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November 01, 2013


Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” (John 18:37)

The term "magic carpenter" simply indicates that this person is not of the truth and in fact wasted 40 years of his/her life. sad.

Fantastic response Amy!

You in fact can say it's silly but certainly not shallow. Doesn't the fact that a 40 year long church member can deem it as silly? Instead of using the bible (which he clearly already discredits) to poke holes in his claim why not envoke some sort of common sense arguement that passes the smell test?

Awesome essay, Amy.

So was Jesus a carpenter or not?

I don't actually think that he was a carpenter, because his parables don't mention anything carpentry related much. He does mention farming, fishing and slavery a lot. So I'm thinking he may have spent his early years in agriculture and food related things. Just because his father was a carpenter doesn't mean that he did carpentry also. As for magic I'm thinking he had a few tricks up his sleeves.

I'm sorry the guy wasted 40 years to find out the truth.

If it takes 40 years to conclude that Love is not, in and by ontological necessity, the supreme Ethic in all possible worlds in and by Immutable Love's necessarily triune E Pluribus Unum, one has either mis-read or ignored actuality's brutally repeatable moral experience inside this clearly contingent observational matrix.

John, the word used in Greek for Jesus' profession is 'artisan'. We aren't for sure if he was a carpenter, so it might have been something else. Just a thought.

David, "Instead of using the Bible" is what leads to notions like "magic carpenter in the first place. Jesus was known as the carpenter's son (Mat 13:55)but other than the end of Luke 2, nothing is said about Jesus' life. before his baptism. In acts, we're told his miracles- not magic- were by the Holy Spirit. When we set aside our Bibles, we set aside our foundation, placing us on the same unstable ground as the unbelievers.

When we set aside our Bibles, we set aside our foundation, placing us on the same unstable ground as the unbelievers.


Amy, where is the original post this is responding to?

Hi Carolyn, I figured she was referring to "AJG", or "Staircaseghost", either way, they both have made similarly "wild strawman characterizations" AND have claimed to be experts in Christianity from long years of participation. Recently W/L exposed some of their nonsense, but this post and points made by Amy speak to a more serious issue regarding the modern evangelical church. Consider Jesus' 1/2 bro, James' careful attitude at 3:1

"Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment."

Would that many of these modern charismatic hirelings that Amy is rightfully calling out would actually read and consider James' ominous and caring warning found there.

Carolyn, the comment can be found by a search (this post is an adaptation of my second response to him), but I didn't post a link because first, I didn't want to humiliate the guy (it wasn't either of the people mentioned above). And second, Brad is right – my main goal in posting this wasn't to call out the atheist, it was to call out the Church.

I've visited many churches before that taught Jesus, the magic carpenter. They may not have used those words, but the Jesus of moralistic sermons (if he shows up at all) is a small and silly Jesus. He's disconnected from history, He's disconnected from theology, He's disconnected from majesty, He's disconnected from glory, He's disconnected from the Gospel. We are reaping what we've sown.

The good news is, I've seen two churches profoundly change the focus of their preaching over the years, and that gives me hope for more.

Love does the impossible. He always has. Many of His motions are quite casual, quite unhurried, often through a person, occasionally in Person. At times all at once pouring in in what we typically define as a miracle. We have not because we ask not. It is good both to ask and trust. Necessary even. C.S. Lewis cautions that it seems to be only at great ganglions of history when overt miracles pile up in rapid sequence. Love's motions never cease to amaze me; the good gifts He pours into a life, my life. Now, there comes a nuance, a point, a moment, which is quite dangerous. That nuance is the bit in me which chases after the miracle, which uses "it" as the "yardstick". Deuteronomy 13: 1-3 combined with Matthew 24:24 reveal the misleading results that subtle drive in me will yield. Love Himself, and His Love, is, must be, the final yardstick. Miracles do happen, it is error to say they don't and we're told of at least two prophets yet to come on scene with quite radical versions of such. Again, at those great ganglions of history, though the more casual ebbs of Love doing the impossible seem ever present. He has done great and lovely things to me, for me. Impossible things. Good things.

Love does that. We can trust that He always will.

