Archive for the 'June 2007' Category

Creedal Christianity and Blood Sacrifice

June 29th, 2007

There are many different denominations of Christianity, from liberal to conservative, from those who see the Bible as a source of metaphor to those who call for a strict literal interpretation.  However, central to all of them is the story of “Jesus Christ”, his sacrifice upon the cross and his role as the redeemer “for our sins”.  He is the central icon to all of them, the primary theme on which all of these varying denominations are based.  All of Christianity rests upon the credibility of his story.

This story, we are told started in the “Garden of Eden”, where Adam and Eve fell out of fellowship with YHVH and were driven from the Garden of Eden.   However some time later YHVH, in his infinite love for mankind, sent Yeshua Hanotzri (or himself incarnate in the form of Yeshua, depending on which interpretation within the many sects of Christianity one wishes to accept) to become the ultimate sacrifice for our sins.  By this sacrifice we are wiped clean of our sins and are saved from eternal damnation.

Central to this Christian story is the concept that no human is righteous in the eyes of YHVH (Original Sin) and that none of us can be eligible to enter heaven except by this grace offered by the blood of “Jesus Christ”.  This was why we are told that “Jesus Christ” had to die a most hideous death on a Roman cross.

If people could become righteous or attain salvation by their own works, the whole sacrifice for our sins would have been in vain. But again we also wouldn’t need the agents of the Church to help us through some kind of sin-shedding exercise!

Yet, we know from the Bible that it isn’t true that no human is righteous in the eyes of YHVH.  Both Elijah and Enoch were taken into Heaven long before Yeshua was sacrificed on the cross (see Second Kings 2:11 and Hebrews 11:5).  Also, the Bible declared the following people who found grace in the eyes of YHVH long before Yeshua walked the earth: Noah (Gen 6:8-9), David (First Kings 15:5), Asa (First Kings 15:14), Job (Job 1:1 and 1:8), Jacob (Amos 8:7), Abia and Elisabeth (Luke 1:5-6), Simeon (Luke 2:25) Lot (Second Peter 2:7-8) and Yeshua’s adopted father Joseph (Matt 1:19).

More glaring than the Christian Church self-contradictions is the senseless nature of the blood sacrifice, which they tell us is essential to our salvation.

Blood sacrifice is the oldest and most universal act of piety. The offering of animals, including the human animal, dates back at least twenty thousand years, and, depending on how you read the scanty archaeological evidence, arguably back to the earliest appearance of humanity. Many religions recount the creation of man through the bloody sacrifice of a God-man – a divinity who is torn apart to sow the seeds of humanity.

Christians are often known to speak of the sacrifice of Jesus as essential for our salvation.  “Without the blood of Christ, there can be no remission of sin.”  Why?       

It appears that Christians don’t seem to have an answer to this question.

When this religion was born, this question probably wasn’t asked.  It seemed to be taken for granted by so many religions at the time that the gods enjoy having blood spilled upon their altars.  Jewish traditions, as reflected in the Old Testament, often involved making animal sacrifices to appease the wrath of YHVH or to gain his favour.  Other ancient traditions all over the planet shared this practice of human or animal sacrifices as part of their religious rituals.  No one ever seemed to question why such slaughter might be beneficial to the gods or how exactly it pleases them.

Given such a paradigm, that blood sacrifices make everything better, it makes sense that the way to take the traditions of the Old Testament of animal sacrifices to the next level would be a human sacrifice.  The penultimate human sacrifice would be one (Yeshua) either chosen by God or the ultimate sacrifice, that is, the sacrifice of the YHVH himself, incarnated.

There seems to be something morally wrong and inherently unjust for a human to be crucified as a sacrifice to “save us from our sins”. It seems to me that to accept this paradigm is a retreat from rationality; an illusionary perception that we have no personal responsibility in the matter.  That Yeshua Hanotzri was crucified there is no doubt but to be crucified for “our sins” is doubtful.

