Book Review: The Gospel of Barack Hussein Obama According to Mark, by Mark F. Bozzuti-Jones

[Mark F. Bozzuti-Jones, The Gospel of Barack Hussein Obama According to Mark, 2012, CreateSpace Publishing, North Charleston, SC, 157 pages ]

Blasphemy against the Christian God while desecrating Sacred Scripture

In a word: blasphemy.  Not only does the author blaspheme/revile/malign/profane sacred Scripture (cf. Titus 2:5), as evidenced by the title, he also equates a mere man – in this case Barack Obama – to Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Christian Holy Trinity:

In the year 1961…Barack Hussein Obama was born…The Anointed One was incarnated into this world on August 4, 1961, praises be upon him [p 2; CAPS in original, other emphasis added].

No matter one’s political persuasion, we are not to deify any man.  There was only one Incarnation of the “Anointed One”; His name is Jesus Christ, the One for whom the real Gospels (good news) in Scripture are named.  The above quote is not ‘merely’ one isolated passage; the entire book is filled with this sort of heresy.

The author impiously fashions his book in the form of a Biblical Gospel complete with parables paralleling or approximating the true Gospels’, but with Obama as narrator/speaker in place of Jesus; however, he adds bits of BHO’s speeches, plus “imagined conversation, and fictional situations” [back cover] to his sacrilegious stew.  Bozzuti-Jones’ idea here is not even wholly original, for avowed atheist Jose Saramago wrote a book titled ‘The Gospel of Jesus Christ’, in which Saramago reimagined Jesus’ life (and those around Him), embellishing some Biblical accounts, while making up others out of whole cloth.

Unless the reader is both well-versed Biblically and well-read regarding Obama’s personal life, it will be difficult to ferret out what is true, quasi-true, fictional, or a conflation for the irreverent author’s own rhetorical effect.  Bozzuti-Jones states that Barack Obama had been elected president of the Harvard Law Review, noting, “In its 104 year history, an African American had never been elected to lead this group” [p 20].  This appears to be wholly true.  Yet, the author perverts the sending of the 72 in the Biblical Gospel of Luke (Luke 10), conflating this with other Biblical accounts, while conjuring up the rest:

Behold I send you out into the cold…When they tell you to eat fruit, remember my words to you.  And when they throw stones at you, say to them ‘Peace be unto you.’  When you see the wolf, do not be afraid to bleat, because you are the sheep of God [p 69].

Of course, I’m writing this from the perspective of a Christian – in the historically orthodox sense.  Bozzuti-Jones is not.  This author self-identifies as “a priest for pastoral care at Trinity Church Wall Street” (as per back cover), a very liberal Episcopalian church in New York.  By “very liberal” I mean one in which all humans are “Divine”, at least potentially.  As he states on the Dedication page, “And let the reader seek and reveal his or her own Divinity” [Caps in original]. 

For those who may disagree with my views here, framed by my orthodox Christian perspective, let me just state that I’m not being “intolerant” of the views of this author.  As an American, this man shares the same First Amendment rights as have I.  He may choose to blaspheme my God and my Savior, and desecrate Holy Scripture.  That’s his prerogative.  I, in turn, choose to defend my faith against this blasphemy by writing this review, thereby exercising my own First Amendment rights.

I carefully considered whether or not I should even pen this critique.  I feel sure that some will seek out this book precisely because of my negative review.  But I felt that true Christians should know how some of those who claim to hold to the Christian faith are actually quite the enemy of our faith instead.

Interestingly, the author published other books on the sometimes theologically liberal-leaning Christian imprint Augsburg Fortress (associated with the ELCA), yet this work was self-published.  Perhaps Bozzuti-Jones could not find a Christian publisher willing to print this particular one, prompting him to self-publish instead?

Zero stars.  Very strongly not recommended – especially to true Christians.  Non-Christians may find the author’s musings entertaining and humorous.  I’m appalled.

 

21 Responses to Book Review: The Gospel of Barack Hussein Obama According to Mark, by Mark F. Bozzuti-Jones

  1. Craig Bridgforth says:

    As always, your posts are on target and much appreciated. Keep up the good work, a perishing world and hurting church desperately needs the Truth.

