Deconstructing ‘Maoist Jesus’

It seemed incumbent upon me to finally get around to doing this essay, because my recent foray into questions about church and state has kicked the hornets nest in some circles. For some time now, leftists have used a multi-pronged attack on Jesus Christ, on the one hand forwarding the ludicrous notion that He either didn’t exist, or was just a ‘nice guy’. On the other hand, there is a particularly aggressive myth-making project which seeks to make Jesus into some kind of left wing hero. This in itself is very cynical, and I have strong suspicions that Liberals who make this case don’t actually believe it, but instead just wish to discredit established Christian orthodoxy on moral questions in particular. However, as with an annoying number of left wing talking points, this standard has been adopted by some on the ‘right’.

In my article on the true definition of rightism, I juxtaposed it as an eternal ideology, a default position, that which Dávila described so aptly as “sacred shades upon the eternal hills”, in opposition to the temporal phenomena of Liberalism which emerged from a special set of circumstances to give us the world we have today, its genesis lying around the time of the Enlightenment. It is absurd then, to apply the label of Liberal or indeed leftist to pre-Enlightenment figures. There is no precedent for what emerged during the 1700s. It was, in itself, unique in known history. The entire proposition is as juvenile as this tedious Fox News debate on Jesus’ hidden Capitalism or Socialism (centuries prior to these economic systems even existing).

There is a consistency to the accusation, as always and without fail the same supporting arguments are arrayed against Christians, and so I shall attempt to answer each one in turn. Each intends to make the case that Jesus was a leftist, and each fails.

1. He challenged established authority and law

This is a common one. Jesus arrived on the scene in Ancient Judea with an unprecedented sense of divine authority, one that by his estimation outstripped the religious powers of his day known as the Sanhedrin. It is important to note the kinds of Jewish religious figures Jesus was dealing with. The pharisees were primarily scribes and sages, emerging as authoritative from their knowledge of God, rather than special birthright or appointment. Jesus directly challenges their bonafides in the following passage after they question his authority:

“I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Was the baptism of John from heaven or from man? Answer me.”

– Mark 11:29-30

scheming… always scheming…

The figures of religious officialdom were unable to answer Jesus’ question, debating amongst themselves the ramifications of each answer. The problem with this argument against Jesus is that it already assumes that He does not have the authority to overturn lower authorities, thus begging the question. Yes, Jesus did overturn the power of the Old Covenant jurists, but it is a mistake to interpret this as a bottom-up revolution against an oppressor. Rather it was a top-down dismissal of woefully inept and corrupt lower management. Jesus was God, and so had every right to expose the Pharisees for the conniving know-nothings they were, and summarily break their power by releasing man from the bindings of the previous covenant. If Jesus was just a man with an opinion, of course His actions would be impious and anarchic, but because He was God, His actions in this regard follow directly from His autocratic right.

What’s more, the entire premise of this argument is useless for rightist. If opposing established powers is in itself anathema, then the fight for our values is already over. See you at the lecture on cisgender privilege, comrade. 

 2. He exalts the last

One of the most often-quoted of Jesus’ statements by those who portray him as a leftist is said at the end of the story of the rich young man who was asked by Jesus to give up all his earthly belongings and become a disciple. When the man refuses, Jesus gives the classic line about the camel through the eye of a needle, and then finishes with this curious statement:

“But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first”

– Matthew 19:30

Let us dwell for a moment on the significance of the aforementioned story. We only know the backgrounds of five of Jesus’s original 12 apostles (not counting Paul). Peter, Andrew, James, and John were fishermen. Matthew was a tax collector. It seems reasonable to assume that Matthew left the most behind in following Jesus. Though tax collectors were hated by their fellow Jews, they made good money for very little work shaking people down after taxing them for whatever they were carrying at the time, as well as taking hush money for false accusations of smuggling. And yet, all Jesus has to say to Matthew in his own account is “Follow me” and Matthew becomes a disciple. The rich man has much more to lose in following Jesus, and makes the decision not to part with his belongings. What does this illustrate? A very obvious fact that the more we have, the greater worldly temptations become. Jesus is, to put things bluntly, answering the question of why there are pedophile rings in Hollywood. It would be rank ignorance to say that all rich and powerful men in history are deserving of reward, and that goes beyond George Soros. History is littered with bad kings, corrupt aristocrats, and barbarous pillagers, just as it is replete with great emperors, upstanding courtiers, and honorable warriors.