The concept of human sacrifice to atone for our sins flies in the face of the concepts of morality and justice.  If a criminal is convicted of a crime, that criminal alone must face the punishment.

No one can take that criminal’s place in prison or in execution even if he or she wanted to.  For an innocent person to take the punishment of a criminal is clearly injustice.  No nation interested in justice would have such a system in place where people could even voluntarily take the criminals’ punishment for them. As Thomas Paine wrote “Moral justice cannot take the innocent for the guilty, even if the innocent would offer itself”.  

The story of the sacrifice on the cross for our sins is as morally bankrupt as it is logically absurd.  This is no surprise, for nothing is morally sound which is logically flawed?

The story of Yeshua Hanotzri as the supreme sacrifice for our sins makes no sense because there’s no logical reason why human sacrifice makes anything better.  The “Jesus Christ” sacrifice is incompatible with Tanakh teachings and the story as told by creedal Christianity is remarkably similar to those of pagan gods that preceded him.  The entire Christian religion is a new paganism which has nothing to do with the central character in the New Testament – Yeshua Hanotzri”.



June 29th, 2007

In the preface to Edward Gibbon’s History of Christianity, we read: “If Paganism was conquered by Christianity, it is equally true that Christianity was corrupted by Paganism. The pure Deism of the first Christians… was changed, by the Church of Rome, into the incomprehensible dogma of the trinity. Many of the pagan tenets, invented by the Egyptians and idealised by Plato, were retained as being worthy of belief”.

“Christendom has done away with Christianity without being quite aware of it” (Sören Kierkegaard, cited in Time magazine, Dec. 16, 1946, p. 64).

Plato the father of the pagan Trinity said: “God can in no way be described”.

The doctrine of the trinity is one of the foundational doctrines of the Christian Church, along with the doctrine of virgin birth. Both are unscriptural and both were syncretised from paganism by the primitive Roman Catholic Church into the liturgy of embryonic Christianity.

In a previous article in ‘The Founder’s Journal’ – “How did ‘Jesus Christ’ become The Third Part Of God” I presented an unassailable case that this doctrine of a three-part God is completely foreign to the Tanakh and even offensive to those of the Jewish faith. The Shema – “Hear O Israel, YHVH is our God, YHVH is one” – is an affirmation of Judaism and declaration of faith in the oneness of God. So we can dismiss any claims that the Tanakh contains any reference to a three-part God – with alacrity. For those who profess some attachment to Yeshua Hanotzri it must be remembered that Yeshua was a Sabbath keeping Jew!

Without discussing the tenets of this article I was assailed by God fearing Christians with New Testament ‘proof’ that the doctrine of the Trinity was indeed contained in the New Testament. That there was a reluctance to discuss the oneness of God proclaimed in the Tanakh comes as no surprise as they have no answer, so they changed the debate to ‘prove’ the three-part God – from the New testament.

Matthew 28:19 was frequently evoked to deliver the decisive blow to my arguments, a kind of blitzkrieg that would overwhelm me into submission. This verse is usually translated “… baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”.

And so this ‘heretic, blasphemer, anti-christ, unbeliever’, decided to see if we can dismiss Matthew 28; 19 as claiming any reference to a three-part God – with alacrity. But I must confess that I was totally aware of this verse – and other ‘proof’ texts – from previous studies and from these studies and by reference to modern Biblical scholarship I attribute this verse to a late 2nd century CE Greek insertion into the original Hebrew text. (After some 45 years of examining Christine doctrine there is probably no argument, no proof text, I haven’t heard hundreds of times from our Christian friends defending non-biblical doctrines such as virgin birth, trinity, original sin, transubstantiation and Marion mythology)

But more importantly for this particular essay I wanted to find out what have Christian scholars and commentators from various persuasions had to say about this verse and how it became part of the Christian doctrinal landscape accepted as being ‘foundational’ to Christianity.

