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Author Topic:   Living According to Christ: Is it Reasonable?
Jon
Inactive Member


Message 1 of 122 (591717)
11-15-2010 3:33 PM


2000 Years; 2000 Differences
I would like to discuss the teachings of the New Testament that instruct us on how to live. The specific question up for debate will be: given the difference between the mindset with which they were issued and the mindset with which we read them today, are such instructions reasonable and/or relevant in our present age?

The New Testament presents a lot of teachings telling people how to live and how to behave. These how to live teachings often ask that individuals disregard their earthly wealth and worries to live a life in devotion of Christ and God. But, of course, Jesus preached, and Paul believed, that the world was soon to end. And it appears that many of Jesus', and Paul's, how to live teachings seem specifically tied to this belief:

quote:
Matt. 5:3348 (NRSV):

'Again, you have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, "You shall not swear falsely, but carry out the vows you have made to the Lord." But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

'You have heard that it was said, "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.

'You have heard that it was said, "You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy." But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax-collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.


quote:
Matt. 6:1921, 2534 (NRSV):

'Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

...

'Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe youyou of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, "What will we eat?" or "What will we drink?" or "What will we wear?" For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

'So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today's trouble is enough for today.


quote:
Mark 10:2128 (NRSV):

Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, 'You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.' When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.

Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, 'How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!' And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, 'Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.' They were greatly astounded and said to one another, 'Then who can be saved?' Jesus looked at them and said, 'For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.'

Peter began to say to him, 'Look, we have left everything and followed you.' Jesus said, 'Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this agehouses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutionsand in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.'


quote:
I Cor. 7:2531 (NRSV):

Now concerning virgins, I have no command of the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy. I think that, in view of the impending crisis, it is well for you to remain as you are. Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife. But if you marry, you do not sin, and if a virgin marries, she does not sin. Yet those who marry will experience distress in this life, and I would spare you that. I mean, brothers and sisters, the appointed time has grown short; from now on, let even those who have wives be as though they had none, and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no possessions, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.


It is now 2000 years since these things were conceived, and the mindset with which they were conceived is no longer a part of mainstream Christianity. These teachings were given under the belief that the end times were soon to come; that our earthly lives should not be given so much attention; that all who believed would soon be taken care of.

This is not the mindset of today. Most do not count on a coming kingdom for their immediate needs, and live each day for the benefit of the next. In fact, many of these teachings have taken on a different importance in our present day: it is not that we give to rid ourselves, so we now believe, but rather to provide for others. But such an interpretation only addresses a small aspect of the teaching, and anyone living by such an interpretation is clearly failing to fulfill the teaching to the utmost. We are to rid ourselves of all earthly concerns, so these teachings say, and devote our life to Christ and God. Few live to this standard.

So, for this thread I would like to discuss these teachings of the New Testament that instruct us on how to livethe teachings that all seem based in the belief that the world will soon end. Given the difference between the mindset with which they were issued and the mindset with which we read them today, are such instructions reasonable and/or relevant in our present age?

In the 21st Century, is it reasonable to live like Christ commanded?

If it seemed reasonable then but not so much anymore, how do we reconcile this with what is written?

Jon

Edited by Jon, : Subtitle; edit to fix signature

Edited by Jon, : readability

Edited by Jon, : Removed message to Admins...

Edited by Jon, : Bible links more precise

Edited by Jon, : Jeesh... I made a mess...


Check out Apollo's Temple!
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AdminPD
Inactive Administrator


Message 2 of 122 (591737)
11-15-2010 5:07 PM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the Living According to Christ: Is it Reasonable? thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.
frako
Member
Posts: 2813
From: slovenija
Joined: 09-04-2010


Message 3 of 122 (591738)
11-15-2010 5:12 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Jon
11-15-2010 3:33 PM


Re: 2000 Years; 2000 Differences
Im guessing since no one lives by those words it is very unreasnoble, if all or at leat the majorety would follow them it would not be hard.
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ringo
Member
Posts: 16227
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 1.9


Message 4 of 122 (591745)
11-15-2010 5:47 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Jon
11-15-2010 3:33 PM


Re: 2000 Years; 2000 Differences
Jon writes:

So, for this thread I would like to discuss these teachings of the New Testament that instruct us on how to livethe teachings that all seem based in the belief that the world will soon end.


