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Does Luke Contradict Himself on When Jesus Was Born?

Quirinius

St. Luke begins the second chapter of his Gospel with a chronological note about when Jesus was born, writing:

"In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria." (Luke 2:1-2)

This passage has been subject to a lot of criticism, because Luke has already linked the birth of Jesus to reign of Herod the Great (Luke 1:5), and Quirinius did not become governor of Syria until years afterwards.

What Happened When?

Precisely when Herod’s reign ended is a matter of dispute. Historically, the most common view—which is also in accordance with the Church Fathers—is that Herod died in 1 B.C.

Just over a hundred years ago, however, a German scholar named Emil Schürer argued that Herod died in 4 B.C., and this became the most popular view in the 20th century. More recent scholarship, however, has supported the idea that Schürer was wrong and that the traditional date of 1 B.C. is correct.

After Herod’s death, his kingdom was divided, and his son Archelaus became the ruler of Judaea (Matt. 2:22). Archelaus, however, was a terrible ruler, and in A.D. 6 he was removed from office by the Romans and banished to what is now France. In his place, a Roman prefect was appointed to govern the province, which is why Pontius Pilate—rather than one of the descendants of Herod the Great—was ruling Judaea at the time of Jesus’ adult ministry.

According to the Jewish historian Josephus, Quirinius (aka Cyrenius) was sent to govern Syria after the banishment of Archelaus. He also took a tax census of Judaea at this time and made an accounting of Archelaus’s finances (Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 18:1:1).

The Sequence

From the above, the overall sequence of events is clear:

  1. Herod the Great dies (1 B.C. or 4 B.C.)
  2. Archelaus becomes his successor in Judaea
  3. Archelaus is deposed
  4. Quirinius does his census (A.D. 6)

Given that sequence, if Luke identified Jesus’ birth with a census conducted in A.D. 6 then we would have an implicit contradiction with Luke 1, which links Jesus’ birth to the reign of Herod the Great, and an even clearer contradiction with Matthew 2, which is explicit about the fact that Jesus was born during the reign of Herod the Great.

Finding a Solution

Scholars have proposed a number of solutions to this. There isn’t space to review them all here, but I’d like to look at one of them. In his book Who Was Jesus? the former Anglican bishop N. T Wright states:

"The question of Quirinius and his census is an old chestnut, requiring a good knowledge of Greek. It depends on the meaning of the word protos, which usually means ‘first’.
 
Thus most translations of Luke 2:2 read ‘this was the first [protos] census, when Quirinius was governor of Syria’, or something like that.
 
But in the Greek of the time, as the standard major Greek lexicons point out, the word protos came sometimes to be used to mean ‘before’, when followed (as this is) by the genitive case." (p. 89)

The genitive case is a grammatical feature in Greek. It is often used to indicate possession (as in “Jesus’ disciples”) or origin (as in “Jesus of Nazareth”). Wright, however, is pointing to a special use of the genitive when it follows the word protos and protos ends up meaning “before.” He writes:

"A good example is in John 1:15, where John the Baptist says of Jesus ‘he was before me’, with the Greek being again protos followed by the genitive of ‘me’."

In a footnote, Wright continues:

"The phrase is repeated in John 1:30; compare also 15:18, where Jesus says ‘the world hated me before [it hated] you’, where again the Greek is protos with the genitive.
 
Other references, in biblical and non-biblical literature of the period, may be found in the Greek Lexicon of Liddell and Scott (Oxford: OUP, 1940), p. 1535, and the Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament of W . Bauer, revised and edited by Arndt, Gingrich and Danker (Chicago: University of Chicago Press), pp. 725f. 19.
 
This solution has been advanced by various scholars, including, interestingly, William Temple in his Readings in St John’s Gospel (London: Macmillan, 1945), p. 17; cf. most recently John Nolland, Luke 1–9: 20 (Dallas: Word Books, 1989), pp. 101f."

Wright’s Solution

Wright then explains how this can relate to the enrollment of Quirinius:

"I suggest, therefore, that actually the most natural reading of the verse is: 'This census took place before the time when Quirinius was governor of Syria.'"

He also notes:

"This solves an otherwise odd problem: why should Luke say that Quirinius’ census was the first? Which later ones was he thinking of?
 
This reading, of course, does not resolve all the difficulties. We don’t know, from other sources, of a census earlier than Quirinius’. But there are a great many things that we don’t know in ancient history.
 
There are huge gaps in our records all over the place. Only those who imagine that one can study history by looking up back copies of the London Times or the Washington Post in a convenient library can make the mistake of arguing from silence in matters relating to the first century.
 
My guess is that Luke knew a tradition in which Jesus was born during some sort of census, and that Luke knew as well as we do that it couldn’t have been the one conducted under Quirinius, because by then Jesus was about ten years old. That is why he wrote that the census was the one before that conducted by Quirinius."

An Objection

An objection that some have raised about this solution is why, on this theory, Luke would bother mentioning Quirinius’s census.
 
Think about it for a moment: It can sound a little strange to say, “This census took place before the time when Quirinius was governor of Syria.”

Why would Luke do that?

There are at least three reasons . . .

Avoiding Confusion

The census of Quirinius was famous enough that Luke’s audience would have heard of it—otherwise he wouldn’t have bothered mentioning it.
 
Given that it was well known, Luke would have wanted to avoid people confusing it with the enrollment during which Jesus was born.
 
He would especially want to avoid confusion in light of what he had established about King Herod...

Herod’s Death

Previously, in Luke 1:5, the Evangelist established that John the Baptist was conceived by his mother Elizabeth during the reign of Herod the Great.

Then, in 1:26 and 36, he established that Gabriel announced the conception of Jesus “in the sixth month” (i.e., what we would call the fifth month) of Elizabeth’s pregnancy. This means that Jesus would have been conceived much too early to have been born during Quirinius’s census.

Since Luke has already established this, it gives him a reason—when he records the fact that Jesus was born in connection with an enrollment—that it was not the famous census of Quirinius. It was an earlier one, in keeping with the timeframe Luke has already established.

But there is another reason why Luke would want to point this out...

In the Fifteenth Year of Tiberius Caesar

Luke 2 begins with a time cue that connects the birth of Jesus to the reign of Augustus Caesar. Luke 3 begins with an even more elaborate time cue linking the beginning of Jesus’ adult ministry to the reign of Augustus’s successor, Tiberius.

