Category Archives: Old Testament

The Proposal: I call it as I see it!

By Spencer D Gear PhD


John Dominic (Dom) Crossan

Chapter 1 (the Preface): John Dominic (Dom) Crossan of the Jesus Seminar fame deconstructs the Gospel texts with a creative freedom to add to or subtract from the material. He has no qualms about making the text say what he wants it to say. What presuppositions could drive such a person-centered manipulation of the text?

Chapter 2: Reader-response is “a literary criticism that focuses primarily on the reader’s reaction to a text.” Why would I, an evangelical Christian, desire to investigate and publish the teachings of an eminent historical Jesus scholar with prolific writings over the last four decades, but whose teachings are unorthodox?

Chapter 3: You may not have read much of Crossan or Derrida [pronounced der-ee-dah or phonetically, ?d?r i?d?]. However, promotion of this deconstructionist ideology leads to the death of the author, ruin of the pastor’s message, and the trashing of anything you read or listen to. How could that be?

Chapter 4: In 1968, another deconstructionist promoter, Roland Barthes, acknowledged that a work may originate with an author but its destination was the reader. His pointed assessment was that “we know that in order to restore writing to its future, we must reverse the myth: the birth of the reader must be requited, “one good turn deserves another,”[1] by the death of the Author”.

Chapter 5: Barthes, a deconstructionist, stated: “Writing is the destruction of every voice, of every point of origin.”

Chapter 6: Crossan received his theological doctorate in Ireland, then taught in Roman Catholic biblical institutes and seminaries in Rome, Chicago and Jerusalem until he resigned from the priesthood in 1968, to marry and to be able to think critically according to his training and not be criticised for such reasoning.

Chapter 7: The rationale for my research was to pursue Crossan’s challenge that Gospel presuppositions dictate methods and models for examining the historical Jesus and early Christianity and that wrong presuppositions weaken or may invalidate a research project. The foci of this study will be some of Crossan’s controversial presuppositions of the resurrection tradition.

He stated that the Gospels are “consummate theological fictions” that are “neither histories nor biographies” and “tell us about power and leadership in the earliest Christian communities.”

Chapter 8: Crossan is one of the leading contemporary advocates of reconstruction of the Scriptures. He admitted: “I believe, as a Christian, in the Word of God, not in the words of specific papyri or the votes of specific committees. But fact and faith, history and theology intertwine together in that process and cannot ever be totally separated.”

Chapter 9: There have been challenges to Crossan’s scholarship including that by noted British historical Jesus’ scholar, N T Wright, whose assessment of the content of Crossan[2] was that it “is almost entirely wrong.”

Chapter 10: Crossan admitted that “my endeavour was to reconstruct the historical Jesus as accurately and honestly as possible. It was not my purpose to find a Jesus whom I liked or disliked, a Jesus with whom I agreed or disagreed.”

Chapter 11: His methodology involves “a triple triadic process” that attempts to synthesise anthropology, history, and literature. Weakness in one area imperils the integrity and validity of the others. His method demands “equal sophistication on all three levels at the same time.”

Chapter 12: In addition to the use of the extracanonical material in the strata, Crossan also is committed to the “multiple independent attestation” of the Jesus’ tradition. He states that his discipline “is to work primarily with plurally attested complexes from the primary stratum of the Jesus tradition.”

However, there is a further factor that influences the Gospel accounts, textual “freeplay, that is to say, a field of infinite substitutions.”

Chapter 13: Concerning Christ’s resurrection, Crossan’s view[3] was that the apostle Paul did not consider Jesus’ resurrection as “a special or unique privilege” because he was Messiah, Lord, and Son of God. Crossan does not see that Jesus’ case would be a parallel to that of Elijah, taken up by God and with “wider communal or cosmic effects.” His perspective is that Jesus’ resurrection is “an apparition with cosmically apocalyptic consequences,” but it is an apparitional vision “of a dead man who begins the general resurrection” (emphasis in original).

Chapter 14: I close with a warning in using this idiom: For evangelicals, there is a legitimate use of allegory as seen in Galatians 4:24-31 with the “figurative” use of Hagar and Sarah. Hagar was the slave woman who had a child to Abraham while Sarah, the free woman, had a child to Abraham. The two women represent two covenants (Gal 4:24).

But evangelicals are ‘skating’ too close for comfort, or are “dangerously or uncomfortably near” deconstructionist hermeneutics? John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress was written legitimately as an allegory of the Christian life. Allegorical interpretation has been called, typological or symbolic interpretation. The label doesn’t matter but it is illegitimate if it removes the interpreter from the literal meaning of the text. The problem with allegorical interpretation is that it seeks to interpret every biblical passage allegorically.

Chapter 15: This is what happens when the fixed meaning of a text is allowed to be used in freeplay:

“How to Flee From a Big Fish, it’s obvious the prophet didn’t have a lick of sense. The belly of a fish was his 3-day home when obeying God was the better option. The book of Jonah is more than a “whale of a fish story”. The biblical story shows how God uses people, animals and natural elements to offer repentance to a sinful nation and a rebellious messenger.”[4]

Words, grammar and syntax are stripped of literal meaning, as with Crossan’s writings in allegorical interpretation and textual freeplay. Freeplay with the text strips it of literal meaning and replaces it by a readers’ understanding. Bye, bye literal interpretation and welcome the readers’ freeplay! So, “I call it as I see it,” is following Crossan’s call: “I formulate it here as I see it.”[5]

See “Christ Myth Theory.”


A 3rd-century fragment of Paul’s Letter to the Romans.

Chapter 16: References

Athanasius, Discourse 1, “Against the Arians.” Tr by John Henry Newman and Archibald Robertson. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 4. Ed by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1892.) Rev. and ed. for New Advent by Kevin Knight. Accessed 23rd December 2020.

Barthes, Roland. Image Music Text. Tr by S Heath. London: Fontana Press. Accessed 22nd December 2020.

Barthes, Roland. “The death of the author.” Tr by R Howard. In R Barthes, The Rustle of Language, 49-55. New York: Hill and Wang. Accessed 22nd December 2020.

Beaver, David I and Bart Geurts 2011. “Presupposition.” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Summer. Accessed 5th January 2021.

Bultmann, Rudolf Karl. New Testament & Mythology and Other Basic Writings. Ed. and tr by Schubert M Ogden. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Fortress Press, (1957-62) 1984.

Cambridge Dictionary. s.v. “requite.” Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press,

Crossan, John Dominic. Raid on the Articulate: Comic Eschatology in Jesus and Borges. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1976.

Crossan, John Dominic 1982. “Difference and divinity”. In R Detweiler (ed), Derrida and biblical studies, Semeia 23, 1 January, 29-40.

Crossan, John Dominic. The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1991.

Crossan, John Dominic. “Almost the whole truth: An odyssey.” The Fourth R. September/October, 6(5), 1993. Westar Institute. Accessed 5th January 2021.

Crossan, John Dominic. Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography (this is a shorter version of Crossan (1991)). San Francisco CA: HarperSanFrancisco, 1994.

Crossan, John Dominic. The Birth of Christianity: Discovering What Happened in the Years Immediately after the Execution of Jesus. San Francisco CA: HarperSanFrancisco, 1998.

Crossan, John Dominic 2006-09. “Biographical summary”. Accessed 5th January 2021,

Crossan, John Dominic. The Power of Parable: How Fiction by Jesus Became Fiction about Jesus. New York, NY: HarperOne, 2012.

Crossan, John Dominic and Johathan L Reed. In Search of Paul: How Jesus’s Apostle Opposed Rome’s Empire with God’s Kingdom. San Francisco CA: HarperSanFrancisco, 2004.

Crossan, John Dominic with Richard G Watts. Who Is Jesus? Answers to Your Questions about the Historical Jesus. New York: HarperPaperbacks, 1996.

Derrida, J 1. “Letter to a Japanese friend”. Tr by D Wood & A Benjamin. In P Kamuf (ed), A Derrida Reader: Between the Blinds, 270-276. New York: Columbia University Press. Accessed 22nd December 2020.

Gadamer, Hans-Georg 2004. Truth and Method, 2nd rev ed. Tr by J Weinsheimer & D G Marshall. London: Continuum International Publishing Group. s.v. “fress”.

