During the brief period of time that my site has been posted on the net (three days as I am writing this) it has generated feedback of similar types. The respondents want to know if I ‘have accepted Christ as my personal savior' and suggest that this is not clarified on my site. Respondents want to know what my theology is and suggest that this is not made clear on my site. Respondents have wanted to know about the nature of my relationship with God or my relationship with Christ. To address this issue I have composed this page in attempt to clarify these issues. This page will probably evolve over time in response to the type of feedback this site generates.
My theological position can be summarized in the following statement. The righteous will live by faith. By this I do not mean that the righteous will live by ‘believing in God' or that the righteous will live by ‘believing in Christ.' The righteous will live by trust, by placing complete confidence in the goodness and trustworthiness of God. This requires reconciliation between a person and God. There is a great deal of hostility between people on this planet towards God, and this is the direct result of human bitterness and resentment and pain, all of which come from the old emotional wounds that came first in childhood, when people first became aware of death. People have abandonment issues to deal with in their relationship with God. (This is evident when you hear people say, ‘if there was a God, how could it have happened?') As for how this great divide opened between people and God and the exact nature of the breach that first took place that caused God to respond with a discipline as severe as death, this is something that I do not know, nor would I speculate on the matter. I am a pragmatist, and it only follows that if you really do aspire to the kind of faith I am speaking about here, then you can assume that God has justifiable reasons (to assume otherwise would be to demonstrate the exact opposite of faith, a kind of paranoid suspicion about the motives and nature of God).
It seems obvious to me that life is intended to be a learning experience in this place, and one of the lessons we are learning is the nature of life without God, and as I suggested, this is extremely painful and a bitter thing for most people to bear. We are learning what should not be done by actually doing what should not be done. We are learning what should not be planted, by actually reaping what we have sown. You see, if God were to simply order people not to do something, and then force them not to do it, this would leave God open to the kinds of charges that people often level against God (only in this case, instead of complaining about the sorrows and griefs of this place, and bitterly wondering why God allows us to do what we do, people would be complaining about the tyranny of God, in not allowing them to do those very things. Better by far then that people are set free, to do what they will, and better that they should become angry at God for letting them be free in this way, than that they should believe they are oppressed. It is a catch 22 type situation here, from the perspective of God, a truly no win situation, but the latter option is preferable to the former.)
Therefore, restoration can only take place if a person does those things which God does not want them to do, suffers the consequences, harden in their heart in response to the hardness that will come into the world when people chose these hard ways and suffer the damage to their personalities that such hardening brings. Once a person has hardened in this way it becomes quite useless to simply say to them, ‘love your neighbour as much as you love yourself.' People become emotionally incompetent through the hardening that takes place on this planet and this is a necessary survival response if people are going to live here without experiencing pain and suffering. Hardening is a survival mechanism, and it only leads to more hardness in the world, more reasons for children to harden as they grow older, more hardening, and more hardness, and thus we find ourselves locked into a vicious circle, and people become emotionally incompetent and unable to fulfill the requirements of the law of God.
And it is for this reason that many people turn to religion and place their reliance on religious dogmas which purport to explain salvation. You see, to me the meaning of the term ‘salvation' is rather simple. To quote the gospel of Mark, a man asked the vital question. What must I do to be saved. The answer he received was as follows: ‘You know the commandments. Do them.' Now I hold that if you want to understand the nature of God you should closely observe the world around us. Consider kittens, puppies, little babies, as a starting point. These all testify to the gentle nature of God. Next consider the same baby years later in adulthood, often hardened, hating others and being hated, lashing out in anger, bitter, hardened, emotionally damaged. There is no comparing the soft tender heart of a child with that of so many adults. Many adults are ruinously damaged. A little child could easily fulfill the requirements of the law of God, and they seem able to love even the unlovable and they easily forgive. For an adult to fulfill the requirements of God proves to be almost impossible, and they so often are crippled in this regard. To me salvation, true genuine useful salvation consists of getting this damaged emotional state fixed. To quote the gospel again, ‘unless you turn around and become like this little child you can in no way enter into the kingdom of heaven.' For, you see, they used to say, the Kingdom of Heaven is within you!
