For those who read this blog on a somewhat regular basis, you know that I often refer to postings on the Finding Truth blog. Nate has developed quite a following and the discussions there often get pretty heated.
A participant in one of his recent postings is an individual who goes by the name of “Kathy.” This person, for all intents and purposes, is a Christian. She appears to believe God is real and the bible is his message to the world.
While many on the Finding Truth blog tend to believe there are contradictions and/or errors within the holy book, Kathy staunchly defends “The Word” by claiming she is the only one who is looking “objectively” at the scriptures in question. She further claims that all who disagree with her are doing so because of their “liberal” (atheist) perspective.
In one of her defenses against bible inconsistencies, she made this comment: “We can TRUST the ENTIRE Bible because it was approved by God. You are focusing on things that are INSIGNIFICANT.. because again, it reveals what is in your heart. If your questions related to contradictions in the actual MESSAGE of the Bible, then I could see your point.. but times and dates.. it just doesn’t matter in the big picture of what Jesus did for US on the cross.“ (Emphasis mine)
THE BIG PICTURE
At the heart of Christianity is the belief that salvation comes through believing in Jesus and his atoning death on the cross. Few are aware this doctrine was never mentioned, promoted, or taught by Jesus himself. Nor is it addressed anywhere in the Hebrew Bible. OT scriptures used by church leaders today to corroborate this teaching did not hold the same meaning to the ancient Jews. In fact, it wasn’t until (the apostle) Paul developed his theology about who Jesus was and why he came that things changed.
This change didn’t occur overnight. It was primarily through the plethora of Paul’s letters that (some of) the early Jews began to view the ancient texts in a new way. Using his skills as an eloquent writer, a powerful and charismatic orator, and an effective evangelist, Paul was eventually able to convince them that Yeshua was the long-awaited Messiah.
But he didn’t stop there. Since he had abolished the Torah as a requirement for salvation (Galatians 3:10), it was necessary for him to put a new requirement into place that would ensure Yahweh‘s approval. This he did by developing the doctrine of “original sin” (humanity’s state of sin resulting from the fall of man), and pointing out that only through faith in his “Christ” could anyone gain favor with God.
In other words, the conception that Christians have today about “what Jesus did for US on the cross” is based solely on the teachings of Paul — teachings that originated from his reported “vision” of a disembodied Jesus.
“Paul’s words are not the Words of God. They are the words of Paul — a vast difference.”
— John Shelby Spong