the virtue of simple living (Siberia: late 1800s)

Jesus does not say that all of the first will be last, but that  many will be. The same is true in reverse. This gives further depth to His other statements to this effect. The poor find it easier to live virtuously for they do not have the means to do the greatest evils. That is the burden of the elite, the cliché of ‘with great power comes great responsibility’. We live today in a society where those who would have lived very simple lives in ages past can attend university, work for the State Department, and perhaps subsequently help overthrow a stable regime somewhere far away causing untold devastation. Part of the Reactionary worldview is that it is preferable to have a small elite of the best quality that can be realistically expected, and for everyone else to have comparatively little power, for their own good. Jesus’ words give us good moral backing for this position, for we are shielding ‘the least’ from losing their virtue, the virtue of simple living. We must be very careful not to fall into a degenerate hatred of the simple. To quote Dávila once more, “Love of the people is the aristocrat’s vocation.”

3. He wasn’t judgmental

Reactionaries by their nature are judgmental. Part of the Liberal dogma is to excuse a parade of horribles by telling us that we should not judge them, either because it is intrinsically immoral to judge or because it is none of our business. On the contrary, Reactionaries recognize that judging is something we do every day, on reflex, it is organic to us and vital to our survival instinct. When a mother on a subway holds her child more closely as the hulking black gangster sits down next to her, she is exhibiting a perfectly natural response to a rational fear.

The favorite verses used to support the left wing Jesus argument from this approach are Matthew 7:1 and John 8:7. The first directly addresses judging not lest we be judged. In full context, Jesus is in fact describing how to judge correctly, not being hypocritical in our condemnations. It is paired with the well-known line about removing the log from thine own eye, even stating clearly at the end that the end-goal is to then take the speck out of your brother’s eye. There is further clarification in John:

“Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”

– John 7:24

Important as well, the previous example of the woman on the subway car does not judge on appearances alone, she judges based on what is associated with the appearance, the type of character it denotes, which can often be dangerous. This is the very essence of right judgment. We have the capacity to learn by experience and then apply judgment using this reliable information. Why do we associate African Americans with crime, yet we do not associate Polynesian Americans (a 6.5 foot Samoan for example) with crime, even when both are completely alien to us, and the Samoan is likely more physically threatening. This is because we have learned from our personal experiences, and reports on black crime. 

As for the other verse, it was addressed in full over at Unam Sanctam Catholicam, but to paraphrase, Jesus’s challenge to let he who was without sin cast the first stone at the woman caught in adultery was far from a command prohibiting judgment, but more a clever way to humiliate the pharisees by outfoxing them once again, and proving their hypocritical false piety:

“Thus, rather than seeing this story as our Lord appealing to the conscience of the Pharisees to recognize that we are all sinners, our Lord’s actions actually presume that the Pharisees consider themselves sinless – this is why He is able to take the trap they laid for Him and turn it on them. It is not an appeal against judgmentalism and self-righteousness; rather, it is a clever game in which Jesus uses the Pharisees’ own assumed sinlessness to make them run afoul of Rome’s law if they insist on carrying out the death penalty.”

owned

Jesus Himself was more judgmental than any man in history, lest we forget he condemned men for even having lust in their hearts, and while the Old Testament is suspiciously quiet on the subject of what happens after we die, Jesus is all about the fire and brimstone, the blazing furnace where there will be tears and regret. 

