Manuscript Reveals Revisions in Sermon on the Mount

February 18, 2008

manuscript.jpgEarlier this morning, at a press conference outside of Tel Aviv, a bombshell was dropped on the world of Biblical scholarship. According to Dr. Owen Reese, who is J. T. Holm Professor of New Testament Studies at the University of Aberdeen, “theologically significant” portions of the Gospel of Matthew were either edited or inserted by an “over-eager scribe.”

Dr. Reese’s discovery is a manuscript that is “clearly from the late first century.” The manuscript contains portions of Matthew chapters 2-7. Initially, Dr. Reese was excited by his discovery. But that excitement turned to concern as the manuscript challenged his deeply-held convictions.

“The Sermon on the Mount (which is contained in its entirety in the manuscript) has long been my favorite passage,” says Dr. Reese. “You would understand my anxiety, then, if I tell you that this manuscript upsets the way many people understand the Sermon on the Mount, and, therefore, the message of Jesus.”

The discovery, made over a year ago, has been kept secret until Dr. Reese had time to confer with top biblical scholars from around the world. The ecumenical team of scholars has almost unanimously affirmed the age and authenticity of the manuscript.

The research team maintains that “most of the differences are subtle and would be deemed uncontroversial for most people of faith.” The problem, however, is in how this manuscript presents the information contained in Matthew 5:38-48. Here is Dr. Reese’s translation of the manuscript:

You have heard it said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ And I will add: resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, slap their cheek also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, take their cloak. If anyone forces you to go one mile, make them go two miles. Whoever troubles you, give them what they deserve. Turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

You have heard it said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ Indeed, love your neighbor and hate your enemy, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the good, and sends rain on the unrighteous. If you love those who hate you, what reward will you get? Be just, therefore, as your heavenly Father is just.

Gone is Jesus’ challenge to “turn the other cheek” or “go the extra mile” or “love your enemy.” In their place are words of wisdom that seem to come from Machiavelli’s the Prince.

Reactions to the press conference have been mixed. Many Christian leaders around the world are upset; some are convinced that this is simply a hoax. Hit hardest are the so-called “historic peace churches” who have placed the Sermon on the Mount at the center of their understanding of Christianity. Dr. William Yoder, President of Ohio Mennonite University, suggests: “For millions of Christians, peace is at the center of the Gospel. This supposed discovery challenges that understanding. To what extent, I’m not sure.”

Surprisingly, many Christian leaders remain calm about the discovery. Rev. Paul Gillmont, National Director of People for Unity in a Better World believes that “even if all of the teachings of Jesus are shown to be a lie, it will not challenge our call for people of faith everywhere to join hands in loving mutual affirmation.”

Pastor Lysa Alumbra, Bishop in the United Congregations of Christ in America agrees: “Jesus is a symbol whose power comes from the way in which he reflects the best of humanity. If Jesus is shown to be some sort of warmonger or ruffian, he will no longer be a powerful symbol for unity and hope. But our cause and our message will continue.”

While some Christian leaders stand firm, others seem strangely encouraged. Dr. Owen Robertson, founder of the American Family Coalition asserts, “this doesn’t change my faith one bit. If anything, the change in language strengthens my resolve for a strong America.”

Rev. Bill Mueller, president of the Fundamentalist Baptist Association, agrees: “Most folks are too politically correct to come out and say it, but I’m going there: this account of Jesus’ teachings makes more sense to me. Finally, the Sermon on the Mount can shed some light on how we are to live in our post-911 world.”

Editor’s Note: This article is a work of satire…don’t worry, there is no such manuscript. ;) 

Easter Ad Campaign Reaches Unchurched at Record Numbers

February 8, 2008

Rod Billings is the pastor of Journey Community Church in suburban Chicago. Started in the late 90s, Journey saw steady growth. By 2000, there were close to 3200 in attendance every week. But then things started to taper off.

“I don’t know what it was,” says Billings, a stylish, handsome man in his 40s. “We were seeing a lot of growth early on, but eventually it petered out. We tried all the major church-growth approaches to seek continued growth, but nothing worked. Even 40 Days of Purpose was a bust.”

By January of last year, attendance had settled around 3000 in attendance. It was then that Billings struck creative gold.

“My pastoral staff and I were pulling an all-night brainstorming session. We knew that we needed to think outside of the box. After all it was thinking outside of the box that helped us grow in the first place,” says Billings.

