I have just obtained and have just started reading a book by Dr E Stanley Jones called "Christ of the Indian Road". I have heard about this book ever since I was a young man but have never had tghe chance to obtain a copy. The internet helped!
This book is quite revalutionary and modern despit it being writen in the late 1920's. Dr Stanley Jones claims to be an effective evangalist to people with other spiritualities it is necessary to discuss Jesus not scriptures. He gives the example of the apostle Paul's sermon in Athens as being the great failure instead of the great sermon. He demonstrates this by saying that in all the cities that Paul went to the only one which he was not able to establish a church was Athens. I have always thought this to be a briliant sermon and have tried to emulate in my own sermons. Paul quoted scriptures and talked of God but did not focus at all on Christ, I have looked back at my sermons and many while being thought of by others as being good also did not speak of Jesus but of God! We need to preach the gospel not the scriptures!
He goes on to say that by looking at the person Jesus and then using this as an example to live by is the best standard. He uses the example of the woman caught in adultery and he prevents her death by saying "He without sin cast the first stone". Following the crowds departure he informs the woman that he does not condemn her she is free to leave and for her to sin no more. He does not give her a list of the sins that she is to avoid this was up to her to determine. All to oftern Dr Stanley Jones states Christians are too keen on coming up with the list of the sins to avoid and so are falling into the trap of the Jewish authorities of the time of Christ. They were so bound by Law and Theology that they had become useless as spiritual leaders of the people of faith.
Dr Stanley Jones atates that we need to follow Jesus not the Bible.
I beleive the common mistake people make about the early church is that they think the church had bibles. They didn't.
They will go to a temple or wherever someone had a copy of the Torah* (The Old Testament) and they look to the scriptures about the coming messiah. But message in those days was Jesus. Not scriptures, not bible, but Jesus.
The hot topic of the day was, were Gentiles allowed to recieve the holy spirit? And once that was resolved (answer: Yes), the church blew the doors off the temple and went to the whole world!
But still, no bible.
They followed the lead of the holy spirit which was sent by Jesus. There was some graphiti that was found in a house showing a cross, a man crucified, but with a head of a donkey. The inscription with it was "[name of person] worshiping his god".
It is very true, you follow Jesus, but the bible points to Jesus. Remember, the new testament we see today is a smattering of letters written by the apostles to the church. These letters were passed around from church to church, town to town, until everyone has heard the letters or messages. That was the only way much of the gospel was taught in the churches other than the local pastor, who was usually the group leader. Many didn't even have pastors.
The central theme in most, if not all, church gatherings was the communion (or "Lords Supper"). They come together to worship and take the communion, often daily. Any words spoken, songs sung, etc, were supplied by those at the worship at the time.
Simple, direct, but faithful.
I would have to read this book to see where this writer is coming from, but if any accuracy is made, it would have to be in looking into the history of the early church.
I wouldn't throw away the bible on this account, the point being, Jesus is the focus, follow him. Remember wat the Father said about his son on the mountain when the vision of Moses and Elijah faded. "This is my son, listen to him".
* (Originally said Koran in this message..a typo on my part)
This message has been edited by boydallen on Nov 11, 2004 6:42 AM
What the book states is follow Jesus the person as depicted in the bible not the rules and legislation and other parrafinalia that is in the Bible. He goes on to say that to discuss the Old Testiment as pointers to Jesus when talking to non Christians is irrelavant and clouds the issues that the hearer needs. Talk of the living Christ, talk of the Christ alive now, talk Christ not the interectual padding that goes with church doctrine and theology.
By the way Boyd, it was the Torah that the early church had not the Koran.