Thursday, November 23, 2006

Was Jesus a Christian?

This seems like a silly question but as I grew up in the Bible Belt of Southern Virginia I always assumed that Jesus was a Christian. I never even thought that he was actually Jewish. He was, in fact, a Jewish rabbi who attended Temple and observed Jewish traditions and celebrations.

There are many that feel Jesus never intended to create the Jewish offshoot called Christianity, but merely intended to reform Judaism, and there is evidence to support this line of thinking.

Christians (with whom I number myself) point to the Great Commission as evidence that Jesus asked his disciples to go forth throughout the world and baptize in the name of the father, son, and holy ghost. (Matthew 28: 16-20). This is great evidence supporting that Jesus did in fact intend to create a Jewish offshoot.

The story, however, starts to get fuzzy when you consider that Matthew was written in the late 1st century, some 20 years after Mark, and borrowed much of its content from Mark. There is extensive evidence that Mark was written after 70 CE as it references events that happened prior to 70 CE. Ok, so you say "So What". Well, in the earliest known Greek transcripts of Mark, (Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus), the great Commission is not included. This means it was added after the fact, and the Matthew and Luke accounts now come under a bit of scrutiny as well, since they borrowed from Mark.

So what exactly was Jesus's mission on earth, and was it/will it be fulfilled? Another question, is when is the Second Coming supposed to take place? According to many scholars, it should have taken place nearly 2000 years ago, but that is another post.


At November 24, 2006 at 3:44 PM, Blogger Cele said...

Very thought provoking post, Rick. I took most of it as rhetorical in nature, but it did make me think.

By definition why would anyone think Jesus was a Christian? My other thought on this would be, as defined by definition, Christians follow a simple, yet complex Jew from Nazareth, shouldn't this in of itself teach us to honor diversity?

At November 24, 2006 at 6:06 PM, Blogger Sister Mary Lisa said...

I've been thinking on this subject all day, and am trying to come up with a comment that's deep and profound. But I'm not so deep and profound, so I'll just comment as I am.

I also grew up thinking of Jesus as "Christian" like me. Isn't it strange how they don't push the knowledge of Jesus being a Jew a little more? Very strange.

My personal theory is leaning toward the idea that religion was created by man, for man, to further whatever purpose they were pushing at the time. Basically for personal gain. It happened with the early Christians and it happened with Joseph Smith in Mormonism the same way. Studying religions throughout history (although I'm no expert and I don't have all the facts) it becomes obvious that they all have this in common.

The big question: was Jesus just someone like Joseph Smith, a persuasive, charismatic man who was able to get people to follow his line of thinking? Could he have been just a mortal man trying to create his own offshoot religion from Judaism? Or was he truly the son of God, sent to do a mission for God in his life on earth? Was he just a simple man good at getting people to follow him?

I'm beginning to think he may have been just a man. And I also don't think he looks just like the pictures we have of him, that our church leaders say is the correct image of him. (Not that that has anything at all to do with this discussion.)

I like this new post, BR. I'll look forward to reading what people have to say about it. Thank you...

At November 25, 2006 at 10:57 PM, Blogger Bishop Rick said...


Not sure why I thought of Jesus as a Christian other than I was never taught otherwise and came to the conclusion myself. Of course as I got older and started learning more about Jesus It dawned on me that he was really a Jewish Rabbi.

Agree with you on the diversity front.

At November 25, 2006 at 11:11 PM, Blogger Bishop Rick said...


There are 3 schools of thought on this subject.

1. Jesus was the literal son of God who came to earth to sacrifice himself for the souls of mankind.

2. Jesus was a great prophet with incredible insight who was fighting for Jewish reform and stood for the common man, but was mortal and proped up as a God by those that came after him in an effort to legitimize christianity to the Pagans.

3. Jesus never really existed in the first place and was invented by the propagators of Christianity.

There is absolutely no proof of number one. You are supposed to accept that one purely on faith after the traditions of your fathers.

There is alot of evidence that points to number two, and other main Abrahamic religions (Judaism and Islam believe this).

