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Jesus Versus Paul


Guest wayfarer2k
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Guest wayfarer2k

I asked this question in passing in another thread and thought it might be interesting to discuss it further in it's own thread. Was Paul's gospel difference from Jesus' gospel? Was Paul's understanding of salvation and eternal life different from what Jesus taught? Was Paul's understanding of justification different from Jesus' understanding of it? Here are a couple of passages that have me wondering:

 

Mat 25:31-46 - "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, 'Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.' Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?' And the king will answer them, 'Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.' Then he will say to those at his left hand, 'You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' Then they also will answer, 'Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?' Then he will answer them, 'Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.' And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

 

This seems to be Jesus' take on how eternal life (salvation) is gained, by treating others well. In loving them, we are also loving him. Jesus doesn't mention "faith alone" or his death on the cross or even belief in him. He just says that those who treats his family well are righteous and go into eternal life.

 

Paul, on the other hand, says in Romans 10:9 - Because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

 

Paul's take on how salvation (eternal life) is gained has to do with confession and belief, not with works. In fact, Paul seems to be opposed to good works.

 

So Jesus seems to teach that salvation is based upon action and Paul seems to teach that it is based upon mental assent to presuppositions. Are their respective views harmonious or do you see a dichotomy here?

Edited by wayfarer2k
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If Jesus speaks of what you must do, then by your faith in who He is and what He says, you are able to understand why the doing of these things have real meaning with real consequences and you behavior will reflect that faith.

 

Paul also points to Jesus as the object of faith from which your works should proceed.

 

Our behavior is evidence of our faith, whatever it is in. If it is in Jesus, we should behave accordingly. Paul echoes that sentiment.

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Guest wayfarer2k
If it is in Jesus, we should behave accordingly. Paul echoes that sentiment.

 

I agree. In the passage referenced, I don't know if it is a parable or if Jesus is pointing to some kind of apocalyptic event in the future. What I find interesting in the story, though, is that the people who did these good things didn't seem to recognize Jesus. They just did what they did out of the compassion in their hearts.

 

It's much the same with the story of the Good Samaritan. The Samaritan, whom Jesus uses as a model for someone righteous, never says the "sinner's prayer", goes down the Roman Road or responds to the Four Spiritual Laws. He didn't know anything about Jesus' life, death, resurrection or "atonement for sin." He wasn't even, for Christ's sake, baptized. ;) He just compassionately helps someone that the religious rules of his day says he should have avoided. And Jesus holds him up as a model for loving God by loving others.

 

To me, this seems to antithetical to the way that Paul and Christianity presents the gospel or "the final judgment."

 

BTW, I don't think Jesus' story is about people "earning their way to heaven" or scoring brownie points with Jesus. I think what "the righteous" did was God's grace ALREADY operating in them, not their attempt to earn God's grace. After all, the things they did are acts of grace.

 

Any other thoughts about this, Dk?

 

bill

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Any other thoughts about this, Dk?

 

bill

Bill,

I think you're right on both accounts, for I fall on the side of believing it's a parabolic foretelling of an apocalyptic event.

---

I believe it has to be remebered that Jesus seperated man into two groups before the explanation was given. Both groups knew who He was. The persons on His right, the sheep, who had faith in who Jesus is and what were His 2 commandments, had given hard evidence of their faith without even realizing it. That's the demonstration for the existence of a true faith.

 

Meanwhile the 'goats' had only provided lip service to loving God, and which was demonstratively exposed by their not faithfully loving their neighbor.

---

In the parable of the Samaritan, I see it this way:

Jesus was responding to a question from a local laywer about inheriting eternal life. Jesus returned to him with a question the lawyer should be familiar with, "What does the Law say about it?" To whit the lawyer summerized the Law into the 2 Commandments Jesus had spoken. Jesus said, "Correct, do this and you will live", Christ commended him on what he said that was right and intended to draw from him an acknowledgment that he had not done this.

Now the scripture said the lawyer was trying to "justify" himself when he asked, "Who is my neighbor?" Justify is, interestingly enough, a legal term refering to one who is not subject to condemnation, so it is considered a question with no good intention, perhaps to even entrap Jesus in some peculiar or needless prescription.

Jesus gave the lawyer a parable exposing the lawyer to himself, and then asking him who he thought had acted as a loving neighbor. The lawyer said it was the Samaritan. Jesus repeated, "Go and do the same."

Jesus was not only exposing the lawyer to himself but corrupted Jewish notions of things like "love thy neighbor, except for the Gentiles."

 

This parable of a peaceful man being brutalized and left for dead; while men, Jews of professed sanctity, obliged to compassion, passed him up. That is sad. If a hated Samaritan does well to a Jew, a Jew should do just as well to a Samaritan. Love your neighbor as yourself. Don't be concerned about who your neighbor is.

 

The lesson was to expose the lawyer to himself; not to provide answers for all the histrionics of a fictitious Samaritan. Faith is the work of divine grace.

It is the duty of every one of us, in our places, according to our abilities, to help, and relieve all that are in distress and necessity, and of lawyers particularly!

 

We could extend the parable and consider Jesus as the Samaritan.(?)

Dk

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Mat 25:31-46 is an explanation or extension of parables that precede it in the text. How does one prepare for death? Grace is not earned, it is used, and so on. These passages are a call to attend to our souls in the here and now. Behavior, by itself, does not indicate intention. A compassionate act to gain favor is far different from the same act out of true feelings for the other.

