Why do Christians Become Enraged When Fellow Parishioners Choose to be Chosen?

by Tovia Singer, March 2105

I always wondered why Christians have a visceral reaction when the core principles of their faith are questioned. They might laugh off annoying atheists, but they glower at former Christians who urge them to choose the Jewish faith. I thought about this conundrum for the past 30 years. I cannot count the number of people who I watched return to God during this time. Hashem redeemed so many from the Church in recent years. As it turns out, I have never been a Christian. As such, I studied this phenomenon as a detached observer. This, I believe, has been to my advantage.

On most occasions, people do not toviathe church in an instant. Rather, there is a transitional period where Christians begin to apprehend that something may be askew in the Church; they begin to grasp that many of its core teachings are doubtful. They let go one finger at a time. There is a gradual process of awareness. Ex-Christians may not take this into account as they engage in what turns out to be a stressful conversation with their former coreligionists.

Frequently, this informal investigation and probing begins by calling into question the long-enduring doctrine of the Trinity. Their departure from the church spirals from there. As time moves on, Christians eventually discover that the authors of the NT may have quoted the Jewish scriptures dishonestly. I mean dishonestly here; I don’t mean incorrectly. They grasp that the authors of the NT may have done their work in a nefarious manner. Christians could live with mistakes in the NT. After all, some scribe may have copied something wrong. Mistakes happen. No one leaves Christianity because there is a mistake in the New Testament. But they cannot abide by lying.

Finally,─and this is big─they are shocked by the vacant, unsatisfying answers they receive from their pastors and church elders about these inconsistencies. They are appalled by the fuming reaction they often encounter from their coreligionists. They don’t know what happened to the “love.”

There is, however, another element in the foreground.

For most Christians, converting to Judaism or becoming a Ben Noach is incomprehensible. Theoretically, anyone can convert to anything; however, becoming a Jew is not a real, practical option for most Christians. It is not a part of their world. In one word, it is alien. Almost all Christians in the West perceive that they have two practical alternatives: 1) believe in God and be a Christian 2) deny the existence of God and identify as an agnostic or atheist. Theoretically, there are countless other choices in a free society. Practically speaking, however, those who grow up in the Christian world consider these two options as their only real, viable choices. Because the belief in God is innate─after all, we are all created in the image of God, and therefore awareness of the Creator is primal─those who leave the Church must discover that they can worship the true God of Israel. If they let go of one understanding of God, there better be a correct one to hold onto. They know there is a God, and they know it isn’t Buddha. It has to be the Father, the God of Israel.

With this in mind, I may be able to explain why people, who are completely rational in other aspects of their lives, cognitively shut down when everything they believe about God’s salvation plan for mankind is challenged. First, they are emotionally unprepared for the conclusion of the ex-Christian: everything you believe in about Jesus is false. They are not there yet; they never went through the process. They are utterly unprepared for the trauma they associate with “rejecting Jesus.” This “rejecting Jesus” part is very important.

Why do Christians always call not being a Christian “rejecting Jesus?” We don’t think of not being a Muslim as “rejecting Mohammad.” We just don’t believe in the tenets of Islam. It’s nothing personal about Mohammad. Why the fuming rejecting language?

This leads me to the next point: the Christian mind is filled with powerful stories of people turning their back on Jesus. Don’t underestimate the importance of the stories found in the Gospels. It is these stirring stories about Jesus, not the firm doctrines of Paul that attract people to Christianity. The moving stories in the Gospels may contradict each other, but they are so compelling. All the characters in the Synoptics and especially John are well-developed. The odious villains are gripping. “You want me to do to Jesus what his enemies did to him?,” they wonder aloud. “I’ve been betrayed. I know what that experience feels like; and I am not going to do it to Jesus. And don’t do it to Jesus either!” Furthermore, “I’ve been talking to Jesus since I was four years old. Was I speaking to nobody?” Christians are appalled at the suggestion that they should “reject Jesus.”

