Slave: The Hidden Truth About Your Identity in Christ, by John MacArthur, is based on an erroneous translation of the Greek word doulos.  MacArthurs diktat is that doulos always refers to a slave and never a servant, and that all English translations of the New Testament have mistranslated doulos.  Therefore, every instance of the word servant in English New Testaments must be reinterpreted as slave.  In John MacArthur’s book, Christians are and always will be slaves of Christ, and if they think otherwise they are not His disciples or friends or Gods sons and heirs. (See: Part 2)


For lack of Scriptural and textual support, John MacArthur must resort to quoting heretics to prop up his master-slave teaching.  Many of his sources are authored by scholars whom MacArthur identifies as Christian,” however further investigation brings to light their heretical belief system. Other sources referenced in Slave are authored by non-Christian scholars who are quoted as authorities but never identified as non-Christians. Some of these scholars” are in fact rabidly anti-Christian, even to the extreme of blaspheming the Lord Jesus Christ and claiming that Christians in the early Church, including the Apostles, not only condoned the institution of slavery but were abusive and immoral slave owners and slave traders just like Roman slave owners and traders.


Slave contains numerous endnotes. Many of the sources are not quoted verbatim but paraphrased, which allows John MacArthur to hide their identity. Instead of identifying his sources straightforwardly in the text, their names are buried in the endnotes at the end of each chapter. MacArthur knows that few readers, if any, and only the most vigilant, will check the endnotes and research the credentials of each author and book.



To establish his thesis as authoritative, MacArthur frequently references German scholar Karl Heinrich Rengstorfs Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Rengstorf is never mentioned in the actual text of Slave but only in the endnotes and no information whatsoever is given concerning his credentials. A few examples from the book, Slave:

But what proved to be confusing to the Roman authorities made perfect sense to the martyrs of the early church. 12.” (Slave, p. 13)


“Scripture’s prevailing description of the Christian’s relationship to Jesus Christ is the slave/master relationship. 15.” (Slave, p. 15)


Ironically, the Greek language has at least half a dozen words that can mean servant. The word doulos is not one of them. 19. Whenever it is used, both in the New Testament and in secular Greek literature, it always and only means slave. According to the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, a foremost authority on the meaning of Greek terms in Scripture, the word doulos is used exclusively either to describe the status of a slave or an attitude corresponding to that of a slave. 20. The dictionary continues by noting that

the meaning is so unequivocal and self-contained that it is superfluous to give examples of the individual terms or to trace the history of the group... [The] emphasis is always on serving as a slave. Hence, we have a service which is not a matter of choice for the one who renders it, which he has to perform whether he likes it or not, because he is subject as a slave to an alien will, to the will of his owner. [The term stresses] the slaves dependence on his lord.” (Slave, p. 16)

12. Karl Heinrich Rengstorf, under δουλος, in Gerhard Kittle, ed.; Geoffrey Bromiley, trans., Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, vol. 2, notes that, In the early Church the formula [slave of God or slave of Christ] took on a new lease of life, being used increasingly by Christians in self-designation (cf. 2 Clem. 20, 1; Herm, m. 5, 2, 1; 6, 2, 4; 8, 10, etc.) (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964, 274).


15. For example, Rengstorf notes the prominencein the NT [of] the idea that Christians belong to Jesus as His δουλος [slaves], and that their lives are thus offered to Him as the risen and exalted Lord (Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, s. v. doulos, 2:274).


19. Harris, Slave of Christ, 183.

20. Rengstorf, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, s.v. δουλος,’ 2:261.” (Slave, p. 22)

Note #12 cited two Apocryphal works, the Second Epistle of Clement and The Shepherd of Hermas as sources which refer to Christians in the early Church as slaves of God or slaves of Christ. These are non-canonical books of which more will be said shortly. 


Karl Heinrich Rengstorf (1903-1992) was a German Evangelical Lutheran theologian and professor of theology at the University of Münster. He later directed an Institute for Judaic Studies established by Franz Delitzsch for the study of Judaism and evangelism of Jews. Under Rengstorf’s leadership, missionary activity transitioned to Christian-Jewish dialogue; however, this was in the aftermath of the Holocaust which the Jews perceived as perpetrated by Christians.

“Institutum Judaicum Delitzschianum, institute for the study of Judaism and (in its original form) for missionary activity among the Jews... In 1948, under the direction of K.H. Rengstorf, the Institutum Judaicum Delitzschianum was reestablished in Munster in conjunction with the Evangelical Theological Faculty of the Westphalian Wilhelm University and since then has served as a research center for both Christian and Jewish scholars. For several years it has published the Studia Delitzschiana and the annual Franz Delitzsch Lectures. Its projects include a German translation of the Tosefta and a Greek concordance to Josephus. Along with similar institutions in Tuebingen, Berlin, and Hamburg, the Institutum played an important role in furthering Christian-Jewish dialogue, although the missionary aim has not been completely abandoned.” (Jewish Virtual Library)

While he was a professor at Münster, Rengstorf corresponded with the Israeli Jewish philosopher, Martin Buber, who was involved in the Zionist Movement until Hitler rose to power.  Buber (1878-1965) then moved to Israel and developed an interest in Jewish Hassidism, which involved him in Kabalah. Martin Bubers occultism is apparent in the following excerpts from his works: 

Since 1900 I had first been under the influence of German mysticism from Meister Eckhart [a German mystic] ... then I had been under the influence of the later Kabalah and of Hasidism. (Between Man and Man, p. 219)

Mankind needs the return to spiritual values, for it needs compassion. It needs the deep experience that the Thou and the I are one, which all higher religions share. (Landmarks of Tomorrow, p. 264-265)

All men have access to God, but each man has a different access. ... God does not say: ‘This way leads to me and that does not,’ but he says ‘Whatever you do may be a way to me.’ (The Way of Man, p. 17)

There is no God apart from the world, nor a world apart from God. ... In the highest mystical ecstacy the Ego experiences that it has become God. ... there ceases to be a difference between the world and myself. ‘That I became God.’ (Ecstatic Confessions: The Heart of Mysticism, p. xv)

You are the thing-in-itself! You are God—the hub of the universe—the center of the sun—the core of matter— substance. (Ecstatic Confessions: The Heart of Mysticism, p. xvi)

Martin Bubers Life and Work by Maurice Friedman follows the correspondence of Rengstorf and Buber, the Jewish philosopher and kabbalist whom Rengstorf sought out to return to Germany to lecture and inspire students in the universities:

“Max Brod in his essay on Judaism and Christianity in Bubers Work wrote: ‘In his book Two Types of Faith...he read the Greek text of the Gospels and the Epistles... In his perspicacious presentation Buber does full justice to a great faith that is not his own (and in his judgment is not the belief of Jesus either.)’


“Rengstorf was, in fact, the first renowned Evangelical theologian to try to persuade Buber to give public lectures in Germany because he foresaw the great impact that Buber would have on German universities... In May 1950, Karl Rengstorf repeated his invitation... Rengstorf assured Buber that his invitation to come in 1951 to give the Münster lectures was also an invitation of the rector and the Senate of the University of Münster.” (p. 105)


“Now that Buber declared himself ready to talk to a small circle of especially invited persons, Rengstorf no longer dared to ask him to. But he wanted Buber to know how many of his colleagues and students loved him and diligently studied his books and eagerly wanted to see his face and hear his voice and meet him. Buber then informed Rengstorf that he planned to spend December in Germany and would at that time gladly meet with him and those colleagues and students of whom he had spoken.” (p. 106)


“On December 30, 1951, Karl Rengstorf wrote Buber that if, as Buber said in his book on The Hasidic Message and as he too believed, Hasidim has a special mission to our time, then it has one above all to the Germans who find it difficult to find their way back to being human because they had fallen in love with a marionette (Hitler).

