123 thoughts on “SFL Flashback: Arguing About the Day of the Crucifixion”

    1. The symbolism of God creating man on the 6th day of the weak and exacting judgment on man on the 6th day of the week would be the only real theological meaning of what day of the week.

    2. If it does not matter, the why waste your time? But, now that I have insulted you, I will say: I love you, Big Gary!

      1. Aside from the passive agressiveness along with the obvious insincerity, I hate hearing someone immediately following an insult or a dressing down with claims of love for the victim of their abuse. The recipient of love is not necessarily worthy of love and so those claims strike me saying something like, “You are a worthless, egg-sucking, heretical weasel! Nevertheless, due to my magnanimity, I will condescend to love your utterly undeserving self. Now doesn’t that make you feel better?”

        1. Remember, every wound was an act of love!

          And other classic fruit of penal substitionary atonement.

  1. “Not trying to stir the pot or anything, but what does it really matter anyway?” Bingo! All that matters is that Christ died and rose again. Period. Sigh….fundies…

    1. I agree. But to Fundies, it matters because of “inerrancy.”

      According to inerrancy, everything has to be exactly true. Three days and three nights must be exactly true or else the Bible is in error.

      If you can’t be sure about three exact days and three exact nights, then how can you know that Christ even died for you? How can you be sure of anything in the Bible? How do you know you are saved?

      And if you don’t believe three days and three nights, and you don’t believe the exact day of the week that Christ died on, then you are calling God a liar! You must not be saved, you heathen you!

      Inerrancy is the heresy by which fundamentalists destroy faith in the central message to confirm the most minor of points. Faith ultimately becomes about intellectual assent to doctrine of men instead of trust in a Person, an exercise of human pride putting God in the Fundy Box.

        1. Right you are, Religious Washout.
          Inerrancy is a heresy that makes faith untenable.
          In fact, besides Fundies, doctrinaire Atheists use the same line of argument– this detail in the Bible can’t be true, so nothing in the Bible is true.
          It never occurs to them that faith might be based on something other than blind, unquestioning acceptance of dogma.

        2. BG, the atheist position is simply the logical result of fundamentalist extremism on this point – I wouldn’t necessarily classify it as its own error.

      1. I don’t agree. Jesus Himself said that he would be three days and three nights in the earth. If He wasn’t, then He was in error.

        Why not just put the crucifixion on the day that makes 3 days and 3 nights (Wednesday)? That seems logical. I don’t understand the resistance to insisting on Friday.

        1. One of the big problems is that when the women went to the tomb, Scripture says it was the day after the Sabbath, which would be Sunday.
          And they hadn’t prepared the body properly for burial on the day of the crucifixion because it was the Sabbath, i.e., after sundown on Friday.

        2. Another big problem with the Wednesday assertion is that Jesus says several times that he would rise “on the third day”, and the two on the road to Emmaus said that that Sunday -was- the third day. No way of counting can get you from Wednesday to Sunday with Sunday as “the third day.”

          This, then, presents a true contradiction, if one understands the prophecy to be literal (e.g. 72 hours) AND to refer, by “in the heart of the earth”, only to his time in the grave.

          But if one holds (with all the narratives) a Friday crucifixion and burial, and a Saturday night/Sunday morning resurrection, but still wants to read the “three days/three nights” as 72 hours, one merely needs to change his understanding of “in the heart of the earth” to refer to the whole of our Lord’s passion, beginning, for example, with his betrayal by Judas, which did happen on Wednesday.

          And voilà! No contradiction, and everyone’s happy. 🙂

        3. “We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
          the only Son of God,
          eternally begotten of the Father,
          God from God, Light from Light,
          true God from true God,
          begotten, not made,
          of one Being with the Father.”

          Yet we also believe

          “Through him all things were made.
          For us and for our salvation
          he came down from heaven:
          by the power of the Holy Spirit
          he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
          and was made man.”

