COMING INTO THE LIGHT

The path of the 

Christian mystic

 

Part II Prove All Things

Part III The Process

Part IV The Obstacles

Part V The Paradox Of Mind -- Coming Into the Presence of the Being of Light

Part VI Conversations With The Lord Jesus

 

It is interesting to note that astrophysicist  Robert Jastrow, who was the head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies wrote in his book, God and the Astronomers, that “The scientist has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”   What will be horrifying to the Atheist and unbeliever who defend their position by adopting the traditional scientific explanations of life, is that the words of Robert Jastrow are conceptionally true.   Yet, while it is a historical fact that many holy men and women of the past have walked the spiritual path and overcome the “…mountain of ignorance”, he is wrong on a number of counts.   In the first instance we must understand that Robert Jastrow was not making reference to the science we teach our children in public school as having “…scaled the mountains of ignorance” -- and neither was he speaking of the theologians who have been burdened by the limitation of popular church doctrine.   With respect to the ability of the scientist to climb that mountain, it is not that the modern scientist has been unsuccessful in his quest to begin the journey up the proverbial “…mountain of ignorance”, in his journey to “…conquer the highest peak”, the problem is that the scientist must begin to learn to employ the truths of The Way in his life, in order to arrive at the final destination.

In the classic book The Time Machine by H.G.Wells, in order for the scientist to prove his theories, he had to find a means to begin the journey across the spectrum of time -- which means that his speculation and theory had to be transformed into an experiential base of knowledge whereby he was able to prove his suppositions.   Thus, the great dilemma that plagues mankind in our modern world: In order for either the modern believer or the modern scientist to overcome the unknown, they must each begin to rid themselves of what is counterfeit and obstructing their path -- i.e., they must rid themselves of both the spurious religious doctrines which originated with the Roman Empire, and the Darwinist mindset and foundational system of beliefs that pervades every element of modern cultural thought if they are to begin to prove their speculations about life, God and Creation.  

The problem is that we are no longer a free and open-minded people who search for truth and the meaning of life with an unshackled mind and spirit.   We have permitted ourselves to worship in the temple of political and social correctness -- a temple that fosters the tenets of spiritual alienation and ignorance upon us!   As a people, we will continue to inflict great harm on our children so long as we persist in teaching them the creeds of junk science -- i.e., that we are little more than mutated apes who emerged from the pond scum of some dark lagoon.   Moreover, we will continue to alienate our children from the very God we teach them to worship, so long as we persist in de-spiritualizing, and carnally dumbing down the message of the Gospel -- i.e., teaching them the doctrines of men while concealing from them their true relationship to their Creator God.   Lastly, we will continue to suffer the pandemic loss of life and our own demise, so long as we persist in permitting our governments and culture to ordain and institutionalize the tenets of ignorance in our daily lives.   

The great truth that few people realize today, is that it is truly difficult for the modern Christian to fully embrace the message of the Bible!   Why? Because the religion of Jesus was spiritual -- and there is absolutely nothing in the New Testament that even remotely suggests that the followers of Christ should adopt a system of belief and faith in the traditions and doctrines of a church or authoritative body of religious teachings or clergy.   In fact, from a biblical perspective, it is just the opposite which is true -- and it is the Bible itself that sits in judgment of the heresy of the modern church.   The great reality that the original people of the New Covenant attempted to convey to the people in search of Truth, was that man has it within his ability to “…conquer the highest peak… of the mountain of ignorance”, whenever he is ready to begin the journey into The Way.   How?   By embracing the essence of the Gospel message by learning the means to enable the physical body and mind to become a vehicle that can permit our journey across the spectrum of both time and the parallel dimensions and realms of Creation.  The problem is that the “…mountain of ignorance” is in fact manmade -- in that we continue to erect cultural obstacles that obstruct those who attempt to sincerely follow in the footsteps of the Master and begin the process of walking in The Way.

 

Ignorance Of Judas

By The Christian World

 

Since the second century (and especially since the creation of the Church of Constantine in the fourth century) it has been the gravest of misconceptions embraced by many of the Gentiles who converted to the teachings of the New Covenant, that the Jews rejected Christ, that the Messianic followers of Jesus known historically as the Ebionite/Nazirenes were heretics because they continued to keep the Law of Moses in the manner of the Sadducees and Pharisees -- and perhaps the greatest lie of all, that God abandoned Israel.    Fundamentally, the Gentile converts who did not know any better were greatly deceived and severed from the core teachings of The Way, because in their failure to comprehend the manner in which the Hebrew scriptures were written, they ignorantly embraced these falsehoods -- resulting in their own severance from the Spiritual Essence of the Word of God.   Moreover, because we fail to understand the (spiritual) nature of the sin of the historical man Judas today, the greater number of Christians who consider themselves to be sincere people of faith, actually are guilty of the same exact sin as was Judas who is portrayed in the New Testament as the one who physically betrayed Jesus!