Luke writes:

"In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, in the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness." (Luke 3:1-2)

The fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar is what we would call A.D. 28/29.

After John’s ministry begins, Jesus quickly comes and is baptized, thus beginning his own ministry. When that happens, Luke informs us:

"Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age." (Luke 3:23)

If you back up 30 years from A.D. 28/29 (remembering that there is no “year 0” so you skip from A.D. 1 directly to 1 B.C.), you land in 2/3 B.C., which is the year that the early Church Fathers overwhelmingly assign Jesus’ birth to.

People back then knew when Tiberius reigned, and they could do the math as well as we. In fact, since they were used to dating years in terms of the emperor’s reign, they would realize even more quickly than we the year in which Luke 3 indicates Jesus was born.

Thus, on Wright’s theory, Luke would have an additional motive to make sure there was no confusion about Jesus being born during the famous census of Quirinius.

Think about it from Luke’s point of view: After years of gathering his research, he’s now drafting his Gospel, and, when he reaches Luke 2, he includes a time cue for the birth of Jesus during an enrollment ordered by Augustus. He already knows, however, that he is planning on beginning Luke 3 with a time due identifying the beginning of John the Baptist’s ministry and that he’s going to give Jesus’ approximate age at the time of his own ministry’s commencement.

Since the later time cues he’s planning to give point to a date earlier than the famous census of Quirinius, Luke would want to head off any potential confusion by stressing that this happened before that census, in keeping with the implications of Luke 3.
 
 
 
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Originally posted at Catholic Answers. Used with permission.
 
 
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Jimmy Akin

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Jimmy Akin is a Senior Apologist at Catholic Answers, a member on the Catholic Answers Speakers Bureau, a weekly guest on the global radio program, Catholic Answers LIVE, and a contributing editor for Catholic Answers Magazine. He's the author of numerous publications, including the books The Fathers Know Best (Catholic Answers, 2010); The Salvation Controversy (Catholic Answers, 2001); and Mass Confusion: The Do's & Don'ts of Catholic Worship (Catholic Answers, 1999). Many of Jimmy's books are also integrated into the Logos software. Follow Jimmy's writing at JimmyAkin.com.

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  • Loreen Lee

    I really feel an obligation to commend you for the patience needed to scrutinize such facts, or should I say information. I am glad that in this last post you have established that your viewpoint reflects that of the early Church, rather than the theories of the 20th century. I shall keep, however, with my 'imagined' - born in the year zero, as a 'metaphysical' date reflecting the idea that Christ is born within every year. Also, am still wondering about the relationship between the establishment of the Julian calendar, 45B.C. and the chronology established by the Church.

    • Loreen Lee

      Also, by using the date "0" the problem or paradox of self-reference is also avoided. That is to say: if Jesus was born B.C. he was born before he was born. If Jesus was born A.D. he was born after he was born.
      Since his birth is theoretically a place setting for the chronological, the use of the place date "0", simply takes the particular out of the context of the temporal. It is an attempt to recognize the importance of his birth not only within the general ordering of temporality vis a vis the calendar, but as the centering of a new world/spiritual order which extends beyond chronology..

      • Loreen Lee

        My understanding is that if I were doing mathematics instead of metaphysics, I would be allowed to use the number 0 within a purely 'figurative' context. grin grin.

  • Ye Olde Statistician

    Also in regnal dating, the same year may be counted twice. The last year of the reign of King Log (An. XI Ligno) may also be the first year of the reign of King Stork (An. I Ciconia) and the unwary may think these are two different years.

  • Doug Shaver

    Given that sequence, if Luke identified Jesus’ birth with a census conducted in A.D. 6 then we would have an implicit contradiction with Luke 1, which links Jesus’ birth to the reign of Herod the Great, and an even clearer contradiction with Matthew 2, which is explicit about the fact that Jesus was born during the reign of Herod the Great.

    The most obvious explanation is that Luke just made a mistake. I don't see what is so improbable about that conclusion. No historian, to my knowledge, regards any other ancient document as inerrant. Why should we make an exception for this one?

    • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

      No it is not. First, entities are not to be feigned without necessity. Second, one thing we know about Luke, ever since Ramsay, is that he was fanatical about being absolutely correct in every reference to time and place and in every place description. Time and again, his place names, place descriptions, tiltes and ranks of officials, in short, everything that sets the stage, have been found to be severely correct. His very style speaks of this fanaticism: what other historian would date an event, however important, with this cluster of dating years - ""In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, in the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas.."?

      • Doug Shaver

        First, entities are not to be feigned without necessity.

        I said nothing about anybody feigning anything. If I think somebody is feigning something, I don't say they're mistaken.

        Second, one thing we know about Luke, ever since Ramsay, is that he was fanatical about being absolutely correct in every reference to time and place and in every place description.

        Who is this "we"? I don't know anything just because

        Ramsay said it. Can you summarize the argument he used to reach that conclusion?

        • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

          Are you out of your mind? "Can I summarize" the results of a lifetime of scholarship and several epoch-making published books? No, I cannot. The only thing is to suggest you go and read his work. Don't stint the effort: Ramsay is fundamental, and wihtout a knowledge of his archaeological work you simply should not open yourmouth about the New Testament in general and about ST.Paul andSt.Luke in particular. Three of his books are available free for download here: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/ramsay

          • Doug Shaver

            Are you out of your mind? "Can I summarize" the results of a lifetime of scholarship and several epoch-making published books?

            It took the mathematical community hundreds of years to develop a proof of Fermat's Last Theorem, but I can summarize the proof myself in a single paragraph, and my mathematical studies ended with multivariable calculus.

            Ramsay is fundamental, and wihtout a knowledge of his archaeological work you simply should not open your mouth about the New Testament in general and about ST. Paul and St. Luke in particular.

            Real scholarship doesn't work that way. His research is over a century out of date.

          • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

            Your excuses are getting more and more pathetic. If you did not even know research that is "over a century out of date" - and the findings of historical research only go out of date when they are found to be wrong - so much less should you open your mouth about subjects of which you know so little. Read and learn and then speak.

          • Doug Shaver

            Your excuses are getting more and more pathetic.

            I'll let our readers be the judge of that.

        • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

          Oh, and "entities are not to be feigned without necessity# is a classic philosophical principle. It means that you should not postulate facts or things unless logic or evidence compel you to. In this case, you have no compelling need to postulate a mistake, especially given the Greek point made in the text.

