March 31, 2002 / Volume 2, Issue 13
THE ATHEIST'S COMPLAINT:
Does Matthew 12:30 contradict Mark 9:40 and Luke 9:50? Matthew 12:30 is written with "against" as the default, while Mark 9:40 and Luke 9:50 are written with "for" as the default.
Is there a contradiction?
Let's see what Jesus said in each text:
"He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad." (Matthew 12:30)
"For he who is not against us is on our side." (Mark 9:40)
"But Jesus said to him, 'Do not forbid him, for he who is not against us is on our side.'" (Luke 9:50)
To use an example to show that there is no contradiction in what Jesus says, consider the hockey fan who teaching a friend about the sport says, "Those who are not wearing white jerseys are against us." Might he not also say, "Those who are wearing white jerseys are for us"? Yes, there is a difference in the wording, but the meaning is the same. It is understood, the players who are wearing white jerseys are on the team that the fan is cheering for, while those who are not wearing white jerseys are not on the team the fan is cheering for.
Jesus simply tells His disciples, if someone is not with me (ie. does not follow My will, do My work), he is against me. On another occasion, He tells them, those who are not working against us (ie. do not repel, do not stand in opposition) are on our side.
There is no contradiction.
This article is a response to Skeptic's Annotated Bible, but original article is no longer listed