At chapter 76 verse 27 in what is today known as Gospel of the Nazirenes, we can readily see were Judas went to Caiaphas and offered to witness against Jesus.   Why did Judas betray the Son of God?   This question is of such a magnitude importance to not only Christians, Jews, Muslims, and all people of the earth today, that it has been set before us as a question pertaining to life and death!   At verse 29-30 in the same chapter we read that when Judas was questioned respecting the consequences of his betrayal, and when asked whether he believed Jesus will be put to death, we see him respond: "No, for He will do some mighty work to deliver Himself out of their hands, even as when they of the synagogue in Capernaum rose up against Him, and brought Him to the brow of the hiss that they might throw Him down headlong, and did He not pass safely through their midst? He will surely escape them now also, and proclaim Himself openly and set up the Kingdom whereof He spoke".  

Perhaps more than any other, these words are of paramount importance to modern believers today!   The sin of Judas -- which means Jew -- from a scriptural perspective is indicative of a person who interprets and attempts to practice their religion outwardly, instead of inwardly.   What this means is that from a biblical perspective, the majority of esteemed and highly regarded Christian religious authorities today, are very much as the leaders of the Sadducees and Pharisees were in the time of Jesus -- i.e., they not only practice their tenets of religion outwardly, but they look for Christ to bring about the Kingdom upon the earth in the same exact manner as did Judas! 

With respect to the Sadducees and Pharisees at the time of Jesus: Perhaps the finest example of their error is seen at chapter 87 verse 11 of the Nazirene Gospel where Jesus says of the carnal Jews: "For they, making a god of their belly, sacrificed to their God the innocent creatures of the earth, in place of the carnal nature within themselves."   Thus, the great truth which Christians, Jews and Muslims fail to comprehend is that the religion which was and is the core of their own system of beliefs today, was at its essence of a purely spiritual nature -- wholly concerned with manifesting the Kingdom within -- and its reinterpretation by both the Jews and Christians as an organized religion with firm tenets of belief and doctrine, totally severed the believers from the Living Word which they sought to worship and be sanctified by.   

When Judas betrayed Jesus, he believed he was doing good!   Moreover, if the modern Jehovah's Witness, Evangelical Christian, or many sincere believers today were put in the position of Judas, they would in fact do the same exact thing.   Why?   Because in not understanding the spiritual essence of the teachings of The Way, Judas believed he could force the hand of Jesus, and cause him to inaugurate the expected and predicted kingdom upon the earth.   What this means is that the sincere Sadducee or Pharisee in the first century of our Common Era, were in fact religious brothers in common with the sincere Jew or Christian today!   Each ardently awaits and prays for the kingdom to come upon the earth in their own time -- and each is equally ignoring the very essence of the Gospel Message!

While it is true that Jews have a greater excuse for their error, such is not the case from a Christian perspective.   At Luke 17:20-21 we observe "Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you" (NIV).   For two thousand years many who call themselves Christians, Jews and Muslims, have waited for the Kingdom of God to come upon the earth in vain.   From a New Covenant perspective, the congregation of believers have been lied to and deceived by a body of self-appointed priests and clergy who have over the course of thousands of years brought suffering and hardships upon a naive and uninformed people -- a people who have been seduced into providing the monetary wealth that these false apostles have lived off of. 

From a New Covenant perspective, those who are found worthy of inheriting the promise of eternal life, and have thus prepared themselves to be a consecrated vessel within which the Holy Spirit can dwell, are permitted to enter the Temple of God within themselves, and be with the Lord while they are still physically alive in this world.   With respect to these souls who are truly saved and have gone to glory, they have attempted many times throughout the history of mankind to speak to their (Jewish/Christian/Muslim) brothers and sisters in the Gospel, but the greater number of the congregation of believers have refused to listen.   As a people who profess to believe, we are unwilling to pick up our crosses and actually walk in The Way, because we consider it too great a loss of the things of this world to be in the world and not of it!   

As you begin to read the Nazirene Gospel, I have created a number of hypertext links where I will comment on chapters and verses that will be difficult for the modern believer to understand.   Throughout the Gospel you will encounter such concepts as the pre-existence of the soul and it's cyclic manifestation in this world.  Where some might consider this to be synonymous with the Eastern belief in reincarnation, it is not because our whole understanding of reincarnation is defective.   Moreover, throughout the Gospel you will constantly encounter the condemnation of killing, eating of flesh and the error associated with the Old Testament ritual of sacrificing animals -- but we must understand that temple animal sacrifice was a main focal point in the life of the carnal Jewish sects of the Sadducees and Pharisees.   Whereas, the people of the New Covenant (Essene/Ebionites) were all vegetarians who knew that the eating of dead flesh defiles the body and manifests one's carnal nature.   Those who are called Spiritual Israel know that in order to open the inner door to the indwelling Spiritual Temple within one's soul, the physical body must be both purified and consecrated in order to make it into a fit vessel that permits the Disciple of the Light to walk in The Way.  

