Stephen K. Bannon is a public figure shrouded in mystery. He’s arguably the person most responsible for the Trump presidency. He is to Donald Trump what Karl Rove was to Bush’s brain. Being the executive chairman of Breitbart News and soon-to-be Counselor to the President, his impact upon our culture is undeniable.
Nearly 180 years ago David Friedrich Strauss analyzed what he called the rationalistic doctrine of historical Jesus studies. It is here where the biblical scholar peels back the layer upon layer of myth and legend associated with the Jesus story in order to arrive at the true kernel of some past individual from which the entire …
Here is the famous closing to Matthew, describing what the post-resurrection Jesus said to his disciples (and all subsequent believers):
16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”
Matthew 28:16-20 (RSV)
Here’s Paul talking about his calling from God:
Let’s look at the Christian concept of “antichrist.”
Using my bible software to search the term I came up with four verses: 1 John 2:18, 1 John 2:22, 1 John 4:3, and 2 John 1:7. Let’s start with 1 John 2:18, RSV:
Children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come; therefore we know that it is the last hour.
Right away you see a problem for Christians, at least if you want to apply notions of the Antichrist to current events. The anonymous author of this passage was probably writing somewhere around 1,900 years ago yet claims to be living in the final hour before Christ’s return. He’s not talking about some date way off in the future. To any honest reader the last hour can only mean one thing: the author assumes he and his readers were living in the end times.
This post is revised from a comment I made over at Reddit on r/DebateAChristian. The original Reddit post, by the brilliant, concerns whether Paul actually preached about an earthly Jesus, the Jesus defined by and understood through the gospels of the New Testament. My argument is that Paul’s letters make far more sense if read in isolation from the gospels.