Friday, December 22, 2006
How Did Jesus Motivate?
In the article before last, I examined the consistency of MacArthur attacking the practice of Driscoll, focusing especially on a promotional video for a youth conference. In the comments, a Tom defended the video with what he thought was an assumption that pastors should motivate teens by offering them the temporal stuff of the youth culture. Are we going to be judged by how we motivate people? Did Jesus leave us an example of how to do that? Does it matter if we follow His example? Is how we motivate people up to judgment? Could the motivation we provide harm the growth of Christian young people and impede the salvation of unbelieving ones? Could the motivation we provide be wood, hay, and stubble, and then cause more wood, hay, and stubble for the ones we motivate? Does it even matter if we do the right thing for the wrong reason?
Tom plainly intimated that giving young people temporal motivation was acceptable and beyond criticism. Of course, we are talking about church here, not what motivates someone to eat at Burger King instead of McDonalds. When someone told the Lord that he wanted to follow Him, the Lord didn't make it easier for him. He said things like: "the Son of Man hath nowhere to lay his head," "let the dead bury the dead," "deny self, take up your cross, and follow me," "lose your life for my sake," "I come not to bring peace but a sword," and "will ye also go away?" In other words, Jesus purposefully attempted to take away the wrong motivation. When people are fed the wrong motivation, they get the wrong idea about Jesus and the life He gives and calls upon men to live. It is not a good thing to give a wrong description of Jesus Christ by associating Him with an unscriptural motive.
Jesus never motivated with fun, frivolity, self-gratification, and temporal attractions. He motivated with Divine truth. He motivated with a patient waiting for His coming. He motivated with His own character or attributes. We don't edify Christians by offering them the temporal crown when the Christian life is about an eternal one. We don't want them giving up their birthrights for a mess of pottage or their identity as the people of God to become the son of Pharoah's daughter.
It would seem that a group that declares their allegiance to the sovereignty of God would depend, well, on the sovereignty of God. The wisdom of this world glorifies man, not God. If the Gospel and Jesus and His Word are not enough, we elevate these worldly things, exalting the creature above the Creator. Is that blasphemous? You tell me. For now, I'll let you decide. I think it is very serious, indicative certainly of a lack of both a reverence for the Lord Jesus Christ and a dependence on the sufficiency of the Word of God. If the Bible is superior to a visitor from Hell, as we see in the rich man and Lazarus, and even above the experience of Peter on the Mt. of Transfiguration, as we see in 2 Peter 1, then how can we possibly be righteous in luring young people with the fads of the youth culture?
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Gift Cards, Decorative Soaps, and Other Observations
There is, isn't there, always something to get at Home Depot? Gorilla Glue. Wide masking tape. A new utility knife. One of those new toilet tank kits. Imagine wrapping one of those up for Christmas. Men do that to their wives. Well, maybe we don't anymore, since someone wrote that it could cool your marriage. What were they talking about? What can warm the deep corners of the heart like a new non-stick-fry-spatula. I'm going to close this thread with the one gift card that works: Starbucks. The Starbucks card takes away the guilt of purchasing a $4 coffee product in a new-age paper cup. It is a pass to spend time in the French embassy that is Starbucks with the normally Euro-looking pierced Goth girl who asks if you want yours with whipped cream (or is it creme?). You can spend time drinking that cup on a table the size of a manhole cover on a little chair with enough room for one bun (and I'm not talking about a biscotti bun). Some could do a McDonalds-hot-beverage-like-lawsuit for tipping in one of the weany leg chairs. Whiplash and luke warm Cafe Mocha softened by a bed of whipped cream. I have to admit, as I think about it: How can I retain manhood and remain in a Starbucks?
At least one more thing as I digress. Decorative Soaps. Why soap? Have you ever tried to lather up with a soap decoration? Sculptured soap should come with a warning for carpel tunnel. They defy the physics of efficient soap use. And then the thought of wearing down the actual decorative quality of the soap to get real usage from it. You know, to get clean, the thing soap is to be, well, for. But some people squeal with delight upon unwrapping, yes, soap on a....rope. Sorry. Give me a bar with some sort of thermodynamics---one that will go round and round in my hand without impersonating a greased pig.