          • Doug Shaver

            I'm not postulating a mistake. I'm postulating the writer's human nature.

          • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

            NO, you are postulating the nature of some fantastic creature of your own begetting and designing, that always and necessarily makes mistakes when YOU fail to see what it is saying. Human nature does not do your vanity such favours; if you fail to understand the factual content of a statement, as often as not it is you who is wrong.

          • Doug Shaver

            Where have I said that anyone who says something I don't believe is necessarily mistaken? One of us has to be, but are you suggesting that I should always assume I'm the one?

      • William Davis

        I don't think anyone is doubting the author of Luke's intentions. Even the best historians make mistakes, often due to the imperfection of information that they have on hand. Even if not exactly right it was pretty close. Pretty close counts in history :)

        • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

          Thank you, but the explanation offered here for Luke's peculiar expression is quite sufficient and leaves no requirement for any supposed error. I also have heard, though I don't know it of my own knowledge, that there is evidence for a worldwide census under Augustus, and before Quirinius, in Egyptian papyri.

          • William Davis

            There was a census in the general time period, but it was only for Roman citizens. There was also no requirement to return to one's ancestral home. Imagine Romans in the far side of Greece being required to return to Rome just to be counted...the economic devastation that would entail would be staggering. The author of Luke likely capitalized on the fact there was a census, and twisted it a bit for his needs.

          • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

            You are using sophistry to explain away an inconvenient detail. Look up LECTIO DIFFICILIOR and internalize what it means.

          • William Davis

            I find textual criticism fascinating (and am continuing to learn a whole lot more about it), and I understand why you accuse me of sophistry when that is honestly not what I'm trying to do. I'm searching for the real truth, though sometimes my comments my lack appropriate finesse. In reading the gospel of Mark, I've rediscovered (after losing a lot of sleep and internal debate) a very personal God. What you're telling me is, you don't want to really debate it, and that's ok. I don't want to be a stumbling block for you.

          • William Davis

            here's an article about it from wikipedia

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Census_of_Quirinius

    • Jared Clark

      I find it extremely hard to believe that someone focusing so much on establishing the chronology would mistakenly include an event from almost a decade later.

      Also keep in mind that Luke must have spoken with Mary about these events at some point, as he comments on her personal conversations (Luke 1: 28-38, 1: 40-56, 2:48-50) and internal reflections (Luke 1: 29, 2:19, 2:33, 2:51).

      She is the most likely source for the infancy narrative since Luke was a gentile convert and did not learn of this directly from Jesus. Maybe the Apostles knew some of the story, but it would be extremely odd for anyone other than Mary herself to comment on her thoughts and emotions.

      If Luke spoke with Mary directly, then he would have a definitive source on what happened at the nativity. If Matthew were somehow mistaken about King Herod's persecution, then she would have been able to correct that. And if he had picked up some false idea of their being in Bethlehem for a census, she also would have been able to correct that. Based on the certainty of Luke learning of these events through Mary, the most likely answer is that Luke's Gospel contains the only known record of this census.

      • Hear, hear!

        I also find it hard to believe that people who claim to believe in the inerrancy of the Scripture place more credence in the fallible men who wrote many years after the Word of God was penned.

        • Doug Shaver

          People who say we shouldn't believe everything we read make an exception for the Bible. I don't find that the least bit hard to believe.

          • Lol! Touche´!

            Its funny, but its not true. I didn't always make an exception for the Bible. I only did so after years of studying the Bible. Looking at every case where I thought there was an error or contradiction. Comparing the case for and against. Then, I was finally convince.

            I didn't always make an exception for the infallibility of the Catholic Church either. However, once I was convinced of the inerrancy of the Bible, I was on the road to being convinced of the infallibility of the Church.

          • Doug Shaver

            I didn't always make an exception for the Bible.

            But you do now. So, which part of what I said is not true?

          • The part which insinuates that I didn't test the premise.

            I didn't believe the Bible the first time I read it and for many years thereafter. But, after being convinced that God does exist and after having tested many religions, I decided I'd have to test the Bible and the objections which many held against it.

            Now I believe the Bible wholeheartedly and I believe that it contains no errors.

          • Doug Shaver

            The part which insinuates that I didn't test the premise.

            A fair objection. You got me on that one.

      • Doug Shaver

        I find it extremely hard to believe that someone focusing so much on establishing the chronology would mistakenly include an event from almost a decade later.

        It would be hard to believe on the assumption that he must have known the event was almost a decade later. I don't think that assumption is justified.

        Also keep in mind that Luke must have spoken with Mary about these events at some point

        This presupposes the reliability of the church's traditions about who wrote the gospel.

        • Jared Clark

          Why wouldn't he know that? Even if the author wasn't really Luke, he would still have needed to talk to Mary in order to know what she was thinking in these events, and he would likely know several other people who participated in the census (or at least heard of it).

          • Doug Shaver

            Even if the author wasn't really Luke, he would still have needed to talk to Mary in order to know what she was thinking in these events

            Why? Has no one ever assumed that they knew what someone else was thinking in some situation?

          • Jared Clark

            He's not making an assumption; he is putting into print, in his account of the Gospel, which he says he did a lot of research for (Luke 1:3), her apparent thoughts. A simple guess doesn't match his approach.

            Besides, Joseph and John the Baptist were already dead at the time of the crucifixion, and John's parents were old at the time of the infancy narrative, so they had likely passed on as well. If you lived in the first century and wanted to chronicle this, even going as far as to "investigate everything anew" instead of just asking Matthew and Mark to fill you in, wouldn't you want to talk to Mary?

            Considering that the first two chapters are mostly about events that she witnessed, that she would be the logical person to ask, that he claims to have done a thorough investigation before writing, and that he even comments on her thoughts and includes a canticle she prayed, the logical conclusion is that he asked Mary about the infancy narrative.

          • Doug Shaver

            He's not making an assumption; he is putting into print

            I've been a writer. I put lots of stuff into print, and a substantial portion of it was either something I'd assumed or was based on something I'd assumed.

            he says he did a lot of research

            Anybody can say they did a lot of research. Holocaust deniers say so. The 9-11 Truthers say so. The issue is why I should believe anything that this particular author says.

            If you lived in the first century and wanted to chronicle this, even going as far as to "investigate everything anew" instead of just asking Matthew and Mark to fill you in, wouldn't you want to talk to Mary?

