The time has finally come to address The Problem with Christ.
In recent posts I have detailed a point of view which was clearly the position of the early Church. This position is often expressed in the New Testament, but is strangely absent from the teaching of most churches today. I have even alluded to the fact that modern translations consistently make choices that seem to obscure the very possibility of even seeing the position the early church held, in the Bible.
While many hold that the first followers of Jesus were in error on this point, I have found no church historians who deny that what I have presented was indeed their position. Please let me know if you can show me a source I have missed.
We have heard our third-century brother, Origen explain why the church refused to participate in politics because of its allegiance to its King Jesus. You have read how Paul expected his readers to give up their nationality to be members of Jesus’ new nation. Your have read how Jesus said the “royal power of God” was being taken away from the nation of Israel and being given to another nation. You heard in the last post: “…the rock is Peter’s confession that Jesus is the “christos,” which we now understand means king.
Whoops, I goofed! I failed to realize that while this proposition has been stated several times in the course of this blog—I have never defended the proposition, nor given you any significant reason to believe it. Now is the time to change that. For the past two years I have been working on a book to communicate this idea clearly and convincingly. That book was released as a Kindle edition about two months ago. After several revisions the print edition has just been released.
The book, The Problem with Christ; Why we don’t understand Jesus, His enemies, or the early Church, is an integral part of the ministry of this blog. While it is possible to understand the book without reading the RadicalFish blog; it will be difficult to fully understand the blog without reading the book.I have been offering the introduction and first chapter to those who sign up for our updates. I am sharing a section of that in today’s blog in hopes that it will whet your appetite for more. For those of you who are members of goodreads.com; they are hosting a drawing for ten people to win a copy of the print edition.
If you are intrigued, puzzled, or even confused by the message I have been sharing, or if you want to understand the New Testament better—please read the book!
I would also urge you to read the reviews on the Kindle edition’s Amazon page to see what previous readers have thought. After you read the book I hope you will be willing to write your own honest review. This will help others to find the book since other authors report that Amazon’s algorithms for granting exposure are based both on sales, and the number of five-star reviews. The book has already received some very nice reviews, but we need as many as we can get to help spread this important message.
As a personal favor I would ask that if you decide to purchase the print edition that you do so from this link: https://www.createspace.com/4300689
The cost is the same as in the Amazon store, but for some reason I earn a bit more if it is from traffic that is sent to this link. Needless to say, please feel free to share this link with anyone you think might be interested and like it on Facebook.
An excerpt from The Problem with Christ…
First of all, let me clearly state that I am convinced of the authenticity of Jesus of Nazareth, as recorded in the New Testament. I also believe that He is, in fact, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, that He was raised physically from the dead, and that He will return to judge the living and the dead.
Nonetheless, I have come to believe there is a significant problem with Christ—not the Person, but the title itself. In fact, I believe that the problem is so serious that I have personally concluded that those who claim to truly follow Him should no longer use the term, other than in special and limited circumstances. So, if you have the patience, read on to discover what has brought me to that conclusion.
Meanwhile, an example may help clarify my point. There are many Christians today who take strong exception to the use of the term Xmas when referring in writing—or even worse, in speaking—of Christmas. On the other hand, those who use the term often maintain that they are only using a long, time-honored church tradition—abbreviating the Greek word for Christ (Χριστός), only using the first letter to represent the whole word. Those who oppose the use of Xmas, however, maintain that, whatever X might have stood for in the past, today it is universally used in its algebraic sense to stand for an unknown. All the arguments in its favor, they maintain, are simply an excuse to remove one more vestige of Christian influence from an increasingly secularized society.
Personally, I have come to see this controversy as something of a “tempest in a teapot,” designed to distract us from more pressing issues, such as the problem with the word Christ. If someone opposes the use of Xmas, I can only point out that, in some sense, even Christ has become an X in its own right—a title that has been stripped of its original meaning and made so nondescript and impotent as to lose its usefulness.
The fact of the matter is, the world is already ignorant of Him, as is Christianity itself, in a large measure. (I am simply using the word Christianity here in reference to those who call themselves Christians.)
While the Holy Spirit has indeed shed abroad the truth of “Christ” in the hearts of His followers, He has often done so without recourse to the first-century clarity of the word Christ itself. I hope to show you that, for almost 1,700 years, we’ve replaced the truth of “Christ” with another X—namely the word Christ!
So, what does Christ mean?
For several years, I have been asking individuals and groups this question, and have been dismayed to find no one that could give an answer that I felt was correct. At first I was tempted to believe—as you may be tempted now—that this was proof of my supreme arrogance, and/or self-delusion. This seemed far more likely than the possibility that the essential meaning of the central word of our faith, and the source of our identity as believers, could have been stolen from us long ago.
That said, I have been comforted by the fact that most people realized right away that they had no idea what Christ meant, and that they had simply resorted to guessing. (Typically, guesses included Savior, Blessed, Crucified, God, or even the last name of Jesus.) When they heard what follows, they were in joyous agreement. (For any scholars reading this, I should point out that the answer is not merely “messiah,” nor “anointed,” but please keep reading.…)
It needs to be emphasized here that we are not speaking of new truths. The Holy Spirit has already convinced you of the essential meaning of the word Christ if you are truly His follower; it is simply that God has allowed the enemy an apparent victory in rendering the word void of significance. By God’s grace, you will soon see how this happened, and why I make the ridiculous sounding claim that true followers of “the Christ” should no longer use the term.
Want to read more?
A more substantial excerpt can be found on the Amazon store by clicking on this link and then clicking the “LOOK INSIDE” link you find there. Again I ask the favor that you return and use this link should you decide to purchase the print edition.
If you find that you are not in a position to be able to buy the book, but would like to read it, please email me at the address at the bottom of the page. I will gladly email you the PDF. Getting the message out is far more important than what little money I might earn from its sale. I only ask that in return your pray for the support and safety of my family, and help spread the New Testament message—the good news of the kingdom, of our king—of His redeeming love and authority.
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