I just imagined giving a psychiatrist a Christmas gift of a soap pocket watch to practice hypnosis. Of course, I don't know any psychiatrists. Some people wish I did, but it would be the perfect gag gift from someone with a hand-washing addiction. "Thank you for this gift and I think it means we are really seeing some progress." I've been in other people's homes, asked to use their bathroom, and looked at their decorative soap displays, usually going with the theme of the bathroom. I wondered what they would think if I took one of them off the little decorative (yes, decorative) platter and used it to wash up afterwards. More than a few times, I've noticed dust on decorative soap. Most people don't think you have to clean soap. It seems redundant. Soap cleans; it must not need to be cleaned. Just an observation, but I think people who dust their soap need a psychiatrist. Can you get a gift card for that?
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
The Pot and the Kettle: MacArthur and Driscoll
I wonder this though: What about the worldliness of John MacArthur and Grace Church? He has long disrespected men who preached and took stands of personal separation. I talked to a pastor who went to a MacArthur meeting in Michigan. Right before MacArthur stood to preach on the holiness of God, an ensemble from his Master's College publically swayed to the seductive rhythm of their contemporary music. I ask you to consider what MacArthur says and then view this trailer for their upcoming youth conference, called Resolved (click on the link for the trailer to watch). John Piper, the featured speaker at the beginning of this trailer, just prominently endorsed Mark Driscoll at his own church in a national conference. Doesn't it seem clear, plainly evident, that these guys are clueless on the doctrine of separation? Where is the discernment? MacArthur warns about Driscoll but he has Piper who endorses Driscoll. Hmmmm. They aren't really that serious about helping people against worldliness, in part because a church like Grace Church got where they are through compromise.
And then you look at the trailer itself. Teens watch this. Lots of guys and girls getting together in the dark, a movie-theater-like environment; the very fuzzy, LSD trip camera shots on the rock guitar and trap set. The low, rumbling rock bass, like something at the beginning of a grunge concert. Here are two concepts that came to my mind: youth culture and drug culture. It is all, to use MacArthur's word---faddish. He dresses everything up just like the world. Young people know this. The trailer finds a common denominator with the world. It says "straddle the fence" all over it, blurring dangerously the lines between theology and self-gratification. If he wants to motivate with godliness and preaching and the Word of God, why does he do it the way he does? Carnal weaponry! Of course, all of this is the pot and kettle metaphor.
MacArthur has written a lot against pragmatism---preached tons against it---from Ashamed of the Gospel to Our Sufficiency in Christ to Reckless Faith. He opines to everybody in several volumes about this kind of stuff, but he won't give it up himself. He himself seems enslaved to it. What's the difference? In his case, he has "liberty," of course, but Driscoll crosses the line into antinomianism. What line? MacArthur's line. This kind of inconsistency in practice results in reckless faith and a lack of discernment, as well as a defiled conscience, things MacArthur regularly goes on and on about (and rightly so---they're good topics....for a separatist). Separation becomes completely subjective, guided by feelings, in MacArthur's world. It all comes across like Driscoll goes beyond MacArthur's comfort zone; that's all. MacArthur is the older school pragmatist, the pot, putting down Driscoll, the newer school pragmatist, the kettle.
I'm interested in your comments.
Monday, December 04, 2006
Do You Pray for an Outpouring of the Spirit?
When I used the term revival, I am speaking of a needed outpouring of the Spirit of God upon the people of God. Evidences of genunine revival are found in places like Acts 2 and Ezra. What happened in the days of Josiah was refreshing as well.
I read through the posts after he made this statement to see if anyone corrected him, and no one did. Neither Bruce, Greg, Stephen, Dave, Bill, Jay, Jim, Ellis, Bob M., Bob T., Ed, Rick, Christian, nor Cindy nor Michelle (women correct theology too at SI) laid a finger on him. Maybe he is just someone no one really takes seriously or that he is off-limits because he fits the SI profile too closely. Do you see anything wrong with the statement?
I wish it was obvious to most. I guess it isn't, though. Peter explained the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2. Jesus prophesied the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in every Gospel and in Acts 1. Peter said that the Acts 2 experience was a fulfillment of Joel 2. He quoted that OT prophecy in his sermon on the Day of Pentecost. Here's the quote from verses 28-32:
And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: and on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: and I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke: the sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: and it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.We know that Acts 2 fulfilled Joel 2, but it could not be more than a partial or pre- fulfillment. The sun to darkness and the moon to blood were missing on the Day of Pentecost. The ultimate fulfillment for which Acts 2 was a sample will occur in the tribulation period when the Holy Spirit is outpoured on the Jews.