Gopnik, Adam. “What did Jesus do? Reading and unreading the gospels.” The New Yorker, 24 May 2010. Accessed 5th January 2021.

Irenaeus “Against Heresies,” in P Schaff (ed), Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol 1, ed by A Roberts, J Donaldson, & A C Coxe. Tr by A Roberts & W Rambaut. Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co, 1885, rev & ed for New Advent by K Knight. Accessed 22nd December 2020.

Johnson, Roger A. The Origins of Demythologizing. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill. Accessed 22nd December 2020.

Lewis, Gordon R and Bruce A Demarest, Integrative Theology, vol 1. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Academie Books (Zondervan Publishing House), 1987.

Meyer, Ben F 2002. The Aims of Jesus (Princeton Theological Monograph Series). Eugene OR: Pickwick Publications, (1979) 2002; citations are from the 2002 edition.

Montgomery, John W. Where is History Going? A Christian Response to Secular Philosophies of History. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany House Publishers, 1969.

Montgomery, John W. The Suicide of Christian Theology. Minneapolis, Minn: Bethany Fellowship Inc., 1970.

Montgomery, Martin, Alan Durant, Tom Furniss and Sara Mills. Ways of Reading: Advanced Reading Skills for Students of English, 3rd ed. London and New York: Routledge. Accessed 21st December 2020.

Nguyen, Kevin and Sarah Thomas 2020. ABC News, Brisbane, “Sydney’s northern beaches coronavirus cluster grows to 90 after eight new infections recorded,” 22 December. Accessed 23 December 2020.

Oxford English Dictionary. s.v. “too close for comfort.”

SIL International, s.v. “Glossary of Linguistic Terms: Presuppositional Trigger,” Accessed 4th January 2021.

Syracuse University 2016. “Librarianship and Democracy: Creating an Informed Citizenry by Rachel Ivy Clarke”, 14 November, Accessed 4th January 2021,

Turner, Catherine. “Jacques Derrida: Deconstruction,” Critical Legal Thinking, 27 May. Accessed 16th December 2020.

Vanhoozer, Kevin J. Remythologizing Theology: Divine Action, Passion and Authorship. Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Wright, N T. The New Testament and the People of God, vol 1. (Series in Christian origins and the question of God) Minneapolis: Fortress Press. 1992.

Wright, N T. 1996. Jesus and the Victory of God, vol 2. (Series in Christian origins and the question of God, vol 2). London: SPCK.

Zhai, J 2015. “Jacques Derrida and Deconstruction,” Not Even Past, 7 October, Accessed 23rd December 2020.


[1] Cambridge Dictionary. (s.v. “requite”), 2023.

[2] The Historical Jesus, 1991.

[3] See Crossan “Historical Jesus as risen Lord,” 1999, p. 29.

[4] Betsy Wise, Quora, “What is the allegory about Jonah and the whale, in the Christian Bible?”

[5] Crossan, The Birth of Christianity, p. xxx.

Rationalists hack into Australia’s “no religion” in census data

By Spencer Gear PhD (New Testament)

Free census - Vector Art

This article was first published in On Line Opinion, 4 July 2022.

Hugh Harris did it as a Rationalist in his Opinion piece on the census in 2017: ‘MORE Australians ticked “No religion” in the 2016 Census than any other belief category’ (Courier-Mail, June 27 2017).

Further ‘religion bashing’ came in 2017 from another Rationalist, Tosca Lloyd: “The pressure, then, for governments to take seriously the need for our society to secularise is more powerful than ever. But we still have a long way to go. While the requirement of all parliaments in Australia, state and federal, to cite the Lord’s Prayer at the opening of their deliberations is manifestly at odds with the notion of a secular government, there are less symbolic reminders of religious bias” (Sydney Morning Herald, June 27, 2017).

What tune did the anti-God pundits play for the 2021 census? They are on message: ‘The proportion of Australians identifying as Catholic declined from 23 to 20 per cent over the past five years while self-identified Anglicans dropped from 13 to 10 per cent. By contrast, the share of Australians identifying as “non-religious” has surged. Thirty-nine per cent of Australians now identify as non-religious, up from 30 per cent in 2016.

A representative of the anti-God Humanist Society, Heidi Nicholl, could not get away from harping on the “no religion” theme, ‘The 2021 Australian census results have shown a significant rejection of religiosity with the proportion of people choosing “No religion” increasing from 29.6 per cent in 2016 to 38.4 per cent in 2021, in figures released by the ABS.’ The title of the article was, ‘Census results mean religions should stop getting special treatment.’ Why should minority groups refuse to receive special treatment? A public outcry should follow if people claimed the Stroke Foundation should not be supported as it provides for a minority group of victims. The same should happen for the support of a third of the population with disabilities.

This census data indicates a decline in support for religion, which I find to be a good thing, and a decline in support for Christianity. As an evangelical Christian, I ask:

So what?

What is religion and do we need it? Religion is ‘the belief in and worship of a superhuman power or powers, especially a God or gods.’ There is nothing especially Christian about religion, particularly when it relates to serving ‘gods.’ Religion is easily contaminated.

The demise of religion could be a step in the right direction if it related to worship of the true God. We need to make it clear what will replace this breakdown of religion.

Is Australia becoming a nation to be evangelised?

The Rationalist, Humanist and Atheist may become excited by this failure of religion, but I look to the future with much hope because of the power of the Gospel to change lives for the better. These figures from the census are God’s call to evangelical (those who believe the Gospel) Christians to proclaim the Gospel.

Sign of the fish vectorI’m old enough to have read John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress in high school. This John Bunyan classic was looking forward to the celestial city, the City of God. Bunyan was thrown into prison for three months for refusing to follow an Elizabethan Act against religious freedom. In all, Bunyan spent 12 years in prison, giving him time to write 60 books. Since its writing, Pilgrim’s Progress has been translated into more than 200 languages.

All societies, whether rationalist, humanist, atheistic or Christian need to understand that their freedom to express their views is based on a worldview obtained from the Christian Bible: ‘And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me”’ (Mark 8:34 ESV). The Old Testament also supported this view of freedom: ‘But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord’ (Joshua 24:15 NIV).

The Rationalist can choose a rationalist’s worldview because God has given all people the freedom of choice. My experience is that few secularists are prepared to admit this freedom to believe whatever they choose came from God. If they want to give up God from the Aussie culture, be prepared to forego freedoms.

If the ‘no religion’ category falls further in future census data, Australia is moving closer to where the early church was with a preponderance of religions in the first century. However, this was a fertile field for this kind of Gospel proclamation.

Christians remained the largest religious group in the world in 2015, making up nearly a third (31%) of Earth’s 7.3 billion people, according to a new Pew Research Center demographic analysis. But the report also shows that the number of Christians in what many consider the religion’s heartland, the continent of Europe, is in decline.

Australia needs a widespread proclamation of this Gospel for positive numbers to increase and for God to be exalted:

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20 NIV).

Copyright © 2022 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 4 July 2022.

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How to become a better listener

By Spencer D Gear PhD[1]



This article was provoked by the need to deal with a woman who sits at our dinner table (I’m in aged care). No matter what I or others discuss, her constant comeback is to give examples from her own life. She doesn’t seem to notice how self-centred her conversations become. Her conversations go something like this:

John: I have a bad chip in my thumbnail that looks as though it will tear away. I need help with somebody to clip the nail and not tare the skin underneath as I take a blood thinner.

Betty: That’s easy. Get one of your carers to do it. Look at my thumbnail that was clipped by a carer. That’s your best step. Another person at the table agreed with Betty.

Whenever I raise a topic, Betty most often goes to her own agenda and is very egocentric in how she responds.

Personal tips

These are my observations of what poor listening does to my communication:

I need eye contact to be maintained. If Betty’s eyes wander, it’s an indicator

she’s not listening. She is on track to give me her examples and not deal with my issue.

One of the best ways for me to know she is listening is for her to engage with me by questioning. I’ve raised the topic of the thumbnail. She could ask: “Since you have problems with the thumbnail on your left hand, why can’t you use the nail clippers yourself?” I’ve tried that but the nature of the nail tear caused me to not cut the nail. That led to her mentioning the need for a carer to do it for me. I’m reluctant to ask a carer as that has led to rejection previously.