Indeed, the early success of Journey Community Church grew out of a daring, pioneering spirit: “We did things that non-churched folks hadn’t seen before. I wore jeans and a t-shirt when I was preaching. Our worship band played music not unlike the stuff we were hearing on the contemporary rock stations. And we used a mix of cutting-edge drama and edgy videos.”

According to Billings, the new “outside the box” idea struck at the end of their late-night brainstorming session. Says Billings, “I was tired and cranky. I was ready to call it quits when our community life and families pastor suggested that we ‘find out what seekers really want.’ When he said that, I knew exactly what we needed to do to reach the unchurched.”

The Birth of an Easter Campaign

According to Billings, the average unchurched person in suburban Chicago isn’t interested in religiosity. They want, he suggests, a “deep spirituality that fits into their busy schedule.” Instead of making Jesus challenging or complex, Billings offered a Jesus that “gives people exactly what they want.”

And Billings set off on a brilliant campaign that offered them just that. Last Easter, Journey Community Church launched its “Jesus died for” campaign. They sent mailers to 200,000 area residents with a positive message that “connects with the unchurched.” They also ran TV and radio spots on local television. Their ads centered around the message of Easter–the

death of Jesus Christ–but with a twist. Billings explains: “People don’t want to hear about their sins, and Jesus’ death for

those sins. Nor do they want to hear about how Jesus challenged the status quo. My church-goers have benefited from the status-quo, after all. Instead, I show them a Jesus who died for their problems, for their concerns.”


Pastor Billings credits last Easter’s mailer for the increase in weekly attendance–which is up to 4000. One new member, George Eliason praises the approach: “Look, I really love what Jesus offers. But most churches make it inconvenient to be a Christian. Journey does a great job conforming Christianity to me, rather than asking me to conform to some abstract “rules” spouted off 2000 years ago in the Middle East.”

The campaign has proven so successful that Billings and his team are planning on a similar campaign this year. In addition to the mailers and media coverage, Journey Community Church will be opening a Starbucks in the back of the sanctuary as an additional way of wooing busy families.

According to Billings: “If Jesus were alive today, he’d be pleased; we’re reaching a whole new generation of people with Jesus’ gentle message of acceptance and love.”

Editor’s Note: This post is a work of satire. 

A Parable

February 4, 2008

parablebig.jpgWhen the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. The entire nation will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another. He will put the donkeys on his left and the elephants on his right.

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you took away my food stamps, I was thirsty and you polluted the water, I was a stranger and you built a fence, I was in prison and you tortured me, I was poor and you cut taxes for the rich.’

They will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or in prison or poor and did not help you?’

He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

Then the King will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was not yet born and you fervently fought for my death, I was hungry and thirsty and a stranger and poor and you did nothing but give money to more programs.’

They will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you unborn or hungry or thirsty or a stranger or poor and did not help you?’

He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

He turned to those on his right and his left and said, ‘I brought a kingdom and you trusted a democracy. You thought your government relieved you of your responsibility. Depart from me, I never knew you.’ Then those on his left and those on his right went away to eternal punishment.

The king looked around and saw that no righteous remained.

* * *

New Monasticism is Really Really Bad

January 30, 2008

It is imperative that we Bible believing Christians remain ever vigilant to protect ourselves from the noxious whiff of sulfur arising from the cauldron of impure doctrine, seductive teachings and Romish error. The latest billowing smoke to come up from the furnace is called “New Monasticism” and originates from the so-called “Emergent Church” and its basement-dwelling cousin, the “Submergent Church.” Its adherents may call it “New Monasticism,” but whatever the name, it is nothing more than a pig in a silk dress. It’s the Dark Ages dressed in a hoodie, an attempt to modernize the brutish, ancient, works-based “Christianity” of our European, Middle Eastern and North African ancestors. Yes, the “New Monasticism” uses words like “discipleship,” “community,” “simplicity” and “hospitality,” but in reality these words are Trojan Horses, deceptions used to entice itching ears away from sound doctrine.


We know that when the New Monastics use the term “discipleship” they don’t mean it the way we do. When they talk about discipleship they will use phrases like “following in the way of Jesus” and “living out the Sermon on the Mount.” Don’t be fooled by their tricky terminology! While advocating that we try to live out the impossible teachings of Jesus, they ignore the true fundamentals of discipleship, like the altar call, memorizing the sinner’s prayer and abstinence from all alcohol. True discipleship incorporates these essential elements and many, many more requirements, written and unwritten.


