Where in The Bible Does God Attend Anger Management Classes?

Editor’s Note: I love to bring in different voices to this blog. Today, you have the privilege of hearing from Seth Clarke. Seth is one of my best friends in the whole wide world. He works on staff at Ekklesia with me and is an excellent Bible student. Also, I don’t think there’s a bigger Disney or Dirk Pitt fan on the planet earth than Seth. Enjoy!  -Kyle

Belief-in-an-Angry-God-Now-Linked-to-Mental-Illness-2I was friends with a guy who got into the Hollywood scene. He originally attended seminary to become a pastor, but decided that Hollywood was the way to go instead. Then one day he tweeted, “Jesus telling people not to cast the first stone would have been cool, if his dad hadn’t told them to do it in the first place.

Unfortunately, this is a viewpoint that many Christians and non-Christians hold. Many think that the God of the Old Testament was angry; He wanted blood! He wanted vengeance!! HE WANTED TO WATCH THE CAST OF JERSEY SHORE BURN!!!…But then came Jesus, the God of the New Testament. He was all about peace, love, harmony, and organic foods.

God the Father had a crew cut, was clean-shaven, and fought in Korea. Jesus rocked the long flowing hair, beard, and listened to Simon and Garfunkel.

Both these views are skewed.

Lets sort out the first problem. God is Jesus. Jesus is God. You cannot separate the two. How do I know? He says so.

  • “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30)
  • “I say unto you, before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58)

So if God and Jesus are the same, why are they so different tempered? Did God have a change of heart during the 400 years between the Old Testament and New Testament? Did he attend anger management classes? Did he stop listening to rap music? Yoga?

No.

Understand that God never changes.

  • “For I am The LORD, I do not change.” (Malachi 3:6)
  • “Whatever is good and perfect comes to us from God above, who created all heaven’s lights. Unlike them, He never changes or casts shifting shadows.” (James 1:17)
  • “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)

Also understand that God’s anger in the Old Testament is a righteous anger aimed at evil. It is good. It is just. It is the proverbial Superman to the world’s Voldermort. (Calm down my fellow nerds, it’s just an example.)

And we even see Jesus use this anger.

In John 2:13-22 people were using the temple to sell stuff and make money. Jesus got so angry that he yelled, over turned tables, and whipped people to get out! Can you imagine going to the store when all of a sudden a man starts yelling, knocking things over, then pulls out his Indiana Jones whip to scare people out? That’s scary enough by itself, without the righteous wrath of God!

So if Jesus and God are the same person and never change, then what’s the deal with God’s anger in the Old Testament? I would like to argue that God is actually a very loving God in the Old Testament. He forgives a countless number of times. He loves the people of the world. He wants them to succeed in life. He wants what’s best for them.

You want some examples? I’ll give you some examples.

Here are some in just the first book of The Bible:

  • God gave man the whole world. Literally. “And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26)
  • God told man not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, not because he wanted to tell man what to do, but because he loves us and did not want us to die, “for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:17)
  • God made woman so that man would not be lonely. (Genesis 2:18-22)
  • God agreed to spare an evil, vile, corrupt city of large population if there were merely ten righteous people in this city. (Genesis 18:23-32)

God demonstrates his love in other books of the Old Testament:

  • God freed the slaves of Egypt, who then complained, turned away from him, and worshiped idols, and he STILL forgave them. (Exodus 1-32)
  • God spared David. A king who had everything, who slept with another man’s wife, got her pregnant, tried to cover it up which failed, then killed her husband and made it look like an accident to try to cover it up again, then once the husband was dead he took her as his own wife. (2 Samuel 11 – 12:15)
  • God allowed the rich man, Job, to be tested but not killed, and then rewarded him with twice as many riches as he had before. (Job 1-42)
  • God continually offers redemption and grace to a stubborn and rebellious nation of Israel. (Isaiah 43)

But the biggest examples to me that the Old Testament God loves us are found in christophanies. Christophanies are God appearing in the pre-incarnate form of Jesus Christ. Again, if Jesus and God are one, then Jesus existed before he was born in flesh. Christophanies occur in the Old Testament when God wants to appear before man in a physical form. God the Father cannot appear before man, for he told Moses “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” (Exodus 33:20) Some examples of chistophanies can be found in Genesis 16, 18, 32, and Exodus 3.

So why would God want to appear to us who sin against him daily? Simple. Because he loves us. Because he doesn’t want to abandon us. Because he wants to be with us. He is the Father who wants to be with his children, no matter how badly those children misbehave.

Therefore I would urge anyone who is reading the Old Testament to shift their paradigm and look at who God really is.