I generally find the best way to keep the subject focussed is by questioning the other people. This also keeps the other people on task. Open-ended questions are the best, e.g. What would you consider is the best approach with this thumbnail crack?

Hal Gregersen, executive director of the MIT Leadership Center, said, “It’s really hard to walk into a conversation without my agenda being written on my forehead and your agenda written on yours,” he says. “Unfortunately with the hectic, chaotic, complicated pace of work life today, people are even more committed to getting their own agenda accomplished.”[2]

Tips for better listening

Young Caucasian Woman Isolated On Blue Background Listening To Something By Putting Hand On The EarThe keys to better listening are to keep the discussion on the other person’s topic and not on your response. Stephanie Vozza gives “6 Ways To Become A Better Listener.”[3]

If you want to get something done, remember that human beings have an 8-second attention span.[4]

It’s difficult to join a discussion, without taking my agenda with me.

Stephanie’s 6 Tips are:[5]

1. Listen to Learn, Not to be Polite.

2. Quieten Your Own Agenda.

3. Ask More Questions.

Listening with real intent means I’m going to be open to being very wrong, and I’m comfortable with that in this conversation, says Gregersen. “In a world that’s getting more polarized, being able to listen is critical to reducing unnecessary conflict at any level, within a team, organization, or on a broader political country level,” he says.[6]

4. Pay Attention to Your Talk/Listen Ratio.

Strive for a 2:1 ratio of listening to talking, says Eblin. “If you’re a note taker during meetings or conversations, try keeping track of how much you listen versus how much you talk,” he says.

5. Repeat Back What You Heard.

6. Actually Wait Until Someone is Done Talking Before You Respond.

This is the message of the Bible in James 1:19, “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry” (NLT). I have broken this command personally, with its severe repercussions in my relationships.



[2] Stephanie Vozza, (Accessed 25 May 2022).

[3] Fast Company, “6 Ways To Become A Better Listener,” Available at: (Accessed 25 May 2022.)

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

Copyright © 2022 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 31 May, 2022.

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The Bible and Chance

Casino Roulette - 3d Render

By Spencer D Gear PhD

Does the Bible teach a doctrine of chance in Ecclesiastes 9:11? This verse reads:

designBlue-small “I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all” (NIV).

designBlue-small  “I have observed something else under the sun. The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don’t always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time” (NLT).

designBlue-small  “Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all” (ESV).

designBlue-small “I again saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift and the battle is not to the warriors, and neither is bread to the wise nor wealth to the discerning, nor favor to the skillful; for time and chance overtake them all” (NASB).

designBlue-small  “Again, I observed this on the earth: the race is not always won by the swiftest, the battle is not always won by the strongest; prosperity does not always belong to those who are the wisest, wealth does not always belong to those who are the most discerning, nor does success always come to those with the most knowledge–for time and chance may overcome them all” (NET).

Typography: Ecclesiastes 3:11 - YMIIs this a message only for the Israelites? How can “time and chance happen to all” (ESV) or “overtake them all” (NASB)? The contemporary understanding of chance,[1] in a universe controlled by the Sovereign Lord, do not harmonise.

Don Partain explained the meaning of “time and chance”:

“I again saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift, and the battle is not to the warriors, and neither is bread to the wise, nor wealth to the discerning, nor favor to men of ability; for time and chance overtake them all.” Ecclesiastes 9:11

The writer of Ecclesiastes (who appears to be Solomon) emphasizes how quickly passing, uncertain, and even unfair earthlife is—it’s “vanity.” He doesn’t do this to depress us, but to stress how important it is to live for values and goals that are eternal—and not just be living for earthly pleasure, knowledge, our work, etc.

If we do choose to just live for earthly goals and pleasures as our ultimate goals, we are going to be sorely disappointed—not only after this life is over, but even during this life on earth. You will be disappointed over and over and over!

Here in 9:11, Solomon illustrates how earthlife often just isn’t fair! He says, “the race is not to the swift”—but, it should be, shouldn’t it? In other words, if you are the fastest runner in a race, isn’t it right and fair that you win—and not the slowest runner? And yet, the fastest runner might get “accidentally” bumped off the track, and even injure himself so that he can’t even finish the race. It does happen upon this earth.

Same thing is true about the rest of the statements: “the battle is not to the warriors”. That is, by all rights, the warriors should win the battle—not the on-lookers. But sometimes, the latter are the winners. “The bread” should be to the wise—and “wealth” should be the claim of the “discerning.” But sometimes, fools destroy the fields of the wise, and they extort wealth from them. Lastly, “men of ability” should be the ones winning the favor of those who can employ them. But sometimes, those of little—or no—ability win out instead, by their bribery.

“Time and chance” are things none of us can either know or control. And, they often end up resulting in things that are just not fair.

But, no surprise: as Genesis 3 tells us, we are living upon a cursed earth—and it’s a dead-end, in itself. But it’s a moral and spiritual character builder if we live it by God’s direction, seeking His help, with eternal life with Him in our sights: “The conclusion is, ‘Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole of man’”. Ecclesiastes 12:13 (What does the Bible mean when it says that “time and chance happen to them all”? Ecclesiastes 9:11, Quora.)

“Time and chance” are not to be seen as above the powers and reign of God. We know this because they are things “under the sun,” under God’s control. This is indicated by the use of the singular verb, yikreh, which combines them into one compact idea, as in Isa 13:22 (judgment) and Ezek 7:7 (God’s activity). Chance (pega) is also in 1 Kings 5:28 (in the Hebrew Bible), v. 4 English Bible. It is derived from the verb meaning “to meet.” It usually has the connotation of evil as in “evil occurrence” (1 Kings 5:4).

In summary, people may have resources at their disposal to bring victory in events but God causes things to transpire (‘by chance’) that overthrow the enemy. “Time and chance” are events that happen “under the sun” but they are always under the control of Almighty God. A chance lottery is never something that happens with God.


[1] The Oxford English Dictionary defines chance as, “A possibility of something happening,” (2021. chance), (Accessed 12 December 2021.)

Copyright © 2021 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 12 December 2021.

Biblical authority: On Line Opinion

(The Isaiah scroll, which is a part of the Dead Sea Scrolls, contains almost the whole Book of Isaiah. It dates from the 2nd century BCE.)

Spencer D Gear PhD

I write articles for and engage with those who make Comments to the articles in On Line Opinion. It is here that I meet those with, (1) A low or skewed view of biblical authority, and (2) A twisted understanding of biblical content concerning demon possession.

I’ll deal with two of them:

A. “Alleged biblical text”

Firstly, this poster is a constant biblical antagonist and often he gets his facts badly skewed as seen here with his statement: “In the days when alleged Biblical text was written, some 350 years after the event? Many books were left out at the behest of Constantine and or, his hand-picked minions!”[1]

This was a response to my article: Have politics changed ScoMo’s Christianity?

Notice what Alan did! He didn’t write of biblical texts with questionable dates but they were “alleged Biblical texts.”

Then he asked a question but it reads more like a narrative, “They were written 350 years after the event.” Not one example was given to prove what he wrote. Not even one book of the Bible was given as a source for his outrageous claim. Was he talking about the writing of Joshua, Isaiah, Luke or Titus?


If Joshua was the author [internal evidence suggests so], then the date of writing the book is a fairly simple matter: it must have been written before his death and after the last event narrated in the book. Joshua was 110 years old when he died (24:29) [Madvig 1992:243].

This is nowhere near the 350 years the adversary Alan B suggests. Alan B is outrageous in his lack of biblical knowledge:

Love never ever demands obedience or blind unquestioned faith! But only asks you follow example. Never ever demands you ignore your God-given, natural instincts![2]

The God who is love (1 John 4:8 ERV) commanded (demanded) the ethical standards of the Ten Commandments for God’s OT people. Even for the NT, God’s commandments included, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:33-35 NIV; John 15:12, 17) and “I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt 5:44 NIV). Both of these examples are in the imperative mood (commands) for the verbs, “love.”

So the God who is love commands His New Covenant people to love not only other Christians but also enemies and those who persecute them.

For the NT, God also provides blessings for those who keep the Beatitudes (Matt 5-7):


(Image courtesy Crosspoint Community Church)

Nadvig suggests some other issues with dating.


