Wednesday, February 28, 2007

jesus (?) tomb?

Why is the Discovery Channel and cross-marketing of a new book all of a sudden creating a clamor over a tomb that was discovered and documented back in 1980?

Well...because up until these movie/quasi-documentary film-makers made their media splash this week...nobody really cared. Now all of a sudden the blogosphere is filled with scholars who are poking holes through this theory (and the flawed research, assumptions and statistical methods) of the new Jesus Tomb argument.

Dr. Witherington just read the new book (which accompanies the film's debut on Sunday). I'd encourage you to read some of his additional thoughts (added since my below post from yesterday). Click here

In case you haven't been keeping score, here is my attempt at a quick summary from the perspective of Joel:

1) They claim the bone box says "Jesus son of Joseph", when in reality every scholar of ancient language says, "The Joseph part you can make out. But the hastily scratched lettering of the first name is too messy to decipher." The only reason they leap to the conclusion the word says "Jesus" is because one of the other boxes says "Judah son of Jesus". Therefore the name that we can't read must be Jesus. Big problem. This tomb is not filled with every member of the family. Just because the Judah in the tomb had a father named Jesus, that doesn't necessarily mean that the name we can't read must be Jesus.

2) All of the 6 names inscribed are incredibly common names. They ran fancy statistical models to prove that out of 600 hundred times, they are 599 chances that this IS Jesus of Nazareth against only 1 chance that it is not. However, staticsticians are already analyzing the model that they used to come up with this statistic of probability and it is hugely flawed. Believe me, I am horrible at math, but with even a small understanding of logic you can see the errors.

They assume that one of the Mary bones must have been the mother of Jesus and factor that into the statistical model. But pardon me...where is any evidence that the Mary in the tomb is the mother (not the sister, daughter, grandmother, etc).? That is an unfortunate leap that leads you to false certainty of your data.

And what about the Matthew found in the tomb? They say, "Oh Matthew must have been Mary's brother." Ok...based on what? There is zero evidence that Mary or Jesus had anyone in her family named Matthew.

Then they say the other Mary is Mary Magdalene. And because they ran DNA from small flesh residue in that box and the Jesus box, and determined that the Jesus and the Mary were not related...they jump to this conclusion: "Mary and Jesus were married". Hello! How do we get there? The Mary in that box could have been married to any of the other men in the tomb. And they didn't run tests on any of the other boxes.

And they also leap to saying that the ossuary (bone box) says, "Mary or Master". So she must be the one the Da Vinci Code proposes. But it does NOT say that. It says, "Mary - Martha". It was not uncommon to have 2 women's bones placed in the same box. And go do your own research and find out where they get the idea that Mariamene is the common name used for Mary Magdalene. I guess that works if you use sources from 100's of years later, rather than the actually people who knew her in the 1st century. But they don't tell you that.

In their statistical model, their scholar (who was key to all their research) James Tabor explains how they arrive at their conclusion that this is Jesus of Nazareth. Here is a DIRECT QUOTE from Tabor's website:

Experts I am working with tell me that assuming a family size of six, the probability of these six names in these relationships occurring together in one family is: 1/253,403.Therefore, out of 253,403 families (a population of 1,520,418), this particular combination of names would occur only once. Obviously the population of late 2nd Temple Jerusalem was nothing of that sort, but perhaps only 25,000 (Jeremias) to 50,000...My statistical consultant gave me a very simple analogy: Imagine a football stadium filled with 50,000 people—men, women, and children. This is an average estimate of the population of ancient Jerusalem in the time of Jesus. If we ask all the males named Jesus to stand, based on the frequency of that name, we would expect 2,796 to rise. If we then ask all those with a father named Joseph to remain standing there would only be 351 left. If we further reduce this group by asking only those with a mother named Mary to remain standing we would get down to only 173. If we then ask only those of this group with a brother named Joseph only 23 are left. And finally, only of these the ones with a brother named James, there’s less than a 3/4 chance that even 1 person remains standing. Prof. Andre Feuerverger, of the University of Toronto, a highly regarded senior scholar in the field did the formal statistics for the Discovery project. His figure of probability came out to 1/600.

Again, I am no expert at statistics. But how many errors do you see in that model? It says, "Stay standing if your father is Joseph and your mother is Mary." Uhh....excuse me.

