IN WHICH JESUS DO YOU BELIEVE?
By: Father Larry Winslow
Who is the real Jesus? This is a question that will initially raise many eyebrows. However, in the world in which we live, a world ravaged by aberrations, revisionist concepts, liberal “interpretations,” and other forms of deviation from the picture of Jesus presented in the Divinely Inspired Holy Word of God, it is necessary that True Christians not only be wary of such anomalies but also be prepared to counter falsehood with the Truth of God.
The world culture of universalism, syncretism, a distorted vision of multiculturalism, and so-called inclusivity attempts to suggest that all major religions in reality serve the same God. The prevailing “wisdom” contrives all forms of faith to be merely differing streams all flowing into the same ocean of the all-encompassing godhead. While there is obviously no justification or reality in such claims, it is considered by general society, even in some heretical elements of the Churches, to be anathema to hold to the orthodox conservative Christian position of the exclusivity of Jesus Christ based upon the Truth of the Holy Bible.
The orthodox conservative Christian stands by the reality of The One Who claims to be “The Way, The Truth, and The Life” and the only true and available route to The Father in His statement, “No one comes to the Father but through Me!”
But then one faces the problem of defining in which Jesus Christ we are placing our faith. Muslims claim to believe in Jesus as a prophet born of a virgin who did not really die on the cross but lived a normal life following what Christians believe and know as the Crucifixion and Resurrection. Many Jewish persons will acknowledge a teacher named Jesus but deny His being the promised Messiah for whom they are still waiting. Hinduism will recognize a form of Christ within its pantheon of gods. Buddhism will recognize Jesus as a teacher of good.
Many liberal thinkers who falsely claim the Christian Faith will deny the true Divinity of Jesus, His Virgin Birth, His miracles, and/or His Physical Resurrection. They will claim to accept the “historical Jesus of the Synoptic Gospels” and His teachings while denying the essence of the Christian Faith. The revisionists go even further in that they take even the teachings of Jesus and revise their “understandings” of Jesus’ intentions. They then profess faith in this revised liberalised Jesus. Then, the vocabulary of many of these teachings utilizes the same terms as orthodox conservative Christianity in a revisionist manner such that it is very difficult to discern their differences in understanding.
Also, in today’s culture, it is common place to see the tenets of many of these aberrations coming together in a synthesis of heretical thought such as that found in such substandard works as the DaVinci Code. In these works theses are posited as though they are indisputable fact when there is absolutely no credible basis for such hypotheses. And, in a world where the average Christian, let alone the religiously illiterate, does not really have the level of knowledge to separate such data in order to support the Truth of God, such deviations often gain full or partial acceptance amongst the masses.
Within the Church are found members of the hierarchy who take concepts that are developed in the mind of man and attempt to deify them by attributing such thought to the presence of the Holy Spirit. Often they attempt to present the falsehood that such thought process is consistent with traditional Christian thinking. In order to place authority upon such a process they use a revised and liberalised definition of the established “three-legged stool of Holy Scripture, Reason, and Tradition and then add a fourth false and rejected leg called “experience.” These proclamations, even though they are often diametrically opposed to the teachings of the Holy Spirit in the Holy Bible, are then presented as being God’s new teachings to the world today. Their authors and supporters claim the “authority” of their positions in requiring adherence to these “new teachings” even though they go against the Holy Scriptures, the Apostolic Traditions, and historical Reason and Understanding. Presented in their “authority,” these obvious heresies are difficult for the average person to withstand and reject without having an educated knowledge of the Holy Word of God and the presence of the Eternal Truths of God which would never be contradicted by the Holy Spirit.
But, the Holy Scripture as presented in the Holy Bible provides the one authoritative Revelation of Almighty God concerning Himself as He has revealed Himself to humankind as Father, Son, and Spirit. And it is in these writings inspired by God the Holy Spirit and easily seen as being the inerrant Word of God to humankind in which are found the only true source of the tenets of Christianity. No teaching arising from outside of the Word of God or contradicting the Word of God can be accepted as truth by the True Christian.