There is mounting evidence starting to surface that supports number three. One of the main things supporting this is that Jesus is only mentioned once outside of canonical and gnostic writings by Josephus in his historical account. This was written 300 years after the recorded death of Jesus and could have been influenced by christian writings

I want to believe number one, but there is no tangible reason to, outside of faith...and exactly what is faith anyway?

That is yet another post.

At November 26, 2006 at 12:19 AM, Blogger Sister Mary Lisa said...

I think it's comforting to us as humans to believe there is a god and a purpose to our lives here. We seem to need a sense of "who we are" and where we are going. That is where God and Jesus fit in. It is a comfort to most of us to feel like they are behind our lives and our good fortune, etc. It's also comforting to feel like they may be there to help when times are tough.

The one big thing that keeps me skeptical about Mormonism is that I just can't see a just God actually rewarding with a place in the "Celestial Kingdom" only those few souls in the history of the world who were lucky enough to be born where they were so they could learn about the religion and become "righteous" enough to do all that is required to actually make it there.

It is this same skepticism that now makes me doubt ANY religion, for it seems many of them like to have their little version of heavenly glory and how to attain it too.

When my faith was damaged so bad by my discovery of the history the religion hides, it was so devastating to that part of me that felt comfort in having faith, that I'm not sure I will ever seek or need such comfort again. I'm amazed at how little I miss it now.

At November 26, 2006 at 10:40 AM, Blogger Cele said...

My disillusion came when I was just 12 years old, attend a Presbyterian church on Sunday morning. I was singing joyously in the choir, full of my feelings of love towards God and mankind, when the new minister turned to denounce the choir of children, because they'd have rather been at home opening presents.

I went home in tears. At that point my mother - a very wise woman - told me I was old enough to find the religion or faith that worked for me. I tried several, and as Mary Lisa pointed out, it seemed every religion had it's own little self serving versions of the well known tenents to make you adhere to their specific brand of belief.

Until I tried the Society of Friends. I've been Quaker ever since. I wasn't damaged by my previous religion, like many, especially in cult religions. I was given a basis to found my beliefs on, and for that I am thankful. But for me a passage in (and I don't know the full Bible well as I should, but I know what speaks to me) one of the gospels that says (basically) there is no middle man in religion, there is you and God. Speak directly to God (in the name of his son) by locking yourself in a closet with no outside influence. (totally paraphrased) It made total sense to me. Why should someone else's interpetation influence my relationship with God, my faith in God, and my faith in myself? I hope that your beliefs aren't totally destroyed, that you will find the place and faith that works for you.

Oh, gracious, I'm sorry if I sounded preachy, it's not my intent. I just meant to share.

At November 27, 2006 at 11:15 AM, Blogger Bishop Rick said...


When you are taught your whole life (or majority of it) that the LDS church is the only true church, your whole thought process is wrapped around that belief. Then if you become disaffected with that church, it is extremely hard to have faith in any religion. I mean, "if the only true religion is not true, then nothing is or can be."

You are right about having the comfort of a belief system helping you through hard times. Sometimes I try to imagine myself without that belief system to see if I can live without it. I think I could as long as there was no tragedy in my life. For example if something were to happen to one of my kids, I don't know if I could recover with the thought of all there is, is this life. I struggle with this.

At November 27, 2006 at 11:19 AM, Blogger Bishop Rick said...


That is great that you have found solace with the Society of Friends. I think if you desire to be part of organized religion, and that religion does not hold you down or lie to you, then by all means, go for it.

Anything that is moral and makes you happy is a good thing...and you can't sound preachy on a blog about religion.

At November 27, 2006 at 11:42 AM, Blogger Sister Mary Lisa said...

BR, I used to struggle with the same thought of "if something tragic happened to one of my kids...". After 13 years of marriage to a non-member, I had to come to terms with that since I'm not going to any Celestial Kingdom glory with my children who aren't sealed to me anyway. I've felt major distaste ALWAYS with the thought of being someone's second or 100th wife, so I assumed the same feelings I had would carry over into my decision making in the next life, meaning I wasn't going to be living in the Celestial kingdom anyway.

So I had to consider, how would that work for my children if we're not sealed together as a family? What if they are married in the temple someday like I was not?

You can see where I had to already come to terms with the idea that (for me) I would not be together with my husband and/or loved ones in the next life.

