This is a quick reply to a post on Facebook, from a page that I largely agree with. 100% agreement with other believers is IMPOSSIBLE, unless you close yourself off into a community like the Amish (and even they have differing factions who apply different kinds of head coverings, etc.!).
The statement offered is that we follow Christ, and not Paul, to paraphrase. That goes down the same route as Marcionism (which has been mentioned). Marcionism is one of the foundations of right-wing free market thinking that I addressed before (see my post: THATCHER THE HERETIC), and its main failing is in cherry-picking which parts of scripture to read and which not. Marcion’s canon was practically all Pauline.
Such an error can go either way i.e. by rejecting Pauline theology. Once we start this, we end up deciding which little pieces of our faith can be accepted and which not. I could go to the extreme of acknowledging the Sermon on the Mount but not the account of Jesus’ words on the cross, since there were far more witnesses to the former than the latter!
I shall avoid any debate on the early church and their decisions on accepting the canon we have, Council of Nicaea, etc., etc. Far too involved. From a simple point of view of faith, I accept that my faith as handed down to me is in my Lord’s hands. I have received the scriptures. I accept them all. If there are apparent contradictions, then this is actually proof to me that they are not man-made nor ‘chosen’ by men, since such ‘inaccuracies’ would be ruled out by any ruling council or which sect of my faith was in ascendency at the time. The canon was selected (for the most part) on authenticity, not doctrinal stance. They were much closer to the time of the original documents and in a better position than centuries later, where we can only speculate ad infinitum.
The alternative to canonical acceptance is to just cherry-pick, as I said, and that leads you to making up your own religion as you go along. Why not just add in some words of Buddha, Confucius, Mohammed….? Then you no longer have a right to call yourself Christian, if I am totally frank. You are entitled to your belief but you reject all of Christianity that has gone before us, good and bad. Create a new ‘one world faith’ if you like, but it shall be your faith and nobody else’s, for you shall not agree totally with anyone else. In reading all of scripture, I do find that the grace given by way of Calvary supersedes the OT law, covers it, and renders it unable to save; That is what Paul expertly defines in his writings – he completes the message of Christ. And yes, certainly, one has to allow context into reading, in order to fully understand, but rejecting whole tracts that we don’t like ignores how we can accept all of scripture, even interpret it in differing ways, yet still hold to the tenets of our faith as it is, not as we think it should be.
I too reject the bad things that Christianity is responsible for, but I do not shy away from allying myself with the faith in Christ that we have. Our final rule of thumb is scripture, and I strive (mainly in this blog) to highlight the parts of these scriptures that others seem to fail to read. We who attempt to do this, and point out to many, like the ‘religious right’ that they cannot just choose some verses and ignore others, cannot then blatantly go ahead and do the same thing by selective reading; such a stance could easily be labelled hypocrisy, and that is not a trait becoming a Christian – Jesus mentions hypocrites all through the synoptic gospels, so you can’t dodge that one!
Grace be with you.