Who Jesus Really Was – An Answser to John Fugelsang

1493141_10151916699986051_1393012165_nOver the past months, I’ve seen this “quote” posted on FB and other sites. The quote is by an actor (John Fugelsang) whose parents were disenchanted Catholics who went against their religious beliefs to get married. (His mother was a nun and father was a former Franciscan Brother.) It is easy then to see why he is disenchanted with religion and makes these comments about Jesus that are, for the most part, incorrect.

While a graphic such as this may make for lots of shares and likes from the unbelieving and unknowing crowd on Facebook, and give the author more visibility, it is not scriptural and definitely needs to be addressed.

I’m not a theologian by any means and certainly not a wordsmith so I’m responding as a lay person who loves the Lord.

Jesus was a radical nonviolent revolutionary
The simple answer is yes.  Jesus was radical in his ministry and teachings.

However, every time Jesus rebuked the temple leaders, questioned Jewish traditions, or broke the “law,” it was because the system was corrupt, the teachers were misguiding the people, or else man’s law was wrong by God’s law.  Jesus was acting righteously to restore true practice of being faithful to God, and he had the authority to do so.

who hung around with lepers hookers and crooks
First, I must state that Jesus never “hung out” with anyone other than the apostles. To ‘hang out’ with someone means to get together with friends for entertainment, etc.

Having said that; Fugelsang states that Jesus hung out with hookers and crooks (tax-collectors & prostitutes) insinuating that we should not dare judge such people. But what he doesn’t point out and possibly doesn’t understand in these appeals for loving tolerance, is that Jesus expected these people to change, to repent & no longer be corrupt tax-collectors (corruption & tax-collection was synonymous at the time) or prostitutes. Thus, Jesus only associated with them to change them. He in no way was approving of their sins. These tax-collectors & prostitutes became FORMER corrupt tax-collectors & FORMER prostitutes.

Let’s see what the Bible says: Luke 19:1-10 KJV
1 And [Jesus] entered and passed through Jericho. 2 And, behold, [there was] a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. 3 And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. 4 And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that [way]. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house. 6 And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. 7 And when they saw [it], they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner. 8 And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore [him] fourfold. 9 And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

Zacchaeus repented of wrong doing and stated he would make things right with those he had wronged. Jesus then stated that salvation had come to his house. He would not have said that had Zacchaeus not been repentant. So we see that Jesus didn’t ‘hang out’ with an unrepentant sinner. Nor did he tolerate their sin. He expected them to change.

Ok but what about the hooker. Again, we must go to the Bible and give context. John 8:1-11 KJV
1 Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. 2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. 3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, 4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? 6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with [his] finger wrote on the ground, [as though he heard][ them not]. 7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. 8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. 9 And they which heard [it], being convicted by [their own] conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, [even] unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? 11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

Here Jesus tells the scribes and Pharisees that unless they are without sin, they have no right to stone (pass judgement) on anyone else. Then he tells the woman that He does not condemn her. Now here, we must make a very important distinction.  Jesus said: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” The scribes and Pharisees not only had judged her but were preparing to ‘sentence’ her by stoning. (death) This would cause her physical death. However, Jesus’ condemnation would sentence her to an eternal life in hell. Instead, He told her to go and sin no more.

Again, this disproves the statement that Jesus ‘hung out with lepers hookers and crooks.

wasn’t American and never spoke English;
Well, DUH!

was anti•wealth anti-death penalty
There is no Biblical text that says Jesus was ‘anti-wealth.’ Non!, Nada! Zip! He told his apostles not to take money with them but to depend on offerings but didn’t limit the amount in any way.

As for anti-death penalty. “If no crime deserves the death penalty, then it is hard to see why it was fitting that Christ be put to death for our sins….” If we didn’t deserve the death penalty ourselves, then why would Christ need to suffer it on our behalf in order to satisfy the justice of God? Denying the death penalty directly assaults the justice of the Father—the One who required His own Son to pay precisely that price in our stead. – Professor Michael Pakaluk.” A good article suporting this can be found at http://www.religiontoday.com/news/did-jesus-support-capital-punishment-11575216.html

NOTE: My personal opinion is that I am against the death penalty as it is now used in a broken system.

anti-public prayer (m 6:5);
Mmm, I think he meant Matt. 6:6 here but whatever. Jesus speaking in this passage is not saying it is wrong to pray in public but wrong to pray in public if you do it to be seen by others. My Bible says Jesus Himself prayed in public.
“Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,(Luke 3:21 [KJV])
And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.(Luke 11:1 [KJV])
And the Gospels are replete with instances of the apostles and others praying in public.

but was never anti•gay
Lets’s see what the Bible says. Way too many verses to mention here but I’ll give the gist of Jesus’ feelings on homosexuality (based on what is written in God’s word.)

