Jesus, a Practical View





“Those are called Gods to whom the Word of God was delivered.”

(John 10:35)


“To listen to any second hand gospel is perdition of the first Gospel.  Jesus was Jesus because he refused to listen to another, and, listened at home”

(Ralph Waldo Emerson)


     Jesus.  Was he God?  --- Was he merely a man? --- Was he both?  --- Was His nature any different than yours or mine?


     These are questions men have been trying to resolve for two millennium.  They are questions, we at the Eclectic Church have also pondered; but our contemplations brought up these additional questions:


Can we really ever know such a thing?


Is knowing the answer really relevant to serving God?


If Jesus were alive today, what would be more important to him --- what we believe about his Divine Nature; or, what we are doing to our fellow man?


     If we remove all the speculations and declarations that men have postulated (most of them never knowing Jesus)  --- and read the words of the gospels themselves --- we will quickly see that this Divine Nature was not central to the teachings of Jesus.  In fact, Jesus himself is totally ambiguous about that very subject.  There can be little doubt that Jesus was much more concerned with living his message than with worshipping the messenger.


     It is also most clear in the gospels, that the men and women who walked and talked with Jesus, could not understand who he was, or what motivated this truly remarkable person.  If the very people who walked and talked with Jesus could not say for certain just who he was; how is it we claim to know more about him than they?

“One of the twelve, Thomas, that is ‘the twin’ was not with the rest of them when Jesus came.  So the Disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’  He said, ‘Unless I see the marks of the nails on his hands, unless I put my finger into the place the nails were, and my hand into his side, I WILL NOT BELIEVE IT!

(John 20: 24-25)


According to the gospel account, Jesus goes on to oblige Thomas.  While Jesus may have given the proof  that Thomas required, we can see a significant second point to the story if we approach it objectively. 

     The fact was, Thomas was already one of the twelve.  He did not need absolute faith to be a follower Jesus.  Despite his lack of faith, he was already an apostle accepted by Jesus.  Jesus accepted him even despite his doubts about things that transcend human experience.  While Jesus’ final comment to Thomas is often argued “Blessed is he who believes and has not seen”; one cannot find anywhere where Jesus would have said, ‘cursed is the man who does not believe!’



     There are many who might cite the Resurrection as a proof of Jesus’ Divinity.  But, what we must keep in mind is that, there are many scholarly opinions about the authenticity of this account, which was written long after the death of Jesus.  There are also concepts such as those of Carl Jung about such happenings as recorded in Scriptures --- that such text are full of inspiration, and that inspiration is symbolic rather than a literal or historical fact.  And even if Jesus did rise from the grave, such could be of the power God without Jesus having been God.  We Have Jesus’ own words to support this:


“I DO NOTHING BY MY OWN AUTHORITY, but in all that I say I have been taught by my Father in heaven.”

(John 8:28)


We can only have ‘faith’ in the resurrection, because in reality all of these scenarios are plausible:

1.      that the event was symbolic.

2.      that the event took place by the power of God

3.      that the event was contrived or misunderstood.

4.      that Jesus rose of his own power as God 


The reality is, all we can do is believe, which is a wonderful thing if believing moves us to act upon the words of Jesus.  While eclecticism respects the rights of a believer, and sees inspiration in most forms of faith, we strongly object to any man declaring that God demands such belief in order to obtain salvation.  This is particularly true, when the belief becomes more of a priority than the living of the message of God’s Love, which is proclaimed in the Gospels.

       There is nothing clearly stated in the actual teachings of Jesus (as handed down to us in the gospels) to indicate he was interested in being worshipped, idolized, or pronounced God Incarnate.  In fact, if you read what Jesus had to say about the final judgment in Matthew 25: 31-46, Jesus never talks about faith at all in regards to that final judgment --- not even faith in God is mentioned!

      And if you read the whole chapter, you will quickly see in the first parable that taking responsibility for one’s self, one’s own actions, is the necessary element to enter the Kingdom of God.  The second parable tells us that actions and thoughtful preparations are necessary to enter this Kingdom.  And at the end of that chapter, as stated above, when Jesus is describing the actual final judgment, which the present Christian churches tend to emphasize so --- Jesus states emphatically that it is ‘WHAT WE DO TO AND FOR ONE ANOTHER that is the sole basis of our judgment.  And this concept is supported in the very prayer that Jesus taught us “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”.  Add to this the fact, that there are numerous parables where Jesus proclaims ‘we reap what we sow.’

