A Road Less Traveled

“Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”

                                                               From the poem “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost

An Unknown Prophet Showed Up

A lot of unforgettable events took place at the All Stars Reunion but none left a greater impression than the unscheduled remarks of an unnamed believer from only God knows where. All we know is that he appeared unbidden and uninvited and was without ecclesiastical rank or theological education. Truth be told, no one had ever heard of him and he was not mentioned in the program or even included on the list of invited guests. He simply insisted that God had invited him to the reunion and he would not be denied.

Mene! Mene! Tekel! Upharsin!

The setting was a planned debate but what actually happened was far different! Far different indeed! Just as the program was getting underway a voice was heard ringing out from the rear of the auditorium. “Mene! Mene! Tekel! Upharsin!” This offended just about everyone and caused no small amount of indignation.  That strange utterance meant “You are weighed in the balance and found wanting! Your kingdom is taken from you!”

The Writing Was on the Wall

Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson Belshazzar was an unworthy heir to the throne and the finger of God had miraculously written those very words on a wall to let him know his time was just about up (Daniel 5:25-28) The church fathers knew what this phrase meant and they knew it was directed right at them!

The church fathers wanted to have the intruder arrested but the “Roman Guards” were enjoying the show so much that they wouldn’t cooperate. The audience held its collective breath while he walked right up to the dais and stood at the podium without even asking for permission! It was all so unexpected that no one had time to stop him. A hush fell over the room when he began to speak and though he didn’t talk long his words lingered in the air long after he left. Here is what he had to say:

Where is the Key of Knowledge?

Hear me out! Today you are faced with a choice about what path you will walk. I came here on an ancient highway prepared for souls who long to see the face of God. God Himself invited me here and this is what He told me to say. You claim to understand the deep mysteries of God but you have only erected towers of dogma that darken counsel by words without knowledge. You have taken away the key of knowledge! You do not enter into the Kingdom yourselves and you hinder those who seek the entrance.

The Keys to the Kingdom of God

Here is the key that you have obscured. Here is the key that was given to the Apostle Peter because he had rightly seen that Jesus is the Christ, Messiah, and Son of the living God! This is the key! It is the only key! The truth that unlocks the kingdom of God is the knowledge that Jesus is the Messiah and Son of God! He is not more than this and He is not less.

God Knows How to Express Himself!

You are not free to add anything or take anything away! If you add to it God will add terrible plagues to you. If you take anything away God will take your name out of the Book of Life (Revelation 22). You are not to go to the right or go to the left (Joshua 1:7). You must not fall short of or go beyond these words. Do not pretend that God does not know how to express Himself exactly as He chooses!

This is Eternal Life!

Jesus said, “This is eternal life, that they may know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3) It is enough to know Jesus Christ the Messiah and His Father the God of Israel! There is but one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.  He declared, “No one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son and he to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” (Matthew 11:27) Jesus said nothing about the threeness of God, not a single word! Ever.

You Say God is Three. Jesus Says God is One.

You have parsed your words and created new ones as it suited you! You have constructed your creeds but deny the simple unbending creed of Jesus Himself. Here is the creed of Jesus and the creed of His church! “Hear Oh Israel, The LORD our God is one Lord!”. This is the first and greatest commandment! This is the teaching of Jesus! The Father is God and Jesus is His only begotten Son. God is not Triune… He is One! Jesus is not the Second Person in a Trinitarian Godhead, He is the only begotten Son of the One True God. You insist that God is Three and Jesus insists that God is One. Who then shall we believe?

God Will Tear Down Your Dogmas and Traditions!

Many believers have accepted your pronouncements but Jesus does not. You have constructed your grand temple of religious dogma and tradition but God will surely tear it down! Your theological creations are not strong enough to bear the weight of His glory! It is time to abandon your own words in favor of His! You will not find favor among men but you will find favor with God.  It will not be easy but you will find companions along the way and in the words of one modern poet, someday you will discover that “It has made all the difference.”

The Broad Highway of Religious Tradition

No nation ever risked crossing a barren desert until God called His chosen ones to do just that! No people ever walked through the sea until God called Israel to a distant shore. No disciple ever dared set foot on the waves until Jesus beckoned Peter to join Him ON the waters! It is a narrow way that Christ calls you to walk. You were not destined to travel the broad highways of religious tradition.  There is another way that proclaims just One God and His only Son the Messiah! Many have gone before you. They are little known among men but well known to God. Today He calls you to set your feet on a path that is less traveled than the one you have known.

