It's a great question: WOULD Jesus ever become a Christian? In this review titled: David R. Lee's Newly Released "Would Jesus Ever Become a Christian?: Answering the Soul's Life Question" is a Much-Needed Review of the True Person of Jesus Christ in PRNewswire we see one man's opinion about Jesus.
Urantia Book students would probably have more insight into this question than most Christians, who view Jesus Biblically and who view the Chrsitian church as having been established by Jesus - at least the Catholics believe this about their church. We'll blog about this and add some of our own experience and Urantia Book teachings, but first: a few snips from the article/review:
"The true Jesus is in Himself incomprehensible. Jesus asserted Himself to be beyond human comprehension in terms of His relation to His Father. He is quoted in the New Testament as saying, 'I proceeded forth and have come from God . . . I do know God and keep His word' (John 8:42, 55). The book proceeds to show how the real Jesus can be known personally and life be fully transformed."
"Published by Christian Faith Publishing, David R. Lee's new book is a provocative analysis that gives voice to the profound need for clarity, accuracy, and truth when presenting the Savior to mankind and a world that has grown jaded and dismissive of the falsified version appropriated to popular culture."
Click to read the article/review
Not having read this book, and not having much more than this review to work from, it will not be possible to completely discuss whether the author is in agreement or disagreement with what follows. But there is a short YouTube video clip in the article that readers may find worthwhile. Click the link above to find and view it from the article. The author has a lifetime of experience getting to know Jesus, and I am sure his perspective is a valuable one.
Urantia Book reader/students have a unique view of Jesus and his teachings. The Urantia Book presents a revelation of Jesus life and teachings that is unparalleled anywhere else on the planet, and when one explores it, it is easy to see how differently the Christian churches of today view the Master, and how unfortunate it is that there are such discrepancies between Christian theology and the simple teachings of Jesus.
In this blog, I am including many links to those teachings in The Urantia Book (including this intro to the book), and I invite the reader to click on them and experience the refreshing accounts of Jesus' life as they really happened. Preserved by spiritual eyewitnesses for centuries, this bold "re-statement" of the Master life and teachings is now being presented anew to a world hungry for its lifesaving message.
On the face of it, it is hard for me to imagine that Jesus would become a Christian, but in this blog, I'm going to try and think it through because I also think that Jesus may love many aspects of church life.
In The Urantia Book - and even in the Bible - we see Jesus rebelling against the organized religion of his own day, the Jewish religion of his father Joseph's people. He wanted to seed his teachings within that religion and within that people; he wanted to become the Deliverer for them and help them to create a new understanding of God through his bestowal and help them foster it into the world.
Time after time, in synagogue after synagogue, Jesus endeavored to introduce his concepts of the Kingdom to the congregants; he used carefully selected Scripture to ease the transition; he used parables to make the teachings plain. But in the end, even though many Jews did believe, the rulers of the church would not have it and they killed him for his trouble.
After Jesus' death, a church sprang up - not around his original teachings about the Kingdom of Heaven or the Gospel of the Fatherhood of God - but around the fact of his death and resurrection. The Urantia Book tells us how this happened in this section called "The Beginnings of the Christian Church," wherein we read:
194:4.4 What has happened to these men whom Jesus had ordained to go forth preaching the gospel of the kingdom, the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man? They have a new gospel; they are on fire with a new experience; they are filled with a new spiritual energy. Their message has suddenly shifted to the proclamation of the risen Christ: "Jesus of Nazareth, a man God approved by mighty works and wonders; him, being delivered up by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, you did crucify and slay. The things which God foreshadowed by the mouth of all the prophets, he thus fulfilled. This Jesus did God raise up. God has made him both Lord and Christ. Being, by the right hand of God, exalted and having received from the Father the promise of the spirit, he has poured forth this which you see and hear. Repent, that your sins may be blotted out; that the Father may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you, even Jesus, whom the heaven must receive until the times of the restoration of all things."
194:4.6 Christ was about to become the creed of the rapidly forming church. Jesus lives; he died for men; he gave the spirit; he is coming again. Jesus filled all their thoughts and determined all their new concepts of God and everything else. They were too much enthused over the new doctrine that "God is the Father of the Lord Jesus" to be concerned with the old message that "God is the loving Father of all men," even of every single individual.
Nevertheless, we also learn:
195:10.9 Many earnest persons who would gladly yield loyalty to the Christ of the gospel find it very difficult enthusiastically to support a church which exhibits so little of the spirit of his life and teachings, and which they have been erroneously taught he founded. Jesus did not found the so-called Christian church, but he has, in every manner consistent with his nature, fostered it as the best existent exponent of his lifework on earth.
So, doesn't it make sense to believe that Jesus might want to belong to the Christian church?
What kind of Christian would Jesus be?
