3/03/2013 | Share this article: View CommentsBy Eddie Chamberlain, MD, San Diego ~
This is Jesus' prayer just before he's about to give his ultimate sacrifice--
"...Neither do I pray for these alone but for those also who shall believe on me through their word, that they all may be ONE, as you, father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be ONE in us... that they may be ONE even as we are ONE: I in them and you in me, that they may be made perfect in ONE..." (John 17)
If this prayer-- jesus' deathbed request of sorts-- wasn't answered, then why should we believe that jesus had any special relationship with god? And if not Jesus, then neither does any christian.
And if jesus' own deathbed prayer hasn't been answered, then why should anyone believe jesus' promises about prayers, saying--
"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it shall be opened..." (Luke 11) Or, "Whatsoever you shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the father may be glorified in the son. If you shall ask anything in my name, I will do it." (John 14)
So, then, if a christian prays that Christianity be ONE-- just like Jesus prayed-- will that request be granted? What if two or more gathered together agree? What if they say, "In Jesus' name, amen"? What if they pray in tongues, "Abracadabra, amen"? Then will we be astonished and astounded and think that Christianity is ONE?
But, see, if Jesus' prayer had been answered, then there'd be no need later to exhort Christians to be ONE.
But that's just what the apostle Paul finds necessary in letters to two different churches, saying to the Phillipians, "Fulfill my joy, that you be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind" (Phillipians 2) and, of course, to those Las Vegas lascivious Corinthians, "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgement. For it has been declared to me of you, my brethren,... that there are contentions among you." (1 Corinthians 1)
And what of the apostle Peter, who would've heard Jesus' prayer first-hand, why did he also find it necessary to tell Christians, "Finally, be all of one mind"? (1 Peter 3) Shouldn't he, the petrification on which the church was built, have noticed that god was stone-cold deaf to Jesus' own solemn prayer? The rest of us noticed.
And, see too, if the apostle John's teaching to believers was true-- that "you have an unction from the holy one and you know all things" and "the anointing you have received of him abides in you and you need not that any man teach you, but... the same anointing teaches you of all things" (1 John 2)-- then wouldn't Christians all be taught and believe one and the same thing?
Yet, are reportedly 34,000 separate christian groups in the world today and "over half of them are independent churches that are not interested in linking with the big denominations." ("World Christian Encyclopedia: A Comparative Survey Of Churches And Religions, AD 30 To 2200," D. Barrett, et al, 2001)
It's only been 2000 years, so that means there's been a new and separate christian group splintering off the cross every three weeks.
What can 34,000 christian groups be so disagreeable about? Well, 34,000 different things, I guess.
But, wait, the KJV bible only has 31,102 verses. And if you count only the New Testament, which has only 7957 verses and which is where Christians generally rest their eyes before they close them every night (and day), that would mean they have 34,000 disagreements over just 7957 verses-- more than four disagreements before they get past one verse.
And, if you look even closer, many of those verses are only parts of a sentence. So there are actually a lot fewer actual full sentences than verses. I gotta wonder, then, whether a biblical christian can even open his mouth and speak a full sentence without another biblical christian from the church across the street disagreeing with him. The only biblical way that I can see for one christian to avoid disagreement with another christian is for him to either just keep quiet, which at least one bible author strongly recommends anyway (James 3)-- not to mention XPD, Astreja, BoomSlang, and a few inspired others-- or to speak in tongues, so no one understands what you're going on about anyway.
But, still, I don't see the need for some garbled other language, angelic or otherwise. Isn't that what all those different bible translations are for?
The 900-plus page "Catalogue Of English Bible Translations" (W. Chamberlin, 1991) lists 151 categories-- not just translations, but categories of translations-- of just the English versions of god's word.
Why, why, why are there so many English translations if Jesus prayed for Christianity to be ONE? Couldn't the one true god have told us about the one true faith in one reliable, readable holy writ? Couldn't he have resurrected the original inspired texts like some dead sea trolls that keep popping up here? Does he not speak the language of the one true church (English)?
Still, with so many attempts at it, you'd think at least one translation would've gotten it right-- it's tower of "bible," people, not Babel. Christians are so confused.
The failure of jesus' solemn deathbed prayer tells us the solemn truth about Christianity in one prescient passage. Despite the dying prayer of their leader, Christianity's defiant disagreements are irreconcilable. They cannot consecrate and consummate the holy union. You can almost hear them squabbling and squawking next door after midnight about whether they'd go to hell for even saying so, for acknowledging that Jesus' prayer was not answered. Or just to purgatory. Whether there even is a purgatory. Whether the KJV version is inspired or only the original text. Whether the NAV was inspired, by the devil or by the evil National Council of Churches. Or only if you play it backwards. Security of salvation. Predestination. Spiritual baptism. Water baptism. Droplets or dunks. Salvation by faith alone. Salvation by faith plus works. Sunday versus Saturday sabbath. Speaking in tongues. Miracles. No miracles. The lord's supper. The prayer breakfast. Whether the pope's out to lunch. Apostolic succession. Papal authority. Pauline authority. Pre-trib, mid-trib, post-trib....
Yup, 34,000 brands of Christianity. That's as many as there are McDonalds worldwide (wikipedia.org/wiki/McDonald%27s). So, now just pull up to the next window.
And can I get fried with that?
So, still, I ask-- Pray tell, why wasn't Jesus' prayer answered?