          Jesus was God, yet man. The Scripture declares that He did not exercise the powers of His Godhood. All He did was by the power of the Holy Spirit. He slept, he hungered, he thirsted, he questioned, he feared. He did not know everything, not even the time of His Return.

          So why is it important that he “know” exactly how long he would be buried? In our midst He did not know everything or have all power. He grew in wisdom, the Scripture says. You cannot grow in something you have everything of.

          Jesus could be in error and not be sinning by lying. Jesus told the High Priest that he would see Jesus seated at the right hand of Power and coming in the clouds of heaven — and that never happened! (Matt 26:64). And no, that doesn’t refer to a future time.

          You really need to be careful that in your attempt to defend the deity of Christ that you do not degrade His Humanity. That is one of the great heresies of modern fundamentalism.

        4. “Jesus himself said…” or did he? Which Jesus from which gospel writing from which memories or which sources said this?

          The Gospels don’t harmonize inerrantly, you can’t lay them out and not see contradictions. But they harmonize in the sense of telling a rich, full story of who Jesus was and what he did.

      2. Fundy Logic:

        A. Men are mortal.
        B. Socrates was a man.
        C. Socrates was Chinese.

        C is false, therefore A and B must be false.

      3. Religious Washout 4 Jesus, you are exactly right. I remember my pastor saying over and over that if there is one error in the Bible, then we should just lock up all the churches and walk away from Christianity altogether because that meant nothing at all in the Bible is true. Um, okay…extreme much?

        1. Every phone book has at least one wrong number in it, but only a fool would throw away the whole phone book in spite.

          Oh, I’m dating myself. See, youngsters, a phone book is … never mind.

        2. I not only remember phone books but I remember party lines and needing only the last five numbers to dial another line.

        3. Miriam – I consider it an honour to see you use Ye Olde English Holy Language™ in your posts. This type of behaviour is sadly missing in a world in desperate need of a saviour.

      4. exactly….all their easter eggs are in the same basket…when everything is fundamental–if one little minute thing cracks or shows evidence of not being strong–their world shatters. Very very sad.

    2. Most IFB preachers don’t seem very interested in Christ’s resurrection, only in his crucifixion and “blood.”

      1. That was supposed to be a reply to “All that matters is that Christ died and rose again.”

      2. Agreed, Big Gary!
        It always gave me the creeps when preachers would go on and on about the blood. I would zone out whenever they would go into extreme detail regarding the crucifixion, too. Not that I don’t appreciate what Christ did on the cross, but I just don’t have the stomach for all of the details. (And, of course, that meant I was a bad Christian. :p)
        When I did go to church, I found that most IFB preachers like sensationalism, which is probably why they focus more on the crucifixion and blood than the resurrection. They have to manipulate the emotions, you know!

  2. This was very important to me when I was a new Christian because I really wanted to understand what the Bible said. There are some Jewish ways of counting days that apply (you can google), but the even bigger issue was that the Jewish Sabbath is from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. You just can’t explain that away.

    Still in Fundystan, I did not confess my heretical thinking that Jesus died on Friday, but it was one of the first big holes for me in many of the Fundy theological do or dies.

    And, as far as importance-as to which day-certainly not worth fighting for, IMHO. Big picture (and this I believe), Jesus died for our sins and rose again on the third day. For that, I will always be so thankful!

    1. It might be reasonably argued that the referenced Sabbath is the annual Sabbath of Passover and not the weekly Sabbath. On the other hand, does it make any difference theologically whether the three days were three twenty-four hour days or a part of three different days spoken of as three days due to Jewish methods of counting?

      One sad thing is that some of the comments indicate that those writers seem to think that self righteousness, a lack of love, and a disrespect of fellow believers are trivial failings whereas it is critically important to hold the correct view of the precise day on which the crucifixion took place. Of course those writers may have been under the impression that their perceived harshness was simply a result of their righteous indignition while “contending for the faith.”