At Least Now You Have Heard

And then… in all the uproar that followed he quietly slipped out a side door and was not seen again. That’s just how it is with those who are born of the Spirit. They are like the wind that blows where it wills. We hear the sound of it but don’t know where it comes from or where it goes. Some will listen and take heed. Others will ignore what they hear. But at least now you have heard.

PS: Someone once wrote that the voice of prophecy is not a polite tap on the shoulder. It is a howling reproach. That’s probably why it has always been so unpopular.

Copyright 2021 by Bob Shutes

Background

It Was Time For a Theologians Reunion!

It was very late in the day (but before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ) when it suddenly dawned on us that the time had finally come for a reunion! We hoped the great theologians of the church might all get together in one place and explain things to the rest of us in ways normal human beings could understand.  Theologians just love to explain themselves so we had no trouble at all getting them to show up for our grand event. God even gave all of them permission to attend! Our hearts were filled with anticipation and excitement because we knew that at long last all the confusion about eternal truths would finally be laid to rest. What follows is the unabridged and unbiased account of pretty much everything that went on from beginning to end.

The “Church Fathers” Wanted Us Think Right

The ancient philosopher theologians we call “The Church Fathers” were a brilliant bunch! In their wisdom, they tried to lead us down a path of right thinking. But… is it possible that instead they ended up unleashing violence and hatred between brethren on a scale never before seen?  Our fond hope is that this reunion transcript will help us see things more clearly. Someday when Jesus returns He will reveal what He thinks about our religious traditions. In the meantime we’ll just have to do our best to figure it out all by ourselves.

Romans Thought Christians Were Enemies of the State

The early disciples of Jesus traveled all over the place establishing small pockets of believers around the Mediterranean and Europe. Eventually there were enough Christians to seriously annoy the Romans for lots of reasons that seemed pretty important at the time. They were known as enemies of the state who ought to be killed or at least tortured until they came to their senses. Persecution didn’t work very well though and Christianity flourished in spite of it.

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em!

Early in the fourth century a pagan emperor named Constantine ruled that Christians weren’t so bad after all and that it wasn’t necessary to kill them anymore!  It was a classic “if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em!” strategy. Until then Christianity had flowered secretly into a host of different varieties that co-existed in relative peace.  As soon as churches were free to worship openly trouble started. Who believed the right way and who was wrong? Who was a true Christian and who was not? Disputes between Christians became so intense that Constantine saw these religious divisions as a threat to the Roman Empire. The emperor just wanted an end to all the fighting.

Constantine Held a Church Council in Nicea

In 325 AD Emperor Constantine invited 3000 church officials  to a council at his summer palace in Nicea. (about 300 actually showed up) The idea was that they would talk things over and iron out their differences.  Then they would vote on a short statement of faith (a creed) that would become binding on all believers. Surely this would end all the conflict! What could be easier and more sensible than that? What could possibly go wrong? It turned out that a lot went wrong in a hurry!

The Nicene Creed Caused a Lot of Violence

The Nicene Creed they voted on enshrined Trinitarian dogma as the official dogma of Christianity. It also unleashed so much violence between believers that even pagans were scandalized by how much the Christians hated each other. To this day most Christians still solemnly recite the Nicene Creed every Sunday…. even if no one really understands exactly what it means. With these things in mind we could see that the only way out of this mess was to host the Theology All Stars Reunion! So that is what we have done.

Anyone Who Disagrees With Us Must be a Heretic

Heartfelt apologies are hereby offered to the disciples of any particular philosopher or theologian who may be offended by our humble reporting. Nevertheless we must press on and share this honest and accurate account of their lofty words and heroic deeds with you. Be assured there is no fake news here at all. No indeed! This officially authorized transcript is guaranteed, certified and warranted to be absolutely 100% accurate and unbiased. For this reason anyone who disputes this account is hereby declared a heretic, expelled from fellowship with those of us who have the right opinions, and banned from doing anything we consider worthwhile on behalf of or in relationship to anything that has anything to do with ANYTHING related to God. On the other hand, may God richly bless all those who agree with us.

AMEN

Let us begin…

Copyright 2021 by Bob Shutes