The Christian Church is Not Christian

The Holy Bible

The Christian Church is not Christian

There, I’ve said it.

And it needs to be said.

Religions and churches are distinguished from each other primarily by their beliefs, and by the way their adherents live as guided by those beliefs. Most religions get their beliefs from their sacred literature, and from their great spiritual leaders and teachers.

Hinduism follows the Vedas, particularly the Upanishads.

Buddhism follows the teachings of Gautama Buddha.

Judaism follows the teachings of the books of Moses and the rest of the Hebrew Bible, as interpreted and expanded by many rabbinic teachers over the centuries.

Islam follows the teachings in the Qur’an, as delivered by its great prophet, Muhammad.

And Christianity follows the teachings of Jesus Christ in the Gospels, and of the Bible as a whole.

Only it doesn’t.

None of the key teachings of the vast bulk of Christian churches are taught anywhere in the Bible. Jesus Christ himself did not teach any of the beliefs that these churches have set up as their primary, distinguishing doctrines.

Are some of their members Christians? Certainly, if they live according to the teachings of Jesus Christ.

But the churches themselves are not Christian. They have long since abandoned the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Bible in favor of doctrines that human theologians and councils have invented over the centuries.

Let’s look at some of the major non-Christian teachings that are at the center of these “Christian” churches.

The Trinity of Persons is Not a Christian Teaching

The Trinity of Persons is not a Christian teaching.

The Trinity of Persons is taught by the vast bulk of churches that call themselves Christian, including the Orthodox churches in the Eastern tradition, and the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant churches in the Western tradition. In that loose sense, it could be called a “Christian” doctrine. But the Trinity of Persons is not taught by Jesus Christ in the Gospels, and it is not taught anywhere else in the Bible.

The Trinity of Persons did not come from the Bible. It came from various human theologians and councils, probably starting in the late second or early third century. It became official church doctrine at the First Council of Nicaea in the year 325 AD. This council was called by the Roman emperor Constantine, who personally presided over it.

Historians commonly say that Constantine, who was born and raised as a pagan polytheist, was the first Christian emperor, and converted the Roman Empire to Christianity. It would be more accurate to say that under Constantine, Christianity converted to pagan polytheism. Ever since, Christianity has worshiped three gods, called God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, while giving lip service to the idea that there is one God.

That’s why the Christian Church is not Christian. All of its other non-Christian beliefs are based on this fundamental belief in three gods.

For more on this please see:

The Idea that Jesus’ Death Satisfied God the Father is Not Christian

Not long after the Great Schism that divorced Eastern and Western Christianity from each other in the year 1054, a new idea originated within the Western branch of Christianity. It was first presented in a book called Cur Deus Homo (“Why God was a Man”), whose author was a Catholic monk named Anselm. At the time he wrote the book, Anselm was serving as the archbishop of Canterbury in England.

Anselm was not happy with the theory of atonement that had reigned in Christianity for the first thousand years of its existence. That theory, sometimes called Christus Victor (“Christ the Victor”), held that Jesus saved us by defeating the Devil and thereby freeing us from slavery to the power of evil and sin.

In Cur Deus Homo, Anselm makes an elaborate rational argument in support of an entirely new theory, which became known as the satisfaction theory of atonement. God, Anselm argued, was offended by human sin, and required restitution for it. But fallen and sinful humans, he said, are not capable of providing that restitution. Therefore God’s Son, Jesus Christ, made the required restitution through his death on the cross. This death satisfied God’s need for restitution, thus redeeming sinful humans.

In Western Christianity, this new theory of atonement replaced the original Christian belief based on the Bible’s portrayal of Christ’s victory over the Devil. After Anselm originated satisfaction theory, it was further developed by theologians such as Peter Abelard and Thomas Aquinas into the present-day Catholic doctrine of atonement.

After the second great schism in Christianity, in which Protestantism divorced itself from the Roman Catholic Church, theologians such as Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Charles Hodge developed a distinctly Protestant form of satisfaction theory known as penal substitution. This is the idea that by his death on the cross Jesus Christ paid the penalty for human sins, thus satisfying God’s wrath at human beings for their sinfulness, and redeeming people who accept this “vicarious atonement” by having faith in Jesus.

