God Speaks to Me, but Not Like He Speaks to Priscilla Shirer

God speaks to me through the written Word. He speaks through the words on the pages and the illumination by the Holy Spirit of that same written word.

God speaks directly to Priscilla Shirer, with personal messages and revelations; not just via ‘someone else’s hand-me-downs’ (her words about the written word).

Apparently I’m just not tuned in to God’s ‘personal’ frequency. It’s not that God doesn’t want me to have this personal communication; I’m just not tuned in. Ms. Shirer (and others I have heard about, listened to and read) has evidently reached a higher level of spiritually than this old guy.

I have come to a decision point. I need to either take steps to reach the higher level of spirituality so I too can experience the ‘relational’ presence of God (I heard a Chaplain use that term recently), or remain at my current level of spiritual growth.

In support of pursuing a higher level of spiritually, I guess I’m fortunate. I’ve recently listened to several messages on Sunday mornings in which the speaker has taught us that if we begin each day sitting quietly with pen and journal, listening for God’s voice, we can eventually get the hang of it. At first we are to just write down what the ‘voices’ we hear say to us and eventually we will be able to isolate God’s voice and only need to write down what He says. Since our teacher used the same ‘frequency’ terminology as Ms. Shirer, it must be true! Doesn’t it say somewhere in the Bible that whenever two or more believers agree on a thing, it’s true?

On the other hand, I can maintain my current habit of beginning the day prayerfully reading God’s Word and know that I am hearing God speak to me as I read. I can also continue spending time in inductive Bible study, on merely a personal level and in preparation for Sunday School at the Chapel I attend.

But, according to Ms. Shirer (and others) I could be having an even deeper and more meaningful ‘relational’ experience with God if I can tune into God’s special frequency for ‘direct’ communication!

What to do………what to do?

“The King James Bible is the Truth!”

So states the title of a blog I stumbled upon as result of clicking the name of a commenter on a blog I occasionally visit.

The KJV Only author, in addition to inviting anyone who subscribed to any of the devil’s ‘PERversions’ to immediately leave his blog and never return, offered the following as the basis for his KJV position:

1. Only the King James Bible is the truth without error.

2. Only the King James Bible has been providentially preserved for hundreds of years.

3. Only the King James Bible has the power to convict souls and persuade people to be saved according to the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (His death, burial and resurrection, 1Corinthians 15:3, 4 KJB).

4. All other versions are MAN-MADE, adding and/or subtracting from the KJB, which God strictly PROHIBITS in Revelation 22:18 and 19.

5. All other versions are COPYRIGHTED, meaning that they are printed to make money and no one else can use that copyright. Only the KJB has no copyright because GOD is the Author, and He wants us to share it freely with all men.

6. The Devil is the author of all these foul versions.

Noticeable in the above is a total lack of substantiation for any of the claims made concerning the KJV, a possible indicator that the blog author might be one of the rare possessors of a ‘mind like a steel trap’ (rusted shut).

There is nothing new in the above ‘KJV only’ assertions. Scholarly books and articles have been written soundly refuting them, most notable among them written by Dr. James White and Dan Wallace. I draw your attention to only two of them here.

Reason #4, that “All other versions are MAN-MADE. . .” claims ‘divine’ inspiration / authorship of the KJV, as divine as the original manuscripts penned by the authors of the Bible themselves. All KJVonly-ists do not subscribe to that notion. That the KJV was as ‘breathed out by God’ as the original manuscripts should seem to be a rather silly notion to any thinking adult, not to mention a lot of literate teenagers.

Reason #3 was new to me, although I am certain not one newly invented by a ‘steel trap mind” (Mr. STM) parroting what others have already postulated. Not only was it new to me, I find it more grievous than the rest.

Here’s the claim again:

“Only the King James Bible has the power to convict souls and persuade people to be saved according to the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (His death, burial and resurrection, 1Corinthians 15:3, 4 KJB)”

To be fair, the definition of the gospel is correctly cited from 1 Corinthians 3-4:

3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures. (KJV)

A quick search of those verses will show that just about every other translation defines the gospel exactly the same way! Think for a moment what that means Mr. STM is telling us. Assuming that STM agrees that the original manuscripts (which we do not have) were ‘breathed out by God’ (the KJV says so), STM would have us believe that a lost sinner could only be saved by reading, or having read to him the definition of the gospel from a 1611 KJV Bible! That, my friends, is beyond stupid!

The Apostle Paul provided the above definition of the gospel to Christians at Corinth. He also addressed the following to believers in Rome:

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16 (KJV) (emphasis mine – I hope I don’t go to Hell for that)

This is where STM gets a little silly. Paul said he was not ashamed of the “gospel”, defined it as the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, and said that the “gospel” is the power of God (to convict of sin and persuade people) unto salvation. In other words, the “power” is in the message, NOT in a particular English translation of the Bible. And again, we have numerous other English translations that define the gospel message exactly as does the KJV!