Problem is, which Christian church would Jesus choose? There are too many sects of Christianity to name - from the Catholic Church, which claims to be the "one, true church," to Protestantism, Lutheranism, The Baptists, the Mormons....there are innumerable other sects, all claiming Jesus, all preaching the Christian gospel.
And what about that gospel?
From The Urantia Book:
194:4.5 The gospel of the kingdom, the message of Jesus, had been suddenly changed into the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. They now proclaimed the facts of his life, death, and resurrection and preached the hope of his speedy return to this world to finish the work he began.
How different this gospel ABOUT Jesus is from the simple, unadulterated gospel OF Jesus - the gospel of the Kingdom that he taught; the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man; the supernal truth that faith is the simple price for salvation; the experiential religion of the Spirit that Jesus himself taught and practiced.
The Jewish religion had 613 rules that had to be followed. Some modern-day Christian churches are still full of rules that the believer must adhere to - rituals that must be submitted to. The Catholic Church in particular has made the simple beauty of the Remembrance Supper that Jesus inaugurated into an iron-clad ritual of hand movements, special words, bell-ringing, and blessing that has not changed for centuries; its adherents believe that without this ritual, Jesus would not be present in the Communion wafers ... that only ordained priests may perform this ritual - only in a church - and that the communicant who receives the wafer must be purified through confession and fasting. In fact, the entire premise of the Church is based on this one ritual - the Mass. I can't imagine what the Catholic Church would be without the ritual Mass.
The Urantia Book makes comment on this unfortunate development:
179:5.5 Notwithstanding the Master's effort thus to establish this new sacrament of the remembrance, those who followed after him in the intervening centuries saw to it that his express desire was effectively thwarted in that his simple spiritual symbolism of that last night in the flesh has been reduced to precise interpretations and subjected to the almost mathematical precision of a set formula. Of all Jesus' teachings none have become more tradition-standardized.
How different from the beautiful and simple promise of the Master's remembrance supper with his apostles in the upper room of the Mark home- the promise that anyone, anywhere, can enjoy this simple remembrance and the Master is really there. It can be done with any food, any drink, any participants who want to be there. I wonder if the Catholic Church will ever relax these rules so that more truthseekers, more followers of Jesus might feel welcomed there, without having to jump through doctrinal hoops.
Perhaps if they did, Jesus might even feel comfortable there...
What today's churches teach - would Jesus approve?
Would Jesus be comfortable sitting in a congregation of believers hearing the preacher talk about how he died as a sacrifice to pay for the sins of mankind? Would he enjoy hearing his loving heavenly Father that he took such pains to reveal to us being portrayed as a jealous, wrathful God that must be feared? Would he enjoy hearing that God has prepared a place of eternal torment for those who dare to step out of line according to church teachings?
Would Jesus be pleased at the numerous errors that have been perpetrated upon his followers regarding his simple teachings of the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of the children of God? Would he wonder why his simple religion of spiritual experience had been replaced by a complicated religion ABOUT him? Would he wonder why people worship the object of his dead body on the cross, rather than his resurrected glory and the associated promise of eternal life for all God's children?
Would Jesus be inspired to request an opportunity to speak before a Christian congregation? Would he be allowed to do so? What would the preacher say if he once again explained his vision of the Kingdom of Heaven? What would the priest say? The bishop?
Better question: Would the churches accept Jesus?
I know that there are many churches - Catholic, and others - that do thrive; churches that have large, faithful congregations, schools, communities of believers who love one another, who serve their fellows. There are many churches with whom Jesus would surely harmonize in their outward manifestations of community; many within whose walls he would feel comfortable. But when really pressed, would these churches accept HIM and his uncomplicated, inclusive message?
As with the Hebrew religion during the times of Jesus' bestowal, our modern-day forms of Christianity present a confusing, exclusive, and many times an iron-fisted approach to Jesus and his supposed teachings, most of it springing from the New Testament Bible scripture that was not even in existence until several centuries after Jesus' resurrection.
In Jesus' day, the Scriptures were thought to be inerrant; still today, the Bible is thought to be inerrant. And much confusion ensues from this adherence to Bible scripture that is inconsistent with the simple gospel of the Kingdom and the comforting portrayal of the God of Love that Jesus lived ansd taught. One wonders if Jesus' explanation regarding the inerrancy of Bible scripture would shock 21st century believers as it did Nathaniel? I suspect so...
In the end, it is hard for me to imagine that Jesus would ever officially sign up for any Christian church. What do you think? I suspect he would be approving of congregations, however...congregations that do love one another, that do serve one another, and that do favor his teachings of the love of God and tolerance for all. I suspect that he might go to church-sponsored soup kitchens and homeless ministries where the needy and downtrodden are willing to accept him as he is, just as he accepts them as they are.
And I imagine that it may be within the context of these thriving communities of believers that he might make his entrance into so-called Christian life - not as a member, but as leaven, as he was for the Jewish religion of his time.
Whether he would be received, one can only guess...