There’s only one problem with satisfaction theory and its penal substitution variant: Jesus Christ does not teach it in the Gospels, nor does the Bible teach it anywhere else. That’s why Anselm used rational, not biblical, arguments to propose it in the first place.

The Bible never says that Christ’s death on the cross satisfied God’s justice, nor does it ever say that Christ paid the penalty for our sins. In fact, the Bible flatly rejects the whole idea that the suffering or punishment of an innocent person (in this case, Jesus Christ) could make up for the sins of a guilty person.

For more on this, please see:

In short, the Catholic and Protestant teaching that by his death on the cross God the Son satisfied the justice, or the wrath, of God the Father is not a Christian teaching.

That’s another reason why the Catholic and Protestant churches are not Christian, even if some of their members are.

The Belief that Only Christians are Saved is Not Christian

What could be more Christian than believing that you have to be a Christian and believe in Jesus Christ in order to be saved? Almost all of the “Christian” churches have taught this for hundreds or even thousands of years.

But this belief is not Christian

It is not Christian because it is not taught by Jesus Christ in the Gospels, nor is it taught anywhere else in the Bible. In fact, the two most prominent teachers in the New Testament, the Apostle Paul and Jesus Christ himself, both give very clear teachings about how non-Christians are saved.

Traditional Christians point to a number of verses in the Bible to support their idea that only Christians are saved. But even though some of these verses sort of sound like they say that, if you read them carefully and in context, you will find that they don’t actually say that only Christians are saved.

How could they, when in Matthew 25:31–46 Jesus teaches very clearly that people of all nations (not just the Christian nations) will go to eternal life if they do deeds of kindness for their fellow human beings in need? How could they, when in Romans 2:1–16 Paul teaches very clearly how Jews, “Greeks” (pagan polytheists) and Gentiles—none of whom are Christians—are saved through Jesus Christ if they do good deeds according to their own conscience?

As strange as it may sound, the fact that many churches teach that only Christians are saved is yet another reason why those churches are not Christian. They have rejected the teachings of Jesus and his Apostles about who is saved, and have substituted their own human ideas.

For more on this, please see:

Faith Alone is Not Christian

Four or five centuries after Anselm originated the non-Christian satisfaction theory of atonement, another Catholic monk, Martin Luther, originated his own non-Christian theory: justification by faith alone. Ever since then, Protestants of every denomination have viewed salvation by faith alone as the most important teaching of the Bible.

Except the Bible doesn’t teach it.

In fact, the term “faith alone” appears only once in the Bible, and in that one place it is specifically rejected:

You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. (James 2:24)

That’s why Martin Luther made an effort to remove the book of James from the Bible, along with three other New Testament books. Fortunately, he didn’t succeed. However, his Protestant followers have written thousands of sermons and articles crammed full of ingenious arguments as to why James didn’t really mean what he said.

If somewhere else the Bible did say that we are justified by faith alone, there might be some basis for their arguments. But it doesn’t. Neither Jesus nor Paul nor any other teacher in the New Testament says that we are saved by faith alone. Paul could have said it. He had the vocabulary and the writing skill to say it. But he never did say it. That’s because Paul believed no such thing.

And that’s why no Christian for the first 1,500 years of Christian history believed that we are saved by faith alone. It wasn’t until Luther invented this idea as the doctrinal cornerstone of his break from the Roman Catholic Church that an entire branch of Christianity came to believe this unbiblical and non-Christian doctrine.

The simple fact of the matter is that not only do Jesus and the Bible as a whole not teach this doctrine, but the Bible specifically rejects it. That’s why churches that teach this doctrine are not Christian.

For more on this, please see:

Christians Follow the Teachings of Jesus Christ

There are many more doctrines taught by traditional Christian churches that Jesus never taught, and that are not taught anywhere else in the Bible. But this should be enough to establish that the churches that claim to be Christian are Christian in name only. The reality is that these churches are not Christian at all. Over the centuries they have abandoned the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Bible, and have replaced them with human ideas and traditions

Many Protestants even have the audacity to argue that there is no need to listen to the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels because, they claim, they are part of the Old Covenant, and do not apply to people living under the New Covenant. By openly rejecting Jesus’ teachings, they are passing judgment upon themselves that they are not Christians. Christians follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.

