Tuesday, June 7, 2011

FacePalm of the Day #86 - Debunking Christianity: Jesus Was Baptized for His Sins

I've noticed quite a few posts on Debunking Christianity from TGBaker. I guess John Loftus needs help eisogeting scripture. It really pains me to see scripture abused in this way, based on some unfounded presuppositions. I've annotated one of these posts with my comments in red font.

I would like to present an atheistic bible study, an observation or interpretation, I believe explains the re-working of the original story of Jesus and John the Baptist by the authors of Matthew and Luke. This is with the understanding that Matthew and Luke use Mark in their compositions. In Mark Jesus is baptized into ( eis) the remission of sins. The preposition “eis” means from out of a state to into a different state or place. This preposition in Mark is redacted (re-worked or edited) by Matthew.

"Observation" and "interpretation" are not synonymous. The thought that Matthew and Luke use Mark in their compositions is still only a theory, but let's leave that aside for the time being. Only a point that is in the text can be observed and any interpretation can be shoehorned into any text. First the observation that "eis" is used in the narrative in Mark describing Jesus' baptism. Let's look at Mark. No text reference is given but it seems that he is referring to the following:

9 At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. - Mark 1:9 (NIV)

However the author seems to want to translate this verse to say that Jesus was baptized to get rid of his sin. But I can't find a single English translation that agree with this author. What about Matthew?

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. - Matthew 3:13 (NIV)

Hmmm...reads the same in English. Let's see if he's right about the Greek texts?

Τότε παραγίνεται Ἰησοῦς ἀπὸ τῆς Γαλιλαίας ἐπὶ τὸν Ἰορδάνην πρὸς τὸν Ἰωάννην τοῦ βαπτισθῆναι ὑπ' αὐτοῦ. - Matthew 3:13

Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις ἦλθεν Ἰησοῦς ἀπὸ Ναζαρὲτ τῆς Γαλιλαίας καὶ ἐβαπτίσθη εἰς τὸν Ἰορδάνην ὑπὸ Ἰωάννου. Mark 1:9

Can you really get out of these passages what TGBaker says you can. I don't think so.

The statement of what the baptism is for in Matthew is dropped. We see the term "into the remission of sins' added instead by Matthew to the pericope of the Last Supper. 26:28. There communion becomes for the remission of sin. Matthew creates a conversation where John the Baptist tries to prevent Jesus from being baptized and Jesus tells him to go on with it to fulfill all righteousness.

I would like to know which manuscripts TGBaker is getting this from. The Phrase "into the remission of sins" is not in Mark 1:9.. And none of the canonical Gospels show Jesus getting baptized more than once. In addition I see fundamental mistake here in that neither Communion nor Baptism save you or takes away your sins. These are only symbolic of the work God does in the hearts and minds of His people. There is not a single passage in the Bible that make salvation contingent on Communion or Baptism. Also I see a lot of "poisoning the well" here. Why would TGBaker insinuate that Matthew manufactures the conversation between Jesus and John the Baptist? Why couldn't Matthew just have a detail that Mark does not? TGBaker has presumptions that the texts cannot be reliable and he spins his interpretation in what ever way he has to validate those assumptions. 

This answers the problem of why a sinless person would need baptism as in Mark and also makes John subservient to Jesus. This makes obvious the church is dealing with the fact that Jesus was a follower of John the Baptist and does not begin his ministry until John is arrested. The author of the Gospel of John will have Jesus baptizing and ministering at the same time as the Baptist and does not have Jesus baptized by John.

Another presumptions offered with no proof of any kind. There is the theory going around that Jesus was one of  John the Baptist's followers, but no proof is ever seeming given beyond raising the speculation. John and Mark are not in conflict because John does not say that Jesus was not baptized by John the Baptist.all. Mark said that Jesus went into Galilee after John was arrested not that he did no ministry before John the Baptist was arrested. Sure wish people would not read things into the Bible that is not there.

In Mark Jesus comes up out of the water and the Holy Spirit comes into ( again eis) him. Matthew changes this to the spirit descends upon ( epi) him. The idea of the spirit after baptism coming into a person is consistent with the idea in Acts 2:38: Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Again the message was not that Baptism was the prerequisite for forgiveness of sin. Baptism is a sign of repentance. I sure would like to know what translation this guy is using because I can't find an English translation that agrees with him.

In Mark Jesus alone hears god saying that he is well pleased. In Matthew god addresses his pleasure to the crowds. Luke maintains Mark's terminology about baptism, changes the adoptionistic reception of the Spirit into Jesus to a confirmation like Matthew to the spirit as dove comes down upon (epi) him. The change of the preposition by Matthew and Luke are intentional because of the theological implications and the addition of the infancy narratives wherein Jesus has the spirit from birth! Luke quotes mark and maintains gods announcement of pleasure to Jesus.

Um, Luke did not say that Jesus has the spirit from Birth. It says that John the Baptist did. Just because Mark does not have the detail that other people heard the voice and understood the sign at Jesus' baptism does not mean the Luke made it up. Notice that Mark does not say that only Jesus saw the dove and heard the voice. The voice was for the crowd's benefit not Jesus' benefit.

