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Rev. Jim Wallis’s Little White Lies for Jesus

Written by Gary North on March 8, 2013

Does the end justify the means? Should we fib for Jesus? Are little white lies for the masses OK, if you are pursuing the Social Gospel?

Jim Wallis thinks the correct answers are all “yes.”

He was approached by producers of the big budget History Channel series, The Bible. He is proud of that show.

The producers, Mark and Roma, asked me and a number of other theologians and pastors to view some of the clips ahead of time and do commentaries on them for “The Bible” website. I am including the clips I commented on at the end of this column. What won me over to the whole series was the clip about Jesus meeting Peter, the fisherman.

Let him describe what happened.

In my favorite clip of the series, Jesus sees Peter out on the Sea of Galilee, and boldly walks out into the water to Peter’s fishing boat. The incredulous young fisherman asks this guy what he is doing! Jesus responds by asking Peter to help him into his boat, and then tells him to cast his net into the sea again to catch some fish. Peter cynically says there are no fish today, but Jesus persists. Something about Jesus makes Peter decide to throw his net back into the water and, you know the story, the net is filled with fish! Over and over again.

None of this happened. None of this is in the text. The thing was invented out of whole cloth by the script writer, who deliberately ignored the original “scripts”: Matthew 14:25ff., Mark 6:49ff., and John 6:19ff.

Jesus did not ask for help to get into the boat. On the contrary, Peter got out of the boat and tried to walk on the water. He sank. Jesus saved him. Here is the most detailed account of the incident.

But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God (Matthew 14:27-33).

Jesus did not tell Peter to cast his net into the sea immediately after getting into the boat.

Wallis continues:

Astonished now, Peter asks Jesus how this happened. Jesus doesn’t really answer the question but instead, gives his famous invitation to Peter — come with me and I will make you a fisher of men. “What are we going to do,” Peter asks Jesus, which is a wonderful question. And I love the answer Jesus gives, which is in all the promotions of “The Bible” series, “Change the world.”

(For the rest of my article, click the link.)

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37 thoughts on “Rev. Jim Wallis’s Little White Lies for Jesus

  1. If this guy is making these statements he is lying! Therefore according to the Bible he is no Christian. I didn't say it the Bible did…………………..

  2. he is just another scumbag hireling "pastor" so what is new

  3. Scotty Moore says:

    Wallis is definetly building a wall, a wall of separation, separating man from God by replacing God with man.
    He actually believes his own imagination and falsely prophecies this to the world, for he wants to be a faith changer

  4. Sunflower says:

    I was raised with Bible stories. When I started reading the Bible for myself, I was shocked at how the stories had been white-washed to make them acceptable for children's ears. . .Try out Esther and the Beauty Contest in the Bible–it's shoots the arguments against pre-marital sex to pieces. There was no "beauty contest," the Persian king was out for virgins. Period. I agree, The Bible takes terrible liberties, but let's face it: No one really takes the Bible as it reads, people tend to just skip or ignore the unpalatable parts, and romanticize the rest. Consistency, people.

  5. Phillip Morris says:

    Sorry, I meant to say: Wallis and North are both are wrong.

  6. I believe they are both (Wallis and North). Wallis' story sounds more like the account in John 21:3-11 (NKJV) 3 Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We are going with you also." They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. 4 But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Then Jesus said to them, "Children, have you any food?" They answered Him, "No." 6 And He said to them, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some." So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish. 7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea. 8 But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from land, but about two hundred cubits), dragging the net with fish. 9 Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish which you have just caught." 11 Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken.

    North comments on another story in the scriptures, which renders his commentary here useless. Oranges and apples. Two different accounts.
    Pastor Phillip Morris

  7. Sir, did you read the quote in this article. Wallis is saying that Jesus walked out on the water and asked to be helped into the boat. Wallis is relating a clip from the series that depicts something that is not contained in scripture. Sounds that way to me. Mr. North is quoting a scripture that is most like what Wallis is referencing. In Jn 21:3-11 Jesus stays on the shore. My 2cents.

  8. The History Channel's "The Bible" is no more inaccurate than Peter Jackson's version of Lord of the Rings. They both assumed artistic privilege with works of fiction.

  9. Navigator30 says:

    The Magian Gospel of Brother Yeshua (channeled material via Charles Wise) is a much more realistic view of the life of Jesus which paints a much more human figure than the New Testament. It eliminates most of the "supernatural stuff" (virgin birth, walking on water, etc.) It explains the strained relationship between Jesus and his family, corrects the "bad rap" given to the Inn Keeper at the birth of Jesus and sheds light on the real motivation of Judas (He was a Zealot attempting to use Jesus to create a revolt against the Romans) and sheds light on his relationship with Mary Magdelene (which was sexual). It makes a lot more sense than the New Testament accounts.

  10. " It makes a lot more sense than the New Testament accounts."

    Except for why anyone would join this fledgling little religion called Christianity in the first place, when its founder was dead and only a handful of followers were left.

  11. awkingsley says:

    There is a movement underway to remove all supernatural phenomena from Christianity. This is a completely incorrect portrayal. For people who know anything at all about the Eastern masters and their feats, even those of today, there is no question as to the authenticity of the so-called miracles in the Holy Bible, both Old and New Testaments. The Eastern master, Patanjali, enumerated about 74 Yoga sutras for what Christians call miracles. All of the yoga sutras are available on command in much higher states of consciousness – Unity Consciousness and above. Jesus Christ had the highest consciousness of anyone ever known to grace our planet, especially if you consider that he came to supersede all that came before. The same blackguards who are removing the miracles are seeking to eliminate Holy Communion. If we have nothing great for which to strive, what good is religion? The sanctity of humanity is paramount. Jesus Christ said himself that we can do even greater than these, referring to his miracles. My guess is that removing the supernatural from the Holy Bible is the current Communist agenda. Evangelical Christians need to boycott these programs on television. (Walking on water is accomplished via changing the consistency of matter, according to Patanjali.) I saw a program recently where the angels were people dressed in red cloaks – a really horrible portrayal – actually scary.

