Yes and if we look closelyAugust 4 2010 at 4:34 PM
Vince (Login MoxiFox)
Response to thanks!
We pick up little "hints" like that throughout the NTestament.
This idea that all men are lost and going to hell unless they BELIEVE in Jesus Christ was really an after-market add-on. It wasn't what Jesus of the Gospels was teaching and it wasn't what Paul the apostle was teaching either.
Neither of these guys was even thinking about an after death hell experience; they were speaking of "lost" in a very general sweeping way ... much like Americans today might lament the evidence that America is LOST to debt and corruption ... except that THEY were infinitely more lost than any western culture is right now. They lived under terrible political conditions. They lived under terrible human attitude. It was a dog-eat-dog world out there with people fighting and drinking and fornicating and discarding each other like a bunch of rats. There was NO stability at all. Most guys didn't live past 40 because they were either hacked up so bad from fights or because they drank themselves to death (or got lead poisoning from mixing citric acid with lead in the preparation of alcohol.)
Even in THAT SETTING though, there were still "righteous" people around because Jesus said, "I came not to call the righteous" ... and Paul made that remark about the heathen having their own law written on their hearts.
Jesus and Paul didn't focus on fixing EVERYONE ... they focused on fixing a massive pervasive social problem going right to the heart of every individual ... to change ATTITUDE.
If Paul had been able to jump forward 2000 years and see what exists today in the western world ... he would probably have rubbed his eyes and thought he'd gone to heaven! The difference is THAT dramatic!
When Paul spoke of the unspeakable riches in Christ ... I think he was envisioning a SYSTEM that was so much better than what they HAD.
That's not to say we live in a perfect world today and need no improvement but ... to try to directly juxtapose the teachings of Jesus and Paul to our present needs is like ... kind of ... well ..... really ... misappropriated and even TWISTED!~ It doesn't fit or apply anymore ... without modifying the thinking some. We just don't have the same needs anymore that they did. We have needs, sure ... but they're not the same.
Therefore, the gospel message can no longer be identical to the one that Jesus and Paul preached.