Thursday, June 23, 2005

# 4: Long Overdue

Another aspect we must consider when attempting to put the Apostle Paul’s writings into context with our times was that most of his letters were written in response to personal church difficulties that are most likely irrelevant to our modern-day conditions. In other words, many of Paul’s teachings don’t address today’s needs and difficulties and are therefore, to a large degree, obsolete. Another reason why Paul’s Epistles give a different message than the Gospels is that the Gospels were not yet written at the time of Paul’s ministry. That could be the reason why Paul didn’t quote verbatim so much as one verse from Jesus’ teachings as presented in the Gospels, although he does mention (without quoting) the main aspect of all Christianity: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” However, he did quote one of Jesus’ sayings, though it is nowhere to be found in the gospels: “. . . remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:35.

Were there other accounts of Jesus’ ministry that were written before the Epistles that might have been lost or destroyed? What other explanation is there for this solitary quotation, as already mentioned, which cannot be found in the four Gospels?

As is apparent to most who look at God’s Book with concern over what is being passed off as Christianity, the complete New Testament needs a penetrating examination in an attempt—which is much overdue—to see if it is able to address the issues, conditions, challenges, and problems of the 21st century. Though “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever,” (Hebrews 13:8), we need and do have a versatile leader who can meet our need for a modern-day Christ. He is the one who can identify with all the distractions that our modern and affluent ways of life and advanced technology have bombarded us with. In other words, Christ meets every generation right where it is, without compromise or alteration of His holy ways.

Most anyone with a little spiritual insight into Godly matters knows for certain that the origin of a major problem with the Christian religion worldwide is that many have a perverted view (e.g. “I love me; who do you love?”) of our Holy Bible’s teaching. However, not many, if any, would concede to that accusation. Some of the blame can be placed on people who call themselves Christian but don’t believe the Bible.

Then another big portion of the blame for the despicable condition of Christianity—it turns stomachs—can be aimed at many who steadfastly belief that the Holy Bible is the infallible/inerrant Word of God; whether the New Testament is such or not can easily be disputed: which translation of the Bible is infallible, since there are many discrepancies from one translation to another? One such uncertainty is in Mark 16:9-20: this extremely important portion of Scripture is not present in two of the most reliable early manuscripts. Are these verses infallible?

On close examination, there are also many contradictions in the Gospels, thus giving a somewhat confused message. One probable explanation can be attributed to the fact that even though they were inspired by God, they were written by fallible men, many years after the fact, while relying mostly on memory. In my estimation, that fact doesn’t deface the overall logic behind them or of God’s truthfulness. As for the Epistles, it takes a lot of blind faith and much credulity to fashion the modern Christ-like walk in a verbatim fashion as they dictate.

Nevertheless, if anyone thinks he or she can pull a fast one on God, they are sorely mistaken. God capitalizes on these human errors by thwarting those who, in the name of God, attempt to use the Bible to substantiate their self-centered lives. He does this by giving these “grandiose” hypocrites all the rope they need and then some (contradictions) to hang themselves for exploiting the Christian Bible for self-betterment.

If people are serious about their religion, these short notes may infuriate many to the point where they desire to do this author physical harm. That is okay. Christ’s words and lifestyle angered the religious Jews of His time; that is the main reason they killed Him. The more religious people claim to be, then and now, the more irate and vexed they may become. Where do you stand?

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