16) and thus David’s Lord. As Jesus now reveals, the Old Testament itself (Ps. 110) witnesses to Messiah’s deity, to both the distinction of person and the identity of being between God the Father (“the Lord”) and God the Son (“my Lord”). The Pharisees do not acknowledge Jesus’ messiahship, much less his deity. Only a person who recognizes Jesus as both God and man could understand and answer the question of verse 45.

Walter A. Elwell, Evangelical Commentary on the Bible, vol. 3, Baker Reference Library (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1995), Mt 22:41.

See also Hebrew University professor Israel Knohl’s supposed discrepancy with this idea and Jesus’ geneology, here. Also, a greate xcoriation of this Psalm comes via The Rosh Pina Project, and, while it is a longer article, his opening is worth the posting here:

This is the most quoted Psalm in the New Testament (about one-third of quotes from the Tanach come from this Psalm.) For example Psalm 110:4 in Hebrews 5:6, 10; 6:20; 7:3, 11, 15, 17, 21, 24, 28). Words about sitting at God’s right hand are echoed in Mark 14:62, Acts 2:34ƒ and Hebrews 10:12ƒ.

Psalm 110 is also a very disputed psalm. There was a time when few did not consider this a Messianic Psalm, today the few are those that continue to affirm the Messianic nature of this Psalm.

Modern Liberal scholars who presume that foretelling prophecy does not exist approach this text with a bias. They say it must all speak of a contemporary situation from the time of the writer. There is some truth to the fact that this must have meant something at its time of writing. But, there is implicit in this a failure to accept the essential futuristic foretelling aspect that defines prophetic writing as prophecy.

The fact that the Psalm starts with נְאֻ֤ם יְהוָ֨ה “ne’um Adonai“, a classic prophetic phrase, firmly fixes the prophetic nature of this Psalm.

…read it all…

White Racism Bad / Black Racism Good

“White religionists are not capable of perceiving the blackness of God, because their satanic whiteness is a denial of the very essence of divinity. That is why whites are finding and will continue to find the black experience a disturbing reality.”

~ quoted from James Cone’s book, A Black Theology of Liberation, page 64.

A recent story by the Blaze brings to mind some older posts that I will partially import from my old blog to this newer post… combining it with the newer information. The Blaze (video and more at their site) bullet points some of Rev. Wrights new rants, which causes me to import some older posts to this site:

♆ Rev. Jeremiah Wright delivered three fiery sermons about faith, race and politics at Metropolitan Baptist Church in S.C.
♆ Wright said Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas worships “some other God” outside of “Allah and Yahweh” (who are the “same” he says)
♆ Obama’s former pastor called Thomas Jefferson “a pedophile”
♆ He sees “white supremacy” driving “world policy”
♆ Wright condemned the U.S. military, saying, “fighting for peace is like raping for virginity.”

Obama’s Pastor went to Libya with Farrakhan to meet Islamisists! Yet, other are the extremist, not his view of theology and God. Hannity and Colmes years ago had the Reverend Jeremiah Wright on their show, and this is how the reverend defended himself:

“How many books of Cones have you read!?”
(Money quote from the interview above with Obama’s pastor.)

Take note the Rev. Wright camps out on the point of reading James Cone’s books, books that were sold in his churches book store the entirety of Obama’s time at Trinity United Church of Christ.

(This section was updated 12-4-2014, see below the links for the update)

Link to Africentric Theology at Trinity United Church of Christ;

Also the Akiba Bookstore main page.

The churches bookstore has been sanitized since this was written. I managed to grab a couple of cached pages. Not nearly what it was, but the few I could find are here: Page 1, page 2, page 3. On page three for instance there are some resources for women, one of the books, “Feminist Theologies: Legacy and Prospect” ~ by Rosemary Radford Ruether, has this review: “it is a collection of academic papers and perspectives from a feminist conference…. Some essays are clearly stronger than others – particularly on Islam.” Strong on Islam? This author has written books on Gaia and God, pro Palestinian (anti-Israel) books, and books on “Goddesses and the Divine,” as well as radically left leaning feminist theology.

E.g., not a Christian book or author at all. More Marxist and Islamic in reality.