I think you have that fundamentally wrong. I don't think Jesus taught an "end times" message at all but an all-times message. He was echoing The Preacher:

quote:
Ecc 11:1 Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.
De-emphasizing material gain is about making a better (more Jewish) society. Give what you have and when you need it, somebody will give it back. Keep what you have and you're on your own.


"It appears that many of you turn to Hebrew to escape the English...." -- Joseppi
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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16085
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 10.0


Message 5 of 122 (591748)
11-15-2010 6:18 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Jon
11-15-2010 3:33 PM


Re: 2000 Years; 2000 Differences
In the 21st Century, is it reasonable to live like Christ commanded?

Yes --- because the world is still just about to end. And it always will be.


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iano
Member (Idle past 17 days)
Posts: 6165
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 6 of 122 (591822)
11-16-2010 10:10 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Jon
11-15-2010 3:33 PM


Re: 2000 Years; 2000 Differences
Jon writes:

But, of course, Jesus preached, and Paul believed, that the world was soon to end. And it appears that many of Jesus', and Paul's, how to live teachings seem specifically tied to this belief

It seems you want to narrow the relevance of Christs teachings to this narrow timescale: the idea of a soon-to-end world. However, Christians in the main don't intepret the Bible to be teaching that to believers either then or now.

Most do not count on a coming kingdom for their immediate needs, and live each day for the benefit of the next.

The declaration for then and for now (it would appear) is that the Kingdom of God is at hand (ie: under your nose). It was access to the this kingdom-now-and-within which was intended to be the source of sustenance of man, not his forward looking to some future kingdom come. I would agree that both then and now, Christians are guilty of misdirecting their gaze. Hence the repeated exhortations about where it is we are to look.


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Queue
Junior Member (Idle past 2492 days)
Posts: 5
From: Ottawa, Canada
Joined: 11-17-2010


Message 7 of 122 (591943)
11-17-2010 9:44 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Jon
11-15-2010 3:33 PM


Re: 2000 Years; 2000 Differences
quote:
I would like to discuss the teachings of the New Testament that instruct us on how to live. The specific question up for debate will be: given the difference between the mindset with which they were issued and the mindset with which we read them today, are such instructions reasonable and/or relevant in our present age?

The New Testament presents a lot of teachings telling people how to live and how to behave. These how to live teachings often ask that individuals disregard their earthly wealth and worries to live a life in devotion of Christ and God. But, of course, Jesus preached, and Paul believed, that the world was soon to end. And it appears that many of Jesus', and Paul's, how to live teachings seem specifically tied to this belief.



Problem: You begin by asking if the instructions of Jesus are reasonable in the present day, but then narrow the field significantly, and - I would suggest - entirely in the wrong direction.

The most impressive argument comes from looking at the infamous Luke 14:26, which has been explained as tantamount to placing religious conviction above duty to self, family, and others. This (along with subsequent suggestions that what people do is irrelevant compared to how strongly they believe) is a far less encouraging model for a world as massively connected via communications and trade as ours is, since it can be used to justify all kinds of behaviour.

As an aside, Jesus differs strongly from the OT God largely as he delivers instructions via parable and inference rather than strict legalism, which leaves for a huge margin of personal interpretation. I feel this shows Jesus' model to be too flexible; I suspect this is why Paul is taken so seriously, since his more legalistic approach closes a lot of gaps.

Edited by Queue, : Paragraph spacing fix.


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 Message 1 by Jon, posted 11-15-2010 3:33 PM Jon has responded

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Jon
Inactive Member


Message 8 of 122 (591952)
11-17-2010 10:23 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by Queue
11-17-2010 9:44 AM


Re: 2000 Years; 2000 Differences
The most impressive argument comes from looking at the infamous Luke 14:26

quote:
Luke 14:26 (NRSV):

Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple.


Clearly this was not approved by all early Christians, as can be seen by the more softened version in Matthew:

quote:
Matt. 10:37 (NRSV):

Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; ...


which has been explained as tantamount to placing religious conviction above duty to self, family, and others.

I don't think you can make such a soft generalized argument given the passage in Luke; the argument that the purpose is to place religious conviction above life and family is better supported by the passage in Matthew I cited above. The passage in Luke is much more drastic than this and requires a much more drastic interpretation, or, alternatively, a simple denial of the reality of what is written.

Problem: You begin by asking if the instructions of Jesus are reasonable in the present day, but then narrow the field significantly, and - I would suggest - entirely in the wrong direction.

