January 25, 2021

Another Look: Jon Henry – Already Compromised, Moon Edition


Note from CM: A few years ago I found this brilliant satirical piece by Jon Henry that exposes the kind of thinking that gets Christians in trouble with regard to Bible interpretation.

Is it “biblical” to believe that the moon emits its own light? Read the following, and come to your own conclusion.

• • •

by Jon Henry

Bible believers must defend the truth that the moon emanates its own light. Contrary to the revelation of the Bible, modern science wants people to believe that the moon does not have the ability to generate light. Instead, they want us to believe that the moon merely reflects the light of the sun.

Not only is it ridiculous to believe that a rock could reflect the light of a sun millions of miles away, but it’s also unbiblical!

It is important to note the teaching that is consistent across the whole of the Bible.

  1. Evidence from the Creation Account. The creation account of Genesis 1:16-18 clearly indicates that the moon is a light all of its own. Verse 16 calls the moon the “lesser” of “the two great lights.” The verb “to light” (lehāʼîr) in verse 17 literally means that the moon itself gives light – there is no way out of this meaning! While its light is less than that of the sun (until Isaiah 30:26 is fulfilled!), the moon is a “light” in its own right, independent of the sun.
  1. Teaching throughout the Old Testament. According to Job 31:26, the moon has its own splendor. The moon can be darkened independently of the sun (Ecclesiastes 12:2; Isaiah 24:23; Ezekiel 32:7; Joel 2:10; Joel 3:15). Note that the light of the moon is “its light” (Isaiah 13:10; Ezekiel 32:7), not “the light of the sun, which the moon reflects.” One day, the Lord promises to eradicate night time by making the moon shine as brightly as the sun currently does (Isaiah 30:26). At some time subsequent to this, the Lord will altogether eradicate the need for the moon to shine its light (Isaiah 60:19-20; cf. Revelation 21:23).
  1. Jesus Taught That the Moon Gave Its Own Light. Jesus obviously believed that the light of the moon is “its light” (Matthew 24:29; Mark 13:24). This truth is driven home by the original Greek, because “its light” is a translation of the Greek words phengos autēs, literally, “The light of it/her.” The word autēs is in the feminine case, and cannot modify the word for sun, which is a masculine word (ho hēlios). Rather, it modifies the word for moon, which is also a feminine case (hē selēnē). This clearly points to the reality that the light of the moon is literally “its own light.” Jesus could not have been more clear in his belief that the sun has one source of light that will be darkened one day, and that the moon has its own source of light that will be extinguished.

In spite of Jesus’ beliefs, “science” has taught us from a young age that the moon does not radiate light. Thus, we are forced to choose between Jesus and modern science – who will you choose to believe?

  1. Paul Also Defended a Luminescent Moon. This truth is repeated explicitly by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:41, “There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon.” The term “glory” refers to brightness or radiance. “Another” means just what it says – it isn’t the same!That is, the sun and the moon have their own source of brightness. Paul makes the moon’s ability to shine a crucial part of his teaching on the resurrection of believers’ glorified bodies. Thus, implying that the moon doesn’t give off its own light is a direct blow against the doctrine of individual resurrection and glorification.

Why do so many today deny the biblical doctrine of resurrection? It started way back when people began to deny “little” truths, such as the Bible’s teaching regarding the light of the moon.

ConclusionNowhere does the Bible even hint at the idea that the moon’s light is derived from the sun. Modern science has its own brand of “orthodoxy,” and anyone who doesn’t believe the “discoveries” of modern science is considered a heretic in the eyes of science. However, we have seen that the Bible offers us a different worldview (and moon-view!):

  • Every Old Testament author who mentions the moon is clear that it has its own light.
  • Paul ties it directly to the doctrines of resurrection and glorification.
  • Jesus himself couldn’t have been clearer in the defense of a luminescent moon.

When faced with a choice between the “truth” of science and the truth of the one who created the moon to begin with, Christians must side with the Creator!

• • •

18822433484_9113e4bb45_zAPPENDIX: THE TESTIMONY OF HISTORY

To adapt some wise words: “And of course, the reason the Church greats of the past (whether Luther, Calvin, Gill, or whomever) never thought of this because they did not discover how ancient Near Eastern cultures were thinking! This has now been discovered by an elite few who can now tell us for the first time” what the Bible means when it talks about the light of the moon (adapted from Ham, Already Compromised, 186).

Outside of the Bible, you will find that no sane theologian, philosopher, or sage was bold enough to repeat the lie of a reflective moon prior to our godless age.