So got on Trinities website and bought Dr. Cones’ books, and read them. This lead me to make an early “documentary” (Sept of 2008) called Obama-Con. In it I mention some of the following ideas that Obama’s church paralleled:

...See For Yourself

(From an older post) Of course the money quote is the Rev. Wright recommending some authors/books. I love books, so I went out and bought them and read them. I was amazed the media didn’t do what I had just done! Could you imagine if McCain or Bush went to a church for twenty years headed by a pastor whom — a) brought you to your faith, b) married you and your wife, c) baptized your kids, and was d) on your campaign staff — sold Hitler’s Mein Kampf in the church’s bookstore. Not only that but on national television recommended this same book? We would never hear the end of it. Never. In fact, this fictitious person would never make it on a ballot.


“The personification of the devil as the symbol of all evil assumes the living shape of the Jew” ~ Adolf HitlerMein Kampf

  • “The goal of black theology is the destruction of everything white, so that blacks can be liberated from alien gods” ~ James Cone, A Black Theology of Liberation, p.62
  • “White religionists are not capable of perceiving the blackness of God, because their satanic whiteness is a denial of the very essence of divinity. That is why whites are finding and will continue to find the black experience a disturbing reality” ~ James Cone, A Black Theology of Liberation, p.64

“I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord” ~ Adolf HitlerMein Kampf

  • “There is no place in black theology for a colorless God in a society where human beings suffer precisely because of their color. The black theologian must reject any conception of God which stifles black self-determination by picturing God as a God of all peoples” ~ James ConeA Black Theology of Liberation, p.63
  • “Christianity is not alien to Black Power, Christianity is Black Power” ~ James Cone, Black Theology & Black Power, p.38
  • “In contrast to this racist view of God, black theology proclaims God’s blackness. Those who want to know who God is and what God is doing must know who black persons are and what they are doing” ~ James Cone, A Black Theology of Liberation, p.65

“The [Nazi party] should not become a constable of public opinion, but must dominate it. It must not become a servant of the masses, but their master!” ~ Adolf HitlerMein Kampf

  • “These new theologians of the Third World argue that Christians [liberation theology accepting Christians] should not shun violence but should initiate it” ~ James Cone, Black Theology & Black Power, p.32
  • “It is important to make a further distinction here among black hatred, black racism, and Black Power. Black hatred is the black man’s strong aversion to white society. No black man living in white America can escape it” ~ James Cone, Black Theology & Black Power, p.14
  • “It is this fact that makes all white churches anti-Christian in their essence. To be Christian is to be one of those whom God has chosen. God has chosen black people!” ~ James Cone, Black Theology & Black Power, p.151
  • “It [black liberation theology] is dangerous because the true prophet of the gospel of God must become both “anti-Christian” and “unpatriotic.”…. Because whiteness by its very nature is against blackness, the black prophet is a prophet of national doom. He proclaims the end of the American Way” ~ James Cone, A Black Theology of Liberation, p.55-56

Here is The New Yorker commenting on some of the issues herein I concern myself with:

The rise of Jeremiah Wright, in the seventies and eighties, coincided with the rebirth of the Nation of Islam under Minister Louis Farrakhan. In fact, the uproar over Obama and Wright has been, in part, an uproar over Farrakhan, who keeps sneaking into the frame. He and Wright were twinned at the Democratic Presidential debate in Cleveland, on February 26th, when Tim Russert, of NBC, ascribed to Wright the claim that Farrakhan “epitomizes greatness.” (Actually, the statement came from an article by Rhoda McKinney-Jones in Trumpet, a Trinity-associated magazine published by Wright’s daughter Jeri L. Wright; as has been widely noted since then, Farrakhan was given a lifetime-achievement award at a Trumpet banquet in November.) Last summer, the Trinity Bulletin reprinted an open letter by a Farrakhan ally convinced that Israel and apartheid South Africa had “worked on an ethnic bomb that kills blacks and Arabs.” Yet Wright seems to have a complicated relationship with Farrakhan, whose national headquarters are in the South Shore neighborhood, a few miles from Trinity. His remarks about Farrakhan veer from the fulsome (the minister’s analysis of America’s racial ills is “astounding and eye opening”) to the equivocal (he is “sincere about his faith and his purpose”), but for the most part Wright chooses his words with tactical care, the way Cone did when he wrote about Elijah Muhammad. It is the language of a respectful, and possibly anxious, rival. Like Cone in the nineteen-sixties, Wright may have worried that he would be judged, and found wanting, by purer and less forgiving forms of black nationalism. Farrakhan represented the threat; his followers—particularly the young black men whom churches sometimes had trouble reaching—represented the prize.