I am not sure why you feel I have taken my thread in the 'wrong' direction. The purpose of narrowing the topic down was to focus on only those instructions that may seem unreasonable given the present age. There are certainly many other instructions Jesus and his followers gave for living life, but few of them would cause any trouble for modern Christians were they to follow them in the fullest. Those may be interesting in a thread on their own, but this thread is meant to be about the problematic instructions specifically.

Jon


Check out Apollo's Temple!
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Phat
Member
Posts: 12161
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 9 of 122 (591957)
11-17-2010 10:35 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Jon
11-15-2010 3:33 PM


Re: 2000 Years; 2000 Differences
Jon writes:

I would like to discuss the teachings of the New Testament that instruct us on how to live. The specific question up for debate will be: given the difference between the mindset with which they were issued and the mindset with which we read them today, are such instructions reasonable and/or relevant in our present age?

The New Testament presents a lot of teachings telling people how to live and how to behave. These how to live teachings often ask that individuals disregard their earthly wealth and worries to live a life in devotion of Christ and God. But, of course, Jesus preached, and Paul believed, that the world was soon to end. And it appears that many of Jesus', and Paul's, how to live teachings seem specifically tied to this belief:

Several observations and Phats infamous 2 cents:

1) People have always believed that the world is going to end. Reality seems to suggest that at certain times in history, a certain culture and/or lifestyle did in fact end. Some of us modern day Christians will use the Bible to explain why our jobs are all going overseas, for example...or why immigration is a problem. We seem to equate Patriotism and American exclusivity with our divine right to be people of the book. But that's a bit off topic.......

Jon writes:

This is not the mindset of today. Most do not count on a coming kingdom for their immediate needs, and live each day for the benefit of the next. In fact, many of these teachings have taken on a different importance in our present day: it is not that we give to rid ourselves, so we now believe, but rather to provide for others. But such an interpretation only addresses a small aspect of the teaching, and anyone living by such an interpretation is clearly failing to fulfill the teaching to the utmost. We are to rid ourselves of all earthly concerns, so these teachings say, and devote our life to Christ and God. Few live to this standard.

Ridding myself of all earthly concerns in a symbolic sense is comforting. Ridding myself of these concerns in a practical sense is silly, however. If a man does not work, he will not eat nor be able to pay rent.

Jon writes:

So, for this thread I would like to discuss these teachings of the New Testament that instruct us on how to live...In the 21st Century, is it reasonable to live like Christ commanded?

If it seemed reasonable then but not so much anymore, how do we reconcile this with what is written?

Jar has already talked of this stuff. He basically says that we humans were given a great gift to know right from wrong, that we are charged to do right...treat the least of our brothers with respect and love, and sacrifice our own comforts, if necessary, in order to do so. How far should one carry it? To literally give evrything up for Jesus is logically irresponsible. How is Jesus gonna pay my rent?

Edited by Phat, : fixed slanderous comment


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Queue
Junior Member (Idle past 2492 days)
Posts: 5
From: Ottawa, Canada
Joined: 11-17-2010


Message 10 of 122 (591960)
11-17-2010 11:06 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by Jon
11-17-2010 10:23 AM


Re: 2000 Years; 2000 Differences
quote:
I don't think you can make such a soft generalized argument given the passage in Luke; the argument that the purpose is to place religious conviction above life and family is better supported by the passage in Matthew I cited above. The passage in Luke is much more drastic than this and requires a much more drastic interpretation, or, alternatively, a simple denial of the reality of what is written.

Oh, I agree; "Hate" is strong and specific. I'm making a concession to Blueletter Bible's apologetics in this case. I didn't have to, but I can make my point even on the pillow-down interpretation of the passage.
quote:
I am not sure why you feel I have taken my thread in the 'wrong' direction. The purpose of narrowing the topic down was to focus on only those instructions that may seem unreasonable given the present age. There are certainly many other instructions Jesus and his followers gave for living life, but few of them would cause any trouble for modern Christians were they to follow them in the fullest. Those may be interesting in a thread on their own, but this thread is meant to be about the problematic instructions specifically.