Let them speak for themselves with little comment from me!

The Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics:

As to Matthew 28:19: It is the central piece of evidence for the traditional (Trinitarian) view.  If it were undisputed, this would, of course, be decisive, but its trustworthiness is impugned on grounds of textual criticism, literary criticism and historical criticism. The same Encyclopedia further states that: “The obvious explanation of the silence of the New Testament on the triune name, and the use of another (Yeshua’s name) formula in Acts and Paul, is that this other formula was the earlier, and the triune formula is a later addition.”

Edmund Schlink (1903 – 1984) was a leading German Lutheran theologian in the modern ecumenical movement, especially in the World Council of Churches.

In his ‘The Doctrine of Baptism’, page 28:  he concludes:

“The baptismal command in its Matthew 28:19 form, cannot be the historical origin of Christian baptism. At the very least, it must be assumed that the text has been transmitted in a form expanded by the Catholic Church”.

The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, I, 275:

“It is often affirmed that the words in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost are not the ‘ipsissima verba’ [exact words] of Jesus, but…a later liturgical addition”.

Wilhelm Bousset (1865 – 1920). German theologian. ‘Kyrios Christianity’, page 295:

“The testimony for the wide distribution of the simple baptismal formula [in the Name of Jesus] down into the second century is so overwhelming that even in Matthew 28:19, the Trinitarian formula was later inserted.”

****The Catholic Encyclopedia, II, page 263:

“The baptismal formula was changed from the name of Jesus to the words Father, Son, and Holy Spirit by the Catholic Church in the second century.”

Hastings Dictionary of the Bible 1963, page 1015:

“The Trinity.-…is not demonstrable by logic or by Scriptural proofs…The term Trias was first used by Theophilus of Antioch (c 180 CE)… (The term Trinity) not found in Scripture…” “The chief Trinitarian text in the NT is the baptismal formula in Mt 28:19…This late post-resurrection saying, not found in any other Gospel or anywhere else in the NT, has been viewed by some scholars as an interpolation into Matthew. It has also been pointed out that the idea of making disciples is continued in teaching them, so that the intervening reference to baptism with its Trinitarian formula was perhaps a later insertion into the saying. Finally, Eusebius’s form of the (ancient) text “in my name” rather than in the name of the Trinity) has had certain advocates. Although the Trinitarian formula is now found in the modern-day book of Matthew, this does not guarantee its source in the historical teaching of Yeshua. It is doubtless better to view the (Trinitarian) formula as derived from early Catholic Christian, perhaps Syrian or Palestinian, baptismal usage (ch Didache 7:1-4), and as a brief summary of the Catholic Church’s teaching about God, Christ, and the Spirit:…”

The Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge:

“Jesus, however, cannot have given His disciples this Trinitarian order of baptism after his resurrection; for the New Testament knows only one baptism in the name of Jesus (Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:43; 19:5; Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3; 1 Cor. 1:13-15), which still occurs even in the second and third centuries, while the Trinitarian formula occurs only in Matt. 28:19, and then only again (in the) Didache 7:1 and Justin, Apol. 1:61…Finally, the distinctly liturgical character of the formula…is strange; it was not the way of Jesus to make such formulas… the formal authenticity of Matt. 28:19 must be disputed…” page 435.

****The Jerusalem Bible (JB) is a Roman Catholic translation of the Bible which first was introduced to the English-speaking public in 1966.

This scholarly Catholic work, states:

“It may be that this formula, (Triune Matthew 28:19) so far as the fullness of its expression is concerned, is a reflection of the (Man-made) liturgical usage established later in the primitive Catholic community. It will be remembered that Acts speaks of baptising “in the name of Jesus,”…”

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, page 2637, Under “Baptism,”

says: “Matthew 28:19 in particular only canonises a later ecclesiastical situation, that its universalism is contrary to the facts of early Christian history, and its Trinitarian formula (is) foreign to the mouth of Jesus.”