  3. The answer to this riddle is very simple. It depends on which gospel writer you ask. Anyone who has studied literature understands that there are many ways of telling a story to make a point. But when everything has to be literal empirical-rational fact to be true, you end up with weirdness.

    1. NO!! There can be no contradiction – or even the possibility thereof!!

      Fundy Logic, Part II:

      Biographer A says [insert minor historical factoid] about Lincoln.
      Biographer B denies [insert same minor historical factoid] about Lincoln.

      THEREFORE, since biographer B contradicts biographer A on a single non-essential point, it is no longer possible to know whether Abraham Lincoln existed, whether he was President of the United States, or whether the Civil War was ever fought.

      Don’t call us post-modernists, but it’s really never possible to know anything.

      By their logic, we might as well just convert to Last Thursdayism.

      1. There are plenty of reasons to disbelieve Friday. Jesus said that He would be three days and three nights “in the earth”. Clearly, He was buried just as the day was ending — the next day was a sabbath day. As pointed out, Jewish days began at sunset. If Jesus were crucified on Friday, the first night and day would be Sat evening, followed by Saturday day (by way of Jewish reckoning); the second night and day would be Sunday evening, followed by Sunday day, and the third night and day would be Monday evening and Monday daytime.

        1. No, they counted the day something happened as the first day, the same way they counted a baby as being a year old at birth (their counting had no concept of zero, so they started with one).
          So Friday, Saturday, Sunday makes three days, with Jesus rising on the third day. It’s true that that makes only two nights in the grave, but that gets us back to the debate over literalism and inerrancy.

        2. Guilt Ridden, you are being literal when it suits and figurative when it suits.

          According to your purported hyper-literal interpretation of Matthew 12:40, the entire Bible is false if Jesus was not in the literal “heart of the earth” (whatever that means) for three days and three nights. But we know that his burial was not in the “heart of the earth” in any literal sense – if for no other reason because the earth does not have a “heart.” But it stands to reason if this idiom can be understood figuratively, so can the rest of the passage.

          Since, according to traditional reckoning (which I understand you reject), the Last Supper took place on Thursday, isn’t it possible that the “three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” simply refer to the three days and three nights of Jesus’ passion? I.e., (by our modern, Western reckoning) Thursday night, Friday, Friday night, Saturday, Saturday night, and Sunday? Isn’t it at least possible that this interpretation is as likely to be correct as your interpretation?

        3. Wait a minute. If Jesus was in the heart of the earth, that must mean that the earth asked Jesus into it’s heart? the earth is saved!!! Amen.

          Now we have to get it baptized and signed up for a ministry. And make sure it starts tithing. Not that we count or anything.

  4. It matters to people who want to feel that they are correct on intricate details so that they can express superiority to those who are correct on more substantial matters, like ‘love your neighbour’. You know, things that Jesus actually told us to do.

  5. According to fundy (and much evangelical) thinking, all the inconsistencies in the Bible, no matter how minute, have to harmonize. If they don’t, that means the Bible is full of errors, thus completely untrustworthy, which [somehow] means God is a liar — and the Bible says that God cannot lie. Presto! A domino effect AND circular reasoning, all wrapped up in one nice, neat little package.

    1. I agree, WearyPilgrim. I am not aware of any place that the Scriptures claim to be the Word of God, as in, every word of the Scriptures is a literal Word from God. In fact, if this were so, then why would it be necessary for so much of the Bible to be named after and/or attributed to the men who wrote it? Why is so much of the Bible, especially the Old Testament, made up of QUOTES of what other people, and not God, said? (For example, it seems clear that the words of the would-be gang-rapists in Sodom, as quoted in the book of Genesis, are not the words of God.) Why indeed, would Paul occasionally in his letters make it very clear that he (Paul) was speaking and not God? This has been a question that has vexed me ever since I left fundamentalism, which is: how can the “every word of the Protestant 66-book Bible is the exact words of God, no more and no less” position be so easily embraced by such a broad swathe of Christians? Am I missing something or are they?

