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What's New? Nothing!

 

When Paul went to Athens he encountered the intelligentsia of his day. There the great apostle encountered philosophers, stoics, epicureans and strangers with curious ideologies who gathered unto the Areopagus to discuss their worldviews and opinions. Since the Bible declares that they were always interested in telling or hearing some new thing (Acts 17: 21) one would conclude that they were open-minded and tolerant of any and all views and perspectives on life.

However, when Paul arrived some greeted him with great skepticism and said, "What will this babbler say?" Interestingly, the Greek word for "babbler" is "spermologos" which means "seedpicker." To the Greeks the word described the feeding habit of birds that lived off of scraps of food. John Phillips suggests that the erudite Greeks were being sarcastic in their choice of words and referring to Paul as the proponent of "some scrappy kind of religion that could not possibly appeal to intelligent men."

The intelligentsia in Athens was not really open to the truth of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. They wanted something to tickle their imagination and something that would appeal to their lust for the sensational, but they really were not interested in the truth. Paul was not the seedpicker; they were.

Dan Brown may be an effective writer, but he may also be a "seedpicker". His book, The Da Vinci Code, has become a popular subject for discussion in recent weeks. The bestselling novel is fictional, but supposedly grounded in historical fact. His source of historical information, however, is suspect and that may qualify him as a babbler or "seedpicker."

Brown's book casts Jesus in a matrimonial relationship with Mary Magdalene. The author asserts that Mary Magdalene was not a prostitute as some have suggested, but married to Jesus and fled from Jerusalem with His child after His crucifixion.

Brown claims that the story was kept alive for centuries by a secret society that included the painter Leonardo Da Vinci, who supposedly inserted clues about it in his art.

The book and its suggestion that Jesus was married and fathered a child have intrigued some. Countless others have been greatly offended by what they would call the writer's nonsensical supposition.

The writer's dubious theory is nothing new. In 1945 a large number of ancient Gnostic writings were discovered in Upper Egypt. The discovery, containing 13 ancient codices, included The Gospel of Philip, which intimated that Jesus and Mary Magdalene had a relationship that was more than platonic.

Biblical scholar Frederick E. Blume asserts that these ancient documents, known as the Nag Hammadi writings, were translations from Greek originals into the Egyptian language; and that they were written by false teachers who were branded as heretics by the early church and put out of the church because of their destructive doctrines.

More recently, Andrew Lloyd Weber's "Jesus Christ Superstar" casts Jesus and Mary Magdalene as lovers and has her singing, "I Don't Know How to Love Him." The same thing is suggested in the dream sequence of Martin Scorsese's 1988 film, "The Last Temptation of Christ." Scorsese's movie was based on Nikos Kazantzakis' 1955 novel, which portrays Christ as a tormented, fearful young man confused by sex and uncertain of his path in life.

The final authority on Jesus is the Bible and the Word of God describes Him as "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens" (Hebrews 7: 26). For Christ to have had a romantic relationship, particularly an illicit relationship with Mary Magdalene would have been absolutely inconsistent with His character and life's purpose.

Yet, there are those seedpickers, who serve as the devil's agents and intentionally and deliberately try to undermine the sinless Son of God. Others, who are na‘ve and misdirected, become the devil's pawns when they attempt to discredit Christ with their careless words and thoughtless deeds. Still others make merchandise of Jesus, the Christ, when they think they can sell a gullible public on some new, trumped up, contrived, tabloid-like anecdote from His life. However, all we need to know about Jesus is recorded for us in the Word of God. Beware of the seedpickers with 'new' information.