Discipleship.Net - Dan J.
November 18, 2005
In 2005, discipleship.net had a very meaningful substantive webpage that has since been removed. However, it was very cogent and well-expressed in its critique of Paulinism at odds with Jesus' teachings. It said:
In fact, Paul's definition of Gospel (or at least what is interpreted today from Paul's writings) does not look anything like what Jesus says is the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. Jesus never uses the term "grace", nor does He ever imply that salvation is an instaneous event that changes our future destination but does not absolutely require obedience manifesting a change of mind and heart. In fact, Paul's definition of Gospel (or at least what is interpreted today from Paul's writings) does not look anything like what Jesus says is the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.
It is worthwhile to look into the reality of when and how Paul's writings became identified as scripture. Paul certainly never referred to His writings as scripture. In fact, Paul's writings were not elevated to the position of Scripture until the 66 books were "canonized" by churchianity.
Look at how Paul's writings contradict Jesus' Words: He establishes institutions instead of focusing upon making disciples of Jesus. He reminds his readers of his own teachings, instead of teaching them to obey all that Jesus commanded.
Yet, when we dare to raise the issue that Jesus Words are the Final Word, we are accused of wrongly promoting a canon within canon. I say .. so what? Following Paul's writings has resulted in a Gospel and institution and doctrines which are friendly with the world and with our carnal nature.
Dan.: Try Jesus for 60 Days
On the discipleship.net website as of May 2010, we read these encouraging words:
This site is not about arguing theology, it is about pointing people toward being disciples of Jesus of Nazarath, who is King of kings and Lord of lords.
There is a radical difference between what Jesus says is required to be a disciple, and what institutional Christianity teaches about discipleship. I hope that you will stick with reading and studying Jesus' Words long enough to realize that you are called to be what Jesus defines as a disciple, rather than following the religious institutional model of being a churchian.
Jesus does not call us to do church things, He calls us to follow Him and do His works. He does not define one set of works for "clergy", and another set of works for the "laymen". He does not call us to forgiveness without repentance. Indeed, the first thing Jesus calls us to do is to turn from our independence and enculturation, and to turn to the culture and government of the Kingdom of God over every aspect of our lives. Failure to understand and accept this will lead us into deception and spiritual hardness of heart.
Jesus does not present us with a self-improvement program that affirms us in our trespasses and sins! Belief in Jesus either embraces the reality that He delivers us from the power and practice of sin, or else any "belief" in Him apart from this is a fairy tale.
Jesus calls us to personal accountability to Him, not accountability to human "middle managers" with religious titles and "authority". You, my friend, are called to walk personally with God, through Jesus Christ, and to obey Him in word, thought and deed, continuously. So, the objection will be that this is impossible for human beings to do. Exactly! However, it is NOT impossible for God to do in us, if we BELIEVE and walk humbly with Him.
Jesus calls us to self-denial. At the heart of self-denial and humility is the surrender of control over our lives. Jesus says that without denying our self, we cannot be His disciples. Do you believe this? If not, then what is your claim to being a follower of Jesus?
Jesus also says that we must lose everything if we are His disciple. At the minimum, the means that we recognize that we are to change our perspective from owners of our material possessions, to that of stewards of gifts God has entrusted to us. One thing this does is that we no longer defend ourselves against the loss of personal possessions. Jesus clearly addresses this issue when He says that if someone takes our coat, give him our shirt also. Only those who have "lost everything" can understand how this is possible.
Following Jesus is not culturally relevant, for everything that Jesus teaches us is different from what culture and society teaches us. Why? Because Jesus is calling us out of the kingdoms of this world and into the Kingdom of God.
Most Christians have been taught that the Kingdom of God is a future event and will be a geo-political kingdom ruling over the unregenerate, thus enforcing peace over the ungodly. Jesus does not teach this concept at all. He makes it clear that the Kingdom of God is here and that we are subject to it. As in His model prayer, Jesus teaches us to ask God to learn how to do God's will on earth as it is done in heaven. This is not a wish for the future. This is God's will for us here and now, in the presence of those who hate Him and His righteousness.
Most cultural Christians in the USA claim that they are "saved by grace" and forgiven, but they cannot be like Jesus. Why would anyone serve such an impotent god, who cannot change us from our sinful nature? Why? If this is all that God can do for us, then we may as well become a pagan or a buddhist or a crystal gazer! But, taking a portion of writings out of context does not make the portion true. And, we need to read all of what Paul wrote about being saved by grace, through faith, and accept the WHOLE of what even He wrote, and understanding that even Paul does not teach this impotent concept of salvation by grace. [My note: Paul does have many costly grace verses which are typically construed to be trump by his free grace verses. Jenkins says to see it the same way Jesus teaches it.]
Friend, if you are not walking in the works that God prepared for you, which line up with the teachings of Jesus Christ, then I hope you will seek Him and ask Him to begin His work in you. For, if you truly know Jesus and believe in Him, you will have a heart to be like Him, and to be different from the sinful person you have been.
Shall we continue to put Jesus to shame and live worldly, but just a bit "gooder", or will we repent and receive by faith His work in us and through us? I challenge you to abide in Jesus' Words alone for the next 60 days and see what He has prepared for you to do and be. Do you love Jesus enough to abide in His Words, found in the Gospels? Or are you so addicted to religion that you will continue to read everything else and affirm the things that religious people have taught you?
John 14:23,24 Jesus answered him, "If a man loves me, he will keep my word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our home with him. He who doesn't love me doesn't keep my words. The word which you hear isn't mine, but the Father's who sent me.
John 15:7 If you remain in me, and my words remain in you, you will ask whatever you desire, and it will be done to you.