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Top evangelical to Anthony Weiner: Try Jesus
June 14th, 2011
11:59 AM ET

Top evangelical to Anthony Weiner: Try Jesus

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - One of the nation’s most prominent evangelicals has entered the debate over whether Anthony Weiner will benefit from therapy, encouraging the embattled  Jewish New York congressman to try Jesus instead.

Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, tweeted this message of the weekend: “Dear Congressman Weiner: There is no effective ‘treatment’ for sin. Only atonement, found only in Jesus Christ."

The tweet set some tongues a wagging, especially because Weiner is Jewish.

USA Today said the remark echoed Fox News' Brit Hume comment that golfer Tiger Woods, a Buddhist, should try Christianity after he became embroiled in a sex scandal last year.

Mohler, who leads the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention - the nation's largest evangelical denomination - took to his blog Tuesday to defend himself amid the controversy, noting that his tweet “never mentioned Judaism.”

“Rep. Weiner’s problem has to do with the fact that he is a sinner, like every other human being, regardless of religious faith or affiliation,” Mohler wrote. “Christians — at least those who hold to biblical and orthodox Christianity — believe that salvation is found through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and in him alone.”

Mohler called the controversy over his tweet “another sign of how politically incorrect biblical Christianity is becoming in our times.”

What do you think? Is Mohler simply stating Christian doctrine? Or is it improper to suggest that members of other religious traditions who are facing crises try Jesus?

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Jesus • Judaism

soundoff (968 Responses)
  1. allah

    Why not investigate Islam? He could marry a 6 year old, like the Prophet. He could ask people to bring him into their homes as a guest and then murder them. He could enslave his woman so she couldn't speak out when he was a pig. He could speak of peace while he committed violence. Isn't any of this sounding good? No, I guess it's hard to understand if you haven't been brainwashed since birth or are trying to convince yourself you're part of some grand design.

    June 14, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
  2. Larry

    My response to the christian leader who suggested Weiner try Jesus. I suggest the christian leader try Weiner.

    June 14, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
    • ROCKWOOD

      ....oh no, you can't do that either....it's in the Bible..... Okay, enough time spent on this topic.

      June 14, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
  3. ROCKWOOD

    I remember being taught in my early Christian youth that not spreading the word of the salvation of Jesus was a sin in and of itself. As I've grown and been part of the world, I see that this is wrong. Do I believe Jews are going to suffer from damnation? No. The debaucheries of Christianity of the past and of current times make it rather clear to me that....'we' simply do not know. Do I have faith in God, yes. Weiner is but a man, man as in human being. Just as everyone else, he is vulnerable to not so smart ideas...sin.....

    This is what bothers me about this whole thing.....no forgiveness, no 'pull yourself together man and get back to work', no recognition of his years surviving in the political arena..... Yeah....where obviously it IS CORRECT to judge, and we all know what the Bible says about judging....

    June 14, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
  4. Qev

    Why? So he can go from exposing himself to women to fondling little boys?

    June 14, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
    • ROCKWOOD

      he's Jewish, not Catholic......

      June 14, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
    • dtn

      Very well said!

      June 14, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
  5. mark

    The text of Genesis 49:10, "The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to him shall be the obedience of peoples," appears to say that a Jewish sovereign authority will end, following the coming of the Messiah. Since the termination of Jewish self-government occurred in 70 C.E. does this imply that the Messiah came prior to this time?
    Answer: Christians often use this verse as a prooftext for their messianic claims. But if this text is taken to mean that the scepter shall not depart from Judah until the Messiah comes, as the Christians assert, we are faced with an insoluble historical inaccuracy. The last king from the tribe of Judah, Zedekiah, was taken captive about 586 B.C.E. Following the return to Zion from the Babylonian exile, the Jews were continually subject to foreign domination–Persian, Greek, Roman–with only a brief interlude of independence during the Maccabean period (165 B.C.E. to 63 B.C.E.), whose rulers were members of the tribe of Levi. Thus, there was a period of some six hundred years, prior to the birth of Jesus, during which the scepter of leadership had departed from the tribe of Judah.