In other words, Karl Heinrich Rengstorf, whom John MacArthur cited as a foremost authority” on the New Testament, believed that the Kabalistic message of Jewish Hasidism, rather than the message of salvation through Jesus Christ, would enable the Jews to recover from the trauma of the Holocaust.




The LORD hath said concerning you, O ye remnant of Judah; Go ye not into Egypt: know certainly that I have admonished you this day.” (Jeremiah 42:19)

The Septuagint was a Greek version of the Hebrew Old Testament that was translated in Alexandria, Egypt in the few centuries before Christ. There are several references in Slave to the Septuagint. Two references to Karl Heinrich Rengstorf mention the Septuagint as evidence that the Old Testament Patriarchs wereslaves of God.”

From the Exodus through the Exile and beyond, Israels corporate identity as Gods slaves was an integral part of the nations history. Many of Israels heroes, including Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, Elijah, and the prophets, are specifically referred to as His slaves. 19” (Slave, p. 33)


19. Cf. Judg. 2:8; 1 Kings 18:36; 2 Kings 18:12; Pss. 89:3, 105:42; Isa. 48:20; Ezek. 38:17; Dan. 9:11. These verses are translated with forms of doulos in the Septuagint. Karl Heinrich Rengstorf, under Doúlos, in Theological Dictionary of the New Testament Abridged in One Volume (Gerhard Kittel and Gerhard Friedrich, eds.; Geoffrey Bromiley, trans. [Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1985], 183), adds that the verb form of douleúein in the LXX is the most common term for the service of God, not just in isolated acts, but in total commitment... For this reason douloi is a title of honor when conferred on such outstanding figures as [those listed above]. The opposite of douleúein is disobedience.” (Slave, p. 38)


See also Slave, pp. 97-98

Previously, John MacArthur praised the Greek Septuagint as a rabbinic translation replete with slave language:

The Hebrew word for slave, ebed, appears in the Old Testament 799 times as a noun and another 290 times as a verb. 11. Though the most basic idea of ebed is that of a slave,12 its fundamental meaning is again lost on the pages of most English translations. The King James Version, for example, never translates ebed as slave—opting instead for servant or manservant the vast majority of the time. 13. But contrast that with the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Old Testament from before the time of Christ. It translates ’ebed with forms of doulos, or slave, more than 400 times! 14. The rabbinic scholars who produced the Septuagint understood exactly what ebed meantwhich is why slave language was so prominent in that translation. For the Jews of Jesus day, who were familiar with both the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek Septuagint, the Bibles repeated use of slave imagery would have been impossible to miss.” (Slave, pp. 28-29)

Strangely, the English translation of the Greek Septuagint by Sir Lancelot C. L. Brenton (1851) has only twelve (12) instances of the word slave. Furthermore, the Greek word δουλος is only found 86 times in the Kata Biblion Greek Septuagint. (Kata Biblion)  Contrary to John MacArthur’s false statement that the Septuagint translates 'ebed with forms of doulos, or slave, more than 400 times,” according to the Society for Biblical Literature, the Hebrew word עֶבֶד (ebed) was translated into four different Greek words in the first five books (Pentateuch) of the Septuagint:

The Septuagint of the Pentateuch (LXX Pentateuch) is marked by a variety of equivalentsδοῦλος, θεράπων, οἰκέτης, παϊςof Hebrew ebed (עֶבֶד). The interesting question is whether these renderings are to be seen as synonymous, or not. It has been suggested that the terms employed may reflect different connotations.” (XIII Congress of the International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies: Ljubljana, 2007. SBL, p. 225)

Of particular interest, in the Septuagint (LXX), Genesis 9:25 uses two Greek words other than doulos (δοῦλος) for slave:

Genesis 9:25: ‘Cursed be Canaan; a ‘slave of slaves’ shall he be to his brothers’; LXX reads παϊς οἰκέτης, ‘a slave, a household slave.’ (Ibid., p. 230)

The Septuagint also contained the non-canonical Apocryphal books, which the Jews had rejected for the Hebrew canon of Scripture.

“…Jews in Alexandria, Egypt, began translating the Hebrew Old Testament into Greek (the Septuagint) hundreds of years before Christ. Because the earliest complete manuscripts we have of this version of the OT include extra books called the Apocrypha, many believe that these books should be considered part of the OT canon even though they are not found in the Hebrew OT. In effect, some argue that we have two OT canons, the Hebrew canon of twenty-two books, often called the Palestinian canon, and the larger Greek or Alexandrian canon that includes the Apocrypha.” (“The Old Testament Apocrypha Controversy: The Canon of Scripture)

These rejected Apocryphal books are recommended in Slave to reinforce John MacArthur’s false teaching. Is the Septuagint a reliable translation, as John MacArthur avers?  We must look to Scripture for the answer. After the Exodus, God commanded the Israelites to never return to Egypt, lest they fall into the idolatries of that land and become spiritually enslaved in that pagan house of bondage from which they were delivered.

“Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: But he shall not… cause the people to return to Egypt,… forasmuch as the LORD hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way.” Deut. 17:15-16


When God judged idolatrous Judah with captivity in Babylon, many of the poor who were left in Judah fled to Egypt in direct disobedience to God’s warning through the prophet Jeremiah. (Jer. 39:16-18, 42:19) Although they were being judged for their idolatry in Judah, these Jews stubbornly determined to continue their idolatrous practices in Egypt. (Jer. 44:15-30)

In his sermon to the Jews who had fled to Egypt, Jeremiah pronounced an astonishing judgment:

“Behold, I have sworn by my great name, saith the LORD, that my name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, The Lord GOD liveth.” (Jer. 44:26) 

The direct object of this severe judgment were those Jews who personally heard the prophet; however, the words “shall no more” make God’s judgment applicable to the future: that my name shall no more be named” by any man of Judah” who is in all the land of Egypt.” For God had twice commanded the Jews to never return to Egypt. (Deut. 17:15-16; Jer. 44:26)

Could this judgment explain the Rabbinic prohibition of speaking the name of God because it is said to be “ineffable,” i.e. incommunicable, unutterable, unspeakable?  The Encyclopedia Judaica states that before the siege of Jerusalem in 586 B.C., the name Yahweh was freely called upon, however, with the Septuagint, the Hebrew name of God, YHWH meaning I Am That I Am” was replaced by Adonai Elohim.

“The personal name of the God of Israel is written in the Hebrew Bible with the four consonants YHWH and is referred to as the ‘Tetragrammaton.’ At least until the destruction of the First Temple in 586 B.C.E. this name was regularly pronounced with its proper vowels, as is clear from the *Lachish Letters, written shortly before that date. But at least by the third century B.C.E. the pronunciation of the name YHWH was avoided, and Adonai, ‘the Lord,’ was substituted for it, as evidenced by the use of the Greek word Kyrios, ‘Lord,’ for YHWH in the Septuagint, the translation of the Hebrew Scriptures that was begun by Greek-speaking Jews in that century. Where the combined form ʾAdonai YHWH occurs in the Bible, this was read as ʾAdonai ʾElohim, ‘Lord God.’
(Encyclopedia Judaica, Names of God”)

“Adonai” is a the Hebrew name of Adonis, the Sun god of the ancient mystery religions. Nonetheless, John MacArthur endorses this pagan name as the name of God, because Adonai means Master” and slaves must have a master:

By the time the New Testament was written, the name kyrios (‘Lord’) was already a well-known title for God. The Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament used in Jesus’ day) used kyrios to translate two different Hebrew names for God—Adonai and Yahweh. The title Adonai (from the root adon) literally means ‘master’ and corresponds to the Hebrew word for slave (‘ebed). It ‘denotes His sovereign power.’ 4. and emphasizes the relationship between God as the Master and His people as His slaves (cf. Mal. 1:6). When kyrios is used to translate Adonai in the Septuagint, ‘it stresses the fact that as the Liberator from Egypt, or as the Creator, God has a valid right to control over his people and the universe. He is sovereign in the absolute sense.’ 5. But the Septuagint also used kyrios to translate Yahwehthe covenant name of God. (Slave, p. 86)

See also Part 2: “Heresy

MacArthur suggests that the Jews substituted Adonai for the name of God out of respect for the second Commandment. This pious excuse, however, is a pretext to conceal the fact of God’s judgment for their disobedience.