So according to STM, we can have the same message (the power for salvation), in the very same words, in multiple English translations, but nobody’s getting saved except when it’s read in/from the KJV!!!!!!!????????

Is that the absolute epitome of ignorance, audacity and arrogance? Don’t answer. I would have really liked to ask a few questions at STM’s blog post but comments were closed and he attitude toward anyone who would question his KJV idolatry wasn’t very kind. Yes, I said IDOLATRY.

"Not One Iote or One Title…":A Plea for Original Spelling by John Bookman

Just days ago, I realized that we have not gone far enough in insisting that the Bible be preserved unchanged “in the form God intended for us to have.” Of course, I speak of the infallible, inerrant, verbally-inspired and unalterably preserved English Bible, the Authorized Version (AV 1611), “the Bible God uses and Satan hates.” Sure, there are lots of zealous defenders who have shielded it from the corruptions of such heinous translations as the NIV, the NASB and that most sinister NKJB, and have kept us from returning to the now-completely-unnecessary Hebrew and Greek. But while they kept their watch on one front, the Enemy has come in unawares by another route and sown seeds of corruption that have, I fear, already yielded a corrupt harvest.

What am I getting at? Simply this: we have insisted on the verbal inspiration of the English, that is, that the very English words were divinely chosen and given to the Learned Men. But simply insisting on the perfection of the English words and preserving the words is not enough. A careful consideration of the true intent and meaning of the words of Matthew 5:18 is necessary: “Till heauen and earth passe, one iote or one title, shall in no wise passe from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (I have made no mistake in my spelling, as I shall shortly explain). Notice how Jesus insisted on the verbal inspiration, not just of the words, but also of the very letters of the words of Scripture. And since this verse is a specific promise of the preservation of Scripture in our infallible English Bible, we must insist on following, not just the original KJV words but also their very spelling. What other meaning can we draw out of the words “one iote or one title”? Every letter–the very spelling–is certainly inspired, and to alter the spelling of a single word, to alter even a single letter in a single word, is to deny and reject the inspiration of the AV 1611. If God had wanted us to spell the words in the AV 1611 different in our Bibles, He would have given them to us in that form originally. Modern spelling is as hideous and hateful a thing as modern translations. Its new age corruption, pure and simple. No one was ever authorized to corrupt, to “modernize” the infallible original spelling. There are eight spelling corruptions in John 3:16 alone!!!

I’m sure some “liberal” soul will say, “What difference does spelling make?” Argue it out with Jesus, brother! Didn’t He say that inspiration of the words included the very spelling, every iote, not just the words? Will you reject the teaching of Matthew 5:18 of letter/spelling inspiration of our preserved AV 1611? To stop at “word inspiration” and not insist on spelling inspiration is to be second cousin to mere “thought inspiration.” It is creeping apostasy, through and through. Next someone will deny the inspiration of the chapter and verse numberings in the AV 1611. Where will it stop?

And I think we must recognize that Jesus’ infallible English word was “title” and not the now-corrupted “tittle.” A tittle is part of the ornamentation of a Hebrew letter (at least that’s what I’ve heard at Fellowship meetings, so I have assurance that it’s right). But a title is something else. I have complete confidence that this promise of Jesus was a specific reference to the preservation of the chapter and page headings, the titles found in the original AV 1611. Sadly, those infallible titles, attached by the Learned Men under divine inspiration at the top of each page and at the beginning of each chapter have been removed from our modern editions. Without them, we cannot claim that we have a perfectly preserved Bible, and by allowing them to be removed, we have called God a liar, and denied that He is able to preserve the inspired English Bible He has given us.

It is no secret that none of the commonly used English Bibles published in our day have the original AV 1611 spelling, or punctuation (that, too, is part of our directly inspired, infallible English Bible) or titles of which Jesus spoke, so in reality, these Bibles, even though they say “King James Version” or “Authorized Version” are really not Bibles at all. Only the Nelson reprint of the original 1611 AV is a real Bible; all the others are sinister corruptions.

And there is growing upon me the deep conviction, as deep as anything I’ve written in this article, that no English-speaking person can be saved if he was not saved by an original, unaltered AV 1611, with original spelling, original punctuation, and original chapter and page titles. This simply means that anyone who thought he was saved by reading a revised “KJV” or by hearing a sermon from such a “Bible” or by reading a Gospel tract that quoted the words in a revised spelling form, even if it was labelled “KJV” is not really saved, has never been saved, and never will be saved until he gets a true, fully-preserved AV 1611. That will mean that virtually all those who thought they were saved–preachers, deacons and all–will have to go back and get truly saved through a real AV 1611, then get rebaptized. Verbal inspiration of the English requires inspiration of the very spelling as well. Anything less is rank modernism.