Until the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran, the only text available to the Jews was the Masoretic Text (MT). At Qumran, two Isaiah MSS were discovered: IQIsaa and IQIsab. These two MSS thus were older than the MT by 1,000 years, thus dating them to before Christ. This is an important issue since the standard text of the OT is dated by the Talmud to about A.D. 100.

The Qumran texts “show a large measure of agreement with the MT, revealing extreme care with which the text of the book must have been copied by the scribes over the centuries but there are occasional interesting agreements with the LXX. The majority of variations from the MT are, however, in spelling, which make no real difference to the text” (Grogan 1986:22).

Let’s now examine a couple NT books for a timeline of authorship.


Don Stewart’s assessment was:

If Acts were written about A.D. 62, then this helps us date the four gospels. The Book of Acts is the second half of a treatise written by Luke to a man named Theophilus. Since we know that the Gospel of Luke was written before the Book of Acts, we can then date the Gospel of Luke sometime around A.D. 60 or before (Stewart 2021).


The Epistle to Titus was written in approximately AD 66. Paul’s many journeys are well documented and show that he wrote to Titus from Nicopolis in Epirus. In some Bibles a subscription to the epistle may show that Paul wrote from Nicopolis in Macedonia. However, there is no such place known and subscriptions have no authority as they are not authentic (Got Questions Ministries, Summary of the Book of Titus).

So a survey of four books, two from the OT and two from the NT, reveals Alan B is right off base with his claim the books were written 350 years after the actions described. Thus, it makes him an ignoramus concerning biblical scholarship.

B. Kill witches, but witches do not exist.

This is a comment regarding my article, Intolerant intolerance. LEGO’s view was:

God told his followers to kill witches, but witches do not exist. The whole idea is potty and it had extremely tragic consequences for the numerous innocent victims of this stupid thinking. Ozspen seems to imply that witches do exist, so I will leave that to the judgement of our readers to judge Ozspen’s mental state.[3]

Notice what LEGO does:

  • He doesn’t reference his “no witches” source in Scripture. I’ll do that for him. “In 2 Chronicles 33:6, King Manasseh is condemned for his many evil practices, including sorcery: “And he burned his sons as an offering in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, and used fortune-telling and omens and sorcery, and dealt with mediums and with necromancers. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking him to anger” (Got Questions Ministries, What does the Bible say about sorcery?)

This is under the Old Covenant where God wanted to keep His people holy.

So LEGO believes “witches do not exist.” That is nothing more than his opinion or assertion. He should go to Peru and meet with some witches to decide if they exist or not. Missionaries in this country regularly encounter the reality of witchcraft.

Then he engaged in his use of logical fallacies:

  •  “The whole idea is potty” and
  •  “it had extremely tragic consequences for
  •  “the numerous innocent victims of this stupid thinking.”

Instead of “stupid thinking,” I’m creating examples of reality in the Western world as well as Peru. The Encyclopaedia Britannica describes the movement:

Wicca is a predominantly Western movement whose followers practice witchcraft and nature worship and who see it as a religion based on pre-Christian traditions of northern and western Europe. Adherents of Wicca worship the Goddess, honour nature, practice ceremonial magic, invoke the aid of deities, and celebrate Halloween, the summer solstice, and the vernal equinox (Contemporary witchcraft).

It is LEGO who is acting the potty and engaged in the “stupid thinking” that witchcraft does not exist.

Walter Martin told of an example that happened with him in Southern California, recorded by the Berean Bible Church. It was published after his death:

He discussed a call he received stating:

“We have been praying for this girl for four hours; we’re simply exhausted. Please tell us what to do.”

“What has happened so far?” Martin asked.

“Well, she is possessed by multiple devils.” “Did you get a count?”

They said “Yes. We asked them in Jesus Christ name how many they were and they told us 56.”

Martin said, “Well, that’s a good beginning. Did you get their names?”

“Every one of them named themselves (screeching) whenever we commanded them in the name of Christ.”

“Good. Have you been exorcising them one at a time?”

“Yes, and quite a few of them are gone.”

“What is the girl’s background?”

“She is involved in Satanism. We found the Satanic Bible in her bureau drawer; she has been on drugs for some time. “We also found some symbols of satanic worship.”

The story continues on about how they continued removing the demons one at a time, having the most struggle with the final one, but ultimately removing it, releasing the girl from the bondage of drugs, and how she dedicated her life to Christ and ministry. Martin concludes the story by stating:

These things happen. They are real. Denying them does not make them go away, and the skepticism of modern society has no power to dismiss them; it simply amuses them. Viruses are invisible to the naked eye, but we know they exist because we developed the equipment that enabled us to see them. We may not be able to place a demon under a microscope, but God gave us the means to see them:

1. Demons speak in multiple voices and in multiple languages unknown to the person they possess.

2. Demons exhibit superhuman strength.

3. Demons have access to private information that a possessed person could never know.

4. Demons respond to and obey authority in the name of Jesus Christ.

This experiment has been repeated countless times and it has been proved, beyond doubt, that evil, sentient beings called demons do exits. (Walter Martin, The Kingdom of the Occult, 2008 Thomas nelson edition, Pgs 423-425).

Martin states:

Demons are quite literally Satan’s children; fallen angels or spirits who followed Lucifer in his rebellion against the throne of God. They worship the devil, not God.

Demons most definitely were active in Southern California. LEGO doesn’t know what he is talking about.

Works consulted

Grogan, Geoffrey W, “Isaiah,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Frank E. Gaebelein (gen. ed.). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1986.

Madvig, Donald H. “Joshua,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Frank E. Gaebelein (gen. ed.). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House.

Stewart, Don. “When Were the Four Gospels Written?” Blue Letter Bible, accessed 4 October 2021,, 2021.


[1] Posted by Alan B., Wednesday, 6 November 2019 9:50:01 AM,

[2] Ibid., Posted by Alan B., Wednesday, 6 November 2019 2:57:05 PM.

[3] Posted by LEGO, Thursday, 28 February 2019 11:28:40 AM,

Copyright © 2021 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 05 October 2021.

My New Book Is Coming!

My New Book Is Coming!

Title: How to ruin your education and TV viewing: Five easy lessons[1]

Spencer D Gear PhD

What will you do as a parent if your 14-year-old comes home from school and says, “You and the teachers have been telling me Columbus discovered the Americas? You’ve lied to me because that isn’t true. There are no such things as facts and I decide the meaning of what is written in my text books? I’m the one who chooses the interpretation of any writing, including history.”

How are you going to answer, especially in light of what the Encyclopaedia Britannica states about Columbus?

Enter John Dominic Crossan

This leading historical Jesus’ scholar provides a creative definition of history: “History is the past reconstructed interactively by the present through argued evidence in public discourse.”[2]

clip_image001(image courtesy Wikipedia)

Chew over that definition at dinner tonight as you discuss its application or rejection to the terrorism and what happened with the twin towers in New York City on 11 September 2001, the Nazis slaughter of 6 million people in World War 2, and who won the Super Bowl in 2000.

Another piece of information grabbed my attention and that is Crossan’s belief that Jesus’ resurrection was not a bodily resurrection but an apparition.[3]

An Application

Are these details fact or fiction? Can we create other versions of these incidents that are as valid as the information above, by introducing deconstructionist free play? This book investigates why this traditional model of history is being questioned and pursues an alternate view promoted as outdated. The key question is: Should the historical evidence be deconstructed?

The book is a critique of the danger of free play and the need to return to a traditional version of history.


[1] Wipf and Stock Publishers,

[2] Crossan, “Historical Jesus as risen Lord,” 3, emphasis in original.

[3] Crossan, The Birth of Christianity, xxviii-xi. An apparition is a ghost or ghostlike appearance of a person or “a remarkable or unexpected appearance of someone or something ” (Oxford English Dictionary 2021, “apparition.”)

Copyright © 2021 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 30 September 2021.


Using common ground to reach secular people with the Gospel

Viola sororia, Common Blue Violet, Howard County, Md,

By Spencer D Gear PhD

Secular Aussies are reluctant to talk about religious things involving Christianity and seem to be unwilling to engage in discussion about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That’s my experience.

