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The Liberal Leanings of the Liberating Lamb

The Liberal Leanings of the Liberating Lamb

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The Liberal Leanings of the Liberating Lamb

Lunghezza:
214 pagine
3 ore
Pubblicato:
Jan 10, 2017
ISBN:
9781483460017
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

When Jesus came, he revolutionized religion on our planet. He revealed a higher vision of God and a deeper understanding of the requirements and rewards for entering the kingdom of heaven. But, that vision has been ignored, distorted, or denied both by believers and nonbelievers alike. In The Liberal Leanings of the Liberating Lamb, author Bob Fronterhouse discusses that Christianity, as taught and practiced today, is too small to fulfill the word and will of Jesus. Fronterhouse calls attention to the neglected teachings of Jesus, and he shows that without action, the words are meaningless. He points out the mistake of today’s focus on theological ideas instead of following Jesus’ examples and teachings in everyday life. When one acts according to Jesus’ example, religion moves in the right direction of discipleship and the world, in turn, becomes a better place.
Pubblicato:
Jan 10, 2017
ISBN:
9781483460017
Formato:
Libro

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The Liberal Leanings of the Liberating Lamb - Bob Fronterhouse

FRONTERHOUSE

Copyright © 2016 Bob Fronterhouse.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted by any means—whether auditory, graphic, mechanical, or electronic—without written permission of both publisher and author, except in the case of brief excerpts used in critical articles and reviews. Unauthorized reproduction of any part of this work is illegal and is punishable by law.

ISBN: 978-1-4834-6000-0 (sc)

ISBN: 978-1-4834-6002-4 (hc)

ISBN: 978-1-4834-6001-7 (e)

Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, any web addresses or links contained in this book may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid. The views expressed in this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.

Any people depicted in stock imagery provided by Thinkstock are models, and such images are being used for illustrative purposes only.

Certain stock imagery © Thinkstock.

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Lulu Publishing Services rev. date: 12/8/2016

Contents

Acknowledgments

Preface

Chapter 1 Look Again

Chapter 2 Climbing Through the Back Fence

Chapter 3 Short on Savvy

Chapter 4 No Small Change

Chapter 5 The Dogmatic Continuum

Chapter 6 The Saving Grace of Empathy

Chapter 7 One Act at a Time

Chapter 8 New Wine

Chapter 9 Begin at the End or ARC vs DRC

Bibliography

Endnotes

Acknowledgments

This book, written over too many years, I finished with the loving assistance of my wife Sally who spent hours checking references, formatting and giving me the moral support I needed to see it through. I would also like to thank other members of my family who encouraged me and believed in the importance of this project. Those who helped me shape the ideas in this book consist of too many religious, academic and social acquaintances to list. I have learned from the writing of this book how indebted we all are to those past and present, friend or foe that we have been fortunate enough to meet along the path of life. It should be unnecessary to mention that this work has evolved through the inspiration of the One who is revered for his long-suffering love.

Preface

Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.

Voltaire

The important thing is not to stop questioning.

Einstein

Lessing said, "If God held all truth enclosed in his right hand, and in his left hand the one and only ever-striving drive for truth, even with the corollary of erring forever and ever, and if He were to say to me: Choose!—I would humbly fall down to him at his left hand and say: Father, give! Pure truth is indeed only for you alone!"

Hypothetical questions:

Is it possible that the reason why the answer to the Lord’s Prayer Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven has not materialized is because the world’s Christian disciples have replaced the Teacher and misplaced His message?

Is it possible that the rabbinical and the clergy views of Jesus are both examples of a profound mistake?

Suggesting that Judaism and Christendom might be guilty of a profound mistake is not to say they were wrong. How can this be? According to the legendary Danish physicist, Niels Bohr, we can distinguish two kinds of truth. ¹

An ordinary truth is a statement whose opposite is false. A profound truth is a statement whose opposite is also a profound truth.

This statement was expounded upon by another physicist (Wilczek, 2002) who surmised:

that in this spirit we might say that an ordinary mistake is one that leads to a dead end, while a profound mistake is one that leads to progress. Anyone can make an ordinary mistake, but it takes a genius to make a profound mistake. ²

Wilczek goes on to explain that Newton’s zeroth law is an example of a profound mistake. It had provided the basic science for physics, chemistry, and astronomy for over two-hundred years but at the beginning of the twentieth century Plank, Einstein and others proved it was wrong. Due to their new experimental studies the basis for the old regime crumbled and a new regime emerged from the rubble. The Zeroth Law became a prime example of a profound mistake which leads to progress.