I will confess to one further worry: original type style. The real AV 1611 was printed in what printers call “black letter,” a very ornate type style much like Gothic script, which is still used many times for the banner at the top of the front page of newspapers. This original type style was replaced with “Roman” type sometime in the 18th century. Note that name: Roman. I fear that once again, the Jesuits have conspired to corrupt the pure word in English. They have taken away the original Gothic (and as everyone knows, the Gothic Bible used the textus receptus for its foundation which proves with certainty that the Gothic was the correct script for a real Bible), and have substituted the corrupt Roman script. In a real sense, even the KJV has become a Roman Bible, since its modern editions use Roman script and not the original black letter. As further proof that Roman type is a corruption, notice that all these apostate Bibles–the ERV, ASV, NASB, NIV, NKJB, and the rest, have always been printed in Roman type. That’s proof enough to me that any Bible in Roman type is no Bible at all, and that only a Bible with the original script, the black letter, given to us in the form we should have it by the Learned Men, is a true Bible. Perhaps even those saved by the true original spelling KJV are not saved at all, and must locate a black letter edition. The Roman script Nelson reprint may not be enough (it’s just like those Bible corrupters at Thomas Nelson to pass off a Roman script KJV as though it were a real Bible!). Fortunately for me, my brother has a facsimile reprint in the original black letter of the AV 1611, and I’m secure since I’ve studied out of it several times.

It is a desperate situation. The shortage of black letter, original spelling AV 1611 Bibles is severe. There is truly a famine of the preserved word of God in the land. And all our efforts at preaching, teaching, Bible study, and soul winning are completely futile until we return to the real, unaltered, perfectly preserved bonafide AV 1611. Perhaps the best thing to do for the present is to send off and buy one of those pages from an original KJV, and if you can get a page that has a salvation verse, or part of the “Romans road,” perhaps there will be enough of the Gospel in the true preserved English to rescue your soul.

[As a service to the reader, so he can be saved through a real AV 1611, I will quote John 3:16; unfortunately, I have no capacity to reproduce the original black letter script, so even believing the unrevised spelling may not be enough, but we can hope for the best:

For God so loued ye world, that he gaue his only begotten Sonne: that whosoeuer beleeueth in him, should not perish, but haue euerlasting life.

And just today, I came to understand that the only proper format for any Bible is in scroll form (or at least loose-leaf), since the Apostle assures us that “the word of God is not bound.” Therefore any book that is bound, regardless of its printed contents, cannot honestly be said to be the word of God. I’m sure the inspired 1611 translators never intended for their translation to come sown and within leather covers. Such would be a travesty, in light of the Apostle’s clear and plain teaching.

I’ve begun the systematic unstitching of all my sewn Bibles so that they can qualify, according to Paul’s definition, as the word of God. I urge you to do the same.

If you haven’t already figured it out, the above piece is satire. It was written by Doug Kutilek. I found it at an excellent site devoted to the KJV only controversy.

A.D. The Degradation Continues – Episode 12

And Season 1 Concludes…….

Where to begin? Apparently, from a Hollywood perspective, the concluding episode for Season 1 was successful because Season 2 is in the works. You can actually get an alert when the release date is announced. I think I will pass on that one.

As TV series’ often do in a season’s final episode, A.D. brought together several story lines. We see that Cornelius, who appeared at the Cross at the beginning of the series, is the Cornelius who becomes a believer in the final episode. Some of us probably saw that coming. We did see the angel’s appearance to Cornelius and Peter’s vision recorded in Acts, chapter 10. We see Peter at the home of Cornelius and a Pentecost type of appearance of the Holy Spirit, complete with some wind, tongues of fire and speaking in tongues. Cornelius is baptized after he confesses some of his sins. In the series he had killed Joanna and whipped Tabitha. In Acts, Chapter 10 however we are told that Cornelius worshipped God and was highly thought of by ‘all the Jewish people’. The series was disconnected from Biblical reality.

The other major plot in the TV episode concerns the statue of Caligula entering Jerusalem to be placed in the temple, opposition from the disciples, the Jewish priests, and zealots waiting on the parapets to ambush the Roman soldiers accompanying the statue. Cornelius, now a believer, is in charge of the Roman soldiers and confronts Peter in front of the temple. The disciples kneel before the roman contingent, the Priests, including Caiaphas kneel and offer their necks to the Romans. The Disciples and Cornelius recite the Lord’s Prayer and at the same time the priests recite a Jewish prayer from Psalm 57.

Everything surrounding the statue of Caligula is 99.999% pure fiction. Yes, Caligula did command that his statues be scattered throughout the Roman controlled world. Historians tell us that Jerusalem might be the only place Caligula’s statue did NOT appear.

