Better Scriptures

The beauty of John’s Gospel, with passages like, “God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten son,” is part of a racist, 2nd-Century forgery, according to Tony Jones, the Emergent Evangelist. But he does respect the Didache, and wrote a book praising its virtues. The brook promo explains:

[The Didache] is “the most important book you’ve never heard of.” It spells out a way of life for Jesus-followers, including how to show one another the love of God, how to practice the Eucharist, and how to take in wandering prophets. (from The Didache Online)

imageHere is classic irrelevance from the Emergent-Postmodern world: “how to take in wandering prophets.” The answer is found in the Didache, an ancient and mysterious book now embraced by Emergent Church leaders.

Didache is the Greek word for “teaching”. The book was mildly-popular for a while, beginning in the 2nd Century. Although it claims to be “The Teaching of the 12”, the authorship was never known, although it probably was Jewish. Nobody thinks it was penned by any of the 12 disciples.

It is a very silly book, however, bloated with rules for baptism, fasting, “the Eucharist”, and tons of arbitrary ethics. Fun-city. It plagiarizes parts of the New Testament, adds silly thoughts, and redefines biblical Christianity (a cause shared by Jones).  Scholarly consensus agrees the Didache was in circulation as early as 110 AD, but as a PhD candidate, Jones says it was written much earlier by the original Jewish-Christian community. He certainly places it earlier than John’s forged gospel.

If this review is too harsh, read a few excerpts from the Didache (with my “study notes” in brackets):1

  • You should love those who hate you, and then you shall have no enemies. [Really? “No enemies…” Why was Jesus surrounded by so many enemies all the way to His grave?]
  • If someone takes from you what is yours, don’t ask for it back. You really cannot. [No, wrong! I really can!]
  • Give to every one who asks you, and don’t ask for it back. [Fat chance!]
  • Don’t be a filthy talker or allow your eyes a free reign, for these lead to adultery. [Potty-mouths, beware!]
  • If you have anything, by your hands you should give ransom for your sins. [Didn’t Jesus pay our ransom?]
  • Do not hesitate to give, and do not complain about it. [Isn’t this called “enabling”?]
  • For if you are able to bear the entire yoke of the Lord, you will be perfect; but if you are not able, then at least do what you can. [I.e., “Do what you can” – no dummy wrote this one!]
  • Your fasts should not be with the hypocrites, for they fast on Mondays and Thursdays. You should fast on Wednesdays and Fridays. [Probably won’t stop hypocrisy.]
  • If any prophet speaks in the Spirit, you shall not try or judge him; for every sin will be forgiven, but this sin cannot be forgiven. [Obviously written by a Pentecostal.]

So go the ramblings of the Didache. Go buy Jones’ book to study it more. Read it online for a real hoot, or listen to Jones read it. Then praise God there were people with enough brains to recognize it as just another one of the Pseudepigrapha2 floating around at the time.

As I said before, it’s a wake-up call. Solomon’s Porch is loaded with people just like you and I. How could they get sucked into this?

  1. Excerpted from Tony Jones’ Online Translation of the Didache. []
  2. Pseudepigrapha are falsely attributed works, texts whose claimed authorship is unfounded;” – from Pseudepigraph, Wikipedia. []

4 thoughts on “Better Scriptures

  1. kbrooks

    Does Jones actually say this work is inspired by God? Or that neither the Didache nor the Bible is inspired? The Bible sure offers a lot of practical advice on how to live as Christians, so I’m not sure how this book is supposed to help. I don’t get why you’d bother calling yourself a Christian if you don’t believe the Bible.

  2. Keith Post author

    Sorry for the delay, because it’s a great question Kalie.

    T. Jones is astonishingly canny, and seems to subscribe to a Neo-Orthodox view of inspiration, not unlike R. Bultmann or Karl Barth, which means the “Word behind the Word” is inspired, but not the literal text. Obviously he holds a low view of the Synoptics, Johannine and Pauline texts, as I described in “Wake Up Call”. It puts the authority of the message in the hands of the interpreter and away from the text.

    No, he doesn’t say the Didache is inspired, per se, although he strongly pushes primitive church origins (early-dates it), and certainly reveres it. You really don’t have to bring divine inspiration into the picture in order to put extra-biblical writings on equal par with the Bible. The Roman Catholic tradition is loaded with “Best Practices” for biblical addendums. Jones leverages classic Postmodern Emergent-Speak by stating ambiguous truth with uncertain certainty, and scoffing derisively at anyone who would advocate authoritative truth.

    For an education on how T. Jones uses Emergent Speak, watch this video:

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