It has been my observation that so many of the Christians I meet, who claim to be saved and have attained salvation, are actually as hard as a stainless steel nail. This is a hard thing to say, but it is the truth as I have seen it. They were like that long before they became Christians. That Christian dogma has so often been utterly ruthless throughout the generations comes as no surprise to me, because adult Christians have been so hardened and so ruthless throughout so many generations. For example, consider the following dogma that is considered ‘orthodox', and even an essential requirement, by so many Christians. Even the best person, the kindest person, the most soft hearted loving person in the world goes straight to hell ‘without Christ.' That such a dogma is the epitome of ruthlessness is doctrine goes without saying. Keep in mind that we are talking about excruciating pain lasting on and on, screaming, crying, anguish, horror. And all for doing nothing. Even the unsaved good burn in hell, this dogma states, for it is only by grace that one is saved, not works. Now I don't have any works about which to boast, having taken a long time to reconcile with God, and like Paul, I say I have not arrived at the place of perfection yet. (As Paul put it, how come I, the one who wants to do good, keep on doing some evil thing that I don't want to do? I don't understand my personality and my nature, he said, and there are so many times I feel the same way.) Thank God for grace, then, right? If we had to be perfect we would all miss the mark. But to then come up with a graceless interpretation that shows no grace, and damn those even the dogma itself acknowledges are innocent, is to impose only a certain interpretation on a piece of scripture, and this is done only for the reason that it is classical Christian theology to insist that such is the case. God forbid! There is enough ruthlessness, enough merciless conduct in the world, without harboring such dark (and faithless) suspicions about the kindness or the just nature of God.
The righteous will live by faith. And it my position that faith, genuine faith, excludes such beliefs as the one I just described, and the fact that they are ‘classic theology' makes no difference. A human judge who practiced such loathsome and cruel judgments would be damned by all, and certainly it is the case that God is damned by many because of such practices. As if things weren't already bad enough in this place. People already have that terrible hard hearted problem, that seething with hate problem, that cold, dead, unfeeling problem, that bad weed that grew out of that bad sinful seed. That places a dividing wall between people and God, and God allows this because, after all, you really can't order people about. Who wants to be considered a tyrant? People also have all those resentments, and hurts, and griefs that lead them to be hostile and separated from God. There is no need to further drive in the wedge by then portraying God as ruthless and unjust.
Classic Christian theology itself testifies to the hard, hard, hard heartedness of human nature. It offers so little in testimony to the gentleness or the justice or the love of God because classic Christian theologians were hardened, unreconciled, unhealed ruthless men. A good example would be Augustine, who wrote fifty long pages, quoting just about every celebrity in the Bible, and all to conclusively prove that unbaptised infant babies spend an eternity screaming in a roasting pit. The man had a warped mind, and despite his ‘salvation' was in truth never saved in any really useful sense of the word. He remained throughout his life as a theologian of the church a hardhearted sinner and consequently his ‘theology' became a blasphemy, and because the long line of priests and theologians who came after him were equally ruinous emotional cripples, he became ‘the father of Christian theology' and the church has suffered his ruthless theology ever since.
The righteous will live by faith. And if you listen to such doctrines as those of Augustine, whose theological reflections on ‘justification' led him to burn the babies of the world on a theological technicality, then truly you are devoid of faith in the most serious manner. The righteous will live by faith, by God, and that certainly is not the way to do it. That is sinister, and downright morbid, and it is the polar opposite of the type of faith I am speaking of here. And it is the product of sin, of hardening, and then of the incompetency that people experience as a result. After all, do not try and tell someone who is hardened to ‘love your neighbour.' They can't. Furthermore, if my experience is any indication, they know they can't. It seems impossible, and theological salvation is a lot simpler and easier. If love is salvation, then so many church people stand condemned in their sins, so therefore love is not salvation, those who love are not saved, nor can they ever be saved (‘without Christ') and salvation becomes empty theological rhetoric. And this best explains why so many Christians I have met have been so without mercy.
