A Prayer of Jesus I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will.
The preceding survey has sought to establish the fundamental concepts of Jesus and his Gospel of the Kingdom. We have seen there the presence of certain essential ideas that are absent from church creeds and confessions and from the sermons of the preachers. These include his unique definition of the will of God, the Great Principle, the Great Correlate and the essence of his plan of salvation. It would appear that the ecclesiastics have completely overlooked the fundamentals of the message of Jesus because they have not listened carefully to his words, even though the Truth is simple and is presented in terms of family relationships that all can easily grasp. They are offended, together with the rest of humanity, instead of embracing him through careful attendance to his words. In this they reveal that they, no less than others, are devoted to life in this world and offended by the thought of positively responding to the hatred life.
I must emphasize to you my readers that the influence of the church has been powerful in the religious world, and so the church has undoubtedly influenced you. But the church is under the dominance of Pauline doctrine, therefore the fundamental malady of Christendom is the historic tendency to honor the words of Paul more than the words of Jesus. When we come to Jesus through the ministry of the church we inevitably acquire a false conception of Jesus and his work because the church has trapped us. We can only see Jesus through Paulís eyes because the church has convinced us that his epistles are the word of God. This is a great error, because Paulís words are clearly not the Word of God. Paulís word is a false word, and his Jesus is a false Jesus. When we thereafter turn to the gospels to seek the true and genuine Jesus, we can only see him through Paulís eyes. To question that vision then appears to be heresy, and we flee from the genuine Jesus of the gospels. We ignore much of his doctrine, then unconsciously force the rest into an unnatural conformity with Paul. What I have written above about Jesus may therefore seem heretical to you because it is in conflict with Paulís doctrine. It will also certainly be offensive to most people because it challenges a human beings greatest treasure Ė life in this world Ė and expounds the humanly hateful doctrine that the love of life comes from evil.
All Christendom reveres Paul as a saint and a genuine apostle of the Lord. We have all been literally brainwashed with this view due to a lifetime of exposure to the churchmenís adulation. You are therefore not likely to accept my vision of Jesus as defined above unless you are able to question the character of Paul. I urge you therefore to continue with Book II, following, where I trust you will be able to see the man in his true character. Book III will further define the vast difference between Jesus and Paul by examining and comparing a few of the basic doctrines of the two.
We will also have to deal with the question of how the church came to venerate a man of such perverse character. This means we will have to look carefully at the church to determine, if possible, how it came to be a witness to Paul and his vision of Jesus rather than to the genuine Jesus of Nazareth. This will be the subject of Book IV. In the meantime, if you are really serious about becoming acquainted with Jesus, you donít really need to read anything here. Just turn to the gospels, read his words, believe them and take them seriously. Above all, donít fail to give him that cup of water!
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