  • Based on your ossuaries there is absolutely NO reference on the "Jesus box" to his mother being Mary.
  • There is no DNA testing yet to determine if the "Jose" in the other box is a blood relative to "Jeshua"
  • There is no certainty that the "James" ossuary came from this tomb.

So based on Tabor's own words from his statistician, their calculation of probability is based on things that they are assuming. NOT things they have proven.

3) They claim that patina (basically residue samples) from the "James brother of Jesus" box (found many years ago in an antiquities market) matches patina found in the new "Holy Family tomb". They then claim, "Since Jesus had a brother named James, this box must have come from that tomb." Big problem here. First of all, according to news reports, they made up their own testing method to determine this. Secondly, the patina from that tomb could form similar patina from other tombs in the vicinity. Thirdly, early church documents (within the first few generations after Christ) said that James' tomb was a spot that pilgrims often came to venerate. And that it was very near to the old city. This new "Holy Family" tomb is no where near the old city.

4) Even the ancient prolific Jewish historian Josephus mentions that they don't know what happened to Jesus body refering to the disciples' claim that Christ rose again. The "Jesus Tomb" producers say that this doesn't conflict with their theory. They propose that Jesus did rise again, and then 40 days later ascended "spiritually" into heaven leaving a dead physical body. Big problem with this theory. Everybody hated the Christians. If Jesus did rise again, but then his physical body died when he ascended...and if you were one of the disciples who everybody is out to disprove...WHAT would you do with your Master's body? Would you put it in a big fancy and expensive tomb with distinctive markings on the outside which draw everyone's attention? They say, "This tomb isn't fancy. It's plain and common". But it IS an expensive tomb. It has artwork on the front. It draws attention. If I were trying to protect a body from being discovered or desecrated, I would definitely not put it in a place like that.

5) Just read through some of their arguments on "The Discovery Channel" website. For example they claim that the passage in the Gospels referring to someone reclining on or near Jesus' chest at the last supper, sounds a lot like a child resting on a father's lap. They want you to say, "Wow, that must be Judah, the son of Jesus".

But all you have to do is read that passage in context. Immediately you see that they are preying on the uninformed. Because it goes on to say that the rest of the disciples asked this disciple (the one they suggest is a child sleeping on Jesus' lap), "Ask Jesus which one of us is going to betray him." Does that sound like something you would ask a child sitting on his father's lap?

6) The "Jesus Family Tomb" website ties the whole thing to Dan Brown's Da Vinci theories and the Nights Templar. They say that a 1000 years later the knights found this tomb during the Crusades and learned the secret about Jesus and Mary. But then on the very next page, they say that it sat undisturbed for 2000 years until 1980. So which is it?

7) And oh yeah...why do you not release this stuff until one week before your documentary is released on television. Is it perhaps so that you can get your theory out into the public BEFORE the world's archaelogists, historians and statisticions have a chance to show everybody all the stuff you got wrong?

And these are just the one's that I'm spouting off the top of my head. There are tons of other gaps in logic, fantasy theories and outright deceptions.

Having studied "The Da Vinci Code" thoroughly, it just reminds me of how easy it is to hide behind the claim: "This is just a theory based upon the facts." But then to base your theory on fabricated facts, knowing that 99% of the people will take your word for it.

I am still saddened by the number of people I meet who were influenced by "The Da Vinci Code", and they never even realize that not only are Dan Brown's history and documents are fabrications...but that he doesn't even get the art work and non-historical facts right.

But all you have to do today is take a few dates, numbers and experts...wrap up the facts in a burrito of distortions and fantastic theories...season it with the help of the media (someone said they watched the producers and experts for the Jesus Tomb documentary on Larry King Live this week and who did they have present the opposing view??? Uninformed church leaders who got frustrated, rather than scholars who could rationally provide balance). So what do you end up with? You end up with a recipe for making lots of money and getting lots of attention.

I admit. I come to this with my own bias. We ALL come to this with our own bias. But it seems particularly clear that the makers of this documentary came at it with a very heavily waited bias that leads them to bypass tradition means of research methodology.

Here is MY ULTIMATE HOPE. I pray that this theory will send people out to research the facts for themselves. Study the ancient works and history for yourself. Not just the interpretation of those works by skeptics with an agenda, but the actual history. And you will be amazed that no one has ever been able to prove Scripture wrong yet.

