Aslan’s understanding of “the Kingdom of God” is peculiar. He struggles to find evidence to support his determination that any teaching about “Kingdom” could only be understood as a call to the violent overthrow of existing powers.

When Aslan does not like the words attributed to Jesus about the kingdom, he labels them incomprehensible.

Jesus consciously chose to veil the Kingdom of God in abstruse and enigmatic parables that are nearly impossible to understand. 125

It is a curious strategy for someone intent on rallying the troops to overthrow the Roman occupiers and the Jewish Temple officials to use teaching that is “nearly impossible to understand.” How is the cause of revolution furthered by being “abstruse and enigmatic”?

And what makes Jesus’ Kingdom parables “nearly impossible to understand”? The parables of Jesus in fact reward diligent study and meditation with deep insights into the nature of God’s work in the world. The fact that these insights may not look like political revolution, however, may make them unpalatable to Aslan.

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As with everything else in the gospels, the story of Jesus’s arrest, trial, and execution was written for one reason and one reason only. 154

Seriously? How could Aslan possibly know this? Has any author ever written anything more sophisticated than a cake recipe for “one reason and one reason only”? Do the Gospel writers state that they wrote their Gospels for “one reason and one reason only”? If the Gospel writers do not give their “one reason and one reason only” for writing their Gospels, why should anyone believe Aslan’s “one reason”? How does Aslan know what this “one reason and one reason only” might be?

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As with the followers of every other messiah the empire had killed, there was nothing left for Jesus’s disciples to do but abandon their cause, renounce their revolutionary activities and return to their farms and villages. 174

Indeed! Aslan makes a brilliant point here.The death of Jesus on a cross at the hands of the mighty Roman empire should have been the end of the story. Jesus’ followers should have fled in terror and stayed hidden for the rest of their lives. No one wanted to be associated with a crucified political revolutionary.

Alas, Aslan fails to explain why “unschooled ecstatics,” “farmers and fishermen” who “could neither read nor write” and had no accomplishments to their credit except that they had followed a failed messiah, did not just “abandon their cause.”

How did this undisciplined band of abject failures turn around and convince “a new crop of educated, urbanized, Greek-speaking Diaspora Jews” that they should rewrite the story of Jesus and rehabilitate this failed revolutionary turning him into the founder of a new faith that in three centuries would dominate much of the world? And, not only “how?” but why? Why did they bother? Why not just walk away? Why risk your life and the lives of your family for this fabrication that apparently had no basis in any historical reality?

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Paul had no idea who the living Jesus was, nor did he care. 187

This is a classic Aslan declaration. It is so bold and so self-assured that the reader begins to wonder if it must not simply be true, until the reader makes the mistake of thinking about it. How could Aslan possibly know what Paul “had no idea” about, or what Paul did or did not “care” about?

Biblical exegesis is hard work. It requires that the writer back up any interpretation with supporting texts and demonstrate a willingness to be in respectful conversation with other interpretations. It is not enough to simply declare a particular reading of a text to be self-evidently correct because the writer claims it to be so.

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