The New Monastics’ emphasis on community is also misleading. Sure the Church in the book of Acts lived in proximity and shared resources, but that lifestyle was for the early Church only. No realistic Christian could advocate such a lifestyle today. Once the Bible came together as a complete book, community living and the exercise of Spiritual gifts ceased to be necessary. Today’s Christians are called to be independent, self-sustaining, and focused on improving themselves. This emphasis on communal living and sharing could easily lead to social gospelism, New Ageism and other disorders. Moreover, people living together, or in close proximity, pose clear health risks to each other and the general population.


Nothing could be more dangerous than inviting the unsaved and unclean into your home or church. “Touch not the unclean thing.” To protect ourselves and our children from the taint of sin we recommend complete separation from those who have not been purged of their unrighteous nature.


Clearly God wants us to have the best stuff and lots of it, as a witness to the unsaved. God always rewards his favorites with wealth and material possessions. That’s how we know who is in right standing with God. To advocate a simple lifestyle is a rejection of God’s way of showing who His favorites are. Besides, our American way of life depends on consumption. If simplicity of lifestyle were practiced by all Christians our standard of living would decline to the levels of France and other failed states. In addition, tax revenues used to support the government’s various activities around the world would dry up.

New Monasticism is bad, really bad. It is a danger to the American way of life and to the established Church. Don’t be taken in by these young, radical emergent types (and their sub-mergent cousins) advocating simplicity, community, discipleship and hospitality. These elements form a heady brew of doctrinal error and Utopian fantasy. They are dangerous ideas, ideas that could bring us into a new Dark Age or worse.

Author Bio:: Casey Ochs is a husband and father. He is a member of Missio Dei (which is, incidentally, part of the new monasticism).

Breaking News: Rapture May Have Already Happened

January 27, 2008

Millions of faithful Christians eagerly await the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. In a recent Gallup study, 73% of Americans believe in the “physical return of Jesus Christ” during the last days. 53% of Americans believe that Jesus is coming back within their lifetimes.

Many Evangelicals believe that, before Jesus’ return, there will be seven years of great suffering. This period—which some call the “Tribulation”—will conclude with the return of Jesus Christ. According to popular belief, true Christians will be spared from this time of Tribulation by a mass miracle called “the Rapture.”

According to popular author and Biblical scholar Tim LaHaye, “the rapture is when God miraculously takes all ‘true’ Christians out of the world before the time of Great Tribulation. True Christians will be taken directly into heaven where they will await the final judgment.”

Belief in a rapture for true believers has grown in recent years, thanks in large part to the Left Behind Series—a series of novels based upon the book of Revelation. These books, co-authored by LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, have sold over 70 million copies and spawned children’s books, a video game, and a film franchise. The rapture is big business. Unfortunately, it may have already happened.

Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins are missing. Worried family members haven’t seen LaHaye or Jenkins since January 20th, 2008. Sources closest to the families confirm that LaHaye disappeared in the middle of the night, leaving behind only his pajamas. Jenkins disappeared while walking his dog, leaving behind a jogging outfit, shoes, and a hat.

Police are engaged in a full search of the two men. If anyone knows of the whereabouts of LaHaye or Jenkins, please call your local authorities.

Al Mohler Takes Stand on Emergent Profanity

January 17, 2008

mohler.jpgDISCLAIMER: Due to a thoughtful (offline) response to this article (which is 100% satirical), I have edited it to make it less offensive.

Times are changing. And not for the better, says Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Dr. Mohler is concerned by the growing “Emergent” church movement (ECM)–a growing network of dissatisfied rebellious young adults who have decided to do church their own way.

In a recent broadcast of the Al Mohler Radio Program, Dr. Mohler stated: “These Emergent Christians–if indeed they are still Christians–are leading our young people astray. They challenge core doctrines like the substitutionary atonement, inerrancy, and the headship of men in the church and home.”

When asked about his biggest concern with the ECM, Dr. Mohler responded, “My biggest concern is that they are lowering the bar on personal and public morality. Emergents are drinking and cussing and taking a lax stance on sexual immorality–including homosexual perversion. But it is the cussing that concerns me the most.”

Emerging Profanity

A recent study by the Barna Group shows that 92% of pastors who identify with the label “emerging” or “emergent” believe that profanity is “ok in the right circumstances.” This is contrasted with Southern Baptist pastors, 3% of which feel that profanity is acceptable.