The fear of going to hell is very real to Christians. The confidence that they exude by their certainty that they are going to heaven after they die is supremely important to Christians.

To make matters worse, except for a few famous stories here and there, a handful of prayers from the book of Psalms, and Isaiah 53, almost no Christian has read the Jewish Bible in its entirety. And the few that are somewhat conversant in the Jewish Prophets, read only selected parts of the Hebrew Scriptures. A very tinny number of Christians have ever thoroughly read the entire Jewish Scriptures. And with the exception of a studious few, the tinny number of churchgoers who read the entire Book of Jeremiah only did it once in their lives. Few pastors ever read the Book of Amos or Chronicles; and they rarely can tell you a thing about the book of Habakkuk. Of course, Christians believe these timeless works are holy; they are just not motivated to study them. And, to make matters worse, except for some professor in college, no Christian can read Tanach in its original Hebrew. They are all slaves to the all-important Christian translator who happily leads them by the cross dangling on their necklace. As a result, it never occurred to any Christian that the Jewish Bible almost never mentions heaven or hell. It is mentioned. And if you search carefully, you will find those passages that briefly discuss the afterlife. As it turns out, the discussion of heaven and hell in the Jewish scriptures comes up passingly and indirectly. It is not the point of the teaching. It is never conveyed as a threat or an epic creed. In stark contrast, the authors of the New Testament routinely threaten their readers with eternal damnation and hellfire; and Christians seem to know exactly who is going there. Why the vast disparity between the Jewish Scriptures and the Christian Bible on this point? Christians never ask this question. Never.

As it turns out, we spend a lot more time dead than alive. Why then is there so little ink spent on this topic in Tanach? The answer is simple: of course there is a heaven and hell. Without Olam Haba and Gehenim, the World to Come and Hell, there could be no justice in the world.

Detailed information about heaven and hell, however, has nothing to do with how you are to conduct your life in this world, the only place you have free will. Tanach is committed only to conveying information that you need to live your life properly in this world. In other words, the details about the afterlife are unimportant (and incomprehensible), and God is not going to threaten you with something that is inaccessible. You can’t test it.

In stark contrast, when Hashem speaks to us in the Torah, He brings into view epic moments from the knowable past; events that the entire Jewish people witnessed. In turn, the people of Israel are commanded to be a “witness” to the world, a “light to the nations.” The Almighty therefore declares to us, “I am the God Who brought you out of Egypt; I am the God Who brought you to the Promised Land.” It is for this reason that the Torah calls upon us to “Remember” (Deut. 4-5, 7, 13, 15-16, 24). The Torah commands the Nation of Israel in the first person, “You shall remember, you shall remember!” No nation would have accepted such a detailed command to remember that which was seen and experienced had these events not actually occurred. The emphasis which is placed on remembering demonstrates that the memory of these events carved itself deeply in the consciousness of the nation. Furthermore, the nation of Israel is commanded to remember the events that they were witness to and personally experienced. Only when it becomes evident that the Torah was not written at a later date or dates, but at the time the events themselves occurred, is it conceivable that the entire nation would shoulder the responsibility to remember. This claim is testable─it is verifiable─and therefore it is a claim made only by the children of Israel. No other nation in history had the audacity or the ability to claim that God revealed Himself to their entire nation. On the other hand, no one can test the veracity of the well-worn claim that you are going to go to hell if you don’t believe.

None of what I stated has ever crossed the mind of a Christian. Nothing. Are Christians therefore stupid? Are they unable to process such unambiguous teachings? We know the answer: they were deprived of the tools to discover this on their own. As such, they imitate the scandalous methods of the New Testament writers and impose Jesus onto the Jewish Scriptures, an Oracle they cannot read and know too little about.

In short, Christians need a lot of room to think, lots of space to ponder, lots of patience for growth, and lots of prayer to Hashem.