A. Introduction

clip_image001Social researcher, Hugh Mackay (b. 1938), in 2013. Photograph courtesy Wikipedia.

Chloe Brant (2016) wrote an article for ABC News, Brisbane, Qld., in which she highlighted some of the details in Hugh Mackay’s new book, Beyond Belief (2016), and interviewed him. She wrote:

In his new book Beyond Belief, Australian social researcher Hugh Mackay argues a growing number of people, particularly young people, are abandoning religion in favour of a different kind of spirituality — one not restricted by institutions or guidelines.

We still crave answers and seek happiness, Mackay says, but more of us are finding it in secular realms: yoga, meditation, music.

Here, Mackay discusses why young people are embracing the Spiritual But Not Religious (SBNR) movement, why we still call upon God when luck fails us, and whether it is possible to find meaning without religion.

In her interview with Mackay she asked:

Where do you see faith, religion and spirituality in Australia venturing in the next decade? Mackay’s response was:

I think there will be ‘SBNR’ boxes on the census in the future. Twenty per cent of Australians tick “no religion”.

Of course, this is bad news for churches, but good news for society.

Although people are not as drawn to churches, they still believe there is a spiritual dimension out there … they are thinking of everyone as a whole. They are seeing us all as connected, as one.

Do you personally believe we can find meaning without religion? Mackay replied:

I believe we can find meaning without religion. When people say they are SBNR, almost always they say they care for others and not about “me” or “us”.

I believe we can all think beyond ourselves, where faith is no larger than self or some non-religious pathway.

So this social scientist is confident in affirming that meaning is possible without religion and that that this increasing consensus of ‘Spiritual But Not Religious’ is ‘bad for churches, but good news for society’. Mackay was born in 1938. He’s moving towards older age and death one day. When he meets the Lord God almighty at death, he’ll be wishing he had pursued life after death issues as found in Christianity.

See my articles:

clip_image002 Ecclesiastes 9:5 and what happens at death

clip_image002[1] Is hell fair?

clip_image002[2]What is the nature of death according to the Bible?

clip_image002[3]2 Thessalonians 1:9: Eternal destruction;

clip_image002[4]Hell & Judgment;

clip_image002[5]Hell in the Bible;

clip_image002[6]Should we be punished for our sins?

clip_image002[7]Paul on eternal punishment;

clip_image002[8]Where will unbelievers go at death?

clip_image002[9]Torment in Old Testament hell? The meaning of Sheol in the OT;

clip_image002[10]Eternal torment for unbelievers when they die;

clip_image002[11]Will you be ready when your death comes?

clip_image002[12]What happens at death for believer and unbeliever?

clip_image002[13]Does eternal destruction mean annihilation for unbelievers at death?

clip_image002[14]Refutation of Seventh-Day Adventist doctrine of what happens at death;

clip_image002[15]Near-death experiences are not all light: What about the dark experiences?

clip_image004 See my article, “Evidence for the afterlife.”

Remember God’s assessment: ‘It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God’ (Heb 10:31 NASB).

Here we have a big, big challenge to the churches to present the Gospel, declare why religion without God is disastrous for the individual and society, and deal with the objections against Christianity and religion.

See also Joel Keep (2017), Australia with ‘no religion’: In the aftermath of God. Joel Keep cited the 2011 census where ‘over 22 per cent of the national population’ nominated ‘no religion’. That’s almost 5 million out of 23 million Aussies who were counted.

B. How do we reach those who don’t know the Gospel?

On the other side of the world in the USA, I encountered Mark, on a Christian forum, where the topic was, ‘If someone said to you they want to become a Christian’. He responded to this topic by writing:

I would tell them to read the Bible, understand, and live – in this day the scripture is fulfilled
Isaiah 29:18
In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see.
This is that day.[1]

1. Go read the 1,500 pages of the Bible to understand the Gospel

That’s how many pages there are in my copy of the ESV (2001, Crossway). Therefore I responded:[2] In my very secular country, that advice would be one of the supreme ways to turn peole right off the Gospel.
I suggest that we approach a secular society like Paul did on the Areopagus (Acts 17:22-34 NLT). He found common ground with them:

‘Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way, 23 for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’ This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about’.?

Then he moved towards proclamation of the true God, God’s creating human beings, and calling all people everywhere to repent for there is a day of judgment coming.
Paul did not say: Here’s a MSS of the Scripture; go away and read it. He engaged in proclamation, starting with establishing common ground. I’m convinced that is where we should begin also.

I find it quite bizarre that in a secular country of Australia where about 5 million of the 24 million people[3] chose ‘no religion’ at the 2011 census that any person in his or her right mind would hand people an entire Bible and say, ‘Go read it to understand the Gospel and then come back and we’ll discuss’.

C. It’s an evil generation

Mark’s comeback was complete with religious sloganeering:

Why would it turn people off? The premise is they want to be a Christian. Are you saying they want to be a Christian, but they don’t want to read the Bible? OK. Isa. predicted that too – Those who can read will say it can’t be read. Those who can’t read will say they can’t read. Isa. 29:11-12
Isa. 29:9
Stupefy yourselves and be in a stupor,
blind yourselves and be blind!
Be drunk, but not with wine;
stagger, but not with strong drink!
10 For the Lord has poured out upon you
a spirit of deep sleep,
and has closed your eyes, the prophets,
and covered your heads, the seers.
11 And the vision of all this has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed. When men give it to one who can read, saying, “Read this,” he says, “I cannot, for it is sealed.” 12 And when they give the book to one who cannot read, saying, “Read this,” he says, “I cannot read.”
13 And the Lord said:
“Because this people draw near with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
while their hearts are far from me,
and their fear of me is a commandment of men learned by rote;
14 therefore, behold, I will again
do marvelous things with this people,
wonderful and marvelous;
and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hid.” Isa. 29:9-14
It’s an evil generation. But that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Prophecy doesn’t give us any choice in the matter. People are always going to come up with different ways, but prophecy tells us what will be, and if it comes from God, it will take place. Makes sense too because there are so many views and denominations. The prophecy is, ‘In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see.’ Isa. 29:18 And it is so, and I believe reading the Bible is the only way.[4]

D. That was a red herring fallacy.

You didn’t address what I wrote[5] that Paul’s approach at the Areopagus is a better way to deal with secular unbelievers today. Use the common ground to proclaim the Gospel. See Acts 17:22-34.
Telling secular people to go read that extensive book, called Scripture, is like telling them to forget the discussion and go to hell.
As people who love the Lord, we have a biblical responsibility to move from common ground to the Gospel in our discussion and proclamation: ‘For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life’ (John 3:16 NLT).
I consider this is a better approach to non-Christians in my secular Australia, rather than your, ‘I would tell them to read the Bible, understand, and live’ (see #59).

E. This is the day of the book!

What would a fundamentalist do to promote evangelism?

What do you want me to say? My way is to follow the Lord, and what he said by the prophets. Sorry, but the Lord said the words of a book will open the eyes of the blind. Isa. 29:18 This is the day. We have the book. Read it! In Paul’s day people believed in the gods. They were very religious. Acts 17:22 Obviously they wanted to hear what Paul was teaching. So this is a very different time, a time of darkness. There’s never been anything like it.
This is the day of the book. You’re telling me your friends can’t read? I have no sympathy for that. Your secular friends are condemned already if they do not believe in the name of the only Son of God.

John 3:18, “He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”[6]

F. I also use THE BOOK.

I’m also following the Book.[7] Acts 17 is in The Book.
I did not say a word about my secular friends not being able to read. Not a word! That’s a straw man fallacy.

Asking secular people to read a book the length of the Bible is as unrealistic as my asking you to consider another approach to reaching non-Christians. I encourage you to use the Areopagus model of Acts 17 from THE BOOK.

G. We can assume they have heard the good news.

This is a response from someone who lives in a country as Christianised as the USA, but who doesn’t know how to interact with people in a very secular culture.

If they are not religious, if they deny God even exists, then what are you talking about common ground for? The Athenians were religious men, so Paul could talk to them about God. What are you going to say to those who deny God exists?
You say it’s unrealistic to ask them to read a book the length of the Bible. That’s a good one. But we can assume they have heard the good news. The premise is they want to be Christians. So I said, read the book, understand and live. But if they are not willing to read the book, then what can you do?
The Lord said it will happen, that in that day the words of a book will open their eyes. But before that can happen, I believe in confession, so that might work. Ask God for forgiveness. But there must be a believing heart in them.[8]

How should I reply to a number of false premises in this post?