As you begin to read the Nazirene Gospel and commence to open the the more pure teachings which the Son of God placed in the hands of his faithful followers, you will encounter many ideas and concepts that will on the surface appear foreign and alien to your understanding.   They are -- and they should be -- but what few people today realize is that we possess the inherent power to overcome all confusion, error and ignorance.   Because each of us has been formed in the image of our Eternal Creator God -- and each of us possesses an inner spiritual connection the the very Source of all Knowledge -- it is within your power to know the Truth if you will search it out!    The problem is that our tenets of modern religious doctrine, our society, and our present-day culture, has programmed our thinking to interpret everything in life from a quasi-Darwinist perception -- and nothing could be more in conflict with man's higher reality.   Therefore, the transition from carnal to spiritual has been made all the more difficult because of the very mindset with which we have been imbued with from the time we were an infant up until the present time.  

While many will condemn the spiritual concepts that I have set before the reader -- and they will in like manner condemn what will appear to be alien tenets of belief that will be found in the Nazirene Gospel -- it is important for the reader to recognize that they are presently standing on perhaps the most important crossroads of their entire life.   Why?   Because if you are honest -- or if you are a sincere believer who desires to be faithful to the Word of God -- then you have no other alternative than to admit that you do not know what to believe!   I have already provided sufficient reason to question modern-day accepted doctrine of belief.   I have already demonstrated that our Bible may have been severely corrupted by the Church of Constantine.   But whose to say that I am not as disillusioned as everyone else who has attempted to enlighten you as to what you should believe?   

What further complicates the problem is the existence of many verses in our very own Bibles which strongly convey to us that Jesus did not teach the Mysteries of God to the multitude of people.   Moreover, the Apostle Paul very clearly warns us that the True Gospel of Christ is beyond even the comprehension of carnal man.   What, then, should the sincere believer do?   My advice to you is this: Acknowledge that you are not sure what you should believe, and begin to live in accordance with the teachings of the scriptures in the endeavor to sanctify and consecrate your in order to make yourself a fit vessel for the Son of God to enter in and teach you the Truth!

As a Christian many years ago, I did not know what to believe.   I viewed the many references in the New Testament about the Mysteries of the kingdom with great question.   I found myself troubled each time I encountered one of the many verses where the Bible conveyed the existence of a Spiritual Gospel that was beyond the perception of the simple faith.   At that time it did not make sense to me that there were mysteries and secrets that could not be explained to me.   The more I became aware of these passages, the more I became perplexed.   What the scripture appeared to be saying was that, at the very best, I was nothing more than an infant in Christ.   Like the baptized believers at Corinith, it was true that I had heard the entire testimony of Christ -- and yet, Paul was writing that the real meat of the Christian doctrine had yet to be revealed to me.   Moreover, what was troubling was the fact that the Apostle was very clearly stating that this higher revelation could only be envisioned through some questionable process that I did not understand.  

When I approached various members of the clergy or study groups from mainline Protestant Churches with regard to these passages of scripture, they did not seem to grasp what it all meant.   They spoke using words such as the need for faith and trust -- that God moves in strange ways that normal people cannot understand -- and yet, all the while my heart kept telling me that I something was missing, and I had to add some unknown ingredient to my faith and trust in order to find the answer.

In time I became so frustrated with their inability to intelligently answer my questions, that I became a quasi-agnostic.   What I did not understand at the time was that agnosticism, and even Atheism, is sometimes the beginning of the path that leads to the Truth.  Agnosticism is not so much a disbelief in God, but more of a disbelief in the god of manmade doctrine.   What should be clear to readers of the New Testament is that the vision of God that was proclaimed by the Jewish sects of the Sadducees was a false god, because they failed to comprehend God in His true spiritual reality.   In like manner, the vision of God that the Emperor Constantine beheld, was very much like the god of the secular Jews.   In recognition that the majority of my ideas pertaining to God were false, in time I began to understand that agnosticism can often be a necessary process in the life of the disciple -- often brought about by the Hand of the Lord himself -- wherein the disciple begins the process of ridding himself of what is spurious, so he can go beyond the doctrines of men and embrace what is true.