Out of respect for the third commandment (Ex. 20:7), the Jews refused to speak the name Yahweh lest they somehow take it in vain. In their prayers and sermons, they would use Adonai in its place. It is likely that the translators of the Septuagint, for this reason, translated Yahweh with the same word they used for Adonai. 6. But whatever the explanation, the fact remains that kyrios is used consistently throughout the Septuagint for both Adonai and Yahweh. 7.” (Slave, p. 86)

MacArthur then transfers the pagan title, Adonai, to Jesus Christ to support his Master Jesus/Christian slave teaching.

The New Testament writers relied heavily on the Septuagint, frequently quoting from it when they referenced the Old Testament. As a result, they were well acquainted with the dual function kyrios served in reference to God, as a term that meant ‘Master’ (equivalent to Adonai) and also as the Greek rendering of the divine name Yahweh. 8. It was with this dual function in mind that the apostles gladly applied the title kyrios to Jesus Christthe one whom they acknowledged to be both Adonai and Yahweh. The term was broad enough to ‘express the comprehensive lordship of Jesus’ such that Old Testament ‘passages [from the Septuagint] which spoke of [kyrios] could be transferred to Jesus. In Him God acts as is said of the kyrios in the OT.’ 9.” (Slave, p. 87)

6. Centuries later, in the eighth century AD, the Masorites would simply apply the vowel pointings from Adonai to the divine name Yahweh.
7. Quell, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (unabridged), s.v. ‘kyrios,’ 3:1058. Quell observes that ‘the word [kyrios], ‘lord,’ as a name for God in the LXX [Septuagint] is a strict translation only in cases where it is used for [Adon] or [Adonai] (in the ketib). As a rule, however, it is used as an expository equivalent for the divine name hwhy [Yahweh].’
8. Examples of places where kyrios is used for Adonai include: Matt. 9:38; 11:25; Acts 17:24; 1 Tim. 6:15; Rev. 4:11. Examples of places where kyrios is used for Yahweh include: Matt. 4:7; 22:37; Mark 12:11; Heb. 7:21.” (Slave, p. 98)

Corruption of the name of God as the pagan Adonai appears to have begun with the apostasy of the southern kingdom of Judah prior to the Babylonian captivity.  Ezekiel 8:14 states that the house of Judah worshipped the Sun god, Tammuz, who was the Mesopotamian analogue of Adonis, the generic Sun god of the ancient mystery religions. The Hebrew cognate of Adonis, “Adonai,” was derived from the Canaanite title “Adon” meaning “Lord.” The apostate Jews incorporated the vowels of Adonai into YHWH to form “Yehôvâh” which began the process that led to its further corruption as Jehovah. (See: The Tetragrammaton)


According to a Masonic book, The Spirit of Masonry in Moral and Elucidatory Lectures, it was at the time of Christ that the Jewish religious leaders began to call God Adonai, under the same pretext of preventing blasphemy as also alleged by John MacArthur:

“‘The Sun was...worshipped by the House of Judah, under the name of Tamuz; for Tamus, saith Hierom, was Adonis, and Adonis is generally interpreted the Sun, from the Hebrew word Adon, signifying dominus, then as Baal or Moloch formerly did, the lord or prince of the planets. The month which we call June was by the Hebrews called Tamuz; and the entrance of the sun into the sign Cancer was in the Jews’ astronomy termed Tekupha Tamuz, the revolution of Tamuz. About the time of our Savior, the Jews held it unlawful to pronounce that essential name of God Jehovah, and instead thereof read Adonai, to prevent the heathen blaspheming that holy name, by the adoption of the name of Jove, &c., to the idols. Concerning Adonis whom some ancient authors call the death or loss of Adonis, we are to understand the departure of the Sun...” (The Spirit of Masonry in Moral and Elucidatory Lectures, William Hutchinson, p. 34)

“The Sun was...Adonis, and Adonis is generally interpreted the Sun... Concerning Adonis whom some ancient authors call the death or loss of Adonis, we are to understand the departure of the Sun...” Substitution of the name of the Sun god, Adonis, for the true God was a calculated set up for the current movement known as Astrotheology, which claims that Jesus Christ was merely the Solar Deity of the Christian religion, the same pagan Sun god known by other names in the various ancient religions: Horus, Osiris, Apollo, Helios, Ra, Lugh, Mithras, Sol Invictus, Baal, Moloch, and many others.


See: “Comparative Mythology & Astrotheology


John MacArthur’s attribution of the name/title Kyrios, the Greek equivalent of Adonai, to Jesus Christ is a tacit endorsement of Sun god worship, the same idolatry practiced by the Hebrew elders in the Jerusalem Temple:

Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery? for they say, The LORD seeth us not; the LORD hath forsaken the earth. He said also unto me, Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations that they do. Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the LORDS house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz. Then said he unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations than these. And he brought me into the inner court of the LORD’S house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east.” (Ezekiel 8:13-15)

Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible provides some history of the Hebrew worship of Adonis/Tammuz which was celebrated with sexual rites of the most abominable character:

The month in which the vision was seen, the sixth month (September), was not the month of the Tammuz-rites. But that such rites had been performed in Jerusalem there can be little doubt. Women are mentioned as employed in the service of idols in Jeremiah 7:18. There is some reason for believing that the weeping of women for Tammuz passed into Syria and Palestine from Babylonia, Tammuz being identified with Duv-zi, whose loss was lamented by the goddess Istar. The festival was identical with the Greek ‘Adoniacs.’ The worship of Adonis had its headquarters at Byblos, where at certain periods of the year the stream, becoming stained by mountain floods, was popularly said to be red with the blood of Adonis. From Byblos it spread widely over the east and was thence carried to Greece. The contact of Zedekiah with pagan nations (Jer 32:3) may very well have led to the introduction of an idolatry which at this time was especially popular among the eastern nations.

This solemnity was of a twofold character, first, that of mourning, in which the death of Adonis was bewailed with extravagant sorrow; and then, after a few days, the mourning gave place to wild rejoicings for his restoration to life. This was a revival of nature-worship under another form—the death of Adonis symbolized the suspension of the productive powers of nature, which were in due time revived. Accordingly, the time of this festival was the summer solstice, when in the east nature seems to wither and die under the scorching heat of the sun, to burst forth again into life at the due season. At the same time there was a connection between this and the sun-worship, in that the decline of the sun and the decline of nature might be alike represented by the death of Adonis. The excitement attendant upon these extravagances of alternate wailing and exultation were in complete accordance with the character of nature-worship, which for this reason was so popular in the east, especially with women, and led by inevitable consequence to unbridled license and excess. Such was in Ezekiel’s day one of the most detestable forms of idolatry.” (Notes on the Bible, Ezekiel 8:15)



John MacArthur references yet another heretical source, Oxford scholar and Anglican clergyman, John Allen Giles, whose translation of a letter from the early churches in Gaul identified them as slaves of Christ.”

In a letter from the Churches of Lyons and Vienne to the Church of Asia: The dwellers in Vienne and Lyons of Gaul, slaves of Christ, to the brethren in Asia and Phrygia who have the same faith and hope of redemption with us, peace and grace and glory from God the Father and our Lord Christ Jesus. The greatness of this our tribulation, the furious rage of the Gentiles against the saints, and what things the blessed martyrs have suffered, we are not able exactly to express by word, or comprehend in writing.6  (Slave, p. 215)

6. Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 5.1–4, in John Allen Giles, trans., The Writings of the Early Christians of the Second Century (London: John Russell Smith, 1857), 222.”  (Slave, p. 216)

Other translations of this letter have the reading servants of Christ.” For example, A Popular History of France From The Earliest Times, by Francois Pierre Guillaume Guizot, Project Gutenberg Edition.

