#killingjesus – Chapters 6-7 – Liberals Die and Go to Hell

Did you know John the Baptizer proclaimed in his message “this Christ… will punish you in the more horrible manner possible?” This is the claim of the authors as they open chapter 6. Indeed, and that the real reason the tax collectors were despised is because they were “diverting Jewish money to a pagan king in Rome.” The authors are once again sitting in Luke’s Gospel while they tell their story. Because of this literary place, it is rather odd when John orders his attendees to confess their sins rather than what Luke has John say — if you have an abundance of something, share it freely with those who do not. Likewise, the authors interpret Luke 3.17 as John stating the Pharisees and Sadducees will burn in hell unless they are baptized.

This is, unfortunately, a Protestant characterization of Catholic theology, something I would not except from two confirmed practicing Catholics.

Suddenly, in a dramatic fashion, we are finally introduced to Jesus, a “simple carpenter, a builder who has labored his whole life. He has memorized the Psalms and Scripture. He pays his taxes…” A dove lands and everyone bows. And with this, John is suddenly done, having lived to see his predictions come true, something the authors assures us happens only in the rarest of circumstances. There are rather looming issues, but it goes back to the poor use of Scripture. Suddenly, Isaiah is not speaking about Hezekiah, but about Jesus 800 years in the future. Prophecy becomes a future, far, future prediction. Jesus becomes the good son who, regardless of what Scripture says or doesn’t say, is really just an individualist struggling to make ends meet. Oh, and he happens to be the Son of God.

There are more problems, of course, of the historical variety. First, the authors assign to the Sadducees — those who collaborated with Rome, something I’m sure we will get to — the politically charged word of ‘liberal.’ The Sadducees, who held only to the books of Moses were conservative, if we must use anachronistic terms. They refused to allow any development in doctrine or theology. This is not liberal, this is conservative. Secondly, they again poorly treat the Gospels, calling them a “combination of oral tradition, written fragments from the life of Christ, and the testimony of eyewitnesses.” Again, this is all presented without actual evidence and is unbelievable except by those who desire something of a proof of inerrancy.

This becomes a problem when the authors address the dove, a symbol of Roman authority clearly assigned to Jesus. They take this account as an actual event and not one later developed by the authors to anoint Jesus as the Son of God. This event is also seen by all, although the Gospels seem to allow the scene as a moment between Father and Son.

What is most starting about this chapter is the misuse of John’s message. It wasn’t about taxes and hell, but about ethics, equality, and community. Given his purported background, this is what we’d expect. Yet, the authors conveniently pick and choose words, images, and sources, murdering the literary construction, and message, of the individual Gospels.

Chapter 7 details some of Tiberius Caesar’s sex life, placing him as a deviant homosexual pervert. No doubt, this will be used later.

Post By Joel Watts (10,049 Posts)

Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Website: → Unsettled Christianity

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