      If men lived the teachings of Jesus, with the same enthusiasm they have for proclaiming his Divinity, it would seem that the world could be a much better place.  If people only applied Jesus’ words to their lives with as much devotion as they worship him --- one has to wonder what could be accomplished in his name!  There can be no doubt that Jesus’ primary command was to ‘love one another’  --- which is the clearest of all the messages the gospels deliver.


     The Eclectic Church feels it is possible for those who believe in the Divinity of Jesus, and those who do not, to find a common ground if they opened their hearts and minds.  The fact remains, one CANNOT PROVE the DIVINITY OF JESUS anymore than they can DISPROVE IT!   But could not all agree that Jesus’ central teaching and philosophy was to love one another and do good works for one another.  These are things we can know about Jesus from the perspective of our mortality.  Love is an article of faith which can be used in a practical manner in the living of our daily lives. 

     How could anyone factual argue that a form of religious humanism was not the core foundation of Jesus’ life?  Any reading of the Gospels (free of all the theology since their writing) would proclaim that Jesus came to establish the Kingdom of God --- and that Kingdom is in the hearts and minds of men expressed in their everyday lives and in their interactions with one another.

     If we look at Orthodox Christianity, as it exists today, in light of the critique Jesus delivered about the religions of his own age (See Matthew 23) --- one must ask one’s self: How do the churches of today really differ so much from the criticisms Jesus had of the religious guides of his own time?    While most churches do serve God in ways; do they really represent the Kingdom of God as Jesus proclaimed and lived it?   The best way one might be able to answer that is by asking themselves: WHICH CHURCH WOULD JESUS BELONG TO IF HE WERE ALIVE TODAY?


     In our careful study of Jesus, we do acknowledge that Jesus had a special and unique relationship with the Divine; but this does not necessarily confirm his Divinity.  From our point of view, we feel that men cannot know for certain if Jesus was a God/man or a man of God.  This is a matter of faith on the part of the individual, and should not be a dogmatic declaration or assertion --- there is just nothing absolute to base it upon. 

     Another way to look at this is: if Jesus is the God man, he doesn’t need men to proclaim such  --- nor, does any man have the right!  If Jesus is an Incarnation of God it will be self evident to the individual who searches for God within his or her own heart and mind.




        The Eclectic Church also agrees with our Orthodox Brothers that Jesus is the savior.  However, we do not believe Jesus assumed responsibility for our salvation.  We cannot accept the premise that God (the Father --- the God of Love which Jesus preached --- would demand the blood slaughter on Calvary as an atonement for the sins of men.  Such an act would require men to commit sin (under present theological morals) in order to atone for it. 

     We view the Crucifixion in a different perspective.  The Crucifixion is an example of the greatest human atrocity of men toward their fellow man  --- as a reminder of the extremes humans can reach in the denial of the highest principles of Love --- as a warning of allowing human beings the authority of God.   The act of slaying Jesus is an atrocity if Jesus were only a man of love; but, it is an even greater atrocity if he were God Incarnate!  We feel this barbaric act should not be glorified as our salvation; but should serve to remind us of our potential to reject God’s message of love.  If Jesus were Divine, he was subjecting himself to human authority on the cross; not some Divine plan of redemption.  What should be our shame, theologies have turned into our redemption.




     This leads to the question:  How does Eclecticism see Jesus as a savior?


     The answer to this question is a simple one.  He lived it as his first priority and set the example which we should strive to imitate.  And then, after living it, he taught it to all those who would listen.  Despite all the declarations of men, all the theological arguments, all the dogmas and creeds --- the main salvation message of Jesus was: ‘personal responsibility toward others, and love.’  The “salvation” is there for all to partake in, but it is we who choose to make it part of our reality.  The Redemption is in love; and love is part of us all!

