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Posts Tagged ‘church councils’

From MJ:
 
 
Dear Liberal Preacher,
 
I believe Jesus was a good man and I follow his teachings, but I don’t know or care if he was the son of God.   Again I do follow his teachings because they are the right thing to do; so am I condemned to hell?
 
MJ
 
 
Dear MJ,
 
Like you, I too find much about Jesus that is appealing.  (For the record, there are a few texts in the gospels which reveal a Jesus who either was having a bad day or a Jesus we should not imitate.  Yeah, we’ve got to be honest about those texts too.)
 
And like you, I’m sure I don’t have Jesus’ personhood, Christology, etc. all figured out.  I’m also sure the people who think they are sure shouldn’t be so sure.
 
So no, you aren’t going to hell.  Hell doesn’t exist.
 
As for Jesus being the son of God (or Son of God), well, we really can’t even be 100% sure of what “Son of God” means.   I will not get into all the scholarship on this matter.  What I will do is encourage you to read Bart Ehrman’s Lost Christianities and you will discover just how diverse early Christianity was, including diversity on who Jesus was.  The diversity will astound you.
 
Before closing, I also want to mention a guy by the name of Arius (AD 256 – 336).  The first ecumenical council of the church, the First Council of Nicaea, excommunicated the fellah because they didn’t like his understanding of Jesus.   That’s what the church does with folk who don’t sign  on the dotted line; they excommunicate them.  And, the church sends them to hell.
 
I’m a Baptist.  We are not creedal.  (Some Baptists have not figured this out yet.)  I will not sign on any dotted line, including that of The First Council of Nicea or any other church council.
 
Or put another way, it’s good to have you as my Jesus-sister.
 
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From Dottie:

Dear Liberal Preacher,

“If one wants to believe in heaven, but has a problem with the bible contradicting itself, does that person call himself/herself a Christian or just a spiritual person?”

Dottie

 

Dear Dottie,

There is a growing number of people who want to be spiritual but don’t care for the baggage of being Christian.

There also is an an increasing number of Christians who are jumping at the bit to tell other Christians they are not Christians.  If you don’t believe like me, then……….then you aren’t a Christian, they say.  That’s their little illusion and their propaganda.

Don’t believe a word of it.  Just because a loud mouthed Christian/preacher says you are not a Christian or just because a church council says you are not a Christian does not make it so.

Christians have believed diverse things about God and scripture from the beginning of Christianity.  Conservative Christians don’t want you to know church history.  I mean, how can you read ten minutes of church history and not see major differences among the Christians?  And as for biblical contradictions, early church figures, unlike many modern Christians, at least fessed up to problems in biblical interpretation.  I’m not saying I like their “solutions,” but at least they fessed up.

Dottie, I, like you, believe in heaven and am honest about contradictions in the Bible.  I have friends who are spiritual but not Christian.  Hope you will join me in staying Christian.  The world needs some honest Christians. 

Yes, definitely yes, you can be a Christian and be honest about biblical contradictions.  In fact, I would argue that if you aren’t honest about biblical contradictions you aren’t being the Christian God and the world needs you to be.  I hope and pray the Christians don’t believe and live certain biblical texts or the world is in trouble.

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