Archive for April, 2014
On this day many years ago on 24th April 1555, George Marsh, Martyr was burned at the stake in West Chester for his testimony and faithfulness to the Word of God. This weekend, (Saturday 26th April) Protestants in Chester will gather in the afternoon for a public commemoration to Marsh outside the Town Hall and will walk to the site of his execution.
He was the only Protestant to be Martyred in the North of England and it was on this day so many years ago when this powerful, yet horrific event occurred.
In memory to him and to all the faithful Martyrs of Christ, I add this little tribute with my slightly more modern spelling of the original narrative, of which John Foxe had this to say;
“When the time and day appointed came that he should suffer: the Sheriffs of the City (whose names were Amry & Couper) with their officers and a great number of poor simple Barbers, with rusty Bills & Pole axe’s, went to the Northgate & there took out the said George Marsh, who came with them most humbly & meekly, with a lock upon his feet. And as he came upon the way towards the place of execution, some folks offered him money, & looked that he should have gone with a little purse in his hand (as the manner of felons was, accustomed in that City in times past, at their going to execution) to the end to gather money to give unto a Priest to say masses for them after their death, whereby they might (as they thought) be saved: but Marsh said he would not be troubled with meddling with money, but willed some good man to take the money, if the people were disposed to give any, and to give it unto the prisoners or poor people.
So he went all the way unto his death, with his book in his hand, looking upon the same, and many of the people said: this man goes not unto his death as a thief, or as one that deserves to die.
Now when he came to the place of execution without the City, near unto Spittle boughton, one Cawdrey, being then deputy of Chester, showed Marsh a writing under a great seal, saying that it was a pardon for him if he would recant. Where at Marsh answered, that he would gladly accept the same (and said farther, that he loved the Queen) but for as much as it tended to pluck him from God, he could not receive it upon that condition.
After that, he began to speak to the people showing the cause of his death, and would have exhorted them to stick unto Christ. Whereupon one of the Sheriffs said: George Marsh, we must have no sermonizing now. To whom he said, “Master, I cry you mercy” and so kneeling down made his Prayers, and then put of his clothes unto his shirt, and then was he chained unto the post, having a number of sticks under him, and a thing made like a firkin, with pitch and tar in the same over his head: and by reason that the fire was unskillfully made, and that the wind did drive the flame to and fro, he suffered great extremity in his death, which not withstanding he abode very patiently.
Wherein this in him is to be noted, that when as he had been a long time tormented in the fire without moving, having his flesh so broiled and puffed up that they which stood before him could not see the chain wherewith he was fastened, and therefore supposed no less but he had been dead, not withstanding suddenly he spread abroad his arms, saying “father of heaven have mercy upon me, and so yielded his spirit into the hands of the Lord.
Upon this, many of the people said that he was a Martyr, and died marvelously patiently and godly. Which thing caused the Bishop shortly after to make a Sermon in the Cathedral Church, and therein affirmed, that the said Marsh was an heretic, burnt like an heretic, and was a firebrand in hell.
In recompense of this his good and charitable Sermon, within short time after, the just judgement of GOD appeared upon the said Bishop: recompensing him in such wise, that not long after he turned up his heels and died.
Upon what cause his death was, I have not here precisely to pronounce, because the rumour and voice of the people is not always to be followed. Not withstanding such a report went in all men’s mouths, that he was burned of an harlot. Whereupon whether he died or no, I am not certain, neither dare lean too much upon public speech. Albeit this is certain, that when he was after ward searched being dead, by some of his secret friends & certain Aldermen for stopping the rumour of the people, this maidenly Priest and Bishop was found not to be free from certain appearance, which declared but small virginity in him, and that the rumour was not raised up altogether upon naught, among the people. But of this I will stay, & proceed no farther, not because more can not be said, but because I will not be so uncharitable in defacing these men, as they are cruel in condemning Gods servants to death.”
John Foxe. Acts and Monuments (1576)
George Marsh. 1515-1555. In Memoriam.
Those who are familiar with me know how I repeatedly disagree with the many popular claims made by so-called modern ‘Bible Scholars’. All too often I find the opinions of these people and their dating methods concerning Biblical history, the New Testament Gospels and epistles, inconsistent with the information that is available. Since the existing data contradicts them, I often regard their claims as either misinformation or out right lies.