For now, I can only hope that we'll be together in the next life. Since all evidence points to the idea that Joseph Smith made it up, I'm comfortable now not knowing all. Especially if I (God forbid) outlive my kids.

At November 27, 2006 at 3:48 PM, Blogger Sideon said...

"Jesus is my home boy"

At least, that's what I saw on a guy's baseball cap in the O'Hare airport (Chicago).

At November 27, 2006 at 4:01 PM, Blogger Bishop Rick said...


I wish I had that hat.

At November 27, 2006 at 4:03 PM, Blogger Bishop Rick said...


I can honestly say that I never thought about the fact that someone who is LDS, but married to someone that is not LDS doesn't get sealed to their kids or make it to the C Kingdom. Is this a blanket statement or just for females?

At November 27, 2006 at 5:36 PM, Blogger Sister Mary Lisa said...

Well, I believe it is understood that if you aren't "born in the covenant" (which I was, but my hubby wasn't) or married/sealed in the temple, but are married, you aren't allowed to reach celestial glory, as that is one of the ordinances required for eternal exaltation. Right? I will have to look up references. Or even if I get there under the sealing power of my parent's union, my kids were still not sealed to me.

But believe me, when kids start learning these things in class at church, and come home and ask you, "So if you aren't sealed in the temple to Dad, then we aren't sealed together as a family, are we? We aren't an eternal family!", it really really sucks. And makes you think hard about what you've done to your family in choosing a non-member man for a husband. All those doomsday lessons in Young Womens comes back to haunt you about how you marry who you date.

If I were a faithful enough woman to get to the temple, then I'd still be unable to seal my kids to me, since their father was not willing to ever become LDS. I could hold out hope that 1.someday his "heart would soften", 2. He'd die before me so I could have him sealed to me by proxy in the temple, and hope to God that he'd accept it from there, or 3.I would be able to seal myself to someone else in the next life and hope that my kids were there with me in righteousness, sealed to their own spouses.

I may be confused, but I think I understand it correctly as it is.

I think the only way to achieve celestial glory in the LDS faith is if you are married to a worthy spouse in the temple, (or it will sort itself out in the millenium if you are a child who died before age 8, or mentally disabled or whatever.)

That's how I always understood it. So I always hoped MY situation would sort itself out in the millenium too.

And I assume it's just for females, but I don't know. I assume any man can die and find a woman in the next life and seal himself to her. Not that this is preached. I have no clue. I just know that in order to even go to the temple and take out my endowment, I was required to get my non-member husband's PERMISSION IN WRITING first. When he wouldn't give it, I was unable to get a recommend for anything beyond baptisms for the dead, like a 12 year old.

Had I been clever enough to have been born a man, I think I would NOT have had to get my non-member wife's permission. This is something I asked the High Priest Group Leader in reply to his little letter telling me to avoid listening to Satan, (as I posted in my blog in August) and he never replied. I think that's because it's not required if I were a man.

What do you think? Am I mistaken?

At November 27, 2006 at 8:07 PM, Blogger Bishop Rick said...


I don't know if you are mistaken. This is an area I know nothing about, but if a woman needs permission and a man doesn't, that is absolutely sexist and self-serving (assuming you are a man). I will try to find out.

At November 27, 2006 at 9:10 PM, Blogger Sister Mary Lisa said...

OK, you asked if it was a blanket statement that people who aren't sealed don't make it to the C. Kingdom. I went home and looked it up in the simplest place I could think of: the book "Gospel Principles" that I used to teach Gospel Essentials for 3 years. It reads (Chapter 36, p. 232):

"Families can be together forever. To enjoy this blessing we must be married in the temple. When people are married outside the temple, the marriage ends when one of the partners dies. When we are married in the temple by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood, we are married for time and eternity. Death cannot separate us. If we obey the commandments of the Lord, our families will be together forever as husband, wife, and children."

Ch. 47, pg. 303 reads:

"To be exalted, we first must place our faith in Jesus Christ and then endure in that faith to the end of our lives. Our faith in him must be such that we repent of our sins and obey his commandments.

