To the Church in Corinth:
Now I, Paul Tarsusian, would remind you, brothers and sisters of the Church of Corinth, Georgia, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand, through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you—unless you have come to believe in vain.
For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received from others (so this is at best second-hand information. I personally am not a witness to these events and I have chosen not to identify my source for this information.): that Je-sus (pronounced Hay-seus) Lopez died for our sins in a small fishing village in central Honduras twenty five years ago, fulfilling ancient prophecies, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the prophecies, and that he appeared to Pedro, then to twelve of his closest fishing buddies.
Then Je-sus appeared to more than five hundred unnamed villagers at one time, most of whom are still alive (if you don’t believe me, you can take a plane or a boat and travel more than 1,500 miles to the jungles of Honduras to verify that my, at best, second hand information, is correct), though some have died.
Then he appeared to Jaime, his brother, then again to the same close fishing buddies. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the Lopezian apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the Church of Je-sus. 10 But by the grace of Je-sus I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of Je-sus’ best fishing buddies—though it was not I, but the grace of Je-sus that is with me. 11 Whether then it was I (who worked a lot harder than they) or they (who did not work as hard as I have…not by a long shot), so we proclaim and so you have come to believe.
So. let’s say that you live in Corinth, Georgia, and someone on the street corner reads the above letter to you. What would go through your mind? Would you immediately believe that some dead villager named Je-sus (Hay-seus) Lopez in Honduras is your Lord and Savior just because this new religious sect can rattle off a list of “eyewitnesses” numbering over five hundred people to his alleged resurrection…or would you ask a few more questions before committing your life to…Je-sus? Here are the questions that I would ask:
1. Who is the source for this list of alleged eyewitnesses? Is the source an eyewitness? Paul doesn’t say. Maybe Paul’s source is a non-eyewitness who is reporting “eye-witness” accounts that he had heard from someone else, who had heard it from someone else, who had heard it from someone else, who had heard it from someone else, etc., etc.. We do not know. Paul’s letter doesn’t say.
2. Is there any evidence of this alleged resurrection from a source that is not a “Lopezian”? Anyone who is a Lopezian has an incentive to believe this story, otherwise they would not be a believer. Is there any contemporaneous, non-Lopezian source of information for this alleged supernatural event? Is there a police report? Is there a military report? Is there a news report? Is there a report regarding this event from the state religion in Honduras? If there are several, non-Lopezian, contemporaneous reports of an alleged resurrection by a guy named Je-sus Lopez, twenty-five years ago, in a village in central Honduras, then I would not immediately dismiss this report…although I would still be highly skeptical.
Admit it. So would you.
3. And, who is this guy Paul? He says he is an apostle, but do the other Lopezian apostles consider him an apostle? Why would Je-sus Lopez spend three years training twelve of his best fishing buddies to be his apostles, telling them to go out into the whole world to preach the Lopezian gospel, but then three years after he is dead, decide to appear to some non-Lopezian guy on a highway in neighboring Guatemala…and…make him the “greatest” of all apostles; the one apostle officially commissioned to preach the Lopezian gospel to all non-Hondurans (ie, the rest of the ” whole world”, the same whole world that the original Lopezian apostles had been commissioned three years earlier by Jesus to preach to and convert)??? Doesn’t make sense. Let’s get some more information on this Paul guy to see how reliable he is.
4. So I ask the Lopezian street preacher who has just showed me this letter from Paul to show me some other letters from Paul, if he has access to them. And he does. So he shows me other “Pauline” letters and in them I find some very odd information about this “apostle”.
In a letter that Paul wrote to the Lopezians in Rome, Mississippi, he says this:
“I am telling the truth in Je-sus, I am not lying…”
In a second letter to the church in Corinth, Georgia:
“But whatever anyone dares to boast of—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast of that. 22 Are they Hondurans? So am I. Are they Central Hondurans? So am I. Are they descendants of the first Spanish conquistador? So am I. 23 Are they ministers of Je-sus? I am talking like a madman—I am a better one: with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless floggings, and often near death.”
And in another passage in this letter, Paul tells the church in Corinth, Georgia:
The God and Father of the Lord Je-sus Lopez (blessed be he forever!) knows that I do not lie. 32 In Damascus, the governor<sup class="footnote" data-fn="#fen-NRSV-29006a" data-link="[a]”>[a] under King Aretas guarded the city of Damascus in order to<sup class="footnote" data-fn="#fen-NRSV-29006b" data-link="[b]”>[b] seize me, 33 but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall,<sup class="footnote" data-fn="#fen-NRSV-29007c" data-link="[c]”>[c] and escaped from his hands.
In a letter to a traveling buddy of Paul’s, Timothy, he says this:
“For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the non-Hondurans in faith and truth.”
In a letter to a Lopezian church in Galacia, Alabama, Paul says this:
“But when Je-sus, who had set me apart before I was born and called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal himself to me, so that I might proclaim him among the non-Hondurans, I did not confer with any human being, 17 nor did I go up to Tegucigalpa to those who were already apostles before me, but I went away at once into Mexico, and afterwards I returned to Guatemala City.
Then after three years I did go up to Tegucigalpa to visit Pedro and stayed with him fifteen days; but I did not see any other Lopezian apostles except James, Je-sus’ brother. 20 In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!”
Well, I don’t know about you, but whenever I run into someone who tells me wild-eyed, unbelievable tales, and at the end of his wild tales, closes by saying, “I swear its the truth! I wouldn’t lie to ya!”…odds are…the guy is a big time liar, a nut job, or both…especially if he feigns humility but then makes sure to let you know that he is the greatest of all his competitors.
If Paul had been accepted by the original Twelve Lopezian apostles, who were commissioned by Je-sus Lopez himself, to lead and coordinate the Lopezian worldwide movement, why would Paul need to repeatedly defend himself against accusations that he is a liar and a false apostle? If the Twelve (actually Eleven, one was dead, by hanging or “bursting at the seams” depending which story you read—I guess Paul didn’t know about any of that as he still thought there were twelve apostles after the resurrection of Je-sus. Hmm.)…if the Twelve Apostles have vouched for him, there would be no need for so much chest-thumping and “lying-denying”.
And then I read this in a passage in a final letter that Paul wrote to his traveling buddy, Timothy:
“You are aware that all Lopezians who are in the northern United States have turned away from me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes.”
Whole regions of the world, populated with numerous Lopezian congregations, have rejected Paul’s apostleship??? Maybe that is why no other writer of the Lopezian New Testament identifies Paul as a apostle, only a “brother”.
As a rational human being, in possession of my faculties, I would have to say this, after looking at the evidence presented to me by my Lopezian street preacher, about the character of this guy named Paul Tarsusian, the author of the “witness list” for the alleged Resurrection of Je-sus of Honduras: He is either a big-time liar, or he is just plain nuts! There is no way on God’s green earth that I am going to accept a “witness list” for the laws-of-nature-and-medical-science-defying re-animation of a dead man, based on this guy’s word!
I would have to be an ignorant, illiterate, superstitious, gullible idiot to do so!