There may indeed be similarities—concerning what led to landmark decisions adopted by those respective Councils in guiding Christianity. However, the actions of both ought to be examined against the teachings of Jesus. The only reason that persuaded each of them to convene those respective Council meetings is now revealed as being lack of faith.
The convention of Jerusalem Council appears as having been necessary—to appease those steeped in Judaism—as opposed to Jesus’ teachings. The spiritual communication to Peter—leading to Cornelius’ baptism reveals that Peter could not duplicate Jesus’ mission. God had to use unclean meats’ vision for Peter to appreciate reality in that God included Gentiles in the plan of salvation (Acts 10:9).
Clearly, Jesus Christ never discriminated against the Gentiles, in the first place. One of the reasons leading to His crucifixion had been that He befriended Himself with sinners and Tax Collectors (John 7:34). Jesus had all along clearly stated that His reason for coming on earth had nothing to do with the righteous ones, but sinners (Matthew 9:13)
The author of the book of John was one of the Apostles, participating in Jerusalem Council. But, surprisingly, it was the same John who had accurately recorded Jesus’ words, in one of the gospel books: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16) (ESV).
Apparently, if John and his colleagues had appropriately understood Jesus’ teachings, obviously, the Jerusalem Council convention could not have been necessary. The shortcomings of those disciples is not difficult to perceive. This is as long as one appreciates that there is no other way of understanding Scriptures, except through God’s revelation.
Jesus had always constantly castigated His disciples for having had little faith (Matthew 8:26; 16:8) (Luke 7:9). Nevertheless, after Peter’s expression of having perceived that Jesus was the Christ, Jesus declared: “Blessed are you, Simon Bar Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in Heaven” (Matthew 16:17) (ESV).
Here is the datum—clearly showing that it is impossible for flesh and blood to ever reveal Godly things. It has to be God revealing to whomever He chooses to reveal. This is the only useful datum—when seeking to disabuse oneself from assumption that theology is necessary to understand Godly things.
The only author of Christianity is Jesus Christ. Neither the Jerusalem nor Nicaean Council, carries any responsibility for the Church’s existence. Jesus’ teachings were not a result of humanly formulated Council meetings.
Corporate meetings—for purposes of deciding how to run God’s Church—serve only to degrade God’s Church. This could be the only reason why Jesus also indicated that anyone practicing what He taught would be building on rock-solid foundation (Matthew 7:24). See also [Exposure of Apostles’ departure from Jesus’ truths].
Could convening the Nicaean Council meeting have been inspired by Jerusalem Council? This is when considering the adoption of the landmark decision, by the Apostles, to accept the uncircumcised into the faith? Possibly, the Nicaean Council may as well have certainly been spurred by the historical events of the Jerusalem council? But what had that to do with Jesus’ teachings? It takes only a true believer to perceive such facades.
I suppose those convening the Nicaean Council meeting were as sincere as the original apostles were also sincere in convening theirs. Human reasoning finds pleasure in being guided by other fellows’ opinions. This is not surprising, as has remained to be the case throughout the ages. No wonder why Jesus had to categorically castigate such behaviour, during His time (John 5:44-46).
The proponents of Trinity assume that there is no difference between doctrine and theology. When casually looking at this, it becomes easy to assume that the two are indeed related. However, the two have never been related. Even in Old Testament times—only the prophets took a pivotal role, concerning the direction of the Israelites’ religious posture.
Doctrine represents the most senior data that is unalterable through corporate conventions. However, theology simply represents the outcome of those involved with the study of God and religion. The two are distinctly different—as coming from different sources.
It is true that Jesus said whatever, was to be bound on Earth would be bound in Heaven (Matthew 18:18). But, in whose name, was Jesus talking about, when saying those words? Doing things in Jesus’ name makes it impossible for anyone to then claim that even killing another fellow human being, would be Okay, as long as committed in Jesus’ name.
Though theologians may call themselves Christians, they may not necessarily be Christians. One can easily get into serious problems when attempting to link the two—as both are constituted from different dimensions.
The two cannot be assumed as being similar. The fact that one studies God and religion, does not necessarily make him/her God’s de-facto representative. Doctrine in its truest definition implies what comes from revelation, as opposed to what comes from empirical studies.
What comes from empirical studies, is based on experimentation—when assuming that only the Bible holds the supreme data. However, revelation supersedes everything—including what is written in the Bible. Yet what comes from revelation also enables clarification of everything in the Holy Bible.
Things of the Bible cannot be clearly understood without God’s revelation. This is why Jesus lamented over failure to comprehend this reality—by Teachers of the Law, during His time. This includes our modern theologians—also displaying inability to comprehend—though expected to learn from past experiences:
“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life, and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. I do not receive glory from people. But I know that you do not have the love of God within you. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him” (John 5:39-43) (ESV).
What all this means is that one does not need theology, to understand Godly things. The four gospel books can be sufficient to those desiring to be led by Jesus alone. If Jesus never emphasised on need to engage in theological studies, from where do theologians take their cue to do so?
When upholding this truth, it becomes impossible to ever be impressed by theologians. Regardless of their hard work—in acquisition of college degree certificates of higher learning. God speaks to humanity through revelations—using whoever He chooses to use, in this world—not theologians, necessarily.
However, this does not imply that everything said by whoever declares to have received God’s revelation ought to be embraced without question. Analytical assessment becomes necessary—when confronted with so many religious leaders around—declaring having received revelations from God.