 

As far as I can tell, Paul (the authentic Paul) is attempting to take this message into a heterogeneous community quite different from the audience Jesus addressed. This would require that the message be framed differently for it to be understood. Sorting this out is the task of scholars more experienced than I, so I depend on them as best I can.

 

We need to apply some caution in both cases. Attempts have been made to determine what Jesus really said (or did not). I, for one, am deeply interested in the true intentions of Jesus and Paul and how they compare. Suppose, for example, that the true messages of both were just too radical for many to accept (as JD Crossan believes)? If so, are the messages still too radical for some today?

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A compassionate act to gain favor is far different from the same act out of true feelings for the other.

That's pretty common knowledge. Since you are considering a truth in this scenario, what is the truth we need to make this statement valid? Why is compassion (love) not compassion (love) when that "other" someone is being helped either way? The epistemological answer is: because the personal, infinite God said so, He propositionaly revealed it to us. If God had not provided us with the meaning for love, there would be none. Therefore, we now can know that we know what love is; and it's not selfish!

 

 

... Paul... is attempting to take this message into a heterogeneous community quite different from the audience Jesus addressed. This would require that the message be framed differently for it to be understood. Sorting this out is the task of scholars... .

I agree that there were different audiences, this is not in any way hidden. It's not clear what task you think needs sorting out. Matthew 25 is Jesus speaking to His disciples. Paul's epistles revealed that he spoke to anyone he could reach in the known world, Jew or Gentile.

 

 

I, for one, am deeply interested in the true intentions of Jesus and Paul and how they compare. Suppose, for example, that the true messages of both were just too radical for many to accept... ?

I don't know if you mean that truth is radical, but it is certainly true that people from all eras will either accept or reject God's intended message of truth to man.

The simple intention of God is to deliver the truth to man in ways man can understand. Parables being the principle vehicle in this case. Since man was created as a verbalizer, to communicate the message they must be spoken, and that is dependent on language. Something of which we have spoken together about before.

Who delivers the parable is of no less importance. Because the one speaking must have the authority to say (communicate) what is true. Jesus testified to His own authority. Paul testified to Jesus' authority.

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That's pretty common knowledge. Since you are considering a truth in this scenario, what is the truth we need to make this statement valid? Why is compassion (love) not compassion (love) when that "other" someone is being helped either way? The epistemological answer is: because the personal, infinite God said so, He propositionaly revealed it to us. If God had not provided us with the meaning for love, there would be none. Therefore, we now can know that we know what love is; and it's not selfish!

I agree that there were different audiences, this is not in any way hidden. It's not clear what task you think needs sorting out. Matthew 25 is Jesus speaking to His disciples. Paul's epistles revealed that he spoke to anyone he could reach in the known world, Jew or Gentile.

I don't know if you mean that truth is radical, but it is certainly true that people from all eras will either accept or reject God's intended message of truth to man.

The simple intention of God is to deliver the truth to man in ways man can understand. Parables being the principle vehicle in this case. Since man was created as a verbalizer, to communicate the message they must be spoken, and that is dependent on language. Something of which we have spoken together about before.

Who delivers the parable is of no less importance. Because the one speaking must have the authority to say (communicate) what is true. Jesus testified to His own authority. Paul testified to Jesus' authority.

 

davidk,

 

I have answered all these questions in other posts on other threads in direct response to you. I wll not answer them again. That is just a waste of my time and yours.

 

minsocal

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That's fine, Minsocal. If you look back, I hope you will recognize the questions were rhetorical since I provided the correct answers in my post. So there was really no need for you to have responded at all.

 

Bill, if you're still there perhaps we could pick up where we had left off. I'm sorry for the diversion.

 

Dk

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That's fine, Minsocal. If you look back, I hope you will recognize the questions were rhetorical since I provided the correct answers in my post. So there was really no need for you to have responded at all.

 

Bill, if you're still there perhaps we could pick up where we had left off. I'm sorry for the diversion.

 

Dk

 

So many people here have bid you ... well, farewell. Why do you persist? I would like to see a justification just like David demands of Jen. That would be interesting.

 

P.S. I would much rather hear from Jen than davidk.

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Guest wayfarer2k

Davidk (and others), I’m not sure which direction(s) you are wanting to go with this discussion. So I’ll just post a couple more thoughts and we’ll see where it goes from there. 

 

1. As humans who a painfully aware of ourselves, our limitations, and our mortality, we long for something that gives us assurance about the big questions of life – who are we? Why are we here? What ultimately happens to us? As a race, we are haunted by these questions and it seems that we are continually seeking the answers. There are exceptions, of course, - those who are of the que sera, sera or even the hedonistic mindset. But generally, we look for some sort of meta-narrative that, at least for our personal selves, gives us some sort of purpose or goal, some sort of framework for life and a possible “hereafter.” We seem to know, deep down, that something is wrong with our world and with ourselves and we want things fixed. Or life screams at us that it is meaningless and we want to defy that notion.

