I’m seeing posts lately suggesting that it’s “heresy” to only follow Jesus. Like this one, for example:
*[NOTE: Marcion was NOT the first “Red Letter Christian” because he only accepted one of the four Gospels and everything else was from Paul.]
Seriously? If you believe Jesus was the incarnation of God in the flesh, how can it be heresy to only follow that One who is none other than GOD?
So…what you’re saying is: It’s not enough to follow God. You need to follow the words of a human [Paul] and then call that guy’s writings “The Word of God” as if the “Word of God” isn’t the Christ in human form?
To me, the real heresy is saying this: That we are required to follow the writings of a human and call those the “Word of God” while ignoring the actual “Word of God” in the flesh who was GOD INCARNATE.
All of this when Paul went out of his way to rebuke those who said “I follow Paul…I follow Peter..”, etc. by reminding them “No! We all follow Christ” [See 1 Cor. Chapter 1]
So, today we say, “Shut up, Paul! We’ve got your letters and we’ve collected them into this book called ‘The Word of God’ and we follow that.”
Paul the Apostle would be the first to say, “My letters are not the Word of God. Christ is the Word of God made flesh. Follow Christ!”
Did Jesus and the Apostles quote the Old Testament a lot? Yes. Yes, they did. But what matters most is what they said about the Old Testament. And what they said was that it was “obsolete”, “fading away”, “vanishing”, that it “brought death”, and that there was “something wrong with it.”
Jesus quoted Moses mostly to correct his poor theology. Paul said he counted all of it dung and rubbish. [See Phil. 3:1-11]
“For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” [John 1:17]
People who seriously want to call Red Letter Christians heretics need to find a new name for themselves. Maybe “Paulians”? Or “Biblians”?
“Who has bewitched you?” one might hear their own prophet ask. “Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?”
Does anyone really want the t-shirt that says, “Jesus isn’t enough!”?
That’s what you’re going with? That’s your statement of faith?
So, God comes in human form. The voice of the Father speaks from heaven saying, “This is my son. Listen to Him!”, even as the images of Moses [THE LAW] and Elijah [THE PROPHETS] – fade away. And we write all this stuff down about God, and His Son, and we call those writings “The Word of God” and now we call it heresy to listen to Jesus alone because God somehow needs our help like a little old lady crossing the street?
What are we to conclude other than that humanity is in love with itself? We cannot bear to listen to the literal incarnation of God in the flesh without adding some really smart human stuff to prop it up. In fact, in practice, we quite prefer reading, listening, and studying the words of those smart humans to following the words of the incarnate God we claim to worship.
Isn’t God lucky to have us? What would God do without our help?
Thanks God. We’ll take things from here. You’ve done enough. Really. Take a seat. We’ve got this.
So, this is where we’ve come to? Jesus is buried underneath thousands of pages of letters, anecdotes and commentary and takes a back seat to our systematic theology?
If prioritizing the words of the miraculous incarnation of God in the flesh is heresy, please just call me a heretic.
Of course, this is redundant because people have been calling me a heretic for a long, long time now.
I’ll just wear that t-shirt a bit more proudly now.
The new INNER CIRCLE weekly blog series I’m teaching takes us through the Gospel of Thomas one saying at a time to uncover the beautiful reality of the Gospel message: You are in the Father, and the Father is in you, and we are all in Christ.
Keith Giles is the author of the 7-part best-selling “Jesus Un” book series from Quoir Publishing. His latest -and final book – in this series, Jesus Unarmed: How The Prince Of Peace Disarms Our Violence is available now. Keith is also the host of Second Cup with Keith [a new solo podcast available now on the Ethos Radio App, for Apple and Android and on Spotify; and the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast [along with co-hosts Matthew Distefano, Dr. Katy Valentine, and Derrick Day], and the new Apostate’s Anonymous podcast with Matthew Distefano.
He and his wife, Wendy, currently live in El Paso, TX.