He commands us all to receive certain ordinances:

1. We must be baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ.
2. We must receive the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
3. We must receive the temple endowment.
4. We must be married for time and eternity."

See D&C 131: 1-4

It's been my experience that a woman must always bow to the discretion of a man no matter what the instance. This is the way of the church. Nothing is done without priesthood approval. I always assumed that if I were to make it to the temple but never marry there, then I'd be at the mercy of some priesthood holder in the next life to gain exaltation. I don't imagine any man who dies without these ordinances has to wait for someone to approve first like a woman has to.

Another reason I'm glad to be done with Mormonism.

At November 27, 2006 at 11:01 PM, Blogger Sister Mary Lisa said...

Back up a topic here, but YOU KNOW HOW TO TAP DANCE??? Wow, I'm impressed!

At November 27, 2006 at 11:14 PM, Blogger Bishop Rick said...

No, I'm a horrible Tap Dancer. Never had lessons, just made it all up. That was the charm.

However, I can sing a cat out of a tree...not sure if that is good or bad, now that I think of it...I'll let you decide what to believe.

At November 27, 2006 at 11:18 PM, Blogger Sister Mary Lisa said...

I'll believe the best. You know I always do. That's part of MY charm.

I always wished I could sing like people do who make you stop and listen because it's just so beautiful.

So, who you gonna ask to find out if I were an LDS man married to a non-member, would I need her permission in writing to attend the temple and take out my endowment?

At November 27, 2006 at 11:32 PM, Blogger Bishop Rick said...

Probably just research it...I know, boring.

At November 27, 2006 at 11:42 PM, Blogger Sister Mary Lisa said...

No, not boring at all. I've thought I should research it too. Just haven't yet, because it's like you said, I really don't want to add sexism to the things that really pissed me off about the church.

Do you still regularly attend?

At November 28, 2006 at 12:02 AM, Blogger Bishop Rick said...

I attend every Sunday.

Here is the link to the answer, right from the LDS web pages:$fn=default.htm$xhitlist_q=temple%20recommend$xhitlist_x=Simple$xhitlist_s=relevance-weight$xhitlist_d=$xhitlist_hc=%5BXML%5D%5Bkwic%2C0%5D$xhitlist_xsl=xhitlist.xsl$xhitlist_vpc=first$xhitlist_sel=title%3Bpath%3Bcontent-type%3Bhome-title%3Bhit-context%3Bfield%3Azr%3Bfield%3ARef

Sorry, I don't know how to add a hot link yet.

It is exactly how you stated it...Wow, who would have thought.

At November 28, 2006 at 12:12 AM, Blogger Sister Mary Lisa said...

Which article did you read? Your link only got me to the search page with all the articles at the bottom.

At November 28, 2006 at 12:22 AM, Blogger Sister Mary Lisa said...

I can teach you how to add a hot link, if you'd like.

At November 28, 2006 at 4:07 PM, Blogger Bishop Rick said...

It is really convoluted how I got there, but here goes:

1. go to LDS.ORG
2. click on Search
3. In "Search the Gospel Library Archive" search for "female recommend" with "curriculum" as the search filter
4. Scroll down to the 4th article on Temple Endowments for Women.

Yes, please give me instructions on setting a hot link.

At November 28, 2006 at 4:47 PM, Blogger Sister Mary Lisa said...

I looked but the fourth article is a lesson on how to teach sex ed to your kids...I'll search around.

For HTML coding, I can't send the instructions clearly here, because blogger sees the beginnings of code and won't let me post a comment if the code isn't done right.

My e-mail:

At November 28, 2006 at 5:19 PM, Blogger Sister Mary Lisa said...

I found it. Yep, not a word about a man having to get written permission from an unendowed wife.


I'd be pissed except I've got other things on my mind that are much more fun.

At November 28, 2006 at 5:46 PM, Blogger Sideon said...

I'm impressed with this conversation - every bit of it - which includes the tap dancing, the singing, and the excellent citations/quotations.

Bishop - I'll see if I can find that hat for you.

At November 28, 2006 at 6:51 PM, Blogger Sister Mary Lisa said...

I should note that it's Sideon who was so nice to teach me how to link in my comments! Thank you! Glad you're enjoying our discussion.