     The salvation, which Jesus delivered to us, is contained in his words, “Pick up your cross and follow me.”  His salvation is in the Sermon on the Mount.  Our redemption is in his directives to love one another --- to take care of one another --- feed one another --- clothe one another --- shelter one another.    The Kingdom of God he proclaimed is one of forgiveness of one another –tolerance of one another --- responsibility for one another.  Our salvation is in his words which tell us we are all children of God --- that God loves saints and sinners alike, the believers and nonbelievers.  Through his example, he shows us the reality that the Father loves us all the same; be it, Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist --- be it, black, white, yellow, red, poor or rich, male and female, heterosexual or homosexual, educated or not educated.  His theological message and example of his life proclaim God’s unending love for all of us.  This is the beauty of the Kingdom of God which Jesus proclaimed was already upon us.   Here is a sample of the theology of Jesus!


“Love your enemies, pray for your persecutors; only that you may be children of the heavenly Father, who makes His sun rise ON GOOD AND BAD ALIKE, and SENDS THE RAINS ON THE HONEST AND DISHONEST.  IF YOU LOVE ONLY THOSE WHO LOVE YOU WHAT REWARD CAN YOU EXPECT?”

(Matthew 5:45-46)


“…because He Himself (God) is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.  Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate.”

(Luke 6:36)


   What these words illustrate is that God’s love, mercy and forgiveness extend to all men, including the wicked!  If God does not discriminate against those whom He/She might consider to be evil; what right do we have as human beings to pronounce God’s judgment upon others simply because they differ from us?  How much of our theology proclaims judgment upon those who refuse to believe?  How many Christian Churches promote racial discrimination?  How many preachers proclaim “HELL” for homosexuals, condemning them as evil?  What about the Catholic against Protestant in Ireland --- the Christian against Muslim --- the hate against Jews?  Are these things not happening in some of the very churches that declare Jesus to be the living God?  If this dogma is so, why don’t these churches seem to be listening to what he said?


“Why do you keep calling me ‘Lord! Lord!’; and never do what I tell you. Everyone who hears what I say, AND ACTS UPON IT…”

(Luke 6:36)


“Isaiah was right when he prophesized about you: ‘This people pay me lip service, but their hearts are far from me; their worship of me is in vain, for THEY TEACH AS DOCTRINES THE COMMANDMENTS OF MEN.’ “

(Matthew 15:8-9)


          The intent here is not to offer an indictment against Christianity or any other religion.  But when we read the words of Jesus, we are forced to ask in light of today’s world --- despite the Gospel of Jesus being preached to the four corners of the globe:  WHERE IS THE REALITY OF WHAT THIS PROCLAIMED GOD/MAN SAID IN THE EVERYDAY AFFAIRS OF HUMANITY?  If so many people worship Jesus as God, should they not be trying to abide by the primary directives he himself taught?  If so many re following Jesus, why are there so many starving children in our world -- so many destitute and homeless --- so many neglected and lonely --- so many forgotten seniors, so many underprivileged --- so much indifference and selfishness --- and so much intolerance?

     The teachings of Jesus beg the questions:  How is it so many Christians tolerate the concept of war; yet, remain silent about oppression?  Why do so many of the Christian worshippers see the necessity of faith; but, remain complacent about the exploitation of peoples of third world countries by industrial nations?  Why don’t more churches cry out against financial and social injustices, and oppressions of millions of people,  with the same enthusiasm they do in promoting their moral platitudes?

      If the acceptance of Jesus as God is so prevalent in our society: why does bigotry, poverty, hatred, inequality remain so widespread in our society?  Is that Something Jesus would tolerate?

     Are all these things not an indication that somewhere along the line we have lost the priorities of the Kingdom of God?   Do our present beliefs and theologies actually serve to help better THIS world we live in?   Should we be emphasizing Jesus the Divine; or should we be looking more towards the words he spoke and the example he set as a man?  Theologians give us the Divinity of Christ, but Jesus tells us to love.  Churches build magnificent structures to worship in, but people starve in their shadows.  People fill these monuments with song, words, and praise; but, didn’t Jesus instruct us to worship in a secret place --- tell us not to make a show of our faith?



     Where do we find this Kingdom of God Jesus proclaimed?