4. He was a pacifist

And so we come to Buddha Jesus, a common trope, that the Risen Lord abhorred all violence. Not only does this allow the enemies of Christianity to disarm its adherents, but also conveniently feeds into the whole narrative about contradictions between the Old Testament God, who endorses much violence, and the pacific figure of Jesus.

Let’s look at the exalted ‘preparer of the way’, John the Baptist’s interaction with soldiers:

“Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusations, and be content with your wages.”

– Luke 3:14

Strangely absent here is any condemnation of their soldierly activities. In fact, mentioning their wages at all would seem to suggest John wanted them to do their work with diligence and without whining. Before anyone accuses me of arguing from silence, they should recognize that arguments from silence work when the silence is conspicuous. Jesus not talking directly about bestiality is not conspicuous for example, addressing what soldiers should do and not addressing the elephant in the room, their activity as soldiers, is conspicuous. Jesus never overrides John’s words.

How about the disciples carrying swords? The Bible clearly tells us in Luke 22:36 that it is reasonable and expected to be armed, but when swords are drawn to defend Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane , he gives the line about living and dying by the sword. Less quoted is John’s account:

“Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. Jesus commanded Peter, ‘Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?’

– John 18:10-11

Living and dying by the sword is simply a statement of fact. Men who live to fight more often than not die in a fight. If His followers wished to resist the Roman authorities with force, they would be cut down. In John’s account, the reason for Jesus’ demands are made much clearer. Put the sword away, for have I not come for a purpose? Jesus’ goal was to die, so trying to prevent this from happening would have doubtlessly been annoying.

Finally, we have Jesus’ actions in the temple against the (((money changers))). Enraged by their activities in the holy place, he drives them out with a whip. He doesn’t even give them an opportunity to explain themselves, going straight to the whipping.

“So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables”


– John 2:15


merchants btfo

Nothing Jesus does is inconsistent with the attitude of the God of the Old Testament, nor is His command about not taking revenge. We see the same message in Leviticus 19:18, and so when Jesus comes to contradict the command concerning ‘an eye for an eye’, we are required to engage in deeper analysis.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also.”

– Matthew 5:38

The triviality of a slap on the cheek is not used without reason. Jesus is speaking here of personal evil that we might encounter, from our family members, our friends, other members of our society whom we do not know, so that they become our enemies. Jesus admonishes that it is easy to love those who do not wrong us, harder to forgive those who do. An eye for an eye was never intended, when given in the Old Testament, to justify personal revenge. It was an application of civic justice. What is civic justice? That which is higher than social gamesmanship. It is permissible for a legitimate government to execute a murderer. It is not permissible for you to mug the man who short-changed you on the helter skelter. One speaks to an ordered society, the other to personal grievance. Those who mock Jesus for His command to love those who wrong you are bizarre claimants to lives in which they are either The Punisher, or have the blissful pleasure of never having been wronged.

5. He was against families

Another apparent example of Jesus’ egregious Liberalism is his statement on families. Blood and soil types like to quote this one, along with Luke 14:26:

“For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law–a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”

– Matthew 10:35-37


And yet Jesus affirms the Old Testament teaching on honoring your mother and father in Matthew 15:4-6 and 19:17-19. Why the contradiction? Jesus comes in order to fulfill prophecy as anyone with even a basic understanding of his ministry can attest. The relevant passage here is Micah 7:5-6 which predicts the Messianic age to include much strife within families. It was not realized that this would take the form of acceptance or rejection of the Messiah Himself. In an environment of religiously austere Jews, the message entirely makes sense. Those who followed Jesus at that time, those who wished to become His disciples, became outcasts, because the Jews rejected Him and murdered Him. If any Reactionary has made their politics known to all their family members and not received some scorn, then they are incredibly lucky. The solution to this problem is to ensure that when you make your own family, that it is right with God and right with sound Tradition. We don’t have to follow in the eroneous ways of our parents just because they are our parents. If this was the case, I’d be a Liberal. Jesus was for good families, not ones which remained in error in light of His ministry. He instructed His followers to leave those naysayers behind in order to pursue truth, and rightly so. And yet I am sure many will continue to believe that Jesus hates families.