 

2. Without getting too deep in the philosophy behind point 1 (I’m not a philosopher, just a questioner), Christianity makes a claim (as do other religions) to, if not answer some of these questions, to at least encourage the search. Conservative Christians seem to generally feel that the Bible answers ALL of our ultimate questions if only we would study it and follow it. Christians of a more progressive bent, it seems to me (thank you, Joseph), lean more towards the person of Jesus giving us clues to these questions or encouraging us to pursue truth (ultimate reality). They tend to feel that it is Jesus’ lifestyle and teachings that give meaning and purpose to life.

 

3. But even this is not an unassailable guarantee of Truth. Why? Because Jesus never wrote anything. All we have of him, at the very best, are someone else’s conceptions of him. Matthew has a view, Mark has a view, Luke has a view. And while these three views tend to be synoptic, John’s view is quite another ballgame entirely, IMO. Of course, scholars have, over the last couple of centuries, tried to get at the “historical Jesus”, at Jesus as he really was as a human, instead of at Jesus as deity. But this quest for the historical Jesus is fraught with its own problems and presuppositions. It seems to be our nature that we often find the kind of Jesus that we are looking for. 

 

4. With the apostle Paul (and many others like him), we open up another Pandora’s Box – the Jesus of private revelation. Paul, as far as we know, never met Jesus or heard him. The book of Acts claims that he heard Stephen’s testimony, but approved of stoning Stephen anyway. And Paul’s experiences seems to consist of repetitive visions of Jesus appearing to him, giving him a gospel that looks quite different from what Jesus himself preached. Paul hardly consorts with Jesus’ disciples and other apostles, making the claim that “they added nothing to me” which seems a nice (or not so nice) way of saying, “I already know everything about Jesus I need to know from my private revelations, don’t talk to me about the ‘historical Jesus’.” And Paul takes this pompous attitude so far as to call down curses on anyone who might preach differently than what he does. Personally, I don’t have much use for Paul’s Jesus who seems, for the most part, to be little more than a human sacrifice to an angry god who refuses to forgive sins or interact with humans unless blood is spilt.

 

So, in light of these four points, it is interesting to consider what it means to “follow Jesus”. Is this, to the best of our understanding, following the “historical Jesus”? Or is this to follow, as I believe most of Christianity does, “Paul’s Jesus”? Or is this to follow, as some do, their own private revelations of Jesus? Or is this to follow, not the “person” of Jesus himself, but his teachings (or those similar to his) found in other traditions and religions?

 

Any thoughts on this? Do any of these questions even matter? Aren’t we really ultimately following our own Jesus anyway?

 

bill

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Great questions Bill. Maybe better one at a time? I am not going to participate in a continued conversation involving DavidK but I will be interested in your conversation with him. It will be different with Minsocal gone but on the other hand I suspect it will be more of the same.

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Greetings Bill,

 

All Excellent and well articulated written points. If I may first comment on one statement in your first point that seems to me to be well stated but in my view or present persuasion not in line with my experience. You said... "We seem to know, deep down, that something is wrong with our world and with ourselves and we want things fixed. Or life screams at us that it is meaningless and we want to defy that notion."

 

It seems to me that 'on the surface' we seem to think that something is wrong with the world and with ourselves and we want things fixed but 'deep down' we know and will find that there is nothing 'wrong' with our world or ourselves for that matter. This is a different perspective mentioned just for consideration.

 

So, in light of these four points, it is interesting to consider what it means to “follow Jesus”. Is this, to the best of our understanding, following the “historical Jesus”? Or is this to follow, as I believe most of Christianity does, “Paul’s Jesus”? Or is this to follow, as some do, their own private revelations of Jesus? Or is this to follow, not the “person” of Jesus himself, but his teachings (or those similar to his) found in other traditions and religions

 

You have covered much in your points and to me it seems that there is no one well defined meaning to the words to "follow Jesus" since the words have different meaning according the beliefs one accepts as truth. So, 'to me' only, the question is irrelevant (no disrespect meant) as I do not follow a man, historical or otherwise. I follow Christ which has an altogether different meaning to me. I can see Christ everywhere so that the name Jesus applied to a man has no relevance to me. (no disrespect meant to the historical Jesus as I have not met him or talked with him) I will stop at that in hopes of not being misunderstood.

 

Thanks for an interesting perspective.

 

Love Joseph

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Guest wayfarer2k

Thanks for your input, Joseph.

 

Maybe, in retrospect, my choice of the phrasing that something is wrong with the world and with ourselves is a little too...Pauline. Paul's view, of course, was that mankind and creation fell into a state of sin. I have always found it interesting that Genesis itself does not use the phrase "the fall". But the concept seems to imply a once perfect state (paradise) that has somehow, because of sin and rebellion, been forfeited. And your words caused me to rethink the "something is wrong with us and the world" scenario just a bit.

 

Upon reconsideration, I'd put it this way: we know that we are not yet mature, we know that we are not yet all that we could be.

 

Now, before you jump all over me ( :lol: ), yes, I know you wouldn't agree with me on that reconsideration either. I know from conversations with you, if I understand you correctly, that you believe we already ARE all that we are, that we have already arrived, so-to-speak. Maybe this is what I alluded to in my statement about some people having a "que sera sera" stance. That's okay with me. There is lots of room for different perspectives.

 

But, for me, being raised in a Christian environment and really enjoying science fiction, I do think that, over all, mankind strives for something more, for something better. The problem with modernity, as I see it, is that our technicalogical advances outpace our wisdom. We're smart, but we're not very wise. And this is a theme found in alot of scifi as well as in many religions.