First and foremost, John 3:16 tells us that “God (Jesus) so loved the world…” and the ‘world’ here certainly included homosexuals. So, Jesus loves homosexuals as much as He loves anyone else. Let’s get that out of the way. However, though Jesus loves everyone, He hates sin which includes adultery.

“(Matt 19:18 [KJV]) He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,” So we see here that Jesus groups adultery in with all the other sins. Adultery in the Bible speaks of sex outside of marriage and marriage in the Bible is strictly between a man and a woman. I have a good series on same-sex marriage and what the Bible says here so I won’t go into detail in this post.

never mentioned abortion or birth control
But the Bible does teach that life begins in the womb, that God considers children special and wants humans to have children and certainly that God condemns the killing of the innocent.

never called the poor lazy,
Nope; in fact, the Bible is full of parables where Jesus speaks about the poor and certainly, as Christians, it behooves us to do what we can to those who are down and out.

Personally though, I like Matt. 11:5 where “Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.

Notice here how Jesus speaks of healing the blind, lame and the lepers, but preaching the Gospel to the poor. Now I would be ‘proof-texting’ if I were to say this proves that we are only to witness to the poor but it does show that our number one priority is to give them the gospel. And while Jesus never called the poor lazy, the Bible does speak of personal responsibility in a number of passages. One that stands out to me is 1 Timothy 5:8 “But if any man does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. ” You see, just because a person is poor does not make them lazy, but there is no problem with calling a person who is too lazy to work, lazy. Those are the one’s who just want to scam the system and live off of the taxpayers

never justified torture
No rational person would justify torture under normal circumstances. However, if someone had kidnapped a member of my family and I thought torture was the only way to make him/her divulge their whereabouts, I’d pull his fingernails out one-by-one till he told me.

never fought for tax cut for the wealthiest Nazarenes
When asked about paying taxes (Mark 12) Jesus says to give to God those things which are God’s and give to Cesar (or the government) the things which are Cesar’s. Nowhere in His teachings did he infer that anyone, rich or poor should pay more or less than anyone else. I personally believe we should have a flat tax where everyone pays a set percentage of earned income period. No deductions, no shelters, nothing. That is a ‘fair’ tax.

never asked a leper for a co pay
Nor did He ever make someone else ‘responsible for healing. Anyone who says they do not believe in co-pays but is not willing to go to any doctors office and pay the co-pays for those folks coming in is a liar.

and was a long-haired
No, this is not scriptural. Nor was it the culture. Look at any of the artworks/statues/reliefs of the time of Christ and you will be hard pressed to find anyone with long hair. And, while Jesus grew up in Nazareth, this had nothing to do with the Nazarite vow which some claim for the reason he had long hair.

brown- skinned
Yes, as was everyone else in the area.

homeless
Not at all sure where this came from and unfortunately, many of the liberals who read this garbage will believe it. In Matthew 21:13 “And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer;…” Jesus, the very creator God of the universe, owns the universe and everything in it. Now just as an activist for the homeless may choose to live among them for a while rather than living in his/her home, Jesus chose to live among us rather than living in His home (heaven). So to say that Jesus was homeless shows a very ignorant view of scripture and the God of all.

community- organizing
No scriptural basis for this statement.

anti-slut•shaming
Again, a total disregard for scripture. In Luke 13: 15-17 we read: “The Lord then answered him, and said,[Thou] hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or [his] ass from the stall, and lead [him] away to watering? And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day? And when he had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him.”
Jesus ‘shamed’ many during His time on earth. And in case after case, we see repentance. Repentance doesn’t come without a feeling of shame and guilt.

middle eastern jew.
Yep; can’t argue with this one.