However, what some people fail to acknowledge concerning me, I, is that I never make such claims without rigorous research and proofs.
In this post, I am writing yet again concerning another often overlooked and deliberately disregarded proof text which contradicts the claims of modern critical scholars. This further information I am presenting relates to DSS fragment 7Q5 and its connection to the Gospel of Mark, which if true, is undeniable proof that the Synoptic Gospel of Mark was written well before AD 66 or 68.
The facts are the following.
Between 1946-47 shepherds in Qumran, Israel, discovered a number of ancient manuscripts in a series of Caves about a mile inland from the Dead Sea. These scrolls (known as DSS) are of highly significant in Biblical research and were written in the languages of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek and provide valuable information relating to some Religious practices and beliefs during the 2nd Temple Biblical era.
This discovery is arguably one of the greatest finds of the last century.
In cave 7 among some of the Qumran scrolls was discovered a fragment known as 7Q5. This Papyrus fragment clearly appears to be a New Testament papyri containing a section of Marks Gospel chapter 6 and verses 52-53.
This section in Greek reads like so;
συνηκαν επι τοις αρτοις,
αλλ ην αυτων η καρδια πεπωρω-
μενη. και διαπερασαντες [επι την γην]
ηλθον εις γεννησαρετ και
προσωρμισθησαν. και εξελ-
θοντων αυτων εκ του πλοιου ευθυς
In the King James Version, the passage reads as following;
“For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.
And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Gen-nes-aret, and drew
to the shore”
It is quite clear that this Greek passage is part of Marks Gospel. Which, presents a huge problem for modern scholars since this cave was closed in AD 68 and never reopened again until 1946-48.
The problem is that those leading scholars whom society make their leading thinker, are the very ones who deny them. Yet the Markan narrative in its original context shows that some people back in the time of Christ could not see the Truth, their hearts were hardened by God Himself.
In his book ‘The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English’ Geza Vermes ignores the claim that 7Q5 contains Mark 6: 52-53 and dismisses it as a “clearly unprovable hypothesis” (Appendix. P 441) yet he appears to offer no satisfactory explanation why? Neither does he include the actual text in his book. This begs the question; ‘just how complete is his version?’
The significance concerning this fragment and Marks Gospel is very high and should not be played down by scholars. Since the caves in which the DSS scrolls were discovered were large quantities of scrolls which are of the highest importance. Today the DSS sit in the Shrine of the Book, in Jerusalem of which the Israel Museum has over one million visitors per year.
It is a very real claim to say there are a lot of disinformation agents in the West today who are trying to bring down Christianity and her mother Religion, Judaism. And any evidences that rise up, either by archaeology, vault discovery or textual analysis, each day they are ready to pounce upon them and discredit the information in relation to the Bible.
The Truth is that the some of these modern scholars continuously play down the authority of the Synoptic Gospels and the Gospel of John because they know the implications and the power of eye witness testimony of this grand scale. The Gospel of Christ “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17: 6) and these scholars and authorities and political spin doctors know that. So in order to control the masses of people and play down Christianity, they must attack it from within. What better place to start than attack the Bible itself.
The problem is that they know all too well that the Bible is not just another religious text. If Jesus had been presented as some kind of guru, philosopher or crucified man, He would be just another martyr, but no, He rose from the dead and proved He was the Christ. But if He was just a great teacher or one of many ways to God, then people would not revolt against Him. But knowing the implications of the things He said, He Himself makes the path of Truth a very singular journey. Thus, in order for the enemies of Truth to bring down this road to pave the way for another they look for contradictions like a lawyers in a court of law in an attempt to make the testimonies themselves appear unreliable. But clear research and Theological insights and exegesis of the Biblical narratives clearly demonstrate that the Gospels do not contract each other and people like myself are willing to appear unlearned and silly sometimes in making claims that are contrary to what is often seen as the majority opinion.
But just because something is believed by a majority, does not make it true. The fact remains the Theological community regularly reviews these apparent contradictions and by careful analysis of the text, know the claims are in error. The problem is, that we know the Word of God and its Theological meaning, they don’t. They are attacking things they do not understand. They win over the unsaved majority and even some believers who sit on the fence and then claim their victories. But even a majority vote does not make something true, sometimes people are just plain wrong.
