May 1, 2002
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ATLANTA JOURNAL/CONSTITUTION
The following essay is very timely and unexpectedly so in this time of the Jewish-Muslim, Muslim-Hindu,Catholic-Homosexual conflicts. I think it would fit on your regular opinion page, but could also work well in the faith and values.
Best regards, Philip Rudisill, 215 Piedmont Ave., No. 304, cell 404/219-2366, 404/351-9794. Atlanta, GA 30308
A quiet religious revolution has begun and is taking place even now in the Christian community, one that is thoroughly overshadowed by overt religious strife in the news. It is the revolution of the Gentile Christian.
Most people do not realize that there are actually two quite different sorts of Christians in the world, namely Jewish and Gentile. These are technical terms today, although originally they referred to a racial and cultural divide, which is one of the reasons for present day ignorance about this distinction. The very first Christians were all Jewish. Upon the disappearance of Jesus they organized a church in Jerusalem. They continued to look upon themselves as Jews and to honor the Mosaic Law. While many converts were made among the Gentiles, these were not required to conform to Jewish law, and were instructed merely not to flaunt their liberty in a way that might scandalize unconverted Jews. Most Jews did not become Christian, and when Jerusalem was destroyed in the year 70, the church was racially and culturally gentile and remains so today. And yet at the same time psychologically it is also Jewish and not Gentile, and it is a change in this mentality that will constitute the revolution.
Both Jewish and Gentile Christians (speaking now in terms of mind set) are one in seeking to embody the spirit of Christ, and in expecting the aid of a Holy Spirit in doing so. Conceptually speaking this embodiment is to mean a sincere intention to love non-Christians as much as self, and fellow Christians more than self. The everyday, rule-of-thumb guide for this spirit is the so-called Golden Rule.
The difference between the two Christians arises because the Jewish Christian today understands this embodiment of Christs spirit also to include compliance with one or more scriptural or ecclesiastical laws, e.g., a taboo against homosexual activity, while the Gentile Christian eschews all such laws entirely, and has no guide beyond the Golden Rule.
There is a second reason for Christians to think of themselves as Gentile and not to realized that they are actual Jewish in mentality and attitude. It has to do with the preaching of Paul who was the faiths first apostle to the gentiles. On the one hand Pauls expanded the liberty from law covered not only Jewish law but also civil and criminal law. [The Gentile Christian was to obey the governor only under the presupposition that the aims of the governor were conducive to a peaceful and orderly world, something to be desired by any imitator of Christ.] And yet all the while Paul constantly issued his own rules and regulations for his gentile followers. In reconciling this apparent contradiction Christians have traditionally assumed that Paul meant his liberty sermons to be taken in a theoretical and not a practical way, and it was always understood that God had laws for which he required compliance over and beyond the Golden Rule. This put a Jewish cast on all Christian thinking.
In point of fact the Christians, unprepared for the implications of the doctrine of lawlessness, disregarded Pauls own clarification of his position, namely: while all things are lawful, not all things are expedient, i.e., not all things lead to the healthy manifestation of the heart of Christ. Hence while Paul promulgated regulations they were in the spirit of a mother directing her children until they became mature enough to make intelligent decisions on their own. The debauchery of the Romans had become so rampant that even the emperors Tiberius and Caligula would forsake heterosexual practices in their jaded panic and take up the homosexual, hardly a fit environment for the novice Christians with the heady doctrine of unfettered liberty promoted by Paul. Thus Paul never intended to second guess another, mature Christian thinker and actor or to impinge the supremacy of the Golden Rule.
This positioning of the Golden Rule above all other rules and the promotion of a love of this rule beyond all other loves on the part of the Gentle Christians prompted Immanuel Kant, philosophys great God-Slayer, to observe in his book Religion Within The Bounds Of Sheer Reason that the Christian faith was the only moral faith in the recorded history of the world.
Here is now the revolution: the church will become thoroughly Gentile in its orientation and will not only accept homosexual activity but as a matter of expediency for the sake of an overcrowded world will even promote it. And the fact that it is the worlds only truly moral faith will enable it to appeal decisively to all people who are willing to think rationally.