Where is the Christ in Christianity?

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Where is the Christ in Christianity?

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Thread: Where is the Christ in Christianity?

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    Default Where is the Christ in Christianity?




    Religious scholars have long attributed the tenets of Christian faith more to Pauls teachings than to those of Jesus. But as much as I would like to jump into that subject, I think it best to back up and take a quick, speculative look at the Old Testament.
    The Old Testament teaches that Jacob wrestled with God. In fact, the Old Testament records that Jacob not only wrestled with God, but that Jacob prevailed (Genesis 32:24-30). Now, bear in mind, were talking about a tiny blob of protoplasm wrestling the Creator of a universe 240,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 miles in diameter, containing over a billion galaxies of which oursthe Milky Way Galaxyis just one (and a small one, at that), and prevailing? Im sorry, but someone was a couple pages short of a codex when they scribed that passage. The point is, however, that this passage leaves us in a quandary. We either have to question the Jewish concept of God or accept their explanation that God does not mean God in the above verses, but rather it means either an angel or a man (which, in essence, means the Old Testament is not to be trusted). In fact, this textual difficulty has become so problematic that more recent Bibles have tried to cover it up by changing the translation from God to man. What they cannot change, however, is the foundational scripture from which the Jewish Bible is translated, and this continues to read God.
    Unreliability is a recurring problem in the Old Testament, the most prominent example being the confusion between God and Satan! II Samuel 24:1 reads:
    Again the anger of the LORD was aroused against Israel, and He moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.
    However, I Chronicles 21:1 states: Now Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel.
    Uhhh, which was it? The Lord, or Satan? Both verses describe the same event in history, but one speaks of God and the other of Satan. There is a slight (like, total) difference.
    Christians would like to believe that the New Testament is free of such difficulties, but they are sadly deceived. In fact, there are so many contradictions that authors have devoted books to this subject. For example, Matthew 2:14 and Luke 2:39 differ over whether Jesus family fled to Egypt or Nazareth. Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4 differ over the wording of the Lords Prayer. Matthew 11:13-14, 17:11-13 and John 1:21 disagree over whether or not John the Baptist was Elijah.
    Things get worse when we enter the arena of the alleged crucifixion: Who carried the crossSimon (Luke 23:26, Matthew 27:32, Mark 15:21) or Jesus (John 19:17)? Was Jesus dressed in a scarlet robe (Matthew 27:28) or a purple robe (John 19:2)? Did the Roman soldiers put gall (Matthew 27:34) or myrrh (Mark 15:23) in his wine? Was Jesus crucified before the third hour (Mark 15:25) or after the sixth hour (John 19:14-15)? Did Jesus ascend the first day (Luke 23:43) or not (John 20:17)? Were Jesus last words, Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit (Luke 23:46), or were they It is finished (John 19:30)?
    These are only a few of a long list of scriptural inconsistencies, and they underscore the difficulty in trusting the New Testament as scripture. Nonetheless, there are those who do trust their salvation to the New Testament, and it is these Christians who need to answer the question, Where is the Christ in Christianity? This, in fact, is a supremely fair question. On one hand we have a religion named after Jesus Christ, but on the other hand the tenets of orthodox Christianity, which is to say Trinitarian Christianity, contradict virtually everything he taught.
    I know, I knowthose of you who arent screaming Heretic! are gathering firewood and planting a stake. But wait. Put down the high-powered rifle and listen. Trinitarian Christianity claims to base its doctrines on a combination of Jesus and Pauls teachings. The problem is, these teachings are anything but complementary. In fact, they contradict one another.
    Take some examples: Jesus taught Old Testament Law; Paul negated it. Jesus preached orthodox Jewish creed; Paul preached mysteries of faith. Jesus spoke of accountability; Paul proposed justification by faith. Jesus described himself as an ethnic prophet; Paul defined him as a universal prophet.[1] Jesus taught prayer to God, Paul set Jesus up as intercessor. Jesus taught divine unity, Pauline theologians constructed the Trinity.
    For these reasons, many scholars consider Paul the main corrupter of Apostolic Christianity and Jesus teachings. Many early Christian sects held this view as well, including the second-century Christian sects known as adoptionists In particular, they considered Paul, one of the most prominent authors of our New Testament, to be an arch-heretic rather than an apostle.[2]
    Lehmann contributes:
    What Paul proclaimed as Christianity was sheer heresy which could not be based on the Jewish or Essene faith, or on the teaching of Rabbi Jesus. But, as Schonfield says, The Pauline heresy became the foundation of Christian orthodoxy and the legitimate church was disowned as heretical. Paul did something that Rabbi Jesus never did and refused to do. He extended Gods promise of salvation to the Gentiles; he abolished the law of Moses, and he prevented direct access to God by introducing an intermediary.[3]
    Bart D. Ehrman, perhaps the most authoritative living scholar of textual criticism, comments:
    Pauls view was not universally accepted or, one might argue, even widely accepted . Even more striking, Pauls own letters indicate that there were outspoken, sincere, and active Christian leaders who vehemently disagreed with him on this score and considered Pauls views to be a corruption of the true message of Christ . One should always bear in mind that in this very letter of Galatians Paul indicates that he confronted Peter over just such issues (Gal. 2:11-14). He disagreed, that is, even with Jesus closest disciple on the matter.[4]
    Commenting on the views of some early Christians in the Pseudo-Clementine literature, Ehrman wrote:
    Paul has corrupted the true faith based on a brief vision, which he has doubtless misconstrued. Paul is thus the enemy of the apostles, not the chief of them. He is outside the true faith, a heretic to be banned, not an apostle to be followed.[5]
    Others elevate Paul to sainthood. Joel Carmichael very clearly is not one of them:
    We are a universe away from Jesus. If Jesus came only to fulfill the Law and the Prophets; If he thought that not an iota, not a dot wouldpass from the Law, that the cardinal commandment was Hear, O Israel, the Lord Our God, the Lord is one, and that no one was good but God.What would he have thought of Pauls handiwork! Pauls triumph meant the final obliteration of the historic Jesus; he comes to us embalmed in Christianity like a fly in amber.[6]
    Dr. Johannes Weiss contributes:
    Hence the faith in Christ as held by the primitive churches and by Paul was something new in comparison with the preaching of Jesus; it was a new type of religion.[7]
    A new type of religion, indeed. And hence the question, Where is the Christ in Christianity? If Christianity is the religion of Jesus Christ, where are the Old Testament laws and strict monotheism of the Rabbi Jesus Orthodox Judaism? Why does Christianity teach that Jesus is the son of God when Jesus called himself the son of Man eighty-eight times, and not once the son of God? Why does Christianity endorse confession to priests and prayers to saints, Mary and Jesus when Jesus taught his followers:
    In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father (Matthew 6:9)?
    And who appointed a pope? Certainly not Jesus. True, he may have called Peter the rock upon which he would build his church (Matthew 16:18-19). However, a scant five verses later, he called Peter Satan and an offense. And let us not forget that this rock thrice denied Jesus after Jesus arrestpoor testimony of Peters commitment to the new church.
    Is it possible that Christians have been denying Jesus ever since? Transforming Jesus strict monotheism to the Pauline theologians Trinity, replacing Rabbi Jesus Old Testament law with Pauls justification by faith, substituting the concept of Jesus having atoned for the sins of mankind for the direct accountability Jesus taught, discarding Jesus claim to humanity for Pauls concept of Jesus having been divine, we have to question in exactly what manner Christianity respects the teachings of its prophet.
    A parallel issue is to define which religion does respect Jesus teachings. So lets see: Which religion honors Jesus Christ as a prophet but a man? Which religion adheres to strict monotheism, Gods laws, and the concept of direct accountability to God? Which religion denies intermediaries between man and God?
    If you answered, Islam, you would be right. And in this manner, we find the teachings of Jesus Christ better exemplified in the religion of Islam than in Christianity. This suggestion, however, is not meant to be a conclusion, but rather an introduction. Those who find their interest peaked by the above discussion need to take the issue seriously, open their minds and then read on!

