Lazy Scholarship: Ignoring Josephus
In a recent conversation, I mentioned that many Biblical gems are hidden in the writings of Jewish historian Flavius Josephus. A few years ago, a friend of mine handed me the book, Josephus: The Complete Works. In it, I stumbled upon a clear explanation for why God chose Gideon’s 300 warriors– an issue that Evangelical pastors routinely say is unknown. Even worse, on other issues, I stumbled upon clear explanations that are in complete contradiction to what Evangelical pastors teach as fact. What is going on here? (By the way, my current pastor does not teach on these topics, at least I have never heard him do so, so my points here are not directed at him.)
I did not go to seminary. I do not have a bunch of “elders” advising me. I am not running a “spirit led” church. I’m just some guy whose friend handed him a book that is commonly available. Josephus is probably the greatest historian of all time, and remarkably, uniquely, unbelievably, he was a first-person eyewitness to the sack of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Second to the Bible, Josephus compiled what is likely the most detailed and thorough history of the Jewish people ever written. So why do so many Evangelical pastors ignore him? There is no good answer.
Your Bible Lost Some Weight
Furthermore, why do Evangelical pastors accept, without (in my experience) one word of protest or scrutiny, the fact that their Bibles are missing seven books books that were in the Septuagint (the Scriptures used by Jesus and the Apostles), books approved as canon by multiple church councils over 1,500 years? Do you have a good answer to this question? I sure don’t.
I’ve heard Evangelical pastors say for years that these books are not accurate, but I have NEVER heard one of these pastors cite a single example of this supposed inaccuracy. I wonder why? The fact that Jesus and the Apostles had these seven books in their Scriptures and never ripped them out or spoke one word against them tells me all I need to know.
The Pre-Trib Rapture: A Colossal Error
My suspicions about Evangelicalism (also known as non-denominational Christianity) started several years ago. I had finished reading the Bible cover to cover, and low and behold, the pre-tribulation rapture I had heard so much about from the pulpit and on Christian radio, was nowhere in the Bible. Wanting not to be the oddball, I asked my Evangelical brothers and sisters to show me the pre-trib rapture in the Bible– and not a single one of them could do it. Most refused to even try. This was a BIG red flag for me. My pastor at the time couldn’t show it to me either, and he taught it as fact!
Father Evangelical Knows Best
Ask any Evangelical why they do not call their pastor “Father,” as Catholics do. You will get the answer that I gave for years.
And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. ~ Matthew 23:9
Okay, great. But what about this verse?
“Honor your father and mother” – which is the first commandment with a promise— “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” ~ Paul, Ephesians 6:1-3
Hmm. That seems to be an exception to the rule against calling anyone “father.” And then there’s this verse.
“Then the rich man said, ‘Please, Father Abraham, send him to my father’s home. For I have five brothers, and I want him to warn them about this place of torment so they won’t have to come here when they die.’ ~ Luke 16:27-28
And this one.
“Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” ~ Mark 11:10
And this one.
Then the high priest asked him [Stephen], “Are these charges true?” To this he [Stephen] replied: “Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran. ‘Leave your country and your people,’ God said, ‘and go to the land I will show you.’ ~ Luke, Acts 7:1-3
And this one.
I am not writing this to shame you, but to warn you, as my dear children. Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you. Therefore I urge you to imitate me. For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord… ~ Paul, 1 Corinthians 4:14-17
And this one.
I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. ~ Paul, Philemon 10
All those exceptions are right there in the Protestant Bible, yet they are never cited or even noticed by Protestants. I sure never noticed them, but I am admitting that I notice them now. Will you admit it too?
Here are two questions using simple if/then logic.
- If Paul calls his spiritual children “son” and urges others to imitate him, then shouldn’t pastors imitate Paul by calling their spiritual children “son”?
- If pastors call their spiritual children “son,” then shouldn’t those sons call their pastors “father”?
As with so many other topics, will the Evangelical church have no good answer for these questions, and therefore refuse to talk about them?
The Bible is always proven true.
I know from experience that the Evangelical church is packed with Jesus-loving, and Jesus-devoted Christians– this includes pastors and congregants. Evangelicals love the God of Israel, and love studying His Bible. These are some of the many reasons I loved being part of the Evangelical movement for nine years. To this day, I would gladly attend an Evangelical service. Evangelicals are my brothers and sisters in Christ. Evangelicals rightly emphasize the need to search our own individual hearts for alignment with God’s will. I am merely asking Evangelicalism to extend this examination to the Evangelical movement as a whole. Thank you for reading.