Wright attended (but didn’t address) the Million Man March, the 1995 gathering in Washington that Farrakhan convened to promote self-reliance and “spiritual renewal” among black men. In the months afterward, Wright delivered a series of sermons that were reprinted in a book, “When Black Men Stand Up for God,” which presents a Christian response to the challenge posed by the Nation of Islam. In it, he lambastes the preachers who opposed the march on political or religious grounds: they had missed a prime opportunity to present their case to African-American men. And, by way of establishing his bona fides, he reminds readers that he studied Islam at the University of Chicago. “I have a different perspective on Islam than the average preacher,” he writes. “Islam and Christianity are a whole lot closer than you may realize. Islam comes out of Christianity.” That’s interfaith dialogue, served with a hint of one-upmanship.

But remember, the reverend says “I’m not divisive, the media is divisive,” which merely redefines anti-Semitic/racist statements as non-divisive:

While reading these books cover-to-cover and doing some looking around, I also noted that Louise Farrakhan was given a lifetime achievement award at Obama’s church. Not only that though, but Farrakhan was given three cover spreads on the church’s magazine, the Trumpet. One of those his face shot put alongside Obama as well as Elijah Muhammad, the second leader of the Nation of Islam. His [Elijah Muhammad’s] many books are sold by the Nation of Islam not Old Testament mention being taught by Louise Farrakhan as theological doctrine. Since Obama’s church gave such a prestigious award to the current leader of the Nation of Islam, whom Obama’s pastor was a part of in his younger years, let us see what some of these books they tout say as well:

“It is due to your ignorance of God, or you are one deceived by the devil, whose nature is to mislead you in the knowledge of God. You originally came from the God of Righteousness and have the opportunity to return, while the devils are from the man devil (Yakub) who has ruled the world for the past 6,000 years under falsehood, labeled under the name of God and His prophets.   The worst thing to ever happen to ‘the devils is: The truth of them made manifest that they are really the devils whom the righteous (all members of the black nation) should shun and never accept as truthful guides of God! This is why the devils have always persecuted and killed the righteous. But the time has at last arrived that Allah (God) will put an end to their per­secuting and killing the righteous (the black nation).”

~ Elijah Muhammad, Message to the Blackman In America, p.6  [Yakub is an evil scientist who created the white race 6,000 years ago in Nation of Islam theology]

“…they are a prey in the hands of the white race, the world’s archdeceivers (the real devils in person). You are made to believe that you worship the true God, but you do not! God is unknown to you in that which the white race teaches you (a mystery God).   The great archdeceivers (the white race) were taught by their father, Yakub, 6,000 years ago, how to teach that God is a spirit (spook) and not a man. In the grafting of his people (the white race), Mr. Yakub taught his people to contend with us over the reality of God by asking us of the whereabouts of that first One (God) who created the heavens and the earth, and that, Yakub said, we cannot do.”

Elijah Muhammad, Message to the Blackman In America, p. 9

According to Elijah Muhammad, Jesus was a black African and only a mortal man like the Prophet Muhammad of Islam. He also taught that Jesus was the product of sexual intercourse between Mary and Allah (who is a black man). Louis Farrakhan said this of the second leader of the Nation of Islam:

  • “The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, I am here to declare, is risen. The Jesus you have been seeking and waiting for His return has been in your midst for 40 years, but you knew not who He was. A Holy One was working among us, and It is only now, after He is gone, that we realize who He was.” ~ Louis Farrakhan

Again, for clarity:

  • “If you understand the Bible right, you will agree with me that the whole caucasion race is a race of devils. They have proved to be devils in the Garden of Paradise and were condemned … by Jesus.” ~ Elijah Muhammad, Message to the Blackman In America, p. 23-24.
  • “Christianity is the Devil’s religion created to mislead black people.” ~ Elijah Muhammad, Message to the Blackman In America, p. 11.

Louis Farrakhan, the guy who was given an award by Wright, knew personally that Elijah Muhammad had risen because…

Obama’s church gave a “Lifetime Achievement Award” to this guy. Remember that he believes he was taken up in a UFO and told explicit things about himself and white people. Here are four pages from the book, Cults, New Religious Movements, and Your Family: A Guide to Ten Non-Christian Groups Out to Convert Your Loved Ones, (click on them to enlarge – and again to get it even bigger):

So you can see that there are some very occultic beliefs tied to Rev. Wright. Which may explain why the Reverend Wright believes Allah and YHWH are the same God, something you would never hear a Christian minister say. One reason is the Rev. Wright use to be a part of the Nation of Islam, and often times Black Panthers and Nation of Islam adherents would sit in on these “Christian” services. But remember, it isn’t the Rev. Wright that is divisive, it is the media:

An Apologetic “Aside”

What are some of the differences between Yahweh and Allah?