      1. Baptist Fundies like to say that God wrote the Bible– not only in general, but when they quote a verse, they say “God wrote that.”
        I haven’t heard people of most other denominations make quite that literal a claim to word-for-word, direct authorship by God, no matter how conservative and Evangelical the people may be.

        If it’s true that God wrote every word, then God must have lied when the Bible explicitly names certain human authors, such as OT prophets and NT apostles, as the authors of particular books.

        1. Have Fundies never read the Preface to the KJV, written by the translators of their one, true, and holy edition of the Bible, in which they describe–in exhaustive detail with a vast number of learned quotations in support–the process they went through? It’s extremely instructive, in addition to being extremely long, and stomps all over the idea that what is written there was whispered into their ears by God Himself, much less that it is without error.

          Here it is, with most of the good stuff found on Page 10:


      2. I agree that the Bible nowhere claims to “be” the Word of God. Just superficially, look up all the places where the phrase “the Word of the Lord” or “of God” is used and substitute “the Bible”–it makes no sense in those contexts. And II Tim. 3:16, “All Scripture is inspired by God,” is usually cited in favor of inerrancy, but that’s reading an awful lot into the word “theopneustos” or “God-breathed/inspired by God.” Why does that not mean inspired in the way we’d say a movie is “inspired” by a true story? Just because it’s the Bible?

        1. Yes, I’m inspired by Cesar Chavez, but I’m not him, and he’s not my biological father.

        2. When we drive home from somewhere deep in the country to the south of us, Buffalo area is welcome because we can once again get our Timmies fix.

        3. “Inspired” is such a pretty word. “God-breathed,” used once in the Scripture, it is claimed. And over the years fundamentalists have gone well beyond the things Scripture is “useful” for — doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness. The claim is that this scripture confers inerrancy upon the whole.

          But the First mention of inspiration is never mentioned.

          Genesis 2:7. And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

          Man is truly inspired, God-breathed. Yet that did not make man inerrant.

          In an interesting passage, Christ “breathes on” His disciples to give them the Holy Spirit, but they don’t become inerrant as a result of that!

          John 20:22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:

          A reading of the Book of Acts — even reading the rest of the book of John shows that the disciples were not inerrant!

          Fundamentalism relies on your not connecting the dots, as it were. Inspiration is a life-giving process. Inerrancy takes life away. To live, one must act, must do, try, even to make mistakes and fail. The early Scriptures even allow this of God — God repented, God was sorry, God changed His mind. We even allow this of God in answering prayer. Prayer is our input into God’s will and behavior. Else God would do without regard to any individual requests.

          If we see inspiration as life-giving, then the dead rules, the Law of Sin and Death have to give way.

  6. And while Fundies argue about stuff like this, people starve, go without, live in loneliness. Human beings who they profess to believe are made in the image of their God go in want of a kind word. Fundies do not worship God, they worship themselves.

  7. Christian tradition has always been that Jesus was crucified on Friday. Fundamentalists don’t want to have anything to do with tradition … unless, of course, it’s their own.

  8. While I agree that the primary thing is that Jesus gave His life to purchase salvation for anyone who will believe, I have never understood why people insist that Jesus died on Friday.

    If He was resurrected on the first day of the week (Sunday), and if He spent three days and nights buried, that leads to a Wednesday crucifixion, having Him “in the earth” Thu, Fri, and Sat. It used to bother me that a Wed crucifixion meant that he was in the earth 4 nights and 3 days, if He arose at dawn on Sunday, as I always used to think. But then a friend pointed out that there is nothing in the Scripture that says He had “just” been resurrected that morning. The Scriptures tell us that Sun morning, just as it began to dawn is when the women discovered the empty tomb; Jesus could have risen at the start of the first day of the week — Sun evening, which is our Saturday night.