The Christian Church is not Christian. It has stepped right into the shoes of the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, of whom Christ himself said in Matthew 15:6–9:

So, for the sake of your tradition, you make void the word of God. You hypocrites! Isaiah prophesied rightly about you when he said:

This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching human precepts as doctrines.

For the sequel to this article, please see:

The Christian Church is Coming to an End

For further reading:

About

Lee Woofenden is an ordained minister, writer, editor, translator, and teacher. He enjoys taking spiritual insights from the Bible and the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg and putting them into plain English as guides for everyday life.

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Posted in All About God, The Bible Re-Viewed
22 comments on “The Christian Church is Not Christian
  1. Vitaly says:

    Agreed

  2. Christopher Holm says:

    Hi Lee, I agree with how you have detailed several ways in which Christian Churches are not Christian. One thing that I recently discovered is that Justification by Faith alone, although it was a touchstone of Luther’s Reformation was something that was being discussed in the literature of the Holy Catholic Church prior to the Reformation. In The Mirror of Simple Souls, by Marguerite Porete first published @1300 AD Marguerite writes this about Faith Alone:

    “That they save themselves by faith without works,” and “that they can no more work,” it is not meant they they cease from all good works for evermore, and never do any work, but sit in sloth and idleness of soul and body; for those who take it so, they misunderstood it; but it is thus. God is enhabited in them and worketh in them, and these souls suffer him to work his divine works in them. What this work is, and how it is, love showeth it in this book; and whatever the bodies of these souls do of outward deed, the souls that be thus high set, take not so great regard to these works that they save themselves thereby, but only trust to the goodness of God, and so they save them by faith, and believe not nor trust not in their own works, but in all, in God’ goodness.” pg. 30 and 31.

    By which I believe the author speaks of such a total and complete trust in God that any good works done must be ascribed to God at work within the individual. So that the individual would take no credit for the work that God does through them.

    Thank you, again for above blog entry. I have already shared it with a friend!

    • Lee says:

      Hi Chris,

      Good to hear from you again, old friend. Glad you enjoyed the article.

      After Martin Luther invented the doctrine of justification by faith alone, an army of Protestants went through centuries of Christian literature with a fine-toothed comb looking for it there. Of course, they found it—even though it wasn’t there. Just as they found it in the Bible even though it isn’t there.

      When Paul spoke of being justified by faith without “works,” he meant “the works of the Law,” as he made clear elsewhere, and is clear from the context every time he says it. In other words, he meant that it was not necessary to be an observant Jew. He also meant that we are now saved by an inner dedication to the Lord and to doing the Lord’s will, rather than by mere external observances that may or may not have an inner attitude of faith in the Lord behind them.

      The quote from Marguerite Porete is saying the same thing. It doesn’t say that we are saved by faith alone, or even that we are saved by faith without good works (something Paul never says). It says that the good works we do come from the Lord working in us, and not from our own selves. If we think the good works come from ourselves, then we are taking credit for them—credit that belongs to the Lord, who gives us both the ability and the power to do those good works. He is the vine, we are the branches. Without him we can do nothing.

      • Christopher Holm says:

        Exactly. What Marguerite is saying struck me as both true and beautiful.

        Some would say that the church made Paul into an enigma by including books in the Canon of the New Testament that were not penned by Paul but ascribed to him non-the-less. We have the Paul of Galatians who makes a strong statement of equality, “There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28.

        Yet in the book,1st Corinthians, Just one chapter apart we get Paul’s famous “Love” Quote: 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

        4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

        Followed In the very next chapter by:

        1 Corinthians 14:34 “Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says.” And again in 1 Timothy 2:12-13 “And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.”

        Though I digress, and am off topic, for which I apologize, might I ask; what is up with Paul?

        • Lee says:

          Hi Chris,

          Paul was a complicated character.

          Also, as you say, scholars think that only about half of the letters attributed to Paul in the New Testament were actually written by him. This makes things even more complicated. However, even if they weren’t written by Paul, it’s fairly likely they were written under his influence, and some of them might have even been written under his direction.