A God who loves us.

A God who created us. Not so we could be ruled over and punished, but be cared for and watched over.

A God who ultimately would send his one and only son to be brutally murdered, so our relationship with him could be restored once and for all.

“Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:8)

Seth Clarke is a theology student at Calvary Chapel Bible College, musician, movie-buff, husband, and disciple of Christ. He’s currently devising a plan to join the cast of The Avengers but he’ll probably get beat out by Ben Affleck. Follow him on Twitter @Seth_Clarke.

Advertisements

Out of Context: Matthew 7:1 – Judge Not

In our next installment of Out of Context, we are going to examine what some have deemed to be the trump card to any rebuke, Matthew 7:1.

“Judge not, that you be not judged.”

Plank-in-eyeMany people use this verse as a blanket to protect themselves from any moral correction. I’ve even had it quoted to me multiple times to make me stop talking about sin. “Ah but Jesus says, ‘Don’t judge.’ You’re sounding really judgy right now.”

This interpretation gives the impression that no sin can be pointed out—that we’re above or outside moral accountability. We’ve even created a title for someone who does not follow this verse very well—they are “judgmental,” like the angry adults from Footloose who wouldn’t let Kevin Bacon just dance.

Is this true? Are Christians not allowed to call out someone else’s sins?

THE CONTEXT

Here’s the context to Matthew 7:1.

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

We find this passage in the middle of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Jesus used this famous sermon to overturn the traditional ideas of the Law—that it’s all about external behavior—and to show the people that it’s really all about the heart. God cares more about the heart than the outward appearance of righteousness. Those who focus only on appearing righteous, they’re deemed hypocrites (6:2, 5, 16; 7:5).

Which brings us to Matthew 7:1, “Judge not.” Normally we just stop there and wave it in the faces of our accusers. But Jesus doesn’t stop at the first two words. He continues to explain His point, “That you be not judged.” He shows the reason we shouldn’t judgenot because it’s bad but because we will be judged too.

So judgement is reciprocated with judgement. How is this boomerang judgment done? “With the measure you use” (7:2). If we judge someone else’s sins, we’ll be judged by the same standard.

Who will judge the judger? He doesn’t indicate that it will be another person. The implication is that the judger will be judged by God. If you’ve been judging others by a different standard than you judge yourself, then you’re in big trouble.

Jesus then uses a fairly humorous illustration to drive His point home. He says the person who judges with different standards is like a person with a log in their eye who’s trying to take a speck out of someone else’s. Kind of ridiculous right? If you have a 2×4 sticking out of your cornea, you’re probably not in the best place to help get a small piece of dust out of your neighbor’s eye. You should probably go to a hospital.

Jesus ends, indicating who He’s talking to, “You hypocrite”—the person who says one thing and does another, the person only focused on appearing righteous. He commands that the hypocrite first remove the log out of their eye. This will enable them to take the speck out of their brother’s eye. It’s important to notice that He doesn’t forbid them from removing the speck. He just wants it done in the correct order.

THE IMPLICATIONS

So what does this all come down to? It shows that Jesus is less focused on “judging” and more focused on the heart.

A hypocrite calls out someone’s sin when they haven’t dealt with their own. The hypocrite thinks they’re more holy and above everyone else. They look down on others because of their sin. They think they’re always right and everyone else is always wrong. They commit the same sins they’re condemning in others. They may even celebrate the downfall and sin of others. They don’t realize that the same Bible is judging them too.

Does this passage forbid judging sin? No. He still wants the speck out of the person’s eye. Also, if you look at the following verse, 7:6, it says, “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs.” Jesus is speaking metaphorically here of those who do not value or treasure the truth. How are we to determine who are dogs and pigs if we aren’t allowed to make a judgment call?

Instead, Jesus is giving the proper procedure to judge sin. Be humble. Deal with your junk first. Admit your sinfulness and your need for a savior. Repent. Know that you are no better than anyone else. If you do that, then you will be able to clearly see and help someone out of their sin with a heart of compassion, love, and grace.

The church should be a place where people are accountable for their sins. This is why Proverbs talks so much about how to give a rebuke and how to receive a rebuke. But we don’t do it with our own standards. We do it with the standard of God’s Word (2 Timothy 4:1-2). Sin is cancerous. If we truly love people, we will help keep them away from what will kill them.

A couple final caveats for judging.

1. We do not judge non-Christians. Paul writes, “For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside.” (1 Corinthians 5:12-13). It’s not our place to call out the sins of the world. If someone doesn’t believe in Jesus, how can we expect them to live like Him? The point is not to have a society full of moral people. The point is to get everyone saved. You get saved through faith in the Gospel, not morality. Living like Christ comes after being saved by Him. Instead, we’re to make sure that those who’ve been redeemed are living like redeemed people, starting with ourselves.

