Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My Purpose and Beliefs

I'm new to the blog community of Christians. This, coupled with my rather bull-in-a-china-shop disposition and contrarian viewpoint could easily suggest any number of unsavory speculations regarding my motives or personal beliefs.

With that in mind, I offer here a digest of some things I believe to help any who are interested to better understand why I might be taking a given stance or making a certain point.

[Note: As described above, this is not meant to be comprehensive but rather highlight where I likely differ from what most expect in a Bible-believing Christian.]

1. I believe the central doctrine of the Christian Faith, the main purpose of all 4 gospels and the central teaching of Acts, is that Jesus is the Christ.

2. I believe the Biblical notion of "salvation" and "being saved" is not quite what Christians generally assume.

3. I believe Christians generally subscribe to a human-centered view of Christianity where Jesus and God orbit humanity. The Salvation of Humanity [whatever that means] is seen as an end in itself rather than both an end and a means to a much greater end [God's desire for a Righteous People (Malachi 3:3, Luke 3:17-18, Acts 3:26, Romans 6:4, Titus 2:14, Hebrews 9:14, 1st Peter 2:24, 2nd Peter 1:4-5, 1st John 3:4-5)]

4. I believe doctrine derived from Paul is given more importance than teachings explicitly given by Christ.

5. I believe the church confuses questioning of doctrine with attacks on the faith itself. Origen, the greatest scholar and theologian of the 2nd Century [and called The Father of Christian Theology] would not even be allowed in most conservative churches today.

6. I believe one cannot understand Jesus without understanding the struggle between Israel and God. In particular, the nature and reason for the New Covenant has to be understood in light of the failure of the first on a national rather than individual basis. (Jeremiah 31:31-34)

7. I believe Christianity is simple and hard rather than complicated and easy. I believe Jesus would agree (Matthew 6:24, Matthew 7:13-14, Luke 13:24, Luke 14:26-35). However, it is only in seeing our own ends as somehow better than God's that the difficulty lies.

8. I believe there is absolutely no evidence from the Old Testament that the problem God was trying to solve through Christ was How do I let imperfect humans into heaven? I believe much can be gained by investigating what problems God does appear to wrestle with in the vast Old Testament.


Rachel said...

Hi David - I have found this entry very interesting and point five particularly striking. It is something that I feel too. I am fascinated by Paul's teachings but even more interested in what the church has done with his words - I don't believe that the church's interpretation of Paul's words concurs with what Paul originally intended, in fact, the church strikes me as having got it hugely wrong for a lot of the time.

I will keep up with your thoughts.

God bless
Rachel at Re vis.e Re form

David Rudel said...

Thanks, Rachel!

There are two issues with the Church's use of Paul:

i)His letters are written to very specific audiences for very specific reasons, and without totally understanding those reasons and his audience, it is very easy to misconstrue what he is getting at. Compare this with, say, the Gospels or Acts or James, which are written to very general audiences. [Ephesians is not so bad, as it appears Paul meant that epistle to actually go to several churches.]

ii) Because the church tends to interpret other Scripture [even the Gospels] in light of Paul, the effect of a misinterpretation is compounded.

Hope to see more of your comments, thanks for following my blog!

Anonymous said...

What I would love to know is if god created satan, then why would he need to have such negative feelings towards man kind for having sin?

Many different people have tried to explain it and to me it all just feels like a head game and a half that I have no time for.

A test..which is a headgame..which would actually say that "god" doesn't trust the people he created.

Kinda feels like a game that a parent would have over a child. Why would the god of the old testement get impatient, because I believe one of the virtues of love is patience, right?

I've also heard that hell is actually not in the bible but other words such as sheol and gurana (sp?) that actually meant a burning trash dump and the other a grave.

I haven't read your whole blog so I really don't know what you truly believe but I have seen you throw in what many christians would term "new age" labels, so I wonder if whatever you have discovered is completely different that what most or many believe and you are going to use your book to release the info.

Am I right?

I would also love to know your opinion of other religions and if you believe they tie in at all.


David Rudel said...

Hi Lissa,

Welcome to my blog! I'll try to address your various points quickly [so please don't take this as my being curt...I just drove my gf to the train station and want to go back to sleep, but I still want to address your comments.]

1. I've never seen any good reason given for Satan's creation. Evangelicals generally say that Satan, like all creation, is inherently good, but turned bad. This is actually the motivating factor behind the idea that he was once an angel. There is no biblical proof that satan was ever good. Who or what Satan is is simply unclear, but I can say that modern Christians see him very differently than Jews of Jesus' day did.

ii) the word "hell" does not appear in the New Testament, but then again the New Testament was written in Greek, and "hell" is an English word. Jesus speaks of "Gehenna" and He also speaks of a "lake of fire." While Gehenna was a place in Jerusalem where trash was burned, Jesus used it figuratively to describe the state of those who do not pass the Judgment. Jesus speaks repeatedly of a Judgment at the end of the day, and the condition of those who "don't make it" is called "hell" today. It's unknown what hell is really like, but it is known that it is not a happy place.

iii) I would say my perspective is a new one. I've never seen it given anymore, and I've certainly never seen it defended on a purely biblical basis. In particular, I aim to show that a serious, literal reading of the Bible yields an understanding of Christ's purpose very far afield from what most people are told.

iv) Jesus Christ is Lord over heaven and earth and the only way to know the Father in the truest sense of the word. For that reason, Christianity [in theory] is the most accurate depiction of God. What people have done to Christianity largely matches what the Jews did to their revelation from God.

Christianity certainly "ties in" to Judaism because Christianity is the logical extension of Judaism when one accepts Jesus as the Jewish Messiah. The early Christian church was entirely Jewish; it was, in fact, a sect of Judaism.