  12. Just to clarify, when you say, "The Bible takes terrible liberties," I assume you're talking about the TV series and not the actual Bible. 🙂

  13. @Navigator30
    That's like saying Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a much more realistic view of the life of the 16th President. Was your comment actually supposed to be taken seriously?

  14. In My Right Mind says:

    Wow! The moonbats really came out on this one Gary!

    To believe THE Bible (God's word) takes an understanding only God can give and he only gives it to the humble or those whom he has humbled. Call it assuming the argument or circular reasoning but it is what it is. I make no apology.

    If you belive anything other than God's word you have my pity…

  15. Albert Maslar says:

    Only Islam encourages lies to further Islam. Since Satan is the father of lies, Jesus , like he told Peter, Get behind me, Satan. Christanity and lies don't mix but obviously Islam and flies are blood brothers.

  16. victorbarney says:

    It is what it is… How many people even know that the name "Jesus" came by Petrus Galatinus in like 1320 to worship "Zeus" as he even acknowedged himself? Again, think the whole world has been deceived? You probably also really don't know just how much! However, at least "Jesus" followers do not advocate murder in spreading their message though. Again, just saying…

  17. For false christs and false prophets shall arise, and shall show signs and wonders to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. Mark 13:22-23

  18. For false christs and false prophets shall arise, and shall show signs and wonders to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. Mark 13:22-23

  19. 2 Timothy 3:16 KJV

    All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

  20. Sorry for the repetition. I keep getting “there is a problem posting to try again.” So I try again and it posts twice. What to do?

  21. Luke 1:30-31 KJV

    And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name J
    Angels speak for God. So God gave Jesus His name.

  22. Oops. “And shall call His name Jesus.”

  23. Thats right IMRM.
    1 Corinthians 2:14-16 KJV

    But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

  24. Jim Wallis is decieved. NO, it is never right to lie.
    Proverbs 14:5 KJV
    A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies.
    Proverbs 6:16-19 KJV
    These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

  25. If someone asks you a question and you don’t want them to know “the truth” just don’t say anything. It is better to keep quiet than to lie.

  26. 2 Timothy 3:16 KJV

    All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

  27. victorbarney says:

    If so, why is the name "JESUS" not able to be translated into Hebrew, the ONLY spiritually inspired language(Zeph 3:9, Acts 26;14, 1 Cor. 4:6, the last two even saying that in Greek? Hopefully, you're at least a Roman Catholic made to honor "Rome" & "Zeus?" Remember, it also is written that the whole world, meaning just that, has been deceived! WAKE-UP! Just saying…

  28. Ken, The Holy Bible is NOT a work of fiction.

  29. Jesus does translate into Hebrew as Yeshua…QED. Yeshua in Hebrew to Iesous in Greek to Jesus in English.

  30. victorbarney says:

    WRONG! Also, please look up LORD in Hebrew, if you have a Hebrew dictionary & find that "LORD" MEANS "BAAL" and such worship also absolutely is forbidden! Please read about Petus Galatinus, the man who came up with "Jesus." I sure hope that you can believe him because he's the CREATOR of this "JESUS" to honor "Zeus" because it was always the tradition of the Roman Empire to honor the highest deities of all nations that they had defeated & Greece gave them 'ZEUS" to honor! It's written history David, even written by RCC philosopher Petus Galatinus himself! Just saying, maybe the whole world really has been deceived as written? Try site www:info@icyahweh.org; & see if you are called-out from Babylon at this time or not. Again, just saying what's written…

  31. "WRONG!"

    No Barney, you are wrong, I am correct. Yeshua->Iesous->Jesus. QED.

    "It's written history David, even written by RCC philosopher Petus Galatinus himself!"

    You are confused Barney, references to Jesus(who is not the same as Zeus) predate Petrus(not Petus) Galatinus by over a milenium. You don't know your history.

  32. Christ follower says:

    Somebody has been drinking too much Koolaid. I for one, like millions before me, stand alone on God's Holy Scriptures. I believe in the one true God, revealed through Jesus Christ. There is no way to the Father{God}, except through Jesus -John 14:6.

  33. If nothing else concerning the comments, It will possibly make people find a Bible open it up and read his words. There is something so special about the name of Jesus.

  34. From reading the posts, I guess the old saying is true: "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing". God help us.
    While you folks are trying to figure out which prophet or which passage of the bible to live by, take the time to THINK for
    yourself. Oh, that's right, critical thinking is apostasy. …right. Don't forget the passage that says: Love thy neighbor as thyself. nuff said.


  35. Dick Grace says:

    All the churches from the time from the death of Christ until now are accurately described in Revelation 2 & 3. None of their members make it to God except those that "overcome" the error in those churches. Might have something to do with Matthew 7:13 & 14. Could the "overcomers" e the the few that find their way to the presence of God despite the misdirection of the harlot church, Revelation 17. We should read the bible for ourselves and the Holy Spirit, John 16:7-16, will teach those anointed by Christ and they will know all things, I John 2:12-29. The churches are lovers of money rather than lovers of God, II Timothy 3. The horsemen ride, Revelation 6:1-8 time to take cover, Matthew 24:15 & 16.

  36. As has been said many times before, "All that is required for a Bible movie is a single line from the Bible and a cast of thousands."

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    I too am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to everything. Do you have any helpful hints for newbie blog writers? I’d genuinely appreciate it.