The servants of Christ, dwelling at Vienne and Lyons in Gaul, to the brethren settled in Asia and Phrygia, who have the same faith and hope of redemption that we have, peace, grace, and glory from God the Father and Jesus Christ our Lord!”

John Allen Giles (1808–1884) was a liberal Anglican scholar and clergyman, a Bible critic whose book, Apostolical Records of Early Christianity: From the Date of the Crucifixion, dissected the Apostolic books of the New Testament to discover errors, and gave such a late date that the Apostles could not have written them. Giles claimed, “The Gospels and Acts were not in existence before the year 150.” For reasons that are unclear, Giles was imprisoned under the oversight of Samuel Wilberforce, son of William Wilberforce.

After a few years Giles became curate of Bampton, Oxfordshire, where he continued taking pupils, and edited and wrote a great number of books. Among them was one entitled Christian Records, published in 1854, which related to the age and authenticity of the books of the New Testament. Samuel Wilberforce as bishop of Oxford, required him, on pain of losing his curacy, to suppress this work, and break off with another literary. After some letters, which were published, he complied with the bishop’s demand.” (Wikipedia)

The Dictionary of Public Biography states that John Giles rejected the dating and authenticity of the Old Testament as well as the apostolic authorship of the New Testament and he supported the views of formidable opponents of early Christianity, Celsus and Porphyry:

“ 1850 he published ‘Hebrew Records’ on the age and authenticity of the books of the Old Testament, and in 1854 ‘Christian Records on the Age, Authorship, and Authenticity of the Books of the New Testament,’ in which he contended, in a preface dated 26 October 1853, that the ‘Gospels and Acts were not in existence before the year 150,’ and remarks that ‘the objections of ancient philosophers, Celsus, Porphyry, and others, were drowned in the tide of orthodox resentment’ (see Letters of the Bishop of Oxford and Dr. J. A. G., published in a separate volume).” (Dictionary of Public Biography, p. 348)

Celsus was a second century Greek philosopher who wrote that Jesus was illegitimate and learned magic in Egypt. Porphyry was a third century neo-Platonist who disputed the dating of the book of Daniel during the 6th century B.C. Babylonian Captivity and argued that it was composed in the 2nd century B.C. as an account of the Maccabean revolt against Antiochus Epiphanes. Porphyrys “Maccabean Thesis is the basis for the current attack of modern scholars on the book of Daniel.

“Up until about a century ago, the claims laid out in the book of Daniel as to its authorship, origin, etc., during the sixth century B.C. were quite generally accepted. However, since 1890, according to Klaus Koch, this exilic theory has been seriously challenged—so much so, in fact, that today it represents only a minority view among Daniel scholars.  The majority hold a view akin to that of Porphyry, the third-century Neoplatonist enemy of Christianity, that the book of Daniel was composed (if not entirely, at least substantially) in the second century B.C.  


Source: The Book of Daniel & the Maccabean Thesis, Arthur J. Ferch, Andrews University Seminary Studies, Summer  1983, Vol.  21, No.  2, 129-141.

In another volume, Hebrew and Christian Records: An Historical Enquiry into the Ages of the Old and New Testament, John Allen Giles rejected the Old Testament as a contemporary narrative, deferring its composition and compilation to a much later period, thereby denying its traditional authorship and divine inspiration:

Such an inquiry, in the case of the Old Testament, has led to the conviction that its compilation is to be ascribed to a date later than the Babylonish captivity, and consequently that it is not to be considered as a contemporary narrative of the events which happened in the times of Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, and others, by whom it is generally supposed to have been written... We read the acts of Moses, his miracles and his legislation, in a book compiled a thousand years after Moses was dead...

In the same way, if it were shown that the several books of the New Testament were not written until a hundred years later than the events which they record, it would in like manner follow that their contemporary character would be lost... if it could be shown that those respective records were not compiled until many ages after the beginning of the religious systems which they describe, and it might fairly be asked whether the religions themselves may not have been changed or modified in the course of so long a time.” (Hebrew and Christian Records, p. 2)

Giles further claimed that the Apostolic writers relied on their imaginations rather than the facts when reporting events. For example, Giles gave more credence to Josephus account than to Luke’s record of Gamaliel’s speech before the Sanhedrin in Acts 5:

Gamaliel reminded the Council that the similar attempts of Theudas and ‘Judas the Galilean in the days of the taxing’ had been brought to naught [v. 34-2]. But in recording this speech the writer has given latitude to his own imagination, and has committed a grave historical error. When Gamaliel gave wise advice to the Jewish Sanhedrin, he could not possibly refer to the insurrection of Theudas, which in fact had not then taken place. We learn this from Josephus.

‘Whilst Fadus was procurator of Judea [in the fourth year of Claudius, A.D.44] a certain magician [imposter], Theudas by name, persuaded the greater part of the multitude to take their goods and follow him to the river Jordan. For he said he was a prophet, and that he would divide the river by his command, and afford them an easy passage; and by saying this he deceived many. Fadus however did not suffer them to reap the fruits of their folly; but sent against them a troop of cavalry, which falling on them unexpectedly slew many of them, and took many alive. They captured Theudas alive, and cut off his head, and carried it to Jerusalem. Antiq. xx,v.1’

Thus it appears that Gamaliel quotes an incident which did not happen until about ten years afterwards. Nor is the writer more fortunate in Gamaliel’s reference to the insurrection of Judas, which happened not after but before that of Theudas. It is true, as Josephus tells us, that among those who were put to death immediately after Theudas, were ‘the children of Judas the Galilean, who led the people to revolt from the Romans, when Cyrenius was the valuer in Judea.’ Antiq. xx,v.2. Thus Gamaliel quotes as recent a fact which had happened forty years before, misled by the name; but no other proof is wanted to show that the writer of the Acts of the Apostles has ornamented his narrative, like the historians Thucydides and Livy, not always successfully, by placing in the mouths of his characters speeches which he though likely to have been spoken under the circumstances in which they were placed.” (pp. 367-368)

There are reasonable explanations for the conflicting accounts but the main issue here is authorship. Which book is infallible, Josephus or Scripture?  The following website documents the many chronological and other errors in the works of Josephus:

People who refer to the works of Josephus most often do this out of ignorance. You should check to see if your sources are correct. The writings of Josephus pollute the church’s understanding of God’s word. Some of Josephus’ errors may have been accidental. Some, however, are intentional lies. As a result, nothing Josephus teaches can be relied upon, and hence, an educated honest scholar will not use him. God takes his word seriously and we should, too. It’s time for Christians to stop pulling their punches. The Josephus we have recorded and available to us today is not necessarily the same Josephus as originally written. What we do have of Josephus makes critical errors in several areas.”  (Can Josephus Be Trusted?)

The memoirs of J. A. Giles son, Herbert Giles, state, “John Allen Giles (1804-84), an Anglican clergyman and Fellow of Corpus Christi College...had doctrinal differences with the Church and served a term in prison for a minor infraction of ecclesiastical law. Herbert Giles was a British diplomat to China where he opposed Christian missions and was the Worshipful Master of two Masonic lodges:

“An ardent agnostic, he was also an enthusiastic freemason... In 1880 I was much taken up with Freemasonry, into the mysteries of which I had been initiated on 21 April, 1870 in the Oak Lodge, No.190,93 an ancient Lodge, with its centenary now well behind it, of which I have for many years been the father. I became W.M.94 of the Ionic Lodge of Amoy, NO. 1781,95 Senior Warden of the District Grand Lodge of Hongkong; and in March, 1881, I became first W.M. of the Foochow Lodge, No.1912 96.’”  (Memoirs of H.A. Giles)




Yet another heretical source cited by MacArthur in support of his slave theology is the second century non-canonical Shepherd of Hermas, a Book of Visions” and Book of Mandates” based on visions of Jesus” received by an unknown Hermas. This non-canonical book was originally written in Greek and so the translation of doulos is left to the discretion of translators.  (Many translations of the book render the word doulos as ‘servant’ of God, such as the Lightfoot translation.) The following excerpts from Slave identify the Shepherd of Hermas and Clement of Rome’s First Epistle (to Corinth) as Christian” writings even though the authorship of Shepherd of Hermas is unknown (deceptively attributed to Hermas in Romans 16:14) and both works are Gnostic literature.