    Copyright 2007 Laurence B. Brown.
    About the author:
    Laurence B. Brown, MD, can be contacted at BrownL38@yahoo.com. He is the author of The First and Final Commandment (Amana Publications) and Bearing True Witness (Dar-us-Salam). Forthcoming books are a historical thriller, The Eighth Scroll, and a second edition of The First and Final Commandment, rewritten and divided into MisGod'ed and its sequel, Goded.



    Footnotes:[1] Jesus Christ was one more prophet in the long line of prophets sent to the astray Israelites. As he so clearly affirmed, I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (Matthew 15:24) When Jesus sent the disciples out in the path of God, he instructed them, Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (Matthew 10:5-6) Throughout his ministry, Jesus was never recorded as having converted a Gentile, and in fact is recorded as having initially rebuked a Gentile for seeking his favors, likening her to a dog (Matthew 15:22-28 and Mark 7:25-30). Jesus was himself a Jew, his disciples were Jews, and both he and they directed their ministries to the Jews. One wonders what this means to us now, for most of those who have taken Jesus as their personal savior are Gentiles, and not of the lost sheep of the house of Israel to whom he was sent.

    [2] Ehrman, Bart D. The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings. 2004. Oxford University Press. P. 3.

    [3] Lehmann, Johannes. 1972. The Jesus Report. Translated by Michael Heron. London: Souvenir Press. pp. 128, 134.

    [4] Ehrman, Bart D. 2003. Lost Christianities. Oxford University Press. Pp. 97-98.

    [5] Ehrman, Bart D. 2003. Lost Christianities. Oxford University Press. P. 184.

    [6] Carmichael, Joel, M.A. 1962. The Death of Jesus. New York: The Macmillan Company. p. 270.

    [7] Weiss, Johannes. 1909. Paul and Jesus. (Translated by Rev. H. J. Chaytor). London and New York: Harper and Brothers. p. 130.



