If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. (Jesus)
Seek first God’s Kingdom and his righteousness (Jesus)
Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Jesus)
If you remain in my word, then you are truly my disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. (Jesus)
No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other (Jesus)
The words that I speak to you are spirit, and are life (Jesus)
This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him. (God)
I thank you, O Father, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding, and revealed them to little children. (Jesus)

Christ Without Christianity

Anointed to Perform a Task

The title given to the son of God was “Christ” which means “anointed” (“Messiah” is the Hebrew language equivalent of “Christ”). The Son of God was anointed to perform a specific task:

“For this reason I have been born, and for this reason I have come into the world, that I should testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” (Joh 18:37)
“The word which you hear isn’t mine, but the Father’s who sent me.” (Joh 14:24)

Christ came to earth to testify to the truth as he knew and experienced it in the Father’s presence. When he completed his task he returned to the Father to sit at His right hand.

Was Christianity Part of Christ’s Task?

Christianity is a system which claims to be ordained by God and initiated by His Son. If this were true, one would expect the following:

1. Christ would have told us that he was initiating a system. He said no such thing.

2. Christ would have given details about this coming Christian system. Again, he said nothing about this, no details were given.

3. Christ would have begun modeling what this system should look like by appointing people to organizational positions.
– The only “position” that Jesus appointed was that of “apostle”, which means a person who is “sent out”. There is no authority implied in this title.

4. Christ would have told his followers to lead, develop and grow this coming Christian system. Once more, he said nothing about this.

The fact is that Jesus taught none of the things that could be construed as setting up a system with structure and hierarchy.

Jesus’ Teachings Against a Christian System

Jesus’ teachings actually preclude the implementation of a Christian system.

Classes and Titles

The Christian system is a hierarchical system in which there are various levels of leadership. It establishes “clergy” and “laity” classes.  Jesus established no such distinctions. In fact, Jesus’ taught his disciples that they were not to emulate the worldly system, that they were to be servants, not leaders.

But Jesus summoned them, and said, “You know that the rulers of the nations lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you, but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. Whoever desires to be first among you shall be your bondservant, even as the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mat 20:25-28)

Jesus gave the twelve an object lesson that they would never forget.
Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he came from God, and was going to God, arose from supper, and laid aside his outer garments. He took a towel, and wrapped a towel around his waist. Then he poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

So when he had washed their feet, put his outer garment back on, and sat down again, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me, ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord.’ You say so correctly, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.” (Joh 13:3-5, 12-15)

Contrary to what some will say, Jesus was not establishing a new “ritual” (foot washing). It was an object lesson.

In setting this example, Jesus was clearly teaching that there was to be no hierarchy, no “lording it over”, no “authority”. In other words, there was to be nothing like what the Christian system is all about.

Jesus himself did not assume any title in a newly formed organization. He did not refer to himself as the head of the church. Nor he did tell his disciples to take on any position of authority. He did not set up clergy positions. Given these facts, why would we conclude that the current Christian system is what he had in mind?

Another way in which Jesus enforced this is demonstrated after his resurrection. Jesus told Peter that if Peter loved him he would feed Jesus’ sheep (John 21:17). Notice that the sheep belong to Jesus. Peter is not told to be a shepherd, for there is only one shepherd and one flock (John 10:16).

The Christian system is built on the concept of hierarchies, including shepherds (pastors) leading flocks. This is a direct conflict with Jesus’ clear teachings. In addition to stating there was only one shepherd (John 10:16), Jesus said:
“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi’, for one is your teacher, the Christ, and all of you are brothers. Call no man on the earth your father, for one is your Father, he who is in heaven.Neither be called masters, for one is your master, the Christ.But he who is greatest among you will be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matt. 23:8-12)

Authority

Jesus said all authority had been given to him.

Jesus came to them and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go,and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I commanded you. Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

Jesus never delegated authority to anyone else. In fact, what he did with his authority was to command the apostles to make disciples and teach them to observe what Jesus taught (not what the apostles taught).

Essential to the Christian system is the concept of the authority of the leaders. The subclass (called lay people) are to submit to the authority of the leaders. This directly violates Jesus’ teachings. Regardless of how much the “clergy” tries to tell you they are being “servants by leading”, that is simply not what Jesus taught. The fact that they claim a title and authority to tell others what to do is proof enough that they are not adhering to what Jesus taught.

Can one follow Christ without being a Christian?

Absolutely! In fact, Jesus’ teaching demands it.

Placing ourselves under the authority of a human directly goes against what Jesus taught. All authority is his alone!

If you are resistant to the idea of leaving Christianity in order to follow Christ, consider what Jesus said:
“How narrow is the gate, and restricted is the way that leads to life! Few are those who find it.” (Matthew 7:14)
Don’t expect to be in the majority while following Jesus. In fact, you should expect to be in the company of the “few”.

Who are You Going To Listen To?

So, are you going to listen to Jesus or to Christianity?

PLEASE, do not run to other “spiritual” people to get their answers. Jesus’ teachings are clear and simple. You don’t need the “wisdom” of humans. Jesus said:
“I thank you, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for so it was well-pleasing in your sight. (Luke 10:21)

Listen to Jesus:
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give eternal life to them.” (John 10:27-28)

For Further Reading

If you want to dive deeper into this and related topics, please go here.

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