Martin Luther is clear:

When the sun rises, it eclipses and pales the moon. Moon and stars lose their brightness, yes, they are no longer seen while it is day, so brilliant is the light of the sun beside theirs. I suppose that moon and stars would be glad to shine, but the light of the sun is too bright and strong. The same thing is true of Christ. The prophets are the stars and the moon, but Christ is the sun. Wherever Christ appears, speaks, and shines, His words have a validity that invalidates and stifles all others and renders them of no account, even though the moon and the stars also glitter and glisten beautifully. (Martin Luther, vol. 23, Luther’s Works, Vol. 23 : Sermons on the Gospel of St. John: Chapters 6-8, ed. Jaroslav Pelikan, et. al. [Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999], Jn 7:44.)

But it was not just the fathers of the sola scriptura reformation who stood with us on the truth of a self-illuminating moon. The great minds among the ancients, both Greek and Hebrew testify that the moon gives off its own unique light (and warmth!).

Plutarch, in his Morals (3.10.2) says:

The moon gently warming makes the body moist; but the sun by his violent beams dries rather, and draws all moisture from them … Now the moon’s rays are weaker; for, as Ion says, “They do not ripen well the clustered grapes.” [Plutarch, vol. 3, Plutarch’s Morals, ed. Goodwin (Medford, MA: Little, Brown, and Company, 1874], 285.)

The Rabbis speak:

Can there be confusion between the light of the moon and the light of the sun? But has it not been taught on Tannaite authority: Rabbi says, “The rising column of the moon is not similar to that of the sun. The light column of the moon rises straight, like a stick, but that of the sun [which is the dawn] radiates in all directions.” (Jacob Neusner, vol. 5a, The Babylonian Talmud: A Translation and Commentary [Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2011], 100.)

Why do modern schools, colleges, seminaries, television shows, and even some creation scientists teach a doctrine contrary to the Reformation, and not known to the great minds of the Greek Philosophers and Jewish Rabbis? By forsaking God’s clear word, they sacrificed the wisdom of the ages and set the stage for evolution, heliocentrism, a moving earth, and all other innovations. In turn, God has given their reprobate minds over to all manner of depravity.

Is this what you want to be a part of?


  1. Reminds me of my favorite oldies pop song, “Dancing in the Reflected Sunlight.”

  2. As certain of your own poets have said, “Gag me with a spoon.”

    But as recently as the 20th century there were still true believers. I remember hearing people sing, “By the light of the silvery moon, I want to spoon, with my honey I’ll croon love’s tune.” I guess there will always be a remnant.

    It strikes me that the word spoon, as illustrated above, has two distinct meanings. The noun means one thing and the verb means something else completely.

    And speaking of shedding light, the same thing is true of moon.

    I love it when a plan comes together.

    • Oh that… that was good. You can’t be making people snicker at work man, my boss might think I’m reading blog posts or something.

    • If you can tell me what the different meanings of the word “spoon” are in original Greek, I might be able to able to support your comment.

  3. Marcus Johnson says

    Bible believers must defend the truth that the moon emanates its own light.

    True, both literally and metaphorically. By claiming to “believe in the Bible,” there is this assumption that the Bible is itself the light, rather than the reflection of the One from whom the light originates. If it is the reflective surface of the original light, however, then the inconsistencies, inaccuracies, conflicts of thoughts, etc. speak more to its authenticity than its fallibility, because that’s what we expect from objects that reflect light.

    I know Henry was making a literal satire of an abstract concept of Bible belief, but the metaphor of the Bible itself as the moon, not a light source, seemed particularly pertinent.

  4. there is this assumption that the Bible is itself the light, rather than the reflection of the One from whom the light originates.

    I remember vividly Dr. Walter Martin in one of his lessons stating emphatically that “(T)he Bible isn’t just a letterbox (through which we receive messages from heaven – THE BIBLE IS THE MESSAGE FROM HEAVEN.

  5. Johnny, take a walk with your sister the moon
    Let her pale light in to fill up your room
    You’ve been living underground, eating from a can
    You’ve been running away from what you don’t understand

    She’s slippy, you’re sliding down
    She’ll be there when you hit the ground

    It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
    She moves in mysterious ways
    It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
    She moves in mysterious ways

    • I see a bad moon rising
      I see trouble on the way

      • Well he went down to dinner
        in his Sunday best
        (Excitable boy, they all said)
        and he rubbed the pot roast
        all over his chest
        (Excitable boy, the all said).