waves of hatred from heaven


6. He was a communist or something

And so we end with the most popular left wing accusation, that Jesus was a precursor to socialism and the ideals of an egalitarian society. This idea wasn’t actually seeded by Liberals. It has its roots in Neitzsche and Spengler of all people, but it is a glaring error in understanding. First of all, there is virtually no economics lecturing in Jesus’ ministry, and again this is a conspicuous silence since economics plays quite an important part in the average person’s life. We can safely conclude that Jesus had no great moral qualms with the economic system of his day, which was neither Capitalist nor Communist, but instead a form of Ancient pre-mercantile economics.

But what about implicit ideals of egalitarianism? Perhaps Jesus didn’t talk about the government introducing food stamps, but was he a supporter of some vague anti-hierarchical position? It’s easy to see why someone might think so:

“You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant and whoever wishes to be the first among you must be slave of all”

– Mark 10:42-44

For those unaware, a ‘tyrant’ used to describe a specific form of government that was developed in Greece. These were rulers empowered by demotic means (usually people who owed money to landowners), and took control by force, thus being illegitimate or ‘unconventional’. We can call what we witness today a tyranny. Our leaders gain power through their own means, not through divine election. There really isn’t a lot of space between those Greek tyrants who took power through a gang of thugs descending upon the polis, and the tyrants of today who manipulate said thugs into the voting booths. Both serve themselves, and that is the paradox of Liberalism. It feigns a concern for the least, but is really concerned about making a new most, what Pareto describes thusly:

“Equality is related to the direct interests of individuals who are bent on escaping certain inequalities not in their favor, and setting up new inequalities that will be in their favor, this latter being their chief concern.”

To Jesus’ mind, as His ministry to the destitute and suffering shows, He perceived it as a duty of leadership (his own leadership He acknowledges in John 13:13) to be in service to those under your charge, and the divine legitimacy of any leadership is indicative of it being the best-suited at any given time to raise the whole of society to its highest level. I do not primarily advocate autocratic governance because it is better for autocrats. That is a given, and since I am not leadership material, it would not benefit me. No, I think autocratic rule is better for people in general, even the lowest of the low. I believe autocrats who understand Tradition and the organic state do a better service for their subjects than any democratically elected government has ever been able to do. In many ways, the monarch is a slave of the people. It is his burden, that he must choose war or peace, tax or spend on their behalf. He bears the decisions that ordinary people cannot make for themselves.

I fear too often people play into the character of the Machiavelli Reactionary, only interest in realist games of power, but power is hollow without service. What is it good for? Why do you clothe and feed and discipline your children if not to raise them up, if not for the dream that they might do better than you? Why not spend your limited time on earth gambling and drinking instead? Authority and service are not mutually exclusive, and we should remember that Jesus doesn’t say that nobody can become great, but instead outlines the responsibility of being great. This is a far cry from the leveling messages of socialist egalitarianism. Tyrants don’t make great nations, they make great bank accounts in the Caymans. In that, there can only ever be transitional value.

Codreanu wept for the impoverished and exploited Moti people (highlanders from the Apuseni mountains) who could barely keep warm in the winter time. His tragically short life was dedicated to lifting despair from the whole Romanian nation, and that is what made him a truly great leader rather than just an inspiring orator.

Then we have this commonly misused passage:

“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

– Galatians 3:28

It is painfully obvious that this is in reference to baptism, since that is the context of the full passage. All this says is that any human being can be baptized, and by extension, any human being can be eternally redeemed. If there was no possibility of redemption through choice, it would be egregious for God to create such a moral agent, and yes, demonic entities also had this choice but via a different mechanism. Jesus is not abolishing the sexes or other such feminist claptrap, which is why Paul is very clear on the silence of women in churches (Corinthians 14:34). To extrapolate this sentence to confer egalitarian measures on all people beyond baptism is risible.