          For the big picture on Paul, please see:

          Jesus Changed Paul’s World

          It is a mistake to read Paul—as many Christians do—with the idea that Paul was intending to write scriptures to be read thousands of years into the future. No. He was writing letters to various churches and individuals. Those letters dealt largely with specific issues, disturbances, questions, and debates that were going on in the individual churches and in the general body of the early Christian church. If he (or his followers) write different things to different churches, that probably reflects the issues and cultures in the particular churches. Reading these bits of advice given in specific situations at a specific time and place in history as if they are grand pronouncements intended to stand for all times in all cultures is a serious mistake.

          About his views on women and marriage, this, too, is in the context of a particular culture. In that culture, it was simply assumed that women were of lower status than men, and subject to men’s will. That’s just how the culture worked. It never entered people’s minds to question it. So when Paul talks about women being submissive to men, not teaching men, and so on, the subtext is that he is telling his followers to behave properly, according to the idea of proper behavior that existed in that culture. Once again, reading these statements as if they are grand, over-arching pronouncements meant to stand for all times, in all cultures, is a serious mistake. For more on this, please see:

          “Wives, submit to your husbands.”

          There is plenty more that could be said about Paul, but this is enough for now. I hope you find the linked articles helpful.

    • Doug Webber says:

      The problem with this Protestant explanation of works (apart from the fact they did not know Paul for the most part was speaking of the works of the Mosaic rituals) is that Protestants still have a tendency now to make the will of the person PASSIVE. And they wait for some external force to move their hands. The explanation is, the Holy Spirit does the work through us, and emphasis is still placed on trust, belief, that is mere thinking that something is true.

      What is missed, and Swedenborg emphasized, is that we must do AS IF from ourselves, but recognize that it is God who works through us as He is the sole source of good, not our egos. The point is, we are not just a brain, but God gave us a body for a reason – to act upon the truth. Then the door is opened.

      Trusting that factual knowledge is true does not save. When you act upon it in what you do in life, by being useful and of service to others, then that saves.

  3. Dennis Studd says:

    since the gospel of the death of the Christ is revealed in the very first Hebrew word of the Bible I cannot agree with that aspect a[though I agree with your statement regarding the churches. Similarly, the Trinity appears in the first chapter of the book of Leviticus so that is why I a, a Trinitarian.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Dennis,

      Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment. Certainly Christ’s death was a part of his saving work. But pinning all of redemption and salvation on the crucifixion is not biblical. Especially when it leads to ignoring everything he taught during his life, as many Protestants do.

      The first word of the Hebrew bible is breshith, “In the beginning.” Leviticus 1 provides the first round of instructions on offering sacrifices to the Lord. I do not see how these have anything to do with the Trinity. The Christian Trinity does not appear in the Old Testament.

  4. OLA ILORI says:

    “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures…” 1 Cor.15:1-4]

    Hi Lee, Great article! I’m in total agreement with it. Many are now using the above text as a cornerstone of salvation without fully understanding what it means. The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus is proof to all Mankind that He is indeed the Lord and God of all heaven and earth. This is what we must believe in order to receive eternal life. Eternal life IS the love of God, in our souls, that enables us to obey the Lord’s commandments. Obeying the Lord’s commandments is how the love of God manifests itself is us. We cannot love the Lord Jesus Christ, by keeping His commandments unless we have His life flowing continuously into our souls from His very Person.

    Believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, is how we’re born of the Spirit of God. This is how we receive the love of God we need to keep God’s commandments. This is why John said: “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God…For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” [1 John 5:1,3]

    The Lord’s commandments are not burdensome, which means they’re not difficult to keep. Why? Because the love of God that we need to keep them is being given to us by the Lord Himself. We must BELIEVE in order to OBEY. Christians who don’t obey are NOT believing in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ at all.