12 thoughts on “Who Jesus Really Was – An Answser to John Fugelsang”

  1. Thank you for this perspective. Especially the part about anti-wealth because it demonstrates you are either unwilling or are afraid to make an effort to understand John’s message. You dismiss, in whole or in part, John Fugelsang’s quote because you can’t seem to find what he refers to “anti-wealth” in the bible.

    Let me help you then because there are many anti-wealth passages in the new testament. Let’s start with a story that both Matthew and Mark found so profound that both of them re-tell in each of their gospels. For Matthew it starts in 19:16, and Mark 10:17.

    A man comes to Jesus asking how to become good – by good he means how can he find good favor with God and enter heaven. After some back and forth of the commandments Jesus says, “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” The man turns away sad because he had great wealth (and knows he can’t part with his wealth). To which Jesus tells his disciples, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

    That’s pretty anti-wealth to me. If those two passages aren’t enough this theme of anti-wealth is repeated else where in the new testament in (please make the effort to look them up):
    – 1 Timothy 6:9-11
    – Luke 16:13
    – Matthew 6:19-21

    Jesus’s message is pretty clear that God does not place any value worldly wealth, and as a Christian (literally one who follows Christ) wealth should have no place or priority in your life. You simply need to open your heart and your mind to these messages. I am praying for you, and those like you, that you will no longer be blind to these teachings; that you open yourself to the light and the love that Jesus has for us all. My hope is that rather than defending your lifestyle and choices by rebuking teachers like John Fugelsang that you will seek first to understand their message. Like that of Jesus, their message is about God’s great love for us all – not about being correct. May the peace of Christ be with you. Amen.

  2. Rex; thank you for your comment. It is well reasoned and I’m in agreement with most of it. And, since you zeroed in on the one “anti-wealth” portion, let’s discuss it.

    You said: “Jesus’s message is pretty clear that God does not place any value worldly wealth, and as a Christian (literally one who follows Christ) wealth should have no place or priority in your life.

    On this I agree 100%. And yes, there are many who have made wealth the god of their life. However, because the God of the universe does not place a value on worldly wealth does not mean He is “anti-wealth.” I do not place any worth on box seats at a sports stadium but I’m not anti-sports. Jesus never said that no one should be wealthy. He just said they should not make that wealth an idol.

    When Jesus said “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God,” He did not say it was impossible! He said it was hard and that was because the wealthy in many cases do not believe they need a saviour because they have money. We see in the verses you quoted that Jesus isn’t saying wealth/money is bad. He is saying that being a slave to wealth, worshiping wealth, allowing wealth to be your god is bad.

    Therefore, I stand by my statement that God/Jesus was not “anti-wealth” as the graphic states but rather was anti-wealth if it becomes a God. Exod. 20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

  3. First, attacking the character of the person from which the quote originated does not even touch the validity of these accusations, and statements like “well DUH” are agreements, not arguments against, and yet for some reason you act like you discounted his statement through them.

    To address your first point of anti-wealth, the ‘eye of the needle’ is the most quoted part, but this one is much more straight-forward – as are most passages in Matthew. (Matthew 19:25) “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

    Now if you take both passages separately and shrug off everything else you can continue to argue that he’s not anti-wealth, but then you could argue that the “swords to plowshares” statement was about swords, and not weapons in general – and so guns are fine. However, we don’t do that because we’re not stupid.

    Notions about Jesus being homeless come from Matthew 8:20. The passages that discuss “His home” are always in different locations, so either Jesus had many properties (maybe a house in the Hamptons if you like) or Jesus had none, and was in other people’s homes.

    “His own” refers to his people. The Jews often made statements like this that broadly meant all of their people.

    Now about Jesus hating sin, the bible never once says that Jesus hates sin. Jesus is God and god created sin, sure, and the bible mentions many things that God created that God also hates. “Abominations” they call them. Like shellfish, and wearing polyester blends.

    Just a couple points I wanted to make. I’m sure this will be deleted because it was posted to contradict your points, but I will repost it in my Facebook critique so it will survive. No big deal.

    Oddly, as a Christian you seem to work very hard to shirk responsibility and compassion. You seem bent on making real this white, Republican Jesus that people seem to want very badly to re-create. By interpreting scripture with the most liberal (ironic) interpretation, you are trying to re-invent Jesus into this vision you have of Jesus – and why? Just so you can have the satisfaction of an intellectual victory for having done what? Cherry-picked your personal vision of Jesus so that you can do exactly what you want, when you want it?