At November 28, 2006 at 10:21 PM, Blogger Cele said...

You called it straight Rick, BYU against my Ducks (oh woe is me) in the Las Vegas Bowl.


Blogger wouldn't let me explain it, darn.

At November 28, 2006 at 10:26 PM, Blogger Cele said...

Rick read the link below but change the words into symbals or spaces to create your link

lesser than < and an a space href equal sign quotation mark http colon forward slash forward slash url quotation mark more than arrow> page name lesser than arrow < forward slash an a more than arrow>

that is how you create a hot link in comments.

At November 29, 2006 at 12:47 PM, Blogger Bishop Rick said...


Thanks for the tips on hot link. SML also sent me some tips. Thanks to you both.

The offensive coordinator (Gary Crowton) for Oregon used to be the head coach of BYU. He was fired 2 years ago.

Should make for some good headlines.

At November 29, 2006 at 1:01 PM, Blogger Sister Mary Lisa said...

You are welcome.

At November 29, 2006 at 3:47 PM, Blogger Cele said...

Maybe we shall have to make a friendly bet on the outcome of the Las Vegas Bowl...I mean it is the Las Vegas Bowl, that seems so fitting.... Maybe a blog from the loser for the winner or vice versa?


At November 30, 2006 at 10:28 PM, Blogger Sister Mary Lisa said...

You mentioned above you can sing. Do you sing country songs best?

At November 30, 2006 at 10:29 PM, Blogger Bishop Rick said...

I sing Elvis the best, then its a tie between Country and new wave.

At November 30, 2006 at 10:37 PM, Blogger Sister Mary Lisa said...

That's awesome. I wish you could post your voice somehow so we could hear...of course it'd be difficult to choose a song.

At December 16, 2006 at 6:09 PM, Blogger Sister Mary Lisa said...

Hiya BR! I just took your advice and changed up my blog a bit, and added MY ART to the right side of my blog with easy links to the posts where I shamelessly show off my art.

Thanks, and I owe you one.

At December 16, 2006 at 11:04 PM, Blogger Sister Mary Lisa said...

I commented over on my blog that I'm not sure how to do a caption. Can you explain it to me please?

At December 21, 2006 at 12:28 AM, Blogger Cele said...

Less than 24 hours to go and then we will know.
Is it BYU or Orygun?
Will Rick pervail?
Or Cele delight?
In what Rick writes
for her website?

Besides the Ducks have to win, I can't figure out what to write. I'm looking for inspiration. argh.

At December 21, 2006 at 8:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BR, Great post and the comments here are very thought provoking. From what I have gathered over the last year, I am leaning towards number 3 but number 2 could still be possible. Of course that leaves number 1 out in the cold.

Your point about stuff being added to the Gospels is great, and the fact Christians distort the Bible to fit their version of reality is what drove me from it. The virgin birth is taken out of context, and is a mistranslation of Isaiah. Even Psalm 22:16 is distorted by Christians, because in the Hebrew text there is no imagery of someone being crucified or dogs. It was a transliteration while the King James translators were working on their edition of the Bible.

Great post...

At December 22, 2006 at 12:52 AM, Blogger Cele said...

Okay Rick, my blog is written, wher should I send it.

At December 22, 2006 at 10:29 AM, Blogger Cele said...


Hello, Rick????? I'm told I should ask you WHAT you want me to write about...maybe you're not up to a Dose of "Dining on Humble Duck"


At January 22, 2007 at 3:29 PM, Blogger Just one of many said...

OK, BR you need a NEW post!!!

At January 29, 2007 at 12:18 AM, Blogger Sister Mary Lisa said...

I agree with Joom. A new post would be great. (Not that your comments out there aren't great too, but you know.)

At January 30, 2007 at 10:43 AM, Blogger Cele said...

What do you mean you're in Singapore? We that is a partial explaination for you falling off the face of the Western world....

At March 14, 2007 at 10:21 AM, Blogger Sister Mary Lisa said...

So any more deep thoughts by Bishop Rick for you to post? It's been too long, you know.

At April 4, 2007 at 11:45 PM, Blogger Bishop Rick said...

Come on gals, I've been kinda busy these days. I promise I'll post again...later this year.

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