— JoeMyGod (@JoeMyGod) March 14, 2014
Our much discussed Pastor James David Manning put the sign above in front of his Harlem church. As one Christian to another, I reprove Pastor Manning for his error.
The history of the early church is told in the in the Bible’s Book of “The Acts of the Apostles,” believed to have been authored by St. Luke as a “part 2” of the “Gospel of Luke.” The book talks about the introduction of non-Jewish members into the Christian community and deals with the question of whether one had to be Jewish and follow the laws in the Hebrew scriptures in order to be a Christian. The debate is recounted in the 15th Chapter of Acts. Here is part of the conclusion:
For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell."
(ESV) Act 15:28-29
Now while sexual immorality (whatever that means) is prohibited, the rest of the burden of the Law of Moses, including any requirements for stoning anyone, were no longer binding on non-Jewish Christians.
Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such [adulterous] women. So what do you say?" … And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her." And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more."
(ESV) Jn 8:5-11
The self-righteous folks even tried to stone Jesus:
The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, "I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?"
(ESV) Jn 10:31-32
In this season of Lent, let us strive to forgive the wayward ones like Pastor Manning.
1The oldest manuscripts of John’s Gospel do not contain this particular text. It is believed that it was part of a separate tradition, later added.