“The other day I met with a self-described Emergent pastor,” says Mohler. “I couldn’t believe my ears–there we were debating about the nature of the law when that young man said: ‘I simply will not accept that I need to make someone feel like sh*t before they can receive the Gospel’–can you believe that? He said the word sh*t. Right there at Starbucks.”

When asked to explain his distaste for profanity, Dr. Mohler continued: “You see, I find the word ’sh*t’ offensive. The bible says to avoid unwholesome talk. I also dislike the words *&%, ^%$&, @!%$, *&^&%#, @!%$#*&%, *&#@%, and *!@&$^%?#.”

We wanted to let Emergent Christians respond to these serious criticisms, so we went to the coordinator of Emergent Village, Tony Jones. When asked to comment on these allegations, Mr. Jones responded: “I don’t give a sh*t what Al Mohler thinks.”

Peculiar Presidential Candidate Gets An Early Start

January 14, 2008

Keeping with recent trends in campaigning, a candidate for 2012 has already announced his plans to run for the oval office despite the fact that the 2008 election has not even been completed. Yesterday, former minority leader Jesus (I- New Israel) made his intentions known amidst what appeared to be over 5,000 raggedy supporters on the mount opposite of the Capitol Building. The former leader’s speech brought several ovations, particularly in his promise that “Obama, Edwards, Clinton, Paul…they all are peddling ‘change.’ If you elect me as your commander-in-chief, I will bring nothing short of transformation.”

Jesus’ ride to this point has been bumpy, but analysts tell us he may still have the support to possibly make the ballots in 2012. After enjoying early success as a mover and shaker on the Senate floor, Jesus fell out of the loop with his inability to connect with any political party post-September 11th. Many of his strongest allies became enemies over night when he refused to vote for the looming invasion of Afghanistan. Former ally Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) was quoted as saying “To not want to attack a country pre-emptively on shady intelligence is one thing, but to not want to strike back at known terrorists…makes absolutely no sense any way you look at it.” If McCain’s words were not detrimental enough, the votes lost in Jesus’ reelection campaign certainly were. With his approval rating hovering near seven percent, Jesus was forced to retire from the race all together.

But all was not lost. The attention garnered from his somewhat public downfall has inspired many new supporters to pick up the cause, particularly his campaign organizers who Jesus has given the name The Remnant. Whether or not The Remnant can push Jesus to the top will be the real test. Many grass roots organizers within his campaign have continually tried to place Jesus among the elite candidates for 2012, but Jesus himself seems to shrink back from their efforts preferring a more subtle role in the American political scene. His public persona is certainly peculiar, which has caused most political analysts to already write him off as “the next Ross Perot.” As if all these hurdles were not high enough, Jesus’ record suggests that he has lacked the ability to work in a partisan environment on topics such as illegal immigration, foreign policy, and economic stability, where his ideas have constantly been branded “too radical” by conservatives and liberals alike.

When approached by reporters this week for a response over Rev. Pat Robertson’s latest quote, that “Jesus certainly has star power, but needs to adjust his moral compass if he is going to get the evangelical vote in 2012,” Jesus refused to comment and instead elected to crouch down and trace his finger on the ground. Odd tactics indeed if this presidential candidate wants to be taken seriously.

mike.jpgMichael Cline is a freelance pastor and and over-employed learner who currently attends Bethel Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. When not snuggling with his wife, he’s blogging over at

Weblog of Jesus Stirs Controversy Among Faithful

January 10, 2008

Christians have always had a strong presence in the blogosphere. Once the practice of the young, blogging has grown among older Christians–including many clergy. But in December an unexpected religious celebrity entered the blogging fray: Jesus Christ. And his sacred presence is causing a stir among his most ardent followers.

His first post, titled “Love Your Enemies,” upset many evangelical leaders. In that post, Jesus issues a provocative call to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” In what can only be assumed to hyperbolic speech, Jesus encourages his followers to let assailants hit them a second time.

One commenter, Rev. Kreyton Smith, director of the Americans for a Stronger Family, remarked: “What would happen if Christians were to take this seriously! I could never, in good conscience, proclaim this message to my flock!”

In a post that warns of the perils of wealth, Thomas Stern, National Coordinator for the Southern Assemblies for Christ, issued a thinly-veiled threat: “Are you trying to drive people away? If you keep talking like this, you’re going to get yourself killed.”

