Radical thoughts

INDIAN leader Mahatma Gandhi was once asked what he thought of western civilisation. He said: “I think it would be a good idea.’’
Gandhi had a wicked sense of humour, which he often effectively used to make a point.
He was a student of faith, not only of his own Hinduism but of others, including Christianity for which he expressed a great fondness.
“Everyone knows what Jesus taught, except for Christians,’’ he said.
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Ask people what they think of Jesus and you are likely to hear words such as compassionate, loving and He cared for the poor. Ask about churches and youll often get a remarkably different opinion.
It’s easy to look from outside Christianity and make sweeping judgments about its adherents. To many, Christians are a bunch of dogmatic, non-thinking conservatives who work to a set of outdated rules and hate Muslims, gays and atheists. And sadly, that’s sometimes true.

American evangelist Tony Campolo, who was Bill Clintons spiritual adviser, has had enough of the stereotypes.
He has come under fire from some conservative Christian groups for daring to suggest that Christians and the churches should be standing for the same things Jesus did.

Campolo said Jesus would express love for Muslims. “Remember Jesus said `Other sheep I have who are not of this fold’.’’
The evangelist said the questions we would all be asked on Judgment Day would not be theological.
Instead, Jesus would ask: “I was hungry. Did you feed me? I was naked. Did you clothe me? I was an alien. Did you make room for me in your country?’’
Campolo said it was time for all Christians to live out the words of “the one they call Lord’’.

In his book The Irresistible Revolution, young Christian activist Shane Claiborne recounts his attempts to live the Christian Gospel in the streets of Calcutta and the war zones of Iraq,
Claiborne says many Christians are hungry for an agenda worthy of their commitment, energy and God-given gifts.
“Being a Christian is about choosing Jesus and deciding to do something incredibly something daring with your life,’’ he writes.
He quotes singer Rich Mullins, who died in a car accident 10 years ago this month..

“Christianity is not about building an absolutely secure little niche in the world where you can live with your perfect little wife and you perfect little children in a beautiful little house where you have no gays or minority groups anywhere near you,’’ he said.
“Christianity is about learning to love like Jesus loved. And Jesus loved the poor and Jesus loved the broken. He was radical, and his followers should be too.’’

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12 thoughts on “Radical thoughts

  1. Jesus didn’t bring a message to us, he was impersonated message. He was showing everybody who had eyes to see what we all are and what our destiny is. Just a matter of time. He never ever claimed to be exclusive appearance and stressed that what he does we will and greater. So I wonder how does this fit the theory of Jesus saves. We have adopted so many myths about the person Jesus and about god. First god is male. Where does it say so? Why a spirit, a perfect being would be only male?
    The Jewish traditions are full of truths and imaginations. Just as the Jews could not live with the ten recommendations and invented another millions of sub laws, so did they distort some of the original old testament as we call it, because it didn’t fit the doctrines. Than we have the scholars translations. Adding all the numbering to the written words. Editing out what the church thought was inappropriate for the plebs. The list goes on. Most of the errors come though from adopting others experiences and opinions. Instead relying on one own experience, we adopt what our parents, teachers, church leaders, politicians tell us is the truth. So by the time we have we already know what it will be like regardless of the true experience. Talking about sin here. We watch TV or going to cinemas to reinforce fear in us, god forbid we dare not to fear. We could be free than and what we going to do with it? Besides the polies and church is telling us we must fear. Politicians want us to fear the law they have created to support they agendas and church, which preaches the love of god like us to fear god if we don’t do the right thing. God help us then. For we would never be free of fear.
    My challenge is to free your
    self of prescribed experiences and have truly your own. Disregard what others are telling you about good and evil and judge from your experiences. Do dare.

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  2. “Campolo said Jesus would express love for Muslims. “Remember Jesus said `Other sheep I have who are not of this fold’.’’
    The evangelist said the questions we would all be asked on Judgment Day would not be theological.”

    How would he know?

    Jeremiah Wright’s Most Dangerous Comment

    “Jesus said, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the father but through me.’ Do you believe this? And do you think Islam is a way to salvation?”

    WRIGHT: “Jesus also said, ‘Other sheep have I who are not of this fold.’”

    “Wright’s response clearly implies that Muslims are among the “other sheep” to which Jesus refers in John 10:16. Thus Wright affirms that people who do not have conscious faith in Christ can nevertheless have the hope of salvation — an inclusivist position that argues there are many paths to God.

    There are two questions that need be addressed: (1) Did Jesus intend to include non-believers in the group called “other sheep”? (2) What difference does it make? Let’s take a look.