Thank you, Amy, for the explanation. I had never heard the phrase "Magic Christian" before and wondered if I'd missed a recent post (though I wasn't able to locate it going back a number of weeks). The concept, of course, was clear and your response was excellent. I share your concern for the church--that it has bought into not just A false gospel, but many. The "faith and prosperity" message stands out in my mind as particularly odious, while it tickles the ears of its listeners. The whole emphasis on "me, myself and I" within the body is cause for a huge wake-up call, one which we would all do well to listen to. Thanks for your response.

Okay, now it's all coming back to me. (So strange that the term escaped me until now--and I had responded to the comment! Yikes!) Anyway, 40 years of life as a "Christian" yet lacking the foundations of the faith, the Truth of God and His character, the Truth of His revealed Word, and the Truth of our condition as human beings--wow, what a waste of time. How ironic, in a dark way, that he thinks he had a complete grip on all of it and that he knew it all, when he actually knew nothing at all. So very sad. One can only wonder how many others warmed seats in that church and came away empty.

I think people should read moose's comments over again and reconsider whether he really thinks that Christians believe that Jesus was a magic carpenter.

'Mark' says he was a carpenter.
There's a story about him turning water into wine.

If you don't believe these things and want to annoy somebody who does (Maybe you just don't care if they are annoyed.), then you might say that Christian doctrine is 'Jesus was a magic carpenter'.

I think that's moose. I think he knows that Christians believe God exists and Jesus was God.

Most of the things Jesus is credited with (water/wine/walking/fish/loaves/etc.) do seem more befitting a stage magician than the creator of the universe. Yet, the people were amazed.

Of course, if some one really did any of these things (let alone raise the dead or from death) that would be amazing.

But as it stands, all we have is the stories.


Well here we go again, with the dim view of the legitimacy of Scripture, the skepticism of God's revelation and, consequently, the reality of God at all! Do the skeptics and atheists here never tire of rehashing over and over again every single tenet of Christianity and getting the same responses? Loud and clear, hear this: We who are Christians have heeded the call of Christ. We have FAITH in our Creator, Lord, and Savior. We believe the Bible is His inspired Word. We believe it when it tells us that Christ performed miracles. We believe that Christ suffered and died for our sins on the cross. We believe He rose from the dead, victorious over sin and Satan, and that He sits at the right hand of the Father. We believe He sent the Holy Spirit to fill us and dwell in us~ to guide us, correct us, and lead us in living Godly lives worthy of the sacrifice made by our Lord and Savior. We believe there is sin and that Christ will ultimately judge that sin. We believe there is a place prepared for those who have placed their faith in Christ, and it's called heaven. We believe that those who deny Christ will not go there, but they will have the opportunity to stand before Him in their denial and accept the consequence of their rebellion.

You have been given adequate information (many, many times over) to know the answers to the objections you pose. None of the insults to our faith and our God persuade us to abandon its truth; none of your puff-out-your-chest pride in your "superior" reasoning abilities sways us to dump this relationship with God which we know to be true and real! You have made your own decisions quite clear and are free to stick with them to the end. That you do so at your own peril is a concept that continually falls on your deaf ears and evokes only pity from Believers. Pray that you will have your eyes opened...


What is your view of the Koran?


How about the Gospel of Thomas?

The other non-canonical Gospels?

RonH is a contrarian.


Carolyn said I had a dim view of scripture.

So I asked her for her view the Koran and the Gospel of Thomas, and other non-canonical Gospels.

How about you?

Do you have a high view of these documents?

Why or why not?



I have better things to do with my time than argue with a man that loves to argue for fun. No thanks.


You read an apologetics blog.
You have better things to do than engage someone who questions the blog.

The appearance this gives is that you find arguments appealing only if they affirm what you already believe.

I am not the topic but: I don't love to argue for fun. I argue for what I think is true or against what I think is false - because of my feelings for the truth.


You asked what my view of the Quran is and I will attempt to answer that briefly here.

While there are some similar themes and points in the Quran that sound something like Christianity, it is the differences that are profound. It seems Muslims live by rules and dictates that they must obey to keep the good works side of the scales heavier than their sin side. They view God (Allah) as far and distant and await judgment with the hope that their compliance with the rules stores up sufficient merit to allow them into paradise. Hence, the burden is upon the efforts toward goodness of the individual for eternal reward.