Justifying theology is self justification, and the source of this is hardening and an inability to love combined with a profound lack of faith. Let me share my experience with you. First you stop sinning, and you will stop any further hardening from taking place. Then a healing process begins, and this requires faith, because you are going to be harder than a stainless steel nail for some time, and this might lead one to start becoming theological, to start to panic. And a descent into theological justification is the very last thing a person needs, because it interrupts the healing process. It is extremely unpleasant to endure this healing process, and it would be better if people never became so hard in the first place, but here that just is asking to much. Repent and get a new heart. Now that is real salvation and that is real justification. To actually turn aside to do wholeheartedly what is required of God justifies a person in the sight of God. For as Paul said in Romans, God handed everyone over to disobedience only so that God could show mercy to all. This disobedience is allowed, so that people can learn through the bitterest of experience not to be disobedient like that in the first place. As you remember that horrible hardening experience and the ruination that came with it, you might have second thoughts later, you might want to avoid that road on your next journey through life. God gets what God wants - you stop doing those sinful things that ruined you in the first place, and you are left with no charges to lay against God. You get what you want, your ‘freedom' until maturity comes and you decide that maybe that ‘freedom' or whatever it was you thought you really had to have just wasn't something that was doing much good after all.
Salvation, true salvation consists of having a loving heart. If only we could stay as we were when we were children, or if we could be like that kitten or that pup we wouldn't need to be discussing ‘salvation.'
Now because people are asking me if I have ‘accepted YAHWEH Jesus as my personal savior' I should address certain issues specific to classic Christian theology, and in the process I can explain what I am trying to accomplish on this site.
As I point out in my section on the radicalism of the prophets and the early church the prophets were critics of the entire Levitical Torah system of sacrifice. As I am in the process of pointing out in my page on Romans Paul's sense of guilt as a former Pharisee and zealot for these Torah regulations infuses his theological terminology in the book of Romans. As I point out in my section on the gospel of Mark Joshua Messiah was crucified because he upheld this radical rejection of the Levitical Torah system. For those who ask, ‘why did Christ die' or ‘what was the meaning of the crucifixion' there is the answer given by Mark, and it is the answer given by those passages in Isaiah that represent the radical stream of Jewish prophecy. Refuse to submit again to that yoke of slavery, Paul insisted in Galatians. And as I point out in many sections in this website, the Levites so thoroughly corrupted the Bible with their war-like ideology that it is now impossible to understand or explain the contradictions and foibles of the Bible, without first understanding the poisoned pen those Levite scribes and priests employed. As I point out in my section on false prophecy in the prophets those notorious false prophecies that critics always so relentlessly attack can be demonstrated to be Levite productions in defense of the Levitical system of sacrifice and the Holy War ideology extolled throughout the Torah, and also inserted into the history books. I will leave readers to investigate the matter for themselves, and see what conclusions you come to. These things are the truth.
Now as I point out again and again, the Bible is composed of sources and as such one is required to make choices. Chose the Levite scribes and the Levitical system of sacrifice, and reject Mark's gospel, Galatians, and the entire radical stream of prophecy found in both the early church and in the Jewish prophets (once you root out and destroy all those false Levite prophecies in the books). My purpose in pointing out these sources is to make people aware that they have choices, and then to try and get them to chose whatever is noble, whatever honorable, whatever is kind and good.