How do the Democrats let this type of stuff slide… year after year? One reason is that the Democratic party has become more-and-more leftist every year:

Democrats More Left Every Year

…..congressional Democrats have not moved to the political center — they have all but deserted it. Employing statistics from the Americans for Democratic Action, a self-defined liberal activist group, we analyzed House and Senate voting records dating back to 1974. Using as a definition of ”liberal” someone who votes with the ADA recommendation at least two-thirds of the time, we found that in 1995 nearly four out of five Democrats in the House (78 per cent) qualified as liberal. That is more than double the 34 per cent of 1974.

In fact, the liberal quotient for Democrats has risen steadily over the past 11 Congresses, while the percentage of Democrats qualifying as conservative has shrunk to virtually nil. Even the number of moderate Democrats is dwindling. According to the ADA’s ratings there are now only 45 moderate Democrats, down from 75 in 1980

In short, last year House Democrats’ voting record was more liberal than it had been in at least twenty years. The Democrats were more left-wing in the 104th Congress than when the House was under the command of Speakers like Tip O’Neill or Jim Wright; and more left-wing than it was during the ascendancy of the post-Watergate class of 1974.

In the Senate, the statistics are equally grim. In 1974, only 55 per cent of Democrats were classified as liberal; by 1995, that figure had risen to 93.5 per cent. Only Sam Nunn of Georgia, Bennett Johnston of Louisiana, and James Exon of Nebraska (all of whom are also retiring this year) are not liberal — contradicting the conventional wisdom that the Senate Democrats are a pack of political pragmatists. How’s this for a depressing statistic: nine of Ted Kennedy’s Senate colleagues had more liberal voting records than he did last year.

Let’s examine some key votes. Back in 1977 there were 63 House Democrats who voted against increasing the minimum wage; in almost every subsequent vote on the issue that number has declined. In this summer’s vote, only 2 Democrats (the aforementioned Hall and Geren from Texas) opposed the mandatory-job-loss bill. When the Balanced Budget Amendment was defeated in 1982, President Reagan told American voters to ”count heads and take names” — to make note of who in Congress was fiscally rational and who was not. Those voters who took the President’s advice counted 69 Democrats in support of the amendment and 167 opposed to it. In contrast, in the landmark January 1995 vote in which the House finally passed the Balanced Budget Amendment, a record-low 33 Democrats voted in favor.

A recent comprehensive study by political analysts Mark Melcher and David Tappan of Prudential Securities examined vote ratings by the ADA and the American Conservative Union and came to much the same conclusion as we did: the political center in Congress is shrinking. The ACU ratings, for example, tell us that, in 1995, 47 House Democrats had more liberal voting records than Bernie Sanders of Vermont — an avowed socialist. If this trend keeps up Sanders will have to stop caucusing with the Democrats: he’s too anti-government for them….

What are the numbers today of those Democrats calling themselves, voluntarily, anti-American?

The Socialist Party of America announced in their October 2009 newsletter that 70 Congressional democrats currently belong to their caucus. This admission was recently posted on Scribd.com:

American Socialist Voter–

Q: How many members of the U.S. Congress are also members of the DSA?
A: Seventy

Q: How many of the DSA members sit on the Judiciary Committee?
A: Eleven: John Conyers [Chairman of the Judiciary Committee], Tammy Baldwin, Jerrold Nadler, Luis Gutierrez,
Melvin Watt, Maxine Waters, Hank Johnson, Steve Cohen, Barbara Lee, Robert Wexler, Linda Sanchez [there are 23 Democrats on the Judiciary Committee of which eleven, almost half, are now members of the DSA].