            Oh, sure. If anyone invents a time machine during my lifetime, first-century Palestine is the first place I'll want to go. But until that happens, all we have are some documents with some stories about somebody called Jesus of Nazareth. Maybe all those stories are true, or maybe some are true and some are not true, or maybe none of them is true. Serious scholarship does not presuppose any of those three options. An impartial investigation begins with the assumption that any of them could turn out to be the case.

          • William Davis

            I second that trip in the time machine. Actually seeing what really happened that has generated all of this controversy for all of these years would be priceless.

          • That's true. But we don't have a time machine. So we have to settle for eyewitness testimony. The next best thing.

          • Doug Shaver

            The next best thing.

            Yes, when we get it.

          • Jared Clark

            Is there any reason to conclude that he's lying about his research?

          • Doug Shaver

            What would make it a lie? What, specifically, does he tell us about the sources he consulted? Does he identify any document that he read? Does he identify any person he talked with?

          • What would make it a lie?

            That's what we're asking YOU.

            What, specifically, does he tell us about the sources he consulted? Does he identify any document that he read? Does he identify any person he talked with?

            He is writing within a community. No one in that community is denying what he said. If the community within which he wrote does not deny his words, what makes you think you know enough about that community to deny his words?

          • Doug Shaver

            That's what we're asking YOU.

            Why? I'm not saying he lied.

            He is writing within a community.

            Yes, and Christian orthodoxy tells us something about who made up that community. But I have no reason to trust Christian orthodoxy on that issue. Modern scholarship suggests, to me, a more plausible alternative.

          • Why? I'm not saying he lied.

            You're not? Then what are you saying?

          • Doug Shaver

            I am saying that "Luke said X, therefore X" is not a valid argument.

          • How about, Matthew, Mark, and Luke said X, therefore X. Is that a valid argument?

          • Doug Shaver

            Nope.

          • Why?

          • Doug Shaver

            Perhaps you're assuming that any argument with true premises and a true conclusion must be a valid argument. That is not so. Logicians define validity thus: An argument is valid if, and only if, it is logically impossible to affirm all its premises while denying its conclusion without contradiction. There is no logical contradiction between "Matthew, Mark, and Luke said X" and "X is false," even if X is true as a matter of fact.

            You could add a premise that would make the argument valid, but then you would have a different argument. The fact that "A and B, therefore X" is valid does not make either "A therefore X" or "B therefore X" valid.

          • Oh, ok. My expertise is not in mathematics and logic, but in forensics. For ten years I was an auditor for a large company. We (we were a team of 6) were trained in all sorts of techniques to uncover and prove anything out of sorts especially theft and fraud. One of the most interesting to me was the reviewing of witness testimonies.

            I applied this knowledge to my review of the four Gospels. I came to the conclusion that the four Gospels bear each other out. Especially the Synoptics. The fourth Gospel, fills in big gaps of information. I get the impression that St. John didn't want to repeat that which had been recounted so often and did that intentionally in order to provide a broader, more detailed picture of the life of Christ.

          • Doug Shaver

            One of the most interesting to me was the reviewing of witness testimonies.

            When I was a newspaper reporter, I didn't do much of what is called investigative reporting, but I did a little bit, so I know something about interviewing witnesses.

            My problem with the gospels is lack of any good reason to think that they include any witness testimony.

          • I actually read them. And they sound very much like eyewitness testimonies. One of the things that people get caught up about is that they are not written as eyewitness testimonies would be at the scene of a crime or an accident in the twentieth century.

            That, to me, is a strength. They weren't setting out to prove that Jesus Christ existed. Nor to prove that He produced miracles. It is obvious that their intent was to fulfill the mission which Jesus Christ had assigned them. To teach the world all that He commanded. In so doing, they make a much more credible witness for the existence and actions of Jesus Christ.

          • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

            Doug Shaw, first you refuse to o accept all the many good reasons to take the Gospels to be eyewitness evidence. Then you deny that there is any such reasons. And after that you have the nerve to suggest that we should study logic. The only notable feature about you is your willingness to waste the time of others by continuing to give repetitious and absurd replies; which is why, having said this, I will not answer anything else you say. Do please go on repeating yourself till the next millennium.

          • Doug Shaver

            If you want to be a credible defender of your faith, you might consider reading a good introductory book on logic. I won't suggest googling it, because there is a lot of bad advice out there on this topic, and if you don't already have a good foundation, the chaff can be hard to sort from the wheat.

          • I've been defending my faith for close to twenty years. Your the 2nd person that ever brought up logic. And you're the 2nd person whom I showed that you were applying the logic incorrectly.

            I didn't broach your statement above, because, really, what? Every one of those testimonies is a collection of claims and factoids. For you to claim that you can make a simple "A and B therefore X" statement to cover all that they said, is overly simplistic. But if that's what you want to do, roll with it.

            As for me, I'd rather read them and compare them and compare the details that are in common and those that are in contrast. Check outside sources. Essentially, do the serious homework which is necessary to get in there where the rubber meets the road and make a real judgment on the question.

          • Doug Shaver

            I've been defending my faith for close to twenty years. Your the 2nd person that ever brought up logic.

            Then you've been doing most of your talking with people who don't know enough about logic to notice your fallacies.

            And you're the 2nd person whom I showed that you were applying the logic incorrectly.

            You have shown me nothing of the sort. I have studied logic. You admit that you have not.

          • Then you've been doing most of your talking with people who don't know enough about logic to notice your fallacies.

            In discussions and debates, grammar and consistency are much more important to arriving at truth than explanations about logical conditional statements. Let's look at your statement below.

            You have shown me nothing of the sort. I have studied logic. You admit that you have not.

            The first three sentences have nothing to do, one with the other. Let me break it down.

            You have shown me nothing of the sort.

            That's a reference to me saying I had shown you where you misapplied your logic. You deny it. Well, I guess you forgot. But, it doesn't really matter. Next, you say:

            I have studied logic.

            And I'm supposed to assume what? Lots of people have studied logic and flunked. There are some people who never studied logic and are more logical than some who have studied it for years.

            You admit that you have not.

            I don't remember saying any such thing. I said it was not "my field of expertise". How does that equate to, "never studied logic?"

            And that's how I debate. I avoid the x's and y's that merely muddle a conversation to where no one knows what is being said.