    In view of this incontrovertible fact, we are compelled to interpret the verse under discussion somewhat differently from the reinterpretation imposed upon it by Christian theology. What is meant by the phrase "the scepter shall not depart" is that the right to the scepter of leadership shall always remain within the tribe of Judah, regardless of who is actually exercising authority over Israel at any given time. What is meant by the phrase "until Shiloh comes" is not that at this time the scepter of leadership will depart from Judah, but, on the contrary, from that time on, the scepter will remain in actuality within the tribe of Judah.

    The adverb 'ad ("until") is used in a similar sense in a number of instances; for example: "For I will not leave you until I have done that which I have spoken to you" (Genesis 28:15), and "No man shall be able to stand before you until you have destroyed them" (Deuteronomy 7:24). Did God leave Jacob after doing all that He promised him? Were the enemies of Israel who were killed able to stand after they were destroyed?

    Even after the Messiah comes the scepter will still belong to Judah. The right to the scepter will never depart from Judah until the Messiah comes, at which time his scepter will be wielded over all nations (Isaiah 11); up to that time it was wielded over Israel alone. That this Messiah is not Jesus can best be seen from the investigation of the various messianic claims made by Christians on his behalf. As for Genesis 49:10, there is nothing in it to suggest that it applies to Jesus.

    June 14, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
    • ROCKWOOD

      Good gawd man......condense.

      June 14, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
  6. mike

    This is bad advice on so many levels I don't even know where to begin.

    June 14, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
    • ROCKWOOD

      I know...right?

      June 14, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
  7. mark

    Isaiah 9:5-6 says: "For a child has been born to us, a son has been given to us; and the government is upon his shoulder; and his name is called A wonderful counselor is the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the ruler of peace; that the government may be increased, and of peace there be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it through justice and through righteousness from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts does perform this." Who is the child the prophet speaks about?
    Answer: Isaiah is known for the method by which he presents many of his messages through the use of prophetic names (Isaiah 7:3, 14; 8:3). In the verse under study, the prophet expounds his message by formulating a prophetic name for Hezekiah. The words of this name form a sentence expressive of God's greatness, which will become manifest in the benefits to be bestowed upon the future king in his lifetime. Thus, the name, though borne by the king, serves, in reality, as a testimonial to God. Hezekiah is called "a wonderful counselor" because this name is a sign, which foretells God's design for him.

    The Lord of hosts has sworn, saying: "As I have thought, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand, that I will break Asshur in My land, and upon My mountains trample him under foot; then shall his yoke depart from off them, and his burden depart from off their shoulder." This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth; and this is the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations. For the Lord of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? And His hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back? (Isaiah 14:24-27)

    Be not afraid of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me. Behold, I will put a spirit in him, and he shall hear a rumor, and shall return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land. (Isaiah 37:6-7)

    Hezekiah is called "the mighty God" because this name is a sign that foretells God's defense of Jerusalem through the miraculous sudden mass death of Sennacherib's army.

    Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come to this city, nor shoot an arrow there, neither shall he come before it with shield, nor cast a mound against it. By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and he shall not come to this city, says the Lord. For I will defend this city to save it, for My own sake, and for My servant David's sake. (Isaiah 37:33-35)

    Hezekiah is called "the everlasting Father" because this name is a sign, which foretells that God will add years to his life. "Go, and say to Hezekiah: Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will add to your days fifteen years" (Isaiah 38:5). Hezekiah is called "the ruler of peace" because this name is a sign, which foretells that God would be merciful to him. Punishment for lack of faith in the Almighty will be deferred and peace granted during the last years of his rule. "Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah: 'Good is the word of the Lord which you have spoken.' He said moreover: 'If but there shall be peace and security in my days'" (Isaiah 39:8). The fulfillment of the above-stated declarations is foretold in Isaiah 9:6, when, after the Assyrian defeat, Hezekiah's glory increased and peace reigned for the rest of his life (2 Chronicles 32:23). Archaeologists have found that there was a sudden expansion of Judean settlements in the years following the fall of the northern kingdom. This indicates that many refugees fled south, thus giving added significance to the statement "that the government may be increased." Hezekiah's kingdom is declared to be forever, for through his efforts to cleanse the Temple ritual of idolatry, even though apostasy followed under his son Menasseh, the Davidic dynasty was once more confirmed as the only true kingly rule that God would accept over his people "from henceforth and forever." The greatness of Hezekiah lies in his setting the stage for Israel's future. Hezekiah was a true reformer. He cleansed religious worship of foreign influence, purged the palace and the Temple of images and pagan altars, and reestablished pure monotheistic religion. In the long run Hezekiah's achievements would outlive him, leaving an everlasting, indelible impact on the history of his people. Thus, God, through Isaiah, bestows upon Hezekiah this name which honors the king by proclaiming the great things God will do for him, and, through him, for the people of Israel.