H. Bunk! I don’t have religion.

I will use a few of your statements[9] to demonstrate that we can take the Areopagus common ground model, even with secular Aussies who deny the existence of God and don’t know the Gospel.

Mark: ‘If they are not religious, if they deny God even exists, then what are you talking about common ground for?’

Oz: We can have common ground with secularists. To my Aussie secular mate, Johnny, I can say, ‘I observe that you are very religious. What is religion? Oxford dictionaries online gives one definition of religion as, ‘a pursuit or interest followed with great devotion’ (Oxford dictionaries online 2017. s v religion). What is one thing that you follow, Johnny, with great passion? (wait for an answer to which I will respond). I see that over the summer months you, Johnny, have followed cricket on TV with great interest. You loved the T20 Big Bash; the ODI (one day internationals) between Australia and Sri Lanka is what enthuses you right now. You plan to watch the Australia vs India tests and ODI on Fox Sports.

Johnny. Bunk! That’s not religion. That’s just a keen interest that I have in a sport that I love.

Oz. So you have a great love for cricket? That’s what the Oxford dictionary describes as religion. What say we discuss this further at a time convenient for you? I’d also like you to think about how God knows you cannot be an atheist. No people in the world are atheists, even though they claim to be. What do you think God’s view would be? (I’ll be heading to the content of Rom 1:18-32 NLT.) Johnny, does God believe in atheists? Next time we’ll get into that one.

Mark: He stated, ‘But we can assume they have heard the good news’.

Oz: It’s time you took a visit to a very secular country like mine and walked down the main street of Brisbane CBD, Queen St., and asked 10 people these two questions: ‘Would you please tell me the content of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? What must happen for any person to gain eternal life and go to be with God at death?’ You will get an answer that is outside of your assumption. Many, many people in Australia have NOT heard the good news because it is not proclaimed publicly very often. About 5 million Aussies out of 23 million identify as having ‘no religion’ (Keep 2017).

Mark: ‘The premise is they want to be Christians. So I said, read the book, understand and live. But if they are not willing to read the book, then what can you do?’

Oz: Nobody will want to be Christians until they have had the bad news explained. Then the Good News, the Gospel, is proclaimed and they see their need. Asking a God-denying antagonist to the Christian faith to read this book of 1252 pp (that’s how many pages are in my ESV) is like asking a drowning man in the ocean to take another drink of salt water.

I do wish you would get out of your gold-fish bowl and encounter people who are secularists who don’t have a clue about the content of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I. Conclusion

There are reasons why Aussies are rejecting the Gospel and in our conversations with them, we had better listen to what is turning them off. Then use the Acts 17 (ERV) model of how to reach them.

Paul used a common point of contact to try to reach them:

Some of the Epicurean and some of the Stoic philosophers argued with him. Some of them said, “This man doesn’t really know what he is talking about. What is he trying to say?” Paul was telling them the Good News about Jesus and the resurrection. So they said, “He seems to be telling us about some other gods.”

19 They took Paul to a meeting of the Areopagus council. They said, “Please explain to us this new idea that you have been teaching. 20 The things you are saying are new to us. We have never heard this teaching before, and we want to know what it means.” 21 (The people of Athens and the foreigners who lived there spent all their time either telling or listening to all the latest ideas.)

22 Then Paul stood up before the meeting of the Areopagus council and said, “Men of Athens, everything I see here tells me you are very religious. 23 I was going through your city and I saw the things you worship. I found an altar that had these words written on it: ‘to an unknown god.’ You worship a god that you don’t know. This is the God I want to tell you about (Acts 17:18-23 ERV)

In talking to Aussies, I have not found them as overt as the Epicurean philosophers about their beliefs. Try these kinds of questions:

clip_image004[1] Where will you be 2 minutes after your last breath?
clip_image004[2] From where did you obtain that information?

clip_image004[3] How reliable is it?

clip_image004[4] What will it be like to be in heaven?

clip_image004[5] How could you avoid being damned in hell?

J. Works consulted

Brant, C 2016. Beyond Belief: Why Australians don’t go to church, but call upon God in times of crisis. ABC News (online), Brisbane, Qld., 22 May. Available at: (Accessed 21 February 2017).

Keep, J 2017. Australia with ‘no religion’: In the aftermath of God. SBS (online), 6 February. Available at: (Accessed 21 February 2017).

Mackay, H 2016. Beyond belief. Sydney, Australia: Macmillan.

K.  Notes

[1] Christian 2017. ‘If someone said to you they want to become a Christian’, 21 February, MarkT#59. Available at: (Accessed 21 February 2017).

[2] Ibid., OzSpen#60.

[3] See the Australian Bureau of Statistics ‘Population Clock’ at:[email protected]/0/1647509ef7e25faaca2568a900154b63?opendocument (Accessed 21 February 2017).

[4] Christian 2017. MarkT#61.

[5] Ibid., OzSpen#62.

[6] Ibid., MarkT#63.

[7] Ibid., OzSpen#64.

[8] Ibid., MarkT#65.

[9] Ibid., OzSpen#66.

Copyright © 2021 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 07 September 2021.

Slamming Biblical Authority: On Line Opinion

The Honourable

Scott Morrison


Scott Morrison 2014.jpg

Morrison in 2014

30th Prime Minister of Australia


By Spencer D Gear PhD

I wrote this article for On Line Opinion, “Have politics changed ScoMo’s Christianity?” in 2019.

Here are some of the comments that were posted:

Ttbn replied:

“Notice how he dodges the journalist’s questions”.
Morrison dodges questions on everything. He is the most secretive PM we have ever had. His happy clapping in the midst of a sweaty mob doesn’t make him a Christian either.
Anyone trying to analyse the man is doomed to failure: there is nothing there to latch onto. Morrison is a void.

Alan B jumped in with his comment, part of which read:

He like the Author is still welded to the Christian/ (Constantine) manifesto. And like the Author? Is able to cherry-pick from Contatine’s cherry-picked Dogma for convenience?
In the days when alleged Biblical text was written, some 350 years after the event? Many books were left out at the behest of Constantine and or, his hand-picked minions!
One needs to understand that it was once required of believers to believe that planet earth was just 6,000 years old, at the centre of the universe which revolved around it! And those who challenged such irrefutable sacred text could be excommunicated!

Alan B is inaccurate with his view of the biblical text being written 350 years after the event and Christians required to be Young Earth Creationists. See my articles:

clip_image002 How were the New Testament documents transmitted in the first century AD?

clip_image002[1]The New Yorker’s biased journalism on Jesus

A sympathetic Christian Not-Now-Soon responded:

If Christians were united on many of these issues then I agree that the standard should be shared by politicians claiming their faith to be Christian. Unfortunately, I’ve come across too many types of christians to hold a standard of what counts as Christian and what doesn’t. Some don’t believe in the bible, because of social preasure to call it outdated and an old book. Others don’t believe in miracles, the very works that God does that are above and beyond the natural element of the world. And many without a tradition, a church foundation, or a devote study to ground them, mix up popular ideas with their faith. Things like “God looks after those who look after themselves” instead of that “God looks after the poor, the sick, and the widowed.”
With such confusion in the ranks one question needs to be asked, what makes a person a Christian? Is it a base knowledge and understanding that is agreed with? Go past that line and reject some of that and you are no longer a Christian? Is it obedience to teachings and the laws? Is it faith in God and Jesus? I’m sure whatever answer to the question “what makes a Christian a Christian,” will overlap the three aspects above with faith, understanding, and obedience (behavior), all summing up a minimum for what it means to be a Christian.