    So, I no longer have any quarrel with a Wed crucifixion.

    1. Guilt Ridden, to this point I would say that I am not understanding how your position accounts for the Bible’s fairly clear statement that Jesus would rise again on the third DAY. You seem to be saying he must have risen again sometime during the night. I agree that is necessary for your view to “work” but it makes no sense.

      1. The Jewish day consists of evening and morning; I’m not sure that “day” is equivalent to “morning hours”

    2. I don’t have any quarrel with any theory regarding which day Jesus was crucified on. I consider it a relatively small matter, and not something to hinge my faith on. I have a quarrel with those whose belief that it may have been a certain day, no matter how well thought out it is, is more important to them than having fellowship with those who disagree.

  9. Oh, the triggers! I remember seeing one of these a few years ago that got really long and drawn out, and finally someone said that it was a pointless argument to have and could be hurting everyone’s testimony by showing unsaved people that even Christians can’t agree amongst themselves.

    1. Well, if it’s true that Christians must all agree on everything or no one can be saved, then I guess we all better be brushing up on our Coptic, Ethiopian, Syriac, or Armenian and planning to reunite with one of the Oriental Orthodox churches, since pretty much every other sect of Christianity in existence today branched away from them.

  10. The gravest disservice to faith as a whole is the idea of inerrancy.

    Biblical inerrancy, as formulated in the “Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy”, is the doctrine that the Bible “is without error or fault in all its teaching”; or, at least, that “Scripture in the original manuscripts does not affirm anything that is contrary to fact”. (From Google definition of inerrancy)

    They take this to the nth degree. They insist that in every area the affirmation has to be factually true.

    This presents us with a problem. The Bible is NOT a book about “facts.” Language cannot be factually true in every area at the same time.

    The Inerrantists know this, and they “fudge” liberally where they admit to seeing idioms or phenomenological language being used — unless it happens to coincide with an important pet doctrine they are bent on defending. They cheat, blatantly. There are always exceptions to their rules. And they fall back on the notion that you can’t read the Book for What It Says since “the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” (1 Cor 2:10-16, partly quoted).

    Remember, fundamentalists use this literalism, inerrancy and inspired interpretation (esoteric versus exoteric) as a weapon. It keeps people off balance. It makes questioning a sin. You run the MoG to the end of his knowledge in one area so he claims divine interpretation from the Holy Spirit leading him into “all truth.”

    The fact is there is no “harmony of the Gospels.” They were never meant to be harmonized. Each gospel is pretty much internally consistent. Each gospel has its own story of faith to tell. No gospel is trying to get you to cognate facts. Rather the aim is to emote trust.

    So, how many angels were at the tomb? Who discovered the body of Jesus to be missing? How many women were there? What happened to the Roman soldiers outside of the book of Matthew? Why were they not mentioned?

    If you try to “harmonize” everything you tie yourself into knots. If faith were to depend upon factual verity and verifiability, I would become an atheist immediately.

    But that is not the point.

    Jesus said that you need to come to Him as a little child, not as a scholar, not as a financier, not as a king, not as a wise man. What do children know? Doctrine? Not unless they have been corrupted.

    What do children know? They know their friends. They know what kindness is. They know when someone loves them. They know when they are hurt. They want to hold hands when they are scared. They want to laugh and have fun.

    Jesus loves me, this I know. All His Passion tells me so. Jesus died to set me free. Jesus is not my enemy.

    Put away the theology. Theology is warped. There is no consistent theology of God in the Bible. But in Jesus we have a Savior. That’s what is important.

    1. “So, how many angels were at the tomb? Who discovered the body of Jesus to be missing? How many women were there? What happened to the Roman soldiers outside of the book of Matthew? Why were they not mentioned?”