It was during this same time frame that I also came to learn an important lesson.   Life is like a maze -- or labyrinth -- where there are a series of doors that we must open in order to accomplish certain levels of achievement.   What is the saying: The door of opportunity is opened by the wind of the door that closes behind us.   This saying was spoken by a man of great wisdom.

Regardless of who we are, we cannot circumvent the process of self-development.   In the same way that a child in school cannot possibly jump from kindergarten to college, neither can we receive the Mysteries of the Gospel until we have advanced through every stage of development.   While it is true that a spiritually mature soul can advance at an accelerated rate, but no step can be circumvented.

In our quest to know the Truth, it must be remembered that we are dealing with the unknown -- and we can never see what is beyond the next door in our journey.   In the recognition of this universal truth, we can sometimes see the point where success is in direct relation to one's faith, but little beyond that point.   In view of the fact that each and every one of us begins our journey at a time when we are spiritually blind, it is our faith that guides us as we travel step by step through each door and level on our way to the top.   Faith, then, must always be seen as a paramount force in the life of the believer.

In the same way that a child in elementary school is in the process of being educated, he is never truly educated until he possesses enough of a foundation that he is able to learn on his own.  The ultimate goal of education, then, is synonymous with that of religion -- i.e., to enable the mind to soar to new heights in the search for Ultimate Truth and Knowledge.  

It has been said in many ways that when we teach a child, we deprive him of the ability to learn.   This is a saying of great truth, and is one of the fundamental reasons why we have severed the modern child from his own spiritual nature.   In a truly spiritual religious learning environment, the disciple is never taught -- but rather, he is guided through the labyrinth of doors of experiential learning until he is able to open the final door to the Kingdom.  

All men might have been created equal, but they are not the same.   The concept of different levels of spiritual maturity and perfection is a constant recurring theme found throughout the scriptures.   The problem that confronts the believer who is in transition to become a disciple, is that there are no shortcuts.   In the same way that an infant cannot wake up a teenager, or a teenager an adult, we cannot simply advance from the stage of believer to maturity without stepping through each level of spiritual advancement.   The witness of the scriptures confirms that the path of the disciple embraces a long and arduous process of spiritual development, because we are dealing with the very thing in life most resistant to change -- which is ourselves.   Believe the words of the Lord when he warned: "Strive to enter in by the narrow door: for many, I say unto you, shall seek to enter in, and shall not be able" (Luke 13:24 ASV).   This same exact thought is again seen in the words of the disciples where it is written: “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22 NIV).   From the perspective of the original teachings of the New Covenant, we must recognize the fact that there is absolutely nothing in these words which would suggest that the path to Life is easy -- in the manner of saying a prayer, going to church, being baptized, or calling upon the name of the Lord.  

When it is realized that the word we translate “Strive”, in the original Greek language more appropriately means agonize”, the true dimension of our search for answers begins to loom and dispel any thought that this is a casual process which we engage in when we have a break from our daily routines.   From the perspective of the teachings of The Way, the disciples pursuit of truth becomes his life -- and the words: “for many, I say unto you, shall seek to enter in, and shall not be able” should weigh heavily upon the heart of the casual believer.  

As a Christian, the great change in my life came about when I began to question and confront these statements that are clearly declared in the Bible.   Thus, I commenced to begin a journey in mind and spirit -- and in my own quest for spiritual truth, I began to totally re-evaluate my whole perception of life and religion as I began to embrace a new vision of reality that I was simply not prepared to understand.   Because our culture places such great emphases on things of little spiritual significance, what we are talking about here is a total reorientation of one's thinking, lifestyle and goals of life itself.   In view of the fact that our society does not support man's spiritual side, and our manner of living, as well as many of our government bureaucracies actually attempt to use their secular power to suppress man's quest to manifest his latent indwelling spiritual nature, it was not an easy process to release the shackles of my mind and begin to see and understand without limits.   This is not easy because everything in our present day culture -- physically, mentally and spiritually -- is geared to place limits upon our thinking and pursuit of truth.    

Once properly understood, this obstacle to man’s spiritual growth in the form of an all-pervading power that controls almost every aspect of this realm is biblically referred to as Satan -- and it is this force of darkness that is actively working to induce man to embrace what is spurious and incomplete.   Thus, few Christians are able to comprehend the true depth of the Apostle's warning when he wrote: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph 6:12 NAS).   By ignoring the Apostle's words, Christians have been seduced into believing that all they need to do is believe and have faith in the elementary message which is referred to throughout his epistles as the “milk of the gospel”, and they will be protected from the “spiritual forces of wickedness” that Paul writes about.  

