Jun 25, 2014
The Entrance to Auschwitz
By now the controversy surrounding the Jews for Jesus video “That Jew Died for You” has simmered down. Still the strong negative reaction by the Jewish community to the JFJ evangelistic effort remains a stain on Jewish-Christian relations.
At the release of the video prior to Holocaust Remembrance Day, a Jews for Jesus press release, explained the video seeks “to help redefine the conversation and reshape views of Jesus and His relationship to the Holocaust.”
The intentions of JFJ in the production of this video were honorable and aimed to initiate conversation among Jewish people regarding Christianity’s relationship to the murder of six million Jews under the evil Nazi regime.
David Brickner, Executive Director of JFJ offered his public commentary on the video, “The horrors of the Holocaust and the 6 million who died has gnawed at the consciousness of Jews for over 60 years. We want Jewish people to understand that the sufferings inflicted at the hands of the Nazi’s were in no way based on the teachings of Jesus (underlining mine). In fact, he suffered and died on our behalf to show us the love of God.”
Oddly, the majority of Jewish people do not think the teachings of Jesus are responsible for the horrors of the Holocaust. Rather, the Jewish community is more concerned with the antisemitic attitudes of Eastern European Christians prior to and during World War II that helped fuel the racist ideology behind the Holocaust. (more…)
Apr 20, 2012
James Cameron is best known for his films Titanic and the Terminator series. Cameron is somewhat of an entrepreneur. He seems to always find himself in the middle of some edgy project beyond his movie making. Camerons’ latest endeavor is launching a meteor mining company with Ross Perot and Google Founder Larry Page. Sometimes I wonder if Cameron really believes what he said when he received the Oscar for Titanic, “I’m the King of the World.”
Perhaps his greatest accomplishment was putting together a documentary in March 2007 intended to disprove the resurrection of Jesus. According to the Discovery Channel description of the show we learn,
Since the 1970s, hundreds of tombs and thousands of ossuaries (limestone bone boxes) have been discovered in the Jerusalem area. These ossuaries served as coffins in first-century Jerusalem. One of these tombs was found to contain ten ossuaries. Six of the ossuaries in this tomb have inscriptions on them. As it turns out, every inscription in this particular tomb relates to the Gospels. In the feature documentary The Lost Tomb of Jesus a case is made that the 2,000-year-old “Tomb of the Ten Ossuaries” belonged to the family of Jesus of Nazareth.
In other words, the “King of the World” has found the tomb of the King of Kings – Jesus of Nazareth, thus proving the resurrection never took place. Now that the invincible James Cameron has successfully destroyed Christianity he can get back to making inane anti-U.S. military films like Avatar.
When I first watched The Lost Tomb of Jesus I was surprised at how naive viewers were in even considering the validity of the documentary. In response, I started to do my own research about the Talpiot Tomb, where the alleged bones of Jesus have been hidden for 2000 years just waiting for Cameron and his camera crew to come along and expose Christianity to be founded on a lie.
In 2007 I wrote a short booklet in which I examined the “proofs” offered by James Cameron and writer Simcha Jacobovici, an Israeli-born filmmaker. To give you an example of the content of my book entitled, “Burying the Jesus Family Tomb Controversy,” here is the opening chapter:
The Lost Tomb of Jesus, a documentary recently aired on the Discovery Channel, claims an ancient tomb discovered in Jerusalem may have held the bones of Jesus. The project’s producer, James Cameron, commented that the implications of such a find could drastically change the sacred faith of Christianity.
If Jesus’ bones really are among those found in the tomb’s ossuaries ¾ limestone bone boxes ¾ believers around the world have a major problem with their faith. His resurrection would be proven false, and Christians could no longer attest to the fact that they have been born again through the power of the Holy Spirit. As the apostle Paul said in I Corinthians 15:7: “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” (Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are from the New International Version).
TV host Ted Koppel interviewed several religious scholars immediately after the feature ended. He asked a priest on the panel, “What if Jesus’ bones are in the box?” The priest responded that it would not affect his faith. “My faith would go on,” he said.
While watching the panel discussions, I asked myself, “What is my faith in? If there is no resurrection, am I going to continue in the faith? Faith in what, assuming the resurrection — the foundation of our faith — has been ripped away?”
As I considered my own questions in the days that followed, a member of my church admitted to me, “Well, if Jesus’ bones are in the box, we have to close down this congregation.” This believer grasped the implications of the claims made by Cameron and his team.