What we need to do, each and every one of us, is rise up and defend the Truth. It is the promise of eternal life which those scholars are robbing people of. It is they who are destroying peoples faith in the Bible as the Word of God. And it is the Word of God which is Gods chosen way for Him to reveal who He is. But if people close their minds to the Truth, how will they find it?
The time is upon us and we are seeing more than enough proofs of this each day, that a very large organization is set out to utterly abolish Christianity from face of the earth. And if it cannot do that, it seeks to destroy peoples faith in Christianity’s measuring line by reducing it to mere literature. But they will not succeed so long as the Truth is presented and that fellow Christians, is our job.
Do it now while it is still day, for the night comes when no man can work.
“For the time is come, that judgement must begin at the house of God; and if it first start with us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?. ” 1 Peter 4: 17
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ. The time has come for you to re-examine the Scriptures, and cease to deny those which do not reaffirm your message.
Too long have your teachers embraced a loyalty within their hearts to the Separatist theories and histories which landed on your shores so long ago.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, I know you love the Scriptures and are loyal to them, but the reason why some of you wrestle with the Scriptures, is because they speak contrary to some of the doctrines of which you hold dear. It is time for change.
Too long have your teachers upheld Scripture in one place, while denying them in another. I know that they are loyal to the Truth and I know they try and be loyal to Scripture, but they have another love in their hearts. The loyalty to their much loved friends and historical people, has taken the pure milk of the word out of their hearts.
Friends; you need not be loyal to the doctrines upheld by your close friends, pastors, beloved teachers, historical people and their books. Our loyalty is to God alone and the Scriptures which He has set in their place. And if a doctrine has no place in Scripture, it should have no place within our hearts.
On the basis of Scripture and in the quest for Truth, I appeal to you to re-think your position with Scripture and plain reason.
If you open your hearts to what Scripture says, the Scripture will come into you and breathe. But if you shut up your hearts and close your minds, you alone will close them up.
Remember that you who uphold and teach doctrines, will be judged more highly than those who do not . This is why James wrote, “My brethren be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation” (James 3: 1.)
With that Truth in mind, I urge you for the good of yourselves and all people; be not be like those of old who affirmed Salvation for themselves, while denying it for others. All the while, looking at the decline of your own while denying their Salvation at the same time. For, if this be an untruth, you will receive judgement for teaching it.
I appeal to you who know the Scriptures, to spend some time in the close examination of them once again. For it is the Church which is to be judged by the Scriptures, not the Scriptures by the Church. It is the Body of Christ to whom the message of Salvation has been entrusted. And she cannot be alarmed by her country’s denial of Scripture, while she herself denies them too.
I appeal to you this day, to re-examine the Scriptures and seek the Lord who gave them. To seek the Word of the Prophets and Apostles who wrote them down and sent the Words to you by the Power of the Holy Spirit sent from Heaven.
The Scripture says “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father” 1 Peter 1: 2. Through which is revealed the original purpose of God, to indiscriminately bring Salvation both to Jews and Gentiles, who are elect according to the foreknowledge of God, in which, if it follows that if no man is excluded from calling upon God, Salvation must be ready available for him.
I urge and plead with you to re-examine your hearts and minds and be not like those of old, who were chosen, but in the time of Our Lord did deny salvation for everyone, but themselves alone. They too used Scripture to affirm it.
Brothers and sisters, I plead with you, on behalf of Truth and the souls of those who are perishing and the pure testimony of divine Scripture, ‘gird up the loins of your minds, be sober and repent’. And if you have tasted that the Lord be gracious to you, remember His grace towards others, who were like yourselves, not the people of God, even so should you be merciful, as you yourselves have obtained mercy.
If the doctrine of ‘Limited Atonement’ be true, then it is not a ‘doctrine of Grace’. It is a doctrine of damnation for all those who either cannot, or will not believe in it.
Dearly beloved, judgement is coming, but it will not come until the house of God is set in order first. Time is short, I beseech you, as strangers yet as brothers and sisters, to submit yourselves to every Word of God. And pray, pray, pray.’