A statue was built and dispatched to Jerusalem, but it never arrived. A newly elected leader of Syria, one Petronius, was charged with the delivery, NOT Cornelius. The statue made it as far as Ptolemais, a cosmopolitan port city in Galilee (70+ miles NW of Jerusalem). The Jewish outcry was tremendous, Jewish peasants revolted, and necks were offered to the Roman soldiers (the .001% accuracy?). The peasants also threatened to stop planting crops, which would have hurt the Roman economy. A letter was sent back to Rome to reconsider sending a statue to Jerusalem, and Caligula answered in another letter that Petronius would be executed if he didn’t deliver the statue. That letter never made it to Ptolemais due to really bad weather. Caligula was assassinated, the news of the assassination did reach Petronius (better weather), and the statue never made it to Jerusalem.

There is also a lot of dialogue amongst the disciples concerning being in the end times and the statue of Caligula being the ‘abomination of desolation’ spoken of in Matthew 24, and fear that the end of time and Christ’s return was imminent. In the episode, James the Just asked the big ‘what if it’s not’ question. None of that dialogue is actually recorded in the book of Acts, but I guess it made for good drama.

At the very end, Cornelius nearly flees Jerusalem with Pilate’s wife, who earlier had an ‘almost’ knock down drag out with her husband. The setup for the beginning of next season is a Roman soldier drawing a sword against Peter, leaving us in suspense.

The Issues, Etc. review, found here, is interesting and informative. Lutheran Pastor Ted Giese is asked to rate the series from a secular perspective and from a Pastor’s theological perspective. I liked his answers but will leave you in suspense, with a desire to listen to the interview.

Having said all that, I am not sure if I will watch and comment on the next season. I watched this season mostly in order to be able to engage in discussion(s) about it with both believers and nonbelievers. I never did overhear a discussion about any of the series that I could join. When I asked other believers if they were watching, most were not. They had no interest in what they knew was mostly conjecture and fiction. I did benefit personally by rereading certain portions of Acts, just to make sure I wasn’t being too critical. Digging into historical sources was also beneficial.

My main beef with the producers is having called it ‘The Bible Continues’. All Scripture is inspired (breathed out) by God…. (2 Timothy 3:16), not Hollywood. They could have just called it ‘Left Behind – The Book of Acts’.

A.D. The Degradation Continues – Episode 11

Rather than bore you with my usual play-by-play, I decided to just insert the summary from over at Patheos.com, which sums this episode up nicely:

In this, the penultimate episode of Season One of A.D. the statue of Caligula still looms large as a problem for the Temple hierarchy and for the religious life in Jerusalem. The statue in reality never got to Jerusalem, but by the end of this episode it shows up in a crate on Pilate’s doorstep. The year Caligula attempted to put a statue in the Temple is A.D. 40. The other major story lines include: 1) the death of Joanna (a pity because she is probably the same person mentioned in Rom. 16 as Junia (the Latin form of the name, in which case she lived long after 40); 2) the story of the Ethiopian eunuch, and the new wrinkle in that tale is that he turns out to be a weapons supplier for the Zealots in Jerusalem, and is expelled from Jerusalem and sent packing back down the Gaza road, where he runs into Philip, and they have their discussion about Isaiah 52-53. Interestingly, this episode follows the Western Text of Acts rather than the earliest text where there is no request for his making a confession of faith, he is simply baptized; 3) the story of Tabitha continues, and her dramatic raising from the dead concludes this episode quite effectively; 4) along the way we get James negotiating with Caiaphas to allow the Christians to meet in the Temple and share their faith; and 5) more intrigue and discord between Pilate and his wife.

Some have complained about the mixture of religion and politics in this show, and wrongly in my judgment, since those two things were and are always intertwined in the Holy Land. It’s unavoidable. A more reasonable lament would be that some of the fiction created to fill in gaps does not do justice either to the political history, or some aspects of the Biblical story. But over all, judged just as story, the narrative is effectively told and the acting is good. Near the end we get a peek at what is going to happen to Cornelius, for he regrets and weeps over the unjust strangling of Joanna. Stay tuned.

The Account of Tabitha’s healing is recorded in Acts 9:38-39 and the biblical account is a bit different concerning her activities as a believer. You can read the account for a comparison if you wish.

The same for comparing the televising version of the drama around the Ethiopian Eunuch, you can find the entire account in Acts 8:26-40.

I did take not of the series setting up Cornelius to be, in the series, to be the same Cornelius spoken of in Acts, Chapter 10. Watch and see if I’m right. J

One episode to go and I hope any plans for a second season end up being scrapped. Having said that, I intend to watch to the bitter end (this season) I am very familiar with the entirety of the book of Acts and I have had several opportunities to discuss fact v. fiction with both other Christians and nonbelievers.