Let's pray that the foolishness of men can be a tool for bringing about the glory of God.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

the jesus tomb debate

Have you kept current on the new debate surrounding the supposed discovery of the tomb of Jesus? The Discovery Channel has this highly marketed program scheduled for Sunday night.

Last year it was the scandal surrounding the questionable legitimacy of a text called the Gospel of Judas. This year it is a tomb filled with bone boxes inscribed with names like Mary, Joseph and Jesus. Is it just a coincidence that this stuff is always released around Easter time?

But here's the point.

Your friends, family and co-workers are hearing about this stuff. And as a follower of Jesus Christ, I think it is worth our time to be able to engage in intelligent conversation about these issues.

I would suggest that you start by reading Dr. Witherington's blog (a world renown New Testament scholar). Then spend some time looking into other sources.

There are a lot of reasons to question the motives and methods of this documentary. And I'm pretty sure (based on their current data) there is no way they can ever prove that this tomb is in fact tied to Jesus Christ. It is a game based on probability. And probability is very different than being able to prove something based on certainty.

But this is still a conversation worth having, simply because seekers are exploring these issues. And if seekers are asking these questions, so should I.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

red bull

Don't you hate it when a product doesn't live up to its claims? I just bought a new pair of cycling shorts and I was so disappointed that they didn't increase my speed, leg strength, or endurance! Oh well, I guess you just have to do some things for yourself.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

messiah complex

I remember initially hearing of a phenomenon while reading "The Jesus I Never Knew" by Philip Yancey. So I went off to research it for myself. Apparently back in 1993, the mainstream press picked up on something that was happening in Brooklyn, New York. In a community known as Crown Heights you will find the home to 20,000 Lubavitcher Hasidic Jews. It is a conservative branch of Orthodox Judaism. And in the early 90’s many of them believed that the long-awaited Messiah had come.

The object of all this attention was an amazing man of God, a holy man who had done much to spread passion for Judaism around the world. His name was Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson.

He lived in the back room of a synagogue. His health was failing.

But on rare occasions he would make an appearance. And when he did…on those days, word among the Lubvitcher Orthodox Jews would spread like wildfire. They had a whole network of beepers, and pagers and cells phones. All of a sudden, the sidewalks would be filled with men in black coats and curly sideburns. All rushing to the synagogue. Their Rabbi had called.

Here’s a picture of the building. Before you knew it the main hall of this building was jam-packed. Every seat filled. The outer walls lined with people. People even climbing up, hanging on to the pillars. All to catch a glimpse of this man. Their hope of salvation.

Rabbi Schneerson (at this point) was 91 years old. The year before, he had suffered a stroke and now was unable to speak. But when the curtain pulled back, energy pulsated through the room as the crowd saw the frail old man, with his long traditional beard. Everyone watched his every move, but all he could manage was a slight wave, a tilt of his head and to move his eyebrows a little bit.

Slowly and steadily the crowd began to chant and sing. Over and over they lifted their voices in the song of “Yechi Adoneinu”. Their words in Hebrew “Long live our Master, our teacher and our Rabbi, King, Messiah, forever and ever!”. They sang louder and louder… the crowd in a frenzy of worship.

But after a moment, their Rabbi (the one they believed to be the Messiah, their Savior)…he made a small gesture with his hand and the curtain would close. Even today, there are video clips on their website of his public appearances in Brooklyn.

The next year (June 1994), Rabbi Schneerson died. Many Lubavitcher Hasidic Jews are now anxiously anticipating his bodily resurrection. They believe that He is the one. The long-awaited one.

Now, admit it. To you and me, it sounds kind of sad. I mean, c’mon. A crippled old guy from Brooklyn, New York? The Messiah? How foolish is that? What are they thinking?

UNTIL… you realize something. Are they really any different from me? You see, OUR reaction to that story (which is a true story, there are still many waiting for Rabbi Schneerson to rise again)… But you do realize that OUR reaction, is no different than how many viewed Jesus in the 1st Century?

They thought: the Messiah? I mean, c’mon:
- From Galilee, some Podunk little town?
- From a poor family?
- His dad’s a carpenter.
- You know what they say about his mom Mary. She wasn’t married when she got pregnant. She was cheating on her fiancé.
- He’s from the back woods
- And he’s got a funny accent.
Those guys from Galilee, what are they thinking? There’s no way this Jesus guy could be the Messiah.