 From John MacArthur’s Slave: The Hidden Truth About Your Identity in Christ:

“The Shepherd of Hermas (written in the second century) warns its readers that ‘there are many [wicked deeds] from which the slave of God must refrain.’ 29


fn. 29. Shepherd of Hermas, Exposition on the Eighth Commandment, 38.3–6, in ibid., II:270. This is just one of several instances in which Hermas used the phrase ‘slave of God.’” (Slave, p. 19) / ibid. = Bart D. Ehrman

The Shepherd of Hermas (c. 130)


“The Shepherd of Hermas is one of the oldest Christian documents outside of the New Testament. It refers to believers as ‘slaves of God’ on a number of occasions, as evidenced from the excerpt below.1 Other ancient Christian documents evidence a similar understanding of the Christian life. For example, the First Epistle of Clement of Rome (written around AD 95), refers to God as ‘the Master’ in some twenty passages. 2. Similarly, in his letter to the Philadelphians, Ignatius (c. 50–c. 110) wrote about the ‘bishop together with the presbytery and the deacons, my fellow slaves.3. / Note: other translations read “fellow servants”


“In recounting a vision Hermas had reportedly received, he wrote: I replied, ‘What sorts of evil things, Lord, must we refrain from doing?’


“‘Listen,’ he said: ‘from adultery and sexual immorality, from lawless drunkenness, from evil luxury, from an abundance of foods, extravagant wealth, boasting, pride, and haughtiness, from lying, slander, and hypocrisy, from bearing a grudge and speaking any blasphemy. These are the most wicked of all the deeds of human life. And so, the slave of God must refrain from doing them. For the one who does not refrain from these cannot live to God. Hear now as well about the things that follow these.’


“‘Are there yet other wicked deeds, Lord?’ I asked. ‘Yes indeed,’ he said, ‘there are many from which the slave of God must refrain: robbery, lying, fraud, bearing false witness, greed, evil desire, deception, vanity, arrogance, and as many things as are similar to these. Do these things not seem wicked to you?’ ‘Yes indeed,’ I said, ‘very wicked for the slaves of God.’ ‘And so it is necessary for the one enslaved to God to refrain from these things.’” 4.




“1. According to James S. Jeffers, ‘Hermas identifies himself and other Christians as the slaves of God (Vision 1.2.4; 4.1.3; Mandate 3.4; Similitude. 8.6.5). The implication of these passages is that Christians owe God the same obedience that masters require of their slaves’ (‘Jewish and Christian Families in First-Century Rome,’ in Karl P. Donfried and Peter Richardson, eds., Judaism and Christianity in First-Century Rome [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998], 148).” (Slave, pp. 214-215)

2. James Aloysius Kleist notes this about Clement’s first Epistle to the Corinthians. ‘In about 20 passages in this epistle Clement speaks of God as ‘the Master,’ a designation not common in modern speech. The idea is the same that prompted St. Paul to call himself the doulos or ‘slave’ of Christ” (The Epistles of St. Clement of Rome and St. Ignatius of Antioch [Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1946], 106–7n35).

3. Ignatius, Letter to the Philadelphians, 4, in Bart D. Ehrman, trans., The Apostolic Fathers (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University, 2003), I:287.

4. Shepherd of Hermas, Exposition on the Eighth Commandment, 38.3–6, in Ehrman, The Apostolic Fathers (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard, 2005), II:269–71.

5. Polycarp, Letter to the Philippians, 1–2, in Ehrman, The Apostolic Fathers (2003), I:335.

Historian and theologian Justo L. Gonzalez, in The History of Christian Thought, places the Shepherd of Hermas at the start of the development of the penitential system of Roman Catholicism and other legalistic sects whose doctrines bore closer resemblance to Phariseeism than to Christ.

“In Rome, we see the beginning of a different type of Christianity. There, as can be seen in the First Epistle to the Corinthians of Clement and the Shepherd of Hermas, Christianity takes a practical and ethical direction that can even lead to moralism and legalism.... Whatever his intention may have been, Hermas already shows an interest in penance for post-baptismal sins which Western Christianity would later develop into a complex penitential system, and he is also the first to speak of works beyond those needed for salvation. This salvation is, then, not so much a gift of God through union with Jesus Christ as a reward that God who has shown mercy in Christ gives to those who obey the commandments. And Jesus, rather than the beginning of a new era, is the teacher of a new law.

“This theological school develops under the sign of Stoicism and of the practical spirit of the Roman people. The influence of Stoicism can be seen in the manner in which Clement stresses harmony as a fundamental element of the Christian life, while the influence of the Roman practical spirit can be seen throughout all the work of Clement and Hermas...

“During the early years of the foundation of the church, as may already be seen in the Shepherd of Hermas, there seems to have been a general consensus that, after that repentance which took place in baptism, it was somehow possible to repent again and thus be forgiven for post-baptismal sin. This took place through the public confession of the sin committed, followed by a period of penance and excommunication, in order to be admitted again within the Christian community through a formal act of restoration... On the other hand, toward the end of the second century and early in the third there was a general opinion that the church could not or should not forgive those who were guilty of homicide, fornication, or apostasy....

“Naturally, this denial of the forgiveness of certain sins, which intended to keep the moral strength of the church, was also a denial of the spirit of love and forgiveness which is characteristic of the gospel.” (pp. 93-94, 230-231)

In his History of the Christian Church, Philip Schaff identified the Shepherd of Hermas as a precursor of Catholic asceticism, which was derived from the Alexandrian monastic system based on Platonism. Asceticism was spiritual elitism, the evil root of Gnosticism:

“The Alexandrian fathers furnished a theoretical basis for this asceticism in the distinction of a lower and higher morality, which corresponds to the Platonic or Pythagorean distinction between the life according to nature and the life above nature or the practical and contemplative life. It was previously suggested by Hermas about the middle of the second century. Tertullian made a corresponding opposite distinction of mortal and venial sins. Here was a source of serious practical errors, and an encouragement both to moral laxity and ascetic extravagance. The ascetics, and afterwards the monks, formed or claimed to be a moral nobility, a spiritual aristocracy, above the common Christian people; as the clergy stood in a separate caste of inviolable dignity above the laity, who were content with a lower grade of virtue.” (“Heretical and Catholic Asceticism”)


Theosophist H. P. Blavatsky identified The Shepherd of Hermas as a “kabbalistic text” and ridiculed Anglican bishop, B.F. Westcott, for referring to it as a Christian writing. It was not unusual for Anglican scholars to give the weight of Scripture to apocryphal, pseudepigraphal (forgeries falsely attributed to persons in Scripture) and even Kabbalist literature from the occult underground with which Blavatsky was familiar:

“In their immoderate desire to find evidence for the authenticity of the New Testament, the best men, the most erudite scholars even among Protestant divines, but too often fall into deplorable traps. We cannot believe that such a learned commentator as Canon Westcott could have left himself in ignorance as to Talmudistic and purely kabalistic writings. How then is it that we find him quoting, with such serene assurance as presenting striking analogies to the Gospel of St. John, passages from the work of The Pastor of Hermas, which are complete sentences from kabalistic literature?” (H.P. Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled, Vol. II, p. 243. )