I’ll again post the Issues, Etc. review audio when it is posted.

A. D. The Degradation Continues – Episode 10

This episode, titled ‘Brothers in Arms’ was true to the ‘spirit’ of the previous episodes, in that it was filled with mostly speculative accounts and at time outright falsehoods, probably in an attempt to get viewers interested in the account of the growth of the Christian church provided for us in the book of Acts. It seems to have been taken from Acts, Chapters 8 and 9. .

In its defense, It is commendable that there is an account of young women serving talking about Jesus and one of them (Tabitha) being led to believe in Jesus by another (Joanna). Not an account in the book of Acts, but nice to see.

We are introduced to James The Just (Jesus’ brother) early on in the episode, in a scene that shows a sleeping James having a dream about his boyhood in which he saw the boy Jesus teaching in the Synagogue , a story recorded in Luke, Chapter 2 (Jesus teaching in the synagogue when he was 12 years old). The dream account in A.D., as well as the other scenes including James are for the most part, are foreign to scripture.

We are also introduced to the Ethiopian eunuch, an actually character recorded in Acts, Chapter 8. The Acts account is of course much shorter than all of the drama surrounding him in A.D. In the Acts 8:26 – 40 account we are told that he was returning to his home country after having visited Jerusalem to worship when Phillip found him reading from the prophet Isaiah, explained the scriptures to him and subsequently baptized him. The A.D. episode provides us with all sorts of extra biblical information concerning the Ethiopian and his visit to Jerusalem that is also foreign to scripture.

We see Simon the Zealot, still fearful of Saul, contacting an old friend, a leader of the Jewish zealots who hated Rome, and ending up in a conspiracy to have Saul killed at the behest of Leah, Caiaphas’ wife, who felt that her husband was too ‘chicken’ to do what needed to be done. Again, not in the biblical record.

Of course we also are treated to more about Saul, his release from prison, Caiaphas attempt to get him to return to his former Jewish religion, his interaction with the disciples, and his finally departing Jerusalem. Saul again comes across as a bit arrogant in his dealings with the disciples again, seemingly ‘schooling’ them again concerning their mission as Jesus’ disciples. As in the last episode, he seems a bit arrogant and compassionless when it comes to the disciples. In a scene that has him preaching in the streets of Jerusalem, he tells his audience that Jesus offers a better life (Joel Osteen, anyone) and freedom from Roman tyranny We also hear bits and pieces of some of Paul’s teachings recorded in his other writings, but not the message that “Christ died for our sins”.

At the end of the episode Paul is departing Jerusalem, sent off (kicked out) by Peter, James having been deemed by James a danger to himself and other believers in Jerusalem. Nevertheless, Peter gives him a big hug at the ‘send off’ and tells him God has a bigger plan for him. In Acts 9, Saul was taken to Caesarea and sent to Tarsus because some of the Hellenists, against whom he had spoken and disputed, wanted to kill him.

In following A.D. I’ve also asked believers with whom I work or associate what they thought of the series and few have watched it, mostly due to so much being added to the biblical account. They seem to feel that being true to scripture is significant when dealing with the Bible. On the other hand, there is a host of leaders of some of today’s most notable ministries that really love the show. I’m not going to name names, but if you’re interested go here, scroll down and click the question “What are leaders saying about A.D. The Bible Continues?”. You can even get an official A.D. The Bible Continues ‘Church Kit’.

I’ll let you be the judge of that. And again, if there is a review of the latest episode over at Issues, Etc., I will post the link. J

A.D. The Degradation Continues, Episode 9

From Acts 9

The episode begins with Saul/Paul leaving the temple in Damascus after having preached about Jesus and causing a bit of a ruckus. He is let down over the wall in a basket.>the Acts account states that after he spent many days in Damascus there was a plot to kill him by the religious Jews and he did escape in a basket.

Switch to the Jerusalem Palace where Caligula is holding court and demanding obeisance, even to the point of asking a man who had sworn allegiance to his father (to even die for him) and also swore allegiance to Caligula, to kill himself, which he did, appealing to ‘the gods’ to find favor with him.

The episode is dominated by politics and intrigue in the palace. At the same time, it appeared in the episode that women are clearly large & in charge of things (primarily the wives of Caiphas and Pilate). Since all of the drama and intrigue is foreign to scripture, I will omit the recounting this time. It’s barely worth it. I will say that historians, mainly Josephus, do record Caligula’s desire to have his statue placed in the temple and elsewhere in Jerusalem (circa 39 A.D.) but his efforts to do so were eventually frustrated. The drama of the television episode is largely fictional, however.

The other dominating scene in this episode is the eventual meeting of Saul with the disciples in Jerusalem, which is quite ‘interesting’.