 

But I also wanted to agree with you that I see alot of beauty around me, in our world and in people. I don't wake up every morning thinking, "Oh, crap, I live in a fallen world. Come quickly, Lord Jesus, and rescue me from this." There is much around us that, as the Bible says, reflects the glory of God.

 

As to the Christ you speak of, I know that works for you. That is one of the options I listed. But historical Christianity, at it's best, tries to have something to do with the person of Jesus as found in the Bible. Maybe Progressive Christianity won't. Many UU churches won't even mention the name of Jesus because they feel, as you do, that he is irrelevant. But he's not to me. I am still a dumb sheep. :)

 

Shalom,

bill

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Thanks for your input, Joseph.

 

(snip)

 

Upon reconsideration, I'd put it this way: we know that we are not yet mature, we know that we are not yet all that we could be.

 

No problem here with that statement. "could be' to me of course is a hypothetical so I would not beg to differ and only say we are what we are and 'coulds' and 'shoulds' have no reality with me.

 

(snip

 

But I also wanted to agree with you that I see alot of beauty around me, in our world and in people. I don't wake up every morning thinking, "Oh, crap, I live in a fallen world. Come quickly, Lord Jesus, and rescue me from this." There is much around us that, as the Bible says, reflects the glory of God.

 

As to the Christ you speak of, I know that works for you. That is one of the options I listed. But historical Christianity, at it's best, tries to have something to do with the person of Jesus as found in the Bible. Maybe Progressive Christianity won't. Many UU churches won't even mention the name of Jesus because they feel, as you do, that he is irrelevant. But he's not to me. I am still a dumb sheep. :)

 

Shalom,

bill

 

Well to be totally honest Bill, the word 'Christ' is just a coined word that is in truth inadequate to convey an accurate meaning and indeed was defined in principal by my study of Jesus and the Bible. Like the word 'sugar', it is meaningless until one actually tastes it. I experienced what I now call Christ (as best defined by the roots of the Greek word 'chrio') when I was a lad of 3-4 years old. I could not articulate or voice what I experienced back then in the early 50's. I got glimpses many times in others and it was not until 1980 that I not only experienced what I now call 'Christ' with much clarity but also realized ('knew') that Christ and I were always inseparable whether I was conscious or believed it or not and it is the same with all others. This I did not need to read or study. It was always there but not in words.

 

So I did not mean that Jesus was an irrelevant person but only that the name Jesus applied to a man had no relevance to me since I had never met him or talked with him. Yes, I recognize 'Christ' in principal in much of the recorded teachings attributed to Jesus but it is Christ, not Jesus that is relevant. Otherwise you will follow a man and what you perceive to be what he said or what others say he said to be more accurate. It is the same with Paul. I do not know Paul. I only read about what others say of Paul which is irrelevant to me. Hope that clarifies some of the things I said.

 

Just something for you to consider. No more, no less.

 

Love Joseph

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Bill,

 

Just for clarification of a word.... The word irrelevant to me is not meant to be disrespectful or to say that a persons life was meaningless. My dictionary says...

 

ir·rel·e·vant

adj.

Unrelated to the matter being considered.

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

ir·rele·vant·ly adv.

Synonyms: irrelevant, extraneous, immaterial, impertinent

 

It seems to me the matter being considered is who do we follow. As you have written, Do we follow the historical Jesus (Whatever that may entail), Paul Jesus, private revelations of Jesus, his teaching ... etc. What I am saying is all those to me are irrelevant with no disrespect meant as I follow Christ. To me Christ is the 'unwritten word' inseparable from all of creation because Christ is in and through all things. Perhaps this is why Jesus wrote nothing himself? Just something to consider.

 

Love Joseph

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Davidk (and others), I’m not sure which direction(s) you are wanting to go with this discussion. So I’ll just post a couple more thoughts and we’ll see where it goes from there. 

 

1. As humans who a painfully aware of ourselves, our limitations, and our mortality, we long for something that gives us assurance about the big questions of life – who are we? Why are we here? What ultimately happens to us? As a race, we are haunted by these questions and it seems that we are continually seeking the answers. There are exceptions, of course, - those who are of the que sera, sera or even the hedonistic mindset. But generally, we look for some sort of meta-narrative that, at least for our personal selves, gives us some sort of purpose or goal, some sort of framework for life and a possible “hereafter.” We seem to know, deep down, that something is wrong with our world and with ourselves and we want things fixed. Or life screams at us that it is meaningless and we want to defy that notion.

---

 

bill

Bill,

When I use the word 'philosophy', I'm generally referring to someone's personal perception or their world view rather than that overly complicated academic study called, PHILOSOPHY. I would say everyone has one, like everyone has a... well, you know what I mean. That sort of makes us all philosophers of one sort or another. As a matter of fact, your questions are very 'philosphical' and are the ones that perennially haunt layman and academic.

 

Your first question covers huge amounts of territory. I mean, to ask, Why are we here? and to recognize that, something's wrong with us and it needs fixing; and then that, we need something that, gives us some sort of purpose or goal or meaning... some sort of framework for life!

I mean, you have put into one simple paragraph what has perplexed man over his entire history.

 

I believe that we have to be able to find answers that we can understand. They'd have to be pretty straight forward if I'm to be expected to understand them. I believe we have those answers, the very ones you're looking for.