        Well, he took in the 4AM
        show at the Clark
        (Excitable boy the all said)
        and he bit the usherettes
        leg in the dark.
        (Excitable boy, they all said,
        Well he’s just an excitable boy).

  6. 19th century science opened a fault line between 1st century metaphysical views underlying scripture and observable facts. In the 21st century, however, the fault line is about cultural hegemony. Group dynamics that wield power by persecuting others. Liberals and conservatives alike can be guilty of this. It is because we no longer live in communities with the same people all our lives as was historically true. Bigot is the new faggot. Niggas are the ones with gold ropes hanging out in clubs, niggers are hanging off ropes(Tupac). It was WWI and Hitler who shook Barth, Torrance, Niebuhr, Ellul, Hauerwas, Moltmann, Bonhoeffer, Updike, Szenkuthy and many later 20th centurians to the gospel as a critique of cultural hegemony. The impulse to shame outsiders, and simultaneously justify violence toward them is what the gospel went meta against long before. Makes the USA culture war of the late 20th century seem paradoxically absurd. Makes Ta-Nehisi Coates critique of “white” culture in the USA seem in line with the gospel…. and yet drives him to atheism….. just as the 19th century fault line between science and 1st century metaphysics drove many to atheism also.

  7. Nonsense. The moon does not shine. The bible itself says so: “even the moon does not shine” – Job 25:6. You can’t fool me with all those spurious quotations because the bible contains no contradictions.

    • <>

      Isn’t “moonshine” used as a synonym for “nonsense”?

    • Marcus Johnson says

      The verse actually reads: “If even the moon is not bright…,” which is different from claiming that the moon shines.

      Also, “the Bible” didn’t say this; Bildad the Shuhite, a character in the book of Job, made that statement. Big difference.

      • Ah…so it’s not really “The Bible says…” but rather “Paul says…” and “Jesus says…”


        • Rick, you may be on to something there.

          And something I have been wanting to ask you for awhile but didn’t want to distract from the main topic, in your studies of Hebrews have you read The Lukan Authorship of Hebrews by David L. Allen, and if so what did you think of it. If not, I recommend it to your attention.

          • I’ve not read that yet, no. But I will say that as I studied Hebrews and compared it to Paul’s other writings, I’m not one who believes Paul wrote Hebrews (as some suggest). There are too many differences in verbiage and phrasing.

            I’ll have to give that a read. Since I’m leading a study on Luke right now, off-hand I’ll say, “It makes sense!”

          • “I’ll have to give that a read.”

            If you do, I hope you will throw your response in somewhere that I might notice or click on my name to find an email contact for me. You are the only person in the world I know that I would mention this book to and I would be most interested in what you think of it.

          • Charles, I’m giving you permission to periodically ask me via iMonk comment if I’ve read the book.

      • Michael Bell says

        Bildad the Shuhite – Also known as the 2nd shortest man in the Bible. The shorted of course was Peter who “slept on his watch.”

      • Marcus Johnson says

        Don’t know if that was intended to be snark (doesn’t matter if it was or not), but yes, I have found the phrase “the Bible says” to be very misleading. I’m not implying that the words are not inspired. On the contrary, I would argue that:

        1. This was a statement ascribed to a character, in a story, written to a primary audience. Much different than when Paul authors a claim about the resurrection. Here, the person who wrote the story and the person who made the statement are two different people (and I highly suspect that Bildad was not a real character) The phrase “the Bible says” doesn’t take that reality into account.

        2. That statement was a part of a poem, part of a larger narrative that was probably written after the Babylonian captivity. That should influence how we see Bildad’s statement, as a conclusive statement about the moon as a light source, or as part of a larger thought about the frailty of humanity in relationship to God. The phrase “the Bible says” doesn’t take that into account, either.

        3. I have found it incredibly helpful to say, “the writer of the book of Matthew stated” or “in the Psalms, David wrote that.” It’s my way of ensuring that we don’t ignore the context of a statement just for the sake of having a convenient, easily accessible phrase.

        • No, not intended as snark. Just meant to be in line with the satirical nature of the post. And in regards to your #3…yes, I sometimes preface scripture use with statements like “Luke’s account of what Jesus said is…”

        • These are excellent ways of breaking up the unhelpful too literal “the Bible says”.

          Had dinner with a friend earlier this week I haven’t seen in a few years. Noticed he kept looping around on same statements I’ve heard dozens of times, almost always with “the Bible says” amended. Yet even quoting scripture to him didn’t change things.