  2. Craig says:

    I’ve also posted this at Amazon:

    http://www.amazon.com/review/RDXKLIFQDXASH/ref=cm_cr_dp_title?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1469952793&nodeID=283155&store=books

    Here in the following you’ll see the author actually has the audacity to post his own review of the book, couching it in comments from “a friend of mine”:

    http://www.amazon.com/review/R3BYJWC80BEU7D/ref=cm_cr_pr_viewpnt#R3BYJWC80BEU7D

    Why didn’t his “friend” post the review her/himself?

  3. Arwen4CJ says:

    Wow……..I’m glad that you read that book and reviewed it, so that all would know of the blasphemy it contained.

    I just visited their church website, and I found a blog entry by the same author:

    http://www.trinitywallstreet.org/blogs/fullness/gospel-edward-irvin-koch-according-mark

    It seems that this author is a John Shelby Spong wanabe, as neither of them are modest.

    I also checked out the church’s statement of faith…and……it looks “orthodox” from what I can tell. They claim they believe in the Nicene and Apostle’s Creed. So, sadly, it isn’t enough for a church to say they adhere to the creeds. The real question is, how are they interpreting them? What do they believe in addition to the creeds?

    I was expecting to find a “liberal Christian” statement of faith, like is on some church websites.

    So these types of churches are just as dangerous as Johnson. They “look” Christian until you find out what they are actually preaching.

  4. Craig says:

    I visited the site while initially preparing the post, but I did not see the author’s other false gospel. He’s sure trying to get mileage out the idea.

    Sadly, the Augsburg Fortress books by the author may not be that bad. They appear to be written about 10 years ago. I cannot state definitively so as I’ve not read them, but some look OK on the surface.

  5. Arwen4CJ says:

    And, again, that is why theologically liberal books are so dangerous. Most of the authors come from mainline denominations, not fringe hyper-charismatic authors. And many denominational publishers will publish all kinds of things, but all of them appear to be theologically OK on the surface, and many are fine.

    However, these publishers also publish things that are off.

    It can be tricky to spot some of the off stuff. I think I may have mentioned that my church is doing this doctrine study thing. The material we are using is published by my denomination’s publishing house. The basic idea is good — they’re trying to get people to think about our doctrines and to read Scripture that deals with each doctrine. They are also quoting theologians who have written about these doctrines.

    When we go to class, we watch a DVD segment of someone teaching on the doctrine — like a ten minute clip or something, and we have a discussion.

    The material has been mostly okay so far, but they have also included a few things that are a little off. For example, last week’s video clip was about revelation. The person giving the lecture on revelation made a few statements that I had an issue with. He didn’t exactly come out and say that Jesus was not the only way, but he kind of implied it. (Our doctrine last week was about revelation).

    Then, in this week’s readings, one of the theologians who was quoted made a comment that, for her, Scripture has authority because it encourages restoration for nature, and for the oppressed people. God is creating a new world. She also made the comment that the restoration about these things was the most important thing in the Bible. Now, we were not talking about the doctrine of Christ, or the atonement, or salvation, or anything like that this week….but it did jump out to me that this theologian made no mention of these things in her quote on why she believed the Bible had authority for her.

    Also, when looking at the material, there is no mention of hell. I suppose this is because a lot of liberal theologians deny that there is a real hell, and also deny that not everyone will be saved.

    So, as I said before — sometimes what is not there is just as important as what is there.

  6. Craig says:

    I just started to view the video on the last one. How ecumenical. A blatant New Ager (Marx Hubbard), a Jewish Rabbi, the “Contemplative Alliance”, a Zen Buddhist – all for the “Sacred Earth Community”. This is as blatantly New Age as it can get.

  7. Arwen4CJ says:

    I don’t like using the word “ecumenical” to describe what is really interfaith (and, yes, I know that some people also use the term interfaith to describe interdenominational things). I know that for many people, the two words are synonyms now, but I don’t think that that accurately reflects the original definition of ecumenical.