 

Look, I know what you (and others) may be thinking, "Oh boy, here he goes,... again." But, if you'll be patient with me, I can show you what I know to be true.

 

Dk

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>>Well to be totally honest Bill, the word 'Christ' is just a coined word that is in truth inadequate to convey an accurate meaning…

 

Joseph, I’d say yes…and no. I’m sure you know that the word “Christ” is the Greek rendition of the Jewish word for “Messiah.” Within that particular context, the word “messiah” definitely had some meanings to the ancient Israelites, to Jesus’ disciples, and to the early church. And I would agree that even “messiah” has no ACCURATE meaning because the Jewish scriptures have different portrayals of who messiah was supposed to be and what messiah was supposed to do. In fact, according to the gospels, did NOT literally fulfill MANY of the OT prophecies of what messiah should do (namely sitting on a throne in Jerusalem and killing all the Romans). So even his followers did not believe him to be the Christ until some time after his resurrection. Christianity, though, gets around these unfulfilled prophecies, not by saying that Jesus changed what messiah meant, but by saying that “Jesus ain’t done yet” and that he’ll come back as God’s jihad warrior. I don’t agree with this view, but it does seem to be held by the majority of Christians.

 

 

>>I experienced what I now call Christ (as best defined by the roots of the Greek word 'chrio') when I was a lad of 3-4 years old. I could not articulate or voice what I experienced back then in the early 50's. I got glimpses many times in others and it was not until 1980 that I not only experienced what I now call 'Christ' with much clarity but also realized ('knew') that Christ and I were always inseparable whether I was conscious or believed it or not and it is the same with all others. This I did not need to read or study. It was always there but not in words.

 

Interesting experience, Joseph. It wasn’t my experience, but it is very interesting.

 

>>So I did not mean that Jesus was an irrelevant person but only that the name Jesus applied to a man had no relevance to me since I had never met him or talked with him. Yes, I recognize 'Christ' in principal in much of the recorded teachings attributed to Jesus but it is Christ, not Jesus that is relevant. Otherwise you will follow a man and what you perceive to be what he said or what others say he said to be more accurate. It is the same with Paul. I do not know Paul. I only read about what others say of Paul which is irrelevant to me. Hope that clarifies some of the things I said.

 

Again, yes…and no. If I understand you correctly, I think you are pointed to our human tendency to accept “hearsay” as truth versus our own experiences. In other words, Christianity teaches us not to trust ourselves as authority but to trust something or Someone outside of ourselves – Jesus, the Bible, Paul, the law of Moses, etc. On a certain level, I agree. Even IF we put our trust in something or Someone else, we are still trusting OURSELVES that our judgment to do so is correct. If I trusted you as a friend, it would be because I first trusted my own perceptions and discernments about you. No matter how you cut it, we are still our own authority.

 

At the same time, I am…not convinced…that just because we have never met someone personally, that who they were, what they said, how they lived, and how they may have affected others and the world is simply irrelevant. I’ve never met Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but I would not consider him to be irrelevant to the human condition. I’ve never met the person of Jesus in a “mystical” way, but I wouldn’t consider him and his teachings to be irrelevant. They have influenced the world (for some good and some bad) for the last 2000 years. So I don’t think that for someone to be relevant to me, I would have to personally meet them and have a face-to-face exchange. To do so, IMO, makes my own perceptions EXTREMELY narrow because there are only so many people that I will meet in my lifetime and I cannot simply write off everyone, now or in the past, that I have never met as being irrelevant to me.

 

If I understand you correctly, Joseph, you seem to be saying that each of us must “reinvent the wheel” for ourselves. I don’t think that is necessary or even wise. At the same time, I don’t think it is wise to blindly follow anyone. From my OP, I think Paul tried to reinvent the wheel where the Jewish religion was concerned. Jesus was trying to get it to go down a certain path and Paul effectively made a detour.

 

bill

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>>Well to be totally honest Bill, the word 'Christ' is just a coined word that is in truth inadequate to convey an accurate meaning…

 

Joseph, I’d say yes…and no. I’m sure you know that the word “Christ” is the Greek rendition of the Jewish word for “Messiah.” Within that particular context, the word “messiah” definitely had some meanings to the ancient Israelites, to Jesus’ disciples, and to the early church. And I would agree that even “messiah” has no ACCURATE meaning because the Jewish scriptures have different portrayals of who messiah was supposed to be and what messiah was supposed to do. In fact, according to the gospels, did NOT literally fulfill MANY of the OT prophecies of what messiah should do (namely sitting on a throne in Jerusalem and killing all the Romans). So even his followers did not believe him to be the Christ until some time after his resurrection. Christianity, though, gets around these unfulfilled prophecies, not by saying that Jesus changed what messiah meant, but by saying that “Jesus ain’t done yet” and that he’ll come back as God’s jihad warrior. I don’t agree with this view, but it does seem to be held by the majority of Christians.

 

That's fine Bill. From my Jewish readings, it seems to me that the word for messiah is not the same as Christos. What i referred to in my post was the Greek word 'Chrio' from which the word 'Christos' came from which is translated as annointed through the idea of contact; to smear or rub with oil. Of course, that word does not appear in the Old testament Hebrew and I am not referencing to the OT. Perhaps you will find the word is more a title than a name. To me it is a smearing together with God. The reported writings of Paul seem to allude to this when it is recorded he said.... and might i add whose sayings are deep.... To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Col 1:27 (KJV) For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Col 3:3,4 (KJV) And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: 11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. Col 3:10-11 (KJV) Just to mention a few.