Well, leaving aside everything else, Jesus' model fails to provide reasonable guidelines for even what modern morality cites as proper family values. It's a crack at the very bottom of the pyramid - living life according to Mathew 12:46-49 (my followers are my family, so I'll ignore my actual family) and 10:37 (love me more than your family) could encourage a lifestyle that even a moderate modern Christian might negatively associate with a cult.
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jar
Member
Posts: 30934
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004


Message 11 of 122 (591961)
11-17-2010 6:23 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Phat
11-17-2010 10:35 AM


Re: 2000 Years; 2000 Differences
Phat writes:

To literally give evrything up for Jesus is logically irresponsible. How is Jesus gonna pay my rent?

False Dilemma alert?


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!
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Jon
Inactive Member


Message 12 of 122 (592096)
11-18-2010 4:22 PM


Apocalyptic Jesus?
It is apparent that there can be much debated on the topic of whether or not Jesus' messageand indeed, his entire beliefwas apocalyptic. Excerpts from the earlier writings contained in the New Testament seem to indicate that he felt the end to be near:

quote:
Mark 9:1 (NRSV):

And he said to them 'Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.'


quote:
Mark 13:2431 (NRSV):

'But in those days, after that suffering,
the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light,
and the stars will be falling from heaven,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
Then they will see "the Son of Man coming in clouds" with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

'From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.


And even the early followers apparently felt likewise:

quote:
I Cor. 7:2531 (NRSV):

Now concerning virgins, I have no command of the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy. I think that, in view of the impending crisis, it is well for you to remain as you are. Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife. But if you marry, you do not sin, and if a virgin marries, she does not sin. Yet those who marry will experience distress in this life, and I would spare you that. I mean, brothers and sisters, the appointed time has grown short; from now on, let even those who have wives be as though they had none, and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no possessions, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.


Yet, similar ideas expressed in later writings soften, or omit these references to the coming end, and occasionally contradict them:

quote:
Matt. 16:28 (NRSV):

Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.


quote:
I Thes. 4:155:11 (NRSV):

For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel's call and with the sound of God's trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord for ever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. When they say, 'There is peace and security', then sudden destruction will come upon them, as labour pains come upon a pregnant woman, and there will be no escape! But you, beloved, are not in darkness, for that day to surprise you like a thief; for you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness. So then, let us not fall asleep as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober; for those who sleep sleep at night, and those who are drunk get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.


quote:
Matt. 24:434 (NRSV):

Jesus answered them, 'Beware that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, "I am the Messiah!" and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumours of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places: all this is but the beginning of the birth pangs.

'Then they will hand you over to be tortured and will put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of my name. Then many will fall away, and they will betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold. But anyone who endures to the end will be saved. And this good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the world, as a testimony to all the nations; and then the end will come.

'So when you see the desolating sacrilege standing in the holy place, as was spoken of by the prophet Daniel (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains; someone on the housetop must not go down to take what is in the house; someone in the field must not turn back to get a coat. Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing infants in those days! Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a sabbath. For at that time there will be great suffering, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no one would be saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. Then if anyone says to you, "Look! Here is the Messiah!" or "There he is!"do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and produce great signs and omens, to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. Take note, I have told you beforehand. So, if they say to you, "Look! He is in the wilderness", do not go out. If they say, "Look! He is in the inner rooms", do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.

'Immediately after the suffering of those days
the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from heaven,
and the powers of heaven will be shaken.
Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see "the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven" with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

'From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place.


quote:
II Peter 3:410 (NRSV):

and saying, 'Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since our ancestors died, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation!' They deliberately ignore this fact, that by the word of God heavens existed long ago and an earth was formed out of water and by means of water, through which the world of that time was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the present heavens and earth have been reserved for fire, being kept until the day of judgement and destruction of the godless.

But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.


Given this, it seems in the earliest days Christianity was an apocalyptic cult: the founder preached it; the followers believed it. It was only later, when the end began to appear more distant than first thought, that the religion ditched the apocalyptic message. We can see this in the gradual softening of the language used to reference the 'Second Coming'. In Mark, Jesus specifically states that his own disciples will not die before 'the Kingdom of God has come with power'; in Matthew, the references are softened. In one instance, the same passage from Mark is re-rendered to only state that the 'Son of Man' will come 'in his kingdom'. Jesus' mere presence fulfills this, as there is no longer any reference to the coming power of the Kingdom of God. Where the passages from Mark do not present as much trouble for Matthew, he leaves them unchanged; for example, it is much less specific to say that a generation will not pass away rather than to say that no members of a particular group of people will die.