    If we use the term to describe interchangeably, then a lot of people can get confused.

    For example, not everyone knows that different denominations are not different religions. Thus, people may not be able to discern the difference between a real interfaith event (such as what is going on in this video) and an interdenominational thing where Christians get together and do something for God’s glory.

    The term “ecumenical” has taken on a bad connotation among many evangelical and theologically conservative/orthodox Christians, and I think this is due to the mix-up of the terms.

    At the same time, this term has a positive connotation among people in mainline churches, because they see it as Christians working together in Christ, for God’s glory.

    This means that some interdenominational events that are genuinely Christian get condemned by some Christians for being “interfaith/ecumenical.”

    Other services/events that are intended for a multi-faith/interfaith audience, that are labeled “ecumenical” might not get condemned by Christians, because they assume that it is an interdenominational event. So some Christians might unwittingly walk into this event.

    If the term “ecumenical” is taken to mean “interfaith,” then what do we call Christians from different denominations who gather together for the sole purpose of God’s glory? An example I will use is when different churches in my hometown get together and have a “love your neighbor day.” They help people in the community who need help, working on houses, painting, cleaning — just serving people in the community.

    Something like people from 12 different churches in my community participate in this event, and there are over 50 projects that are assigned.

    There was nothing evil about this — Christians simply got together and served.

    Obviously what they did in the video was evil.

  8. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    Your thoughts here have helped me flesh out my own re: ecumenism. I used to differentiate by the terms “false ecumenism” as opposed to “true ecumenism”, but that required further defining. Perhaps it’s better to use the term interfaith ecumenism vs. intrafaith ecumenism. InterIntrafaith ecumenism would be the legitimate gathering of true Christians, no matter the denomination, with the important caveat that they are indeed true Christians. By ‘true Christians’, of course, I mean those who adhere to the historically orthodox understanding of Christianity. Their unity would be the common doctrine of “the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” [Jude 3c, NIV 1984].

    IntraInterfaith ecumenism is that which gathers different faiths (Christian, pseudo-Christian, quasi-Christian, Muslim, Hindu, and the likes, etc.) with the goal of finding commonality at the expense of individual purity of the individual faith traditions represented.

  9. Craig says:

    I had switched “inter-” and “intra-” faith earlier (no one caught that?!); so, now it’s fixed. If that was the worst thing I’d done today, that would be great….

  10. Craig says:

    I’ve been reading a bit of John A. T. Robinson’s The Human Face of God [1973, Westminster/SCM, Philadelphia, PA] (older edition). According to Wikipedia, Spong was indebted to Robinson, seeing him as a “lifetime mentor”. Robinson has obvious sympathies to Neo-gnostic beliefs [pp 7-10]. Here’s a portion of Robinson’s work:

    The concept of the Christ-figure is wider than that of Jesus…it is important to insist the two [Jesus and Christ] are not to be equated…the Christ is bigger than Jesus – and certainly than the thirty-year event to which ‘the Incarnation’ tends in popular parlance to get narrowed down…The early Christian message was that Jesus is the Christ – not that the Christ, or the Logos, the meaning of the mystery of life, is exclusively or exhaustively to be found in Jesus, so that the two are simply interchangeable. [p 10]

    Of course, this explicitly identifies Robinson’s doctrine here as antichrist (1 John 2:22, 4:1-3). This is why, even though I disagree with their doctrine (of course!), I appreciate the fact that individuals of this particular liberal persuasion are forthright in their beliefs. This is as opposed to the likes of Bill Johnson. But, this is, in essence, what Johnson’s doctrine amounts to. Johnson, like both Robinson (and Spong) & Bozzuti-Jones, all affirm more than one ‘anointed one’ (or “Anointed One”).