 

Now this Christ word I speak of is not a man. A man is not All in All. A man is not the hope of your presence (glory) with God. A man is not your life. This Christ is more than words can convey. To me I can only say Christ is your divine nature.

 

 

 

Again, yes…and no. If I understand you correctly, I think you are pointed to our human tendency to accept “hearsay” as truth versus our own experiences. In other words, Christianity teaches us not to trust ourselves as authority but to trust something or Someone outside of ourselves – Jesus, the Bible, Paul, the law of Moses, etc. On a certain level, I agree. Even IF we put our trust in something or Someone else, we are still trusting OURSELVES that our judgment to do so is correct. If I trusted you as a friend, it would be because I first trusted my own perceptions and discernments about you. No matter how you cut it, we are still our own authority.

 

Yes, i would agree as long as your old man lives and rules.

 

At the same time, I am…not convinced…that just because we have never met someone personally, that who they were, what they said, how they lived, and how they may have affected others and the world is simply irrelevant. I’ve never met Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but I would not consider him to be irrelevant to the human condition. I’ve never met the person of Jesus in a “mystical” way, but I wouldn’t consider him and his teachings to be irrelevant. They have influenced the world (for some good and some bad) for the last 2000 years. So I don’t think that for someone to be relevant to me, I would have to personally meet them and have a face-to-face exchange. To do so, IMO, makes my own perceptions EXTREMELY narrow because there are only so many people that I will meet in my lifetime and I cannot simply write off everyone, now or in the past, that I have never met as being irrelevant to me.

 

Again, you seem to me to misunderstand what I am saying. The word irrelevant only applies to the matter being considered. I do not consider ANYONE or ANYTHING irrelevant in itself. Jesus's reported teachings are most excellent. Yet when considering teachings the man who delivers it is irrelevant to the point of the teachings. Truth is truth even if delivered by my enemies (which I have none). Never advocated what it seems like you are saying like i am writing off everyone because I didn't personally meet them. I thought I clarified the definition in my previous post right before Davidk's last post.

 

 

If I understand you correctly, Joseph, you seem to be saying that each of us must “reinvent the wheel” for ourselves. I don’t think that is necessary or even wise. At the same time, I don’t think it is wise to blindly follow anyone. From my OP, I think Paul tried to reinvent the wheel where the Jewish religion was concerned. Jesus was trying to get it to go down a certain path and Paul effectively made a detour.

 

bill

 

:) No. That is not what I am saying though it obviously is the way you are perceiving it. There is nothing to 'reinvent'. Christ is already in you and is inseparable. Christ can never leave or forsake you. Impossible from my experience. In Christ is hid all knowledge and revelation. You already have Truth. It is like the SUN. It is always present even when obscured by clouds. When the clouds are removed it is self evident even if just for a moment.

 

Love in Christ,

Joseph

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Joseph, you'll just have to be patient with me because much of what you say seems to be almost a foreign language to me. :unsure:

 

This doesn't mean I'm not willing to listen. I am. But you may need to translate. :lol:

 

Okay, back to the subject at hand...

 

You said, "To me I can only say Christ is your divine nature."

 

Hmmm, I'll have to think about that. I mean, I do think that everyone has what is sometimes called "the divine spark" or maybe "the image of God" within them. But despite this, I don't see everyone acting like Jesus. Not even me. :P

 

There is, to me, some merit in Paul's use of the phrase "Christ" as a possible divine nature. But I still think that most NT references to Christ tend to point to the person of Jesus. If you don't, this is simply an area where we disagree. We can do that, right? ;)

 

>>when considering teachings the man who delivers it is irrelevant to the point of the teachings.

 

I'd agree with that. I don't think that Jesus' teachings have merit because they "come from God" or because "Jesus is God". Rather, I find in my life that they have merit because I experience them as truth. They ring true in my heart. So Christians would be aghast at such a sentiment, but that's how it works for me. Jesus' name could have been Bob and he could have been as bad a sinner as me or GWB and his teachings could still be true. In fact, Jesus says, in his parable about the faithful servant, that the servant is important because of the message. To accept the servant is to accept the message.

 

And this is where I struggle with Pauline Christianity. It claims that Jesus is God. It exalts him by calling him 'Lord'. But it relegates his teachings to a different dispensation and calls the apostle Paul "the apostle to the Church." Now, if we think that Paul has a fully "revelation" than what Jesus did, fine. But be honest and call it "Paulianity". Right or wrong, the word "Christianity" tends to go back to the person of Jesus.

 

Perhaps in the future that will change. Maybe the time will come for Progressive Christians to no longer speak of Jesus and his teachings. They may claim their own authority from the "Christ within." But then we will have up to 6 billion Christs and I doubt that could all be right. :rolleyes:

 

Anyway, thanks for chewing on this with me. I understand that your Christ has very little to do with the historical Jesus. That's okay. But its not the path for me. Still friends though, right?

 

bill

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When I use the word 'philosophy', I'm generally referring to someone's personal perception or their world view rather than that overly complicated academic study called, PHILOSOPHY.