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A Prophet like Moses

©Menashe Dovid

13. Be wholehearted with the Lord, your God. (Deut 18)

יג. תָּמִים תִּהְיֶה עִם יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ

Messianics and Christians alike, insist that there are some 300 plus prophecies in the ‘Old’ Testament which find their ultimate fulfillment in Yeshua/ Jesus. A mediatorquestion posed by a Facebook missionary friend of mine challenged me with Deuteronomy Chapter 18 verses 15 and 18 which speak of a prophet to come who is like you [Moses]. The prophet is of course Yeshua/ Jesus according to my Facebook missionary friend. Now who would have expected that![1]? Quite apart from the fact that nowhere is it ever suggested in TaNaCh that any prophet, priest or messiah would be better to replace Moses or that THE sacrifice of Jesus/ Yeshua ends the sacrifices of animals[2].

At least another missionary friend admitted that he had never considered just how in general a prophet or very specifically how Yeshua/ Jesus is like Moses, Moses who is a prophet. In actual fact when we consider such a question as how a prophet is like Moses, we may well come up with a very strict criterion or even come to a realization that we really do not know what defines a prophet at all!

Immediate Context

Immediate context helps to get a grasp of a bigger picture. The bigger picture in the case of Deut 18 pivots on verses 13 and 14 which provide a ‘but’ or a contrast between verses 9-12 and verse 15 onwards.

13 You shall be whole-hearted with the LORD your God. 14 For these nations, that you are to dispossess, hearken to soothsayers, and to diviners; but as for you, the LORD your God has not suffered you to do so.

Verses 9-12 describe prohibitions for the Israelites against practicing divination, child sacrifice, sorcery, omen reading, animal charmers, ‘armpit’ witchcraft, necromancy and speaking/ prophesying with a bone in the mouth. Prohibitions for the Israelites actually served as methods of ‘guidance’ for the nations to run their affairs.

Instead and in complete contradistinction to the nations, Verse 13 tells the Israelites to wholeheartedly follow G-d and his guidance instead. The method of guidance collectively chosen by Israel was Moses the prophet and was with G-d’s approval:

“This is just what you asked of the Lord your God at Horeb, on the day of the Assembly, saying, “Let me not hear the voice of the Lord my God any longer or see this wondrous fire any more, lest I die.” Whereupon the Lord said to me, “They have done well in speaking thus.” (Deut.18: 16-17)

However, as we know, Moses is not going to be around forever, eventually he will die and who will be a prophet in his place? After all the nation of Israel and its people still need a method which gives direction and guidance after Moses has gone. The method as scripture shows includes a prophet chosen by the Israelites whose choice is approved by G-d no less!

bettterAre we to assume based on Christian/ Messianic assertions that the Israelites are to wait around one and half thousand years for ‘Jesus’ the next ‘unique’, ‘one and only’, ‘ultimate’ and ‘better’ prophet than Moses? Does ‘a prophet’ really mean just one prophet after Moses? Are we to write off Isaiah, Jeremiah, Amos, Joel, Ezekiel, Malachi, Habakkuk, Haggai, Nathan, Elijah, Elisha, Zechariah, Micah, and countless others as prophets? Are we to write off the lives and history of the Jewish people as insignificant or an unpleasant ‘blip’ which now has been corrected by Jesus? According to Christian/ Messianic assertions via the NT for support, the lives and history of the Jewish people as recorded in the ‘old’ testament serve to show that previously and presently the ‘sinfulness’ and ‘blindness’ of Jews by not believing in ‘THE PROPHET” Jesus, as portrayed in the ‘new’ testament! Here are a few examples in point:

I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. Mat 12:6….The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless. Heb 7:18….Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant. Ibid v 22….But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises. Ibid 8:6….to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. Ibid 12:24….Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, Phil 3:8….Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Mat 28:19

The ‘New’ Covenant is superior to the ‘Old’ Covenant because of Jesus/ Yeshua. So much superior that the NT likens the ‘old’ testament as weakuseless and dung[8]! Moreover that Jesus/ Yeshua / Paul positively encourage missionary activity to convert all nations to their superior revelation/ covenant.