Furthermore, due to the extraordinary tools of modern science, it can be shown that our previous beliefs about the universe were mistaken. Stephen Hawking maps it out this way: Aristotle thought the earth was stationary and that the sun, the moon, the planets, and the stars moved in circular orbits about the earth. Aristotle believed this for mystical reasons; that the earth was the center of the universe, and that circular motion was the most perfect. This idea was elaborated by Ptolemy in the second century A.D. into a complete cosmological model. Ptolemy’s model was generally, although not universally, accepted. It was adopted by the Christian church as the picture of the universe that was in accordance with Scripture; for it had the great advantage that it left lots of room outside the sphere of fixed stars for heaven and hell. The death blow to the Aristotelian/Ptolemaic theory came in 1609. In that year, Galileo started observing the night sky with a telescope which had just been invented.³

Galileo helped us see, what has been obvious for some time now, that the earth is not the center of the universe around which the sun, moon, stars and planets circle. Instead, we now know that the earth is a miniscule planet out on the edges of the solar system circling around the sun. What’s more, we now can see that the solar system itself is just one among millions/trillions of others which are all expanding outwards into endless space. And space itself is no longer empty but filled with matter – both light and dark matter. In a very real sense, we no longer live in the same world that our best philosophical, scientific and metaphysical minds had envisioned. It has all been a profound mistake.

In the same spirit, we can say that Jesus was pointing out a profound mistake in the central dogma of Judaism and, as we must conclude, the same profound mistake in the central dogma of Christianity. The Old Regimes of Judaism and Christianity provided rules by which we could live and which became the law of the land for thousands of years. No one can deny that there was genius in these religious regimes. But, as we shall point out in this paper, they contained a profound mistake in both scope (aim) and scale (size).

A 16th century monk named Giordano Bruno noticed this mistake and pointed out to the church that their thinking was too limited by dogma and he was bold enough to say to those who judged him and eventually killed him, Your God is too small.

It was for this reason that Jesus struck at the very foundation of the Old Regimes allowing for the possibility of new life to flourish. From our perspective we see clearly now that the scope and aims of Jesus continue to be too restricted, especially by dogmatic religious conservatives (DRC).

At this point, if you listen carefully, you might hear books being slammed shut. It’s not just books, it is also minds that are being closed. These inflexible slammers suspect that the theory presented in this paper may be an attack on all they hold dear. They may even mistake it for an attack on God!

A similar volatile reaction must have been experienced by Columbus when he set off to discover a new route to India: Many thought he was dead wrong because they believed the earth was flat and that he would certainly fall off the edge if he sailed beyond the horizon. But, much to the amazement of the doomsday prophets, Columbus did sail beyond the horizon and instead of meeting with disaster, he discovered a new world! In the same spirit, it could be said that Jesus defied all the closed minds of his day and of our day to offer new life to a desperate world.

What are we saying here? The theory herein expressed is that Jesus came and revolutionized religion on our little planet; He revealed a higher vision of God and a deeper understanding of the requirements and rewards for entering the Kingdom of Heaven; a vision historically ignored, distorted or denied both by believers and non-believers alike; but still, a viable vision containing indestructible spiritual riches waiting to be discovered.

The theory expressed in this paper is that Christianity as taught and practiced today is too small to fulfill the word and will of Jesus. His message as recorded in the New Testament, particularly in the synoptic Gospels, is down-played and personal salvation is over-played leaving His Gospel of Good News seriously out of balance. It is paramount that we grasp the balance-rod of God’s Love to bridge the gap. In essence, this means that His Love that flows to us must flow through us; especially to those He described as the Least of these.

Will such a new/old theory be seriously entertained today? Not without a struggle. As William James pointed out, I fully expect to see the pragmatist view of truth run through the classic stages of a theory’s career. First, you know, a new theory is attacked as absurd, then it is admitted to be true, but obvious and insignificant; finally it is seen to be so important that its adversaries claim that they themselves discovered it. ⁵ Well, we shall see – that is if we allow ourselves the freedom to look beyond the horizon.

Before we launch into what might seem like a rather heady discussion, I want to say that what is about to be presented can be stated in very simple terms; I suggest that our understanding of the message of Jesus and the Gospel have, as it were, put the emphasis on the wrong syllable; nothing more, nothing less.

Let me explain: Take three simple words: I love him. If I were to emphasize, I love him? it would suggest that I think the idea is absurd. If I were to say, I love him, it might suggest that regardless of what others think, I still love him. If I said, I love him, it would suggest that he is adored by me. If I said, I (pause)…love (pause)…him, it might suggest that there is not much passion in my love. What I’m simply trying to show here is that stress changes the meaning.

