“Those are called Gods to whom the Word of God was delivered.”
“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
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.”
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
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
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.
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
“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?”
“…because He Himself (God) is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate.”
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
“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…”
“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.’ “
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
IN THE FINAL ANALYSIS, WHAT DO YOU THINK WOULD BE MORE IMPORTANT TO JESUS, ACCEPTANCE OF HIS DIVINITY, OR, LIVING THE MESSAGE HE DELIVERED?
Where do we find this
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
Eclecticism does not see it in any of these things. Jesus told us where the
And when he was demanded by the Pharisees when the
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;
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
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:
“I give you a new commandment: LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS I HAVE LOVED YOU, SO YOU ARE TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER. IF THERE IS LOVE AMONG YOU, THEN ALL WILL KNOW THAT YOU ARE MY DISCIPLES.”
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!
Please email us with your thoughts
Express your opinions on our Message Board
Sign our Guest Book