Wider Context

The disciple of Moses was Joshua and surprise and the next book following chronologically after the Torah is the book of Joshua. What does it say of Joshua:

5 There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee; I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. 6 Be strong and of good courage; for thou shalt cause this people to inherit the land which I swore unto their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, to observe to do according to all the law, which Moses My servant commanded thee; turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest have good success whithersoever thou goest. 8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein; for then thou shalt make thy ways prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. 9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of good courage; be not affrighted, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.’….16 And they answered Joshua, saying: ‘All that thou hast commanded us we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us we will go. 17 According as we hearkened unto Moses in all things, so will we hearken unto thee; only the LORD thy God be with thee, as He was with Moses. 18 Whosoever he be that shall rebel against thy commandment, and shall not hearken unto thy words in all that thou commandest him, he shall be put to death; only be strong and of good courage.’ Johua 1

“Israel served Adonai throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had experienced everything Adonai had done for Israel.” (Joshua 24: 31)

The above scriptures from Joshua firmly establishes in the TaNaCh that the prophet Moses spoke about was Joshua son of Nun, not a sole ‘exclusive individual’ as part of some cryptic ‘mystery’ that even Moses himself was blind too. Also, it is clear that the Israelites obeyed Joshua and the elders that lived after him. After Joshua came other prophets. There was a threat, though, that of false prophets. Hence G-d gave very detailed warnings in Deut 13 and a warning in Deut 18:

“Any prophet who presumes to speak in My name an oracle[3] that I did not command him to utter, or who speaks in the name of other gods—that prophet shall die.” (Deut.18: 20)

Common Threads from A to Z

When it comes to prophets there can only be two types: true prophets of G-d or false prophets. When it comes to future prophets, we can recognize a number of opposing teachings between true prophets of G-d or false prophets. G-d acknowledges that any one can CLAIM to be a prophet and even perform miracles yet not be a true prophet of G-d. (Deut 13 & Deut 18.)

So, how did G-d expect the Israelites living in the time of the “prophet” to determine whether to kill the “prophet” for being a false prophet, or listen to the message of the prophet?

The answer is that G-d set in place a system where it would be the recognized leaders of the nation who would arbitrate such matters and they would be the ones to test the prophets.

The Torah describes the false prophet as one who attempts to “make you stray from the path that the Lord your God has commanded you to walk in.” (Deuteronomy 13:6 (5). Instead of listening to the false prophet we are commanded: “The Lord your God shall you follow and Him you shall fear; His commandments you shall observe and to His voice you shall hearken; Him you shall serve and to Him you shall cleave.”

The true prophet will encourage Israel to follow after God – “O House of Jacob: Come let us walk by the light of the Lord!” (Isaiah 2:5). The true prophet encourages fear of the Creator of heaven and earth – “Will you not fear Me? says the Lord; Will you not tremble before Me? For I have set sand as a boundary for the sea, as a permanent law that cannot be broken.” (Jeremiah 5:22). The true prophet encourages observance of God’s commandments that were set down by Moses – “Remember the Torah of Moses My servant which I commanded him at Horeb for all of Israel – decrees and statutes” (Malachi 3:22 [4:4]). The true prophet speaks of hearkening to the voice of God – “…Thus said the Lord, God of Israel: Cursed is the man who will not listen to the words of this covenant that I commanded your forefathers on the day I took them out from the land of Egypt, form the iron crucible saying: Listen to My voice…” (Jeremiah 11:3,4). The true prophet encourages service of God – “Serve the Lord with gladness, come before Him with joyous song” (Psalm 100:2). The true prophet speaks of cleaving to God as the highest ideal – My soul cleaves after You; Your right arm has supported me” (Psalm 63:9).