          • Doug Shaver

            In discussions and debates, grammar and consistency are much more important to arriving at truth than explanations about logical conditional statements.

            What do you think is the meaning of "consistency"?

            I don't remember saying any such thing. I said it was not "my field of expertise". How does that equate to, "never studied logic?"

            Was I in error? Have you studied logic?

            Lots of people have studied logic and flunked.

            I've taken four classes and didn't flunk any of them.

          • What do you think is the meaning of "consistency"?

            Staying on topic and avoiding contradiction in one's ideas.

            Was I in error? Have you studied logic?

            Yes, I have. Both in school and privately.

            I've taken four classes in logic and didn't flunk any of them.

            You say so. Why is that so important to you? And what do you expect me to say in response?

          • Doug Shaver

            Was I in error? Have you studied logic?

            Yes, I have. Both in school and privately

            Then I was in error.

            What do you think is the meaning of "consistency"?

            Staying on topic and avoiding contradiction in one's ideas.

            Logical analysis is essential to the avoidance of contradictions.

            I've taken four classes in logic and didn't flunk any of them.

            Why is that so important to you?

            You're the one who brought up people flunking logic classes.

          • Doug Shaver

            What would make it a lie?

            That's what we're asking YOU.

            My point in asking that particular question was that, because of the way he worded his statement, it would be practically impossible for anyone to prove he was lying even if he actually was lying. When politicians talk that way, it's called "plausible deniability."

          • My point in asking that particular question was that, because of the way he worded his statement, it would be practically impossible for anyone to prove he was lying even if he actually was lying. When politicians talk that way, it's called "plausible deniability."

            But didn't you say you thought he was writing fiction? And if he were writing fiction, wouldn't it be very simple for his contemporaries to see that what he was writing was simply fiction?

          • Doug Shaver

            wouldn't it be very simple for his contemporaries to see that what he was writing was simply fiction?

            Why? What would have made it obvious to whoever was reading his work? How would they have known antecedently whether anything in the book actually happened?

            The scholarly consensus is that Luke's gospel was written between 80 and 90 CE, by which time a majority of Christians did not live in the places where its events occurred. I see no reason for assuming that a detailed history of first-century Palestine was common knowledge. Mass communication did not exist.

          • Jared Clark

            When you said that anyone can claim to have done research, I took it as a suggestion that Luke may have simply lied about doing his homework

          • Doug Shaver

            I can see why you would have taken it that way. I should have expressed myself differently.

          • I've been a writer. I put lots of stuff into print, and a substantial portion of it was either something I'd assumed or was based on something I'd assumed.

            And every writer is like you? Because you wrote based upon mere assumption, everyone else must also?

            Anybody can say they did a lot of research. Holocaust deniers say so. The 9-11 Truthers say so. The issue is why I should believe anything that this particular author says.

            The issue is why you should doubt what he says? Do you have a reason to believe that he lied?

            Oh, sure. If anyone invents a time machine during my lifetime, first-century Palestine is the first place I'll want to go. But until that happens, all we have are some documents with some stories about somebody called Jesus of Nazareth. Maybe all those stories are true, or maybe some are true and some are not true, or maybe none of them is true. Serious scholarship does not presuppose any of those three options. An impartial investigation begins with the assumption that any of them could turn out to be the case.

            An impartial investigation looks at the evidence impartially without imbuing the evidence with his own bias.

          • Doug Shaver

            And every writer is like you?

            That was not my point. You implied that whatever goes into print cannot be an assumption. I was offering myself as a counterexample.

            The issue is why you should doubt what he says?

            If you actually have no idea why a substantial number of people doubt much of what is in the New Testament, you really need to be reading something besides your favorite apologists.

            I could fill a book with my reasons for doubting practically everything in the Bible, but whether my doubts are justified is not really the point. Suppose I had no reason at all for thinking that Luke's writing was historically unreliable. That still would not constitute a reason for me to assume that it was historically reliable. Absent any reason to believe one way or the other, it would be reasonable for me to simply suspend judgment.

            Do you have a reason to believe that he lied?

            No. I have no reason to believe he lied, and I don't believe he lied.

            An impartial investigation looks at the evidence impartially without imbuing the evidence with his own bias.

            I will not deny having biases. When apologists pretend to have none, I think they showing a lot of chutzpah.

          • That was not my point. You implied that whatever goes into print cannot be an assumption. I was offering myself as a counterexample.

            Then what was your point? It sounded to me as though you wanted us to generalize from your example.

            If you actually have no idea why a substantial number of people doubt much of what is in the New Testament, you really need to be reading something besides your favorite apologists. I could fill a book with my reasons for doubting practically everything in the Bible,

            That's a straw man. I didn't ask why anyone else doubted anything else. I asked why YOU doubted that which St. Luke has written. That is what this particular discussion is about.

            but whether my doubts are justified is not really the point.

            Well, yes, it is. I'm trying to show the reading public that you really have no reason to doubt the word of the Apostle. You're simply denying that which you don't believe for no credible reason.

            Suppose I had no reason at all for thinking that Luke's writing was historically unreliable.

            Ok.

            That still would not constitute a reason for me to assume that it was historically reliable. Absent any reason to believe one way or the other, it would be reasonable for me to simply suspend judgment.

            I'd have to agree. But in this discussion, I hadn't, until now, gotten the impression that you had suspended judgment. So, I'm glad you made that clarification.

            Your message is that, you are not declaring St. Luke's testimony untrue.

            But you simply do not feel competent to endorse his testimony. Is that right?

            I will not deny having biases. When apologists pretend to have none, I think they showing a lot of chutzpah.

            When you're right, you're right. I'd like to add that a bias, for or against something, is not always wrong, either.

            I think we're back on the same page. Of course, we're reading it from opposing points of view, but there's nothing wrong with that. Irons sharpens iron, as the Prophet once said.

          • Doug Shaver

            That's a straw man.

            No, it isn't. A straw man argument attacks a claim that has not actually been made. I didn't accuse you of making any claim.

            I asked why YOU doubted that which St. Luke has written.

            Two reasons. (1) I have no reliable information about the author or his sources, except that one of his sources was apparently Mark's gospel. (2) Much of what he writes is prima facie implausible.

            But in this discussion, I hadn't, until now, gotten the impression that you had suspended judgment.

            I said I should suspend judgment if I had no information about his reliability. I don't claim to have no information about his reliability.