2. Our desire should always be restoration. Whenever sin is confronted, there should be the hope of repentance. This idea is echoed throughout Scripture, like Galatians 6:1, “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” We don’t gloat over someone else’s sins. We don’t celebrate anyone’s downfall. We don’t point out someone’s sin just to make ourselves feel better. If that’s your attitude, then you still have a log in your eye. Your desire should always be restoration with a gentle spirit.

3. Recognize your own sinfulness. You aren’t any more immune to sin than the person you’re helping restore. It could’ve easily been you who was caught in the affair, passed out drunk on the couch, addicted to pornography, filled with bitterness, or caught gossiping. Constantly check the mirror, look for logs, and pray that God would give you the grace to remove them.

Previous Out of Context posts:
Matthew 18:20 – Where two or more are gathered
Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Him who strengthens me
How to take a verse out of context

Tweets of the Week: 08|09|13

Out of Context: Matthew 18:20 – Where Two or More Are Gathered

carpool_sign_500To continue our series looking at commonly taken out of context verses, I wanted to take aim at one of the most famous of them all, Matthew 18:20.

“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

Typically, I’ve heard it quoted in church services by pastors and worship leaders praying in front of the congregation: “Lord, thank you so much that You are here with us right now as we worship. Your Word says, ‘Where two or more are gathered, there I am also.’ We have at least three hundred here just to be safe, so we know for sure you’re here.” I’ve also heard it in small prayer meetings: “God we know you can hear our prayers right now because Sebastian and Helga are praying with me.”

It’s used as an encouragement to the others listening that God approves of their worship. We know something really extra-special and spiritual is going down because God is actually here with us.

I’m definitely not innocent in my use of this verse. This verse is so commonly used that it’s become another prayer-ism that people naturally say along with “Heavenly Father,” “Place a hedge of protection,” “Bless this food to our bodies” (Because you know, of course, nutrients only travel through your bloodstream if you pray—especially fast-food), and “In Jesus’ name.” Sometimes we don’t even think about it. We just say it.

This is a public service announcement to not take all our Christian-ese as given truth. We need to think through what we say and do in the Christian life, even if it’s been said or done by pastors, and see if what we’re doing is actually founded on the Bible. If it is, then that’s great! If not, then we need to reevaluate our spiritual habits.

(1 + 2 = God) is an equation we really don’t need.

THE CONTEXT

Here’s the context to Matthew 18:20. It’s a little long, but stick with me.

15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

Jesus here is teaching His disciples how things are to work in His kingdom, in His church. He has just finished teaching the disciples about true greatness (18:1-6), how to fight sin (18:7-9), and God’s heart for the lost (18:10-14). Then in verse 15 (our context), Jesus transitions to talk about how we deal with others who sin against us. Justice is not found in taking matters into our own hands but in an orderly system of checks and balances, and in restoration. Jesus gives the disciples four steps to follow in such a situation.

1. Talk about it

Jesus tells His disciples that if they’ve been wronged by someone else in the church, first and foremost they are supposed to confront that person one-on-one (18:15). Not gossip. Not put passive-aggressive statuses on Facebook. Lovingly face-to-face. The goal in all of this is restoration and redemption.

2. Take one or two witnesses with you

If for some reason the perpetrator does not believe you or is not sorry for their sin, you must take one or two people to again confront them (18:16). This shows the person proof that the accusations are not the result of a grudge but in reality seen by multiple people. Jesus says, “every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses” (18:16). Does that number sound familiar?

3. Have the leadership confront them

If the perpetrator again rejects your loving correction, Jesus says you and the witnesses are to bring it before the “church” (18:17). I don’t have time to explain it all, but I take this to mean the church leadership and not the entire congregation. Hopefully having all the pastors confront the person will make them see the severity of their sin.

4. Send them out of the church

If they still won’t repent, even after multiple confrontations, the church is to send the person out because they are willfully rebelling against God’s Word (18:17). They will bring others down if you don’t (1 Corinthians 5; 2 Timothy 2:16-19; Titus 3:10-11).

Then Jesus ends this sermonette with a reassurance, “Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven” (18:18-19). He’s saying, if you go through this process correctly then God agrees with you. This is encouraging because proper church discipline is not a fun deal for anyone.