Q: Who are these members of 111th Congress?
A: See the listing below

Co-Chairs

Hon. Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-07)
Hon. Lynn Woolsey (CA-06)

Vice Chairs

Hon. Diane Watson (CA-33)
Hon. Sheila Jackson-Lee (TX-18)
Hon. Mazie Hirono (HI-02)
Hon. Dennis Kucinich (OH-10)

Senate Members

Hon. Bernie Sanders (VT)

House Members

Hon. Neil Abercrombie (HI-01)
Hon. Tammy Baldwin (WI-02)
Hon. Xavier Becerra (CA-31)
Hon. Madeleine Bordallo (GU-AL)
Hon. Robert Brady (PA-01)
Hon. Corrine Brown (FL-03)
Hon. Michael Capuano (MA-08)
Hon. André Carson (IN-07)
Hon. Donna Christensen (VI-AL)
Hon. Yvette Clarke (NY-11)
Hon. William “Lacy” Clay (MO-01)
Hon. Emanuel Cleaver (MO-05)
Hon. Steve Cohen (TN-09)
Hon. John Conyers (MI-14)
Hon. Elijah Cummings (MD-07)
Hon. Danny Davis (IL-07)
Hon. Peter DeFazio (OR-04)
Hon. Rosa DeLauro (CT-03)
Rep. Donna F. Edwards (MD-04)
Hon. Keith Ellison (MN-05)
Hon. Sam Farr (CA-17)
Hon. Chaka Fattah (PA-02)
Hon. Bob Filner (CA-51)
Hon. Barney Frank (MA-04)
Hon. Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11)
Hon. Alan Grayson (FL-08)
Hon. Luis Gutierrez (IL-04)
Hon. John Hall (NY-19)
Hon. Phil Hare (IL-17)
Hon. Maurice Hinchey (NY-22)
Hon. Michael Honda (CA-15)
Hon. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (IL-02)
Hon. Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30)
Hon. Hank Johnson (GA-04)
Hon. Marcy Kaptur (OH-09)
Hon. Carolyn Kilpatrick (MI-13)
Hon. Barbara Lee (CA-09)
Hon. John Lewis (GA-05)
Hon. David Loebsack (IA-02)
Hon. Ben R. Lujan (NM-3)
Hon. Carolyn Maloney (NY-14)
Hon. Ed Markey (MA-07)
Hon. Jim McDermott (WA-07)
Hon. James McGovern (MA-03)
Hon. George Miller (CA-07)
Hon. Gwen Moore (WI-04)
Hon. Jerrold Nadler (NY-08)
Hon. Eleanor Holmes-Norton (DC-AL)
Hon. John Olver (MA-01)
Hon. Ed Pastor (AZ-04)
Hon. Donald Payne (NJ-10)
Hon. Chellie Pingree (ME-01)
Hon. Charles Rangel (NY-15)
Hon. Laura Richardson (CA-37)
Hon. Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-34)
Hon. Bobby Rush (IL-01)
Hon. Linda Sánchez (CA-47)
Hon. Jan Schakowsky (IL-09)
Hon. José Serrano (NY-16)
Hon. Louise Slaughter (NY-28)
Hon. Pete Stark (CA-13)
Hon. Bennie Thompson (MS-02)
Hon. John Tierney (MA-06)
Hon. Nydia Velazquez (NY-12)
Hon. Maxine Waters (CA-35)
Hon. Mel Watt (NC-12)
Hon. Henry Waxman (CA-30)
Hon. Peter Welch (VT-AL)
Hon. Robert Wexler (FL-19)

Radical does as radical is! Some quotes from James Cone’s book, A Black Theology of Liberation (A book sold in Obama’s church the entire 20-years he attended).

“It is dangerous because the true prophet of the gospel of God must become both ‘anti-Christian’ and ‘unpatriotic.’ (55) …. Because whiteness by its very nature is against blackness, the black prophet is a prophet of national doom. He proclaims the end of the ‘American Way…'” (56) ~ James Cone, A Black Theology of Liberation (A book sold in Obama’s church the entire 20-years he attended).

But this does not mean that religion is irrelevant altogether; it only means that religion unrelated to black liberation is irrelevant. (58-59)

… it is that whites are incapable of making any valid judgment about human existence. The goal of black theology is the destruc­tion of everything white, so that blacks can be liberated from alien gods. The God of black liberation will not be confused with a blood’ thirsty white idol. Black theology must show that the black God has nothing to do with the God worshiped in white churches whose primary purpose is to sanctify the racism of whites and to daub the wounds of blacks. Putting new wine in new wineskins means that the black theology view of God has nothing in common with those who prayed for an American victory in Vietnam or who pray for a “cool” summer in the ghetto…. There is no place in black theology for a colorless God in a society where human beings suffer precisely because of their color. The black theologian must reject any conception of God which stifles black self-determination by picturing God as a God of all peoples. Either God is identified with the oppressed to the point that their experience becomes God’s experience, or God is a God of racism…. Because God has made the goal of blacks God’s own goal, black theology believes that it is not only appropriate but necessary to begin the doctrine of God with an insistence on God’s blackness. (62-63)