            I'm trying to show the reading public that you really have no reason to doubt the word of the Apostle. You're simply denying that which you don't believe for no credible reason.

            I can't very well affirm what I don’t believe. You don't find my reason for denying it credible, and I don't expect you to. As for the reading public, they'll have their own criteria for judging credibility.

            Your message is that, you are not declaring St. Luke's testimony untrue.

            I don't regard it as testimony. I regard it as a work of fiction.

            I'd like to add that a bias, for or against something, is not always wrong, either.

            A bias itself can be justified, but its justification does not extend to any conclusion of an argument dependent on the bias. We must try as best we can to keep our biases from influencing our reasoning. We cannot always succeed, but we're guaranteed to fail whenever we don't even see our own biases.

          • Two reasons. (1) I have no reliable information about the author or his sources, except that one of his sources was apparently Mark's gospel.

            I believe the author is the Physician, St. Paul's companion. And I believe he is both an eyewitness and an interviewer of eyewitnesses.

            (2) Much of what he writes is prima facie implausible.

            If implausible in the sense of hard to believe. I agree. But it is the nature of the subject. We are talking about a record of a man who claimed to be the Son of God. That is a bit out of the ordinary.

            As to the rest of this discussion. Your position is sort of hard to follow. I asked:

            Your message is that, you are not declaring St. Luke's testimony untrue.

            You replied:

            I don't regard it as testimony. I regard it as a work of fiction.

            But previously, you said;

            No. I have no reason to believe he lied, and I don't believe he lied.

            But, if you are now claiming that he passed off a work of fiction as the truth, then I would have to interpret that as a charge of lying.

            This is a man who wrote the Gospel of Luke and followed it up with the Acts of the Apostles. He was well aware of the existence of the Community which he helped to establish and purported to write down a systematic account of the events as they occurred. He nowhere claimed to be writing fiction.

            But now, you claim to be certain that he did. Astounding!

            Ok. Show us your evidence for this claim of yours.

          • Doug Shaver

            if you are now claiming that he passed off a work of fiction as the truth

            I'm not claiming he did that. If I thought he did that, I wouldn't call the book a work of fiction. I would call it a fraud.

            you claim to be certain that he did

            No, I don't.

          • You suspect it was a simple work of fiction? Is that right? If so, on what do you base this opinion?

          • Doug Shaver

            You suspect it was a simple work of fiction? Is that right? If so, on what do you base this opinion?

            I would not call it simple fiction. I think it's rather complex. A complete account of my reasoning to that conclusion would take a book, but I'll summarize it as concisely as I can.

            First I'll explain exactly what I mean by fiction. It is a nonfactual narrative that the author knows to be nonfactual and which the author does not intend his audience to think is factual.

            Now, if someone writes a nonfactual narrative, we have to consider three possibilities.

            (1) The author knew it was nonfactual but wanted his readers to think it was factual. This is the fraud (or liar) hypothesis.

            (2) The author mistakenly believed it was factual or was indifferent to whether it factual. This is the error hypothesis.

            (3) The author knew it was nonfactual and expected his readers to know it as well (or perhaps didn't care whether they knew it). This is the fiction hypothesis.

            In general, whenever I read anything I don't believe, I assume the fraud hypothesis is false until I am confronted with strong evidence to the contrary. I think this attitude is demanded by both charity and parsimony.

            In my judgment, parsimony also renders the error hypothesis unlikely. The stories had to have some origin in somebody's mind, and if you're the first person to tell another person anything about a particular human being, it's hard to be mistaken about whether, to the best your personal knowledge, that human being was a real person.

            Having eliminated (1) and (2), we're left with (3) as the likeliest hypothesis.

            I anticipate several objections, and I'd like to address one of them right away. I am not arguing: the gospels were fiction, therefore Jesus didn't exist. That would be obviously circular. I am arguing instead: Jesus didn't exist, therefore the gospels are probably fiction.

            Any theory about Christianity's origins has to propose an explanation of how the gospels came to be written. Orthodox and other conventional theories propose that the authors were telling their readers some things they knew or thought they knew about the founder of their religion. The most conservative theories claim that the authors either witnessed those things or were relying on the testimony of witnesses. Most mainstream scholars think the writers were recording oral traditions that originated as witness testimony. And maybe they were. I don't claim to have an irrefutable proof of Jesus' nonexistence. I claim only to have a reasonable doubt that he existed. But if he didn't, then there was nothing for anybody to witness and therefore there were no witnesses to get any oral traditions started.

          • Doug Shaver

            I have no reliable information about the author or his sources

            I believe the author is the Physician, St. Paul's companion. And I believe he is both an eyewitness and an interviewer of eyewitnesses.

            Your believing so does not constitute a reason for me to believe so.

          • Why? Has no one ever assumed that they knew what someone else was thinking in some situation?

            You're just asking us to accept your assumption. Just because another person may have assumed something, doesn't mean that St. Luke did so. He, himself, said,

            Luke 1 King James Version (KJV)

            1 Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,2 Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word;3 It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,

            So, he obviously did the necessary research. Do you have any reason, other than your personal bias, to believe he lied?

          • Doug Shaver

            You're just asking us to accept your assumption.

            No, I'm explaining why I don't accept your assumption.

            he obviously did the necessary research

            It's obvious to you, not to me.

            Do you have any reason, other than your personal bias, to believe he lied?

            I don't believe he lied.

        • I don't think that assumption is justified.

          On what basis? Just your gut feeling?

          This presupposes the reliability of the church's traditions about who wrote the gospel.

          Have you got any proof otherwise? Or is this just another gut feeling?

          • Doug Shaver

            Have you got any proof otherwise?

            Do I need it? Must I believe everything that I cannot disprove?

          • No. All I'm doing is making the points that:

            1. You can't disprove it.
            2. There is evidence in support of that which you claim can't be proved.
            3. You reject the evidence on the basis of a mere bias against anything which tends to disprove your unsupported assumptions.

          • Doug Shaver

            2. There is evidence in support of that which you claim can't be proved.

            You say so.

            3. You reject the evidence on the basis of a mere bias

            You say so.

      • William Davis

        Mark 3:20-21 "20 Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. 21 When his family[b] heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”"

        The Gospel of Mark (earliest gospel) seems clear that no one knew who Jesus was, not even his family. A few verses later it makes it clear Mary was with them when they thought Jesus was "out of his mind" in verse 34: "34 Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

        I'm curious how the church reconciles this passage with Mary's knowledge of the virgin birth and Jesus's divine origins. Obviously Mary would have to have know about the virgin birth for her to be consulted about it.