    For when we truly believe, we receive the gift of eternal life, which is the love of God, to obey God’s commandments! “…this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.” [1John 5:3]

    The Lord said: He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me…If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word…” [John 14:21,23]

    We can only love the Lord with the very love that He Himself gives us AFTER believing that He IS the Christ, Son of God, the One Who died, was buried and rose again the third day to breath the breathe of eternal life into our very souls, just like He did to the disciples. “So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” [John 20:21,22]

    Those who think that believing has replaced obeying are very much mistaken. Paul did not teach this. The law that has been abolish, which Paul often wrote about, are the rituals of the law. These are the Laws to do animal sacrifices and circumcisions. In Christ, we’re not under these laws. We are, however, expected to keep the ten commandments. In Christ these commandments have been summarised into two! We’re to love our Lord and God, Jesus Christ and we’re to love our neighbour as ourselves. The keeping of God’s commandments is the evidence that we have eternal life now. It’s the proof that the love of God is flowing into our hearts through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.”…the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” [Rom.5:5]

    • Lee says:

      Hi Ola Ilori,

      Thanks for stopping by, and for your good thoughts. I’m glad you found the article congenial and enlightening. Godspeed on your spiritual journey!

  5. Vitaly says:

    Hi Lee,
    Swedenborg in “Arcana Caelestia” mentioned different churches that existed during human history: Spiritual Church, Ancient Church, Jewish Church and so on. As far as I understand, a need for a new church appeared because a man during his history more and more distanced himself from God. A man couldn’t understand the teaching of a previous Church, and he needed to get simplified and rude teaching, i.e. new church. Is that so? If so, then current people need more simplified teaching than e.g. Apostolic Church. So, we should not be very happy due to the fact that New church appeared, because it means that a man degraded and a church appeared appropriate to his degraded feelings and understanding. What do you think?

    P.S. What are terms of use for the blog? Is it allowed to republish or translate your posts? Who are the authors? – a person who posted?

    • Lee says:

      Hi Vitaly,

      In response to your questions about the blog:

      All of the articles here are original pieces written mostly by me. I say “mostly” because my wife Annette has written a few sections of a few articles, although she will not allow me to credit her. She also reads and edits most, but not all, of the articles before they go live.

      General copyright law does cover the material here. However, we do not mind if material here is occasionally republished for special purposes as long it is not for sale or profit. We ask that the author be listed as Lee Woofenden, and that a prominent link be provided back to the original article. However, we much prefer that other websites publish only excerpts, and refer the reader to the original article for the full version.

      An exception is translating the articles into another language for non-English-speaking audiences. However, even in this case we ask that the translation include a prominent link back to the original article here on Spiritual Insights for Everyday Life. And of course, it should still not be for commercial, for-profit use, such as publishing it in a book and selling it.

      Our main goal is that this material reach a wide audience. But it is best, I believe, to send people to the original source rather than shunting them off to secondary sources. For example, the articles here are heavily cross-linked to related articles so that readers who are interested in the subject can continue to learn more if they wish.

      • Vitaly says:

        Thank you Lee,
        Maybe I will publish Russian translation of this article or other your post, I don’t know for now, because my website is not about religion or philosophy and only a few people would read it. Anyway I will let you know if I publish.

        • Lee says:

          Hi Vitaly,

          Yes, that would be fine. Just let me know, and do please link back to the original article.

          Speaking of Russian, in case you aren’t already aware of it, a number of Swedenborg’s works have been translated into Russian, and are available online here:

          https://newchristianbiblestudy.org/swedenborg/?l=363

        • Vitaly says:

          Hi Lee,
          I know about newchristianbiblestudy.org and looked into Russian, English and Latin texts there. Unfortunately some Russian translations of Swedenborg use strange Russian language: with archaisms, polonisms, one original Latin term (e.g. usus, affectio, influxus) can be translated with different Russian words in one text, etc.

        • Lee says:

          Hi Vitaly,

          This is a common problem in translations of Swedenborg’s works into various languages. Even many of the old English translations are hard to read for ordinary English speakers.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Vitaly,

      Now to answer your main question.

      Yes, Swedenborg spoke of a series of spiritual ages of humanity, though the idea is not original to him. In Swedenborg’s schema, there have been four previous ages, and we are now at the beginning of the fifth and final age. You can read more about them in these two articles:

      Why did God Wait So Long to Come Down as Christ?

      “The World is Going to Hell in a Handbasket!”

      It’s a little more complicated—and hopeful—than each age being worse than the last. That was true for the first three, up to the time of the Incarnation. But since then, humanity has been going up rather than down.