Christianity brought Christ into this world as the only One who could settle the score, since our righteous deeds could NEVER remove the sins we are guilty of. Christ, in history, revealed, played out, and satisfied the truth of God and man--that we are all guilty of sin, that we can't fix it through good works, regardless of how many they are: but God can and DID. While the Jews were initially the revealed, favored people of God, they demonstrated their complete inability to walk with God on HIS terms. Though Christ's suffering and death took care of that for them, they could not stomach such a blow to the system of countless rules they had set up, and deplored the thought of a suffering Savior; so they did all they could to distance themselves from this one they saw as an imposter.
While His life and death overcame all the rules and laws, in this One person they were all perfectly fulfilled.

Interestingly, the Quran omits the historic Jewish nation, replacing the accounts of Abraham's son Isaac (through his Jewish wife Sara) with his son Ishmael (through his wife's servant Hagar). This was the birth of the Muslim nation--a fierce, strong and powerful nation who would war against the people of Isaac. Clearly, that conflict remains at the center of Mid-east tensions to this day. I believe that the Great Deceiver has successfully confused and misled these people and allowed a counterfeit "gospel" to spread all over the world. But they are no more misled than the Western brand of atheists and agnostics who have been duped as well. That which appeals to "self" as the center of belief and upon which all else is dependent, regardless of what it is named, is the counterfeit of the Truth of Christ.

I, too, argue for what is True, RonH. And my feelings for the Truth of Christ run deep.

"You read an apologetics blog. You have better things to do than engage someone who questions the blog."

I have time for honest questions.
Yours don't qualify.

"The appearance this gives is that you find arguments appealing only if they affirm what you already believe."

You will never arrive at the truth when your first assumption is false.

"I am not the topic but: I don't love to argue for fun."

The evidence says otherwise.

"I argue for what I think is true or against what I think is false - because of my feelings for the truth."

Ah that's where you took the wrong turn. Your feelings have nothing to do with the truth.

The fact that you argue with every position Greg takes defines you as a contrarian.


My questions are honest.

This particular one has to do with your method of evaluating what is scripture and what is not.

I asked it because Carolyn said my view of scripture was dim.

I assume she meant that I don't believe the main claims Christians make about the Bible. If so, she's right.

But she does believe these claims.

So I wanted to know what method she used in deciding, if that is the right word, to believe the Bible and not the Koran.

She has taken this honest question at face value and answered it.

Carolyn, thanks. I will reply.

I often disagree with Greg & Co. But it is equally true to say he is usually taking the opposite view to me. This doesn't make him contrarian, however because that's not what the word means. He had his views before I posted my disagreement and I understand that. Do you?

Here's an example where I agreed with Greg & Co. - at least in part - and said so: I think forcing a Christian wedding photographer to work a gay wedding is unconstituitonal.


I really appreciate the time you took to answer me.

As I said to Lumbergh, because you called my view of the Bible 'dim', I asked your view of the Koran.

You've given a great answer - your view of the Koran or Islam - as a Christian.

But what I really wanted to know was: What method did you use prior to being a Christian - to decide to believe the Bible and not the Koran.

Sorry for not being clear. My fault.

Maybe you were never in a position to make such a decision. Maybe you were a Christian for a long time before hearing about Islam (or other alternatives). In that case the question is hypothetical.

Again sorry for the missed communication. The fault is all mine. And thanks for your answer.


It's odd. This blog seemed to get a big increase in spam right after requiring CAPTCHA for every comment.

RonH, I'm completely in the dark about what CAPTCHA is, unless that's the verification thing used to post a comment. What do the letters stand for?? You're right, there has been a lot of puzzling stuff posted recently!

I think I knew what you were asking, Ron, and I understood why you were asking. The short reply to that is this: For me to go back and explain the methodology used to determine the veracity of what I accept to be Truth, would entail explaining the steps I took to determine the reliability of Scripture, the steps I took to reflect and study about the character and nature of God and of man (from that same Scripture), and how it all resonated with reality. Doing this, it seems to me, simply re-starts the whole argument about whether Scripture is accurate or not, whether God even exists, and whether Christianity even correlates to reality. Gosh, we've had untold number of blogs and threads covering these issues here and I just didn't want to reinvent the wheel!