What I found in my own life was that nothing in my childhood, my education, or my experiences prepared me for what was to come.   Every concept of life that I had been taught by many well-meaning people was either wrong, or was merely a shadow of the truth.   Moreover, because every source of knowledge and learning that was available to me was written from a three-dimensional perspective, and unconsciously censored to conceal the truth and the facts that the sources of information was unable to comprehend, the job of ascertaining accurate information without Divine intervention would have been near impossible.    

Again I repeat the words of the Apostle Peter who told his disciple Clement that there is only One Source of Genuine Knowledge: “…if you would know the things pertaining to God, you have to learn them from Him alone, because He alone knows the truth. For if any one else knows anything, he has received it from Him or from His disciples”.   When Peter speaks of the disciples of Christ, he is not making reference to a church of this world or a body of believers who embrace the “milk of the gospel” in the form of the simple faith -- those whom Peter is speaking of are the few who have reoriented their whole life and thinking in the endeavor to walk in The Way, and become the Anointed and Illumined Child of God.

These words -- that you can only learn the things of God from Him alone, or from one of his disciples -- are as true today as when Peter spoke them to Clement in the first century.   And if we ask the source of Peter's words, they can be attributed to the Master himself when he commanded: “But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers” (Matt 23:8 NAS).   If you therefore claim to be a true Christian, then you must accept the validity of these words that were spoken by a genuine disciple of Jesus whose mind was Anointed by the Holy Spirit.   In my own quest for Truth, I took them to heart -- the result of which was that everything that I thought I knew and understood -- all of what the secular and non-secular teachers and religious authorities had taught me throughout my life -- fell far short of the true mark of reality.    

The problem was that what I had been taught with respect to my religious beliefs could not be simply classified as either right or wrong -- but rather, was the product of incomplete knowledge, perception and understanding.   In each instance, there was simply more to the equation that was not being considered in the formation of doctrines and creeds I had been taught.   What I am saying is that Augustine and Calvin were correct with respect to their doctrine of preordination: If it were not for the hand of the Lord upon me, I never could have found the path of Light on my own -- but I quickly learned that it was my destiny.   What I am saying also is that Pelagius was correct: If I did not walk the walk, I would have remained spiritually stagnant.   It has been said that the true Christian is he who prays as if it is in God's hands, and works as if it is in his own.  Thus, without Divine Providence, we can go nowhere -- and without our own agonizing effort, we are not worthy of discipleship.   Both of these concepts are well represented in the scriptures -- and we bring about our own demise when we attempt to cling to one truth and reject the other.   True success, then, must be envisioned when we merge Divine Providence with the freewill of our own undivided efforts, and bring these things together into a genuine quest to see the Face of God.  

One of the great truths that I had to come to terms with was the realization that in many instances the very words of the Bible were beyond my ability to envision.   When I read the word church, for instance, my idea of a church would immediately take hold of my perception.   I understood church to mean a congregation of believers -- a religious body -- or even a building where worship services are conducted.   Yet, what we commonly think of as a church, is in reality a pseudo-church -- in that the churches we have become accustomed to thinking of as real, are little more than hazy patterns that are at best, mere models of what is real and complete.   Moreover, it is the very idea of a church that we keep firmly fixed in our minds that obstructs our view of higher reality, and inhibits our ability to embrace the very concept of a True Living Church.   Thus the problem: Christians are not wrong when they profess the belief that the Lord protects his Church -- the flaw in their thinking is when they associate the church of this world with the Living Church that only the truly faithful disciples can enter.   The problem that confronts each and every believer, is we can never conceive of man’s higher reality, and move on to perfection, so long as our mind remains chained to what is false by virtue of its being a pattern, because of its incompletion.  

The many warnings by the Apostle Paul regarding the Mysteries of God and man's inability to comprehend the higher teachings of the Gospel made me suspect that what I believed was at best very superficial.   This fact is something that every Christian today who prays for a greater understanding of the Word must come to terms with.   If you truly desire what you are praying for, they you must be ready to embrace the unknown, and recognize the validity of the Apostle’s words: “…and heard things so astounding that they are beyond a man's power to describe or put in words (and anyway I am not allowed to tell them to others)” (2 Cor 12:4 TLB).   If the person of the simple faith who prays to learn more about Christ in our churches today is not prepared to open their hearts and minds to things beyond even human imagination -- mysteries that if they are permitted to gaze upon the will "...not be allowed to tell them to others" -- then your prayers are simply not sincere, and are merely empty words that sound good when you say them.