So this is the outpouring of the Spirit passage. The Spirit was poured out on saved, immersed believers, accompanied by signs and wonders. Pastor Roof says:
Evidences of genunine revival are found in places like Acts 2.What were the evidences in Acts 2? Pastor Joe says that we are to look for evidences of revival there, proof of genuine Holy Spirit outpouring. Look at verses 2-4:
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.Even if we don't get the blood and the darkness, according to Pastor Joe, we should at least hear the sound of "rushing mighty wind," see "cloven tongues like as of fire," and "begin to speak with other tongues" (languages).
Joe says we need to be praying for this. Were the saints of that first church at Jerusalem praying for it? Yes. They were praying for the Holy Spirit to come. Do you know why? Because He hadn't come to all of them yet. I pray for the kingdom to come like the Lord told us in Matthew 6 and Luke 11, but I know that it will still not be coming until after the tribulation time on the earth.
The Holy Spirit will not be outpoured upon us because we don't need an outpouring. We already have the Person of the Holy Spirit. That One Person indwells each believer. I can't have another one of Him because He is only One, and I can't have more of Him because He is a Person. You either have a Person or you don't.
When we pray to God for something that He has already given us, that isn't a prayer in God's will. It is at least an ignorant prayer, if not worse. It is a faithless prayer that refuses to recognize what God has already done. He already poured out the Holy Spirit in answer to the prayers of that Jerusalem church that they offered to God between the ascension of Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2. It could be unthankful to keep praying for the Holy Spirit. If we already have the Holy Spirit, we should be thanking God for Him, instead of continuing to ask for Him. If you keep praying that prayer from now on, it will be a rebellious one too. It also has a crazy quality to it. If my wife is in the room, then I don't keep asking her to be in the room. She's already there. It would be borderline insanity to keep asking her to be in the room. She would rather have me acknowledge her presence and then take advantage of the benefits of it. The Holy Spirit as a Person would not be different than this.
What people want is an experience. Of course, Jesus repudiated seeking for these types of experiences. He said that a "wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign" (Matthew 16:4). People may deny it, but reaching for these kinds of extrascriptural events fits into a false view of sanctification. God wants us to yield to His Spirit, the One we already possess (Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20). We are commanded to be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). Instead of passing off the responsibility for "revival" on the need for a "fresh outpouring," we should just obey the Holy Spirit who is already here. If revival doesn't come, it won't be because we don't have what it takes, but because we were not willing to take advantage of what God has already given us.
I might say more about this in my next post.
This fits into the Keswick or higher life view of sanctification and second blessing theology, which does not represent historic, orthodox doctrine.
A Case Study in Fake Tolerance Part 2
Nowadays, there are many different perceptions of Jesus, some think he was a reincarnation of John the Baptist or one of the prophets like Elijah or Jeremiah while other thing he was God’s Son. I probably don't need to tell you that the word "perceptions" is very ambiguous. People who reject Jesus Christ will form an opinion about Him different from the truth. They must do so if they are going to hang on to their own and contradictory view of the world. The author here could have been referring to a passage actually in the New Testament, which, of course, isn't "nowadays." Let me quote it from Mark 6:14-16. It is a very fitting text. The one who composed this article reminds me of Herod in the story:
And king Herod heard of him; (for his name was spread abroad:) and he said, That John the Baptist was risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him. Others said, That it is Elias. And others said, That it is a prophet, or as one of the prophets. But when Herod heard thereof, he said, It is John, whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead.Herod Antipas, a person living in an incestuous relationship, theorized that Jesus was a resurrection of John the Baptist, despite the fact that it was he himself that had ordered John decapitated and his head placed on a platter. The chances of Jesus being John the Baptist then, almost 2000 years ago---zero---are the same "nowadays."
