WARNING: They Won’t Teach This in Sunday School (1 of 25 articles)
This is the first in a series of 25 Christ-centered articles I wrote for Examiner.com’s “Nashville Spirituality” section, starting in the summer/fall of 2009. Examiner is no longer in business, so I thought I’d make them available here (their domain now redirects to some sports, music and entertainment site).
The topics I explored were about how Christianity veered far from the original teachings of Jesus Christ and why. This is not obvious to most Christians, but I can assure you (and will conclusively prove) that this is indeed absolutely true.
Now, nearly 9 years later, I’m amazed at just how much of this series was incorporated into my recently published book Make Christianity Great Again! (especially since I thought I’d lost these articles and was therefore unable to refer to them). However, upon a reread I noticed these articles contain additional information and insights not contained in my book. Gleaning those literary gems will be well worth your time!
WHAT EXACTLY IS THIS SERIES ABOUT?
I’ll tell you right up front that I’m politically conservative for the most part. However, I am somewhat left leaning when it comes to protecting the environment, fighting for the little guy and letting alone the gay and transgender communities (just so long as they don’t try to impose their values or limit my Biblically based belief that such a lifestyle lacks the God-ordained balance for raising children, a balance found only in heterosexual marriages; if they want to get married civilly, fine, but don’t force me to marry you or say God approves).
Spiritually, I’m a born-again Christian but unlike most of my friends who accepted Christ more than 3 decades ago, my spiritual fires continue to grow brighter, not diminish. The reason for that anomaly has more to do with my choices than my spirituality. I long ago chose to follow truth wherever it may lead and damn the consequences. I also re-discovered some first century Christian truths, revealed to me by God’s Holy Spirit and later verified by archaeological finds.
Together, we will touch on history, archaeology, science, philosophy and theology. I will explore curious archaeological facts. For instance, why is there not one single archaeological find of even one church building prior to the 3rd century (HINT: the answer is astounding and sure to surprise you)?
I will explore ideas and teachings that were prominent during the first two centuries, yet all but destroyed when religious leaders entered into an unholy alliance with Rome. For instance, how did this state-church alliance come about; did it give the church power over life and death; and were there church-state sanctioned edicts in which death was the penalty for reading scriptures not approved (canonized) by the church?
Likewise, I’ll be exploring the validity of modern Christian traditions that most Christians take for granted as being God ordained, such as: various forms of worship; the church buildings Christians build and worship in; and the tithes many are told they must give. Are these ordained by God or man, and if man, are there better ways?
How we got those 27 books of the bible Christians call the “New Testament” is fascinating. Its history is decidedly different than what most of us were taught in Sunday Schools. But the real shocker is what the bible itself says the New Testament actually is! You’ll be surprised to discover the Bible says it’s not what you’ve been traditionally taught.
Here are some other curious facts I’ll be exploring. Why were Christians forbidden from reading the Bible for over a thousand years? Why did Christians impose nearly 12 centuries of censorship upon the world and why did they censor all bible books not considered inspired by the Church, even those generally considered inspired by a majority of Christians during Christianity’s first 300 years? Why were the books of other cultures often systematically destroyed when Christianity was introduced (i.e. the Mayan religious books, statues and icons)? And what was the REAL reason the Crusades were encouraged and subsidized by the Church?
There is one burning question that will animate the writing of my every article: Why is there so much disunity among Christian believers?
According to the World Christian Encyclopedia by David B. Barrett, there are 33,820 denominations (as of the latest statistics, in 1995). Knowing this statistic, by what justification can we Christians say we are fulfilling Christ’s mission? Jesus clearly stated in a prayer to God, his desire for our unity, telling us our love and unity would be our primary witness to the world of God’s power: “That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” (Jn 17:21).
Perhaps it’s because I’ve been so doggedly determined to know the truth of these matters, but God has gifted me with answers others have yet to come forth and proclaim. To be sure, some of those answers will be hard to bear for many of you. But the truth is the truth and if you will bookmark this site, and return often, I believe you’ll likewise be amazed at what those answers are.