Regardless of my more distant past, in many ways I was no different than anyone else -- and in order to progress in my walk with the Lord, I had to directly confront reality -- i.e., I had to come to the understanding that from a Gospel perspective, I was literally a milk sucking babe.   Moreover, the Bible was correct when it warned that there was a great price to pay if I wanted the solid meat of the Gospel.   After examining the Apostle's definition of carnal, I had to come to the realization that I was indeed very much afflicted with the same faults as the believers he wrote about at Corinth.   I had not been taught directly from the Father, as Jesus had said.   Neither had I been taught from either the One Teacher, or one of his disciples, as Peter said.   In truth, I had to come to terms with the fact that every (religious) thought in my head, could be attributed to either something I read, had heard, or was taught by some else. 

Absolute proof of this was seen in the fact that I knew of no mysteries like those spoken of by the Apostle -- mysteries that were so secret, that they could not be spoken about.   Everything I thought I knew was routinely preached in churches, written in books, and taught in schools the world over.   In recognition of the reality of the Apostle's words, I had to admit that he was very much speaking about me -- and my mind was in every way swayed to and fro by the many opinions I had either heard, or was taught.    

In self examination, I went through the process of questioning how I came to accept what I believed was the truth?   What was the criteria I used to judge truth from error?   Because it was taught to me by someone who I accepted as an authority -- whether religious or secular?   Because it sounded good?   Because I inherited a certain set of beliefs from my parents by virtue of what I thought was an accident of birth?   In recognition of these facts I posed the question: Would I be a Christian if my parents were Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish or some other religion?   Did I believe the way I did because I adopted a particular set of beliefs when I aligned myself with a certain group or church?   With the realization that the Apostle was speaking about me when he wrote in his epistle about the lack of true depth among the body of carnal believers, I had to come to terms with the fact that I knew very little about what Jesus truly taught.    

After many years in pursuit of answers to my questions, I came to realize that of all the people of the earth, Christians are without excuse -- i.e., the people of the simple faith only have to begin their initial search for truth, and open their minds to what the Lord will reveal to them, for them to begin the process that will lead them down the path of true spiritual development.   In this respect, Christians have it much easier than either the believers of other faiths, or the non-believers.   All the forms and patterns of higher reality have been put in a proper and sequential order for them to behold, and all they have to do is walk the walk.   The problem was that this walk with the Lord had to begin with a genuine effort at self-examination.   

If we are satisfied with the “milk” of the gospel, then we will continue to cling to an entry level of the word.   If we desire the Truth, then we must crave that Truth from the essence of our being, and make its acquisition the goal of our life.   The Christian in search of a higher understanding of the Word must therefore begin the process of cleaning house, and endeavor to become cognizant of the source of their beliefs.  

Christians today speak of faith and belief -- but what do these terms mean?   From a New Testament biblical perspective, true belief and faith in the Lord begins with the realization that the disciple has only One Teacher and Revealer of Truth.   In my own case, I came to the stark realization that everything I believed was formed without any genuine knowledge of the facts whatsoever.   Like most Christians, I knew little more than what I had been taught in Sunday School.   In the recognition of my own ignorance, I quickly began to realize that I was not alone -- and the whole idea of a faith-based religion was a declaration that our churches did not really know if what we believed was true.   From the perspective of actual truth, they had faith that what they believed was correct.

Whatever knowledge I thought I possessed, was in fact the very embodiment of the word faith -- i.e., I had faith that what I believed was the truth -- and more often than not, this faith existed because I had become accustomed to rejecting any manner of facts that I did not understand, and especially knowledge that did not strictly conform to what I accepted as the truth.   In demonstration of this point, it can be said that the modern religious experience has become as a blind date -- i.e., we will find out when we die if what we believed in life was acceptable to the Lord.  

Like all blind dates, there is an element that is unacceptable to cautious people when it is realized that once the event has arrived, you can do very little about the situation.   What if my faith had been misdirected?   What if certain things were required of me in this life, and because I focused on things of little importance, I was not prepared to meet my maker?   Like a blind date, once the event arrived, there was little to nothing that I could do about the situation at hand -- i.e., I had to endure the results which the event brought about in my life.

In life it can easily be observed that being a victim of the unknown is unacceptable -- and it is because of this unknown element to the equation that many people simply refuse to go on blind dates.   They want to know the person they are going to be with.   They want to know where they are going -- the conditions and details of the event they will be attending.   From a woman's perspective, going on a blind date with someone you do not know, can quickly make your a victim of rape -- or even worse.   Disinformation and a lack of knowledge makes us vulnerable.   It is for this reason that many people wisely do not want surprises when it is too late to do anything about the circumstances.   Fundamentally, they want to have some sort of control over their destiny, and they are very uncomfortable with leaving things to chance.