And you know, Jesus was just one of many. All over the countryside there were these Prophets who would pop up. Some even doing miracles. Some with great crowds of disciples. When Jesus came along, many people said, “Well, we’ve seen this game before. He’s just like all the rest.”……

OR is He? Is there something more?

Explore for yourself. Discover who Jesus is, and you may be surprised to find that He has the power to transform your life.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

sunday cafe

This month we're launching the new 3D Sunday Cafe. Before and after worship services, it provides the opportunity to grab a newbie by the arm and bring them across the lobby for a free cup of coffee or an affordable Starbucks fancy drink. The connection potential is awesome.

And YES! You heard me right, we're using Starbucks espresso equipment and our baristas are actual real deal experts from Starbucks! See ya at the cafe.

Monday, February 19, 2007

rebel with a cause

Check out this quote from Paul Grant in "Blessed are the Uncool":

"Was Jesus really a rebel? Yes, but Jesus didn't rage against some abstract machine, he called people to an old way, the way revealed in the prophets. The way of doing life that Jesus championed had never been done because it had always been resisted. Jesus rocked the boat, and defied the status quo, modeling courageous resistance of the prevailing winds. But in our contemporary culture, rebellion is considered good in its own right - and a thrilling one at that. We're out to transgress. But we don't really have any agenda beyond rebellion itself. Was Jesus really a rebel? Sure. But our version of rebellion is a shallow impression."


It is so easy for us to become "deconstructionists". We so often tear down the church and other positions and styles and leaders, just for the sake of proving that we're cool or different (or even because we think we're right in our criticism). And you've got to admit, being a rebel feels pretty good.

But I don't think you ever found Jesus criticizing just for the sake of being right. His end goal was always with the intent of moving people towards something positive. Jesus only tore down, that which he was able to replace with truth. He never created a void, which he was not also fully capable of filling.

At some point I realized that I've grown weary of "deconstructing". Not that I don't slip back into old habits. But I think we need to avoid a rebelliousness that sends us down the slippery slope which ends in a pit of negativity. I think God has called us to be "constructionists" and to build something of value in this world.

Not what you are against.
What are you for?

Not just what you see wrong.
But also how can you make it right?

Not just all the things you don't like.
But how can you make things better?

Jesus was a rebel WITH a cause. He didn't just identify the problem...He said, "Come to me to find the answers."

Friday, February 16, 2007

ode to chris

Do you really settle for the status quo as you get older? Do older pastors increasingly play it safe? That was the point of a recent article by Abram Book:

"The expectations people have of pastors to always have answers and be competent to do almost anything just tends to shut pastors out from being open about who they are with somebody else," says McBurney. "This may not be as true as it used to be, but many pastors were taught in Bible college and seminary not to get close to their people because it can create problems of jealousy and tension in the church."

Over a long period, this makes pastors guarded. Barna's study found that pastors' potential for risk-taking drops off after 20 years in ministry. Pastors who spent 20 years or more at the same church were found to be particularly risk-averse.

"Most people in most careers tend to train during the years when they're 20 to 30 years old, try to grab the entire world by the horns when they're 30 to 40, and then 'settle in' from 40 to 50, or after about 20 years. It's no different for pastors," says Dr. Neil Wiseman, a former professor of pastoral development at Nazarene Bible College in Colorado Springs. "Since a pastor will have bumped up against all sorts of resistance during the years between 30 and 40, and since he's had to deal with every new idea imaginable during that time, it's probably not a surprise that after 20 years, he's tired of taking risks."

Wiseman also cites as factors the sense of career boredom and lack of motivation that some pastors feel after 20 years, and the notion they often feel that taking risks will get them fired. "After a pastor has been in ministry that long, it's hard for him to start over again if he's terminated. With that in mind, most pastors who've been around that long just figure it's better not to take chances."


As I read this article, it brought to mind our most recent addition to the pastoral staff at Faith...Chris Hinterman. Prior to joining us, he had been a Senior Pastor for nearly 30 years. He had a comfortable job and the respect of his peers. But his heart became unsettled. He hungered to take new risks and reach out to the world, touching the needs of a new generation. He dreamed of being on a church team that refused to settle for status quo.
May we never prefer comfort over passion.