When one looks at the quoted OT verses in Mark 1:2f they are combined and perhaps reflect a pre-exiting proof text designed from Isaiah and Malachi not just Isaiah as stated. The pronouns are changed so that the verses can apply to the idea of the Baptist as precursor. Instead of "Behold I send my messenger before your face the original in Malachi 3:1 reads "I will send my messenger before me ( i.e.; God)." The change is from god talking to his prophet about his own coming to god talking to Christ about sending the Baptist before him. The messenger in Malachi was originally the Messiah and not the Baptist. The change is from god to messiah or Jesus in doing so and an example of a forged prophecy. Thus the preparing of the way of the Lord (Yahweh) shifts to a Messianic interpretation and the make straight his paths is substituted for the paths of our God.

I think that TGBaker oversteps yet again. If you look at many Old Testament quotations in the New Testament you will find that they differ when you look up the corresponding passages. Why?  The answer is because the writers of the New Testament used the Septuagint - the Greek Translations at the time of the 1st Century AD. Few Jews at the time read Hebrew but Greek was the common language. Most of our new translations of the Old Testament are based on the Hebrew texts - therefore they are going to read a little different,. I disagree that means that  the New  Testament  is based on false prophecies because I think you have to agree that the Jews who made the Septuagint knew how to translate Hebrew into Greek better than most people alive today. If anything it improves the reliability of our texts. Having the Septuagint gives us even more data to understand the New Testament manuscripts and how idioms and words were used in the First Cenutry! Praise God for such a gift!

Debunking Christianity: Jesus Was Baptized for His Sins
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  1. I would like to know which manuscripts TGBaker is getting this from. The Phrase "into the remission of sins" is not in Mark 1:9

    You’re actually looking for Mark 1:4, “εγενετο ιωαννης βαπτιζων εν τη ερημω και κηρυσσων βαπτισμα μετανοιας εις αφεσιν αμαρτιων”. NIV translates “εις” as “for”, and that works, but TG is right, “εις” is more accurately “from state x into state y”. See #1519 in Strong’s. You need to read 1:9 with 1:4 in mind. With that said you may want reread TG’s post and then revise most if not all of your original post.

    Also, the fact that you didn't know "into the remission of sins" occurred 5 verses prior to where you were looking causes me to question your credientials as a True Christian®

  2. No I'm not. I was looking for a place that says the Jesus was baptized for the remission of his sins. And clearly, from the whole of scripture, it's not the water that takes away sin. Mark 1:4 does not imply you get your sins taken away because you get baptized.

    Looking up a Strong's number does not tell you everything you need to know to read Greek. Let me help you out: syntax and context. U need the to understand what the text is saying. The translators of the NIV know this. Apparently, you don't. If you listen to yesterday's Dividing Line webcast it will help you with that little tidbit. You should listen to this one too

  3. In the Bible, unrepentant sinners don't get baptized. Believers do as an outward sign of the change that happened internally. GTBaker's post makes sense if there were no cases in the Bible of people being saved apart from being Baptized. However there is. Being Baptized does not necessarily equal that there are sins to remit.

  4. Marcus, you do not know koine. Prove me wrong if you like. But like I said, "into" or "for" doesn't make a difference. How's this for "context"? John was baptizing people for the remission of sins (1:4), then he baptized Jesus (1:9). This is altered in the other gospels. Nothing TG said is incorrect and you've not even begun to show that it is.

  5. Ryan you don't know Kione Greek either. And you yourself says that "into" or "for" doesn't make a difference.. Proving my point for me: Jesus was not baptised as remission for sin. Mark 1:4 says "Baptism of Repentance" which is not referring to just water baptism. It's referring to more. Water baptism does not change you. It's just symbolic of what is internal. Again this is TGBaker is wrong. If you can't see that, its explains a lot about your spiritual condition.

  6. Mark 1:4 actually says "...a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins." which is what he then did to Jesus in 1:9. In the water...

  7. Do you even know what "baptism of repentance means? Do you even understand what water baptism is for? That is the crux of this issue. Jesus was baptized not for himself but for us. He modeled what we are supposed to be and what we are supposed to do.

  8. You don't need the Bible to bake you us so you do believe what ever you want. It doesn't back you up so you can believe what ever you want. It isn't you final authority.

  9. You don't need the Bible to bake you us...

    [sic? What in the world????]

  10. You don't need the Bible to back you up so you do believe what ever you want. It doesn't back you up so you can believe what ever you want. It isn't you final authority.

  11. You don't need the Bible to back you up so you do believe what ever you want. It doesn't back you up so you can believe what ever you want. It isn't you final authority.

    No it isn't an authority, but it doesn't follow from the rest of you comment that that means I can can believe whatever I want. I believe what is rationally supported with evidence.

  12. The evidence points to the Bible being the Word of God (which you reject, you think its flawed and has mistakes and can't prove that). That is why I say you choose to believe what you want and ignore evidence.

  13. Translation of what you said: Nuh uh! Meaningless