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What is a Christian and how do you know if you are one? Sounds like an obvious question but it is far from obvious or simple. According to the 5 Fundamentals published in 1905 you may only consider yourself a Christian if you believe:
- Jesus Christ is God (the Deity of Christ)
- Jesus was born of virgin
- Scripture is inerrant (without error of any kind)
- Jesus died on the cross substituting for us and atoning for our sins.
- Jesus was physically resurrected and will personally return to Earth
If you disagree with one of these assertions, then you cannot call yourself a Christian according to the Fundamentalists. Do you think Jesus of Nazareth would agree with any of these fundamentals? I very much doubt it!
Can you be an authentic Christian without believing in any or all of these statements published by 10 old men in 1905?
I would submit that it would be difficult to be an authentic Christian if you did believe these 5 Fundamentals. So what is a Christian according to Rev. Dore’? Please remember that this is my theology; it does not have to be yours.
Yeshua Ben Nazareth, the man we call Jesus Christ, was never a Christian, not for one day of his life. He was born a Jew under the Mosaic Law, ordained a Rabbi by the High Priest Hillel, lived, preached and died a Jew under the Law. As such the idea of being the literal Son of God would be the worst kind of blasphemy, punishable by stoning.
The Master came to bring Light and Love to a world where might always made right, where the powerful exerted their will over the weak and where there was little hope for change or relief. He also came to humanize and bring compassion to Judaism; a noble religion grown arthritic with dogma, cannon law and the insistence on the letter of the Law, not the spirit. He came to save Judaism from itself; not to start a new religion. He did not come to atone for our sins by blood sacrifice but to bring the Love and Light of God to humankind.
The Jesus I know in my heart would never be a Christian today because he would understand that Christianity was just as encrusted with dogma, rules, judgement and an overbearing priestly class as was the Judaism of his day. He despised the High Priests and the Pharisees so we created new ones in Christianity. He despised all Law and no heart but we have excommunications, shunning, condemnation of those who travel their own spiritual path or are different.
The Master cared for the lowest and weakest of the people. He consorted and ate with tax collectors (the most despised people in Judea) , harlots, Lepers and even Roman Centurions; the oppressors of the Jews. Today, Christianity still condemns and ostracizes those God has created with different ways of expressing their humanity.
An authentic Christian cares little for dogma or ceremony or dress codes but cares deeply for his fellow human being. The authentic Christian cares nothing for parsing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin or whether Genesis is fact or creation myth but cares so deeply for a human in pain that when anyone cries out in hunger, pain or oppression they taste the salt of their tears.
The authentic Christian tries as best they can to live the teachings of Jesus. That is the glory and majesty of Christ’s ministry…..the teaching of tolerance, the belief in one Universal God for all humankind, the understanding that as we judge our brother or sister we judge ourselves. The authentic Christian understands that we all miss the mark, we all fall short and that compassion and understanding is far better than Hell Fire and Brimstone.
The authentic Christian walks, as much as possible, in the path of the Master Teacher of the World, Jesus the Christ, who led the first great spiritual revolution in history. That revolution is still going on but not in most Christian Churches today.
If you would understand the authentic Christian think of the congregation of the AME Church in Charleston, SC who watched with horror as their Pastor and 7 of their brothers and sisters were gunned down by a tortured soul. Not a word of condemnation passed their lips, they forgave the shooter and prayed for him.
How many of us could do that? How many Christians that you know could do that? These magnificent Christians suffered terrible horror and loss but would not retreat to the primitive “eye for an eye”; no they “turned the other cheek” and forgave. They did not talk about Christianity; they lived it!
I am a minister and I have done much good work but I cannot carry the shoes of the Pastor of that AME church in Charleston who taught her people the authentic Way of The Master and even in the most dire of situations her people embodied and lived those lessons. That is a true Christian teaching authentic Christianity.
I am a Religious Science Minister and most Christians would deny that I am a Christian because I cannot and do not subscribe to the 5 Fundamentals. But I do subscribe wholeheartedly to the Way of the Master; the teaching of Jesus The Christ and to me that makes me the very best and most authentic Christian.
May you walk in the footsteps of the Master each and every day of your life. God give you peace, prosperity and abundant health.
Rev. Dore’ Jacques Patlian, Sarasota, Florida Visit YouTube.com/revdore to enjoy my 125 video podcasts. Have a Dore’ Marathon!