After a close reading of the Gospels, I am convinced that we have been putting the stress on theological ideas instead of on simply following the teachings and example of Jesus. Misplacing the stress changes the whole meaning of being a Christian. We have been putting the stress on how to attain salvation as an end in itself instead of seeing salvation as a by-product of Christ-like living.

In other words, we need to put the stress on what we do and not so much on what we say. If we put the stress on what we say, religion easily slips into dogma. If we put the stress on what we do, religion moves us in the direction of discipleship; it puts us on the path that Jesus walked. The need for this stress is clearly stated in Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. Or, as Jesus said,

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew7:21)

Now, don’t get me wrong; I love the Gospel! I was baptized in a Southern Baptist church and I’ve been to and preached in revival meetings all over. Billy Graham is still viewed by me as a God-inspired evangelist. Preaching the Gospel is fundamental in saving souls. That is, saving them from sin and putting them on the right path – the path that Jesus walked. Understand me clearly on this; no, I don’t think preaching the Gospel is wrong, I just think we are putting the stress on personal salvation at the expense of being obedient to the commands and teachings of Jesus.I believe Jesus put His stress not so much on in-coming love as on out-going love. He did say, This is the first and greatest commandment (love God) And the second is like it, (Love your neighbor as yourself). There is no commandment greater than these (Matthew 22: 37-39. Mark 12:31). Jesus put His stress on love of God and Good Samaritan acts: Do this, He said, (to the expert in Scripture) and you shall live. (Luke 10:28). By word and act Jesus stressed this Golden Rule.

Today, most of the world watches in horror as religious fundamentalists attack the Golden Rule with the Rule of Hate. This work in hand is an attempt to save us from our worst selves and restore us to God’s original design: made in the image of God. (cf. Genesis 1:27) What image? God is love. (cf.1 John 4:8)

In what follows, I will attempt to show why Dogmatic Religious Conservatives (DRC) thought they had to kill Jesus and how Authentic Regenerated Christians (ARC) come under the same DRC attacks today for attempting to revive and reincarnate the fundamental teachings and example of Jesus.

Chapter 1

LOOK AGAIN

When I was a college student, I was asked to MC a large gathering for food and fun at a religious institution and when my first words should have been, Let us bow for the invocation, I inadvertently said, Let us bow for the benediction. Well, everyone bowed, but I heard more than a few snickers from my classmates and I noticed some quizzical looks from the faculty. A little later in the evening, with the help of Lady Luck, I was able to turn my faux pas into a joke at my own expense. But here and now what I am about to say is no joke; I have to begin this story at what seems to be the end. In the beginning is the Benediction (a prayer for God’s help).

I know that all of us have come to expect a lot of stupid acts on what modern physicists might describe as this cosmic speck of dust called earth, but there was one that is almost impossible to fathom: a sadistic act that boggles the mind. To fully appreciate the substance of this horrendous act you have to experience it as you would in a theater: with a willing suspension of disbelief.

You see, this man appeared on earth like a visitor from another planet. This world is, or should be, a better place because we had this visitation from outer space. When this Visitor appeared, he caused a lot of commotion. Contrary to what dogmatic religious conservatives (DRC) thought at the time, his purpose was to teach men how to be happy. He lined out some simple truths and said about them, If you know these things, happy are you if you do them. (John 13:17)

This visitor to the planet earth looked and talked like everyone else, but he was much more helpful than most and he seemed determined to help earthlings become more magnanimous in spirit. He was, no doubt, astonished that a race of men, reputed to have been made in the image of God, were so small minded and mean spirited.

He set about trying to reform the character of mankind along with its religious institutions, but the more he tried, the more he was resented. The DRC came to resent him so much that they were determined to have him executed on trumped up charges.

Why would men want to put that innocent man to death? He was renowned for his good works. He had special powers and everywhere he went he healed the sick, the blind, the demonic, the lame, the dying and was even reputed to have raised the dead.

One would think that such a medically valuable person would be respected, even revered. It was well known that he was a wise and gentle person. He was a friend to the friendless, and he didn’t put on airs - he was a very humble man. So, why would anyone want to kill him?

I’m going to suggest now what at first might sound like an unlikely motive: I submit that the Visitor, called Jesus, was targeted and eventually killed by conservative men who considered him too liberal. Do you have a problem with this idea? Well, in what follows, I will show that He was killed because He was a threat to the Status Quo. In short, a conservative mob became homicidal over the liberal leanings of the liberating Lamb of God.

So, who killed Jesus may not be the right question -- the right question might very

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