 

I understand. I usually call it metanarrative or paradigm or, as you say, worldview. But I'm not a philosopher in the same league with others who have studied THE Philosophies.

 

Your first question covers huge amounts of territory. I mean, to ask, Why are we here? and to recognize that, something's wrong with us and it needs fixing; and then that, we need something that, gives us some sort of purpose or goal or meaning... some sort of framework for life!

I mean, you have put into one simple paragraph what has perplexed man over his entire history.

It seems that only humans are plagued by this things. When I am reincarnated, I want to come back as a rabbit so that I don't have to wonder about such things. Plus, I'm pretty much guaranteed to have a good time! ;)

 

I believe that we have to be able to find answers that we can understand. They'd have to be pretty straight forward if I'm to be expected to understand them. I believe we have those answers, the very ones you're looking for.

 

Well...I'm game...sort of. But I'm not too interested in answers that say, "We were created to worship God." To me, I wouldn't find much meaning and purpose in standing before God's throne singing "Holy, holy, holy" for 50 billion trillion years trying to just get to the next verse. And God that would need such constant propping up of his ego just doesn't seem much worthy of worship to me.

 

I tend to think that we were created to be co-creators and that this will somehow continue into "eternity." I don't see the "answer" as finding a place in heaven for me to take an eternal coffee-break. I think we do best when we are challenged to grow and mature and that "static-ness" that is portrayed in much of Christianity as being the "eternal state" doesn't work for me at all.

 

So what IS your take on the BIG questions? What do YOU think the BIG answers are?

 

bill

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(snip)

You said, "To me I can only say Christ is your divine nature."

 

Hmmm, I'll have to think about that. I mean, I do think that everyone has what is sometimes called "the divine spark" or maybe "the image of God" within them. But despite this, I don't see everyone acting like Jesus. Not even me. :P

 

Neither do I. Saying Christ is your divine nature doesn't mean it has surfaced for all to see.

 

There is, to me, some merit in Paul's use of the phrase "Christ" as a possible divine nature. But I still think that most NT references to Christ tend to point to the person of Jesus. If you don't, this is simply an area where we disagree. We can do that, right? ;)
No need to agree or disagree. It indeed does say those things you mention. The NT says many things and many are deep and some are not true. You are welcome to have a different perspective. Although I quoted it for convenience sake it is not my authority.

 

(snip)

 

Perhaps in the future that will change. Maybe the time will come for Progressive Christians to no longer speak of Jesus and his teachings. They may claim their own authority from the "Christ within." But then we will have up to 6 billion Christs and I doubt that could all be right. :rolleyes:

 

:rolleyes: That is the mystery that is revealed in Christ. The many are one.

 

Anyway, thanks for chewing on this with me. I understand that your Christ has very little to do with the historical Jesus. That's okay. But its not the path for me. Still friends though, right?

 

bill

 

:lol: It is not my Christ (as in "your Christ"). I have no need to posess something as my own when it is not. No other's path is the path for you or you would be the other. They all lead to the same. Why would I have it any other way than what it is. Our friendship has never been in doubt in my mind nor can your words change it.

 

Love Joseph

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Neither do I. Saying Christ is your divine nature doesn't mean it has surfaced for all to see.

 

Just curious, does this, for you, imply that humans have two natures, that they are schizophrenic? Paul seemed to think so. What do you think?

 

No need to agree or disagree. It indeed does say those things you mention. The NT says many things and many are deep and some are not true.
That's sort of been my point. Historically, Christianity says that they see the love of God in Christ. But Christ as portrayed in the scriptures is not always loving.

 

:lol: It is not my Christ (as in "your Christ"). I have no need to posess something as my own when it is not.

 

I'm not speaking ontologically, just functionally. My standard for Christ is Jesus of Nazareth. I know this is not your standard for Christ. But if you assume my standard momentarily, and then you look at all the other Christs (even Paul's Christ), it must be concluded that the Christ we see in other or in Paul is not the same Christ we see in Jesus. It isn't a matter of ownership, my friend, it is a matter of likeness. David Koresh's Christ looks nothing like your Christ (hopefully).

 

So all I am saying is that if we look at Christ as seen in the life of Jesus and then compare that Christ with others, I don't see how we can say that "they are one" except to exist in the same universe.

 

Jesus said that many would come in his name, but that his followers were not to go after them. I see a different picture in Jerry Falwell's Christ than I do in Marcus Borg's Christ. It's not a matter of ownership, it's a matter of becoming like the kind of God we worship. That's my point.

 

Hope that clears up what I'm trying to say also.

 

bill

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Just curious, does this, for you, imply that humans have two natures, that they are schizophrenic? Paul seemed to think so. What do you think?

 

No. It seems to me that humans have only one nature.

 

That's sort of been my point. Historically, Christianity says that they see the love of God in Christ. But Christ as portrayed in the scriptures is not always loving.
It seems to me that man's definition of love and God's love are not the same. If God is Love then the meaning is beyond words and the way to know that meaning is through Christ which you will not find in a book or in words or in thinking but in oneness with that Love.

 

I'm not speaking ontologically, just functionally. My standard for Christ is Jesus of Nazareth. I know this is not your standard for Christ. But if you assume my standard momentarily, and then you look at all the other Christs (even Paul's Christ), it must be concluded that the Christ we see in other or in Paul is not the same Christ we see in Jesus. It isn't a matter of ownership, my friend, it is a matter of likeness. David Koresh's Christ looks nothing like your Christ (hopefully).