Here is the entirety of the account in Acts, Chapter 9:26 – 30:

“When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. He talked and debated with the Hellenistic Jews, but they tried to kill him. When the believers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.”

The television version is rather lengthy and drawn out with significant drama not in the biblical account. In the TV version, Saul first tells some of the disciples that he is now a believer in Jesus and ends up having a private session with Peter to sort things out. In that scene, Saul seems to ‘school’ Peter concerning how they should partner and boldly preach the gospel (Peter and the boys are still a bit fearful at times.

If I were asked about what I would consider the most problematic issue with episode 9, I would discuss the scene in which Saul, as part of his testimony, said to the disciples “I was baptized and made brand new”. In the biblically account, we are told simply that Barnabas recounted Saul’s experience on the road to Damascus.

Although one could debate whether or not this episode of A.D. intended to imply that water baptism causes one to be regenerated, ‘baptismal regeneration’ was clearly implied. While some might think I’m being a bit picky, I would remind readers that ‘baptismal regeneration’ is a primary tenet of the Catholic Church, while certain Protestant denominations would also consider water baptism necessary for salvation/regeneration. It’s interesting to note that the main producer of A. D. (Roma Downey) is Roman Catholic.

This leads to the issue of whether or not regeneration itself (being born again) is a sovereign act of God (monergistic) or the result of God and man working together (synergistic). In the synergistic paradigm, which would be the prevailing thought in most of today’s protestant evangelicalism, God made it possible for men to be saved by sending His Son to die, however it is a human ‘free will’ decision that brings about regeneration. I believe very strongly that regeneration is a sovereign act of God upon His elect whereby their hearts are opened to receive the message of the gospel and when that message is presented to a God opened heart, salvation always results.

There are other things that, to me, were problematic as well, both historically and biblically that I will refrain from discussing for the moment.

Another example of reducing the story of the establishment of the early church to mass/crass entertainment. Enough said for now. I can’t wait for the next episode!

If/when this episode is reviewed at Issues, Etc. I will also post that link.

A.D. – The Degradation Continues Episode 8

When I watched Episode 8 the first time, I almost turned it off after the first five minutes. It began so badly I might have titled this episode something like ‘The Degradation Picks Up Speed’. I started watching it again today, this time more attentively and listening for a few things Pastor Ted Giese mentioned in his podcast review at Issues, Etc., which you can find here. I think the Pastor would give me good marks for listening ‘carefully’ (as he put it) since I had indeed picked up on some of the same specific things he discussed and found problematic, both historically and biblically inaccurate.

Here’s the play-by-play and a caution – it might make you dizzy.

The episode opens with Caiaphas telling a Temple soldier that he will be accompanying Saul and his party to Damascus from Jerusalem.

Now to Pilate’s palace and a morning after scene with Caligula and Agrippa in the middle of the previous night’s debauchery artifacts. Pilate’s wife Claudia is incensed at the sight.

Over to Saul’s departure from Jerusalem, which was conveniently witnessed by a small boy who reported Saul’s activity to Peter and the gang hiding out in a cellar, with a couple of the disciples feeling like cowards for Phillip having left for Samaria alone.

Back to the palace, where Mary Magdalene (MM) meets Joanna and tells her Jesus is alive. Although A.D. is mostly from Acts, Joanna is only actually mentioned a couple of times in the book of Luke and presented as the “wife of Chuza, steward of Herod,” that is, Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee. The Joanna of the latest episode seems to be patterned after Joanna in Luke. Nevertheless, MM and J appear several more time together in Ep. 8.

Back to Saul motoring on foot toward Damascus for a moment and then back to the palace where Claudia is commiserating with Tiberius. At this point Tiberius extends an offering for a posting of Pilate to Rome, to the delight of Claudia. The stipulation is that Pilate would play a part in separating Caligula and Agrippa.

Back to Saul and company sitting around a campfire at night and Saul complaining about the followers of Christ.

Back to Jerusalem to see the Disciples leaving the cellar, no doubt because Saul has left town.

Next we have a scene in which Agrippa and Caligula are relaxing in a sauna when Pilate enters and ends up almost slitting Caligula’s throat because of “C’s” insults.

Back to Saul on the road to Damascus (feel like a tennis ball yet?). The Temple soldier’s horse seems to get frightened about something and collapses, throwing off the soldier. The soldier ends up leading the horse, who is still skittish about something.

Back to the palace where Pilate is complaining about Caligula and Claudia relays the offer for a post in Rome for helping separate C & A.

Now the scene changes to where Phillip is baptizing in Samaria and Peter and the gang show up. Everyone is really ecstatic. Of course, Simon is hanging around with his assistant. In this scene Phillip blurts out “Today we commit ourselves to Jesus”. (as if reuniting with P & the boys prompted it).