Pastor Kendrick Villa, well-respected conservative evangelical blogger, believes that Jesus is going too far. In a press release he wrote: “I appreciate what Jesus has done for us. His death is essential to our eternal happiness. But some of his teachings simply detract from the true nature of the Gospel. It pains me to say this, but Jesus is still teaching out of the Law and needs to embrace a Gospel of grace.”

Pastor Villa isn’t alone. A swelling number of evangelicals have grown disillusioned with the harshly demanding teachings of Jesus. In a coordinate effort, many are working to keep the more controversial teachings of Jesus quiet. Instead, many opt for a Gospel that is simpler.

“I prefer a gospel that is streamlined, one that fits in a little pamphlet,” says Christian tract publisher Edward Muehler. “I know that Jesus has a lot to say about things like poverty and peace, but these things distract from the true nature of the Gospel: freedom from personal sin and hope for the afterlife.”

Not all evangelicals are so quick to sideline Jesus. Some find the ethical teachings of Jesus encouraging. At a recent youth-rally, Jeremy Beason–a student organizer for Sojourners Magazine–stated: “Jesus’ teachings are fresh, man. He is so accepting and non-judgmental. His offers a gentle path in a harsh world.”

When asked his opinion about a recent post in which Jesus tells the inhospitable to “…depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels,” Mr. Beason had no comment.

Jesus isn’t making things easier for himself. When this reporter asked Jesus to justify his provocative teachings, Jesus mysteriously responded: “The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”

In a recent e-newsletter, Jesus attempted to clarify further, but confused many of his proponents with strange stories and abstract references to the “Kingdom of God.” Such confusing rhetoric led one woman, longtime supporter Mary Garcia, to remark: “Sometimes I wish he’d just say what he means. I love the man, but he certainly doesn’t make it easy for the cause, you know?”

New Christian Legislation–A Return to our Roots

December 31, 2007

There is much news on the new legislation created by Christian Congressman Phuny Guy. Guy ran on a conservative platform in his home state of Texas, and now is a leading member in trying to get distinctly Christian legislation through the house.

“There has been much talk about Lions escaping from zoo cages lately,” the congressman noted yesterday on Capitol Hill. “It has reminded us that we need to get back to the roots of Christianity.”

What are these roots that the congressman is talking about?

“Back in the good ol’ days,” the congressman continued. “Christians and Jews were fed to lions, and we just think that with all these debates on how to begin revival in the church, we should think about getting back to our roots. I am passionately campaigning for new legislation that would allow again for Christians to be fed to the lions at all of our local zoos.”

And the congressman is dead serious. Not only does he admit that we can save the zoo some money on lion foot, but he is gung-ho for what he calls old-fashioned “lion legislation.”

“I mean, c’mon,” he yelled at a conference with the Moral Majority. “What good has come since Constantine? We witnessed the dark ages, we fought crusades, and now we have a Christian president who has gotten us into Iraq. As a political leader, I am calling out Christians like George Bush. Would you be willing to go back to the way things were?”

The congressman also notes the great good that this will do for the church.

“Back home in Texas, most Christians think of Christianity as a ‘Sunday thing.’ All I want to do is make Christianity an everyday thing. That is why, according to the proposed bill, anyone claiming to be a Christian can be arrested immediately, sent to prison, and then, if he does not deny his faith, fed to the lions. It would surely root out back-sliding and half-hearted commitments to Christ.”

But not everyone is happy about the congressman’s audacity. An anonymous Christian university president in Valencia, CA is furious about the claim.

“He is trying to add works to salvation!” the anonymous Christian president said militantly. “Salvation comes through faith in Christ Jesus alone, not whether he is able to stand up for Christ in times of adversity! Works have no part in Christianity! Like Paul said so long ago, I think this man is accursed for what he believes.”

“I think it’s a great idea,” said atheist Jim in New York. “I’m tired of hearing about all this Christian crap. This ought to get rid of them for sure. I hope they start the hunt with George Bush.”

“This is horrible,” say Christian Iluvgod Rogers of Massachusetts. “Didn’t they do that in the dark ages? Christianity shouldn’t be treated like some secret society. If they do this, they’d better know that I will take up my right to bear arms and kill anyone who arrests me based on my religion. We have freedom of religion in this country!”

Despite such opposition, the congressman is continuing to go around the country gaining support for such a bill to go through congress. Even the presidential candidates are talking about it.