How does one tell which one stands for truth—when each declares being more truthful than others? False prophets are known to be always there—just as truthful prophets are also always there. This is where the role of the Holy Spirit becomes significant—for believers to deduce which one is which—among thousands of those religious cartels.
As having not been with Jesus, during His time, what is recorded in four gospel books, can be sufficient for analytical assessment and comprehension. The Holy Spirit enables one to deduce truth to avoid deception. Bearing in mind that the Holy Spirit is accessible only to those who Jesus said would be poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3). The Holy Spirit is not accessible to the proud people.
What is essential is appreciating that in the absence of the physical Jesus, the Holy Spirit ought to be relied on—more than anything else. Before ascension to Heaven, Jesus assured His disciples that He would not leave them as orphans. The Helper that Jesus declared as would come after His departure was the Holy Spirit (John 14:18).
Jesus clearly stated that the Holy Spirit would continue to teach people (John 16:7-8). He did not imply that such teaching would be facilitated by knowledge of Scriptures—necessarily. Jesus unequivocally declared that it would be the Holy Spirit to teach people all things. Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit can be tested, simply, by comparing with what is recorded in Scriptures.
The theologians of Jesus’ time had Scriptures at their disposal—yet failing to appreciate that those Scriptures pointed at Jesus. They could not understand that Jesus was the fulfilment of those Scriptures. Trusting those Scriptures more than trusting the Holy Spirit is what caused their failure to comprehend.
Interestingly, this remains the case with our theologians, even up to this day. It may be difficult to appreciate what causes failure to comprehend God’s word. But a careful analysis reveals that failure to understand is caused by preference of human reason—as compared with the words of Jesus Christ.
The fact that Jesus is the only answer to all problems of misunderstanding, is what this article intends to project. Neither Jerusalem, nor Nicaean Council resolutions, ought to be considered as significant. Of course the narration of their respective compositions, makes interesting reading—for those desiring to understand how human reasoning compounds comprehension.
In Zimbabwe we have the phenomenon of what appears as cultish sects sprouting all over the country, calling themselves vapositori (the apostles). While aware of the possibility of deception in most of those groups—I seem to agree with one of them—calling themselves, Johane Masowe Wechishanu. This is when considering Johane Masowe’s stance in stating that the Bible is junior to the Holy Spirit. That aspect alone carries true data.
The Johane Masowe sect purports to rely on the Holy Spirit—more than Scriptures. I find that stance alone to be somewhat on the right direction. My criticism against the same sect, though, arises when attempting to scrutinize their religious practices—which seem to deviate from Jesus’ teachings.
This is just as I am convinced in that what Jesus taught represents the only source of information about Christianity. As to whether the practices of those Vapositoris truly represent the Holy Spirit, I await the day that it will be clearly revealed to me. Currently, I reject them on the basis that I find what Jesus said to be the only most senior data—for comparison purposes.
My view is that what I write in this blog is guided by honesty—in portraying what I believe to be true. I keep my ears and eyes wide open for correctional information—as long as not contradicting what Jesus taught. One of the reasons for putting what I believe, down in writing, is exposing possible errors on my part. It is not always possible to detect one’s own errors.
I therefore, invite and encourage critical comments against everything I write. This is as I seek to fully understand everything—in my quest to be streamlined into Godly wisdom. Whatever criticism—as long as objective—serves to edify my intellect, more than perturbing my analytical perceptions.
As for now, I remain with the understanding that in this world there is no data that surpasses that of Jesus. Arguably, the commonly held assumption that the referred Councils (Jerusalem and Nicaean) were inspired by Jesus is impinging. But I remain in condition of being one, yet to be convinced.
My view remains in that those groups were steered to convene such meetings out of inability to understand Jesus. They were gripped with assumption that it could be humanly possible to understand Godly things without the Holy Spirit.
Where in History did God ever embrace or inspire group decisions? Except the commonly held belief that He inspired the convention of the now criticised Jerusalem and Nicaean Council meetings? It seems as if there is more of what is misunderstood in Christianity, than what ought to be treated as reality.
To understand Jesus, other people’s opinions are not necessarily always desirable. It may be necessary to assess various opinions, for purposes of establishing truth. But it is one’s responsibility to listen to the inner calling—as long as certain that it comes from God.
Jesus speaks to, and calls people as individuals. Just as each person would be called to account, without necessarily considering other people’s opinions. I find focusing on Jesus alone, to be the only answer that would deal with the existent confusion in Christianity.
However, this is not suggesting that people should avoid sharing information on matters of faith. Christians should share information, as long as appreciating that what is true to one person may not necessarily always be true to others. What necessitates information exchange is promotion of progressive decision-making instead of unnecessarily embracing dogmatism.
The most comforting newsflash is that only Jesus remains as the only one in charge of Christianity. He declared that He would not leave His disciples as orphans. Therefore, validating or invalidating other people’s opinions is unnecessary—when seeking to put significance only to what Jesus taught.
My apparent criticism of the Jerusalem and Nicaean Councils is stimulated by desire to set that record straight. There is no craving for making comparisons—when seeking to distinguish which of the two groups was better, necessarily.
Truthful information comes from God alone. Anyone finding truth on the information given on this blog, should take it as directly coming from God. However, anyone finding it to be false, should take it as his/her responsibility to preserve only what he/she considers to be true. That would be as long as such a person is positively certain that whatever is believed, comes from God.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing reliefs to those having witnessed strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long awaited providential oasis of hope.
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