That is a great question. It is one I’ve been trying to figure out myself, lol. A number of years ago my wife and I both sensed major transitions coming in our lives and yet we had no idea at the time how major they were. Since then we have resigned from the church we planted and pastored for 12 years and our beliefs keep transitioning dramatically since then too. I’m so thankful for the freedom to explore without the burden of a system to try to control our journey. That doesn’t mean it has been easy. On the contrary it has been slow, painful and exhilarating at the same time!
Of course Jesus wasn't a Christian technically since he was/is the Christ. Do we see any signs that he was instituting a new religion called Christianity though? Let's check out some common "church" beliefs and see if Jesus ministry aligned with them.
Did Jesus demand that his followers adhere to a set of beliefs about his birth narrative in order to follow or know him? No. The gospel of Mark which is considered the oldest gospel doesn't even mention it.
Did Jesus require that his disciples believe in hell? No, the Old Testament scriptures never spoke of hell, and Jesus only warned his generation of "hell" on earth... Gehenna, the valley of Hinnom where hundreds of thousands of bodies would be cast and eaten by worms after the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70. Here are numerous articles demonstrating Jesus never taught on HELL.
I believe that God has given us the power to access, activate and achieve our dreams. Of course there are lots of methods and programs to help us reach those goals, but I wondered if it was less complicated.
And I found that it was.
Yes, we do need to learn how to steward our hearts into those dreams. But I wanted to know what the common denominator was in getting our heart's desires. Was it prayer? Was it having enough faith? Was it being smart enough? Was it just luck? Or was it an arbitrary God who blessed some but not others?
This has to be one of the most confusing, fearful passages in the New Testament. It is used to scare the "hell" out of saints, and used as a threat against charismatics of all kinds. Some have gone so far to say that any gifts of the Spirit today would actually be demonic and rejected by God. But what does it really mean? Is Jesus talking about going to heaven? Is he saying that only those who perfectly do God's will, are permitted go to heaven? Is this a works salvation after all?
Troubled times come throughout history, and unfortunately in recent history it is commonplace for some Christians to shout, "the sky is falling" and run for cover instead of being salt and light to the world. Other camps, in an attempt to be wise and in order to quell a premature cry of "wolf" will turn to the other and say, "Yes, but remember, no one knows the day or the hour." I'm thankful for this latter group's attempt at calm, but is that really true?
Will Jerusalem be surrounded by the nations of the earth in a future last days? The prophet Zechariah would not think so. Is there prophecy left to be fulfilled in the book of Zechariah? Some believe very strongly that there is, particularly in chapter 14. But I believe that it is very simple to demonstrate that it has ALL been fulfilled and there is no future event where the nations of the earth rise up against Jerusalem... at least not from a promise from Scripture.
Many of us have heard it quoted through the years... sin is so serious and God is so holy that his eyes are to pure to even look upon evil! Usually on the heels is the inevitable guilt trip where we are called to come to the altar and "get right" because... basically God can't stand the sight of you. That is the message that some people have internalized.
Want a shocking perspective?!! Did Jesus lie when he said that the gospel was only for a very few? Or is there more to the story? Matthew 7:13-14, "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are FEW who find it.”
Who is separated from Christ? Sinners right? Well… come with me and explore one of the most important paradigm shifts ever. As you read, suspend judgment until you allow the Holy Spirit to massage your heart. The difference is between religion and life. The change of mind you will get is called repentance.
I recceived a "ministry letter" recently which was from a well-known Christian leader who wrote that he stopped to pray just for me. Of course this was a form letter that went out to thousands of people. God showed him that we were under attack by the devil, but God showed him the secret to me getting free. It said, “I felt that your finances, health and a loved one were being attacked by the devil.” (Well, that was hard to figure out!)
A recent article (February 16, 2015) by CNN by Peter Bergen, CNN Security Analyst was called Why Does ISIS Keep Making Enemies. It is the question that many people are asking. Why far-reaching offenses toward even their closest allies like al Qaeda?
The answer, according to Bergen, is simple. It is an attempt to draw the whole world into their end time apocalypse. He writes,