Two-fer Tuesday: Walking on Water by Deacon Blue

Today’s topic comes solely from the fact that this past Sunday, the pastor made a big screw-up that I need to spout off about. Miz Pink is on her own as to how to make a post today out of walking on water.

So, the pastor begins to tell us the story of Jesus walking on the water and the way the storm was calmed when he stepped into the boat (the reading for that day’s service having been from the gospel of Mark), and he tells us that Mark had retooled Matthew’s story of the calming of the storm, wherein Jesus was asleep in the boat. He explains that Mark was trying to paint a picture of how we shouldn’t focus on Peter’s lack of faith to continue walking on water with Jesus but rather on the positive message of faith being the knowledge that when we let God be with us in the boat, the storms calm down.

Sure, it was a positive message, but something irked me, and I finally got into my Bible today and figured out what it was.

Mark didn’t retell the story in a new way.

Unless I’m missing something, and I’ve flipped back and forth between Matthew, Mark and Luke, but they all three tell the same story of the calming of the storm. In each of those gospels, the story of Jesus being awakened by the apostles to calm the potentially deadly storm happened before the feeding of the 5,000 with the loaves and fishes. The story of Jesus walking on water during a storm and Peter joining him for a bit before losing faith happened after the feeding of the 5,000.

Luke doesn’t mention the walking on water miracle and John didn’t tell the first story of Jesus calming the storm after falling asleep in the boat at all. (Again, unless I’m missing something.) Nothing strange there, as not all the gospel authors covered all the same events.

This really pisses me off. I like our pastor overall and think he’s a great guy. And the church we are attending now, while it isn’t as strong on the word sometimes as we’d like (we go to Charles Stanley’s Web site or radio/TV broadcasts for that), it is great community-wise and fellowship-wise.

But I wonder how a pastor who knows so much about the original Greek words in the gospels and what they mean and how it paints a different picture than our current translations (that is, someone who should know his shit backwards and forward regarding the New Testament) could say that one gospel author made a tweak to another gospel author’s story to make a point when that’s so obviously not the case. Pretty big flub-up. I’m hoping it was just because he was up so late watching the Olympic Games and finalized his sermon after that lack of sleep.

The Bible gets knocked often enough for inconsistencies (many of them perfectly reasonable and explainable and not always actual contradictions) without a pastor putting in people’s minds that a story was changed on purpose.

If you’re interested, the passages I refer to above are:

Calming of the Storm
Matthew 8:23-27
Mark 4:35-41
Luke 8:22-25

Walking on Water
Matthew 14:22-33
Mark 6:45-52
John 6:16-24

Click here for Miz Pink’s post today on “Walking on Water.”


6 Responses to “Two-fer Tuesday: Walking on Water by Deacon Blue”

  1. 1 Deacon Blue
    August 12, 2008 at 10:47 am

    In hindsight, as I read the passages more closely, perhaps what the pastor had meant to express was that Matthew tells of how Peter tried to walk on water with Jesus, whereas Mark leaves that part about Peter out (John does as well).

    If so, this would jibe with the pastor’s point that Mark was trying to focus on keeping God (and Jesus) in the metaphorical boat with us, while Matthew was trying to focus more on keeping our eyes on Jesus.

    Still, the fact that the pastor said Mark rewrote Matthew’s tale of the calming of the storm (again, a different and earlier miracle) was still a big mistake and the kind of thing that gets people talking trash about the gospels that isn’t appropriate.

  2. August 12, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    I understand your problem with this. Also, I have the same issue with my new church. I like the congregation, but the pastor and I don’t see eye to eye on a LOT of stuff. He’s way too conservative and his style of preaching isn’t outstanding.

  3. 3 Deacon Blue
    August 12, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    LOL, and ours is too liberal (and likes to belt out songs as part of his sermons…he did a revised version of “I’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” for Sunday’s sermon retitled “I’ve Got That Sinking Feeling.”

    Ah, getting that balance right and feeling fully comfortable with a pastor is pretty hard for us, so we’ll stay with this congregation, I think. At least no one gives us weird looks for being a multiracial family.

  4. 4 Deacon Blue
    August 12, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    Correction. That would be: YOU’VE Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ by the Righteous Brothers

  5. August 20, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    do you ever listen to Charles Stanely’s son?

  6. 6 Deacon Blue
    August 21, 2008 at 9:36 am

    You know, to be honest, I don’t know that I have. I seem to vaguely recall some years back that his son would occasionally preach in place of his father, but I don’t remember much about him and haven’t seen or listened to him in recent years.

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Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

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