A Response to @andrewjasko’s “Jesus Calls Christians to Leave Christianity.”

Andrew Jasko’s article HERE

1/ Jasko is plain w/ his aim in the article’s title. He proposes a leaving and a joining. He wants Christians to reject a static, error-riddled, broken system of dogmatic (institutionalized) Christianity, so that Christians can shift to a spiritually dynamic way of life instead.

2/ Jasko’s writing style is forward. His is a quasi-classical, almost legal form, which moves from proposition / assertion to evidencial support. It’s very Aristotelian in rhetorical persuasion tactics. While this style suits the audience Jasko targets, it is ironically dogmatic.

3/ These things being noted, there are many points on which I find agreement w/ Jasko. I’ll move through each paragraph (P#) in evaluating the writer’s assertions & evidence, before addressing his conclusion(s). My aim is fairness. I’ll cite scholars above both our degree levels.

4/ (P1) Jasko posits “Christianity is not the religion Jesus taught.” On its face, I agree w/ the statement, yet it’s one which needs a great deal of clarification. From his argumentation, I understand Jasko means Jesus taught a counter to the religion of his day. I agree 100%.

5/ (P1) “…leave the organized religion of Christianity in order to become Christians….” is a ‘Kierkegaardian’ thing to say. Yet, I see Kierkegaard adequately answered Nietzsche, despite assumptions of God’s being dead as a result of either philosophy or empty/false religion. https://bigthink.com/scotty-hendricks/gods-answer-to-nietzsche-the-philosophy-of-soren-kierkegaard

6/ (P1) Jasko calls monotheism & the bibliolatry of an (inspired, inerrant) closed canon “hubris.” I agree that institutional Xianity’s doctrines, supporting “closed canon,” can lead only to bibliolatry, which is itself incompatible with genuine monotheism. The solution is to …

7/ (cont.) …(as many sects have done)

A. refuse conflation of inspiration & inerrancy

B. recognize errors as evidence of human authors

C. observe the value of inspiration is in the texts’ bearing witness of a 1st C faith community, which was (being) illumined by Jesus.

8/ (cont.) From “C”, we gain good cause for spiritual descendants to have a minimal standard (canon) to serve as a unifying corpus of writ perpetually. To “close” a canon is a misfocus. Holding a set of docs, which ancestors in faith accepted as unifying, is a right of community.

9/ (cont.) If from those docs, sect(s) discern monotheism in the faith of their predecessors, is it not bigotry to accuse them of hubris for continuing their religious heritage, esp. when said monotheism predates Xianity in 1st & 2nd temple Judaism?
https://youtu.be/bNF-vFBVtig

10/ (P1) Worshipping an infallible, closed canon like Joseph Smith’s Gold Plates is indeed a “…trad[e] of divinity for the idolatrous illusion of certainty (bibliolatry). That is precisely why the work of Xians like @peteenns & many others is so needed: https://lambsharbinger.blog/2018/09/09/recommended-book-the-sin-of-certainty-by-peter-enns/

11/ (P1) As I’ve already stated, many sects do not seccumb to a cult-forming approach to Bible interpretation by conflating “closed canon” + inerrancy + inspiration to reach infallible, special revelation one molecule shy of affirming direct dictation. See https://t.co/sDYfw7ql2v

12/ (cont.) I refer you to scholars like @DruHart, @greg_boyd & @MelissaFloBix who explain the nature of the Bible & its interpretation much better than I. Shwew! That was just paragraph 1, but laying that down will make the following paragraphs much easier to discuss. #BRB

13/ (P2 &3) “Christianity makes it difficult to have mystical (“spiritual”) experiences because one must destroy many religious idols in order to uncover its hidden treasures: the spirituality held captive behind the dogma.” To that, I’d say,…

14/ (cont.) I agree that most institutional Xianity hinders & doesn’t foster direct, spiritual experiences w/ God. You’re correct to assert many idols (incl. idealized role of hierarchal clergy & locus based religion) must be destroyed to discover Xianity’s “hidden treasures.”

15/ (cont.) Yet, many new & old, egalitarian, communal & mystic Xian faith communities address these matters head on (ex. #Unchurching / #DeChurched; #Quaker, #Mennonite, #NeoAnabaptist, #Theosis of Antiochian Orthodox, #Wesleyan, #Keswickian etc, etc.).

16/ (cont.) They preserve a Xian heritage of honoring the Imago Dei of all humans & actively practicing the partaking of Divine nature (#Theosis), as perfectly expressed in Jesus of Nazareth.

17/ (cont.) Many of them do not meet or worship in traditional ways, & they employ communal means for faith expression, keeping ears & eyes of the soul open for where Truth & Light may be making Themselves known. Thus, they reconcile cutting edge science w/ faith, (ex. @Biologos)

18/ (P4) I agree there has been a progress of revelation, which is evident in the dynamic (albeit humanly flawed) spirituality & understanding of God, presented within both the Old & New Christian Testaments.