New Revised Standard Version:  

“Modern critics claim this formula (Matthew 28:19 is falsely ascribed to Jesus and that it represents later Catholic Church tradition, for nowhere in the book of Acts (or any other book of the Bible) is baptism performed with the name of the Trinity…”

James Moffett’s New Testament Translation:

In a footnote on page 64 about Matthew 28:19 he makes this statement: “It may be that this Trinitarian formula, so far as the fullness of its expression is concerned, is a reflection of the Catholic liturgical usage established later in the primitive Catholic community, It will be remembered that Acts speaks of baptising “in the name of Jesus, cf. Acts 1:5 +.”

Tom Harpur, former Religion Editor of the Toronto Star in his “For Christ’s sake,” page 103:

“All but the most conservative scholars agree that at least the latter part of this command [Triune part of Matthew 28:19] was inserted later. The [Trinitarian] formula occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, and we know from the only evidence available [the rest of the New Testament] that the earliest Church did not baptise people using these words (“in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”) baptism was “into” or “in” the name of Jesus alone. Thus it is argued that the verse originally read “baptizing them in My Name” and then was expanded [changed] to work in the [later Catholic Trinitarian] dogma. In fact, the first view put forward by German critical scholars as well as the Unitarians in the nineteenth century, was stated as the accepted position of mainline scholarship as long ago as 1919, when Peake’s commentary was first published: “The Church of the first days (AD 33) did not observe this world-wide (Trinitarian) commandment, even if they knew it. The command to baptise into the threefold [Trinity] name is a late doctrinal expansion.”

The Bible Commentary 1919 page 723:

Dr. Peake makes it clear that: “The command to baptise into the threefold name is a late doctrinal expansion. Instead of the words baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost we should probably read simply – ‘in my name’.”

Theology of the New Testament: R. Bultmann, 1951, page 133 under ‘Kerygma of the Hellenistic Church and the Sacraments’.

The historical fact that the verse Matthew 28:19 was altered is openly confessed to very plainly. “As to the rite of baptism, it was normally consummated as a bath in which the one receiving baptism completely submerged, and if possible in flowing water as the allusions of Acts 8:36, Heb. 10:22, Barn. 11:11 permit us to gather, and as Didache. 7:1-3 specifically says. According to the last passage, (the apocryphal Catholic Didache) suffices in case of the need if water is three times poured [false Catholic sprinkling doctrine] on the head. The one baptizing names over the one being baptised the name of the Lord Jesus Christ,” later expanded (changed) to the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.”

‘Doctrine and Practice in the Early Church’: By Dr. Stuart G. Hall 1992, pages 20 and 21. Professor Stuart G. Hall was the former Chair of Ecclesiastical History at King’s College, London England.

He makes the statement that Catholic Trinitarian Baptism was not the original form of Christian Baptism; rather the original was Jesus name baptism. “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”, although those words were not used, as they later are, as a formula. Not all baptisms fitted this rule.” Dr Hall further, states: “More common and perhaps more ancient was the simple, “In the name of the Lord Jesus….” This practice was known among the Marcionite and Orthodox; it is certainly the subject of controversy in Rome and Africa about 254, as the anonymous tract ‘De rebaptismate’ (“On rebaptism”) shows.”

The Beginnings of Christianity: The Acts of the Apostles Volume 1, Prolegomena 1: The Jewish Gentile and Christian Backgrounds’: by F. J. Foakes Jackson and Kirsopp Lake 1979 version pages 335-337.

“There is little doubt as to the sacramental nature of baptism by the middle of the first century in the circles represented by the Pauline Epistles, and it is indisputable in the second century. The problem is whether it can in this (Trinitarian) form be traced back to Jesus, and if not what light is thrown upon its history by the analysis of the synoptic Gospels and Acts”.