It is here where the Christian of today is faced with seeking the true picture of the Jesus in Whom faith is to be placed. The true Jesus is not a Jesus emanating from the mind and thought of man. Such a vision is one of what man, in his own fallen intellect, perceives a Jesus “ought to be” in the acceptance of man’s intellect. But no concept of Jesus outside of that revealed in God’s Word can be accepted as truth.
The Truth of the Holy Bible
The question of the real truth of the Holy Bible is one which is paramount in today’s controversies and discussions. Revised and liberalised thought would have the Bible relegated to merely one of the references in determining the Word or Will of God. In addition to this source, they would have such things as man’s intellectual findings, experience, academic analysis, etc. added to the mix. Using “new understandings” of God and/or the words of the Scriptures as rationale, attempts are made to radically alter the traditional teachings of the Christian Church.
However, it is obvious that the reality of the Truth of Holy
Scripture is found in the intention of the Holy Spirit functioning through the
prophetic authors of the books contained in the Spirit Guided Holy Bible. Thus,
understanding God’s many statements that man does not think or understand as
God thinks or understands, it becomes clear that the true Word of God can only
be discovered in and through the record which He has provided the true members
of the Body of Christ, The true
In deciphering the intention of God in His Word it is also necessary to seek how those Spirit-guided persons who wrote the Holy Books and how those who initially received this written word understood it. Modern “understanding” of words in the original Scriptural languages is meaningless if such differs from the understood and accepted intentions contained in the writing of the authors and the reception of these original hearers of the Word.
In these two sources are found the intention of God Almighty as it is understood by the people of God in the original languages and under the original circumstances. There is nothing in man’s intellect that can refute such Eternal Thought and Expressed Will of the Almighty God for His people.
And, the key is that, in Holy Scripture, God’s self-revelation and His moral value structure are irrefutable and never to be contradicted. Man’s intellectual tools such as lower and higher critical methods should be used to discover such original intentions and understandings. But, any attempt to use them to change these primary factors must be considered anathema.
It has to be constantly remembered that God Himself has stated, “I the Lord thy God am unchanging God.” Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away but My words shall never cease.” And, the writer to the Hebrews posited, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.” Thus, any attempted refutation, modification, or changing of God’s intended Word is to be seen as totally unacceptable.
Finding the Real Jesus
The reality of Jesus is therefore to be found only within God’s Holy Word. Contractions of such cannot be tolerated nor can extrapolations from such be taken as being dogmatic. Rather, since the Holy Scriptures are the sole source of real and dependable revelation of Jesus Christ, Son of God, Son of Man, Messiah, God Incarnate, only the Jesus of these self-same Scriptures can be accepted as the one in Whom mankind is to place his faith.
While the references in other historical documents such as Josephus, Pliny, the Apocryphal Gospels, the Gnostic Gospels, etc., are useful and interesting in terms of seeing the reaction of the world around to the Jesus of the Scriptures, such cannot in any way alter the truth and reality of the Jesus of Scripture.
Similarly, while these other sources can be used to shed
light on the Jesus of the Canonical Text of Holy Writ they cannot be used to
alter the vision of Jesus as presented in the Holy Bible. The New and Old
Testament Canons were ascertained through the
The teachings of other religious documents such as the Koran similarly cannot be accepted as being valid sources of the true vision of Jesus. The Koran posits that Jesus was simply a prophet of God, inferior to Mohammed who authored the Koran (ostensibly under the guidance of the Angel Gabriel and some six hundred years after Jesus Who is the final Word of God according to Holy Scripture in the Holy Bible), Who was not really God in the flesh, Who did not die on the Cross, and who lived a normal life wed to Mary Magdalene and died a natural death. While Mohammed claimed angelic guidance in the production of that religious document known as the Koran such a claim flies in the face of the claim of the Divine Holy Spirit Inspired Holy Word of God (The Holy Bible) to be the final Revelation of God to Man prior to the judgment at the Second Coming of Christ. Further, it has to be considered that Mohammed’s exposure to Christianity was with a sect that adhered to the Arian Heresy that was refuted by the Council of Nicaea some three hundred years earlier than Mohammed. Thus, that which he viewed as being Christian was, in reality, the product of erroneous and fringe Christian doctrine. Therefore, any statements concerning Jesus made in this 7th century A.D. production cannot to be understood as being accurate in any way whatsoever.