“We don’t need more legislation,” said Barack Obama earlier today. “We need more people willing to believe in hope for the future. I am that hope for the future! I have the audacity to believe that hope is the answer!”

“I am outraged,” said presidential hopeful Rudy Guliani. “We are fighting a war on terror, and this congressman wants to waste our money on domestic issues. This just goes to show how important the war on terror is.”

When the reporter noted that he was not asking about the war on terror, but whether or not he thought the legislation was well thought out, Guliani turned around and kept reminding the audience that he was mayor of New York City when 9/11 happened.

Ron Paul had a different answer.

“I am the champion of the constitution,” Ron Paul argued. “And the constitution doesn’t say anything about Christianity, so neither do I. In fact, I think all legislation should be done away with and we should NOT return to the roots of Christianity, but the roots of America. This is an American nation. Not a Christian nation.”

Whatever side you are on, we must admit that congressman Phuny Guy is drawing quite a stir in the political arena.

Author Bio:: Danny is a senior at Azusa Pacific University studying social science, with a minor in youth ministry and Biblical studies. He keeps a blog at:

Apostle Paul Sues Publishers for Copyright Infringement

December 18, 2007

apostlepaul.jpgChristianity is big business. Recent films, such as the Passion of the Christ and the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe bring in hundreds of millions of dollars from the faithful. Christian radio stations likewise bring in hundreds of millions of dollars–most notably, Salem Communications earned nearly $200 million in revenue last year. But the largest slice of the $8 billion Christian retail industry belongs to publishing. And where there is money to be made, there are lawsuits to be filed.

In a modern day David-versus-Goliath, one man is challenging the increasingly lucrative Christian publishing industry.

Paul of Tarsus (known to his friends as “the Apostle”) believes he is entitled to significant percentage of all Bible sales (which total about $200 million a year).

“I wrote 13 books of the Bible. And I haven’t seen a single penny for my work. 13 out of 66 books entitles me to about 20% of the royalties,” claims Paul.

Executives at Zondervan (the first on the long list of companies that Paul is suing) disagree. “While Paul certainly wrote 13 books of the Bible, his total writings only account for 7% of the total page count of the Bible. Besides, there were no copyright laws when he wrote his epistles.”

The New International Version (NIV) has been the crown jewel of Zondervan’s growing publishing empire. With 2005 revenues totaled $160 million, Zondervan was a likely candidate for Paul of Tarsus’ first lawsuit.

“Look, I don’t want to be an ass. I just want what’s mine. I have nothing against Zondervan. I appreciate that they’ve been willing to distribute Bibles to people around the world for a healthy profit–I just want my share in that profit.”

Paul on Hard Times

Paul of Tarsus was once a well respected leader in Christendom. In recent years, his popularity has been on the decline. Concerns over his homophobic tendencies and his unJesuslike sentiments have cut into Paul’s primary source of income–public speaking. Living in a small studio apartment in Brooklyn, he is struggling to get by.

Says Paul, “I stand by what I wrote, but I would have worded things differently if I would have known that people were uptight about calling homosexuality a ‘perversion’ or suggesting that women ’submit’ to their husbands.”

Recent trends indicate that Paul has indeed fallen out of favor with Christians. Though still popular with fundamentalists and Calvinists, many Christians–especially young mainline and “emergent” Christians–find him out of fashion.

23 year old Cynthia Halberson agrees: “I don’t care what Paul wrote; I only read the red letters of the Bible–you know the stuff that Jesus said.”

Paul hopes a settlement will help him get back on his feet: “They’ve profited off of me for centuries. Now I just want them to return the favor.”

If he were to win his case with Zondervan, Paul would be awarded $18.2 million dollars. But that is just one of about a dozen publishing companies in his sights.

Publishers Worried

Paul has caused quite a scare in the Christian publishing industry. If Paul is successful, he could end up bankrupting the industry. Retail analyst Simon Anderton suggests that this could only be the begining. “If Paul of Tarsus wins his case, it will open up large, class-action lawsuits. There are many, many, writers who could come forward to follow in Paul’s footsteps. If Moses were to get involved–with his considerable contributions to the scriptures–it could be the end for many Christian publishing companies.”

Ironically, the largest contributor to Christianity–Jesus of Nazareth–isn’t likely to make a dime. Though his life and death are the subject of all of the New Testament writings, he never wrote anything himself.

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