Originally posted by Melesi:
It is not quite true that no one knows what Israelite religion was like. Susan Niditch has written abou tit, as has Ranier Albertz (two volumes of it, in fact), and Miller, Hanson, and McBride wrote about it in 1987. These volumes all agree that Israel did not exist in a vacuum, and that its religion developed over a long period and through the three great eras in Israel's life--before the monarchy, the monarchy, and post-exilic--but it had a religious life that can be known, if from a distance and somewhat darkly.
Here again, the assumption of what Israel was as a 'religion'. Why do you perceive the Law of Moses as religion? Where do you find religion in the OT? What did it consist of? I am not religious and I follow the Law. I require no tutoring in how to worship God. What sort of tutoring did the Israelites need that would constitute religion?
I agree with you, souldoctor, that what is Christianity now is different from what it was in the first century and even different from his desires for us. But "different" is not necessarily "bad" or "wrong." Doesn't it depend on the kind of difference? Difference in style is not difference in substance, for example.
Based upon whose standards? What Christianity is now is nothing like what Christianity was in the first century; the Dead Sea Scrolls prove that. The Gnostic Gospels are a whole class of apocrypha excluded from the Roman bible. Do you agree with the Catholic Canon that they should have been? Or do you think that was God's will? Have you read the Gnostic gospels or any of the Dead Sea Scrolls? There is much difference in substance between them and the Greek New Testament Jesus, but the average Christian is not aware of it.
And to recognize jesus as the Son of God is to recognize him as he was, as he was recognized by his disciples even before his ascension.
There is only one story of Jesus and the Apostles in the New Testament. Do you know how the books of the New Testament were decided on? Do you know how many other 'new testament' books there are concerning Jesus and his apostles? He recognized himself in a few different ways besides the one you read in the New Testament. Have you read about Jesus anywhere else yet?
He was "equal" with us in one sense, that God the Father is God. But he stressed also his need to go to jerusalem and die, his mission here on earth--which he mentioned from time to time--and that he was the only way to the Father, something which is not true of anyone else.
Again, part of the Roman version of events. You read what they wanted you to read. You trust in Rome's conclusion and the 'authenticity' of their bible, and are ignorant of the NT apocrypha and OT Pseudepigrapha they excluded. There is more than enough of them to fill a separate bible just on Israel and Jesus alone. With more books than the 66 books the KJV contains. Investigate it.
It is also not quite true that Christians do not embody the humble aspect of Jesus' teaching. Many do not, but then many are young in the faith and have much to learn, and some have stopped trying to learn anything at all. But there are also many who strive to learn to be as much as possible as Jesus was. You haven't forgotten Mother Teresa, for example? Or any of the contemplatives, or any of those who seriously try to embody all that Jesus said? These last are the quiet ones, the ones who mind their own business and help their neighbor and give at least ten percent of their income to help the Church and the poor, who practice hospitality and who help and give, sometimes at risk to themselves. Because they do not do so to gain attention, it is easy to overlook them. "Most Christians do not embody this aspect of Jesus' teaching" is not a true statement. I would guess that you do not try to live among "most Christians" to see just how they live?
Actually, I was born into a Baptist family and raised up Pentecostal. I converted to the Church of Christ at the age of 19. I left religion less than a year ago. In that time I lived among my family, among whom Christians are the greater majority, as personal witness to their ignorance. As well as their false embodiment of Jesus. So yes, I have lived among them. My grandfather runs his own church and has done so for the better part of 50 years. My father is assistant pastor of his church and an active preacher. So not only do I live among them, they live and worship among me. I have first hand experience. From childhood. I know what I see.
"There is no attention paid to living righteously and godly."
That is simply not true. Most of the sermons on a Sunday deal just with that matter. Listen to James Dobson's Focus on the Family radio show for a while and you will find that the theme of many of his broadcasts. See what kinds of classes churches are offering, and you will find classes on abstinence, marriage and family (meaning faithfulness, self-denial, and service to others), and how to live a truly Christian life the "glorifies" or "honors God." This is what takes up most of the Church instruction time, in fact. And there are small groups devoted to helping one another do what is right before God.
I cannot bear to listen to Christian broadcasts of any type. These religious figureheads are exposed examples of everything Christianity is not. Their wealth marks them. Jesus was a pauper if I ever saw one, and their lavish lifestyles are those of the wealthy and privileged. And the homeless still sleep in the streets, the hungry children go unfed, but their bank accounts continue to rise into the multiple millions. Please.
I'm not sure what your sentence, "If the clergy lead by example, then the words of their new testament condemn them. Their fruits mark them for what they are" means. If the clergy "lead by example," doesn't that mean that they are doing what they are supposed to do? Could you explain what you mean here?
I touched on this subject above. As for leading by example, there should be no preacher leading a church convicted of any criminal act. Period. There is absolutely no excuse for this. A man of such a 'devout' and 'religious' nature should in no wise fall victim to the material desires of the world. He is supposed to be withdrawn from that. Even more so above that of his whole congregation. His dishonor is their own shame and embarrassment. Yet they sit there like innocent, blind sheep. Because that is exactly what they are. 'Ye shall know them by their fruits', these false prophets and ravening wolves. Leaders of the Christian churches. Examples to their congregations as disciples of Jesus. Maybe there are wolves among the sheep, but they are not supposed to be LEADERS of them!
t a Christian" is obvious. "Christian" means a follower of Christ and was coined in the city of Antioch, probably by non-Christians. Jesus was not a follower of himself. Besides, the name really doesn't matter. Early Christians were also called "People of the Way," and they were the same people. So whatever they are called is only a matter of style and doesn't really matter.
The word 'Christ' is Greek for 'messiah', as in the Hebrew 'messiah' of Israel. So every time you say Jesus Christ, you are actually saying Jesus Messiah, Messiah Jesus. Messiah, messiah, messiah. Messiahians. In Greek. As in the Greek New Testament, as in Rome. As in paganistic empire. As in Mithra.
The Roman Church didn't pick Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus being the Messiah was the reason that there were Christians in Jerusalem long before there was a Roman Church. Teh message of Jesus the Messiah went to Rome and started the Church there, so the Roman Church couldn't have "picked" Jesus as the Messiah since it was created by the same message of Jesus as Messiah as created the other branches of the Church. It isn't "Do we agree with Rome?" but rather "Does Rome agree with the message of Jesus?"
Oh no? Why is Israel not under a King? Why is Jesus dead? Why is the earth still covered with the wicked? Why are Christians waiting for Jesus to come back to save them, when he never even saved his own people? Or didn't you know that the prophesied messiah of Israel was to accomplish this? The story goes, according to the NT, 'he went to the gentiles because his own accepted him not'. But the prophecy of the OT never changed since the ink dried. The Messiah would rule over Israel, gather them from the dispersion, and in his days, the earth and the wicked would be consumed in flames. Now, the Greek New Testament left this part out, but the OT left it all in. Jesus is not your Messiah, or Israel's.
Do we? Then the question of Christianity becomes crucial.
I agree completely.
"Hear, O heavens, and listen, O earth; for the LORD has spoken: I reared up children and brought them up, but they have rebelled agaist me. The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master's crib; but Israel does not know, My people do not understand."