According to Roman Catholic teaching, traditional Trinitarian baptism was instituted by Jesus. It is easy to see how necessary this was for the belief in sacramental regeneration. Mysteries, or sacraments, were always the institution of the Lord of the cult; by them, and by them only, were its supernatural benefits obtained by the faithful. Nevertheless, if evidence counts for anything, few points in the problem of the Gospels are as clear as the improbability of this teaching.

The reason for this assertion is the absence of any mention of Christian baptism in Mark, or the third Gospel, and the suspicious nature of the account of its institution in Matthew 28:19: “Go ye into all the world, and make disciples of all Gentiles (nations), baptising them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit”. It is not even certain whether this verse ought to be regarded as part of the genuine text of Matthew. No other text, indeed, is found in any extant manuscripts, in any language, but it is arguable that Justin Martyr, though he used the trine formula, did not find it in his text of the Gospels; Hermas seems to be unacquainted with it; the evidence of the Didache is ambiguous, and Eusebius habitually, though not invariably, quotes it in another form, “Go ye into all the world and make disciples of all the Gentiles in My Name”.

No one acquainted with the facts of textual history and patristic evidence can doubt the tendency would have been to replace the Eusebian text (‘in my name’) by the ecclesiastical Roman Catholic Trinitarian formula of baptism, so that transcriptional evidence is certainly on the side of the text omitting baptism.

But it is unnecessary to discuss this point at length, because even if the ordinary (modern Trinity) text of Matthew 28:19 is found to be sound it cannot represent historical fact.

Would they have baptised, as Acts says that they did, and Paul seems to confirm the statement, in the name of the Lord Jesus if the Lord himself had commanded them to use the Roman Catholic Trinitarian formula of the Church? On every point the evidence of Acts is convincing proof that the Roman Catholic tradition embodied in Matthew 28:19 is a late non-Scriptural Creed and unhistorical.

Neither in the third gospel nor in Acts is there any reference to the Roman Catholic Trinitarian Matthean tradition, nor any mention of the institution of Roman Catholic Trinitarian Christian baptism. Nevertheless, a little later in the narrative we find several references to baptism in water in the name of the Lord Jesus as part of recognised early Christian practice. Thus we are faced by the problem of a Christian rite, not directly ascribed to Jesus, but assumed to be a universal and original practice. That it was so is confirmed by the Epistles, but the facts of importance are all contained in Acts.

Also in the same book on page 336 in the footnote number one, Professor Lake makes an astonishing discovery in the so-called Teaching or Didache. The Didache has an astonishing contradiction that is found in it. One passage refers to the necessity of baptism in the name of the Lord – which is a reference to Jesus – the other famous passage teaches a Trinitarian Baptism. Lake raises the probability that the apocryphal Didache or the early Roman Catholic Church Manual may have also been edited or changed to promote the later Trinitarian doctrine. It is a historical fact that the Catholic Church at one time baptized its converts in the name of Jesus but later changed to Trinity baptism.

“1. In the actual description of baptism in the Didache the trine (Trinity) formula is used; in the instructions for the Eucharist (communion) the condition for admission is baptism in the name of the Lord. It is obvious that in the case of an eleventh-century manuscript *the trine formula was almost certain to be inserted in the description of baptism, while the less usual formula had a chance of escaping notice when it was only used incidentally.”

****The Catholic University of America in Washington, D. C. 1923, New Testament Studies Number 5:

The Lord’s Command To Baptize An Historical Critical Investigation. By Bernard Henry Cuneo page 27.

“The passages in Acts and the Letters of St. Paul … These passages seem to point to the earliest form as baptism in the name of the Lord.” Also we find. “Is it possible to reconcile these facts with the belief that Christ commanded his disciples to baptize in the trine form? Had Christ given such a command, it is urged, the Apostolic Church would have followed him, and we should have some trace of this obedience in the New Testament. No such trace can be found. The only explanation of this silence, according to the anti-traditional view, is this the short christological – Jesus – formula was the original, and the longer trine formula was a later development?”

