Note from author: A massive argument broke out on my Facebook page because I proposed a paper that would contest the Trinity Doctrine. That it would show that it isn’t scriptural to say that ‘Jesus is literally God’, that he is a separate entity from God and is, in fact, the divine Son of God. That we will see BOTH God and Jesus when we went to heaven (do Trinitarians expect only to see a three headed God and not God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit?). And of course, we will see and/or understand the true nature of the Holy Spirit. That Jesus would be seated on the right hand of the Father and we, at the right hand of Jesus. That Jesus was raised up by God to be equal to him- but that this notion that Jesus IS God is wrong as far as scripture is concerned. GOD is God. He made Christ equal, but he is before Christ. He is higher than Christ and commands Christ just as Christ is higher than us and commands us. I promised a full scriptural account of these truths. This caused an ugly, hateful uproar where people acted in terrible fear and anger- many instantly unfriended me- and even my own pastor came online to say, in public, that I was basically unsaved if I didn’t agree that Christ WAS literally, God. This is what I wrote in response to that most surprising response from people who claim to be ‘loving’ Christians:
You know… I still can’t get it out of my mind what happened over these last days. I can say this now because most of the people who did it have already ‘unfriended’ me. Do Christians today REALLY still use words like ‘heresy’, ‘blasphemer’ or ‘recant’? I want to look around for the burning stake when I hear words like that. Those are the kinds of words the Catholics and Protestants threw around in Europe as people argued about the bible. And here I thought those ignorant days of fear and dictatorship were gone. The Protestants supposedly broke away from the Catholics because they wanted the freedom to read the bible themselves and interpret it individually while the Catholics said this was too ‘dangerous’- that priests should read it and interpret it for them. They didn’t and don’t believe that ‘regular’ people can read the bible and be taught by the Holy Spirit. They think that we are basically too dumb to read it and ‘get it’ properly. Thus, they main the priesthood. And they kept the bible in Latin until very recently. My father was raised in the Catholic church and listened to the mass in Latin. Doesn’t that show a remarkable lack of faith in the power of Scripture and in the power of the Holy Spirit?
Every pastor and every ‘protestant’ today is literally going up against over 2000 years of ‘intensive, studied, faithful and prayerful’ church doctrine by breaking away from the Catholic church. The Catholic Church still calls Martin Luther a heretic. And they still maintain that we all are wrong. Most of us are going to hell because a priest won’t chant over us before we croak. And yet, being in such a state of heresy as we are to the largest church in the world, we maintain that we are indeed Christians and that we have the right to read the word directly and to interpret it individually. And yet again, pastors and protestant people have become as bad as the Catholics in their love of doctrine! To have protestants screaming, ‘heretic!’, ‘blasphemer!’ and ‘recant!’ is to watch history repeat itself.
But no one sees that.
I saw a comment from a woman who cheers my backstabber-of-a-friend’s mocking post (which called me a cult leader and YOU a cult), “There’s TWO things that can never be questioned: the Trinity and Doctrine!”
Okaaaay…. I say, backing up slowly..
Really? Doctrine should never be questioned? Then why are you a protestant? Luther specifically fought for our God given right to read the bible for ourselves. And I side wholeheartedly with him! I take not only the right, but the terrible responsibility for it myself.
That isn’t arrogant, that is to be a Protestant. And you can’t say that you aren’t a protestant because any denomination outside of the Catholic Church is, by definition, a Protestant denomination.
So. This ‘doctrine shall never be challenged’ notion? It’s wrong headed. And dangerous. Of course it should be challenged. It’s man-made, isn’t it? Hence, the word, ‘doctrine’ and not ‘scripture’.
Here is what I believe: Mankind, as is echoed by our own bodies, it was young in the Christian faith at one point and now needs to grow up. In the days of the early church, there were no bibles. People were illiterate even if there were a plethora of bibles to be had. Easy doctrine would be important then. But today, with the advent of technology and 2000 years of development, we are maturing in our walk. No longer are Christian concepts new. They are prevailing. No one shocked anymore that the Messiah has already come. No one is shocked that he came as a servant and not an earthly king. No one is shocked that he equated Jew and Gentile, man and woman, slave and master. In fact, all our western governments are based on that very premise of equality today. None of this shocks us. And we have the bible in every hotel room in America. Not hard to come by. I can see why the early church doctrine was necessary to stave off ‘heresy’- namely, that antagonistic Jews (the original Gnostics) were running around saying that Jesus was literally just a man. A good man. But not the Son of God and not equal to God himself- basically, that he wasn’t divine in any way. The fledgling church probably couldn’t have withstood these people’s ideas as well as they did without the doctrine of the Trinity (ie, Jesus IS God). Doctrine is basically the ‘Bible for Stupid People’. It boils things down into snippets and statements. It does not go into depth- it is meant to glue it all together easily. It is based on the premise that people are too stupid to read for themselves and understand. It is based on the premise that people are rather stupid and lazy as a whole. It is based on the premise that even if we do read the scriptures, we will never understand it properly. I believe we can and must. We are ready to mature. We need the meat of scripture now, not the bread of doctrine.