The true prophet knows that God has richly provided for our every need, both spiritual and material. The true prophet recognizes the blessing that is inherent in the law that God has granted to His people and all of the prophet’s words direct us towards the God of Israel and towards the path He set us on when He redeemed us from the house of bondage in a clear and unambiguous way.

The false prophet[4] concentrates his attention on the tendency of man that fails to appreciate God’s blessings and that sees God’s law as burdensome and impossible[5]. Instead of encouraging us to recognize the love, the life and the light that is inherent in God’s law; the false prophet claims to offer us a “better path”:

“By calling this covenant ‘new,’ he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear” (Hebrews 8:13).

According to the author of Hebrews the entire Old Covenant has become obsolete, not just the ceremonial part! What does it say? “…he(Jesus) has made the first one obsolete…” This verse is very clear: the first or Old Covenant is obsolete or has passed away.

In Galatians 5:1, Jesus has freed all believers from something Paul calls “a yoke of slavery”. In context this verse is the culmination of Paul’s allegory on Christian freedom (Gal 4:21-31). In Paul’s allegory the yoke of slavery is the burden of the whole Old Covenant.

“Tell me, you who want to live under the law, do you know what the law actually says?” (Gal 4:21).

What “law” is Paul referring to? He continues, “For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman” (Gal 4:22). Where is this written? In one of the five books of Moses that contains all the law. It is found in the book of Genesis chapter 16.

In Galatians 4:24 it is as clear that Hagar represents the Old Covenant established at Mt.Sinai which covenant means slavery for its children. “These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar.” In v. 28 Paul says that his fellow believers are not children of this Old Covenant yoke of slavery, but are the children of New Covenant freedom. In v. 30 Paul tells Christians to “cast out” Hagar who represents the Old Covenant of slavery. What does this accomplish? “Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman” (v. 31). Christians are free from all the laws of the Old Covenant. The “yoke of slavery” referred to in Gal 5:1 must be the same yoke of slavery that Paul has been referring to in Gal 4:21-31 and that is the whole Old Covenant. “These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar.” Hagar represents the entire Old Covenant and Christians are to cast out that entire covenant in order to become children of freedom.

According to the New Testament, the purpose of the Law was to reveal God’s standard of righteousness and man’s sinfulness. This in turn teaches man that he needs a substitutionary atonement—a savior. According to the New Testament, the Law of Moses was also a monitor over one immature in faith. When one moves to a mature faith, characterized by accepting the finished work of Jesus, that person is no longer in the monitor’s charge (see Galatians 3:23-25). Therefore, the monitor has reached its goal and is dismissed. The entire Mosaic Law becomes obsolete and the Christian comes under the Law of Christ (see 1 Corinthians 9:21; Galatians 6:2). The nerve of the New Testament knows no bounds:

But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Rom 3:21

The way to resist the persuasions of the false prophet is to ask: Is there anything lacking in the path that God set before us when He took us out of Egypt? Did God not provide for our every need? Did He not shower us with every blessing?

By focusing on the blessings that God granted us we will learn to appreciate the holiness of His commandments and the life that is inherent in His law. When we appreciate His love towards us our hearts will be filled with love towards Him – and a heart that is filled with the love of God will not fall for the persuasions of the false prophet (Deuteronomy 13:4 (3)).

Conclusion

Moses like all the other prophets who followed him was born of a set of human parents, mother and father. None of the prophets were ever worshiped or considered divine.

Moses like all the other prophets who followed him never acted in a way that would indicate that they and they alone were the sole mediator[6] between G-d and man. The Creator does not have a mediator, nor does the Creator need a mediator. Furthermore, humanity does not need a mediator to have a relationship with the Creator. Jews pray only to the Creator. It is not proper to pray to anyone or anything else, nor is it permissible to pray through anyone else. And it will always be forbidden. It would be forbidden even if that thing or person had the ability to grant what you ask for.

