Part A. Why we at CtH seem so different
By Thomas Chavez
Over the course of twenty centuries, Christian teaching, for the most part, no matter which specific church or denomination you talk about, has sought to maintain a consistent image. Wanting 5to present a picture of unchanging truth. This is powerfully illustrated by the fact that in the 1860s the Pope, head of the Roman Catholic Church issued a declaration that Catholic doctrine has never changed and can never change, despite the simple fact that a close reading of history shows that Catholic doctrine has time and again tied itself into knots to go along with changes in emphasis, and function necessary for the church to answer issue after issue, with shifts in understanding in what the then-current power structure in the Vatican saw as most important, either spiritually or politically. What is more, that same Pope created a new doctrine that whatever a Pope said while speaking “ex-cathedra,” meaning in his official capacity, is always flat out infallible.
At Christ the Healer UCC we take a diametrically opposite tack. We have done everything that we could to unbury the original vision of Christ as shown in the words and actions of Jesus, and then have sought to understand that intention in the most attentive, detailed, and functional ways, so that we can do what Christ asked, and follow his way says Thomas Chavez.
That is where the difference starts. By realizing that we are directly asked to follow, we are never asked by Jesus himself to worship him. Jesus in fact related to, as his substitute for worship, his people’s image of the one and only God, whom he named, “Daddy.” So the first doctrinal shift was right there, the morphing of the religion “Of Jesus,” into the religion “About Jesus.
This bend in the path was more or less accidentally worn deep when the Apostle Paul, in his efforts to sell Jesus’s program to non-Jews, spent so much ink in his letters explaining why Jesus was so important. Furthermore, The Theology of Apostle Paul is divided into three, depending upon which Pauline letters a person might read. There was an original Paul totally dedicated to the image of a radically giving God revealed by Christ through Jesus. He said that in Christ there was no Greek nor Jew, meaning that there was no difference between tribes, nations, or races. No Male or female, no difference between the genders. No slave or free, meaning no difference between social classes. Contrast this with a reactionary Paul greatly concerned with the order within congregations, eager to make women shut up in church, submit to their husbands, have enslaved people meekly obey their masters, and so on. These letters when looked at carefully use language that the original Paul never used, and expressed views that the original Paul never hinted at. For long years these were called “Attributed,” now scholars are simply calling them forgeries. Then there is a third Paul, who seems from a doctrinal point of view to be suspended between the two. But when these letters are examined it turns out that when the few paragraphs of contrary material is removed, the rest of each letter flows along without a hitch. Showing that the regressive material was inserted into original texts. That is three changes right there. Then, the Early Desert Fathers had a theological take somewhat different from the Theology of Paul. Saint Augustine in the sixth century issued Theological opinions that became church doctrine that was an “An Advance,” on those views, then the late Middle Ages “Scholastics,” especially Thomas Aquinas, argued with, “Advanced and corrected” those doctrines, and Theology has evolved generation by generation ever since. Including the Protestant reformation and the subsequent splitting up of Protestants into hundreds of strands of Christian thought. All claiming to be the one, unchanging central understanding of the Gospels.
By sticking with, and clarifying what we see as the original purpose of the Christian movement, we at CtH feel that we have recovered the deep, founding momentum of what Christ as Jesus had in mind, and was determined first to work miracles to attract attention to; second, to give his life for, and third, becomes himself a jaw-dropping miracle of resurrection to hammer home. Because we have this incredibly powerful perspective, we are eager to invite anyone who is intrigued by the prospect of both personal and planetary transformation to check out what we teach, and climb on board. We welcome you with loving arms.
Like this article? Read our companion article Part B. Why we at CtH seem so different – The Denominations