The Primary Implication of Christ for the Church

The most important implications of Christ for the church is that the church is not exclusive but inclusive. The primary message is that we are all brothers and sisters and that we are one. The local church can only be a microcosmic manifestation of the pre-existing reality of that unity… a living example… a visible picture of what it looks like and means to be One.

Those who cried exclusivity and established boundaries and drew lines of distinction and erected walls of separation are clearly those Jesus challenged. It was those who wanted the people of God to be distinguishable by means other than unity that Jesus undermined. It was those who opted out of the family because of segregationist theology that are the divisive.

I know there will be those who will challenge this claim with impressive, approved and authorized theological arguments. But I am convinced that the motive of these arguments is the same as the Pharisee’s and that the tenor and tone of the words are practically identical. It exposes the same theological anxiety Jesus confronted and that can still be detected in some of the New Testament writings and certainly is alive and well today.

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About David Hayward

David Hayward runs the blog nakedpastor as a graffiti artist on the walls of religion where he critiques religion… specifically Christianity and the church. He also runs the online community The Lasting Supper where people can help themselves discover, explore and live in spiritual freedom.

  • http://notesfromthebridge.wordpress.com Christopher Kirk

    David, The question is not IF or WHEN we will be ONE, because in Christ we already are. We just need to simply walk therein. Narrow minds don’t seem to get this reality, at all.

    http://notesfromthebridge.wordpress.com

    Christopher “Captain” Kirk

  • Vie

    Yeah. This.

    If anyone comes at you with those arguments, I don’t see how they can really work because this is the attitude of Christ.

    Inclusiveness not Exclusivity should be the motto…
    if those are even words.
    You know what I mean.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    Christ is for everyone, that is for sure. But many reject Him for more generous words.

    And His message is exclusive to Him and Him alone.

    He spoke this way, many times.

    The path to life is narrow (Jesus), the path to destruction is wide (everything other than Jesus).

  • http://thegodlessmonster.com The Godless Monster

    “But I am convinced that the motive of these arguments is the same as the Pharisee’s and that the tenor and tone of the words are practically identical.”
    Yep, some people are so consumed with the letter of the law that they’ve completely lost the spirit of the law. Saw (suffered through?)that consistently in the more conservative congregations of the Churches of Christ in southeast Michigan. It was quite a let down and was a major factor in my becoming an agnostic (before I completely deconverted).
    Those folks wouldn’t recognize love if it crawled up and bit them on the ass.

  • Fred

    Good blog post. I agree completely.

  • DC

    I heard a sermon today about how “if we are all in Christ, believing in his redeeming and reconciliation, then we are part of the family of God.”

    What if we, like our Jewish brothers and sisters, do not believe we need an “intermediary” between us and Father God? Does that mean we are not a part of God’s family?

  • fishon

    I know there will be those who will challenge this claim with impressive, approved and authorized theological arguments. But I am convinced that the motive of these arguments is the same as the Pharisee’s and that the tenor and tone of the words are practically identical. It exposes the same theological anxiety Jesus confronted and that can still be detected in some of the New Testament writings and certainly is alive and well today.
    ——–Well that sure makes it clear that you don’t welcome dialogue about your wrong conclusions.
    X motive of these arguments is the same as the Pharisee’s
    —-Wow! That is a conversation killer.

    Jesus is anything but inclusive. “…I will tell them plainly, I never knew you. Away from me you evildoers.” He made it clear, he is quite exclusivity.

    You can splain all your life how guys like me have the motives of the pharisee’s, but there is coming a day when you will splain yourself to Jesus. Maybe He will give you some time to explain my “theological anxiety.”

  • LouiseM

    But many reject Him for more generous words.

    Generous:
    1. Liberal in giving or sharing.
    2. Characterized by nobility and forbearance in thought or behavior; magnanimous.
    3. Marked by abundance; ample
    4. Having a rich bouquet and flavor
    5. (Obsolete) Of noble lineage.

    I’m not sure there are more generous words available than those spoken by Jesus and breathed into his followers. So much so that the one who loved him deeply felt compelled to write: God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way love
    is made complete among us. There is no fear in love…The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

    The Pharisees were devoted to their version of the narrow way. They lived in fear, trying desperately to make sure they were right To give up fear and live in love is a different kind of narrow. One involving discomfort similar to that of a camel attempting to pass through the Needle’s Eye. So narrow not all of the self and accumulated baggage will pass through. I’m still stuck at the pass, but when I experience the love of God here, I feel encouraged.

  • Dee

    Jesus was very inclusive. He hobnobbed with people who were excluded by the religious establishment and was greatly criticized for it. He fellowshipped with prostitutes, tax collectors, drunkards, and the lowest of society rather than the leaders of the established religion!

    Fishon quoted a scripture that begs examination… who were the “evildoers” that Jesus judged and sent away from him, saying he never knew them? Those who did not do the will of the Father. He later defined this clearly in Matt. 25 and Luke 13 in the parable of the sheep and goats. What was the will of the Father? To feed the poor, help the needy, visit those in prison, heal the sick or take care of the orphans!