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    Religious scholars have long attributed the tenets of Christian faith more to Pauls teachings than to those of Jesus...... the contradictions that authors have devoted books to this subject. For example, Matthew 2:14 and Luke 2:39 differ over whether Jesus family fled to Egypt or Nazareth. Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4 differ over the wording of the Lords Prayer. Matthew 11:13-14, 17:11-13 and John 1:21 disagree over whether or not John the Baptist was Elijah.
    Things get worse when we enter the arena of the alleged crucifixion: Who carried the crossSimon (Luke 23:26, Matthew 27:32, Mark 15:21) or Jesus (John 19:17)? Was Jesus dressed in a scarlet robe (Matthew 27:28) or a purple robe (John 19:2)? Did the Roman soldiers put gall (Matthew 27:34) or myrrh (Mark 15:23) in his wine? Was Jesus crucified before the third hour (Mark 15:25) or after the sixth hour (John 19:14-15)? Did Jesus ascend the first day (Luke 23:43) or not (John 20:17)? Were Jesus last words, Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit (Luke 23:46), or were they It is finished (John 19:30)?
    These are only a few of a long list of scriptural inconsistencies, and they underscore the difficulty in trusting the New Testament as scripture. Nonetheless, there are those who do trust their salvation to the New Testament, and it is these Christians who need to answer the question, Where is the Christ in Christianity? This, in fact, is a supremely fair question. On one hand we have a religion named after Jesus Christ, but on the other hand the tenets of orthodox Christianity, which is to say Trinitarian Christianity, contradict virtually everything he taught.
    I know, I knowthose of you who arent screaming Heretic! are gathering firewood and planting a stake. But wait. Put down the high-powered rifle and listen. Trinitarian Christianity claims to base its doctrines on a combination of Jesus and Pauls teachings. The problem is, these teachings are anything but complementary. In fact, they contradict one another.
    Take some examples: Jesus taught Old Testament Law; Paul negated it. Jesus preached orthodox Jewish creed; Paul preached mysteries of faith. Jesus spoke of accountability; Paul proposed justification by faith. Jesus described himself as an ethnic prophet; Paul defined him as a universal prophet.[1] Jesus taught prayer to God, Paul set Jesus up as intercessor. Jesus taught divine unity, Pauline theologians constructed the Trinity.
    For these reasons, many scholars consider Paul the main corrupter of Apostolic Christianity and Jesus teachings. Many early Christian sects held this view as well, including the second-century Christian sects known as adoptionists In particular, they considered Paul, one of the most prominent authors of our New Testament, to be an arch-heretic rather than an apostle.[2].... we find the teachings of Jesus Christ better exemplified in the religion of Islam than in Christianity. This suggestion, however, is not meant to be a conclusion, but rather an introduction. Those who find their interest peaked by the above discussion need to take the issue seriously, open their minds and then read on...... Jesus Christ was one more prophet in the long line of prophets sent to the astray Israelites. As he so clearly affirmed, I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (Matthew 15:24) When Jesus sent the disciples out in the path of God, he instructed them, Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (Matthew 10:5-6) Throughout his ministry, Jesus was never recorded as having converted a Gentile, and in fact is recorded as having initially rebuked a Gentile for seeking his favors, likening her to a dog (Matthew 15:22-28 and Mark 7:25-30). Jesus was himself a Jew, his disciples were Jews, and both he and they directed their ministries to the Jews. One wonders what this means to us now, for most of those who have taken Jesus as their personal savior are Gentiles, and not of the lost sheep of the house of Israel to whom he was sent.............
    Well, I thank God for Paul, if it weren't for Paul, Christianity would be a ship out at see without a rudder. So, like it or not when you deal with Christians Paul is a big time factor. We know Paul once hated Christians and their religion which makes him all the more believable. Jesus commissioned him to reach the gentiles and had to knock him off his horse to do it. It wasn't time when Jesus walked the earth to reach gentiles. Jesus explained in parables what His plans were. To the Jew first, but they rejected the feast; so, God opened the door for all. It was God's plan to give the Jews the opportunity to spear head God's message to the world, but they crucified the word of God, but the grave could not hold Him.
    So what if the stories don't exactly match the sixth hour or the third. Who cares? The Bible is not a dictation like the Quran is supposed to be. The point is all agree that Jesus died and rose. You are attempting to throw the baby out with the wash. That would be foolish. The NT Bible is just that, it is a testimony of what people witnessed.

    Even today if an event happens that several people witness and report back, they won't line up perfectly. It is foolish to say the event didn't happen. The point is it did happen and the NT Bible records the events a lot closer to the time it happened than recording in Muhammad's Quran so that makes the Bible more trust worthy; besides, the witnesses wouldn't risk their lives to preach a tale; so, common sense which is not so common should help us see that Jesus died for our sin, and if we don't accept Him as our Savior, we will die not forgiven by God. It is our choice. Jesus said it, I believe it and that settles it for me: "You will die in your sin unless you believe I am He.... and no man (includes non Jews) comes to God except through ME" It is our choice that determines our eternal destiny.

    Peace and blessing to the reader

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Where is the Christ in Christianity?

Where is the Christ in Christianity?