As a part of His encouragement Jesus ends saying, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (18:20). Remember that number? It’s the same amount of witnesses needed to properly confront a person in sin. Jesus isn’t saying you need two or three people praying to Him to have Him present. Jesus is encouraging believers that if they go through this process of church discipline properly then He supports their decision.

It’s almost hilarious how different this is from the common misinterpretation of this verse.

IMPLICATIONS

So, is Jesus present when two or more gather in His name? Yes.

He is also present when only one gathers in His name. Or none. God is always with you (Psalm 139) and you can call out to Him at anytime or anyplace. He wants you to. He’s not waiting for a magical number of people to appear.

If that were the case, then what do you do if you have two people gathered but one secretly and nefariously has not gathered in Jesus’ name? Is fellowship broken? No.

Instead, we can come to Jesus at any time, knowing that He is ready and excited to hear from us.

Other Out of Context posts:
Philippians 4:13 – Can I do all things through Christ?
How to take a verse out of context

Was the Resurrection Cheating?

In light of Easter, an old college memory came to my mind the other day.

During my freshman year of college at the University of Oregon, the college group I was part of put on an event where we could ask the pastors and leaders any question about Jesus and the Bible. Of course, this brought in scores of visitors wanting to see the learned scholars stumped, including a few unbelievers. One non-christian girl asked our pastor a question about Christ that I had never even considered before:

Was the resurrection cheating?

Her rationale was, if Jesus’ great love for us is demonstrated for us in His horrible, agonizing death, doesn’t the resurrection negate all that? After all, He’s no longer dead! It would have been a much greater sacrifice if He had stayed dead. What’s the point?

Set aside the metaphysical hypotheticals of “the fabric of the universe would unravel if the second person of the Trinity was dead for all eternity, duh.” This is actually a really good question for Christians to ask themselves!

Was the resurrection more than an elaborate punking of Satan, who thought he had won when the Son of God died? A celestial gotcha?

Paul tells the Corinthians that the resurrection is so much more than that. In fact, Paul says, “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:17). That sounds fairly important.

But why? Why is, at risk of sounding blasphemous, the cross not enough? Because the cross was never the whole plan.

The cross paid our sins in full—Amen and amen! But eternal life was made possible through the resurrection. Unfortunately, Christians forget to emphasize this important part of the Gospel, acting like the resurrection is just a footnote to the cross.

But the resurrection is extremely important and necessary because it ensures two main aspects of eternal life: qualitative and quantitative.

Qualitative—Christ’s resurrection ensures our regeneration, our “new birth.”

Before Christ, we were dead in our sins (Ephesians 2:1-3). Heart beating, lungs pumping, but spiritually dead. The Walking Dead. Our desires, our values, and our minds were focused on anything but God.

But because of the resurrection, if we have faith in Him, God has given us life like He gave Jesus life (Ephesians 2:5-6). It is a quality of life like we have never imagined because we are no longer slaves to sin—wallowing in the mud of guild and shame. We are born again (John 3:3; 1 Peter 1:3-4). We are new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17). We have new desires, new values, and new minds.

Quantitative—Christ’s resurrection ensures our resurrection.

Humans die; it’s probably the one thing we are best at besides sinning. We are batting .1000 at the deathbed.

Christ came to change all of that.

Paul informs us of the ultimate gift of the resurrection when he tells the Corinthians, “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:51-53).

Just as Christ was raised, so we will be raised. Just as Christ received a glorified body that will never decay, so we will too.

No more disease. No more allergies. No more warts. No more broken or disabled limbs. No more blindness. No more sin. No more suffering. No more tears.

This is all because of the resurrection. It definitely matters that the tomb is empty.

Dead is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:54-56

For further reading, check out the Gospel Coalition’s explanation on why the resurrection shouldn’t be neglected.

Post adapted from the School of Bible Christology class. Image credit: “Jesus’s Tomb” by upyernoz on Flickr under CC by 3.0

Did Jesus Descend Into Hell While He Was In The Grave?

A while back I was sent an email asking, “Did Jesus descend into hell while He was in the grave?” The sender of the email had a friend who tried to convince her that this doctrine was true. It was something she had never heard before and she was confused.

Did Jesus go to hell?

Must have missed that one in Sunday school.

Imagine the felt boards for that lesson.

This belief comes from the Apostle’s Creed—an early church statement of belief that does not appear in the Bible, therefore it is not Scripture—which states, “He [Jesus] descended into hell.” While the creed does state this it should be noted that a literal interpretation of the original Greek of the AC could be “He descended to the dead.”  The Apostle’s Creed is a staple of liturgy for many denominations and also the Catholic Church so this is a significant issue.

The Apostle’s Creed is nice but I do believe that according to Scripture, this one point it preaches does not hold water.