19/ (cont.) However, it seems as tho Jasko expects the Bible to contain no evidence of human finitude & flaw in that progress. If so, is he guilty of expecting the Bible to be a directly dictated, infallible, inerrant special revelation by God after all? https://mobile.twitter.com/lambsharbinger/status/1132078602755817473

20/ (P5) Jasko writes: “The Canaanite deity #El was the chief god in the pantheon (like the Greek god Zeus) over lesser deities of different tribes like #Yahweh of the Hebrews,” &…

21/ (cont.) I agree but reply that this is no reason to assume the coopting of these deities’ names was not part of the progress of Divine, special revelation. “Christ is the myth that came true.”—#CSLewis, #JRRTolkien, #GeorgeMacDonald https://lambsharbinger.blog/2019/04/15/the-bibles-reliability-ane-cosmology-the-name-of-god-jesus/

22/ (P’s 6 & 7) Jasko presents his deconstruction of #Christology & #Trinitarianism, but what he sees as conundrums are no problem for the Xianity exemplified in prior tweets of this thread, esp. a Xianity that notes a Trinitarianism, evident in #Judaism. https://mobile.twitter.com/lambsharbinger/status/1134502502366187521

23/ (P8) Jasko circles back to the “closed canon” problem, which I’ve addressed above. https://mobile.twitter.com/LambsHarbinger/status/1134502498562072576?s=20

24/ (P9) Jasko circles back to the defunct religious tenets of Xianity. I agree #SolaScriptura was a bad idea of the #Reformation. Yet, again, I refer to prior tweets in this thread & also add that many sects treat the Bible responsibly.

25/ They accomplish this by recognizing a humanly flawed progress of revelation as well as an interpretation, which accounts for the human authors’ finitude, setting biases, contexts & genre. https://lambsharbinger.blog/2018/10/10/hodge-podge-with-flow/

26/ (P10) Jasko circles back to the deadness of God. I addressed this above. https://mobile.twitter.com/lambsharbinger/status/1134502493801476102

27/ (cont) Jasko writes, ”If all truth is God’s truth,” then God must die for divinity to be reborn.” I reply, “that is the foundation of our faith, except replace “reborn” w/ “resurrected.” Jesus learned dynamically by what he suffered & thereby became our effectual high priest.

28/ (cont.) Jasko writes, “most still subtly proclaim the superiority of Christianity by claiming “all religions are included in Christ.” I reply, “I see data for an #inclusive view of #salvation,…

29/ (cont.) … & yes, I do uphold the uniqueness of Jesus in balance w/ a non-coercive, #agency-preserving Faith. It is the prerogative of any human with free agency to do so.” https://lambsharbinger.blog/2018/04/25/biblical-considerations-for-an-inclusive-view-of-salvation/

30/ (cont.) Jasko writes, “#Divinity may be understood partly within a single religion, but never solely.” I reply, “You say yourself Christianity is not the religion Jesus taught. So, how is it you say w/ certainty that the Way of Jesus is not THE Way to knowing the Divine?”

31/ (cont.) If one retorts, “How do you know certainly it is?” Then, I answer, “I call it #faith, & my faith in #Jesus is the one matter I am most willing to be wrong about.”

32/ (cont.) Jasko writes, “Let us be clear: orthodoxy is not about moral integrity. Orthodoxy is about using teachings to establish the power of an institution by silencing dissenters and creating uniformity in the membership.”

33/ (cont.) Agreed, but it is also about a unity that stands distinct from the #uniformity created by a pluralism, which effectively erases distinctions. #Pluralism & #Oneism can be just as much or more demanding & #dogmatic & “#orthodox” in that way.

34/ (P11) Jasko claims Jesus did not found Christianity. On this point, it can only be said that, based on the written record of 1st C followers of Jesus, Jasko must be confusing the organic faith community begun by Jesus w/ the religious institution going by the name of Christ.

[aside:] The most ancient Xian records & most scholarly textual criticism we possess indicate that Jesus’ Divinity was believed well before the time of #Nicea & #Constantine: https://lambsharbinger.blog/2019/05/22/the-staurogram-biblical-archaeology-society/ & https://lambsharbinger.blog/2018/03/01/wallace-v-enns-what-to-do-with-whats-contested/

35/ (P12 & 13) I agree [as per prior tweets] that #institutional, #hierarchal Xianity (as made a Roman imperial state religion) is aberrant to Jesus’ way. I‘ve written extensively to continue what the Reformers began in by furthering Reformation efforts https://lambsharbinger.blog/2017/06/02/reforming-the-professional-ministry-paradigm/

36/ (P13-17) In answering Jasko’s question, “Would Jesus call his followers to leave Christianity….” Yes, I believe he would & does. And, I believe many are exposing & leaving hypocritical, institutional #Churchianity & its #ClergyAbuse for that reason.

37/ (cont.) Many hear his voice saying the wolves in sheep’s clothing are ravenous. I did; but I did not leave Jesus or tenets of paleo-orthodox Xianity, because Jesus is not just a concept or symbol of Deity [which Jasko values] but Deity incarnate.

[End Thread]

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