The tract states, "Marrying a divorced woman is adultery. (Matthew 5:32)"
The text is referencing unjustified divorces which were the norm of the day and which allowed a man to divorce his wife for any reason whatsoever (sound familiar?). The text (v. 31-32) states:
"Furthermore it has been said, 'Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.' But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery."
Therefore, it is marrying a woman who is not legitimately divorced which is referred to as adulterous.
The tract states, "Don't plan for the future. (Matthew 6:34)"
There is a difference between the blanket statement "don't plan" and the actual statement made by the text:
"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."
The tract states, "Don't save money. (Matthew 6:19-20)"
The text is clearly referring to what is treasured, given excessive value, and not merely to treasure, as in monetary wealth:
"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
The tract states, "Don't become wealthy. (Mark 10:21-25)" and, "Sell everything and give it to the poor. (Luke 12:33)"
He actually could have stated that he was referencing Mark 10:21-25 for the first assertion and Mark 10:21 for the second since they are parallel text of the Luke 12 text. In any case, this is were he complains about making provision for the poor after having complained that Jesus "did nothing to alleviate poverty." The text states nothing to the likes of "Don't become wealthy," but makes a point about how difficult it is for wealthy people to, as it were, imagine that they have any need for God whatsoever:
"'Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.' But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, 'How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!' And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, 'Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.'"
The tract states, "Don't work to obtain food. (John 6:27)"
The text is very clearly referring to food in a symbolic sense:
"Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him."
The tract states, "Don't have sexual urges. (Matthew 5:28)"
The context of the text is adultery and that adultery is not merely physical but mental. If you do not believe this just ask your spouse. Also, ask your spouse if they have an opinion with regards to people goggling you while entertaining various sexual fantasies. Moreover, may I ask if you would prefer to fight a forest fire or have the ability to extinguish the single little match that could started it? That is the point: adultery begins as a thought, which if entertained becomes a fantasy, which if carried out becomes an action-stop the though and you will do away with the action. The text reads thusly when you begin reading with the verse that gives the text its context and not were Dan Barker's assertions direct you (v. 27-28):
"You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart."
The tract states, "Make people want to persecute you. (Matthew 5:11)"
The text states no such thing but tells us to consider ourselves blessed when they do persecute us:
"Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
The tract states, "Let everyone know you are better than the rest. (Matthew 5:13-16)"
Simply stated, the text states no such thing:
"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."
Dyslexic Robin Hood
The tract states, "Take money from those who have no savings and give it to rich investors. (Luke 19:23-26)"
Dan Barker somehow, and for some reason, overlooked informing us that verse 11 states:
"Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable."
The tract states, "If someone steals from you, don't try to get it back. (Luke 6:30)"
The text says nothing about stealing but makes the point that if you give something to somebody you should not ask for it back. In other words do not be a Native American Giver or a Citizen of India Giver (is that PC enough?):
"Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back."
The tract states, "If someone hits you, invite them to do it again. (Matthew 5:39)"
The text refers to a slap in the face which throughout human history has been considered an insult. Thus, if an person is evil enough to insult you do not insult them back. Never wrestle with a pig, you get all dirty and the pig has fun:
"But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also."
Killed With Kindness
The tract states, "If you lose a lawsuit, give more than the judgment. (Matthew 5:40)" and "If someone forces you to walk a mile, walk two miles. (Matthew 5:41)" and "If anyone asks you for anything, give it to them without question. (Matthew 5:42)"
Dan Barker does not seem to be capable of imagining voluptuous generosity and selflessness. The text states:
"If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away."
The tract asks, "Is this wise? Is this what you would teach your children?"
This is a bit of a trick question: no, I would not teach my children Dan Barker's assertions but yes, I would teach my children what the texts actually state.
Part 5 will examine the question: "Was Jesus Reliable?"
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