The Roman Catholic Church—as an organization—cannot easily change the doctrines that make them Catholics. This is even when a lone authentic voice from their own ranks clearly shows them how deviant from Christ’s teachings their core doctrines may be. The established Catholic position is viewed as sacrosanct and therefore something that should be deified?
The Seventh Day Adventists, with their doctrines christened on Ellen G White’s teachings, can also not be changed randomly. To the SDAs, Ellen G White’s teachings are sacrosanct. The same applies with various other Christian organizations, sustained by respective denominational doctrines.
What is covered here should make interesting reading, especially to those having read [The Authority of Jesus], with all its relevant link citations. Those willing to read with an open mind will realize how Christian organizations have usurped the authority of Jesus. Though, obviously not having done so, intentionally.
This is why—not so long ago—Grace Communion International (formally Worldwide Church of God) fell into serious problems of defections. Violating what had been established by previous leadership caused such defections. However, God does not necessarily exist where there is change, for the sake of change.
Among changes implemented by GCI, was the adoption of the doctrine of Trinity—in alignment with Orthodox Christianity. This position, having been adopted organizationally, puts anyone of the GCI fellowship in the awkward position of being discordant—when failing to appreciate Trinity.
And indeed the person would be discordant. In music, if the piece is written on E-flat yet everyone else pick the tune on D—the one singing according to the authorized key—though in tune with the composer—would be discordant.
The person would have correctly picked up the right key, but would be discordant, among those with whom he/she would be singing. I suppose what sustains denominations in their respective doctrines is avoiding being discordant? See [The discordant reality projected through the gospel].
The reason why the first century Christians were persecuted was their being discordant. The only religious organization that existed at that time was Judaism. Those early Christians attended Synagogues on Sabbath days, but teaching what was adjudged as discordant.
The same applied with Jesus—who did not miss attending Synagogues on Sabbath days—though not teaching Sabbath-keeping, but the Kingdom of God (Luke 4:16) (Acts 17:2). Accordingly, those Jews viewed Jesus as being discordant, finding Him unacceptable—to the point of plotting His murder.
To a genuine Christian, truth is sustained in Jesus’ teachings. I suppose it is commonly agreed that Jesus, as Son of Man, is standard for all Christians? In other words, the Pope or any other Christian leader would be relevant—only when pointing at how Jesus behaved and what Jesus taught.
For instance, if Jesus did not talk about a “Triune God,” why should anyone talk about a “Triune God?” When casually looking at the term “Triune God” nothing appears amiss, as intended to address the greatness and uniqueness of our God. The only problem is in that Jesus never talked about a “Triune God?”
The person found not wearing the garment and chucked out of the wedding feast was obviously discordant? (Matthew 22:13). If our musical key is Jesus, who did not talk about a Triune God, how should we measure, against the Trinitarian doctrine? I appreciate Jesus being gracious, but He says:
“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great” (Luke 6:46-49) (NIV).
These words, by our Master—Jesus—do not indicate that one should listen to what the organizational leaders suggest, necessarily. The direction is towards Jesus—who describes Himself as “the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6).
Indeed, no-one can deny the fact that there is comfort in going with the majority. The only problem is when scriptures clearly advise against doing so (Romans 12:2 and Matthew 7:13-14). As Christians, we have a responsibility to encourage one another to remain focussed, in all Christian endeavours.
Careful analysis reveals that Trinity—while espoused as essential—by the majority of Christian organizations—it has got no basis, whatsoever. It came from confused people, failing to appreciate Jesus, as Son of Man—as compared with Him being also Son of the living God. See [Trinity has got no pedestal on which to stand].
It appears as if organizations are there to imprison people—keeping them focussed on what the respective organizational leaders prescribe for them? Laymen are not free to think on their own. But, Christ brought freedom?!
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind to release the oppressed” (Luke 4:18) (ESV).
The most important datum to take note of, in this life, is that [Freedom is of the mind]. Freedom has got nothing to do with the circumstances that a person may be caught up in. Nelson Mandela was a free man in Robin Island, while the rest of black South Africans were under bondage.
The circumstances of prison shackles in Robin Island had nothing to do with Nelson Mandela’s freedom. Had he succumbed—if offered release on condition that he became an agent of oppressing his fellow black South Africans—Nelson Mandela would have displayed lacking freedom.
But as we all know, Nelson Mandela did not succumb to that—for twenty-seven years—because he was a free man. A free person is not controlled by anyone or anything. Those white oppressors could have killed Nelson Mandela. But killing him would not have been controlling him.
This is why Paul wrote most of his inspirational epistles whilst in prison. Paul was a free man. His oppressors thought they controlled him, as to keep him in prison, so that his ministry would be thwarted? They were mistaken!