In the 1990's there was a catch phrase for Michael Jordan. People said, "I wanna be like Mike". But now Jordan is just a rich pleasure seeker, resting on the laurels of his glory days. Well, Chris may be 20 years ahead of me on the journey, but I can say without reservation that when I hit 50, "I wanna be like Chris".

We are honored to have him at Faith Church. (Although we all know that his wife Marcia is the real rock star of the family!)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

faked death

From the St. Petersberg Times (by reporter Thomas Lake), check out this true story from Hudson, Florida. This just happened a few weeks ago. I guess not everybody wants to be loved by the church:

Beneath a stained-glass mural of the resurrection, the choir of St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church gathered Friday to mourn a young member's death. The people had braced for Alison Matera's passing since they learned of her cancer. They sat in wooden pews before a pedestal of polished white stone. Among them was a stranger who looked strangely familiar.

She said she was Matera's sister. But she looked and sounded exactly like Matera. And the people wondered. Was it all a trick?

According to an incident report from the Pasco County Sheriff's Office, this is what happened:

Matera told them about the cancer last February, after two years in the choir. They were some of her closest friends, and she gave them frequent updates on her treatment. Near the end of last year, at the age of 27, she said she was giving up and entering hospice care. Choir members started getting calls from a hospice nurse with updates on Matera's condition. Several of them noticed the same thing: The nurse's voice sounded just like Matera's.

Jan. 18, the same nurse called choir director Timothy Paquin and told him Matera had died at 7:04 p.m. He spread the news and planned the memorial.

Soon after, Paquin got a call from a woman saying she was Matera's sister. She said Matera's body would be shipped north to her family. She, too, sounded just like Matera.

Paquin called the hospice. He called local funeral homes. No one had a record of Alison Matera. But the wheels were in motion, and the memorial went on.

Then the so-called sister appeared, and the suspicion grew, and by the end of the service the people were convinced it had been a charade. It's unclear whether anyone confronted her, because no one from the choir agreed to be interviewed for this story. Matera also declined to comment, as did the stepsister she might have impersonated.

After the service, a choir member called the Sheriff's Office and asked for help. A deputy visited Matera's apartment in New Port Richey that night. She was there. According to the report, she confessed to faking her sickness and death. Matera was not arrested. According to sheriff's spokesman Doug Tobin, she did not commit a crime.

So why did she do it?

She told the deputy she has attachment problems rooted in childhood trauma. Any time someone gets close, she feels the need to separate.

After she gained several close friends in the choir, she said she had cancer to drive them away. But it brought them closer.

She said the fake death - the heartbreaking conclusion of an 11-month lie - was her best attempt at sparing everyone's feelings.


First this shows how desparate all of us are for attention. But it also shows how often we struggle with lack of trust, fear of closeness and the unwillingness to be honest and open with one another.

I remember a few years ago we had a guy at Faith who was getting frustrated because his old HomeGroup wouldn't leave him alone. He said, "They keep stopping me in the halls at church to ask how I'm doing. I don't want to be part of their group, and yet they won't leave me alone." I asked, "Have you told them how you feel?" The answer of course was no.

He preferred to keep running from them, avoiding them, and complaining about them to other people...rather than just owning up to the fact that he didn't want to be part of their HomeGroup anymore.

And the best part for me? I loved every minute of it! The Group hadn't done anything wrong. In fact, they were doing everything right. They weren't going to give up on someone who seemed to be drifting.

Maybe what our relationships need is a little more trust. When you've found a group of people who love you, care for you and continue to pursue you (even when you're being a jerk)...that's is more valuable than gold. It's too bad Alison Matera lost sight of that fact.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

jesus coming back

Saturday, February 10, 2007

party with jesus

Jesus had an amazing work ethic. He spent long days doing ministry, and teaching and changing the world.

But one of the main criticisms he was attacked for? The Pharisees and other Rabbi’s said, “This guy’s a party animal. He’s always wasting time eating and drinking with his friends.” Now, I’m not talking about bachelor parties with strippers and pot. Don’t get the wrong idea here.

But for example:

  • The very first recorded miracle in the gospels, when he turned water into wine? It was a party…at a wedding reception.
  • When Matthew (the tax collector) first met Jesus, Matthew decided to throw a party for him and invited all his buddies.
This is one of the major reasons that the religious leaders of the day didn’t like Jesus. They accused him of hanging out with sinners. Jesus once told the religious leaders, “Hey, you guys walk around all droopy faced, making it look like religion is such a sad and terrible thing. You do it, not for God, but rather because you’re just trying to show off.” He said, “Instead, you ought to put on a smile and show people what a joy it is to serve God.”

