This morning as I was getting ready to come to work, I heard a news story about the recent announcement regarding a piece of papyrus that had Coptic writing which had been translated. It was on CBS This Morning (click on link to see the story). As I watched the report, I became increasingly upset over the statements that the anchor and the reporter were making because I feel they had a totally wrong understand of the fundamentals of Christianity. So I knew right away that I needed to post a response on my blog.
“has a message that could shake up Christianity” – Norah O’Donnell
First of all, the message that is contained in this section of the papyrus is not one that should shake up Christianity. My faith is not based upon the marital status of Jesus. Whether Jesus was married or not does not change one bit of his message to us, the manner in which he ministered, or the choice he made to die on a cross because of my sins. God raising Jesus from the dead and therefore securing my resurrection does is not impacted by the message that may be contained in this piece of papyrus.
“It brings up the whole issue of marriage and what marriage means.” – Allen Pizzey
Again, I disagree. Jesus’ marital status has no bearing on the definition of marriage. Jesus being assumed single all of this years had no impact on the definition of marriage so why if there is a possible reference to Jesus having a wife would that lead to a re-examining of the definition of marriage. While I can agree that there may be some discussion regarding the custom in the Roman Catholic Church where priests remain celibate, I do not see any change in the marriage definitions based on this discovery.
“For example, gay marriage, is that right or wrong?” – Allen Pizzey
It is just absurd that the discussions and debates regarding gay marriage will be impacted at all by this discovery. Jesus was not identified as gay when he was assumed to be single and that will not change if it is determined that he had a wife. The arguments that I listed above regarding the definition of marriage apply here as well.
Later a reference would be made regarding the way that this discovery would impact the fundamentals of the Christian faith. I would argue that it would not impact the fundamentals in any way. The fundamentals of the Christian faith is a belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Our response to the message of love and compassion that Jesus spoke and demonstrated. And our response to the reality of our redemption from the impact of sin on our lives and the lives of all God’s creation. Jesus being married or single does not change any of that.
If Jesus was married, then I believe that it is just another demonstration of his message regarding love in relationships. If Jesus was single, then I believe it is just a demonstration of living a very itinerate life-style and ministry. Either status does not impact my faith nor the fundamentals of Christianity. Therefore, I will watch the release of further study of this papyrus as a scholar with a curiosity but it will not shake my faith in any fashion. Respectfully, I would say that the media is trying to create controversy where controversy does not exist.