Within Christendom, there are wide variations in terms of the understanding of who Jesus is. The mysterious Sikh writer is correct in this statement. Of course, we don't care what the opinion of so-called "Christendom" is, but we are interested in what the Bible says. It says this about Jesus:
John 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.Pastor Kent Brandenburg’s Perception of Sikhs. So, given all confusion about who was Jesus, it would be really foolish to consider Jesus as one-way ticket to haven (sic) as Pastor Kent Brandenburg would like for Sikhs to believe in his “Please Consider These Words of Love My Sikh Friend” Gospel presentation which is designed to convert Sikhs into Christianity. It would be foolish not to consider Jesus as the only way to heaven. The Lord Jesus Christ was God, God in the flesh, Who came to this earth to provide a way of salvation to a sinful world.
John 12:46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.
Acts 4:12 (speaking of Jesus) Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
Philippians 2:11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Colossians 1:16-18 16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.One particular section directly attacks Sikhism and reads, "Without believing in Jesus Christ, you, my Sikh friend, will die in your sins, and in so doing, will be condemned to Hell forever" When Sikhism contradicts the Bible, Sikhism or any other ism, is wrong. Anyone who does not believe in Jesus Christ will be condemned to Hell forever. John 3:18, "He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." John 3:36, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."
Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Galatians 1:4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
Hebrews 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
1 Peter 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
1 John 3:5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.
In this presentation Kent goes on to rant about how Sikh gurus "died and stayed dead," whereas Jesus Christ defeated death. This particular comment is great insult to the founders of Sikh religion and serves as an ideal example of Christian supremacy movement at work in our own back yard. The Bible is God's Word, and God and His Word are supreme over everyone and everything. Jesus did defeat death.
Matthew 28:7 And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.
John 21:14 This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead.
1 Corinthians 15:3, 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:
Acts 1:11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
1 Corinthians 15:55-57 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Pastor Kent Brandenburg: A Catalyst for Christian Supremacy. Traces of more Christian supremacy actions are found on Kent’s web blog. I like to encourage all the readers to read Kent’s blog entries and also posted comments by his followers. On his blog, he is shielding his acts of Christian supremacy under the good old Jesus saying, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." He is using this quote as license to spread Christian supremacy. Whatever contradicts the truth must be error. The Bible is the truth. Christianity is only true if it is Biblical Christianity, made up of a people who believe and practice the Bible. The Bible is God's Word. Jesus is the only way for eternal life.
Furthermore, in one of his blog entries, he goes on talking about Christianity and states, “…It is also something that has been preached here in this country since the first Pilgrims got off the Mayflower.” This remark is clear indication that Kent’s perception is that The United States is a Christian nation. I haven't said that the U. S. is a Christian nation. I believe that the Bible message of salvation has been preached just like we preach it since the Pilgrims came shore. This is true. Consider just a sampling:
Benjamin Rush (signer of Declaration of Independence): "My only hope of salvation is in the infinite, transcendent love of God manifested to the world by the death of His Son upon the cross. Nothing but His blood will wash away my sins. I rely exclusively upon it. Come, Lord Jesus! Come quickly!"
Roger Sherman (signer of Dec. of Indep. and Constitution): "I believe that there is one only living and true God, existing in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. . . . that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are a revelation from God. . . . that God did send His own Son to become man, die in the room and stead of sinners, and thus to lay a foundation for the offer of pardon and salvation to all mankind so as all may be saved who are willing to accept the Gospel offer."
John Witherspoon (signer of Declaration of Independence): "I entreat you in the most earnest manner to believe in Jesus Christ, for there is no salvation in any other [Acts 4:12]. . . . [I]f you are not reconciled to God through Jesus Christ, if you are not clothed with the spotless robe of His righteousness, you must forever perish."
John Hancock (signer of Declaration of Independence): "I. . . appoint . . . a day of public thanksgiving and praise . . . to render to God the tribute of praise for His unmerited goodness towards us . . . by giving to us . . . the Holy Scriptures which are able to enlighten and make us wise to eternal salvation. . . . And to pray that He would forgive our sins and . . . cause the religion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to be known, understood, and practiced among all the people of the earth."
About this, the Sikh author writes: This is narrow-minded statement and again it helps to prove that Kent is brain washing his followers (blog readers) to adopt his views and support spread of Christian supremacy while disrespecting other religions of world. In light of the above quotes and dozens of others, who really is doing the brainwashing? The respect afforded all religion in the U. S. is freedom to believe and practice it. That does not necessitate equality to all religion. Sikhs have come to this country from a predominantly Sikh country. Why could Sikhism not do for Punjab what Scripture and Biblical Christianity has done for the United States? I think it is a legitimate question.