  11. Craig says:

    I can only imagine the backlash had Bozzuti-Jones chosen instead to use the Qu’ran (Koran) in the same manner, substituting Barack Obama for Mohammed…

  12. Craig says:

    I am reading through a bit of early Karl Barth – his The Gottingen Dogmatics: Instruction in the Christian Religion, Volume One [1991, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI]. In an Introduction by Daniel Migliore, he states, “Many errors in theology, Barth insists, can be subsumed under the heading of ‘premature eschatology'”…[p XXXI]. Amen to that! More importantly here, though, are the following words of Barth, as he had previously expressed that only God can reveal God. That is, e.g., though man may preach, it is the power of the Holy Spirit – God the third ‘Person’ of the Trinity – that reveals God, not man. Barth later goes on to state:

    …”I am who I am” [Exod. 3:14]. God is only in the first person. And we are there, and what organ or capability do we have to grasp him, to penetrate this divine I which alone is God? Woe to us if we confuse our own I with this I! The most basic, the oldest, and yet always the newest of illusions! “You shall be as God” [Gen. 3:5]. We will never be as God is. We can never put ourselves in God’s place. It is to our shame that we continually want and try to do so.

  13. Craig says:

    There is apparently more than just this lone author who views/viewed Barack Obama as a Messiah. Here’s Barbara Walters in an interview with Piers Morgan:

    “He made so many promises,” she began. “We thought that he was going to be – I shouldn’t say this at Christmastime, but – the next messiah. And the whole Obamacare, or whatever you want to call it, that Affordable Health Act, it just hasn’t worked for him, and he’s stumbled around on it, and people feel very disappointed because they expected more.”

    For those acquainted with New Age / New Spirituality ideology, they will understand what she means. For those not familiar: Jesus was merely one in a line of “Messiahs”, preceded by Gautama Buddha. According to this belief system, Jesus is the “Christ” for the Piscean Age, which is soon to give way to the Aquarian Age; and, there will be a new Christ/Messiah for this dawning Age of Aquarius. Christians recognize this forthcoming figure as the antichrist instead.

    Before someone misinterprets my words, I AM NOT stating or implying that Obama is the antichrist. I make no such predictions.

  14. just1ofhis says:

    Craig,

    I watched a news report (off Bloomberg business news) about hologram technology being developed in the music industry, especially to bring back deceased artists for live concerts:

    (site warning: it is MTV’s site; but it gives a good description of how this was done recently (2012) to bring an image of Tupac Shakur (killed in 1996) back to “life” on the stage)

    http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1683173/tupac-hologram-coachella.jhtml

    When I watched the news report, I was reminded of this:

    Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. (Rev 13: 14-15)

    Men now have the technology to bring this prophecy into fulfillment, although it could come about in some other way than a hologram, of course. Where and how these events are fulfilled rest in God’s hands, I only trust that saved believers of that hour will understand these things and recognize the final antichrist. The world is certainly being prepared for that day, isn’t it?

  15. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig,

    Hmmm…..I don’t know much about Barbara Walters or her personal spiritual beliefs, so I don’t know if she is into the New Age or not. (There was a PBS show that I saw that said she was Jewish, but not really a practicing one. Her Judaism is mostly cultural.)

    But when I read the quote from her that you posted above, I don’t necessarily interpret in the New Age way (using the Piscean Age/Aquarian Age) language. For example, she might be using the term “Messiah,” to mean someone who makes a huge impact on the world, and makes a lot of difference for good.

    I’m not sure if she really believes Jesus is the Messiah (or even that He was a Messiah — new spirituality style), necessarily. I guess what I’m trying to say is that maybe she sees the term “Messiah” as a figure of speech rather than reality.

    If she really acknowledges that Jesus was the Messiah, or (a Messiah if she is into new spirituality — New Age or New Thought), then certainly, she might hold to a more New Thought/New Age view — at the very least, it would show that she believed that there was more than one Messiah.

    I just want to put this out there.

  16. Craig says:

    just1ofhis,

    Constance Cumbey mentioned the technology of holograms (hologramograpy?) to the same end.