        • Jared Clark

          "The Gospel of Mark (earliest gospel) seems clear that no one knew who Jesus was, not even his family. A few verses later it makes it clear Mary was with them when they thought Jesus was 'out of his mind'"

          Actually, the Gospel is clear on the opposite:

          "When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, for they said, 'He is out of his mind.'...His mother and his brothers arrived. Standing outside they sent word to him and called him." (Mark 3: 20, 31)

          Some relatives of his thought that he was insane, but Mary was not part of that group.

          • William Davis

            She was. The first verse says "they set out to seize him." The next indicated they arrived, after they had set out. I was hoping for something better.

          • Jared Clark

            You're assuming that his entire family thought he was insane. It's true that Mark does not focus much on Mary, but considering the unanimous attitude of the other witnesses, I'm going to need more than an assumption that Mary was among those who thought he was insane.

            Also notice that Mark says nothing of Mary and the brethren attempting to seize him, which was the goal of those who thought he was insane. As I understand it, those relatives' attempt to capture him either failed because of the crowd or because they tried to have him arrested and executed (which was attempted several times throughout the Gospels). During all the commotion, Mary and the brethren arrive and Jesus teaches the crowd about the spiritual understanding of family which is a huge part of the New Covenant.

            Maybe Mary didn't speak to her other relatives about the Incarnation. Since Jesus did not begin his ministry until he was about 30, he may not have wanted his extended family to know about him until then. On the other hand, maybe she did. These are not faithful relatives, so they may have been harboring these thoughts of insanity for a while and snapped when the crowds interrupted meals.

          • William Davis

            Besides, did Mary never talk to the family about it? I'm looking for a genuine explanation, not something that just depends on how you read it.

          • William Davis

            I just reread the chapter and it's clear, in the English version I'm using, that his family set out to find him. While this is happening, Jesus explains how devils can't cast out devils, then his family arrives. The author is showing two things happening at once. If there is some reason that this is an incorrect translation from the original Greek I'd be interested to hear it. I'm certain I'm not reading the English wrong.

          • David Nickol

            Some relatives of his thought that he was insane, but Mary was not part of that group.

            Why would you assume that the reference to "his relatives" does not include "his mother and his brothers"? Note that when Jesus is told his mother and his brothers have come for him, his tone is one almost of repudiation of them.

            “Who are my mother and [my] brothers?” And looking around at those seated in the circle he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers.[For] whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”

            C. S. Mann says in a gloss in his Anchor Bible Volume Mark says:

            "Who is my mother . . . brothers?" The narrative was remembered because of this question. It is impossible to evade the sense also of rejection (in some measure) on the part of the family. To inject into a consideration of the text questions as to how far this question and the disappointment of Jesus can be accommodated to the tradition of the virgin birth is—for the Markan text—an irrelevance. It can be asked far more cogently in the Matthean and Lucan contexts.

            If you take the four Gospels and "homogenize" them, Mary is an important figure. But in the Gospel of Mark, the reference to Mary under discussion is the only one in which she is an actual "character" in the story. It does not seem to me that the Mary known to Mark is the same as the Mary in the Gospels of Matthew, Luke, and John. She is not the virgin who miraculously bore Jesus as in Matthew and Luke, nor is she the Mary of the Gospel of John who maneuvers Jesus into working his first miracle.

          • Jared Clark

            Because his mother *arrived* in verse 31. She wasn't there at the time.

            As for his apparent tone, if Mary and other disciples in his family do the will of God, then they would still be his family in the spiritual sense.

          • David Nickol

            St. Luke, who explicitly records Mary as a faithful disciple, includes the same conversation (Luke 8: 19-21).

            Assuming Luke is using Mark as a source, which the vast majority of modern biblical scholars do, Luke has quite significantly changed the tone of the original account. There is no mention of family or anyone else coming to get Jesus because they think he is insane. Luke omits:

            When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”

            In Luke, when Jesus is told his mother and brothers have come for him, Luke also omits

            But he said to them in reply, “Who are my mother and [my] brothers?”

            It is easy to see why. There is at least a possible implication that Jesus is implying his biological mother and brothers are not his true mother and brothers, because they are not his followers.

            I am not denying that Matthew, Luke, and John depict Mary as a follower of Jesus who acknowledges him for what all four evangelists take him to be. I am pointing out that Mary is not depicted as a follower of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark.

          • No, David and William and all those non-Catholics how are giving opinions on the text. The reason you're having trouble understanding the text is because you don't understand the context within which the text was written.

            None of the Gospels were written in a vacuum. All four Gospels were written based upon a plumb-line. That plumb-line is the Sacred Deposit of the Faith which was handed to the Apostles by Jesus Christ. You THINK that you can read the Gospels or any other book of the New Testament and come out with your own interpretation, but you'd be mistaken. God is not a man that he would make such a mistake as to leave a written word to be interpreted by every whim of man. Even a pagan philosopher writing before the time of Christ was too wise to make that mistake:

            Socrates to Phaedrus. I cannot help feeling, Phaedrus, that writing is unfortunately like painting; for the creations of the painter have the attitude of life, and yet if you ask them a question they preserve a solemn silence..... And when they have been once written down they are tumbled about anywhere among those who may or may not understand them, and know not to whom they should reply, to whom not: and, if they are maltreated or abused, they have no parent to protect them; and they cannot protect or defend themselves.

            The Catholic Church is the parent which God left in place in order to give the proper interpretation of every word of God:

            Ephesians 3:10 King James Version (KJV)

            10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

          • David Nickol

            All four Gospels were written based upon a plumb-line. That plumb-line is the Sacred Deposit of the Faith which was handed to the Apostles by Jesus Christ.

            It is fine with me if you believe the Gospels are miraculously produced text unlike any other outside of sacred scripture, and that God set up the Catholic Church as the sole arbiter, or final authority, on what the Gospels intend to teach. However, that is purely a matter of faith on your part. It has a great deal of appeal, but if a person doesn't already believe it, I see no rational case that can be made in favor of it.

            You get out of the Bible what you put into it. If you are a Catholic, then you will conclude that what the Bible says is what the Church teaches. If you are a strict Fundamentalist Protestant, then you will believe the Bible is literally true. There is no way to prove that the Bible is not a text like any other text. You can't depend on the Bible to prove itself. So it is what you bring to your interpretation of the Bible that determines your interpretation.