He continues: The Sikhs What Can I do? As American Sikh Citizens, Let us defend our religious rights and stop ill minded pastors like Kent from bullying Sikhs. No one has even hinted that Sikhs lose religious rights. And I guarantee you that I am not ill-minded, but of sound mind and body by the grace of God. And we in no way have bullied any Sikh by producing a pamphlet that expresses what Scripture teaches about Sikh doctrine.
What do you think?
A Case Study in Fake Tolerance
Here's the headline of a link that was sent to me. I'm going to take the article, written by the mysterious editor of MyGurdwara.com, who states that he or she represents a faction within the Sikh temple here in El Sobrante, California.
The headline reads: Pastor Kent Brandenburg Attacks Sikh Religion. It could read: "Pastor Kent Brandenburg Preaches Gospel to the Sikhs" or "Pastor Kent Brandenburg Offers Biblical Way of Salvation to Sikh People," all depending upon your perspective. We live in a pluralistic society, not a relativistic society. In a pluralistic society, competition exists in the marketplace of ideas. Coke might be intolerant of Pepsi, but Coke can't shut down Pepsi. I believe the Bible. Sikhism contradicts the Bible. It is obvious I can't tolerate the doctrine of Sikhism if I believe the Bible.
Incidentally, I'm exposing Sikh doctrine. That's all. I love the Sikh people. I love the Punjab Indians who have chosen to immigrate to this very pluralistic country. They are free to worship here as they choose. However, I don't love any false doctrine. I hate it. I hate what it does to the people who believe and accept it. I can't accept any doctrine that contradicts Scripture. The Word of God is truth (John 17:17). Sikhism and the Bible cannot both be true. Tolerating both doctrines disrespects the whole realm of theology. It places theology below movies, restaurants, and paper-or-plastic that are worth making a fuss about. I can't legitimately claim Biblical truth and also tolerate Sikh doctrine. I think this is easy for a person to understand, but the Sikhs are simply taking advantage of a very sentimental, mushy thinking culture that prioritizes feelings above everything.
After the bombastic title, the author goes on (I will put his material in italics, and my comments in regular print): Brief History Of Jesus In The Context Of Christianity: It is a general fact that the story of Jesus as presented in the four gospels of the New Testament is essentially a piece of fiction because there are not authentic references to such a figure in the works of any historians of the early 1st century. This statement alone is far worse than anything that I have written. I haven't attempted to revise what the Sikhs say that they believe. I take what they say at face value. This statement, however, does not do that. It repudiates the veracity of the Bible and Jesus Christ. On top of that, it contradicts everything these Sikhs are telling me to do or that they say that they believe. How can you say that your religion is all about a certain kind of tolerance and then have it actually be about that very kind of intolerance? I mean, I don't care if the Sikhs state disagreements with what I believe, but they are the ones that have a problem with it when other people do it, so it smacks of total hypocrisy.
With regards to the statement. It is so patently false that it should ruin the credibility of the article and its author right from the start. A lot of historic evidence of Jesus Christ exists outside of the Bible. One of a few I'll quote is Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus, who recorded information pertaining to Jesus. In 115 A.D., Tactius wrote about the great fire in Rome:
Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberious at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their center and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths, Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired. Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of charioteer or stood aloft on a car. Hence, even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man's cruelty, that they were being destroyed.Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, a member of a priestly family and who became a Pharisee at the age of 19, became the court historian for Emperor Vespasian. In The Antiquities, he wrote about many persons and events of first century Palestine. He makes two references to Jesus. The first reference is believed associated with the Apostle James:
These historical writings predated the completion of the New Testament. Josephus died in 97 A.D.
[H]e brother of Jesus, who was called Christ.
At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus. And his conduct was good and (he) was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. And those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive, accordingly, he was perhaps the messiah concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders.
Then the Sikh apologist continues: The pre-gospel writings of the early Christians also make no reference to the life and teachings of a recent historical Jesus. Here's an important point on this: There were no pre-gospel writings of early Christians. Pre-Gospel writings would have been the intertestamental books. The Gospels were the earliest Christian writings. However, even the false gospels, not part of Scripture, include many writings concerning Jesus Christ.
I'll post the rest of his letter and answers tomorrow, but you can see that he doesn't start very well. I'll let you know in advance that his work doesn't go up hill from here.