Back to the palace again where we find Joanna under suspicion. MM and Joanna’s husband come to her defense. Agrippa hits on Joanna but is busted by Herodias (Agrippa’s sister), who tells him to leave her alone.

Back to Saul on the road to Damascus. He argues with the temple soldier. Clouds move over and the sky darkens. A glowing Jesus, who also seems to be giving off a mist of some sort. Saul is blinded and told to go to Damascus. Pauls screams at Jesus “What do you want me to do?” and is helped to his feet and led off to Damascus, now blind.

In Damascus now – a street scene. Barnabas overhears a conversation about Saul being in Damascus and goes off to alert Ananias.

Back to Samaria where Simon the sorcerer is sharing his ‘testimony’ of how he was baptized and wants to hang out with the disciples.

Over to Damascus where Barnabas is telling Ananias of Saul’s arrival in Damascus.

Back to Samaria where Peter and John are preaching in the street where is the laying on of hands and giving of the Holy Spirit. Many are healed, some without the laying on of hands, apparently suddenly having faith and being healed. John preaches that people are to repent, have faith, and ‘accept’ Jesus into their lives.

Meanwhile, back in the palace, Tiberius hands Pilate the official orders to a post in Rome, C & A are separated by Tiberius leaving Jerusalem, taking Caligula with him. C & A are really mad.

Back in Samaria, Simon tries to buy the Holy Spirit, is chastised by Peter and slain by God, seemingly in the same manner as Ananias and his wife in an earlier episode. Peter actually pleads with God so spare Simon’s life.

Back in the palace Agrippa catches Joanna praying and Claudia is having night dreams and visions.

Back in Samaria Jesus appears to Ananias and tells him to find Saul in the street called Straight. Over to Paul, who rips off his eye bandages and cries out for Ananias. Ananias finds Saul and heals him.

Back in the palace, Joanna is brought into ‘court’ about her praying. Her husband says she has fits now and again and MM says she will watch over her.

Back in Damascus, Saul (now Paul?) testifies to his companions that he saw Jesus, wants to make amends and will be baptized. He asks his companions to also be baptized.

Caligula assassinated Tiberius in Rome and goes back to Jerusalem, where at the end of the episode he revokes Pilate’s posting to Rome and demands obeisance as the new Emperor.

Next we see Paul, Ananias and Barnabas where Barnabas is suspicious of Paul, but becomes really happy when Paul is baptized and ‘accepts’ Jesus. Ananias tells him he has been chosen to preach among the Gentiles.

Back to Jerusalem where the Temple soldier has returned and tells Caiphas of Saul’s conversion. Paul shows up at the temple doors and against objections of Barnabas and enters to preach.

Caligula’s return to Jerusalem speech and end of episode.


I found it interesting that we are introduced to what is termed by some as ‘decision theology’ or ‘decisionism’, meaning that in the process of a person’s salvation/coming to faith is ‘accepting’ Jesus into one’s heart/life. An individual ‘accepting’ Jesus with a free-will decision is the final determining act that results in salvation. In other words, Jesus died to make possible the salvation of men, but it is the free-will decision of men that seals the deal. This is contrary to scripture that tells us that salvation is not of man’s will but is by God’s mercy (Rom 9:16).

Sadly, decisionism seems to be a prevailing theology in today’s evangelicalism. However a meritorious act by man cannot/will not bring about salvation, as it is not only clearly spoken against, we are also told that salvation is by grace through faith (both of which are gifts), so that no one can boast.

I’ll say no more at the moment, but leave you with food for thought.

‘A.D. The Bible Continues’: Fiction and Fact

From CT magazine:

In the seventh episode, the historical fiction overwhelms the text.

Peter Chattaway/ May 19, 2015

Alissa’s Note: A.D. The Bible Continues began airing on Easter Sunday, and during its run, Peter Chattaway recaps episodes as they air. Recaps involve spoilers, especially if you’re not familiar with the Bible story.

Episode 7: ‘The Visit’

A.D. The Bible Continues has been walking a fine line from its very first episode, balancing its adaptation of the book of Acts with fictitious subplots that are based very loosely on secular history. But the seventh episode just might be the first one in which the fictitious storyline overwhelms the biblical material; there is so little to work with here that it’s hard to imagine anyone basing a Bible study on this installment. And to make matters worse, the historical fiction is utter bunk.

clip_image001The central storyline in this episode is the arrival of the emperor Tiberius and his nephew Caligula in Jerusalem. To say this whole subplot is preposterous would be an understatement; the historical Tiberius spent most of the last decade or so of his life living on the island of Capri, off the coast of Italy, and he could barely be motivated to visit the Italian mainland, much less any of the Roman empire’s more distant territories.

What’s more, even if Tiberius was inclined to visit Pontius Pilate in person, it is doubtful that he would have made the trip inland, through hostile territory, towards Jerusalem; it would have made more sense to do business in Caesarea, the administrative center on the Mediterranean coast.