Williston Walker former Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Yale University. A History of The Christian Church:

On page 95 we see the historical facts again declared. “With the early disciples generally baptism was “in the name of Jesus Christ.” There is no mention of baptism in the name of the Trinity in the New Testament, except in the command attributed to Christ in Matthew 28:19. That text is early, (but not the original) however. It underlies the Apostles’ Creed, and the practice recorded (*or interpolated) in the Teaching, (or the Didache) and by Justin. The Christian leaders of the third century retained the recognition of the earlier form, and, in Rome at least, baptism in the name of Christ was deemed valid, if irregular, certainly from the time of Bishop Stephen (254-257).”

On page 61 Professor and Church historian Walker, reviles the true origin and purpose of Matthew 28:19. This Text is the first man-made Roman Catholic Creed that was the prototype for the later Apocryphal Apostles’ Creed. Matthew 28:19 was invented along with the Apocryphal Apostles’ Creed to counter so-called heretics and Gnostics that baptized in the name of Jesus Christ! Marcion although somewhat mixed up in some of his doctrine still baptized his converts the Biblical way in the name of Jesus Christ. Matthew 28:19 is the first non-Biblical Roman Catholic Creed! The spurious Catholic text of Matthew 28:19 was invented to support the newer triune, Trinity doctrine. Therefore, Matthew 28:19 is not the “Great Commission of Jesus Christ.” Matthew 28:19 is the great Catholic hoax! Acts 2:38, Luke 24:47, and 1 Corinthians 6:11 give us the ancient original words and teaching of Yeshua/Jesus! Is it not also strange that Matthew 28:19 is missing from the old manuscripts of Sinaiticus, Curetonianus and Bobiensis?

“While the power of the episcopate and the significance of churches of apostolical (Catholic) foundation was thus greatly enhanced, the Gnostic crisis saw a corresponding development of (man-made non-inspired spurious) creed, at least in the West. Some form of instruction before baptism was common by the middle of the second century. At Rome this developed, apparently, between 150 and 175, and probably in opposition to Marcionite Gnosticism, into an explication of the baptismal formula of Matthew 28:19 the earliest known form of the so-called Apostles Creed.”

*****Catholic Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger: (Now Pope Benedict XV1) makes this confession as to the origin of the chief Trinity text of Matthew 28:19. “The basic form of our Matthew 28:19 Trinitarian profession of faith took shape during the course of the second and third centuries in connection with the ceremony of baptism. So far as its place of origin is concerned, the text (Matthew 28:19) came from the city of Rome”.

So according to the present Pope the Trinity baptism and text of Matthew 28:19 therefore did not originate from the original Church that started in Jerusalem around 33 CE but was a later invention of Roman Catholicism – completely fabricated.

“The Demonstratio Evangelica” by Eusebius:

Eusebius was the Church historian and Bishop of Caesarea. On page 152 Eusebius quotes the early book of Matthew that he had in his library in Caesarea. According to this eyewitness of the Hebrew Matthew that could have been the original book or the first copy of the original of Matthew. Eusebius informs us of Jesus’ actual words to his disciples in the original text of Matthew 28:19: “With one word and voice He said to His disciples: “Go, and make disciples of all nations in My Name, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you”. That “Name” is Yeshua.

For centuries those who practice the pagan religions have been vilified, condemned, denounced, reviled, rebuked, and criticised by the Christian community for having pagan beliefs, and this from a religion, who stole their doctrines, amalgamated them into the evolving Roman Church liturgy, sanctified them thus making them ‘holy’, and were later adopted – in part – by the daughters of Rome. Hypocrisy is a word that comes to mind!

It needs repeating: “the Christian religion is the largest pagan religion in the world”.

 “A wise man will remain silent until the right moment … and whoever usurps the right to speak will be hated”