It is Paul’s prison-hood that, actually, caused his ministry to have impact—even to us, today—close to two thousand years ago. This is why Paul declared: all things work together for good, for those who love God (Romans 8:28).
A true Christian is the one able to experience anything—yet able to take responsibility on whatever needs changing or improving. That person displays freedom from anything—including influence from the so-called organizational authorities. See [Seven Obstacles of Christian Faith].
The children of Israel were liberated from slavery in Egypt, but they could not realize freedom. God had to make sure that they remained in the wilderness for forty years. God could not work with those in slavery mentality.
God would work with a new generation—without slavery mentality—under the leadership of Joshua, displaying the significance of freedom. It was Joshua and Caleb, who had opposed the majority—thereby displaying freedom that the rest of those nomads could not experience.
A free person does not need the opinion of other people to determine what is right or wrong. That person decides according to his conscience, regardless of the surrounding circumstances. Like Nelson Mandela, that person is not intimidated by anything—including prison-hood, organizational leadership, or murder. See [Truth is outside religion and philosophy].
For instance, the only reason why Trinity is held as a significant doctrine, in Christianity—yet without Jesus’ confirmation—is that the majority affirm to it. Many are sheepish people, who wouldn’t oppose anything. As long as coming from the so-called authorities of established organizations—even though not fully convinced, themselves.
When given a choice between being controlled by, and controlling other people—most people would rather choose to be controlled. They may be willing to take leadership positions, at the pleasure of the topmost controlling authority. Such people are not free, yet Jesus came, so that they could have freedom?
Jesus was not controlled by anyone. As His Father thought, so Jesus thought. He was a true example of how—as humanity—we ought to behave. When able to be directed by one’s conscience—as controlled by one’s Creator—that person behaves like Jesus. He/she would be free—and happy he/she would be, indeed.
A free person does not waste time thinking about the circumstances under which he/she could be caught. Instead, that person thinks in terms of controlling the circumstances. He/she does not wait to be instructed by anyone, on what needs to be handled, at any given time. Such a person is in the class of game changers. See [The enemies of change are the proud people].
Humanity lost its freedom at the Garden of Eden. While the sin of Adam is clearly documented in the Bible—even Christians seem to prefer remaining in prison-hood. Could it be that the sinful behaviour of our ancestors—Adam and Eve—is difficult to part with? Christian organizations would rather portray what goes on in this world, than what Paul advised:
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2)
But, how can one be able to test and approve what God’s will is, when under the supervision of organizational authority? The first Commandment warns against having other gods before Him. But, it seems, Christian leaders put themselves in the authority of God and expect their followers to view them as gods?
The example of Trinity is used as one of clear sidestepping from Jesus’ authority. But there are many examples where ordinary Christians see God through the lenses of leadership in Christian organizations. Ordinary people appreciate their Christian calling—only as prescribed by organizational leaders. Instead of behaving like Jesus—taking instructions directly from His Father in Heaven.
To be a Christian, implies knowing how to take instructions directly from God in Heaven, just as Jesus set that example. One cannot be a Christian, when still behaving like ordinary people in this world. Other people in this world are as ordinary as anyone else. See [Christianity is a full-time commitment].
This does not necessarily mean that other people ought to be despised, according to comparisons. But this does not also mean other people ought to be adulated ahead of others. We all have got equal status in the eyes of God—because we were all created in God’s image (John 13:13-17 & Matthew 23:8-12).
Each person ought to serve other people, as though serving God. The principle of service is senior to everything, as this is basically, the only principle that Jesus emphasized to His disciples. Naturally, one cannot effectively serve a despised person.
Most Christians use Christianity, only as way to access approval from fellow man. They seek to do those things that enable them to be acceptable by others. While cowardice is suspected in that behaviour, self-centredness is, actually, the real culprit. See [Christianity serves to invalidate God’s Kingdom].
Among various Christian organizations, we have true Christians. But the question is: What are those true Christians doing there? Perhaps they are stone-scared to confront the leadership of their respective organizations? To such cowards, being rejected by those leaders would be tantamount to being rejected by God?
Christianity and comfort are not synonymous. Either one is a Christian—being prepared to surrender all (Luke 14:25-33). Or one is still undecided and therefore, comfortable with what goes on in this world. But, certainly, one cannot be both (Revelation 3:16). See also; [How does Jesus protect His own?]
It is not surprising, when reading stories of those failing to access freedom, yet having been totally liberated from their oppressor (Hebrews 3:16-19). Forty years of languishing in wilderness was not necessary at all. Except, as caused by not knowing that freedom came from their minds—not surrounding circumstances.
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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