    June 14, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
    • Larry

      You don't seem to understand that the quotes you typed in here mean nothing to the majority of people in the world. Your beliefs are just one of thousands based on the same books. Just because you believe it doesn't make it true. There's no way anyone can KNOW for sure where we came from and where we are going. Why do some people of faith seem intent on forcing their beliefs on everyone? Believe what you want, but keep it to yourself.

      June 14, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
  8. mark

    Can you give a reason why Jews say Isaiah 9:6 does not refer to Jesus?

    Answer: Christian theologians argue that the name "A wonderful counselor is the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the ruler of peace" refers to Jesus, who they allege combined human and divine qualities. They mistakenly believe that such a name can only be applied to God Himself. Moreover, the Christians incorrectly translate the verbs in verse 5 in the future tense, instead of the past, as the Hebrew original reads. Thus, the Christians render verse 5 as: "For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on his shoulders; and his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace."

    While admitting that "wonderful counselor" and "ruler of peace" can be applied to a man, Christian theologians argue that the phrases "mighty God" and "everlasting Father" cannot be incorporated as part of a man's name. Thus, they contend that Isaiah teaches that the Messiah has to be not only a man, but God as well. That this entire reasoning is incorrect may be seen from the name Elihu, "My God is He," which refers to an ordinary human being (Job 32:1, 1 Samuel 1:l, 1 Chronicles 12:21, 26:7, 27:18). A similar Christian misunderstanding of Scripture may be seen in their claims revolving around the name Immanuel, "God is with us." The simple fact is that it is quite common in the Bible for human beings to be given names that have the purpose of declaring or reflecting a particular attribute of God, e.g., Eliab, Eliada, Elzaphan, Eliakim, Elisha, Eleazar, Tavel, Gedaliah.

    The fact remains that Jesus did not literally or figuratively fulfill any of Isaiah's words. A wonderful counselor does not advise his followers that if they have faith they can be agents of destruction (Matthew 21:19-21; Mark 11:14, 20-23). A mighty God does not take orders from anyone (Luke2:51, Hebrews 5:8), for no one is greater than he is (Matthew 12:31-32; John 5:30, 14:28). Moreover, he does not ask or need to be saved by anyone (Matthew 26:39, Luke 22:42), for he cannot die by any means (Matthew 27:50, Mark 15:37, Luke 23:46, John 19:30). He who is called the Son of God the Father (John 1:18, 3:16) cannot himself be called everlasting Father. One cannot play simultaneously the role of the son and the Father; it is an obvious self-contradiction. He who advocates family strife (Matthew 10:34-35, Luke 12:49-53) and killing enemies (Luke 19:27) cannot be called a ruler of peace

    June 14, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
    • Mildred the Mouth

      Maybe it might be easier just to ask "Can the son be the Father " ? Saves all that typing.

      June 14, 2011 at 7:48 pm |
  9. mark

    What are the implications of the author of Matthew using Hosea 11:1 to describe Mary, Joseph, and Jesus being called out of Egypt?
    Answer: Matthew 2:13-15 makes the claim that Mary, Joseph, and Jesus fled to Egypt until recalled by an angel. This is supposedly in fulfillment of a prophecy: "Out of Egypt did I call My son." The source of the so-called prophecy is Hosea 11:1. However, in the context of the verse as found in Hosea there is no prophecy, but simply a restating of Israelite history.

    What is more, the following verse in Hosea is a continuation of the prophet's statement. It says of those called out of Egypt that they sinned against God: "The more they [the prophets] called them, the more they went from them; they sacrificed to Baalim, and offered to graven images" (Hosea 11:2). The application of Hosea 11:1 to Jesus would, on the basis of verse 2, describe him, as well as Mary and Joseph, as sinners. If one reads Matthew's so-called fulfillment of prophecy within the context of that "prophecy" then one must consider that Jesus was a sinner.