I think it is good for Christians to hold each other accountable in order to strengthen them in their faith. But I also know that kindness and understanding should be there too. Very few Christians can say they are great at understanding God’s direction, great at acting according to their faith, and great at having faith that is stronger then the difficulties and the opposition we face in life.
The trouble with ScoMo is probably the same trouble many Christians face. They believe but are not strong in their beliefs. They have faith but are not always confidant in that faith. Or they compromise their behaviors and do not follow the direction they know is right.
I know these are just a bunch of excuses for anyone regardless if they are a PM, or are anyone else, but excuses or not this is the situation we find ourselves in. Our weaknesses are easy to over power most of us.
OzSpen, from what you’ve shown in this article it seems ScoMo is along the same lines. He dodges some of those questions because he’s not strong in his Christian foundation to stand up to the opposition. A quality that unfortunately many of us share. If you can, pray for him. Even in light of his stumbling. If you can do more then that too, awesome. Encourage him when you can, and confront him when he’s in the wrong. But still pray for him even if you can do more also.

“Ponder” raised a couple good questions for us to ponder:

Why the obsessive attention to a belief system?
Does Christianity relate to facts and truths, or is it just a fantasy of faith?
We have need in our society for governments to manage and oversee policy on our behalf, not to indulge in rhetorical persuasion.

A brief reply

Ponder, an obsessive attention to a belief system is paid by Christians because our eternal destiny depends on our beliefs in the Trinitarian God and the Lord Jesus Christ. Scripture exhorts us: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes (continues to believe) in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NIV).

For the unbeliever and the person who does no good, “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matt 25:46).

The eternal destinies of human beings are determined in their belief or disbelief in Jesus, the Son of God. “Ponder” has treated the eternal destinies of human beings too lightly.

I wrote again to Not_Now_Soon,

<<… from what you’ve shown in this article it seems ScoMo is along the same lines. He dodges some of those questions because he’s not strong in his Christian foundation to stand up to the opposition. A quality that unfortunately many of us share. If you can, pray for him. Even in light of his stumbling. >>
You’ve made a perceptive assessment. ScoMo, as our Aussie Christian Prime Minister, faces challenges similar to those of us in any workforce. Will we look at work and the rest of life through the lens of Scripture and make the necessary adjustments? Or, will we compromise our standards for the sake of popularity. It must be so much harder for a prominent Christian in the public arena.
I pray for ScoMo to keep strong under the pressure but I also call on him to be more overt in what he believes. Perhaps he’s not sure how he can be a public face for Christianity and not offend many in our multicultural society. It seems to me he needs a couple introductory courses in Christian apologetics.
Wouldn’t it be good to hear that he listens to podcasts by John Dickson, William Lane Craig, Lee Strobel?

To Ponder I wrote:

<<Why the obsessive attention to a belief system? Does Christianity relate to facts and truths, or is it just a fantasy of faith?>>
Out of your and my beliefs will flow actions. Christianity is based on facts & truths. The Apostle Paul made that clear:
‘If Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless. And we apostles would all be lying about God—for we have said that God raised Christ from the grave. But that can’t be true if there is no resurrection of the dead. And if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins’ (1 Corinthians 15:14-16).
Without the fact of Jesus Christ’s resurrection, preaching for Christ is useless, as is Christian faith.
That’s why it’s important to understand the faith of anyone, whether atheist, pantheist or theist. All such world views impact on what we do in life.

There are more comments for you to address I this thread. I leave that for you to raise and then provide answers but here are a couple suggestions:

clip_image004 “Emeritus professor of ancient history at Western Michigan University, Dr Paul L. Maier, concludes:

‘If all the evidence is weighed carefully and fairly, it is indeed justifiable, according to the canons of historical research, to conclude that the tomb in which Jesus was buried was actually empty on the morning of the first Easter. And no shred of evidence has yet been discovered in literary sources, epigraphy, or archaeology that would disprove this statement.’[8]

How would you refute this evidence?

clip_image004[1] “What my comment had to do with your article is that your trying to use the same peer pressuring ideology to force our PM into acting in accordance with religion.
It’s not his job to act in accordance to his religion.
In his personal private life yes, sure.
As our PM its his job to act in the citizens best interests, as well as his own, if he wants to get re-elected.”

This statement violates the scriptural mandate, “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31 NLT). For the Prime Minister, it comes under the umbrella of “whatever you do.”


[1] Posted by ttbn, Wednesday, 6 November 2019 9:26:39 AM.

[2] Posted by Alan B., Wednesday, 6 November 2019 9:50:01 AM.

[3] Posted by Not_Now.Soon, Wednesday, 6 November 2019 1:04:06 PM.

[4] Posted by Not_Now.Soon, Wednesday, 6 November 2019 1:06:19 PM

[5] Posted by Ponder, Wednesday, 6 November 2019 1:24:55 PM.

[6] Posted by OzSpen, Wednesday, 6 November 2019 8:38:22 PM.

[7] Posted by OzSpen, Wednesday, 6 November 2019 8:48:27 PM.

[8] Posted by OzSpen, Thursday, 7 November 2019 8:28:11 AM.

[9] Posted by Armchair Critic, Thursday, 7 November 2019 7:09:45 PM.

Copyright © 2021 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 06 September 2021.

The Nature of Homosexuality

Elizabeth Farrelly

Elizabeth Farrelly.jpeg

Dunedin, New Zealand

By Spencer D Gear PhD

clip_image002The journalist has labelled people as sodomites without providing a correct definition.

clip_image004The Bible’s definition of sodomite will be emphasised.

clip_image006Ferrelly’s agenda is pro-gay.

clip_image008Ferrelly’s original definition of sodomy – yes, some biblical theologians do define it as lack of hospitality. I refer you to Neil Carter’s article, ‘Why doesn’t “Sodomy” refer to a lack of hospitality?

clip_image010Fight for gender equality is emphasised, which pushes for same-sex equality

clip_image012Fight for marriage equality is an emphasis.

clip_image014Fight for asylum seekers to be treated like seekers of asylum.

clip_image016Father Rod Bower vs Bill Muehlenberg.

Although this article is 7 years’ old, Tenets of democracy get lost in hate storm, it is riddled with pro-homosexual presuppositions. Take a read of the first line, “The sin of sodomy, say biblical scholars, was not homosexual sex but a failure of hospitality.” Farrelly gives no example from theologians who adopt that position. However, her view is not that of the evangelical theologians and ethicists I have on my book shelves.

However, the traditional understanding of sodomy has been a “sexual perversion originally associated with male temple prostitutes for which the city of Sodom became infamous.” It also has been associated with “intercourse of men with animals” (bestiality).[1]

In reading around the homosexual topic in the Bible, I’ve come across this interpretation of the sin having to do with a lack of hospitality – but it’s a minority view. When we examine the Bible’s definition of homosexuality (sodomy), we learn . . .

The True Nature of Homosexuality.

“No Israelite man or woman is to become a shrine-prostitute . . . because the Lord your God detests them both” (Deut 23:17-18 NIV). So, God “detests” homosexuality. That sure doesn’t sound like lack of hospitality and its association with lack of hospitality.

The Book of Judges records a shameful incident in Judges 19:22-25 (NIV) where some wicked men pounded on the door of an old man:

‘Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him.’

23 The owner of the house went outside and said to them, ‘No, my friends, don’t be so vile. Since this man is my guest, don’t do this outrageous thing. 24 Look, here is my virgin daughter, and his concubine. I will bring them out to you now, and you can use them and do to them whatever you wish. But as for this man, don’t do such an outrageous thing.’

25 But the men would not listen to him. So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go.

This sodomy is a wicked same-sex act.

Sodomy is condemned in the Book of 1 Kings 14:24, “There were even male shrine-prostitutes in the land; the people engaged in all the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites” (NIV).

See also 2 Kings 23:7: Lev 18:22-23; and Ezek 16:50.

The New Testament provides a similar emphasis in Romans 1:24-29. Paul called it a sin for which the wrath of God would fall on sinful people who practised homosexuality. Verse 18 calls it a sin received for “all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness.”

In vv 24-27, the sin is called, “sinful desires”; “degrading of their bodies with one another”; “God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error”; “God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.” “God gave them over to a depraved mind.”

No matter how much a journalist wants to make the sin of sodomy appear as the sin of lack of hospitality, that’s not how God sees the sin in both Old and New Testaments.

Farrelly asks:

“So I ask again, is Scott Morrison a sodomite? Is Tony Abbott? Are we okay with this?”

I ask her: What evidence does she have that Morrison or Abbott is practising the “shameful lusts” and “degrading of their bodies” as sodomities do?