we’re charmed, really

This is by no means exhaustive, but hopefully can be a useful reference point for Christians dealing with these objections based upon misinterpretations of Scripture which run contrary to centuries of Church teaching, the saints, and common sense in general. Jesus was not Harvey Milk in linens, He wasn’t Andrea Dworkin with a more obvious beard, He wasn’t Mao with a softer tongue. He was God made flesh, and God is not a leftist, He is their antithesis.
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18 thoughts on “Deconstructing ‘Maoist Jesus’

  1. Very good essay, but I have two small but important points.

    First, the Pharisees and Sadducees, specifically those of the Sanhedrin, were -not- the rightful rulers of the Jewish people. They were installed for convenience by the Romans, who extirpated the line of Hebrew kings and set up the Sanhedrin in an attempt to make a puppet government to pacify the Jews. Indeed, the Pharisees weren't even the rightful priestly class, not being Levites.

    (I welcome correction or clarification from B, if he comes here. My information comes primarily from Eusebius.)

    Secondly and less importantly, I believe you mean Apostles of the Christ, not disciples. Of the latter there are seventy, or six-hundred and forty-eight (from memory), or all Christians. Of the former, there are Twelve, not counting the apostate Judas. Further, we also know the background of the Apostle Paul, who was a Jewish scholar.

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  2. Great post, Mark. One of your bests. Thank you. I will save it for future reference.

    OT. Does someone know what (((triple brackets))) mean? I see them all around the reactosphere and a Google search has been useless to find out.

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  3. The triple brackets are symbols of an echo, in reference I believe to a TRS podcast where Jewish surnames were given a sinister echo. It's a meme, hinting at Jews in a half-ironic half-not kind of way.

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  4. I take your first point, but were the Sadducees not Levites? In my research, I read that they were appointed by birthright, whereas the Pharisees were more a learned meritocracy.

    Schoolboy error on disciple/apostle. I hear them used interchangeably so often.

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  5. The Sadducees were like the original apostate and corrupt clerical elite. They were comfortable associating with Roman pagans (unlike the Talmudic Pharisees who hated the gentiles), and were very worldly-minded.

    As the 1911 edition of Encyclopedia Britannica put it:

    http://www.thefullwiki.org/Sadducees#1911encyclopedia

    “In fact, broadly speaking, the Sadducees for the period during which they are reported to exist, represent and embody the tendency to conformity with neighbouring Gentiles, which is deplored and denounced by Jewish writers from Moses to Philo.

    The controversies of the Pharisees and Sadducees afford a typical example of this process. With the approval of Antiochus Epiphanes, the Sadducean section embraced the outward forms of Hellenism, and out of the persecution of the orthodox which followed was born the hope of a future life which was in the circumstances the necessary corollary of God's righteousness and was discovered to be latent in Scripture. Later Sadducees, who actually bore the name, resisted this and all the characteristics of the Pharisees and continued to flatter the predominant foreigner – Greek or Roman – by imitating him with less reckless bravado than the first Hellenizers and with growing assurance. They were men of the world, and men of this world, and, so far as they still professed and practised Judaism, they preferred to repudiate the additions for which they felt no need, but which had entered into the faith of their fathers. The Pharisees, who pruned and fed the tree of Judaism so that it might bear fruit for the healing of the Nation – and the nations in the latter days – gave them the opportunity of posing as the champions of the primitive standards.

    But, though the reformers thus played into the hands of the Sadducees, the people were not deceived by the badge which Sadducean priests adopted and paraded to save their faces: they loved the Pharisees and were ready to go to death at their bidding. The Sadducees were the hypocrites of the Jewish world, just as the Epicureans were the hypocrites of the Greek world. The rest of the Jews rated the Sadducees as atheists, just as the rest of the Greeks rated the Epicureans as atheists and discerned, as Plutarch said, the sardonic grin behind the mask of their obsequious devotion to the ceremonies at which the force of public opinion compelled their attendance. The Sadducee was a Jew outwardly so long as he so retained place, power and profit. The destruction of Jerusalem, long before it was consummated in A.D. 70, robbed them of the place and nation which alone compensated them for the inconveniences of their nominal allegiance. They knew well enough the power of invincible Rome; and her advance warned them to take themselves and their talents to the market of the wide world, to which in heart and mind they had always belonged.”