    Would it matter if Jesus had been pro-wealth, anti-poor, had said outright that only the rich are loved by God, and that the poor would burn in Hell simply for being poor? Would it matter if Jesus said directly that taxing the rich was wrong, but that the poor should be taxed to death, and you should let them die when they are sick? That charity is bad for the poor and should never ever be given to them for fear that they will never pull themselves up by their own bootstraps?

    It shouldn’t matter, except that it would make Jesus wrong, and bad, and evil, and unworthy of being followed because hoarding, and selfishness, and excuses for not helping people in need are bad, evil, and unworthy of being repeated.

    Would a Jesus who believes in this rhetoric be worthy of following? Or worshiping? Ask yourself that question.

    1. Right on- another example of self-righteous cherry picking and twisting the plain truth to pervert and twist a message an justify the Whitened sepulcher status-quo!

  4. Anthony; thank you so much for responding. I find your response interesting yet, ill informed. Let’s look at each point:

    First, attacking the character of the person from which the quote originated does not even touch the validity of these accusations, and statements like “well DUH” are agreements, not arguments against, and yet for some reason you act like you discounted his statement through them.

    I did not attack the character of the author. I simply pointed out facts that led me to form the opinion that he is disenchanted with religion. This is only my opinion. However, I stand by the statement that his comments are “for the most part, incorrect”

    And yes, “well, DUH” does show agreement. It implies that the statement is so obvious that it is unnecessary. Only the most ignorant person would believe that Jesus was American or that He spoke english.

    To address your first point of anti-wealth, the ‘eye of the needle’ is the most quoted part, but this one is much more straight-forward – as are most passages in Matthew. (Matthew 19:25) “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
    Now if you take both passages separately and shrug off everything else you can continue to argue that he’s not anti-wealth, but then you could argue that the “swords to plowshares” statement was about swords, and not weapons in general – and so guns are fine. However, we don’t do that because we’re not stupid.

    Not so, my friend. Read this passage in context. The young man has just told Jesus that he has kept the commandments (all of them) from childhood. Jesus then tells him to to sell everything he owns and give the money to the poor. We then read in verse 22; “But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.”

    You see, Jesus realized that this man felt that he was morally pure and had kept all the commandments. Was this the case? Not really. Jesus then gave him the test. Get rid of your wealth! “And he went away sorrowfull. He failed the test for he had not really kept all the commandments as he stated. The very first commandment says “Thou shalt have no other Gods before me.” This young man’s wealth had become a god that he did not want to give up. So again, this passage does not show that Jesus is against wealth, it simply shows that Jesus is against putting wealth before Him as this young man did.

    Notions about Jesus being homeless come from Matthew 8:20. The passages that discuss “His home” are always in different locations, so either Jesus had many properties (maybe a house in the Hamptons if you like) or Jesus had none, and was in other people’s homes.

    Ok, I’ll agree here that Jesus may have had no physical house here on earth. However, I stand by my statement that Jesus was never “Homeless.”

    “His own” refers to his people. The Jews often made statements like this that broadly meant all of their people.

    Not sure what this refers to so I’ll not comment.

    Now about Jesus hating sin, the bible never once says that Jesus hates sin.

    Look at Jer. 44:4, Prov. 6:16, Zech. 8:17, for verses that show God hates sin and in Revelation 2:6, Jesus Himself says “But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds (sins) of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.”

    Jesus is God and god created sin, sure, and the bible mentions many things that God created that God also hates. “Abominations” they call them. Like shellfish, and wearing polyester blends.

    Now I’m not at all sure this even warrants a response but I’ll give one anyway. First and foremost, God did not create sin. I would love to know where you come up with a statement such as that. And yes, there are over 600 laws that God handed down to the Jews which include laws designed for their well-being. Eating shellfish then, as it is now, is not a healthy choice and blends are cheaper and not as sturdy as pure wool, cotton or linen materials. If fact, I know some folks (snobby sort) who would cringe at the thought of wearing polyester.

    Just a couple points I wanted to make. I’m sure this will be deleted because it was posted to contradict your points, but I will repost it in my Facebook critique so it will survive. No big deal.

