Featured Post

Trinity and Divinity of Jesus

The debate over the Trinity started relatively late in Christian history. It was not until the fourth century that many theologia...

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Jesuism & Pauline Christianity


Jesuism (Jesusism or Jesuanism) is the philosophy or teachings of Jesus of Nazareth and adherence to those teachings. Jesuism is distinct from and sometimes opposed to mainstream Christianity. In particular, the term is often contrasted with the theology attributed to Paul of Tarsus and modern Church dogma. Jesuism is not opposed to the Christian Bible or Church doctrine, but rather it does not affirm their authority over theteachings of Jesus. As a philosophy, Owen Flanagan characterized Jesusism asnaturalistic and rationalist, rejecting the conflict between faith and science. Though not specifically associated with Jesuism, the red letter Bibles are one method of studying the teachings of Jesus.
Pauline Christianity is a term used to refer to the Christianity associated with the beliefs and doctrines espoused by Paul the Apostle through his writingsOrthodoxChristianity relies heavily on these teachings and considers them to be amplifications and explanations of the teachings of Jesus. Others, as detailed below, perceive in Paul's writings, teachings that are different from the original teachings of Jesus documented in the canonical gospels, early Acts and the rest of the New Testament, such as the Epistle of JamesOpponents of the same era include the Ebionites and NazarenesJewish Christianswho rejected Paul for straying from Second Temple JudaismReference is made to the large number of non-canonical texts, some of which have been discovered during the last 100 years, which show the many movements and strands of thought emanating from Jesus' life and teaching or which may be contemporary with them, some of which can be contrasted with Paul's thought.
Christian anarchists, such as Leo Tolstoy and Ammon Hennacy, believe Paul distorted Jesus' teachings. Tolstoy claims Paul was instrumental in the church's "deviation" from Jesus' teaching and practices, whilst Hennacy believed "Paul spoiled the message of Christ." According to Tom O'Golo, the Ebionites believed Paul was a false prophet whose task was not to convert Romans to Christians but Christians to Romans. Irenaeusbishop of Lyon, wrote in the latter half of the 2nd century that the Ebionites rejected Paul as an apostate from the law, using only a version of the Gospel according to St. Matthew, known as the Gospel of the Ebionites.
Tom O'Golo postulates several key elements were added by Paul to Christian theology that weren't evident in Jesuism. These included:
  1. Original sin
  2. Making Jews the villains
  3. Making Jesus divine
  4. Transubstantiation of bread and wine into actual flesh and blood
  5. Jesus' death being seen as atonement for human sin
  6. Making Jesus the Messiah
  7. Shifting the emphasis from an earthly to a heavenly kingdom
  8. Enlarging the chosen people to include anyone who accepted Jesus as Saviour
  9. Making salvation a matter of belief in Jesus almost regardless of the demands of the Torah
  10. Establishing a hierarchy (literally a holy order) to create and control a Church and more importantly to create and control the beliefs of its membership.
Christianity of today is not the old original Christianity. It is not Jesusism, for it is not the religion which Jesus preached. Is it not time to make Christianity the religion which He personally preached and which He personally practiced?"[ Harvard theologian Bouck White, in 1911, also defined "Jesusism" as "the religion which Jesus preached". Lord Ernest Hamilton in 1912 wrote that "Jesuism" was simply to love one another and love God. The philosophy of Jesusism was described in the book The Naked Truth of Jesusism from Oriental Manuscripts, penned by theologian Lyman Fairbanks George in 1914, as follows:
  1. It is to restore Jesus' sayings to their original purity.
  2. It is to eradicate from the Gospels the interpolations of the Middle Ages.
  3. It is to relate the misconceptions revealed by recent archaeological research.
  4. It is to present Jesus from an economic viewpoint.
  5. It is to break through the spell spectral of Cosmic Credulity.
  6. It is to toll the knell of schism through Jesusism.
Society of Jesus


Pope Francis, elected in 2013, has become the first Jesuit Pope. Jesuists, members of the Society of Jesus is a Christian male religious order of the Roman Catholic Church. The members are called Jesuits and are also known colloquially as "God's Marines", these being references to founderIgnatius of Loyola's military background and members' willingness to accept orders anywhere in the world and live in extreme conditions. The society is engaged inevangelization and apostolic ministry in 112 nations on six continents. Jesuits work in education (founding schools, colleges, universities and seminaries), intellectual research, and cultural pursuits. Jesuits also give retreats, minister in hospitals and parishes and promote social justice and ecumenical dialogue. Following conntroversies are debated:

Power-seeking

The Monita Secreta (Secret Instructions of the Jesuits), published in 1612 and in 1614, in Kraków, is alternately alleged to have been written either by Claudio Acquaviva, the fifth general of the society, or written by Jerome Zahorowski. The purported Secret Instructions of the Jesuits are the methods to be adopted by the Jesuits for the acquisition of greater power and influence for the Society and for the Roman Catholic Church. The Catholic Encyclopedia states the book is a forgery, fabricated to ascribe a sinister reputation to Society of Jesus.

Political intrigue

In England, Henry Garnet, one of the leading English Jesuits, was hanged for misprision of treason, because of his knowledge of the Gunpowder Plot (1605). The Plot was the attempted assassination of King James I of England and VI of Scotland, his family, and most of the Protestant aristocracy in a single attack, by exploding the Houses of Parliament. Another Jesuit, Oswald Tesimond, managed to escape arrest for his involvement in the Gunpowder Plot.

Casuistic justification

Jesuits have been accused of using casuistry to obtain justifications for unjustifiable actions. (cf. formulary controversy and Lettres Provinciales, by Blaise Pascal). Hence, the Concise Oxford Dictionary of the English language, records “equivocating” as a secondary denotation of the word “Jesuit”. Contemporary critics of the Society of Jesus include Jack ChickAvro Manhattan,Alberto Rivera, and Malachi Martin, author of The Jesuits: The Society of Jesus and the Betrayal of the Roman Catholic Church(1987).

Anti-Semitism

Although in the first 30 years of the existence of the Society of Jesus there were many Jesuit conversos (Catholic-convert Jews), an anti-converso faction led to the Decree de genere (1593) which proclaimed that either Jewish or Muslim ancestry, no matter how distant, was an insurmountable impediment for admission to the Society of Jesus. The 16th-century Decree de genere remained in exclusive force until the 20th century, when it was repealed in 1946.

Theological rebellion

Within the Roman Catholic Church, there has existed a sometimes tense relationship between Jesuits and the Vatican due to questioning of official Church teaching and papal directives, such as those on abortion, birth controlwomen deacons, homosexuality, and liberation theology. Usually this theological free thinking is academically oriented, being prevalent at the university level. From this standpoint, the function of this debate is less to challenge the magisterium than illustrate the church's ability to compromise in a pluralist society based on shared values which do not always align with religious teachings. The previous two Popes have appointed Jesuits to powerful positions in the Church; John Paul II appointed Roberto Tucci, S.J., to the College of Cardinals, after serving as the chief organizer of papal trips and public events. Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI have appointed 10 Jesuit Cardinals to notable jobs. Benedict XVI appointed Jesuits to notable positions in his curia, such as Archbishop Luis Ladaria Ferrer, S.J. as Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Rev.Federico Lombardi, S.J., Vatican Press Secretary. Pope Francis, elected in 2013, has become the first Jesuit Pope.
References:
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Humanity, Religion, Culture, Ethics, Science, Spirituality & Peace
Peace Forum Network