  17. Steve Busch says:

    Could some of the “signs and wonders” displayed at Bethel “church”, (i.e. “gold dust clouds”) be holographic images? No, because, although the technology certainly exists, the cost and technical expertise required to produce large scale holographic images is still quite extraordinary. It would be very difficult to hide the equipment for one, and it certainly couldn’t show up on Bethel’s books as a “purchase order”. It is of interest that Japanese researchers recently produced “touchable” holograms by using a variety of technologies in combination with holographic projectors to fool the senses. Folks attending Bethel have collected (apparently) “gold dust” on their skin and clothing, as well as “gems” found under their seats, which means that obviously this stuff is real. So we are left with the same two choices, either Bethel’s “gold dust” is a cheap trick, something manufactured and human intiated, i.e. piped into the room via duct work and fans, or it is a very real demonic manifestation. Either way, people are being deceived. If it is a cheap trick, someone inside the organization will eventually blow the whistle. But if it is demonic, we should expect bigger and more impressive things. The crowd will get bored with the same old dust after awhile.

  18. Arwen4CJ says:

    I think there is some real spiritual phenomenon happening with hyper-charismatics that produces what appears to be gold dust. Part of what happens during their services COULD be human manufactured or human inflated….but if this is the case, then they are doing it to enhance a true demonic manifestation.

    The reason why I say that I am convinced that there is some reality to these manifestations is that these things happen outside of their church services, too. They happen in people’s houses. I knew someone who was into all this hyper-charismatic stuff, and she (and others) talked about gold dust appearing in their “Bible study” leader’s house during Bible study.

    Now, we could play the skeptic and say that the people who owned the house bought glitter and sprinkled it around the house, or whatever…..and I can’t prove that that didn’t happen, but I am pretty convinced that there is a reality to it. I don’t think it is all human manufactured.

    There is the possibility that people see things that aren’t there, simply because they want to see it.

    I do think, though, that there is some hype that people bring to these “manifestations,” on a human level, which does have an impact on people in a large gathering. Those in charge might try to “help” the phenomenon out by providing a fake gold dust to get people excited so that the real thing is more likely to happen, or to make it seem like more is happening than it is. So there is also a human component to it.

    Regardless of the actual origin of this stuff, people are under a delusion — and there is some level of demonic influence that is behind it. We know that demons have some power, and that they can cause things to levitate and have other things happen that wouldn’t normally happen. It is probably a combination of both real demonic spiritual powers at work and human work that contributes to this deception.

  19. just1ofhis says:

    Arwen and Steve,

    Your comments brought this to mind:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miracle_of_the_Sun

    I first learned about this “event” several years ago when reading a book on Catholic “miracles” given to me by a devout Catholic who was trying to convert our family. I would note that this book stated the number of the crowd in attendance to be around 5,000 and not 30,000 to 100,000 as indicated on wiki. Otherwise, it detailed the event similarly to Wikipedia.

    This event occurred prior to the advent of holographic technology.

    Steve said, “But if it is demonic, we should expect bigger and more impressive things. The crowd will get bored with the same old dust after awhile.”

    I agree. The “miracle of the sun” is just a foretaste of what is coming to those who persist in the idolatries of false spirituality.

    For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.” (2Thes2:11-12)

    The gold dust and feathers crowd is just witnessing the first act.

  20. Steve Busch says:

    People always clamor for a sign, cosmic or otherwise. An increase in deception is in itself, a sign. Before I became a believer, I demanded proof, a sign from God, that He was real. Well, He gave me the best and most reliable sign of all, the truth of His Life and His Love as revealed in His Holy Scriptures – which testify to His Holiness and the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

    In fact there are so many signs, how could anyone miss them? For example, solar scientists have concluded that this latest solar maximum has been the lowest, or least active, ever observed. The sun appears to be moving into a “sleep” mode, which may portend significant changes on the earth.

    Another “cosmic” sign is that Earth’s magnetic field is weakening. A strong magnetic field protects us from cosmic radiation, so any decrease in the protective magnetic force could prove disastrous for the inhabitants of this planet.

    There are so many signs that this old heaven and earth are degrading and sin is increasing… i.e. the increase in false teachers, the spreading contamination from Fukishima, the threat to our food supply from GMO’s (and/or biological warfare), the decline of morality and lack of social constraints, the rise of Islam, the fragile nature of our electric grid, etc.

    All these “signs” should strengthen our hope in our Lord’s soon appearing, and in the promise of a new life, a new heaven and a new earth.

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