Jesus… Good, Moral, Teacher? (Part 1)

CLEguardian

So here’s what typically happens in my conversations with non-Christians. Perhaps your experience is different. Perhaps you aren’t Christian and I’m completely misrepresenting your position. I am, however, perplexed and concerned that we in our day have lost any ability to honestly and accurately engage others in discussion on matters of significance. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, and continue to believe, it’s almost as if those claiming truth are discredited before evaluating their statements. I’m reminded of a couple quotes regarding the nature of truth and its exclusivity/offensiveness.

“To give truth to him who loves it not is to only give him more multiplied reasons for misinterpretation.”

George MacDonald 

“Yes, if truth is not undergirded by love, it makes the possessor of that truth obnoxious and the truth repulsive.”

Ravi Zacharias

It almost makes me want to write an entire post on the nature of “truth,” but I’ll leave that for another day. For the moment, I want to make the basic assumption that our lives are operating within a reality where truth applies, and that our decisions and actions naturally flow out of this reality. It distinctly applies when considering the claims of Christianity and on whom it is based.

Let me make this statement right out of the gate, lest anything I say beyond this point be an utter waste of time. Any description or display of Christianity that disregards, discredits, or disagrees with the scriptures (OR PERSON) upon which the entire faith hinges is NOT CHRISTIANITY. Call it a cult. Call it flat out wrong. Call it whatever you’d like, but you cannot establish your own interpretation of a faith utilizing the very doctrine with which you foundationally disagree. Even JESUS CHRIST held scriptures as Truth. How ludicrous that there are entire groups of professing “Christians” (yes, quotes) who fundamentally deviate from the beliefs of the Christ they follow. Even more ludicrous is the fact that (for the most part) we aren’t curious enough or Biblically literate enough to refute it. It’s not as simple as saying, “Well, this one group claims they are Christian, and harshly judges people… therefore, Christianity is false.”  Additionally, a fair and intellectually honest reading of the scriptures must be the starting point.  Otherwise, we are left with out of context arguments that reveal more about the skeptic than the actual documents.  In light of this, and in validation of my previous statements, I’ll go to scripture.

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (Paul)

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.”

Matthew 5:17-18 (Jesus)

Let’s be careful enough to consider context and the literature itself when evaluating this issue. I’m continually saddened that both those who proclaim Christianity and those who do not accept it will readily engage secondary claims, hypocrisy, or misrepresented positions rather than tackle the very specific and primary claims. The silver lining to all of this is that we have the documents Christianity claims are Truth. And if that doesn’t give one enough cannon fodder to refute the actual claims of Christ… the actual writers of this material made statements like Paul did in one of his letters to the church in Corinth.

“Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?  But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.  And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.”

1 Corinthians 15:12-14

For as much as I’d love to believe that the Biblical accounts are ONLY a moral guide for living, I’m afraid that would be contrary to nearly the entire collection of writings. It seems that Paul ran into the same issues in the first century that we do today. I would hope at this point we could all agree that the statements by Jesus and the Apostles regarding the tenants of the Christian faith were intended to be truthful and correspond to reality and personal experience. Otherwise, the entire thing is a sham… rubbish… futile. Maybe now, instead of considering only certain claims of Jesus and disregarding others, we can evaluate all of them in the context of a cumulative and cohesive appraisal of reality, which I hope to do in the next post.

What exactly do we do with the claims of Jesus?

Was he really just a good, moral teacher?

Can that reasonably be concluded given what the documents actually say?

Check out Part 2

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2 thoughts on “Jesus… Good, Moral, Teacher? (Part 1)

  1. DID THE 1ST CENTURY CHURCH HAVE NEW TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES? BY STEVE FINNELL

    The prevailing thought of many is that since the Bible was not canonized until sometime between 300 and 400 A.D. that the church of Christ did not have New Covenant Scriptures as their guide for faith and practice. That is simply factually incorrect.

    The Lord’s church of the first 400 years did not rely on the man-made traditions of men for New Testament guidance.

    Jesus gave the terms for pardon 33 A.D. after His death and resurrecting. (Mark 16:16) All the words of Jesus were Scripture.Jesus did not have to wait for canonization of the New Testament in order for His word to be authorized.

    The terms for pardon were repeated by the apostle Peter 33 A.D. on the Day of Pentecost. (Acts 2:22-42) The teachings of the apostles were Scripture. The words of the apostles were Scripture before they were canonized.

    The apostle Peter said the apostle Paul’s words were Scripture. (2 Peter 3:15-16…just as also our beloved brother Paul , according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, 16 as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand,which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures…

    The apostle Paul’s letters and words were Scriptures when he wrote and spoke them. Paul did not have to wait for canonization to authorize his doctrine.

    John 14:25-26 ‘These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to you remembrance all that I said to you.

    The words and writings of the apostles were Scripture and they did not have to wait for canonization to be deemed authoritative. The apostle did not use man-made creed books of the church or man-made oral traditions to teach the gospel of the New Covenant.

    Did the early church have written New testament Scriptures? Yes, and they were shared among the different congregations. (Colossians 4:16 When the letter is read among you, have it read in the church of the Laodiceans and you, for your part read my letter that is coming from Laodica.) Paul’s letters were Scripture and they were read in different churches.

    They were New Testament Scriptures long before they were canonized.

    WRITTEN

    Matthew A.D. 70
    Mark A.D. 55
    Luke between A.D. 59 and 63
    John A.D. 85
    Acts A.D. 63
    Romans A.D. 57
    1 Corinthians A.D. 55
    2 Corinthians A.D. 55
    Galatians A.D. 50
    Ephesians A.D. 60
    Philippians A.D. 61
    Colossians A. D. 60
    1 Thessalonians A.D. 51
    2 Thessalonians A.D. 51 or 52
    1 Timothy A.D. 64
    2 Timothy A.D. 66
    Titus A.D. 64
    Philemon A.D. 64
    Hebrews A.D. 70
    James A.D. 50
    1 Peter A.D. 64
    2 Peter A.D. 66
    1 John A.D. 90
    2 John A.d. 90
    3 John A.D. 90
    Jude A.D. 65
    Revelation A.D. 95

    All 27 books of the New Testament were Scripture when they were written. They did not have wait until they were canonized before they became God’s word to mankind.

    Jesus told the eleven disciples make disciples and teach them all that He commanded. (Matthew 28:16-19) That was A.D. 33, They were teaching New Covenant Scripture from A.D. 33 forward. The apostles did not wait to preach the gospel until canonization occurred 300 to 400 years later.

    THE WORDS OF JESUS AND THE APOSTLES WERE SCRIPTURE WHEN THEY WERE SPOKEN AND WRITTEN. THEY DID NOT HAVE TO WAIT FOR CANONIZATION TO BE THE AUTHORIZED WORD OF GOD.

    MAN-MADE CREED BOOKS AND MAN-MADE ORAL TRADITION WAS AND IS NOT SCRIPTURE.

    YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY BLOG. http//:steve-finnell.blogspot.com

    Like

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