White religionists are not capable of perceiving the blackness of God, because their satanic whiteness is a denial of the very essence of divinity. That is why whites are finding and will continue to find the black experience a disturbing reality. (64)

In contrast to this racist view of God, black theology proclaims God’s blackness. Those who want to know who God is and what God is doing must know who black persons are and what they are doing. (65)

God comes to us in God’s blackness, which is wholly unlike white­ness. To receive God’s revelation is to become black with God by joining God in the work of liberation…. Becoming one of God’s disciples means rejecting whiteness and accepting themselves as they are in all their physical blackness. (66)

Black theology cannot accept a view of God which does not represent God as being for oppressed blacks and thus against white oppressors. Living in a world of white oppressors, blacks have no time for a neutral God. The brutalities are too great and the pain too severe, and this means we must know where God is and what God is doing in the revolution…. What we need is the divine love as expressed in black power, which is the power of blacks to destroy their oppressors, here and now, by any means at their disposal. Unless God is participating in this holy activity, we must reject God’s love. (70)

God is black because God loves us; and God loves us because we are black. Righteousness is that side of God which expresses itself through black liberation. God makes black what humans have made white…. Love is a refusal to accept whiteness. (73-74)

If creation “involves a bringing into existence of something that did not exist before,” then to say God is creator means that my being finds its source in God. I am black because God is black! God as creator is the ground of my blackness (being), the point of reference for meaning and purpose in the universe…. Rather it is incumbent upon me by the freedom granted by the creator to deny whiteness and affirm blackness as the essence of God. That is why it is necessary to speak of the black revolution rather than reformation. The idea of reformation suggests that there is still something “good” in the system itself, which needs only to be cleaned up a bit. This is a false perception of reality. The system is based on whiteness, and what is necessary is a replacement of whiteness with blackness. (75-76)

Being white excludes them from the black community and thus whatever concern they have for blacks will invariably work against black freedom…. Certainly if whites expect to be able to say anything relevant to the self-determination of the black community, it will be necessary for them to destroy their whiteness by becoming members of an oppressed community. Whites will be free only when they become new persons—when their white being has passed away and they are created anew in black being. When this happens, they are no longer white but free, and thus capable of making decisions about the destiny of the black community. (97)

  • “Born Again” redefined: They [white people] would destroy themselves and be born again as beautiful black persons. (103)
  • “Sin” redefined: This means that whites, despite their self-proclaimed religiousness, are rendered incapable of making valid judgments on the character of sin…. In a word, sin is whiteness… (106, 108)
  • “Salvation” redefined: Salvation, then, primarily has to do with earthly reality and the injustice inflicted on those who are helpless and poor. To see the salvation of God is to see this people rise up against its oppressors, demanding that justice become a reality now, not tomorrow. (128)

Liberty University Drops Caner — Thanks To Bloggers Pushing This Story

This makes me happy. Often you hear about the pressure from the blogosphere having an impact on the political spectrum, but the Christian “sub-culture” is a little more insulated. So this is big news for us in this “sub-culture.” I first brought this up last year on my older blog December 8th, 2009 — BREAKING NEWS (@ Religio-Political At Least) — Ergun Caner, President of Liberty University, Lying? As well as on March 12th, 2010 — A New Video On Ergun Caner Lies — When Will Liberty University Wise Up?!? Just Because A Muslim Is Pointing This Out Doesn’t Mean Its Not True. I was one of the earlier blogs to catch this story, but the real credit goes to the larger blogs and people who veraciously followed this story. I found my information out via LiveLeak and then through Mirele’s Miscellany’s post (dated August 1st, 2009) Ergun Caner’s Lies Catch Up To Him, Part 1

One such site is the Ministry of Reconciliation, and it moved up the chain of larger blogs until apologists themselves took notice, like Alpha & Omega Ministries (James White). I was glad to be a small part in this larger cog. Good debate took place on this subject all over the Net… many Christians thought it was done with a spirit of malice (see the more recent defense of Caner at Christianity Today [oooops] and click out to James White’s response to it from my post: James White Responds to Liberty University and Christianity Today). It was not, it was done in the spirit of truth. So it is with joy — joy for truth triumphing over fabrications — I post this story dated June 25th, 2010.