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  6. Sadly, my Eusebius and Flavius are both in another country at the moment. From my researches on the internet, it appears uncertain whether the Sadducees were Levites or not, except in taking the broader usage of the term meaning both the priests and their factional allies. It also appears somewhat uncertain as to whether priestly duties among the sect were hereditary.

    On a related note, my memory failed me: the selection and reconstitution of the Sanhedrin was not essentially Roman meddling, having dated from ancient times, though I'm quite certain Roman influence was part of the selection process. Rather, the Kings of Israel after the Roman conquest (e.g. Herod) were false kings.

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  7. I'd love to see a follow up article more like this but from a constructive side. The points of faith people like Charles Martel and the knights templar worked with not the current churchian faith we have now. If it's time for crusades 2.0 then having a faith that matches it is a necessity.

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  8. Re: Apostles/ Disciples

    The interchangeable use is correct, unless capitalized (this is English usage) in the Orthodox tradition. Here is a rundown:

    “The Apostles” refers primarily to the 12 after their 'sending'. So Judas is not included. But 'apostle' may sometimes be used prior to the Resurrection, since Jesus 'sends them out' – both the twelve and the seventy, to places in Judea. Apostle can also refer to the progenitor of the church in a nation; and the title given to a saint who did this is generally 'equal-to-the-apostles' and may be given to both men and women. A notable example is Photini, the Woman at the Well.

    “The Disciples” is an ambiguous term, requiring contextualization. It may refer to the 12 disciples, which includes Judas, it may also refer to 'the seventy', referenced above. (The OSB has a list of the known names of the seventy.) Disciples is also used to refer to all Christians “the disciples at Antioch” for example, and other uses in Luke's Acts.

    I felt the need to clarify here, 'Disciples' DOES indeed include Judas, and can indeed be used to talk about the 12. Usually capitalized it does refer to the 12, but may ambiguously refer to the other groupings (seventy, etc.) In the Paschal verses, the terms are used interchangeably.

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  9. I think that Jesus was simply a prime example of Old Testament Morality and Principles. Not Communist at all. More like Ten Commandments with an special emphasis on compassion. And Steven Dutch made a good point on the cross Jesus had a good opportunity to denounce the Roman government and Roman power.

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  10. I thought this was addressed in the essay, but I can go into more detail if you'd like. Let's look at the passage titled 'Children of God':

    “23 Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.”

    Okay, so the distinction here is made between the prior, personal relationship that the Creator had with the Hebrews, through pacts and covenants collectively at that time known as The Law. This was not binding upon other groups of people. Only this specific group.

    “26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

    This is the full context, as it relates to BAPTISM. So when you intend to 'clothe yourself with Jesus', this realization cannot be denied based on your origin (at that time, it would have been to make clear that gentiles who were baptized were indeed Christians, which was likely a cause for concern among early practitioners). Anyone can partake in baptism, and the Church may not deny them this right, nor indeed any of the other mysteries as was settled in the Phyletism controversy much later. In the full sense of the Church, people enter into it on the basis of both faith and initiation (baptism, etc.) The initiation cannot be denied if the faith is sincere, since Christ did not redeem just the Hebrews, but the whole world with his victorious resurrection. The followers are 'equal' in the sense of salvation, they are all saved. This has absolutely zero material-world connotations beyond the compulsion for the Church to minister to such people. Good way to illustrate this is “neither slave nor free”. Was this a command to free the slaves? No, not at all. It was only to say a slave who rejoices in Christ is saved as an owner who rejoices in Christ is.

    Liberals tend to do this with a few passages, transferring higher spiritual significance into earthly social justice, which is a cruel masquerade as it transfers God's understanding to human understanding. Liberals like the play God.