However, if your question is on a purely personal level, like, "How did you come about choosing Christ over the many other "paths" or options out there (including atheism)?" then it's a question about discernment and the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Here is how I can answer that:

I was raised as a Catholic, attended Catholic school through high school and eventually asked some questions that threatened to get me "excommunicated" by my pastor (per his words). I came home and decided I didn't want to be part of something that discouraged me from thinking. I wound up leaving Catholicism and I did so at no small price. My entire large family was Catholic and my parents pretty much disowned me. It was ugly and it got uglier through the years. I determined to be "nothing"--no religious affiliation of any kind. I was young, in college, and decided that I didn't need the God I met through Catholicism. My Mother eventually told me I was a bad influence on my siblings and that I shouldn't come home from college to visit.

A number of years later, I was the mother of two young children, and our 4 year old daughter came to me one day and asked, "Mommy, where do people go when they die?" I was caught off-guard and didn't want to give her information from a Catholic perspective since I had rejected that, but I realized I didn't have an adequate answer for her. So I essentially told her I would get back to her with an answer. And I got busy investigating every faith group I could find to learn about them. I spent a full year and a half inviting the Hare Krishnas, the Jehovah Witnesses, the Mormons, etc. into our home. I visited the Paramansah Yogananda Fellowship, discoursed with Hindus and anyone and everyone I could find to explain their belief system. All I can say is that not one of them satisfied me in terms of answering the questions that rose in my heart and soul. We had recently moved to the home we were in and a neighbor (mother of one of my daughter's friends) kept badgering me to do a "Bible study" with her; I kept declining, not wanting to be rude but not having any desire to go back to what I deemed to be "Quasi-Catholic" teaching. Ultimately, I came up empty-handed with my search, and not long after, my neighbor appeared at my door with her offer again. This time I was rude and disgusted with her for annoying me so much and pretty much yelled at her and she left. Then I yelled and screamed at "god" for being a fake and a delusion, vowing to never have anything to do with spiritual things again. I was immediately convicted that I HAD left one stone unturned, namely the persistent neighbor and her offer. I reluctantly called her up, apologized for my rudeness to her, and agreed to do the study. What should have been a half-hour study each week became a three to six hour study as I devoured the Truth I had missed for so many years as a Catholic. I was a sponge and I drank from that well and couldn't get enough. There wasn't the slightest doubt in my mind that at last I was finding what I searched for.

I know now, of course, that God had protected me through all the searching I did--that it was He who was beckoning me all along, and that He had used our daughter as the vehicle to that great venture. Nothing ever answered the deepest cries of my heart or the deepest needs of my soul that the Truth of God provided. At last I had something to share with my daughter to answer her question! That walk began 36 years ago and it has never ended; He has taken the proper place in my soul, in my life and in my world.

Now this can all be called subjective, and on some level I guess it is. But I think that's because God is a personal being and He knows us intimately. He knew the turmoil of my soul, my deep desire to be a good mother to my children and instruct them truthfully; He knew what I needed to go through to convince me of His reality and of my need for Him.

Not sure if that's the sequencing you were anticipating or not, Ron, but that's how it went!

"My questions are honest."

Depends on what you mean by honest. Since I am the one making the claim, my definition should be the one in question - not yours.

By honest I mean open minded. One who will agree to go where the evidence leads. Where one agrees that the most logical answer is the most likely to be true.

I'm sure you see yourself as open minded using my definition. But as I said earlier, the evidence says otherwise.

The fact that you argue against every point that Greg makes no matter how self-evident his position may be, defines you as a contrarian.

"I often disagree with Greg & Co. But it is equally true to say he is usually taking the opposite view to me. This doesn't make him contrarian, however because that's not what the word means. He had his views before I posted my disagreement and I understand that. Do you?"

"A contrarian is a person who takes up a contrary position"

Since Greg is posting to a blog and you are responding to his post (and Greg is not responding to your comments), it is only possible for you to be the contrarian in the case.

You have now taken a contrarian position on being a contrarian. Thanks for making my point.

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