          New ways of referring to what’s inside the Bible are very helpful but may take time.

  8. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    Not that different from “Zetetic Astronomy”, a dead-serious Victorian group dedicated to defending The Plain Words of SCRIPTURE from Godless Science. They used many of the same arguments and proofs and “alternative science” and were Dead Serious.

    The Zetetics are still around; they’re now called The Flat Earth Society.
    Because SCRIPTURE says The Earth Is Flat.
    It Is Written!

  9. We know that the Early Church Fathers believed in both a literal and an allegorical interpretation of Scriptures (the Antiochian and Alexandrian schools of theology). If I may wax a little Alexandrian, perhaps the positive way about which the shining of the moon is spoken, points us to an approbation of the good Appalachian moonshine that is brewed in the hills. After all, that is most definitely a shine that makes glad.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says
    • There is drunkenness among the celestial bodies too, according to Tolkien:

      There is an inn, a merry old inn
      beneath an old grey hill,
      And there they brew a beer so brown
      That the Man in the Moon himself came down
      one night to drink his fill.

      The poem goes on for another dozen verses (worth a google) and appears to be the primeval origin of our modern nursery rhyme, “Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle, the cow jumped over the moon.”

      Tolkien did a lot of research into this, and yeah, everybody involved got carried away—not quite an orgy, but not something to acknowledge in church the next morning. There was a lot of cover-up of the Man in the Moon’s behavior, and the story got cleaned up a lot before we could listen to it as little kids.

    • That Other Jean says

      And can also make you blind and/or poisoned, depending on how it’s made. Be careful of that stuff, Father Ernesto.

  10. Until I read this, I had no idea there were people who believed the moon’s light was a reflection of the sun!

  11. At the risk of seeming to not “get the joke” we might wish at some point to ask ourselves some questions. (Yesterday’s topic bleeds a little into this post.)

    If we are prepared to NOT take the ancients’ view of cosmology seriously anymore why do we cling to their conceptions of “morality” and “spirituality”? Aren’t they just as much a product of the age as their cosmology? (The writers of the New Testament – including Paul – clearly adhere to the venerable conception of the three-tiered universe.)

    We (rightly) mock fundamentalist literalism but clearly most Christians (even liberals) insist on taking at least some of the Bible literally. It’s clear that over the history of Christian belief this line between the literal and non-literal has shifted. So how do we determine where the line is to be drawn? And what criteria do we use to determine its placement? (For example, try to explain to a hypothetical Martian, who has no prior shared faith position in common with you, why he/she/it should take the Gospel of Mark anymore literally than Genesis.)

    • ” (For example, try to explain to a hypothetical Martian, who has no prior shared faith position in common with you, why he/she/it should take the Gospel of Mark anymore literally than Genesis.)”

      Are you hinting that you’re a Martian…?

    • Here’s another example: biological reproduction. We know how it’s actually done through science. Therefore any theological statements about “seed” and reproduction are now invalid. So then the idea that sin is something inherited through man’s seed is ridiculous, and needs to be discarded and rethought.

      Lots of things come tumbling down. What’s left?

      Jesus. Sermon on the Mount. Love. Grace.

      That should be enough.

      • Stuart, the Greek Fathers did not believe that sin is something inherited through man’s seed.


        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          How about St Augustine?

          • You mean Christianity’s Father?

          • HUG,

            St Augustine isn’t numbered among the Greek Fathers. His Greek was not fluent (he mistranslated Rom 5.12, contributing to his theology of what we know as “original sin” – unknown in the East), and there was military and political upheaval in his day that prevented him from interacting with the Greeks, along with the cares of his episcopacy. His devotional writing is wonderful… and if he had been able to communicate with the Eastern Fathers, maybe he wouldn’t have had to write his Retractions…


    • We (rightly) mock fundamentalist literalism but clearly most Christians (even liberals) insist on taking at least some of the Bible literally.

      I think it’s fairly obvious in most parts what needs to be taken literally and what needs to not be taken literally. Yet somehow both fundamentalists and most atheists miss it.

      “Help those in need”? Pretty literal.

      “The rainbow didn’t exist until after the Flood as a sign of God’s covenant?” Not so literal.

      “Christ will bodily return one day?” Remains to be seen, and fits under the category of faith.

      • Bingo. It also occurs to me that the Bible tends to shift from the symbolic/less literal to the direct/more literal as it moves along. Especially in the gospels and New Testament writings.