      I once heard a (very long) sermon in which the MOG tied himself in knots trying to harmonize all of these issues. I think he got up to about the third trip of the women to the tomb when the sermon sort of collapsed in on itself and he called the Invitation.

    2. I don’t think ancient peoples even had a concept of what we call literal facts, any more than they conceived of particle physics or organic chemistry.
      Their approach to literature was different from ours.

    3. I agree that CSBI is not only a mistake, it actually positions itself against the historic Christian faith. It is essentially a philosophical document which states what epistemology is acceptable, and denies that there can be any truth outside of it. In other words, it is a statement of a priori belief, into which the Bible and Christian faith must be crammed.

    4. Your comment is the best thing I’ve read all year. Really. I may have gotten a bit teary.

  11. The important thing is that He did indeed die and rise again to take away our sins. From what I have learned, in Jewish understanding, 3 days/3 nights does not have to mean three 24 hour periods, but can mean parts of days or nights. There is much in the Gospels that point to the cross on Friday, with resurrection Sunday.

    In my opinion, we can harmonize as follows (for simplicity I am describing using our day system): He was in the tomb part of Friday, all day Saturday, part of Sunday-got your 3 days. Now for the 3 nights-Saturday night of course (1), Friday night (2), now what about the 3rd? There was darkness after the Lord died (i.e., night), so really there were two Friday nights, voila, got your 3 nights.

    I think this all demonstrates the potential danger of the Fundy understanding of literalism. It’s OK to take things on faith, without having a total intellectual understanding.

  12. Its not just Fundies but a LOT of Christians assume that the writers of both the Old and the New Testament viewed everything in the world in exactly the same way as we do. It is arrogant of us to think that a First-Century Palestinian Jew will have exactly the same viewpoint and attitudes as a Twenty-first Century American or European Christian.

    1. I agree wholeheartedly. I think we do the Bible a disservice when we shoehorn the words into our cultural milieu rather than letting them speak from their own time and place.

  13. I believe that the push for inerrancy of the Bible is related to the rise of humanistic thought in the Renaissance and the related development of the scientific method. Before the advance of critical thought, the Church didn’t have any particular attachment to inerrancy but the Protestants in particular had hitched their wagon to the “Sola Scriptura” doctrine so they were left in a bind. They practically worshiped the Bible so if it was of suspect reliability, their faith was likewise of suspect reliability. Fundamentalists have inherited a position which was sown 400 years ago.

    1. Humanism is a Christian philosophy and the scientific method isn’t the boogeyman. Fundamentalism might be a reaction to those though because they want to preserve the “old ways”.

      Hence, conservatism.

      I’d rather be a progressive. God said grow, let’s grow.

  14. <<It is arrogant of us to think that a First-Century Palestinian Jew will have exactly the same viewpoint and attitudes as a Twenty-first Century American or European Christian.

    Gee, why not? They all spoke English. 🙂

  15. when I was very young, my family went to the Church of Christ. The denomination was strict. No instrumental music. You must be baptized to be saved. Even if you were saved one sin could send you to hell.

    It was a theology of fear. God was always angry. God was always offended. And my parents emulated God this way, too. Always angry, always offended.

    Eventually we were “converted” to the Plymouth Brethren. The doctrine of eternal security was a personal comfort, while the doctrine of the Tribulation satisfied our need for an angry God.

    Bob Jones and years after, I became IFB.

    But in all iterations of fundamentalist faith, God was angry. Reading the Bible, I can see why they’d think that. According to most of the Bible, God IS always angry. He’s the Distant Parent, always having to Punish the children He left on their own while He was out gambling or something.

    In Jesus Christ we get a glimpse of a God that is different. God decides to try getting some Perspective. After all, He had no way of knowing what it was like to be one of us. So He tries it. It isn’t an easy gig.

    When Jesus died, he said “Father forgive them, they don’t understand what they are doing.” God is no longer Angry.

    In the light of the Big Picture, what does Wednesday, Thursday or Friday matter?

