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What Is The Essence Of The Way Of Jesus?


DaveS
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I am a progressive Christian universalist, but it often seems that we overintellectualize progressive Christianity and live it out of our head, rather than our hearts. I always think we need a much simpler and "to the pont" description for the common person.

 

Here is a short article I wrote.

 

What is the Essence of the Way of Jesus?

 

by David Salyers

 

The essence of the message of Jesus is very simple and the Good News of the Gospel can be understood by even a child.

 

Our focus needs to be on following Jesus by following what he taught - namely the radical grace of his Great Commandment - "Love God and Love one another" rather than Pharisee-style legalism which has become the standard in much that passes for Christianity.

 

In one of the most defining moments of his ministry, Jesus was asked which commandment was the greatest. Matthew 22:36-39 [Jesus], which is the great commandment in the law? And he said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.

 

In the Gospel of John, he reclarified the Great Commandment. Jesus said, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another" (John 13:34). Or as I like to put it - Love God through loving others in the same spirit as God's love for you.

 

A central tenet to my personal theology is the Rule of Love, which stated simply claims that if a person's actions are motivated by unselfish, sacrificial love and are not intentionally hurtful to others, such actions are in accordance with the teachings of Jesus and are, thus, lawful in the eyes of God. Therefore, I reject any so-called doctrines which contradict the Great Commandment of Jesus and the Rule of Love which is the practical application of the Great Commandment.

 

Salvation is not an afterlife focused process or a one-time event of having the "right beliefs". Salvation is being "saved" from our sinful nature - our tendency to be egocentric.By living the Way we help create the Kingdom of God on Earth. And obviously the "Way" is not a one-time event but an ongoing journey.

 

I believe this teaching of the Great Commandment of Jesus fulfills the intent of the Golden Rule and surpasses it with the higher intent of love.

 

"Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets." Matthew 7:12, King James Version. "And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise." Luke 6:31, King James Version.

 

My message is simple. Rather than focusing on what has divided us, let us focus on the essence of the Way of Jesus which is the hallmark of a true Friend of Jesus.

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Hi DaveS,

 

Let me be the first to welcome you to TCPC. Good to hear from you.

I would tend to agree with your assessment in that it " seems that we over intellectualize progressive Christianity and live it out of our head, rather than our hearts." While many may deem it important to have 'correct beliefs' it would seem to me that to follow 'the compassionate path' is far more important and says more than any words that come from our intellect.

 

Again welcome,

Joseph

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Dave, Thanks for posting. I like your article. The Great Commandment and your definition of salvation are good focus points. Jesus always calls us to be more than we are. Maybe you'd want to add some more information about who the others are we are to be loving. Jesus makes it clear it's not just those who love us.

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Dave, Thanks for posting. I like your article. The Great Commandment and your definition of salvation are good focus points. Jesus always calls us to be more than we are. Maybe you'd want to add some more information about who the others are we are to be loving. Jesus makes it clear it's not just those who love us.

 

Ah, yes, you mean the parable of the Good Samaritan?

 

We do seem to ignore what Jesus actually taught versus the contradictory messages taught by institutional Christianity - such as the doctrine of eternal damnation vs Jesus' parables about the Prodigal Son, the Lost Sheep, and the Lost Coin (plus referring to God as "Abba" and his definition of how many times we should forgive - which would hold people to a higher standard than God if one upheld the doctrine of eternal damnation).

 

For me, all of these things interrelate.

Edited by DaveS
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For me, too. I was just thinking you would need to explain further if you were to use your article for educational purposes.

 

Oh, I quite agree. I'm hoping that this is the approach (focusing on what Jesus is recorded saying in the four Synoptic Gospels) that they are using with the development of the TCPC children's curriculum. You are quite right that to discuss the Golden Rule and Great Commandment (implemented through the Rule of Love), one must clarify as to whom is our "neighbor" (Good Samaritan parable) - and a life lived in this way would look like the Sermon on the Mount. (Wouldn't this be what is really meant by following Jesus as "Lord"?) ;-)

 

This is the same approach that I think that TCPC and progressive churches should take when presenting progressive Christianity to others (often the articles seem a little like "preaching to the converted".)

 

My perspective anyways.

 

Dave

Edited by DaveS
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