      However, Swedenborg does say that each individual age goes through a series represented by the seasons or the time of day, starting with dawn, moving to midday, then declining to evening and finally ending in a spiritual night time before the dawn of the next age. This was so, he said, for the earliest (traditionally “most ancient”) age or “church,” the ancient, the Israelitish/Jewish, and the (first) Christian age.

      Apparently the new church that is now beginning, represented by the New Jerusalem in the book of Revelation, will not have that kind of decline. However, there’s still an awful lot of human history in front of us. Our great-great-great-great-great-great grandchildren might have a word or two to say about this!

  6. Ebon Kim says:

    When I talk to “Christians”, I typically ask what it takes to be a “Christian”. Of course, there’s a lot of different answers, but the general gist is:
    Jesus Christ died for our sins, resurrected, and was the son of God, and God.
    So many questions to ask, so little answers. No need to answer these, I’m just giving out examples.
    “So, if he resurrected, where is he now?”
    “Did Jesus become anointed after his resurrection, or before? If he was anointed before, how did people know he was God before his resurrection? If he was anointed after, and was the son of God, and himself God, then why would he need to be anointed? Who anointed Jesus, anyway?”
    “What did Jesus teach? Is Jesus’s death and resurrection more important than his teachings? Why isn’t ‘Christianity’ about Jesus’s teachings, instead of his death and resurrection?”
    “Why does no one in the Bible have last names? Seems like it would be important information to have.”
    “Why is there no Gospel of Jesus? Why is it always secondhand accounts?”
    “If Jesus died for our sins, wouldn’t being resurrected negate that entire premise? Since Jesus didn’t really die (if you can resurrect yourself, then you can’t really die), he didn’t really die for our sins, anyway”
    “Jesus died for our sins, but he never mentioned that the only way to atone for our sins was to believe in him. He gave no ultimatum. He didn’t say, ‘I died for your sins, but only if you believe in me’, and if he did, Jesus himself didn’t give an account of himself saying it.”
    “What’s more important, Jesus’s teachings, or Jesus’s death and resurrection?”
    “What happened to the Old Testament God during the New Testament? He sure was quiet.”
    “Why isn’t the Biblical God doing what he did back then, now? Is he on vacation? Is he just tired of meddling?”
    “Who edited and published the Bible(s)? Why would God need editors and publishers, anyway?”
    I will have to disagree with your title. The Christian church is Christian… it just has nothing to do with Jesus. Something for you to figure out. Why didn’t Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, (including Plato, and Pythagoras – Pythagoras as having started secret societies and mystery schools – and being the Prince of Lies and The Man Behind the Curtain as stated by Heraclitus) ever write anything?

    • Lee says:

      Hi Ebon,

      Thanks for stopping by, and for your long and question-filled comment. There are good answers to all of these, but for now I’ll focus on what it takes to be a Christian. There are many opinions about this, most of which have to do with believing the right thing. But Jesus himself answered your question quite differently:

      I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34–35)

      Unfortunately for the institutional Christian Church, Christ’s own criteria for “membership” doesn’t lend itself to neat categorization of who’s in and who’s out. Therefore within a few centuries of Christ’s life on earth, the so-called Christian Church adopted various doctrinal formulas, such as the Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed, to use as litmus tests. But that has nothing to do with what Jesus Christ taught.

      Yes, to be Christian we must follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. That is why the Christian Church has not been Christian for many centuries, as covered in the above article. And the cornerstone of Jesus’ teachings is love for God and for our fellow human beings. He stated this clearly and explicitly. Here is how it is recorded in the Gospel of Matthew:

      When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”

      He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:34–40)

      Living by these commandments is what makes a person a follower of Christ, and a Christian.

      Feel free to continue the conversation if you would like to discuss this, or any of your other questions, further.

      • Ebon Kim says:

        Seems like a nugget of Truth in a sea of lies, the Bible, if that’s all that’s really needed. I will agree, though. Not in any particular order, as the first is useless if the second does not occur, and the second cannot occur if the first does not exist. Although, the Lord your God in scripture is referenced to Sabaoth, the God of the Jews, the father of the Devil – according to the Archontics/Gnostics. The easiest concept the Lord your God is Freedom, and the opposite of that would be Control. Love cannot exist without Freedom. Alan Watts, when discussing Eastern Philosophy, provides a good example.

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