If Jesus had an ossuary, it would contradict the major tenet of the New Testament faith: that Jesus was resurrected and ascended to heaven. “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (I Corinthians 15:3-4). “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (I Peter 1:3).
The New Testament is built on the veracity of the resurrection of Yeshua. It is neither an option nor a hypothesis; it is the bedrock of our beliefs. In answer to my own questions, if Jesus has not been raised from the dead, my life and faith are in ruins!
Unfortunately, many spirit-filled and active believers have chosen to ignore the documentary, feeling they do not want to increase the ratings of the show or to lend credibility to the program. However, this attitude robs us of an opportunity to share the reliability of our faith with others. Since the show aired, I have encountered many secular individuals who watched the program and had serious questions about what it all means.
After prayerfully pondering the Discovery Channel documentary, I wrote this brief booklet “Burying the Jesus Family Tomb Controversy” to equip my fellow Christians and interested seekers with a response to Cameron’s fictitious documentary . This booklet addresses the fallacy of Cameron’s documentary — and others like it — that dispute the life, death, and resurrection of Yeshua, our Lord Jesus the Messiah. I trust that my words will strengthen your faith, and give you the confidence to talk to any who may have questions about this controversial documentary.
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Mar 21, 2012
Today’s blog is a reposting of an article I wrote in 2008 regarding the alleged ossuary of Jesus as purported by famous director/producer James Cameron (Terminator, Avatar and Titanic). Since the bone box of James, the brother of Jesus as not been proven to be a fake by the Israeli Antiquities Authority, it is of no surprise that the creators of the Lost Tomb of Jesus Discovery Channel documentary would attempt to bring back the Jesus Family Tomb controversy. Here is a reposting of my blog composed four years ago.
In Spring ’07 the Discovery Channel aired a TV documentary, The Lost Tomb of Jesus, made by Hollywood director James Cameron and Canadian investigative journalist Simcha Jacobovici.
According to an article in Time magazine, the documentary “re-examines an archaeological find from 1980 in which a crypt [the Talpiot tomb] was found containing what were said to be the ossuaries of Joseph, Mary, Jesus, the son of Joseph, Mariamne (possibly Mary Magdalene, say the film-makers) and Judah, son of Jesus.”
The controversy of whether or not the Talpiot tomb once contained the remains of Jesus and His family stayed on the media circuit for a few months in Spring ’07 prior to the airing of the documentary and for a few weeks afterwards. Soon after several TV appearances by the filmmakers and a flurry of Christian articles refuting the claims of The Lost Tomb of Jesus, the controversy fizzled.
In 2008 according to Time magazine the controversy was opened once again. “Still, even after the furor over the film faded, the questions it raised about the tomb unearthed in 1980 continued to make waves among archaeologists and Biblical scholars,” says the Time magazine piece.
Little did I know that when I wrote a 30 page booklet entitled Burying the Jesus Family Tomb Controversy that The Lost Tomb of Jesus would make a re-appearance. At the time I composed the booklet, I felt the issues raised by Cameron and Jacobovici were so important that the errors and false conclusions made in the documentary had to be addressed. In fact, the Time magazine article admits the “debate over Jesus’ supposed tomb will probably rage for years to come.” (more…)
Mar 19, 2012
After seven years of trial, testimonies from a lineup of archaeological experts and a 475 page verdict, presiding Judge Aharon Farkash of the Jerusalem District Court court not reach a decision supporting the fact the ossuary [a limestone burial box] of James, brother of Jesus, was a forgery. As a result the Jerusalem judge could not charge Israeli collector Oded Golan, the owner of the bones box of James, with forgery regarding the ossuary.
A Huffpost Religion article summed up the seven year controversy and what the final verdict implies:
Golan said the ruling put an end to what he portrayed as a 10-year smear campaign against him. Hershel Shanks, editor of the Washington-based Biblical Archaeology Review, said he was delighted, insisting the burial box, or ossuary, is authentic and a “prized artifact to the world of Christianity.”
The Israel Antiquities Authority, which believes Golan’s most high-profile items are forged, said the case shows the limits of science in proving forgeries, but it also prompted museums and universities around the world to be more suspicious of finds of uncertain origin.
In light of the ruling students of the Bible are left with the conclusion the ossuary may be authentic after all and that science could not debunk the veracity of the claim that the box once housed the bones of James, the brother of Jesus of Nazareth.
James, the brother of Jesus