This problem can also be put into another perspective: The people who influence our thinking and the manner in which we live our lives are very much as insurance salesman.   If we belong to a church, then we are relying on that church to cover and shield us when the great day of reckoning arrives.   If we are a Christian, then we believe that our church can better prepare us for that day than some other church.   When the book of life is read, we will stand up and say: I am a Christian -- and I believe I was forgiven by the blood of Jesus.   Thus, we expect to be found acceptable to the Lord on the basis of our religious beliefs, and the fact that we tried to live a good life.   But what we must recognize is the fact that we feel secure in meeting our maker, for the same reason we feel secure that if we get sick our medical insurance will cover the expenses -- if we get into an automobile accident, our auto insurance will take care of the matter -- of our house burns down, our homeowners insurance will cover the damage -- and if we die, our spouse and children will receive our life insurance.

Among all the insurance policies in life, only the most important -- i.e., our religious insurance -- is a matter of faith.   If an insurance agent attempted to sell us medical, auto, homeowners, or life insurance, without providing us guaranteed benefits, we would not be so foolish as to sign on the dotted line.   Yet, we literally put our lives in the care of others who can make no guarantees with respect to the final results of life itself.

The Christian answer to these fundamental concerns is that the truth about life and man's destiny is found in the Bible -- and the believer must therefore have faith in the written word of God.   But the Bible itself presents a number of major problems.   The more I studied the scriptures, the more I came to realize that from a biblical perspective, everything that I had come to believe appeared to be in conflict with some other part of the Bible.   The folly of my situation was that I had accepted the tenets of one biblical verse, even though what I accepted was contradicted by another biblical verse.   In my analysis, I came to realize that I accepted one scriptural teaching over another, simply because the people who instructed me placed greater emphasis on certain biblical concepts over others.  

The fact that most Christians will tell you that the Gospel message is clear and easy to understand is something that would be very difficult to demonstrate.   The Jehovah's Witnesses fervently study the Bible, and from their perception they can plainly see that Jesus was not God.   The Evangelical Christians study the Bible, and they can plainly see that Jesus was God.   The Uniterians study the Bible, and they see very clearly that Jesus was a man who became Anointed by God.   Each of these groups condemn the other as a cult that is influenced by extra-biblical sources -- which they strongly imply is Satan himself.

The more I studied the scriptures, the more I came to realize that each group saw something different in the Bible because each of their doctrines of belief seemed to be represented in the Word of God.   I could clearly see that what I had been taught in my childhood seemed to be present in the Bible, but so was the doctrine that every other group believed.   The Jehovah's Witnesses were not blind -- the Evangelical Christians -- and neither were the Uniterians unable to see the message of the scriptures.   The problem was that each group placed greater emphasis on one series of biblical statements that supported their doctrines of belief, while they rejected other biblical statements that did not.   Eventually I came to realize that the problem was in the limited vision of each of the groups -- i.e., that each of these groups do not see the reality of what the other sees when they open the pages of the scriptures leads to their own spiritual demise.

In my own self-examination I realized that I came to accept what I believed because my mind had been programmed from that biblical perspective.   Each group adopted a particular doctrine of belief because it felt good to them -- and they rejected other parts of the Bible because it was in conflict with what they came to believe.   In order to justify their own position, sometimes they ignored conflicting ideas, while at other times they attempted to explain them away -- making all opposing ideas appear to be of a lesser importance.   As I evaluated what I observed with regard to the doctrinal conflict among Christians, I intuitively knew that something was wrong with this modern approach to the Bible.

In my quest to learn about God by reading the scriptures, I seemed to be loosing ground as God became an even greater enigma than before I started.   There were definite elements of the Bible itself that offended me, and what I concluded was that certain passages of the scriptures could only be described as being beyond all belief and reasonable analysis.   One of the most embarrassing of Christian doctrines that I was simply not able to come to terms with -- a biblical doctrine that is no longer openly discussed in the modern church -- is the doctrine on predestination, which during the Reformation was popularly known as Calvinism   What this doctrine states is that man does not have freewill, and everything that has ever happened to man was brought about by the direct intervention of the Hand of God in his life.   In fact, when Christians of an opposing viewpoint attempt to prove that man has freewill, what they do is confirm the very paradoxical nature of the scriptures they champion.   The question then becomes: Which biblical doctrine do you want to believe?   Yet, regardless of the number of scriptural passages they bring forth as proof that man has freewill, they cannot negate the numerous biblical sightings that clearly state that every event in the life of man is prearranged by God.

The more the Bible is studied, the more one recognizes still another element of the controversy between the question of predestination and freewill.   The doctrine of predestination not only states that man does not have the right to question why God would inflict certain hardships or a sinful life upon an individual or group, but further denies mankind even the right of questioning why God prearranges the hardship and/or sinful life that he has been forced to live.   Ultimately, the doctrine then appears to go beyond all human comprehension, and finds fault with the people who are predestined by God to live this often ungodly lifestyle.   In human terms, this equates to finding fault with a particular group of people because they were born into a certain race, or they have a certain eye or hair color.   Moreover, from a biblical perspective, this group that was born into this certain inferior Divinely Ordained condition, will be eternally punished because of the manner of their birth that was completely beyond their control.