The episode actually hints at all these things, however inadvertently: Tiberius tells Pilate Judea is a "minor province," which makes you wonder why he thought it worthy of a personal visit in the first place, especially if he is thinking of removing Pilate from his post, while Pilate’s wife Claudia tells Tiberius the best thing about Jerusalem is that it is only "one day’s journey to our home on the coast." So why not meet there, then?

Anyone familiar with the legends and history surrounding these characters will also marvel at some of the missed opportunities here. For example, around this time, back in Italy, Tiberius had just executed a traitor named Sejanus who appears to have been an associate of Pilate’s; you might think this would give Pilate all sorts of extra reasons to be apprehensive about Tiberius’s visit, but the episode never brings it up.

Similarly, there is ">a legend that traces the origins of coloured Easter eggs to an encounter between Mary Magdalene and the emperor Tiberius—so when the Mary Magdalene of this series gets a job working in Pilate’s palace, just in time for Tiberius’s visit, you wonder if this episode might play on this legend somehow. But no, it doesn’t (and Cornelius, who recognizes Mary Magdalene, tells her never to come back to the palace, so that might be the end of that).


The biblical section of the episode is fairly brief, and covers Philip’s visit to Samaria and his evangelism there, including the baptism of Simon the Magician, who wonders why becoming a Christian hasn’t instantly given him the power to perform miracles like the ones Philip has performed (Acts 8:4-13). But this subplot is left hanging, and will presumably be resolved when Simon meets Peter in some future episode.

Meanwhile, Peter and the other apostles are left spinning their wheels: they gather, they hide, they even confront Saul in the street when he’s alone, but nothing comes of the encounter. The impression you get is that the filmmakers wanted to give these characters something to do instead of just forgetting about them for an episode or two, the way they seem to have forgotten all about the Zealots for now. But the scenes with Peter and the others end up feeling like just so much narrative padding.


Saul, meanwhile, continues his persecution of the Christians even after Caiaphas tells him to cut it out for the duration of Tiberius’s visit. (Caligula, for his part, doesn’t mind the mayhem in the streets and personally chokes a Christian to death.) The episode ends with Caiaphas tricking Saul into thinking that Peter has gone to Damascus, just to get Saul out of the city. That’s not exactly how Saul leaves Jerusalem in the Bible, but in any case, it seems pretty clear that we’ll be witnessing a major turning point in the next episode.

A.D. The Degradation Continues

Episode 6 Highlights, in order:

1. Stephen’s mother has a fit as the wrapped body of Stephen is carried through the streets of Jerusalem.

2. Paul shows up at the desert camp of the Christians and preaches against the new movement.

3. Stephen is buried.

4. Caiphas discusses the pain the Jews are experiencing with his father-in-law(?) who wants Caiphas to stop persecuting the Christians.

5. Back to Paul preaching in the Christian camp against the new movement. Peter and Paul face off and argue about prophecy.

6. Paul is invited to sit on the Sanhedrin by Gamaliel(?).

7. Caiphas converses with Herod and gives him a gift, I guess demonstrating the political environment.

8. Paul tells Caiphas wife he has been preaching against the ‘movement’ in the Christian camp.

9. Mary Magdalene sternly counsels Peter in the Camp.

10. Paul asks Caiphas for ‘authority’ to continue preaching against Christianity.

11. Peter and John return to Jerusalem to preach in the city.

12. Paul shows up with ‘authority’ to continue his persecution, Paul and Peter face off again and Christians are arrested by Jewish religious leaders.

13. Pilate and his wife discuss Caiphas and Pilate wonders about the closeness of his wife’s relationship with Caiphas’ wife.

14. Pilate prays to ‘Minerva’ concerning who should be high priest.. Some interesting coin flipping takes place and Caiphas continues as high priest.

15. Paul gets sealed documents authorizing his persecution of the Christians, shows up again in the streets (better dressed), recruits a mob and distributes weapons and armor. They invade Christian homes, beating folks and making arrests. Paul and Peter face off again.

16. Paul and his mob head for the Christian camp. Everyone leaves, but Peter stays. Oil is poured in a trench that encircles the camp, that seems to have been dug for just such an occasion. When Paul & Co are inside the camp Peter sets the oil on fire, glares and shouts at Pauls, and leaves the scene. The end.

In terms of biblically accuracy, this might have been the worst of the lot so far. While it’s true to the biblical account that Paul had papers of authority to persecute Christians, the entire rest of the episode was pretty much ‘filling in the blanks’ left out of the Bible.

Why do I call it ‘The Degradation Continues’? Maybe because this entire series has been an adventure in missing the point of the message of the Gospel. My God and Savior deserves better.