LU won’t renew Caner’s contract as dean of seminary

Liberty University said Friday that Ergun Caner would no longer be dean of its seminary, following an investigation into some of his claims about being raised as a Muslim.

Caner has signed a contract to be a member of the seminary’s faculty next year, the university said in a statement Friday afternoon.

Four members of Liberty’s Board of Trustees who conducted the investigation found that “Dr. Caner has made factual statements that are self-contradictory,” the university said.

The panel, however, basically supported Caner’s testimony of being a former Muslim who converted to Christianity.

The contradictions came in “matters such as dates, names and places of residence,” the LU statement said.

Although LU didn’t provide any more details about the discrepancies, Caner said in several speaking engagements in 2001 and later that he was raised in Turkey before coming to the United States as a teenager.

He also said he was trained in Islamic jihad, a term associated with terrorist activity, according to recordings made in 2001 of his comments at First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., and Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas.

However, his parents’ divorce papers, on file in a Columbus, Ohio, courthouse, indicated the family moved from Stockholm, Sweden, to the U.S. when Caner was about 4 years old, and continued to live in the Columbus area.

Caner’s father was a Muslim who sought to raise his children in the Islamic faith, although he had only part-time custody after the divorce, the documents indicate.

“Dr. Caner has cooperated with the board committee and has apologized for the discrepancies and misstatements that led to this review,” the LU statement said….

…(read more)…

James White Responds to Liberty University and Christianity Today

I know only of this response by James White because of The Ministry of Reconciliation, and I originally posted on this matter myself in December of 2009 – “BREAKING NEWS (@ Religio-Political At Least) — Ergun Caner, President of Liberty University, Lying?” Now James White is in the mix… full throttle. So without further dissection, I will let him speak for himself:

A sad day for truth as Christianity Today posts its “story” on the Ergun Caner situation. Very little of the actual documentation (court documents, video tapes, etc.) are discussed. The title makes it look like “bloggers” are just out to cause trouble, not that there are documented, serious issues relating to Caner’s myth-making. The worst part is the utter-disconnect in the comments given by Elmer Towns, described in the article as “co-founder of Liberty University” and Dean of the School of Religion. According to the article, Towns claims “the Liberty board has held an inquiry and directors are satisfied that Caner has done nothing theologically inappropriate.” Lying is theologically appropriate? Creating an entire mythology about your past and your expertise in Islam is theologically appropriate? Then Towns is quoted as saying, “We give faculty a certain amount of theological leverage. The arguments of the bloggers would not stand up in court.” Is myth-making and misrepresentation “theological leverage”? And could someone explain how court documents and video and audio recordings would not stand up in court? What kind of documentation would Dr. Towns like to have, if court documents and video recordings are not enough? Could anything suffice, one wonders?

The final comment offered by Towns should cause any honest hearted person to sit back and ponder: “We don’t see any way that bloggers will damage Liberty,” Towns says. Does Towns have any idea why anyone out here cares about this? Does he really think it is some kind of attack on Liberty? Let’s be straight up front Dr. Towns: your institution now has a massive credibility problem on its hands, and you put it there. Had you done due diligence and followed up on the publicly available documentation that is already out there, already obtainable, and then acted properly in demanding an open and honest explanation by Ergun Caner, you could have kept this a personal issue relating solely to one individual. But now, by failing to do what needs to be done on any simple ground of honesty, you have placed your institution squarely in the defense of documented and obvious falsehood. Yes, it seems you are confused about a non-existent connection between Caner’s comments about Rankin. You further seem confused that this has something to do with Ergun Caner’s synergism and anti-Reformed polemics. If that is so, sir, why wasn’t I looking to raise these issues in 2006 after the Liberty debate debacle? No, none of those assertions are true. This is a simple matter of a man making up a past and using it to gain his position in your institution. You had a chance to right the wrong and bring these issues to light, hoping for Ergun Caner to confess and repent of his falsehoods. But you have chosen the “party line” instead. Dr. Towns, many Muslims are watching, and you have just verified for them that for many in evangelicalism, truth is only important when it is expedient.

Finally, I note the real telling words of the article: “Neither Caner brother responded to interview requests from CT.” Those who honor the truth do not hide in this fashion. The Caners are under obligation to speak the truth. Until they start doing so, they have no business serving those who claim to be followers of Him who is the Truth.