Now there is more than one Jeremiah in the book of Jeremiah a point I also make clear in the section on the Levite scribe with a pen pretending to be Jeremiah. Radical Jeremiah wrote the following prophecy:
"Thus says YAHWEH of hosts, the God of Israel: "Add your burnt offerings to your sacrifices, and eat the flesh yourselves. For in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, I did not speak to your fathers or command them concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices." (Jeremiah 7:21)
As I point out on various pages on this site, this radicalism was characteristic of the prophets (or at least those parts of the prophets that were not written by the Levites or their false prophets) and it was characteristic of the radical stream of tradition in the early church, and it was also characteristic of Paul, in Galatians, for example (or at least those parts of the letters that were actually written by Paul and thus consistent with his theology in Galatians). Now then, if we accept this radical tradition, and I say that we should because it best explains the contradictory nature of doctrine and even history in the Bible (as I try to point out in many pages on this site) then what this means is that we have to question Classical Augustinian Christian Theology, because this classic theology is Levite theology, built as it is on the premise that Christ came to ‘fulfill the Leviticus ideology' and the meaning of his death can be found in viewing it as a ‘Levitical whole offerings sacrifice to pay for the sins of humanity.' Now if you read Mark's gospel you will see that in this, the earliest gospel written, and the gospel with the least amount of later Christian theology (even containing statements that directly contradict the theological suppositions of the later theologians) it states there that Christ was crucified because he followed the radical tradition of the Jewish prophets, rejected the Levite scribes and the Levite pharisees, and so they put him to death. The same story is repeated with Paul, also a pharisee and here we get the view from the other side of the fence (a Pharisee gets his ‘sin condemned in his sinful nature' and gets brought to repentance and thus to genuine salvation and justification in the sight of God. Joshua Messiah died for Paul's sin and thus Paul became the righteousness of God in Messiah Joshua. But, as he relates in Galatians, first he had to give up all that Levitical ideology, which was the whole point of the exercise. You see he needed a really good convincing that he was a sinner, and murdering an innocent man, only to have God raise him from the dead turned out to do the trick.)
So when people ask me if ‘I have accepted Christ as my personal savior' what they are really asking me is if I have given my consent to having this Levite interpretation imposed as the meaning of the crucifixion, or of having a Levitical philosophy used as the template for interpreting the unique language of Paul in the book of Romans, and I do not. As Paul stated in Romans, Christ died to ‘condemn sin in the sinful nature.' Not to be a Levitical ‘sacrifice to pay for sins.' Levite meanings have been imposed on Christian scripture, and in particular on the book of Romans, and I protest. (The section on Romans is a work in progress, but I posted what I currently have anyways because I am convinced that even what is there is enough to get people thinking about the meaning of Paul's terminology and language.)
Another project I am working on is gathering together a number of non-Levite interpretations of the crucifixion from the Church Testament itself. For example, ‘God this to demonstrate justice.' In otherwords, those Pharisees like Paul could keep leveling charges at Joshua and say that he was working for the devil (and breaking the laws of God) but you just cannot nail innocent people in this universe and get away with it. God came down on the side of Joshua in that dispute, and thus the crucifixion is infused with justice, because throughout history innocent people have been arrested by the Gestapo and put to death. As Isaiah put it, ‘the innocent are put to death, and no one seems to care.' But God cares, and thus in the symbolism of the cross we see a statement about the justice of God, as well as a statement about how little God thinks of that Levite ideology. There is a universal message of justice in the cross, not a specifically narrow Levitical message. As the gospels put it, 'Whenever you did it to the least of them, you did it to me." Christ was crucified countless times in Isaiah's day and he continues to be crucified around the world today. Another interpretation of the meaning of the crucifixion-"God did this to awaken your faith through an act of power in raising Joshua Messiah from the dead." The meaning of the passage is twofold. First it awakens faith in the most elementary form - a belief in God through a demonstration of the power of God, and certainly a belief in God is a pre-requisite to healing and rising from the dead in this place. Second it awakens faith in the justice, the fairness of God, and this type of trusting faith is the most important kind.
As I mentioned previously, this page will evolve according to the type of feedback this site receives, but I feel that it is important for me to explain right from the start that I do not take my stand on classic Augustinian Christian theology. I stand in the radical tradition of the prophets and the early chruch, and having a Levite interpretation imposed on the gospel, as it was by Augustine and the other classic theologians of the church is something I protest. As Paul put it, the only thing that matters is faith (real, deep genuine faith) working through love (and this requires genuine repentance followed by genuine healing). It is mercy that Yahweh requires, and not sacrifice.
The righteous will live by faith!(NOTE: There is further discussion of this issue on the October 10th feedback page You might also consider reading the piece titled on Augustine and the meaning of the Crucifixion. Washed in the blood of the lamb?