So all I am saying is that if we look at Christ as seen in the life of Jesus and then compare that Christ with others, I don't see how we can say that "they are one" except to exist in the same universe.

 

How can I have a standard for Christ? If I did, I would be creating something that is not Christ. Christ is, I am. When I speak more of Christ than that, I depart from truth. Does a butterfly need a standard to be itself? I know nothing of this Paul's Christ you speak of nor David Koresh's. Yes i know what is written of them but there is no need for me to judge what others have written about them or say they said. There is only one God and Christ and it is all in all. What you or I perceive with our thinking mind and speak with words is not Christ. There is only one Christ. There is no ownership on anyones part. To speak otherwise is in my experience folly. There is no need to compare one Christ with another because spiritually speaking there is nothing to compare. What you ask me to do by assuming any standard for Christ even momentarily to compare or judge others is perhaps... in a sense anti-Christ. (no offence made or taken)

 

 

Jesus said that many would come in his name, but that his followers were not to go after them. I see a different picture in Jerry Falwell's Christ than I do in Marcus Borg's Christ. It's not a matter of ownership, it's a matter of becoming like the kind of God we worship. That's my point.

 

Hope that clears up what I'm trying to say also.

 

bill

 

:) Yes. I know what you are trying to say. All pass through that thinking. Why not choose to move on? If we as humans stop looking at others and measuring and comparing and judging, we see one Christ and a new world appears. The perfection of God is seen in the universe for what it is and then what Borg or Falwell says becomes irrelevant to who we are or thought that they were.

 

Just something to consider.

Love Joseph

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>>No. It seems to me that humans have only one nature.

 

It seems that way to me also, Joseph. But traditional Christianity often says that Jesus had two natures – his human nature and his divine nature. Some would call his human nature Jesus and his divine nature Christ. Jesus becomes, in this view, two separate persons indwelling one body.

 

>>It seems to me that man's definition of love and God's love are not the same. If God is Love then the meaning is beyond words and the way to know that meaning is through Christ which you will not find in a book or in words or in thinking but in oneness with that Love.

 

I agree with you…in part. But if you are correct that man’s definition of love and God’s definition of love are not the same, then when the Bible, which was written by men to men, speaks of God as love or God’s love, then it is utter nonsense to us, isn’t it? It is analogous to saying that God is our heavenly Father, but that his role as father has no counterpart whatsoever to human fathers. If God’s role as father or his love has no counterpart to human fathers or human love, then speaking of God becomes meaningless. My opinion only, but if we focus too much on God’s transcendence, on his ineffableness, then we end up saying nothing whatsoever about him. While I agree that God’s love is beyond fully capturing in words, words and actions are all we have in order to communicate that love.

 

>>Does a butterfly need a standard to be itself?

 

It depends on a certain point of reference, doesn’t it? If we are talking, as you seem to be doing, on a metaphysical level, that a butterfly is made up of molecules, which are made up of atoms, which are made up of protons, neutron, and electrons, which are made up of…whatever…then, yes, it becomes senseless to talk about differentiations between one butterfly and another. For that matter (pun intended), at that level there is no difference between a butterfly and hippopotamus or a rock. We can say, with a high degree of assurance, that “all are one.” Okay. Fine. I get it.

 

But the fact is, we don’t experience life or existence on the atomic or subatomic level. We experience life on a high level of diversity where, despite the basic building blocks of matter, we DO make differentiations between things. As we experience and know a butterfly AS a butterfly. A butterfly is NOT a rock. Nor is it a hippopotamus. Nor is a Monarch butterfly the same as a Swallowtail butterfly. And that is my point; a butterfly has certain characteristics on the level in which we experience life that differentiates it from other things. And while a Monarch is not exactly the same as a Swallowtail, most would agree that they are both butterflies, not one a butterfly and one a hippopotamus.

 

Similarly, there seem to be different “Christs”. You say that, spiritually or metaphysically speaking, they are all the same. I say that, experientially, they are not. The Christ that David Koresh believed in is NOT the same Christ that I believe in. Nor is Paul’s Christ that same Christ that we see in Jesus. Their messages ARE different.

 

>>There is no need to compare one Christ with another because spiritually speaking there is nothing to compare.

 

And that is where you and I are on a different wavelength. I think there is a differentiation and I think it is a big one.

 

>>Why not choose to move on?

 

Because I don’t wish to move on to a level where I can make God or Jesus or Christ out to be anything that I want them to be and then insist that there is no differentiation between the God that told the terrorists to fly the airplanes into the Twin Towers and the Father of Jesus.

 

>>If we as humans stop looking at others and measuring and comparing and judging, we see one Christ and a new world appears….

 

…in which it is okay for anyone to do anything they want to anyone they choose because we don’t want to compare or measure morality or make judgments about how we should treat each other.

 

If, Joseph, you really believe this line -- that we shouldn’t look at others, measure, compare, or judge, then why do you even participate here at TCPC? Everytime you read a post, you are looking somewhat at the person that wrote it, measuring their words, comparing your own perceptions, and making some type of judgment. So why do you do it is this is not the world you live in?

 

bill

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