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  11. I thought this was addressed in the essay, but I can go into more detail if you'd like. Let's look at the passage titled 'Children of God':

    “23 Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.”

    Okay, so the distinction here is made between the prior, personal relationship that the Creator had with the Hebrews, through pacts and covenants collectively at that time known as The Law. This was not binding upon other groups of people. Only this specific group.

    “26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

    This is the full context, as it relates to BAPTISM. So when you intend to 'clothe yourself with Jesus', this realization cannot be denied based on your origin (at that time, it would have been to make clear that gentiles who were baptized were indeed Christians, which was likely a cause for concern among early practitioners). Anyone can partake in baptism, and the Church may not deny them this right, nor indeed any of the other mysteries as was settled in the Phyletism controversy much later. In the full sense of the Church, people enter into it on the basis of both faith and initiation (baptism, etc.) The initiation cannot be denied if the faith is sincere, since Christ did not redeem just the Hebrews, but the whole world with his victorious resurrection. The followers are 'equal' in the sense of salvation, they are all saved. This has absolutely zero material-world connotations beyond the compulsion for the Church to minister to such people. Good way to illustrate this is “neither slave nor free”. Was this a command to free the slaves? No, not at all. It was only to say a slave who rejoices in Christ is saved as an owner who rejoices in Christ is.

    Liberals tend to do this with a few passages, transferring higher spiritual significance into earthly social justice, which is a cruel masquerade as it transfers God's understanding to human understanding. Liberals like the play God.

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  12. I want to address the tyrant point, because I think on the basis of the Greek that your reasoning about the saying’s meaning is unsound.

    St Mark records it as Οἴδατε ὅτι οἱ δοκοῦντες ἄρχειν τῶν ἐθνῶν κατακυριεύουσιν αὐτῶν καὶ οἱ μεγάλοι αὐτῶν κατεξουσιάζουσιν αὐτῶν. St Matthew has Οἴδατε ὅτι οἱ ἄρχοντες τῶν ἐθνῶν κατακυριεύουσιν αὐτῶν καὶ οἱ μεγάλοι κατεξουσιάζουσιν αὐτῶν. St Luke has Οἱ βασιλεῖς τῶν ἐθνῶν κυριεύουσιν αὐτῶν καὶ οἱ ἐξουσιάζοντες αὐτῶν εὐεργέται καλοῦνται. Both St Mark and St Matthew have κατεξουσιάζουσιν; St Luke, rather different, has εὐεργέται καλοῦνται and different terms throughout, even if with a similar general thrust.

    Those who rule (or, in Mark, those who seem to rule) the nations (the Gentiles) lord it over them, and the great among them wield power over them. Our Lord does not here speak of tyranny in the classical Greek sense. Rather, the point is that the disciples who are jockeying for status among themselves are not – contra papal claims to dominium of all the earth – to lord it over people and wield power over each other.

    St Luke quotes Jesus as speaking of the kings of the nations having dominion over them, and of those who exercise authority upon them are called benefactors (see the number of Hellenistic rulers actually taking the epithet εὐεργέτης). The Twelve Apostles in particular are not to be this way, accepting such titles and dignities for their largesse.

    In none of these cases does Jesus actually have tyranny in view. With the translation of κατεξουσιάζουσιν as are tyrants I already disagree, but with the reading in of the classical Greek sense of tyranny – which neither Jesus suggested nor the translators could have intended – I disagree even more strongly.

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    • This is a well-thought out critique. I was largely going off of the fact that ‘tyrant’ has acquired a connotation in our era that it would not have had during this ancient time period, however I may be over-complicating an instruction intended to address his disciples attempting to appoint themselves over one another, which likely has more international ecclesiastic implications than governmental implications.

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      • Especially when it comes to the Bible, I always like to check the original – or, in the case of the Old Testament, both the Hebrew texts available and the Septuagint – and look up words in the dictionary which I no longer remember.

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