        • “who do you think you are telling god what is true and what isn’t true?! you can’t just pick and choose what you want to believe and still call yourself a christian!!!”

          Had someone tell me that again in person just this past Monday…Scripture support didn’t persuade away from that reaction either.

      • On which side of the literal/not-so-literal divide should we place the statement, “Jesus Christ is risen!”?

    • Marcus Johnson says

      I’m pretty sure that if I’m sitting down with a Martian, a conversation about Scriptural interpretation would be the last thing on my mind (as opposed to questions like “What’s the deal with the anal probes” and “How did you learn to speak English so well”).

      Still, let’s presume that our extraterrestial debaters are purely interested in perceived conflict with Scripture and science, and not in things like world domination or why the Kardashians are still a thing. I would tell them:

      1. Not affirming the worldview of the ancients as accurate scientific theory and not taking their worldview seriously are two wholly different concepts. I believe I do these writers greater respect by acknowledging that they drew closer to God in ways and through systems of thought that were much different than mine. The desire to know God transcends time and culture, even if the words and rituals they use in that journey are a product of the world in which they live.

      2. The beef I have with Christian conservatives and Christian liberals is really one and the same: we can’t make the Bible behave the way we want it to, and we cannot expect it to do the things it was never intended to do. So, the liberals who insist that David and Jonathan were lovers, and that justifies homosexuality, miss the point as much as the conservatives who use verses from Leviticus and 1 Corinthians to justify its condemnation; they both force behavior onto the text that wasn’t there.

      3. Also, morality and spirituality are two separate concepts. They interact but, for the most part, morality is about behavior, and spirituality is about recognition of the spiritual realm.

      • Christiane says

        I have never been able to get a straight answer from any self-proclaimed fundamentalist about THIS QUESTION:

        ‘How do you know which verses are ‘literal’ and which verses are not?’

    • It just occurred to me that maybe the Martian would sit down with me and say, “You may not understand the nuances of our sacred texts, but some we take literally and some we take figuratively,” and I’ll be able to say, “I know EXACTLY what you mean!”

      • I was once abducted by a Tralfamadorian. He transported me to the distant future, when the moon crashes into the Earth, wiping out all animal and vegetable life on the planet. “So it goes,” he said.

  12. Considering that the human posterior does not generate its own light — or at least I’ve never seen anything in scripture to indicate that it does — I guess we need to stop using the term “mooning” when talking about dropping trou and exposing one’s buttocks to the general public.

    • On the other hand, some people’s posteriors seem to have their own gravity.

      • Christiane says

        such it was the day when four of our boys sitting in the back of a school bus on a museum trip decided to MOON the driver behind the bus . . .

        well, it didn’t stop there . . . the driver proceeds to follow the bus all the way back to school and storms into the office yelling and complaining about what his wife had been exposed to . . .

        from that day on, any bus going out from our school on a trip HAD to have a teacher or appropriate adult sitting on the back seat . . .

        our children were wonderful, even when they got into trouble, they were wonderful . . . someday I’ll relate the story of the ‘great hair fight’ that took two coaches and three vice principals to break up up and left extensions all over the main hall way . . . you cannot make this stuff up . . . the thing of legends is not always without some truth in it, and even though we normal sensible folk cannot envision some occurrences, doesn’t mean they didn’t happen, at least in part or maybe more gloriously than inscribed in legend. 🙂

    • I don’t know, I’ve been both pleasantly and not so pleasantly blinded before…

  13. Christiane says

    we observe the natural world, we perceive something ‘happening’, and true to our kind, we create a ‘reason’ or an ‘explanation’ of what we are seeing . . . at some point, the explanation takes on a reality of its own, and THEN, we think we have the ‘answer’ to a mystery, and goodness aren’t we brilliant to sort it all out

    or not

    do we take ourselves too seriously in a world where a growing blade of green grass performs thousands of chemical changes in order to bring in the Sun’s energy and capture it within the green cells of the blade . . . so a cow will eat this miraculous energy source and five stomach’s later, we have the white milk, and maybe someday, we eat a piece of cheese and become solar-powered in doing so ????

    it’s what we take for granted that is lost to us, not so much the ‘stories’ and ‘myths’ we formulate to ‘explain’ mystery to ourselves and one another . . . at least these stories show that we noticed something and thought about it and desired to comprehend it . . . and even that is human progress of a sort, yes

    it’s not all about ‘us’ . . . sometimes we are sold on our own ‘wisdom’ and when it fails us, we are strangely surprised 🙂 Perhaps our poetry reveals both the accuracy with which we observe our surrounding and also the depths of our inability to fully comprehend what we are seeing? Is it possible the sacred Scriptures does the same in order to nurture our humility before the Lord? After all, it IS written: ‘forgive us our foolish ways’. 🙂

    ” Soft as the massacre of Suns
    By Evening’s Sabres slain”

    Emily Dickinson

  14. Stephen sez ” It’s clear that over the history of Christian belief this line between the literal and non-literal has shifted. So how do we determine where the line is to be drawn? And what criteria do we use to determine its placement?”