    1. I’ve never heard fundamentalism explained that way before, rtgmath, very well said!
      And, agreed, I don’t think it matters what day the crucifixion took place.

    2. seriously, thank you for your perspective and detailing how it has changed throughout your life

    3. I agree with you rtg. So much hot air and energy and hatred is wasted on things that simply do not matter.

  16. I just finished reading Peter Enns’ The Bible Tells Me So, and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s an antidote and salve to all the burns and ills fundamentalism puts on people. It helps illustrate just why that “there are no errors in the Bible!!” mentality is so destructive to the Christian faith. Read it, grow, and be blessed.

    Also, what is up with that “I love you!” comment people make so often? You can scream and screech at someone all you want, but finishing it by bellowing “I love you” doesn’t mean jack after that verbal tirade.

    1. Thanks for the book recommendation, StuartB. I just downloaded it to my Kindle. I’m eager to read it. 🙂

    2. “Also, what is up with that “I love you!” comment people make so often?”

      Some think (probably erroneously) that “I love you” sounds better than “F— you,” when you mean the same thing by it.

      1. “Bless your heart.”

        I never heard that phrase until I was in Crown Point.

        1. I was thinking more along the lines of “I wonder what the special character for a middle finger emoji is?”.

  17. The real damage is not done by Inerrancy per se, since that has been believed in a variety of forms for a lengthy stretch of church history. It is the insistence that any variation from “what our camp believes” is somehow a challenge to inerrancy and the whole idea that a single interpretation means my interpretation.

    It does much less damage to faith to hold that the scriptures were without error in the original manuscripts and have been providentially preserved through the vast number of extant manuscripts which make the Bible a highly reliable and trustworthy ancient document, but to recognize that due to limitations of language, culture, and time, I might not perfectly be capable of discerning every single detail in a way that is perfectly in alignment with the writer or the one who inspired it. This allows for me to give plenty of grace to others who are making a meaningful effort to understand and apply it without doing irreparable damage to the reasonable foundation for my faith found in the scriptures and in its consistent and reliable record. There are peculiar and difficult passages which I cannot and should not rely on for dogmatic positions on secondary issues and teachings, and without a clear understanding of those thingsit is possible for me to still believe that the core teachings and meta-narrative of scripture is both perspicuous and reliable from a textual and historical perspective. I think this is borne out by the early creeds and the relatively solid core of Christian thought relative to the historicity of the resurrection and the essentials which could even be called “fundamentals” in the real and not ironic sense.

    1. Good point.
      “The original meaning of the original texts of the Bible is inerrant” =\= “My understanding of what the Bible means is inerrant,” although some people seem to think those two ideas are the same, or at least they talk as if they think that.

      1. Bingo! To many Christians, especially Fundamentalists, “Innerrancy of Scripture” really means “Inerrancy of MY view of Scripture”

    2. Actually, even “inerrant in the originals” is a severe distortion of the way Scripture or revelation was viewed up until recent times.

      We view things through the written word, something that only came into prominence with the rise of the middle class after the reformation. Before that, Scripture was the Spoken Word. People heard the Word. The central message held the import. It wasn’t the nuances of a particularly chosen single word or phrase. It was the Main Idea.

      The Law given to and by Moses was to be read to the children of Israel once every seven years (Deut 31:10-13). Imagine! It wasn’t “daily Bible reading” at all. The people would gather to hear the law once every seven years. The Law was delivered to a people who were illiterate, so the concepts had to be fairly simple.

      “The Word” of God never referred to words on paper. It was the Message. The Message was pure. The Message was good and right. People memorized the Scripture as an oral tradition.

      The Scribes and the Pharisees focused on the written words, and Jesus flatly told them they’d missed the point. They thought that in the words they held eternal life. The Kabbalah was created thinking that if one could command the Words, one could command God Himself.

