Holy Curiosity: Factoids From the First Century
This page's articles, and web site, are the result of the second approach. As always, do not take what you read here at face value either. Holy curiosity and critical thinking are great tools. But they exist only when used.
The articles posted on our website are devoted to getting back on track with teachings from the first century. Many common practices of Christianity today were not recognized or sanctioned by Christ and the apostles as they did not exist in the first century. Much of this stems from the fact that over the past two millennia theologians and pastors have gotten away from what Christ actually said. Today, the counterfeits have more credibility than the facts. We need to let the Biblical record speak for itself. We need to get back to basics. After all, we can't be expected to understand the calculus of prophecy if we haven't mastered arithmetic of the gospels. [See the Feature article, Moving Forward]. And those basics are all found in the Biblical record.
The Old Testament [the "Jewish" Bible], as canonized by Ezra after the Babylonian captivity, is comprised of 3 divisions [Law, Prophets, and Psalms or Writings] with 22 books and occur in an order different than what is found in Christian Bibles. See the Moving Forward article for details. The original order is listed in Appendix One of The Hijacked Elephant. Also see the Sneakers article, Our History In Context. By 150 BCE, the Old Testament was considered complete and recognized as such by contemporary scholars and acknowledged by Christ [see Luke 24:44].
The New Testament was written only by those who "saw the elephant," those who walked and talked and were directly taught by Christ in the first century, including the apostle Paul. [See Gal. 1:10-12]. No other books or writings merit addition to the canon of the New Testament organized by the last of the original apostles, John despite nouveau opinions to the contrary. Thus, the Biblical record is our complete source text.
However, the order of the New Testament books in our Christian Bibles are not in their original order. They were rearranged by Jerome in the 5th century with his Latin Vulgate translation. Again, see the Feature article, Moving Forward to get a clear view of what the New Testament should look like. Jerome's Orwellian handiwork has sent Christianity off in the wrong direction, not to mention completely erasing our heritage and our knowledge of who we are in the Biblical record.
Our goal as Christians in studying is to diligently separate Biblical truth from our personal opinions established by tradition, much of which is due to Jerome's deliberate misdirection. This is essential in order for spiritual growth to occur. While our natural inclination is to avoid the growing pains associated with this process, we need to be rigorous in our pursuit of the truth avoiding "cotton-candy" faith. Under the outward guise of zeal for Christ, we seek out other similar and comforting opinions to support our personal preferences with little or no substance to support them. This hypocrisy has dire consequences. "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death." [Pro. 14:12]. While our beliefs may feel right because we have become accustomed to them, perhaps over decades, we have to trust the Word of God and follow it no matter how counter-intuitive it may initially appear. [Mat. 7:14]. Faith, a conviction of the truth, and works go hand in hand.
Mankind has the tendency to project onto God our personal, human limitations. This tendency has given us the flat Earth and the geocentric theories of creation. It's "the world has to be flat because we don't understand how a round Earth would work." "God had to put the Earth at the center of the solar system because that's what we think he would do." At one time these beliefs were held sacred. Hindsight has shown us they were nothing more than erroneous mortal opinion. In our study of the Biblical record, it is wise to be mindful of this tendency, and place it aside. It impedes spiritual growth. While we may not understand all that God says or does, some of which, initially, may seem contrary to our human reasoning, by continually living in faith, understanding and wisdom emerge from our spiritual growth. It is as the apostle Paul said, the flesh and the Spirit are contrary to each other. [Gal. 5:17; also see the Book Excerpt, Riding Rogue Ponies Into The Apocalypse].
--Michael J. Miller
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