Paul expresses his belief that the end is near when he describes an 'impending crisis', and states that the 'present form of this world is passing away'. But even this seems shadowed in the reality of the daythat many Christians were dying before the promised return of Christ, as evidenced in, for example, I Thessalonians 4:1318. As time marches, we see the situation worsen. Folk are no longer simply worried that the dead Christians will not get to see the kingdom, but are worried that the kingdom won't even come: II Peter 3:4. The only reassurance the author can give is to tell his audience that it could be thousands of years... talk about patience!

All of this seems mismatched and shaky if we don't assume an apocalyptic origin to Christianity; the easiest way to fit everything together is to assume there was an initial feeling by Jesus (or so it is reported) and his followers of the imminence of the end. This belief was later abandoned; the beliefs of Jesus associated with it were softened, altered, reinterpreted (e.g., Luke) or left out in further accounts of his life; and later church teachings adjusted, when it became all too apparent that the Kingdom wasn't going to come any time soon.

Interestingly, though, while references Jesus made to the end were not preserved in later gospels, some of his related advice was. The original relevance of this advice was tied to the belief that the world would soon end. The re-interpretation of this advice became a matter of great importance to Christianity as it coped with the inevitable failure of the predictions of its prophet.

Anyway, that is a separate debate, and perhaps it would be more productive to go at this a different way. A couple questions for the Christians on the board: How do you interpret these instructions (the ones quoted so far)? When Jesus says to 'sell what you have, and give to the poor', and 'do not worry about tomorrow', how do you take his message?

Jon

Edited by Jon, : Schpelling...

Edited by Jon, : missing words

Edited by Jon, : more bad grammar


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Ignorance is temporary; you should be able to overcome it. - nwr

Replies to this message:
 Message 14 by jar, posted 11-18-2010 4:41 PM Jon has responded

Jon
Inactive Member


Message 13 of 122 (592097)
11-18-2010 4:26 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Phat
11-17-2010 10:35 AM


Re: 2000 Years; 2000 Differences
If a man does not work

But, of course, there are no instructions to not work. So where are you drawing this from?

Jon


Check out Apollo's Temple!
This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by Phat, posted 11-17-2010 10:35 AM Phat has not yet responded

jar
Member
Posts: 30934
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004


(1)
Message 14 of 122 (592098)
11-18-2010 4:41 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by Jon
11-18-2010 4:22 PM


Re: Apocalyptic Jesus?
Jon writes:

A couple questions for the Christians on the board: How do you interpret these instructions (the ones quoted so far)? When Jesus says to 'sell what you have, and give to the poor', and 'do not worry about tomorrow', how do you take his message?

First, yes, the evidence shows that the early Christians were an apocalyptic cult that did expect an end, but not "the end of the world" type but rather a revolution. It's likely that at least during the period when the earlier texts that make up the new testament were written, the folk expected the revolution to come during their lifetime. As they grew older, both the timing and the very nature of the New World Order they imagined changed, first from being the rise of a New World Power that would be centered among the Jews in Jerusalem, to the over throw of Rome, then finally to some heavenly kingdom.

The second question is one I have always taken to heart. Don't worry about tomorrow, prepare and see each new day as a challenge, a chance to start afresh, a new beginning. Use the resources you acquire wisely, not just for your comfort but hopefully to help others.


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!
This message is a reply to:
 Message 12 by Jon, posted 11-18-2010 4:22 PM Jon has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 16 by Jon, posted 11-18-2010 5:14 PM jar has not yet responded

Jon
Inactive Member


Message 15 of 122 (592102)
11-18-2010 4:49 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Queue
11-17-2010 11:06 AM


Re: 2000 Years; 2000 Differences
It's a crack at the very bottom of the pyramid - living life according to Mathew 12:46-49 (my followers are my family, so I'll ignore my actual family) and 10:37 (love me more than your family) could encourage a lifestyle that even a moderate modern Christian might negatively associate with a cult.

I disagree. I have met many die-hard Christians who claim to love Jesus more than anything or anyone else. Entire families appear to function under this mindset. Whether cult-ish or not, it is certainly not behavior unusual to the modern Christian.

I didn't have to, but I can make my point even on the pillow-down interpretation of the passage.

I guess I wasn't certain what your argument was. Would you be able to offer a clarification?

Jon


Check out Apollo's Temple!
This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by Queue, posted 11-17-2010 11:06 AM Queue has not yet responded

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