Look at the Catholic Church. It has taken this notion (that we are basically dumb and stupid) to the hilt. It took the Protestant Reformation (where people were burned and burned and burned at the stake) to knuckle the Catholic Church to allow its people to have their own bibles in their own languages (of course, before they did that, they added several books to the bible to justify their oddities- dispensations, priesthood and purgatory). So, if the rule is, ‘Don’t ever question man’s doctrine because it has been around for thousands of years’, then none of you would have a bible in English. It would still be in Latin and you would still be a Catholic. So that idea is nonsense.
The Catholic Church’s greatest mistake has been that it has no faith in either the inherent power of the Word and the inherent power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, ‘Call no man your Father- you have but one Father and he is in Heaven.” He sent us the Holy Spirit to be our one Teacher and Counselor. This is all we need. Lutheran certainly believed that. And so do I. That isn’t arrogant. That’s a fact. And with that freedom comes tremendous responsibility. Arrogant? No. Brave. No pastor or denomination will answer for any of us. We will stand there, naked, before God and he will ask us to account for why we didn’t read his Word when it was right there, in our house, gathering dust. And no one will have an excuse. And your pastor will be there too, right behind you, ready to stand naked as well.
I believe the human race needs to mature again. It needs to take the next step in our walk with God. We need to understand that the Real church is you and me. Not a denomination and not a building. We have no pastor or priest above us. Those who would put someone between us and God are breaking the commandments of Jesus.
Therefore, as the Church, no one can come with authority and say, “you are a heretic’ or ‘you are a blasphemer’ or ‘you must publicly recant’. No one. The only one who can tell us that with authority is the Holy Spirit who most certainly does convict our souls. He commands and prods and pushes us. I have faith in the power of the very Words of God to contain LIFE unto themselves. They hold the weight of truth in them and they are not frail in the least. They are granite blocks, immovable as the sun and as Jesus promised us, ‘not one pen stroke shall disappear from the Word until his return.’ You don’t need to read it in Latin and you certainly don’t need to learn Greek or Aramaic or Hebrew to ‘get it’. The Holy Spirit is in control once you give over your life to God’s will. I have faith that I will be taught by the Counselor that Jesus sent with this specific task in mind. If you don’t believe that, then you don’t believe Christ, who spoke those words.
It IS a worthy use of time for Christians to read the word and discuss all thoughts concerning it. There is no blaspheming for questioning mankind’s own understanding. There is no heresy to discuss ALL scripture, not just the handpicked ones of the church establishment. If DOCTRINE were something holy, then as I said, we would all still be Catholics. If questioning 2000 years of mankind’s ‘prayerful thoughts’ is heresy, then every one of us is a heretic as we left the Catholic Church. None of these are the correct way to approach each other concerning the study and discussion of God’s Scripture. No. Any question may be asked and if we must have priests and pastors, then they, above all people, are responsible for answering these questions of scripture in full, not to say you are unsaved because you ask them.
Paying pastors is a worthy thing to do. Doctrine can still be helpful. Organized church is still useful. But the time has come for us all to truly realize what ‘church’ is. It is us. You and me, gathered in his name. Even as you read this, we are in Church. It is the Spirit that binds us to Christ and to God. We are ALL the Church. Our pastors have a paid position to do a job for us: ie, run the organized church. Early churches didn’t have paid pastors to begin with. Churches met in people’s homes. People all discussed the scripture. Apostles traveled around to newbie churches to teach. People sent money to missionaries and apostles as they could. Today’s organized church is just the most pragmatic way we have found to gather Christians together in a comfortable manner. However, if I invited a couple of friends to my house for prayer and bible study, that is church too.
Be wary of too much organization. My observation has always been that when people are put in charge, it takes a massive amount of effort and prayer to not abuse that charge- or to not become overly self important. To not become the ‘boss’ of others and the singular authority on matters of God. But none of that is right. It is wrong. And shame on all pastors that would do such things.
Christians of the World , WE are the church. WE are the biggest ‘church’ in the world. Our solidarity is our worship of Christ as God’s own begotten Son, who came to this earth in all grace and love to teach, to die, and to be raised again by our Father to serve as the first fruits of God’s holy plan. We believe that God gave Christ all authority to lift us up from death as God lifted Christ from the dead. We believe that we will receive new bodies as Christ did also. These bodies will be eternal bodies- we will all be transformed. Jesus has invited all who believe in him to sit on his right hand as he sits on God’s right hand in heaven. We will see Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit in heaven and THEN and only then, will we understand ALL. Until then, we put our faith in Jesus. We trust in the Holy Spirit to teach us the meaning of the Scripture by the Holy Spirit. All who believe this ARE Christ’s church.
So let no one- I mean no one- tell you it is wrong to question man’s thoughts. Everything made by man, thought by man, created by man is corrupt to its bones. Because we are corrupt to our bones. Believe only in God’s Word. There is only one place to find God’s Holy Words – that is the Holy Bible, which I uphold as the law and authority of my life. Everything of man’s may serve for a small while but eventually stales and becomes rotten. Everything made by God endures forever. Amen.