Monday, December 04, 2006

A Case Study in Fake Tolerance

I need to use this space to argue. Stick with me. A new wave of Sikh mail has come to me in response to a second round of articles written by one of them to keep alive something certain Sikhs protest that they want to abolish. Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet: "The lady doth protest too much." This issue could die without its continual resuscitation. At least let me be offensive first. I haven't even done anything since my 7 minute bout of handing out pamphlets at a Sikh parade. They were the ones with the loudspeakers and chants. I was the quiet one with sheets of paper.

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, 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:

[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.

These historical writings predated the completion of the New Testament. Josephus died in 97 A.D.

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.


Anonymous said...

In this customized template design to convert Sikhs to your church, you use the word "sabib" about 11 times. Its very funny that you kept using it over and over without really thinking once what it means. There is no "Sabib" in punjabi language. At first I thought it was a typo but you kept using it and underlined it over and over to show me and rest of Sikhs how little you know of Sikhism. I think all that effort really back fired at you coz.. me and my friends really thought this was clever but not so smart thing to do for a pastor. Also, great job on copy and pasting least you tried to sound like you read but but understood the Sikh literature you refrenced...heheheheh!

Nice try but you gotta do more homework before you put out something like this.

Anonymous said...

I just want to mention the following: "Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead... Neither is there salvationin any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." Acts 4:10,12 THIS IS WHAT THE WORD OF GOD SAYS AND IS TRUTH


Kent Brandenburg said...

Anonymous 1,

I went through my post and I didn't find the word "Sabib" in there. Thanks for the heads up though.

Anonymous said...

Hi Pastor Brandenburg,

I see you are back on SI in some form.

Anonymous said...

Least I repeat myself......
"The greatest form of flattery is impersonation"....which appears to me is happening with the famous or is it infamous Pastor B?

Regardless, I didn't find the word Sabib in the blog....but then again I dont speak that language..


Ruth said...

Strange words in the blog, but then again a lot of words are that way. My comment is quite simple....
"the day will come when every knee will bow, every tongue shall confess...." But then again, I bet you knew that....and I beleive it is the only most of us do....up here ..on..

Blessings Hill

Anonymous said...

Well Christians will continue to preach the Gospel and pray that unsaved would believe upon the Name of Christ and be saved.

Acts 16:30-31

Born Again Christian