    I dare say that many Church leaders will have to answer for their lack of compassion for the poor, needy, hungry, in prison, sick or orphaned! Instead, they build huge buildings and pay huge salaries so they can cloister themselves away from the lowest of society.
    Where would Jesus be ministering if he returned to Earth today? Certainly not in the pulpits of our church buildings. He would be out on the street, walking with the homeless, helping the drug addicts and drunks, feeding the hungry, helping the children and elderly…

    By their fruit you will know them…

  • fishon

    Dee
    December 3, 2011 | 11:30 pm

    Jesus was very inclusive.
    Fishon quoted a scripture that begs examination… who were the “evildoers” that Jesus judged and sent away from him, saying he never knew them? Those who did not do the will of the Father. He later defined this clearly in Matt. 25 and Luke 13 in the parable of the sheep and goats. What was the will of the Father? To feed the poor, help the needy, visit those in prison, heal the sick or take care of the orphans!
    ——By any defintion you just discribed exclusion.

    Jesus was quite exclusive when he said that no one would go to the Father except through him, too. But he was quite inclusive in that ANYONE who is ‘born again’ will see the kingdom of heaven.’

    Anyone can pontificate all day long, including the NP, but there is no way around Jesus’ own words and teachings on this subject.

    I’ll go with my narrow view in regards to Jesus’ teaching—–he is the Savior, the NP and his philosophies are not scripture, nor is he savior.

  • sam scoville

    First Church of the Crippled, Lame Shall Enter First, & Poor We Have All Ways: WELCOME.No Goodies need apply. xxxooo Naked Bastard.

  • http://samscoville.blogspot.com/ sam scoville

    E Pluribus Unum; E Unum Pluribus. One and the Many has always been a conundrum. Sure, we are ONE, Naked Pastor. No doubt. And as Snoopdawg declares S’allgood. Without doing injustice to All One (and Good) how do we do also justice to the “many.” Our differences? Inclusive, yes: in terms of the whole (more than sum of parts) Exclusive, yes: in terms of the infinite differences of individuals–no 2 alike, us snowflakes. bless our hearts. What doctrine or understanding does no injustice to our unity and our division and divisiveness? Our INCLUSION and our exclusion? Theological anxiety and yet also religious confidence. “The local church can only be a microcosmic manifestation of the pre- existing reality of that unity.” Yes. Exactly: in all it’s divisiveness and agony and ecstasy,
    wrangling and wrestling: israelic, for sure. Got to love it.

  • fishon

    NP said:
    Those who cried exclusivity and established boundaries and drew lines of distinction and erected walls of separation are clearly those Jesus challenged. It was those who wanted the people of God to be distinguishable by means other than unity that Jesus undermined. It was those who opted out of the family because of segregationist theology that are the divisive.

    ———–I have been thinking about those words. And it seems to me your arguement for inclusion, because you believe Jesus was “ALL [my take on what you believe]” inclusive, is defeated with you very own words. If Jesus, as you say, “underminded” the Pharisee’s, then that does not sound very much like inclusion that you say he taught. I am pretty sure the Pharisee’s didn’t feel included.

    Jesus did tell those fellows::::”Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean.”

    If those are the ones you are speaking about:: “Those who cried exclusivity and established boundaries and drew lines of distinction and erected walls of separation are clearly those Jesus challenged,” then that sounds suspiciously like exclusion.

    For a man who teaches total inclusion, you are brutal on a particualar group. With such harsh talk about them and their sins, how do you propose to get them to the point of….

    Your speaking about guys like me, “Those who cried exclusivity…” is in the same tone of anger and unlovingness that you claim we walk in when we call homosexuality sin.

  • http://samscoville.blogspot.com/ sam scoville

    Fishon: “One of the most difficult things to do is to consider that our spiritual experiences may be the products of our own minds. It is painful to admit that our religion and our spirituality may all be generated by our fears and fantasies.”

  • justwonderin

    do you ever think jesus wanted his words recorded and studied?
    do you ever think that he told his friends that his mom was a virgin when he was born?
    do you think jesus knew a religion would be started in his name?
    do you think jesus wanted that?
    do you think jesus expected to be as big as he is now.
    just wondering.

  • justwonderin

    is it fair to say that jesus came to save us from ourselves?
    that we thought the way to god was through our own self effort
    and jesus says that we must get over ourselves and quit striving for perfection in order to please god
    or maybe we had to hate this way so much that we would have to seemingly hate our life in order to save it
    so maybe we would not find peace until we let go completely of our expectations, our longing for the future or regret of the past
    is that fair to say?
    is to believe in him, to believe that letting go of our own striving is the better way? if so then how do we reconcile with our need to continue to figure out god?
    is that not defeating the purpose?
    i sometimes wonder if we won’t to figure him out because we want to control him
    your thoughts?

  • fishon

    sam scoville
    December 4, 2011 | 2:34 pm

    Fishon: “One of the most difficult things to do is to consider that our spiritual experiences may be the products of our own minds. It is painful to admit that our religion and our spirituality may all be generated by our fears and fantasies.”
    ——-Sam, I suppose that could be true. Well I guess I would say it is true because of the falsehood of other religions [oops, there is my exclusiveism and bigoted intolerance]. However, it is very painful for others to admit that, or even consider that Christianity might be the way, truth, life. They can be, and frequently as hard core as I am. Sam, if I am living in a fantasy world that is called Christianity, I am well satisfied living it out.

  • http://samscoville.blogspot.com/ sam scoville

    Fishon: those were NP’s words I was quoting, that you were quoting. Hosanna! (in Hebrew: “Save Now,” although common sense defines it as “praise.”)Hosanna.

  • Doug

    How true David. Inclusion is indeed one key. Identity and metamorphosis are two others.

    BTW, anyone here read Jack Mile’s: “Christ: A Crisis in the Life of God”? It’s a well-reasoned book on God’s change in identity via Christ.


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