Saturday, March 9, 2024

Musings on Saving Jesus from Church Doctrines that Jesius Never Taught

By Rudy Barnes, Jr., March 9, 2024  

The early church fabricated many Christian doctrines and creeds that were never taught by Jesus, and that has cost the church credibility in Europe and America.  Jesus called his disciples to follow him as God’s word, not to worship him as God; and he never suggested that only future Christians could experience salvation.

Jesus was a Jewish rabbi who understood that blasphemy was a crime, and he never claimed to be divine.  The Jews were looking for a long-expected messiah, or  leader, sent by God, but not another God or another religion.  Jews considered Mosaic Law as God’s standard of righteousness, but Jesus taught the primacy of love over law in the greatest commandment to love God and our neighbors of other races and religions as we love ourselves.

The greatest commandment is a moral imperative of faith taken from the Hebrew Bible and accepted by Islamic scholars as a common word of faith.  It’s more relevant to changing times than ancient mystical beliefs or religious laws.  The Gospel of John is ambiguous on the divinity of Jesus.  It introduces Jesus as the Logos, or word of God, but it omits a virgin birth and later describes Jesus as the way, the truth and the life. (John  1:1 and 14:6)

If following the teachings of Jesus as the word of God, or Logos, is the way, the truth and the life, that’s sufficient for salvation without believing that Jesus is God.  Since all the gospels consider the teachings of Jesus to be the word of God, following the message of Jesus, not worshiping him as God, is the way to salvation; and that message is not limited to Jesus.

That’s a simple universal concept of belief that could help reconcile Judaism, Christianity and Islam on the divinity of Jesus and their great prophets, like Moses and Muhammad: but none of the institutional religions have suggested it as an option.  There would still be important differences in the Abrahamic religions, but without asserting that God prefers one over the other.      

Jesus was a universalist Jew who never claimed to be divine, or suggested that any one religion was superior to others.  Jesus taught that sharing God’s altruistic love with others was the supreme virtue needed for personal salvation for all people, and that it begins in this life and extends into whatever comes next.

According to Jesus and James, true faith is based more on altruistic acts of love for others than believing in Jesus as God.  James said, “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” (James 2:26)  While the church has long emphasized worship as evidence of faith, Jesus emphasized that following him is more important than worshiping him.

Where do we begin our journey of altruistic and universal faith?  By reading the Gospel accounts and sharing God’s love with those of other faiths, and those of no faith.  You will find that Jesus never taught the exclusivist beliefs of Christian doctrines and creeds promoted by the church, only the moral imperative to love others--all others--as we love ourselves.


On the greatest commandment as a common word of faith, see The Greatest Commandment: A Common Word of Faith at

On Who Is My Neighbor? see  See also

OnThe Politics of Loving Our Neighbors as Ourselves at

On Love over Law: A Principle at the Heart of Legitimacy, see

On Altruism: The Missing Ingredient in American Christianity and Democracy, see

On God’s Simple, Universal and Timeless Truth, see

See also Musings on Resurrecting a Universal Jesus to Restore America’s Moral Compass at

On how the Logos can free us from the bondage of worshiping a divine Christ, see Musings of a Maverick Methodist on Jesus as the Logos in John’s Gospel at

See also, Musings of a Maverick Methodist on the Irony of the Logos in John’s Gospel at

On Saving Jesus from the church, see  Was Jesus the Prophet of the Gospels or the Christ of the Church? at

See also Musings on Atheism and Religion and Living Life to the Full at

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