    No way would I delete it. As I noted on the home page of this blog, I know that some will disagree with me but as long as they are civil (which you are) I look forward to the comments. The comments give me reason to reconsider my statements. From time to time, I might actually change my thinking on certain points. And feel free to post this discussion where ever you wish. I would appreciate a link back here to continue the discussion though.

    Oddly, as a Christian you seem to work very hard to shirk responsibility and compassion. You seem bent on making real this white, Republican Jesus that people seem to want very badly to re-create. By interpreting scripture with the most liberal (ironic) interpretation, you are trying to re-invent Jesus into this vision you have of Jesus – and why? Just so you can have the satisfaction of an intellectual victory for having done what? Cherry-picked your personal vision of Jesus so that you can do exactly what you want, when you want it?

    Oh? What you have described above is exactly what the graphic that is the subject of this discussion does. It tries to describe Jesus in terms that are not at all scriptural.

    Would it matter if Jesus had been pro-wealth, anti-poor, had said outright that only the rich are loved by God, and that the poor would burn in Hell simply for being poor? Would it matter if Jesus said directly that taxing the rich was wrong, but that the poor should be taxed to death, and you should let them die when they are sick? That charity is bad for the poor and should never ever be given to them for fear that they will never pull themselves up by their own bootstraps?

    It shouldn’t matter, except that it would make Jesus wrong, and bad, and evil, and unworthy of being followed because hoarding, and selfishness, and excuses for not helping people in need are bad, evil, and unworthy of being repeated.

    Would a Jesus who believes in this rhetoric be worthy of following? Or worshiping? Ask yourself that question.

    I do not feel your opinion of me or my motives are correct, but you are certainly welcome to believe what you wish. Let me explain where I stand on these issues;

    1. I do not believe in taxing the wealthy at a rate higher than the poor. I want a flat tax that is a percentage of the (ALL) income (ie: 10%, 20%, etc) Assuming it was set at ten percent, a person making a million a year would pay 100k and a person making 40K a year would pay $400. Those making less than $40K would not pay tax. This is a fair tax. No deductions, no exceptions, (including corps) and no re-taxing. (ie: if I save and leave my son thousand dollars, then he is not taxed on that money again).

    2. I believe in charity. Those who can, SHOULD help the poor. However, no one should be FORCED to give to anyone. I don’t want you forced to support me or my family and I do not want to be forced to support yours. This is NOT the business of the government but rather the family and church. Every church I know of, does charity work. Almost all large charity organizations were started by religious groups. If you look at the Forbes list of “Top 50 Charities” you will find that all but two of the top ten were founded/started by christians or christian organizations. The problem is not that Christians are not doing their part, but rather that there are far too few Christians. Too many people feel that we should feed the body RATHER than feed the soul.

    3. The governments job is NOT to handle the personal affairs of individuals. It is to handle the affairs of the COUNTRY/STATE/COUNTY. That means security and basic infrastruction. Nothing else. It is not the governments job to run business’s, dole out welfare, meddle in religion, etc. etc.

  5. i’m glad anthony and rex were able to call out such “astute” criticisms of the writer.

    well done you Mr.Writer for attempting to paint white a popular thought that actually had people considering faith to be more tangible reality then previously thought.

    no reply necessary

  6. So if Jesus hates sin and sin is adultury and adultury is sex without marriage and that must mean Jesus hates gays… Then Jesus must also hate anyones whos had sex without marriage… That might include everyone whos reading this and the person who wrote this! Jesus must hate everyone!

    1. Well, you kinda have it. Yes, Jesus hates sin. Yes, sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman (according to the Bible) is sin. But NO, Jesus does not hate ‘gays’ as you put it or hetrosexuals who have sex outside of that marriage bond. You are just trying to put a liberal, unGodly spin on what the Bible says or what I said in the original post. Jesus loves EVERYONE. He loved us enough to hang on a cross for us. But that does not mean he has to love our actions.

      As an example; I love my sons enough to give my life for either of them but I HATED some of their actions during their younger years. If you have children, you can understand this. If the child breaks a neighbors window with a baseball, you hate that s/he did that but you still love the child. You might even punish them for their actions but you still love them. If they go to jail for drugs or any other illegal action, you might hate what they did but you still love them. Make sense?

Leave a Reply