     Is it in the theology of his Divinity?  Is that Kingdom expressed in the organized churches and temples that tower into the sky?  Is Jesus’ described Kingdom in the creeds and doctrines of the divisive opinions about Jesus?  Is his Gospel Kingdom in the bureaucracy of ecclesiastical bodies which govern churches?  Is the Kingdom expressed in the fire and brimstone preaching of some evangelists?  Is the Kingdom even in our prayers and faith?

     Eclecticism does not see it in any of these things.  Jesus told us where the Kingdom of God was:


And when he was demanded by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said: “The Kingdom of God comes not with observation.  Neither shall they say, ‘Lo here!’ or, ‘Lo There!’ FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS WITHIN YOU.

(Luke 17:20-21)


He tells us in these words that the Kingdom is us, which his philosophical views proclaim that our actions of love and brotherhood are the manifestation of that Kingdom.  That is why in the Gnostic GOSPEL OF THOMAS, Jesus goes on with the thought expressed above to say, “No man sees it!”  There are too few living it, and when someone does live it nobody sees it that way --- we are too busy looking for man’s  idea of God’s Kingdom.

     While theology continues to establish and justify an earthly kingdom; the kingdom of God is where men are serving God by serving their fellow men.  The Kingdom Jesus preached was meant to unite us in love; not divide us by articles of faith.  The Kingdom Jesus preached is in the here and now; not in our afterlife.  God’s kingdom is eternal because loves is eternal.  This Kingdom has been --- and continues to be --- and will always be there because it is the love of God as expressed through the compassionate actions of men. 

     Love is the redemption Jesus gave, and if more of us truly loved one another we could remake the face of the earth.




       Over the years, because of our preoccupation with the Divinity of Christ --- because of our projection of the redemption of our sins upon his shoulders --- because of the avoidance of personal responsibility before God by our declarations of faith that he saved us:  we feel that religion for the most part has lost sight of the primary message of Jesus.  Religion is too often declaring faith the truth; while missing the truths we should be living in faith.

     In searching the universal inspiration from myths and sacred scriptures of all faiths, the Eclectic Church has seen that this salvation message has come to mankind over and over.  The primary messages of Jesus turn up in all faiths, in numerous philosophies, in art and music, over and ever. Our search has not been, in any way, a search to discredit Jesus.  What we think we demonstrate that the ideals of this holy individual, a true Son of God, were not conveyed to Jesus alone.  Our study of Jesus led us to see God cares for all humanity no matter what one’s faith.




     In our Western world, where we know and love Jesus so much, we would hope the wisdom he imparted to us could be used as the cornerstone of what we do --- for the believer as well as nonbelievers.  We hope that the argument over the nature of Jesus never divides us, so then we can work together to carry out the message of Jesus.  If we were to receive an important telegram from someone, we would never think to argue about the nature of the messenger who brought it.  The importance of the telegram would stand alone.  Yet, this is what so many do when it comes to Jesus!  Jesus brought us a message from the Creative Absolute, a manual for living of sorts, but many are worshipping the messenger and neglecting the message!

     Jesus summed up his Kingdom, his life, and his idea of law in one commandment:



(John 13:34-35)


Twice more Jesus repeats this directive in Chapter Fifteen.  While faith is a great asset to any individual; the bottom line message of Jesus was to love each other.  Too many religious ideals have made the faith more important than the love, but Jesus himself tells us: ‘we are know as his disciples in love.’  This is a Divine revelation we can all aspire to in our lives.

      It is our vision to build a religion that serves this directive as its prime directive.  It is our hope, as we join minds, we will be able to implement this love and serve God in the reality of our everyday world.

     In asking us to “pick up our cross”, Jesus was asking each of us to be a messiah of sorts.  This doesn’t mean we have to lay down our lives, or suffer pain and agony.    Simply, it means, we do what we can and are able to do to reach out to our fellow man.


     Like so many other religions that have went before us, we begin here with only words.  But words are empty and useless if we do not build realties from them.  The Divine truth in the Gospels is not in the words Jesus spoke; that truth is in the message of love becoming a reality in our everyday world.  As Jesus demonstrated, this is not an easy task!


     WE HOPE TO JOIN HANDS IN THE SPIRIT OF JESUS, TAKING OUR WORDS AND TRANSFORMING THEM INTO “MIRACLES OF LOVE” --- miracles reflected in church, home, business, and our everyday world.



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