The recent works such as the DaVinci Code draw upon the erroneous visions of Jesus presented by various Christian heresies, the conjecture of other religious groups, etc. are also not to be considered as, in any way, adding to the picture of the real Jesus. They are the development of the thought of man in apposition to the teachings of Almighty God in His Divinely Inspired Word and are thus to be ignored.
The falsely identified approach to life secularly presented as “multi-culturalism” presents a watered-down and syncretised version of all religion that accepts a Jesus who is little more than a “nice guy” who taught some things that are universally acceptable “warm and fuzzies.” Steeped in the context of relativism and universalism this Jesus is essentially meaningless in the accepted teachings while being anathema in the realities of His Truths. Hence, True Christians will reject any form of pressures to adhere to such heretical and unacceptable thought processes.
Perhaps the most dangerous form of thought is that which
emanates from within the realm of so-called “theological” thought but positing
theories and scenarios opposing the Holy Bible. Such revisionist liberal
thought is often presented as being new teachings under the guidance of God’s
Holy Spirit. This school of thought will often produce such erroneous logic
concerning the Jesus of Holy Scripture by making statements such as, “When the
Bible was written God did not understand the people of today,” “Jesus is
offering new teachings today in accordance with St. John 16 through the
guidance of the Holy Spirit,” “Man wrote the Bible, man can change it,” “If
Jesus were here today, He would say this or that or such-and-such,” etc. Of
course, all such intellectual presentation emanates from the mind of man in
opposition to the Holy Word of God. In it mankind, even in the guise of Church
Leadership, is continuing the sin of Eve (the desire to stand equal to, or in
the stead of, God) that resulted in the expulsion of mankind from the Garden of
Thus, one can see that the only true source of knowledge
concerning the real Jesus is found in the Holy Scriptures of God. Belief in the
True Jesus and Salvation that comes only through Him can only be that which
emanates from this one source. All true Christian intellectual pursuit must be
centred upon the understanding of this One Jesus – The Messiah of God – the
Who Is The Real Jesus?
Thus, while there are many presentations of Jesus in the world today (most are watered down man-made visions of what humanity thinks He should be like), True Christians are called to worship the one and only true Jesus revealed by God in history and through the One True Holy Spirit Guided Holy Word of God. And this One True Holy Spirit of God cannot contradict or revise His Eternal presentation of the Holy Word of God! This Scriptural Vision of this Jesus is to be neither enhanced nor detracted from! He is to be understood in the simplicity with which He is presented and His teachings are to be accepted as being God’s Final and Eternal Word for all humankind.
The simplicity is that, while God had spoken to humankind in many and various ways through Moses (the Law) and the Prophets in attempting to call humankind back from its fallen state to the state of living as the friend of God in the perfection of His Creation, humankind could not return from the state of sin on its own. Therefore, in these last days God’s Grace and Love has been poured out upon humankind in the person of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus – The Christ!
This Jesus intersected directly into human history through the miraculous Virgin Birth whereby, through the Fatherhood of God (the Holy Spirit coming upon the Most Blessed Virgin Mary) and the Motherhood of Man (the Most Blessed Virgin consenting to be that conduit whereby God and man were united into one perfect human being), The Christ Child named Jesus (perfect God/perfect man perfectly united into one perfect human being) came into being. It is in and through this perfect fusion of God and humanity in His taking human nature to Himself that the one, full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction comes into being at just the time in history. It is in this Jesus that not only this perfect sacrifice but also the perfect High Priest to offer such sacrifice in the stead of all humanity is found.
