Ditching Theology and Doctrine, Part 2

Christian theology and doctrine are grounded upon the assertion that Jesus died for our sins, erasing the supposed debt we owed to God for the original sin of the original parents of us all.

None of which squares up in any way with what we know about the origin of the species. The Garden of Eden did not have latitude and longitude—was not an actual, physical, fact—simply did not exist. Adam and Eve were not the original parents of everybody on the planet. Christian theology from the start is empty of any substance and depth.

Even if we pretend this is not so, Christian theology disintegrates with its thesis of the substitutionary theory of the atonement. Jesus’ death is purported to square us with God, prove God’s love for us, and welcome us all into the glory of the Father. Well, not quite.

Christian theology and doctrine also proclaim that Jesus’ death just gives us another shot at the glory of the Father. In order for his death to change anything, we have to cooperate with our own transformation. We have to believe all that is said of Jesus: That he was sinless and that he died for our sins. We have to repent of our sinful, sordid ways, and live lives that are pure and unstained by the world—toeing the line, walking the straight and narrow, resisting temptation and remaining true to the ways and will of God, cultivating virtue, accumulating merit, and receiving our eternal reward when we die.

In other words, nothing has changed. We still have to keep God happy, or else. Before Jesus died for our sins on the cross, we had to keep God happy. After Jesus died for our sins on the cross, we have to keep God happy.

We are right back where we started. We have to earn our way into heaven by appeasing our Father Who Art In Heaven, Hallowed Be Thy Name, or it’s hell to pay for the lot of us, in spite of the death of God’s Only Son, Jesus Christ Our Lord.

There is no ground to Christian theology and doctrine. It is a house of cards with no foundation. But, the Christian Church of all denominations would have a hard time admitting it. The Christian Church cannot begin to justify its existence apart from its theology and doctrine. Could be a bit of conflict of interest at work here.

Which came first? The Church or doctrine and theology? Here’s a better one: Which came first? The Church or the Bible?

The Church invented all three. Doctrine. Theology. And the Bible. And it killed, tortured and persecuted those who protested and opposed its actions. That’s a fine way of securing unanimous agreement to the things you propose.

So, the Church has quite a bit riding on its Bible, its Doctrine and its Theology. And, if burnings at the stake were still legal, I wouldn’t be writing this, and you wouldn’t be reading it. But, I am writing it, and you are reading it because we can do a better job of finding our way to the heart of God and to the life with our name on it than has been done for us in the name of the Church.

Published by jimwdollar

I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters and five granddaughters within about twenty minutes from where we live--and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

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