      Jesus told the Scribes and Pharisees that the Scriptures spoke of Him. That is, God has a relationship with man, and is trying to help man to understand Him in ways. Eternal life is not found in understanding Words, but in a relationship with God. Eternal life is not in the small details, but in the Central Message.

      Inerrancy can only flourish in an environment where the Central Message is subordinate to the picayune details, where intellect is superior to relationship. It is a perversion of faith. Like the Kabbalah, inerrancy seeks to control God and truth through the words rather than having a humble relationship with God.

  18. It is my understanding that this is an idiomatic expression which was commonly used in that part of the world, and could refer to any part of three days and/or nights. Thus, even 26 hours could be three days and three nights, provided hour 1 was on the first day and hour 26 on the third day.
    When I first learned this, it really made me wonder what other idioms in the Bible we have gotten wrong. Imagine an idiom like, “It’s raining cats and dogs,” being in the Bible. Would we take it literally?

    1. There’s a passage in….Kings I think, with Rehiboam (sp?) He tells Jeraboam and his men to come back after three days and he would tell them his answer about lightening/burdening them.

      Lo and behold, Jeraboam and his men come back on the third day. I was a definite AHHHHHH moment for me.

    2. That is how I understand it. Somebody in fundystan along the way added in the idea that Jesus had to be in the grave 72 hours.

  19. Not that this makes a lot of difference theologically, but our current calendar is incorrect with regards to the year of Christ’s birth. Has anyone here studied the issue thoroughly enough to know whether the exact year has been historically established? If it has, since lunar and planetary motions are extremely predictable, it should be easy (with modern computers) to determine on which day of the week Passover fell in the year the crucifixion took place. Like I said, I don’t know that the knowledge would be all that important from a theological standpoint, but it would be interesting.

    For what it’s worth, if the Catholics taught that the crucifixion took place on a Wednesday or Thursday, we would probably have Fundies insisting that it actually took place on a Friday.

    1. My understanding is that the year is probably 4 BCE. The time of the year is a bit iffier. First, there is no record of any unusual astronomical phenomena (the “star”), and several of the Scriptural statements about Herod seem to be in doubt — or at least unverifiable historically. There is no historical record of Herod’s slaughter of the innocents — and Matthew’s declaration of Jeremiah’s “prophesy” tears it completely out of context and out of geographical relevance.

      So we really have no help as to finding out exactly when Jesus was born. Nor even how old he was when the wise men visited.

      Nor is there any secular record of Christ’s crucifixion, so we cannot mark the time there, either.

      1. But as John Domminic Crossan has pointed out, based on our best estimates of the population at the time we are talking about probably a dozen babies, certainly no more than 30. So it is unlikely that it would make it into historical channels.

  20. Great discussion. Now that we’re sorted on how long Jesus was in the tomb (actually, we’re not – we only know when the empty tomb was discovered, not when he actually rose), can we move on to the equally non-divisive issue of the women who went there to give his body the proper funeral rites. They were the first to witness the risen Lord, and they were the first to bear witness of the resurrection to others. By most definitions that makes them the first apostles. And, as we know, apostle ranks above presbyter and deacon!
    Anyone take the bait?

    1. I’ve got no disagreement with those statements.
      I don’t think it’s an accident that the first witnesses to the resurrection were all women.

  21. Just want to say thanks for the flashback, Dar-El. We have a different mix of commenters now than then, so we get a whole set of new perspectives which are so instructive!

    Special thanks to rtgmath for his comments. I feel like I have learned a lot, and yet will have to go back and re-read a few times to really understand.

    1. Thanks Janet. I am an academic with an interest in nearly everything. At one point in my young fundamentalist life I entertained the idea of the ministry.

      I found out that the quickest way to demonstrate the problems with doctrine was to try to prove them from the Scriptures. I do a lot of rambling-type ruminations as I sort through my own thinking.

      Thank you again for your encouragement.

Comments are closed.