In retrospect, I could easily understand why many people of a questioning mind simply are unable to accept many of the tenets that are written in the Bible.   Fundamentally, in many instances what the Bible puts forth for men to accept and believe is unreasonable.   If the biblical teaching that man is predestined by the Hand of God into a certain role -- a role that he is powerless to change or overcome -- and yet man is held accountable for what God has brought about in his life, I could immediately understand why it has many times been pointed out by non-believers that the judicial institutions of man are of a higher order than those attributed to God.   Christians, who are not permitted to question, or even to outwardly invoke compassion for those condemned from before birth to live a life of sin and then be eternally punished for the life they lived, are expected to close their hearts and minds to what is being perpetrated upon this pre-damned group of people who, in the Apostle's words, are born into lives of dishonor.  

From my perception during that time in my life, I found it even more astounding that believers could openly accept the reason the Bible gives in condemning some people to lives of dishonor, while blessing others with undeserved goodness and mercy.   To a reasonable person whose mind is imbued with a sense of justice, there are just too many questionable passages in the Bible.   As an example: “For he says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’ It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy” (Rom 9:15-16 NIV).  

What few believers today realize is that this passage is in fact one of the foundational concepts of all Protestant Theology.   Man can do nothing of himself to earn salvation, and he doesn't even have control over the very life he lives.   Everything rests on the will of God, and whether a certain person -- without regard to his own effort -- receives the indiscriminate and arbitrary mercy of God.   In analysis I began to understand why the non-believer looks upon religious concepts such as these as pure nonsense, and concludes that man has a higher set of ethics than does God.   As mere fallible men, we would quickly condemn a parent who is loving to one child without reason, and cruel to another.  

Civilized man would not tolerate random acts of mercy and wrath to be inflicted upon any group of people.   The black race was not freed from the injustices of slavery because of a revolt that they orchestrated -- but rather, slavery was abolished by white people who were willing to go to war -- sometimes with their very brothers -- and shed their blood in the name of extending freedom to all people.   It is true that many blacks raised up in rebellion and gave their lives in the endeavor to free their people, but without the opposition of the white race to the institution of slavery, and the shedding of white blood, the freedom of the blacks would never have been brought about.  

The majority of Christians today close their eyes to the atrocities which the Bible openly proclaims and expects rational people to believe.   In closing their eyes, they either accept or ignore the fact that a group of people are not only born in an inferior manner, but that they will be eternally punished because of their inferior manner of birth.   The concept that all men are created equal has become ingrained in the American consciousness.   Yet, the Bible states that this idea is in error.   If the Apostle is correct when he asserts that some men are destined by the Will of a Higher Power to lives of dishonor, while others are destined to honor, then the idea that all men are created equal is simply untrue.

In the struggles of our society, the laws and reasoning of man would condemn behavior where one group is shown indiscriminate mercy, while another is the victim of indiscriminate wrath as a clear sign of mental illness.   And yet, when this same behavior is observed in God, man is supposed to relinquish his reason and compassion, and close his eyes and heart to what he would otherwise perceive as an abomination and grave injustice.   It is for this reason that many non-believers look upon the blind acceptance of many biblical tenets by believers as a cruel hoax.   They ask the very reasonable question: What kind of God would create mankind with a mind, and a sense of right and wrong, and then forbid him to use it?   The problem is that, unless the modern Christian chooses to ignore many very clear biblical tenets, the people of the simple faith are unable to answer this question.

In the Epistle to the Romans the Apostle writes: “One of you will say to me: ‘Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?’” (Rom 9:19 NIV).   In response to the very clear biblical teaching that all events and occurrences -- great and small -- in the life of man are prearranged by God, the Apostle does not respond in the manner that the majority of Christians would today.   It can be clearly seen that Paul does not even attempt to justify what man would consider an atrocity by stating that man has choices and freewill -- but rather, the Apostle of faith answers the question by stating that: “But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why have you made me like this?’ Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?” (Rom 9:20-21 NKJ).

Has modern Christians ever asked themselves the consequences of these words?   If it is true that the man we know today as the Apostle Paul was of an enlightened mind which was illumined by the Holy Spirit, then it is also true that the majority of modern Christians do not really believe what the Bible states.   Our whole present-day concept that people have choices was not even considered in Paul's response to the question that was posed.    

 

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Allan Cronshaw

Contact: allan_cronshaw@nazirene.org

 

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