            It is a mistake, in my opinion, to interpret statements about "the church" in scripture to refer to the Catholic Church as we now know it. At the time the New Testament was being written, "the church" could not possibly have referred to "the Roman Catholic Church," which didn't exist yet.

          • David Nickol De Maria • 2 hours ago

            It is fine with me if you believe the Gospels are miraculously produced text unlike any other outside of sacred scripture,

            Miraculously? You obviously didn't understand what I said. The Gospels were written on the basis of the Sacred Traditions which Jesus Christ established. They are very much like every other Scripture in that the men who authored the Scriptures were all protected from error by the Holy Spirit.

            and that God set up the Catholic Church as the sole arbiter, or final authority, on what the Gospels intend to teach.

            That is easily proven from Scripture. Jesus Christ only established one Church. That Church is described in Scripture as having one Shepherd appointed by Christ (John 21:17). The only Church that fits that description is the Catholic Church. And Scripture says:

            Matthew 18:17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

            However, that is purely a matter of faith on your part. It has a great deal of appeal, but if a person doesn't already believe it, I see no rational case that can be made in favor of it.

            At this point, you have been trying to disprove Catholic Doctrine on a biblical basis. Anytime you want to try another "rational" basis, you can be my guest. I'll debunk that argument as well. But, right now, I'm showing you how to read Scripture in its proper context and what the Scripture says about the Catholic Church.

            You get out of the Bible what you put into it.

            That's an ambiguous sentence.

            1. It is true about anything in life that you get out of it what you put into it. That's why body builders get stronger, athletes get faster, etc. etc.

            2. But you're trying to say that people read their beliefs and presuppositions into the Bible.

            What you're doing there is called "projection". You are projecting your attitudes and actions unto others. But, just because you read into the Bible your presuppositions, doesn't mean that everyone else does as well.

            If you are a Catholic, then you will conclude that what the Bible says is what the Church teaches. If you are a strict Fundamentalist Protestant, then you will believe the Bible is literally true.

            Answered above. Your still projecting your attitude on everyone else. That may be true for some, but not for all.

            There is no way to prove that the Bible is not a text like any other text.

            There are many ways to do so. The easiest way is to simply note the number of volumes which have been printed through the centuries.

            If you want to dig a little deeper, you can compare the modern translations to earlier documents and on down the line and note that millions more copies of this one document than there are of any other document ever written.

            And you can do many other tests, such as those of accuracy of transcription and so on and so forth.

            You can't depend on the Bible to prove itself.

            I don't. I go by the testimony of the Catholic Church.

            So it is what you bring to your interpretation of the Bible that determines your interpretation.

            Its what you bring to your interpretation of the Bible that determines your understanding.

            However, I understand the Bible according to the Teaching of the Catholic Church and to the witness of the Church Fathers through the ages.

            It is a mistake, in my opinion, to interpret statements about "the church" in scripture to refer to the Catholic Church as we now know it. At the time the New Testament was being written, "the church" could not possibly have referred to "the Roman Catholic Church," which didn't exist yet.

            What you call the Roman Catholic Church today, is the Church that Jesus Christ established and about which the New Testament writes.

            The Church described in Scripture is the Catholic Church.

            First, Jesus Christ appointed a Pastor as head of the entire Church:
            John 21:17
            He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

            I see only a few Churches with such a Pastor. Further, Jesus Christ said that the Pastor over His Church would be infallible:

            Matthew 16:17-19 (King James Version)
            17And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.18And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

            The list of Churches that accept this teaching gets smaller.

            Jesus Christ not only said that the Pastor was infallible but Scripture describes the Church as infallible:
            Ephesians 3:10
            To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

            The list remains the same, but now, again, I can certainly eliminate all Protestant denominations.

            Back to Matt 16:18, Scripture says that Jesus Christ established one Church. History shows that all the Churches sprang from the Church which is frequently described as the Mother Church. The Catholic Church.

            By simple logic of elimination, that leaves only the Catholic Church. But there's more.

            Which Church claims infallibility?
            1 Timothy 3:15

            King James Version (KJV)
            15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

            Which Church claims to speak for God:
            Ephesians 3:10

            King James Version (KJV)
            10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

            Which Church provides Baptism of water?
            John 3:5

            King James Version (KJV)
            5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

            Acts 22:16

            King James Version (KJV)
            16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

            Which Church still expects Christians to keep the Ten Commandments?
            Revelation 22:14

            King James Version (KJV)
            14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

            Which Church teaches Apostolic Succession?
            2 Timothy 2:2

            King James Version (KJV)
            2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

            Etc. etc.

          • Jared Clark

            She's not depicted much at all in Mark. This may be the only part where he actually mentions her.

            It's really not much to go on for arguing that Mark didn't think Mary was a disciple. He records two things about his family: that some thought he was crazy, and that Mary and some family arrived when there was a crowd. There's a huge number of possibilities for that situation. Mary may have been warning Jesus about their family's plans, or she may have been trying to make peace, or she may have just wanted to know what was up with their being a gathering so huge that people couldn't even eat. All we are told about Mary's arrival is that Jesus used it as a chance to talk about the spiritual/Convental understanding of family.

            As for the phrasing, it's kind of like Jesus calling Mary "woman" at the wedding at Cana. It may come off as insulting, especially when compared to modern terminology, but that was not the intent. Throughout the Bible, you find the understanding that the covenant was a familial bond. This is why the faithful are called a family, especially in the New Testament. So if someone were to ask me about my family, and I replied "my Church is my family", that may be taken as a rebuke against any family that do not go to Church, but not to those that do.

  • Here's a neat video on the topic.

    Well, its not quite the same topic. But I thought it was worth mentioning.

  • Krakerjak

    Just to veer off this riveting subject for a moment it would be interesting to turn the topic to something else....such as transubstantiation and quantum physics for instance?....or anything else?
    http://cosmictransit.blogspot.ca/p/blog-page_26.html

  • nilbud

    Next week "Harry Potter's favourite breakfast, who is right the ricekrispietes or the weetabix congregation."

  • Actually I've come to view it as an error to believe Luke mentioned Quirinus at all.

    http://midseventiethweekrapture.blogspot.com/2014/11/cyrenius-does-not-mean-quirinius.html