You see, all throughout his life, Jesus demonstrated this great principle: always take God seriously...never take yourself too seriously.

In fact, Jesus said, “All those heavy things that weigh you down? Cast all your anxieties upon the Lord.” Literal translation? “Lighten up.”

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

risk management

Jeffrey Kluger, "Why We Worry About the Things We Shouldn't," in TIME magazine says:

As human beings, we pride ourselves on being the only species that understands the concept of risk. Yet we have a confounding habit of worrying about mere possibilities while ignoring probabilities—of building barricades against perceived dangers while leaving ourselves exposed to real ones.

For example, we agonize over the avian flu, which [as of December 2006] had killed precisely no one in the U.S., but have to be cajoled into getting vaccinated for the common flu, which contributes to the deaths of 36,000 Americans each year. White-knuckle flyers routinely choose the car when traveling long distances, heedless of the fact that, at most, a few hundred people die in U.S. commercial airline crashes in a year, compared with 44,000 killed in motor-vehicle wrecks.

We wring our hands over the mad cow pathogen that might be (but almost certainly isn't) in our hamburger, yet worry far less about the cholesterol that contributes to the heart disease that kills 700,000 of us annually. Shoppers still look askance at a bag of spinach for fear of E. coli bacteria while filling their carts with fat-sodden French fries and salt-crusted nachos.

We put filters on faucets, install air ionizers in our homes, and lather ourselves with antibacterial soap. At the same time, 20 percent of all adults still smoke; nearly 20 percent of drivers and more than 30 percent of backseat passengers don't use seatbelts; and two-thirds of us are overweight or obese.

In short, shadowed by peril as we are, you would think we'd get pretty good at distinguishing the risks likeliest to do us in from the ones that are statistical long shots. But you would be wrong.


Consider the application to our spiritual lives. Death is inevitable. It's the one thing that every human being is guaranteed to face. Last time I checked the death rate is 100%. You will one day be in a casket.

So my question: from a risk management standpoint, why do we spend so little time preparing for eternity? I believe there are only 3 things that will last forever:

1) God
2) His Word/Truth
3) The Souls of Mankind

Assuming this is correct (from a biblical perspective), what have you and I done today to make an investment in one (or all) of those 3 things?

I guess that's the point of Jeffrey Kluger's article. We get so caught up in the immediate, that we continually neglect the big picture issues.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

the focus of passions

Floyd Mclung...

"I know when apostolic passion has died in my heart. It happens when I don't spend my quiet time dreaming of the time when Jesus will be worshiped in languages that aren't yet heard in heaven.

I know it's missing from my life when I sing about heaven, but live as if earth is my home.

Apostolic passion is dead in my heart when I dream more about sports, toys, places to go and people to see, than I do about the nations worshiping Jesus."

Saturday, February 03, 2007

superbowl coaches

Dungy and Smith are making history as the first black coaches meeting each other in the SuperBowl. That's awesome.

But what is even more exciting is that both men are committed to their faith in Jesus Christ. Both are models of sincerity, humility, integrity and servant leadership. Both are proof that you don't have to play by the world's rules of the angry, manipulative, winner-takes-all form of competition.

As a follower of Christ, I feel a responsibility to pray for people in positions of leadership and influence like this. The pressures and temptations are great. The spotlight can be blinding. I pray God's protection over them to keep them strong and focused on the true meaning of life.

And if the Colts win, that would be OK too...

Thursday, February 01, 2007

easily fooled

N.T. Wright said, "I believe every generation of the Church must engage, in the historical study of Jesus. Just as the Nazi theologians, Käsemann’s obvious target, had re-invented a non-Jewish Jesus so today people are inventing Jesuses who support all kinds of ideologies. And if we in the Church think we are immune from this, I would urge that we think again."

Wright's reference to Kaseman relates to the success of Hitler's philosphers and theologians in creating a non-Jewish Jesus. By preying upon people's ignorance of history and the scriptural narrative, they were able to create a Jesus who supported their own cause.

Unfortunately we are often guilty of doing the same thing. The answer? Read it for yourself. Study, question, grow and change.