    June 14, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
  10. mark

    Micah 5:1 states: "But you, Bethlehem Ephrath, who are little to be among the thousands of Judah, out of you shall come forth to Me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth are from of old, from ancient days." Is it true that this is a prediction that the Messiah will be born in Bethlehem?

    Answer: This verse refers to the Messiah, a descendant of David. Since David came from Bethlehem, Micah's prophecy speaks of Bethlehem as the Messiah's place of origin. Actually, the text does not necessarily mean the Messiah will be born in that town, but that his family originates from there. From the ancient family of the house of David will come forth the Messiah, whose eventual existence was known to God from the beginning of time.
    Christians allege that Jesus fulfilled Micah's prophecy in that he was supposedly born in Behlehem. Matthew's claim that Jesus was born in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:1) is supported by Luke 2:4-7. Mark is silent on the matter. John relates that some people believed the Messiah will come from Bethlehem (John 7:42), but does not take advantage of the opportunity to demonstrate that Micah's prophecy was fulfilled by claiming that Jesus was actually born there. This is highly unusual and leads one to suspect that John did not agree with the assertion that Jesus was a Bethlehemite. He lets stand the opposing assertion that Jesus was really of Galilean origin (John 1:46, 7:41).

    Except for the birth references found in Matthew and Luke, all indications, even in the writings of these two evangelists, point to the fact that Jesus was from Nazareth. In any case, being born in Bethlehem is of dubious value in establishing messianic credentials for Jesus. Jesus did not fulfill so man essential messianic qualities, as found in the Prophets, that having been born in Bethlehem would be of no consequence whatsoever.

    June 14, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
  11. michael mason

    Religious people need rehabilitaion. Anyone want to start a treatment center for the Religious?? I see no diffenece in the addictive thing and actions of someone religious as i do a drug addict. U'll be manipulated , lied too and scamed by them.

    June 14, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
    • HK from Seattle

      I agree with your comment.

      June 14, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
  12. Frank

    It may not hurt, but again I bet he isn't a practicing Jew.

    June 14, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
  13. mark

    The author of Luke writes: "Now it came about in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all were proceeding to register for the census, everyone to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register, along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was pregnant" (Luke 2:1-5).
    Why has it been said that if the Roman census described in the Gospel of Luke was actually carried out as described it would have caused chaos and unprecedented danger to the Roman Empire?
    Answer: In Matthew, Mary and Joseph appear to live in Bethlehem and did not need to travel there prior to Jesus' birth. The author of Luke had to get Mary to Bethlehem to have her baby in order to have what he believed was prophetic fulfillment of Micah 5:1. For this he devised a census using as his basis an actual census that took place around the time when Jesus was born.

    It is not plausible that the Romans conducted a census in the manner described by Luke. There would have been no reason for them to demand that the people being enumerated return to the towns of their ancestors rather than register in the towns in which they actually resided. There would have been no need to make a difficult situation worse. It was obviously unnecessary for people to have to travel to a place often hundreds of miles away which they probably had never seen before.

    According to Luke, everyone residing in the Empire who was not in "his own city" had to leave his place of residence to go to register in his ancestral town. The use of the phrase "to his own town," as found in Luke, does not mean the city of one's birth or official permanent residence, for we see that, in Joseph's case these were not the reasons given for his going to Bethlehem. He went there because, Luke says, he was of Davidic descent. Luke writes that it was not one's own birthplace or official permanent residence that governed what was one's destination, but the earliest place of residence of one's most distant ancestors.

    The alleged Roman demand presumes that the people all knew their ancestral origins and that their ancestors lived with the Empire. This census was sure to cause the disruption of normal family, social, and economic life.