Blavatsky’s disclosure is confirmed by a recent paper titled “The Tower as Divine Body: Visions and Theurgy in the Shepherd of Hermas by Franklin Trammell. The abstract of his paper, which was presented at a meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, reads:

Behind some of the visions and teachings in the Shepherd of Hermas lies the notion of a direct correspondence between the heart of the righteous and the androgynous divine body. This body is presented by Hermas as a sevenfold Tower that is in the process of being (re)built by (re)incorporating the feminine Ecclesia. Members of the Ecclesia, who are pure of heart, are clothed with twelve virgins and receive the seal of the Son of God, representing the female and male aspects of the body. They then affect the reintegration of this female aspect, being built into the eschatological Tower as a part of her. Hermas’ law of purity therefore plays an incredibly important theurgic role. In identifying the Tower with the Ecclesia, itself implicitly assimilated in the text to Sophia, the author portrays those who do not sin after baptism as participating in the (re)unification of pre-existent Wisdom. It is this process along with elements related to it that shares affinities with later Jewish mystical sources.” (Mystical Politics)

There is a hidden agenda behind the superfluity of books that are mainstreaming Gnostic literature. Equating Christian slaves of God” to slaves in the Roman empire portrays the God of the Bible as the evil Demiurge” of the Gnostics, who with Lucifer, co-created mankind but wishes to keep men enslaved to himself.  Obviously, Gnosticism is based upon a radically different view of Creation than is found in Scripture. According to the Gnostic heresy, Adam was originally created as a “light body,” a “spark” of the “divine essence,” a pure spirit. In his original, perfect state, he was called Adam-Kadmon, the Heavenly Adam. Adam-Kadmon was not male, but male-female, or androgynous. In the course of time, this “first Adam” became attracted to materiality and incarnated into matter. As Adam-Kadmon descended into matter, this “divine androgyne” was divided into two sexes which took on material bodies, becoming Adam and Eve. As a result of Adam-Kadmon’s “fall” into the material realm, humanity is now trapped in matter.

After the first Adam’s descent into matter, Lucifer, who was co-creator of the world with God, offered the fallen Adam and Eve a means of release from their bondage in matter. They needed only to eat of the tree of the “knowledge of good and evil” which God had forbidden them to do. The forbidden fruit was “spiritual enlightenment” with the power to become “gods,” having the ability to transcend matter and to be reabsorbed into the “divine principle” from which they originated.  However, the other creator-God, rudely intervened in Lucifer’s plan in order to keep man trapped in matter and subject to Himself. To prevent Adam from taking of the tree of life, that he might achieve immortality, “The Lord God sent him forth from the Garden of Eden. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” (Gen. 3:24)  

In Gnostic doctrine, this God is the “evil Demiurge” and “Satan,” whereas Lucifer is the true God who is in a continuing battle with the evil Demiurge for possession of planet Earth. And so, Lucifer’s offer still stands for those who will receive “spiritual enlightenment”— the delusion that they can become “gods” and escape the control of the “evil Demiurge.” Becoming gods, they will return to their original, perfect state, Adam-Kadmon, the Heavenly Adam who is male-female, or androgynous.

This is also the Kabbalistic ideal presented in Frederick Trammell’s paper, “The Tower as Divine Body: Visions and Theurgy in the Shepherd of Hermas” cited above, which also reveals the mark of the Beast and explains its symbolism:

Behind some of the visions and teachings in the Shepherd of Hermas lies the notion of a direct correspondence between the heart of the righteous and the androgynous divine body... Members of the Ecclesia, who are pure of heart, are clothed with twelve virgins and receive the seal of the Son of God, representing the female and male aspects of the body.” (Mystical Politics)

Frederick Trammell’s statement that “Members of the Ecclesia, who are pure of heart...receive the seal of the Son of God representing the female and male aspects of the body” refers to the Gnostic Ecclesia, those who have preserved the Gnostic Mysteries who receive the Seal of Solomon, which symbolizes the divine androgyne. The Bible identifies this “Seal of Solomon” as the Mark of the Beast, which will be received by those who worship Lucifer during the Tribulation period.



John MacArthur has set a snare for multitudes who will be faced with the choice between death and receiving the mark of the Beast during the Tribulation period.  (See Part 1)  His endorsement of apocryphal and pseudepigraphal works will further facilitate their deception for, as we have seen, these counterfeit scriptures encourage reception of this Satanic mark on the body.  The following quotation in Slave from Murray Harris’ book seems to be an allusion to the symbol portrayed above which will be branded on the hand or forehead. MacArthur wrote:

In the same way that Old Testament saints viewed themselves as the slaves of Yahweh, we are to view ourselves as the slaves of Jesus Christ. As one author points out:

Corresponding to Christ’s absolute and exclusive ownership of believers in him is their total and sole devotion to him.  Isaiah 44:5 indicates that after the exile some faithful Jews would unashamedly say, ‘I belong to Yahweh,’ while others would actually write ‘Yahweh’s’ on their hands, to indicate whose slaves they were. Most Christians do not bear the ‘brand-marks of Jesus’ (Gal 6:17) as Paul did, but they might rightly say, ‘I belong to Christ’ (cf. 1 Cor. 1:12), and may, figuratively speaking, write ‘Christ’s’ on their hands, to whose slaves they are. 11.” (Slave, pp. 87-88)


11. Murray J. Harris, Slave of Christ (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999), 113.” (Slave, p. 98)

During the Tribulation period, the once rejected non-canonical books will supplant the traditional canon of Scripture, which will be misrepresented as the work of a false god, the evil Demiurge. The true Word of God will be proscribed and Gnostic and Kabbalistic works like The Shepherd of Hermas will be taught in churches, synagogues, and other places of worship in order to propagate asceticism, celibacy, homosexuality, and eventually the new normal... Androgyny, symbolized by the mark of the Beast.





One of John MacArthur’s tricks is to not identify his source by name in the same text with the quote, but in the endnotes several pages later, which most readers will pass over on their way to the next chapter.  Moreover, MacArthur often omits to mention the religious affiliation of his sources, as is seen in the following endnote.

While it is true that duties of slave and servant may overlap to some degree, there is a key distinction between the two: servants are hires; slaves are owned. 21 (Slave, p. 16)


“21. As Walter S. Wurzburger explains, To be a slave of God...involves more than merely being His servant. Servants retain their independent status. They have only specific duties and limited responsibilities. Slaves, on the other hand, have no rights vis a vis their owners, because they are deemed the property of the latter (God is Proof Enough [New York: Devora Publishing, 2007] 37).” (Slave, p. 22)

MacArthur selectively worded this quotation from God is Proof Enough to conceal its Jewish source. The full quote is:

To be a slave of God, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveichik emphasized, involves more than merely being His servant. Servants retain their independent status. They have only specific duties and limited responsibilities. Slaves, on the other hand, have no rights vis a vis their owners, because they are deemed the property of the latter. Jewish law operates on the principle that whatever a slave acquires automatically belongs to the owners.” (God is Proof Enough by Rabbi Walter S. Wurzburger, p. 37)

Why would John MacArthur also conceal the late Rabbi Walter Wurzburger’s Jewish title in his reference note? Well, what can an unbelieving Jewish rabbi, who is a leader in the interfaith movement and who rejects Jesus Christ as the Messiah, contribute to a Christian’s understanding of God?  Nothing.