    In context, “other sheep” cannot be credibly understood as including anyone but genuine believers in Jesus Christ. The first half of John 10 is dominated by a metaphor that Jesus uses to describe His relationship to his people. Jesus is the “shepherd,” and His people are called “sheep.” Jesus describes His sheep as having a number of characteristics. Sheep recognize the voice of their shepherd, and they follow Him (10:3-4). Sheep do not listen to “strangers,” but only to the voice of their own shepherd (10:5, 8). Sheep find salvation only by coming to their shepherd (10:9).

    The metaphor cashes out as follows. Jesus is the shepherd, and His people are the sheep. Jesus lays down His life for his people, and the only way that they can be saved is through Jesus. The people whom Jesus saves listen only to Jesus. They do not listen to the “thieves and robbers” who have come to destroy them (10:10). Thus only people who come to Jesus by faith are able to be saved.

    When Jesus says that he has “other sheep who are not of this fold,” it’s likely that he is referring to Gentiles who would later come to faith in Christ. The sheep that are following Him at that point in the narrative are Jews, but Jesus aims to have followers from among the Gentiles as well. Whoever the “other sheep” are understood to be, they nevertheless have the characteristics of “sheep.” They listen to and follow Christ, and they are saved only by Him.

    To say that “other sheep” refers to unbelievers (or followers of Islam in Reverend Wright’s case) simply runs roughshod over the plain meaning of the passage.

    Here’s the real import of what Wright said. Many people who hear Jeremiah Wright are likely to get the impression that Jesus is one of many paths that people might take to get to God. Jesus never taught any such thing. In fact, he always challenged His hearers with a stark choice. “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other” (Matthew 6:24). Jesus would brook no rivals, and He only made salvation available to those who would “honor the son” (John 5:23).

    The Jeremiah Wrights of the world mislead people into thinking that Jesus Christ is one path among many that people might take to get to God. Jesus taught just the opposite. There is only one path that leads people to salvation, and it’s Jesus. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6). To miss that path means forfeiting eternal life. The stakes couldn’t get any higher than that.”

    Denny Burk—A commentary on theology, politics and culture.

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    • I know Monica that this is the standard church response to this quote. I can’t accept it. Perhaps because I honour the Bible rather than worship it, and realise the reporting of Jesus’ words can be out of their original context, or even faulty.

      All I can look at is the over all picure of his life. Yes, for tne Jews he was the only way, truth and life. But how can we limit his spirit, believe the Word of God incapable of carrying the message of the true God to all peoples of his world?

      True, many religions have gone astray from their original inspiration, but so did Christianity.

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      • What else is to add, judgement without true understanding. Jesus excluded no one. It is our weak faith that forces us to react to anything not aligned with our believes. Truly see what Jesus did and copy. Take up your cross and follow.
        You are on the right path Strewth.

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      • The understanding of the “other sheep” as the Gentiles who would come to believe in Christ is the logical and natural understanding of this passage.

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    • Yes Strewth,

      Couldnt agree with you more. That exclusivist concept represents just one of many theories within Christianity about ‘salvation’. I guess you might not have been a contributor to this blog a few months back when Bryan’s column suggested that evangelical newcomers to ‘Heaven’ may well get a bit of a shock to discover just who else got to ‘reside there’. Heaven only knows, as they say.

      Different strokes for different schools of Christian thought, eh?.

      Rian

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    • Sure the gentiles were ‘other sheep’, but why should they be the only ‘other sheep’?

      Remember instances too like the good Samaritan. Samaritans were at that time considered to have no chance of God’s grace.

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      • Hi Strewth,

        Who do you think the gentiles are?

        Bible Dictionary definition of Gentiles: (Heb., usually in plural, goyim), meaning in general all nations except the Jews. Gentiles were often seen as pagans who did not know the true God.

        As an aside, the Mormons think the “other sheep” refers to them. And some wonder if it could refer to aliens. 🙂

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      • The thing is, according to the Word of God (the Bible), and my limited and personal revelation of the Christ I worship and adore, I can only come to the conclusion that not everyone is going to end up in Heaven when they die.

        The God I know is loving beyond comprehension…..but He is also Holy and Just, and if even He says in His Word that “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven, then it has to be utter foolishness to believe that people who deliberately (as in full, free-will knowledge) worship other gods, can be counted as The Good Shepherd’s “other sheep”.

        But then no-one has all the answers this side of death and I really do hope that my theology will be proven wrong when it is my time to face the Judgment Seat of Christ. For I know only too well that people say a lot of things that do not necessarily reflect the true condition of their hearts, but my confidence lies in the fact that God sees beyond the exterior and goes directly to the truth of the matter and that His judgment can be relied on.

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  3. Jesus pbuh followed the law and saw the law so important he told his followers to learn the law from the Pharisees before he ascended. Years after he ascended, Peter the rock of his church, was still referring to some meat as unclean. That is an area you can address if you want to be more like Jesus pbuh.

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