Where the Apostle’s Creed and many believers are getting such an interpretation (ultimately a misinterpretation in my opinion) is most likely from Ephesians 4:9 (“he descended into the lower regions”) and 1 Peter 3:18-19 (“in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison”).

THE EVIDENCE

Ephesians 4:9 is not talking about Jesus going to hell because the “lower regions” mentioned are just an expression to show Christ’s humility in stepping down from the throne of heaven to become a lowly man, be beaten, killed on a cross, and buried. This is contrasted with Christ’s exaltation back into heaven as the King of kings. The context shows the contrast.

1 Peter 3:18-19 in some translations uses the word “preached” instead of “proclaimed” which can make this a confusing passage. Just looking at it logically, it would not make sense for Christ to preach the Gospel to those in hell because they cannot be saved (Hebrews 9:27).  If Christ was preaching the Gospel, the passage would have used the Greek word, “euangelion” which is where we get the term evangelize and Gospel. But instead the passage uses the term “kerusso” which means  “to proclaim.” Specifically in this context it means “proclaim victory.” Jesus in his glorious passage to heaven declared His victory to the demons opposing him (context shows they were demons and not humans suffering in hell, v. 20).

The dialogue probably went something like this:

Jesus: YOU LOSE! Set yo clock for Sunday, son!

Demons: Whatever…

WHAT ABOUT THE CROSS

The idea that Jesus went to hell while his body was in the tomb contradicts three statements Jesus made on the cross. Jesus said in John 19:30, “it is finished.” The only reason Jesus would need to go to hell would be to continue to pay the penalty for sins. But that penalty was being poured out while He was on the cross, hell on earth, as Jesus cried out in Matthew 27:46, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

The price was paid in full; His work, finished.

In my opinion, to say Jesus’ work on the cross was not finished is to diminish the horror and significance of the cross, something none of the New Testament epistles ever do (see 1 Corinthians 1:23; 2:2).

Finally, Jesus told the thief on the cross, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). It would not make sense for Jesus to actually be saying that only after he descended to hell, three days later raised from the dead, then he would be in paradise. Jesus meant what he said that day. He didn’t ask the thief to save Him a spot next to Abraham while Jesus tended to unfinished business.

Through my study of the Scriptures and with the help of scholars far smarter than I, I confidently believe Jesus was in paradise, not hell.

Check it out for yourself.

For further reading, see this short article by John Piper.

Does the Virgin Birth Matter?

Yes, it has been a while since I have last written.

My excuses are part busyness of the Christmas season at Ekklesia and part laziness. But excuses are lame so I’m not going to make any.

Speaking of Christmas, earlier today I read an article by Albert Mohler (originally posted in 2006) defending the veracity of the Virgin Birth against The New York Times article by Nicholas Kristof, which argued that conservative Christian belief in the Virgin Birth is anti-intellectual.

In his article, Mohler skillfully defends the theological necessity for the Virgin Birth as it relates to the deity of Christ and the doctrine of incarnation. As Christians who claim to believe in the Bible, Mohler states, we should actually believe what it says.

Do Christians need to believe in the Virgin Birth? As one author put it, what would be the big deal if we found out Jesus was actually not born of a virgin? Would anything change?

Everything would change.

Think about it this way:

If Jesus was not born of a virgin, then his mother Mary either had premarital sex with her betrothed, Joseph (a serious offense in that culture) or Mary had an adulterous affair (an even more serious offense.)

While sinful, such acts are not outside God’s power to redeem (take a look at Jesus’s genealogy, Matthew 1:1-17, for a picture of sexual sinners that were redeemed). God can and still does do amazing things in spite of our sinful hearts.

The problem is that instead of admitting her misdeeds, Mary claims that an angel came to her and told her that she was going to birth the Son of God through the Holy Spirit’s conceiving.

So if Jesus was not born of a virgin, then Mary is not only promiscuous but a liar and/or crazy.

But wait, there’s more!

This lying, cheating woman then actually gets everyone to believe her outlandish story (although Joseph was most likely in on it because he saw an angel too). Most of all, she convinces her illegitimate son that he was born of God instead of Larry.

He believes he is the Son of God. He believes he is unique and special and powerful. He believes that he has come to save the world. He believes her so much that he takes on this identity and eventually is killed for a lie.

The problem is that if Mary concocted the idea of the Virgin Birth then he was never the Son of God in the first place.

You see, if Jesus was not born of a virgin then the basis of His whole ministry, life, and death was a lie and everything else that came after Him was just the blind following the blind.

Does the virgin birth matter? I think so.