Rabbi Walter Wurzburger, a philosopher, college teacher, pulpit rabbi, and leader of interfaith and intrafaith activities, died April 16 at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan. He was 82. Rabbi Wurzburger lived in Lawrence, L.I., where he retired as spiritual leader of Congregation Shaaray Tefila in 1994. A native of Munich, he immigrated to the United States in 1938. Rabbi Wurzburger received his bachelor’s degree and rabbinical ordination at Yeshiva University, where he taught philosophy from 1967 until earlier this year. He received his master’s degree and doctorate in philosophy from Harvard.” (The Jewish Week)


Rabbi Walter S. Wurzburger, a leader of Modern Orthodox Judaism and student of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, was born in Munich in March 1920 and emigrated to America in 1938. He was Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at Yeshiva University, and headed both the Rabbinical Council of America and the Synagogue Council of America during his career. He received the National Rabbinic Leadership Award and the Samuel Belkin Literary Award. Rabbi Wurzburger is the author of Ethics of Responsibility: Pluralistic Approaches to Covenantal Ethics, God is Proof Enough, and co-editor of A Treasury of Tradition.

Rabbi Walter Wurzburger studied at Yeshiva Torah Vodaath, Yeshiva College and Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, and received a PhD from Harvard on the philosophy of Brentano. He served as rabbi of Shaarei Shomayim Congregation in Toronto from 1953 to 1966 and subsequently at Congregation Shaaray Tefila in Lawrence, New York from 1967 until 1994. Wurzburger continued at Congregation Shaaray Tefila as Rabbi Emeritus and continued to reside in Lawrence until his death on April 16, 2002 (Iyyar 4).” (Wikipedia)

Rabbi Wurzburger was a leader of Modern Orthodox Judaism and also of interfaith and intrafaith activities. In his book which MacArthur quoted, Rabbi Wurzburger also promoted the anti-Christian Talmud and the Jewish mysticism of the Kabbalah as resources for universal redemptionTikkunto occur:

“In Jewish mystical thought the notion of this partnership is expanded considerably. The Zohars central doctrine that ‘the stirring below must precede the stirring on high makes God in some sense dependent on human beings. Human initiative is needed to start a cosmic chain reaction whose repercussions reverberate in the highest regions of being. The process of Tikkun, involving the redemption of the universe from evil and the ultimate re-unification of God with His Shekhinah must originate with human creative efforts. In his well-known classic, God in Search of Man, Abraham J. Heschel eloquently reformulated these mystical doctrines for the modern reader.


The anthropocentric orientation of the Kabbalah by no means represents a break with the Rabbinic tradition. The Talmud already contains statements to the effect that God, whose Shekhinah is in exile, is also redeemed together with the redemption of the world. Thus we are told that wherever they [the people of Israel] went into exile, the Shekhinah went with them.’ Similarly, the Talmud interprets Isaiah 63:9 as meaning In all their affliction He [God] was afflicted.’ (God is Proof Enough, p. 32)

In rabbinic Judaism and the Zohar, Shekhinah is the wife of God, the Queen of Heaven, who was and is still worshipped by apostate Israel.

Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger. Do they provoke me to anger? saith the LORD: do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces? Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, mine anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place, upon man, and upon beast, and upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground; and it shall burn, and shall not be quenched. Jeremiah 7:17-20




John MacArthur recommends the opinion of this Roman Catholic feminist concerning the relationship between Christians and their God:

Jesus Christ is our Mastera fact we acknowledge every time we call Him Lord. We are His slaves, called to humbly and wholeheartedly obey and honor Him. We dont hear about that concept much in churches today. In contemporary Christianity the language is anything but slave language. 14.”


“14. As Janet Martin Soskice explains, Talk of the Christian as slave of Christ or slave of God which enjoyed some popularity in the Pauline Epistles and early Church is now scarcely used, despite its biblical warrant, by contemporary Christians who have little understanding for or sympathy with the institution of slavery and the figures of speech it generates (The Kindness of God: Metaphor, Gender, and Religious Language [New York: Oxford University Press, 2007], 68).” (Slave, p. 22)

Janet Martin Soskice is a leading figure in modern theologyshe is a past president of the Catholic Theological Association of Great Britain, former McCarthy Visiting Professor at the Gregorian University in Rome, and a frequent broadcaster on religious and ethical issues.” Roman Catholic Janet Martin Soskice is also Reader in Philosophical Theology at the University of Cambridge and a feminist theologian whose books advocate for women in the priesthood and also for the Holy Spirit as female.


The following are statements about the Holy Spirit from After Eve: Women, Theology, and the Christian Tradition, a collection of essays edited by Janet Martin Soskice. Chapter 5 isThe Holy Spirit as Feminine in Early Syriac Literature by Sebastian Brock, who is a former Reader in Syriac Studies at the University of Oxford’s Oriental Institute, a Professorial Fellow at Wolfson College and a Fellow of the British Academy. Professor Brock cites various non-canonical pseudepigraphal works to demonstrate that the Holy Spirit is female:

The author of the Gospel according to Philip clearly sees the Spirit as female, and it is this, evidently Semitic, tradition that is represented in a number of early Syriac works where we encounter the Spirit as Mother. The Acts of Thomas, perhaps of the third century, is the earliest of these... in the course of several prayers uttered by Judas Thomas, the Greek text includes several invocations to the Holy Spirit as ‘Mother’; in the surviving Syriac, however, this term is always absent, presumably having been removed on the grounds that it was no longer considered appropriate. The relevant passages in the Greek text are as follows:(21)

§27 [In a baptismal context; the invocation is addressed to both the Son and the Spirit.] Come, holy name of Christ, which is above every name; come Power of the Most High, and perfect mercy; come exalted gift [i.e. the Holy Spirit]; come, compassionate mother . . . [For ‘compassionate mother’ the Syriac has nothing corresponding.]

§50 [An invocation to the Spirit in the context of the Eucharist.] . . . Come, hidden mother . . . come, and make us share in this Eucharist which we perform in your name, and [make us share] in the love to which we are joined by invoking you. [The Syriac again removes the reference to the Spirit as ‘mother’.]

§133 [In the course of a trinitarian invocation in the context of the Eucharist.] We name over you [the newly baptised] the name of the Mother. [Syriac: the name of the Spirit.]

“In one further passage, a prayer in §39, the Greek text has an intrusive ‘and’, wrongly separating the epithet Mother from the Holy Spirit: ‘We hymn you [Christ] and your unseen Father and your Holy Spirit and the Mother of all created things.’(22)

In these passages we have clear evidence of a Trinity envisaged as consisting of Father, Mother and Son. Traces of this are also to be found in the archaic poem known as the Hymn of the Pearl (or, of the Soul), incorporated into the Acts of Thomas. The poem describes how a royal son was sent by his father and mother, the king and the queen, from the highlands of the East (the heavenly world) to go to Egypt (the fallen world) in order to collect a pearl from the mouth of a dragon. Although the interpretation of the poem has been much disputed, a reasonable case can be made out for seeing the son as representing in some senses both Adam/humanity and Christ the Word who rescues him. In Egypt the son receives a letter from his parents which begins: ‘From your Father, the King of kings, and your Mother, the Mistress of the East’, and later he uses the names of his father and mother in an invocation to charm the dragon so that he can extract the pearl. In some sense or other it seems likely that the King and the Queen are to be identified as the Father and the Holy Spirit; in any case, this was the Christian reading of the poem in antiquity.” (“The Holy Spirit as Feminine in Early Syriac Literature”)



Also quoted in Slave are the views of James Aloysius Kleist regarding the non-canonical and spurious First Epistle of Clement of Rome:

“Other ancient Christian documents evidence a similar understanding of the Christian life. For example, the First Epistle of Clement of Rome (written around AD 95), refers to God as the Master in some twenty passages.2”

“2. James Aloysius Kleist notes this about Clement’s first Epistle to the Corinthians. ‘In about 20 passages in this epistle Clement speaks of God as ‘the Master,’ a designation not common in modern speech. The idea is the same that prompted St. Paul to call himself the doulos or ‘slave’ of Christ (The Epistles of St. Clement of Rome and St. Ignatius of Antioch [Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1946], 106–7n35).” (Slave, p. 225)

James Aloysius Kleist was a Jesuit priest who collaborated with another Catholic priest to produce a modern version of the Roman Catholic Douay Rheims Bible.