    You asked a good one there, Stephen. The problem you pose comes from assuming that there is one place and one place only where the line can be drawn. This assumes that you can find absolute truth in the relative world, ans all of Creation is relative. This assumption has us talking past each other constantly or in each other’s face, either one being fruitless and a waste of time and energy.

    The solution lies in qualifying what you say with the particular context you are using, as Marcus points out above. Yes, you can speak of facts and truth if you speak of them as relative to a certain context. Without that, facts and truth are meaningless as such. You can only have relative truth in a relative world, which is what we live in. No doubt it will look different on the other side.

    Stuart above in speaking of the Bible sez, “I think it’s fairly obvious in most parts what needs to be taken literally and what needs to not be taken literally.” This simply is not so or we wouldn’t be having this conversation today. What Stuart probably means is “I think it’s fairly obvious TO ME in most parts what needs to be taken literally and what needs to not be taken literally.” That would shift it from a false statement as shown by the reaction of the liberals, atheists, flat worlders, and me to a true statement in the context of Stuart’s belief system.

    Our egos don’t like it when other egos don’t agree with our obvious grasp of truth. It drives most people to a frenzy to suggest that all truth in a relative world is relative. It solves a lot of problems and allows meaningful discussion to specify the context of whatever it is you are talking about. That line you want to draw shifts around a lot depending.

    • Charles,
      I do believe that all truth is relative, including the truth, “Everything is relative,” which means, paradoxically, that sometimes some truths are absolute. We can have our cake and eat it, too.

  15. There is no dark side in the moon, really. Matter of fact, it’s all dark. The only thing that makes it look light is the sun.


  16. And it is common knowledge that the moon is made of green cheese, and the astronauts never landed on the moon, but was a cleverly done portrayal done in Hollywood. 😛

  17. Nice satire. Learning to, “Rightly divide the word,” is quite a goal. Our hermeneutically, and exegetically challenged Fundamentalists are not the only group that struggles. If we were to just take the Lutheran Denomination in the US we would have ECLA, LCMS, WELS, AFLC, AALC, CLC, and ELC church bodies. What separates them are differences in interpretation of scripture and emphasis.

    Many of these bodies cast doubt, or outright reject that the other expressions are even legitimate. So no need to cast stones at the Fundamentalists until we remove the log from our own eye.

    Examining the Log:
    I recently asked a ELCA pastor and graduate of Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio (grad circa 1985) what passage in the NT best articulated the gospel. He answered the Sermon on The Mount. When I asked why he didn’t choose Romans or Galatians, he informed me that he thought The Pauline epistles influence on the church was not a positive one! He said his view was closer to Bart Erhman’s view of the reliability of the NT. And said that most of the statements from Jesus found in the NT were not spoken by him, but rather recorded by NT authors in the second century A.C.E. (Which brings into question his reference to The Sermon on The Mount).

    When I asked him later which scholar had the greatest influence on his own ministry, he answered Dominic Crossan. I was not shocked at all by his responses as I have used Trinity’s excellent library since the early 1980s and have had dozens of similar conversations, including one third-year MDiv student who claimed to be an atheist who wanted to be a pastor for the free housing, car, retirement, and light work-load.

    After engaging with these types of “Pastors” I actually find myself appreciating the Fundamentalists a little more. What both have in common is a lack of intellectual development that holds them captive to their worldview. Often these views are formed early and are insular to gaining more data. The insularity is an arrogance that refuses the witness of the Holy Spirit, or other learned men.

    It seems we are all called to struggle with the text to determine what the original audience would have understood the author to say. This takes much work given the distance in language, culture, and worldview we are form the authors and their audience.

    Disclaimer: I am not suggesting that ECLA pastor above is a representative of average pastor in that synod. He could be an outlier in the population. Point was just that he gave no more attention to facts, evidence, data from scripture than did the fundamentalist.

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