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10 April, 2011 By Rev. Ted Pike

We live in a time when leaders of the political/religious right all too often neither sound warning of danger nor thank those who reprove them for their failure. Last week, Brother Nathaniel Kapner was faithful to his conscience and truth as he understands it and publicly reproved me for my recent "Book of Esther" article.

After 40 years of consideration, I finally published an article charging that the book of Esther is humanistic and Jew-glorifying and should not be included in Scripture. (See, The Pseudo-Biblical Book of Esther -- Mainspring of Zionism) Kapner publicly reproved me, saying that to deny Esther is to cut out part of inspired Scripture - an act of heresy leading to perdition. (See Kapner's article, Truly Understanding the Book of Esther) Kapner, a Russian Orthodox monk, believes that acceptance of Esther by the greatest and earliest authorities of the Russian Orthodox tradition legitimizes the book as part of the Bible.

In contrast, I place no confidence in either Christian councils or theologians—much less Jewish “authorities” in an obscure period of history about which little is known, except that it preceded the emergence of the Pharisees, whom Christ so bitterly excoriated. Am I to trust 120 possibly proto-Pharisaic rabbis, “the great synagogue,” who the Talmud says wrote the book of Esther? No way!

I have observed over a lifetime that high clergy, far from being truly spiritual, are usually just as political in their own way as their secular counterparts. They are often less able to hear the still small voice of God than are humble listeners in their congregation. Therefore, I believe that church fathers and their decrees and councils cannot define what constitutes Holy Scripture. Instead, I am convinced that only the conscience of the deeply sincere believer, testing whether any alleged Scripture resonates with the witness of the Holy Spirit, is able to fulfill that role. “But when He, the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth.” (John 16:13) “…the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you…but His anointing teaches you about all things.” (1 John 2:27)

When a book as blatantly humanistic as Esther fails this test within my conscience, it is my duty to warn of heresy as boldly as I can!

Thus, Kapner’s warning of my alleged heresy and my warning of the heresy in Esther are both manifestations of the same Christian love and concern—and duty to sound a warning. Our theological and epistemological premises differ. Yet we both strive to be faithful to speak according to truth.

It is refreshing to know that America and the world have in Kapner a watchman who will courageously warn even a friend when he perceives danger. Here is the note I sent to Kapner: “Thank you for speaking out boldly for truth as you understand it. Keep it up!”

current Ted Pike photo
Ted, today - photo: John Pike, October 2019

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