James Aloysius Kleist, S.J. (Zabrze, 1873 -St. Louis, 1949) was a German-born American Jesuit scholar of Koine Greek and patristic literature. 1892 entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus at Blyenbeck, after which he was sent to the United States.  For a year he taught at St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, Ohio. Then, for four years, he lectured to the young Jesuits of the Buffalo Mission of the German Province. Missouri.  In 1902 Kleist came to Saint Louis, where he worked on revising Kaegis 1884 Greek primer.

Kleist joined with Joseph Lilly, C.M., to produce a more modern English translation of the Bible than the Douai Bible then in common usage among Catholics. Under their editorship the work was laid to produce to the Kleist-Lilly translation, published posthumously in 1956. It never gained widespread acceptance, though, and was later totally supplanted by the translations produced by the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, which culminated in the publication of the New American Bible in 1970.” (Wikipedia)

It is not difficult to understand why Father Kleist considered the First Epistle of Clement to be authoritative on the translation of doulos and the Master-slave relationship of God and Christians. Portions of the epistle foreshadowed the Roman Catholic Church with its emphasis on legalism and works salvation, church hierarchy, natural law, and a telltale reference to the mythical Phoenix. The following analysis of this spurious epistle is found on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library:

There is a strain of moralism in his religion, which links him on the one hand with Hellenistic Judaism and on the other with Stoicism. Where, for Paul, Abraham was the hero whose faith alone made him right with God, for Clement, he is the pattern of obedience, of hospitality, of humility, and of righteousness (chs. 10:1, 7; 17:2; 31:2). Again, while our author is aware of the grave issue raised by the doctrine of justification by faith, viz., that men might continue to sin that grace should abound, the answer he gives to this dilemma is very different from Paul’s. Where the latter in Rom., ch. 6, emphasizes the mystical dying of the Christian to sin, Clement stresses the moral imitation by the Christian of the Creators good works (ch. 33). Once again, in defending the doctrine of the resurrection, Clement, like Paul, can base his case on a natural theology (ch. 24.; cf. I Cor. 15:36), and is well aware that Christ is the first fruits of those that slept (ch. 24:1; cf. I Cor. 15:20). Yet his crowning argument is not the victory won by Christ over sin and the law, but the incredible tale of the phoenix (ch. 25)! Finally, where Paul reaches to the very heart of the issue of schism by asking the incisive question,Is Christ divided? Clement expatiates on the orderliness of nature (ch. 20) and the consequences of envy and rivalry (chs. 4 to 6).

These instances must suffice to indicate the extent to which Clement has moved away from the Pauline gospel into an atmosphere more concerned with the moral life, and in particular with the virtues of humility and order. Where ethical injunctions are secondary to Pauls letters, they are primary in Clement. We observe, too, a tendency, very evident in chs. 20; 24 to 25, to emphasize natural theology. All these are marks of that later Romanism to which Clement’s Letter points.

It is, however, in the treatment of church order that Clement most clearly foreshadows later Catholicism. The deposition of the local Corinthian rulers leads him to set forth a hierarchical view of the ministry and to stress the need of submission to the duly elected clergy. It is claimed (chs. 42 to 44) that the apostles appointed their first converts as presbyter-bishops 39 and provided for a future ministry should these eventually die. It is not entirely clear how the new clergy were to be installed, save that the congregation was to elect them. It is possible that they were to be ordained by the remaining presbyter-bishops, though it is more likely that Clement intends something different, viz., that they were to be ordained by a special class of ministers who succeeded to the apostolic prerogatives (see note on ch. 44). Here we have in essence the doctrine of apostolic succession. Emphasis, moreover, is laid upon the liturgical functions of these presbyter-bishops who stand in the apostolic line. It is they who lead worship and have the right tooffer the gifts (ch. 44:4), just as the duly appointed priests of the Old Testament performed the various sacrifices (chs. 42 to 44). The sacrificial understanding of the Lords Supper here comes to the fore and is clearly connected with the theme of apostolic succession. (CCEL)

The reference to the Phoenix in First Epistle of Clement follows a chapter on the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the future resurrection of the dead. According to Clement, prior to the coming of Christ, “the Master used the symbol of the Phoenix to reveal his resurrection from a “sepulchre of frankincense and myrrh and other spices.

24 Let us consider, beloved, how the Master continually proves to us that there will be a future resurrection, of which he has made the first-fruits, by raising the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. 2Let us look, beloved, at the resurrection which is taking place at its proper season. 3Day and night show us a resurrection. The night sleeps, the day arises: the day departs, night comes on. 4Let us take the crops: how and in what way does the sowing take place? 5“The sower went forth” and cast each of the seeds into the ground, and they fall on to the ground, parched and bare, and suffer decay; then from their decay the greatness of the providence of the Master raises them up, and from one grain more grow and bring forth fruit.

25 Let us consider the strange sign which takes place in the East, that is in the districts near Arabia. 2There is a bird which is called the Phoenix, This is the only one of its kind, and lives 500 years; and when the time of its dissolution in death is at hand, it makes itself a sepulchre of frankincense and myrrh and other spices, and when the time is fulfilled it enters into it and dies. 3Now, from the corruption of its flesh there springs a worm, which is nourished by the juices of the dead bird, and puts forth wings. Then, when it has become strong, it takes up that sepulchre, in which are the bones of its predecessor, and carries them from the country of Arabia as far as Egypt until it reaches the city called Heliopolis, 4and in the daylight in the sight of all it flies to the altar of the Sun, places them there, and then starts back to its former home. 5Then the priests inspect the registers of dates, and they find that it has come at the fulfilment of the 500th year.

26 Do we then consider it a great and wonderful thing that the creator of the universe will bring about the resurrection of those who served him in holiness, in the confidence of a good faith, when he shows us the greatness of his promise even through a bird? (First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians)

The Secret Book of the Egyptian Gnostics states that the Phoenix in Clements epistle was an adaptation of an Egyptian tradition popular in Coptic Gnosticism in which each reappearance of the Phoenix signaled a new age:

The myth of the phoenix appears in Christian literature in the First Epistle of Clement; in the poem of Lactantius; in the Physiologus. A passage in the Coptic Physiologus mentions regular appearances of the phoenix which sacrifices itself and is reborn upon every great event in Biblical history... This is simply an adaptation of an ancient Egyptian tradition that each new era was marked by a reappearance of the marvelous bird. (Jean Doresse, p. 172)

Clements Epistle compared the resurrection of Jesus Christ to the Phoenix of pagan religions. However, from remote antiquity to the present the Phoenix has been the pagan symbol of Lucifer rising from the underworld, to overthrow God and ascend to His throne.  The following excerpts cite occult sources which state that the Phoenix represented Lucifer:

“Barbara Walker, in her occult book, Now Is The Dawning, p. 281. Egyptians believed that the Phoenix was the representative of a god who rose to heaven in the form of a morning star, like Lucifer, after his fire-immolation of death and rebirth ...” (Double-headed Eagle, Phoenix)

...the Egyptians and Phoenicians believed that the phoenix was the representation of a god who rose to heaven in the form of a morning star, like Lucifer, after his fire-immolation of death and rebirth. One former witch explains:

...Most occultists believe that the Phoenix is a symbol of Lucifer who was cast down in flames and who (they think) will one day rise triumphant...

The eagle (also called the Bird of Jove) is frequently identified with the phoenix. As is well known, the eagle is used extensively in Masonry. In a Masonic Bible was the question: What is the symbolism of the Eagle in Freemasonry? The answer given was: The eagle has been a symbol among the different peoples of the world from time immemorial. In Egypt, Greece, and Persia it was sacred to the sun; among pagans it was the emblem of Jupiter; among the Druids it was the symbol of their supreme god.” (Cathy Burns, Masonic and Occult Symbols Illustrated, pp. 122-124)

How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” Isaiah 14:12-14