This Jesus lived the perfect sinless human life. During His 3 ½ year public ministry He performed many miracles including healing all sorts of diseases, controlling the elements of nature, feeding thousands with next to nothing to begin with, being transfigured before His inner circle of three Apostles, casting out demons, etc. Jesus also taught infallible principles of human life. He chastised the religious leadership of the day for their failure to uphold the Law of God while enforcing principles and procedures that were definitely outside of, or even opposed to, the stated Will of God. Jesus was adamant that True Faith emanated from the heart and was not sourced in actions. Rather He held that valid actions only emanated from the True Faith of God that is wrapped up in Him.
In this is found the heart of Christian Faith that is so repugnant to the world, the flesh, and the devil. Jesus stated that He is “The Way, The Truth, and The Life” and that “No man comes to the Father except through Him!” True Christians understand that it is only through recognition of personal sinfulness and that the only way to Eternal Life is through full and complete repentance of all sin along with the acceptance of the washing away of sin that can only come in the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ which means total recognition of the need of Jesus, the Creator God, intrinsically participating in the human life. In accepting the Father’s Free Gift of the Son the repentant sinner receives the Gift of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. It is through, and only through, this washing away of sin and the reuniting of God and humankind in Jesus Christ that a human being can return to the intended Creative Relationship with God (i.e. Salvation to Eternal Life).
This Jesus is certainly not “a way” to Eternal Life!” Rather, Jesus is the “One and Only Way” to Eternal Life lived here on earth and in the world to come in the presence of Almighty God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit! Jesus IS God in the Flesh! His pictured exclusivity is irrefutable and unarguable! It can only be accepted or rejected. To accept the free gift of God in Jesus Christ leads to Eternal Life. To reject this Jesus (the clear, simple picture provided by the Holy Bible) is to choose Eternal Condemnation.
While much more could be said, the point has been made that Jesus is the only way that a human being can return to his/her intended relationship and place with God. This fact then has further implications. With the veracity of the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus comes the irrefutable proof that everything Jesus ever said or did is completely true and incontestable. And one of the most salient points that Jesus made was in His vision of the significance of God’s Word contained in what Christians know as the Old Testament. Here is found that Jesus, perfect God/perfect man perfectly united in one human being, clearly stated that not one word, dot, or tittle of that Word of God can be modified or changed. In other words, God’s Word is God’s Word and is not subject to debate. Thus this Jesus made it clear that God’s Word (written and living) is clear Truth and stands in judgment of man - and does not allow for man standing in judgment of God’s Word.
Such is the picture of Jesus that provides the platform from which True Christians can launch and understand the content True Faith in the One True God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. No form of human intellectualism; no form of human theology; no form of human culture; no form of human constitution; no form of human judiciary can validly overturn or reject the Truth of God as found in His Word – written in the Holy Bible or Living in the Living Jesus Christ! To take such an action a human being is rejecting their God and choosing the role of an emissary of Satan!
In understanding this one begins to comprehend that there can only be one homogeneous and unalterable picture of Jesus. There can be no concept of everyone having the “right” to their own opinion or interpretation. There can only validly be a sincere search for the true reality of Jesus Christ as shown in the Holy Bible. Where True Christians differ in understanding this picture there are only three possibilities - A is right and B is wrong; B is right and A is wrong; or both are wrong! Because God is a God of clarity and not a God of confusion it is absolutely impossible for both A and B to be right. There is one picture in God’s Word and it is that picture that must be determined and accepted!
In this is found the One True picture of the Jesus in Whom we must believe in order to have the Eternal Life He promised! This must be the Jesus of Almighty God’s Divinely Inspired Holy Bible! This Jesus must be free of the machinations and intellectualisms of humankind. Only the picture of Jesus contained in His Word is valid. It is not open to modification or alteration according to the whims and thoughts of humanity.
The glory of discovering this one true picture of Jesus provides the True Christian with the foundational picture of the Jesus in Whom Christians must believe. It is hoped that this work has helped in providing a basis from which all True Christians can view the Jesus of Faith!