[1] Robert K Jacobsen, “Sodomy,” in Baker’s Dictionary of Christian Ethics, Carl F. H. Henry (ed.). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 643.

Copyright © 2021 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 05 September 2021.

Old Testament documents confirmed as reliable again[1]

“2,500-year-old said to be the most important ancient Jewish archive since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls.”[2]

By Spencer D Gear PhD


(Al-Yahudu clay tablet courtesy Wikipedia)[3]

It is not uncommon to read antagonistic statements on the reliability of the Scriptures, including the Old Testament. These are a few contemporary examples from doubters, skeptics and antagonists:

clip_image003The resurrection of Jesus ought not to be seen in physical terms, but as a new spiritual reality. It is important for Christians to be set free from the idea that the resurrection was an extraordinary physical event which restored to life Jesus’ original earthly body’.

clip_image003[1] ‘Why does any of a 2 thousand-year-old mythological legend have to have any basis in actual fact?’

clip_image003[2] ‘Is not the bible simply a book of parables and mythology, written by men for men? Is not the parable simply a short story, never intended to be taken literally?

clip_image003[3] ‘Take the whole story of the Jews being enslaved in Egypt, Moses leading them into the desert, their wanderings in the wilderness for forty years and their conquest of Canaan. There is no mention of any of this in any Egyptian material, no evidence of any wholesale enslavement of Jews or any mention of Jews at all, no evidence that Moses existed, no archaeological evidence of any sojourn in the wilderness and no evidence of some invasion and conquest of Canaan.

clip_image003[4]What it is dangerous to say is that we believe in the resuscitation of his corpse [concerning Jesus’ resurrection]’.

clip_image004 John Dominic Crossan of the Jesus Seminar wrote of ‘the apparitions of the risen Jesus’.  What’s an apparition?  A phantom, a ghost! Jesus’ resurrected body was not real flesh but ‘the resurrection is a matter of Christian faith’ (1995:189).  So, for him, the resurrection of Christ is really a spiritual resurrection among believers – whatever that means.

So, what happened to the body of Jesus?  Crossan wrote: ‘Jesus’ burial by his friends was totally fictional and unhistorical.  He was buried, if buried at all, by his enemies, and the necessarily shallow grave would have been easy prey for scavenging animals (Crossan 1994:160).

1. Can the Old Testament be trusted?

Personal and Brunner Professor of Egyptology and Honorary Research Fellow at the School of Archaeology, Classics, and Oriental Studies, University of Liverpool, England, the late Dr Kenneth A Kitchen wrote a comprehensive volume (662pp) On the Reliability of the Old Testament (Kitchen 2003).

In this research, he concluded:

We have a consistent level of good, fact-based correlations right through from circa 2000 B.C. (with earlier roots) down to 400 B.C. In terms of general reliability – and much more could have been instanced than there was room for here – the Old Testament comes out remarkably well, so long as its writings and writers are treated fairly and evenhandedly, in line with independent data, open to all’ (Kitchen 2003:500).[4]

Another Old Testament researcher into the historicity of the Old Testament is the Colman M Mockler Distinguished Professor of Old Testament, Dr Walter C. Kaiser Jr. Does his conclusion harmonize with that of Kitchen regarding The Old Testament Documents: Are They Reliable & Relevant? (Kaiser 2001)?

Given this mounting evidence, Roland de Vauz declared “that these traditions have a firm historical basis,” while John Bright concluded, “We can assert with full confidence that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were actual historical individuals”….

It must be acknowledged that there is no direct external evidence supporting the existence of any one of the three patriarchs. However, the data does exist to demonstrate the fact that they are correctly located in the Middle Bronze setting beginning approximately 2000 B.C…. An increasingly high degree of probability and corroborating evidence continues to mount up from the external evidence to such a point that the case for the genuineness of the patriarchal stories is strong indeed (Kaiser 2001:84-85, 96).

imcha Jacobovici, Contributor[5]

Three-time Emmy-winning filmmaker and New York Times bestselling author

Huffingon Post, 02/03/2015 10:35 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

clip_image005(One of the clay tablets on display in the Bible Lands Museum exhibit. Credit: Olivier Fitoussi)

As we watch horrific images of beheadings from the country formerly called Iraq – a country that is disintegrating into various tribal fiefdoms before our eyes – it is easy to forget that it was once the cradle of civilization. In point of fact, Arabs are latecomers to the area. They are first mentioned in the mid 9th century BCE as a tribal people subjugated by the Assyrians. Way before that, the area was home to the Babylonians. First records indicate that Babylon was established as a city around the 23rd century BCE. It stood about 50 miles south of modern Baghdad. The city is mentioned in the Biblical Book of Genesis (11:9) as the home of the infamous Tower of Babel.

In 587 BC, it was the Babylonians, under King Nebuchadnezzar II, who destroyed Jerusalem, the capital of the Kingdom of Judah. They also destroyed the Temple of Jerusalem – the “House of God” – built by King Solomon, as the centrepiece of Jewish faith. It stood on Jerusalem’s Mount Zion for almost 400 years. After the destruction, the legendary Ark of the Covenant, that had once housed the Ten Commandments, disappeared. According to Jewish tradition, it was hidden by the prophet Jeremiah. It has never been discovered. The Biblical books of 2 Chronicles and 2 Kings describes how the Babylonians took the elite of the Jewish people into captivity. Psalm 137:1 records the anguish of the captives: “By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept, when we remembered Zion”. After the Babylonian empire was defeated by the Persians from modern Iran, the prophets Ezra and Nehemiah led a minority of Jewish exiles back to Jerusalem, motivated by an ancient version of Zionism.

Now for the first time, one hundred and ten, 2,500 year old Babylonian tablets have been discovered in Iraq which provide a glimpse of Jewish life in Babylonian exile. Put simply, the tablets corroborate the Biblical tale. They describe a town called Al-Yahudu i.e., “the village of the Jews”, by the river Chebar, mentioned in Ezekiel 1:1. They also attest to Judaic names such as “Gedalyahu”, “Hanan”, “Dana”, “Shaltiel” and a man with the same name as Israel’s current Prime Minister, “Netanyahu”. The “yahu” ending to these names is called “theophoric”, meaning, they attest to a belief in the God of the Torah, by including part of God’s name in people’s personal names. The tablets also record everyday business transactions and witness to the Jewish return to Jerusalem (Nehemiah 6:15-16), as commemorated in personal names such as “Yashuv Zadik”, meaning, “the righteous shall return [to Zion]”.

This discovery is a remarkable confirmation of the historical reliability of the Biblical text. It is also a reminder that many people once lived in Iraq. Today, there are still remnants of some of these people: Jews, Christians, Mandeans (the last remaining followers of John the Baptist) and Yazidis, an ancient people whose beliefs combine elements of Zoroastrianism, the pre-Islamic religion of Persia, early Christianity and Judaism. All these ethnic survivors are now facing massacres, crucifixions, rape and decapitation.

Do we dare let them disappear?

For more information, see:

See my other articles on Christianity and history:

blue-satin-arrow-small Secular historian confirmed Christian martyrs by Nero in first century
blue-satin-arrow-small Can Jesus Christ’s resurrection be investigated as history?


Works consulted

Crossan, J D 1994. Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography. New York: HarperSanFrancisco.

Crossan, J D 1995. Who Killed Jesus? New York: HarperSanFrancisco.

Hasson, N 2015. Ancient Tablets Disclose Jewish Exiles’ Life in Babylonia. Haaretz (online),[6] 29 January. Available at: (Accessed 3 February 2019).

Kaiser Jr., W C 2001. The Old Testament Documents: Are They Reliable & Relevant? Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press.

Kitchen, K A 2003. On the Reliability of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, Michigan/Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.


[1] Instead of being an original narrative compiled by this author, this will be an exposition of a new archaeological finds in Iraq that confirm the reliability of the Old Testament documents.

[2] Hasson (2015).

[3] Available at: (Accessed 3 February 2019).

[4] A more detailed quote from Kitchen on the reliability of the Old Testament can by found in my article, Circumcision and masturbation.

[5] Available at: (Accessed 3 February 2019).

[6] Haaretz presents breaking news from Israel and the MidEast and it is available online in English.

Copyright © 2021 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 04 September 2021.