    What Luke describes has the makings of a chaotic situation of unprecedented magnitude. The people involved would have had to travel throughout the length and breath of the Roman Empire, clogging the roads and disrupting the smooth running of the imperial system in every province of the Empire. In the course of their journey, they would be traveling, for the most part, over extremely poor roads once they left the major Roman highways. Available services to travelers would be strained to the breaking point. Certainly in the eastern provinces, of which Judea was part, such a census would present a serious military danger, for the Parthians, then Rome's strongest antagonist in the area, would have had an excellent opportunity to attack. Roman troops on the march would find it extremely difficult to compete with the tremendous mass of civilians on their way to or from registration. It is hard to imagine the Romans so incompetent or unrealistic as to throw the entire Empire into such a chaotic state by carrying out the census described by the evangelist.

    It is unusual that an event of this magnitude should go unnoticed. Yet no contemporary writer mentions this disruptive census or the turmoil it would have engendered. Indeed, if this census took place in Judea it is strange that Josephus never mentioned it in any of his writings. It is obvious that Luke introduced the tale to explain still another legendary tale, that is, how it came about that Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem at this time.

    June 14, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
    • boombambaddaboopowdatoo

      probably some historical errors within the gospels. but there are many things in the gospels that do line up with josephus and one another too.

      June 14, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
  14. Gaucho420

    Ra is the way to go. He will shine so much light on you, you will know the wisdom of millienias of Egyptian thinking.
    LONG LIVE RA! Bow down!

    June 14, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
  15. mark

    According to the author of Luke, Joseph came to Bethlehem "because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register, along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child" (Luke 2:4-5). Does this verse show that Mary was a descendant of David?

    Answer: There is nothing in these verses to show that Joseph and Mary were both of Davidic ancestry and, therefore, going to the same town to register. As his future spouse, one might stretch credulity to the maximum and presume that Mary, in an advanced stage of pregnancy, accompanied Joseph on the journey, but are we to believe that she went to Bethlehem because she too had to register as a descendant of David? This would suggest that married and unmarried women, not fortunate enough to have a spouse or fiancé traveling in the same direction, were out on the road with no one to protect them.

    Credulity is stretched to the limit by the intimation that young and old, the healthy and the invalid, married and unmarried took part in this mass movement of population and the historical records remain silent about its occurrence.

    The author of Luke utilized the historic fact that the Romans took a census about a decade after the birth of Jesus. He then connected this census to the time of the birth of Jesus and exaggerated its registration requirements in order to have Mary accompany Joseph to Bethlehem. Luke emphasizes what he believes to be Joseph ancestry, not Mary's.

    June 14, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
  16. JC

    It is narrow minded, unintelligent, and just rude to suggest that to him. He is Jewish!

    June 14, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
  17. mark

    If 'almah means "young woman" in Hebrew why did the Jewish scholar who translated the Book of Isaiah into Greek use a Greek word for "virgin," parthenos?

    Answer: The Septuagint is not necessarily a literal translation. Therefore, the use of parthenos by the Septuagint translator of the Book of Isaiah may have best represented his interpretive understanding of the physical state of the young woman of Isaiah 7:14 at the time of the annunciation of the sign. Thus, its use does not naturally lead to the conclusion that he was also speaking of virginal conception. In fact, the presence of parthenos as the rendering of 'almah, did not give rise in any Jewish community of the pre-Christian era to a belief in the virginal conception of Immanuel

    June 14, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
  18. Bibliovore

    The "advice" is no more appropriate than it would be for a Jewish leader to tell the next Christian to have a public (or private) failure, "Try converting to Judaism." Of course, Jews are less prone to proselytizing.

    It's great if belief in Jesus works for someone. That absolutely doesn't mean it's the only solution, to anything. Fortunately, there is freedom of religion in this country.

    June 14, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
    • JC

      Amen!

      June 14, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
  19. PaulS149

    He is still liked within his district... he does his job, and does it well!

    June 14, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
    • JC

      His personal business should be his personal business if it isn't breaking the law. I still love Clinton and don't care what he did. He was my president, not my son-in-law or husband.

      June 14, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
    • jd

      NOBODY in congress respects this guy. He does nothing other than TV interviews. Other than the fact that he's a closet perv, he's not a real politician.

      June 14, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
  20. Pope on a Rope

    Give Zeus a try. He's been unemployed for a few thousand years. I'm guessing he could use the work.

    June 14, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
    • drewzicle

      Zeus rocks!

      June 14, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
    • Cthulhuey

      That's just as fathomable.

      June 14, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.