Before the great and dreadful day of Adonai will come Elijah the prophet and we are to remember the law of G-d’s servant Moses, the decrees and laws G-d gave him at Horeb for all Israel. How interesting it is that at Horeb, where the law was given, G-d tells the Israelites to remember that they saw no form (Deut 4:12, 15, 23) so as not to make an idol! How telling it is that right after Malachi penned these words a man by the name of Jesus came along who claimed not only to be a prophet, a priest, a king but was G-d in the form of flesh[7]!

“Remember the law of my servant Moses, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb for all Israel. “See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of Adonai comes.” He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.” (Mal.4: 4, 6)


[1] Chapter 1, of Hebrews says that Jesus Christ is better than everybody and everything. Chapter 2 says that Jesus Christ is better than angels. Chapter 3 says Jesus is better than Moses. In Chapter 4, Jesus is better than Joshua. And then Jesus is better than Aaron. Then Jesus is better than the old covenant. And Jesus is better than the Old Testament sacrifices, etc., etc. The whole point is to show that Jesus is superior, supreme, and sufficient, you need nothing else. That’s the key according to NT theology.

[2] A further point to consider is if sacrifices are finished why do sacrifices continue in the messianic age? According to New Testament teaching in Hebrews 10, sacrifices are no longer needed since Jesus’ once for all self sacrifice is forever and perfects forever those who accept it [Heb 10:8-14]. Hebrews 10 adds further, that the sacrifice of animals can never take away sins. The messianic age described in Jeremiah 33:14-18 has a messianic figure (David A Branch of Righteousness), a promise fulfilled to Israel and Judah who along with Jerusalem will dwell safely and a Levitical Priesthood offering the sacrifices prescribed by the Torah: ‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD, ‘that I will perform that good thing which I have promised to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah: ‘In those days and at that time I will cause to grow up to David A Branch of righteousness; He shall execute judgement and righteousness in the earth. In those days Judah will be saved, And Jerusalem will dwell safely. And this is the name by which she will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. “For thus says the LORD: ‘David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel; ‘nor shall the priests, the Levites, lack a man to offer burnt offerings before Me, to kindle grain offerings, and to sacrifice continually.’ ” Jer 33:14-18

[3] In Classical Antiquity, an oracle was a person or agency considered to interface wise counsel or prophetic predictions or precognition of the future, inspired by the gods. As such it is a form of divination. The word oracle comes from the Latin verb ōrāre “to speak” and properly refers to the priest or priestess uttering the prediction. In extended use, oracle may also refer to the site of the oracle, and to the oracular utterances themselves, called khrēsmoi (χρησμοί) in Greek. Oracles were thought to be portals through which the gods spoke directly to people. In this sense they were different from seers (manteis, μάντεις) who interpreted signs sent by the gods through bird signs, animal entrails, and other various methods

[4] Matthew 11:28-30 King James Version (KJV)

28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

[5] Acts 15:7-11 King James Version (KJV) 7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. 8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; 9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. 10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

[6] Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6

[7] 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.. 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John 1

[8] Paul, in his letter to the Philippians (3:8) wrote ἀλλὰ μενοῦνγε καὶ ἡγοῦμαι πάντα ζημίαν εἶναι διὰ τὸ ὑπερέχον τῆς γνώσεως Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ κυρίου μου, διὃν τὰ πάντα ἐζημιώθην, καὶ ἡγοῦμαι σκύβαλα, ἵνα Χριστὸν κερδήσω… If your Greek is a bit rusty, there’s no point in reaching for your English translation (straight from the culture that uses the euphemisms “going to the Rest Room” – I think it’s a pretty weird place to rest!, “going to the bathroom” – still looking for that bath there!…) Here’s what Saint Paul says: But indeed I also regard everything to be loss on account of the surpassing knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, on account of whom I have suffered the loss of all things; and I consider them shit so that I may gain Christ…Yep – σκύβαλα (skubala) = shit. Not the nice excrement, dung, or poop. In Saint Paul’s day σκύβαλα/shit was used in polite conversation about as much as we use it now. He is being very vulgar.