Author Topic: Jesus never mentions anything about professing belief?  (Read 8557 times)

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Offline BigChrisfilm

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Jesus never mentions anything about professing belief?
« on: June 05, 2013, 04:58:28 pm »
This is a continued discuss with R.U. Serious from a different thread. I'd like to try and keep this thread on topic, I understand while debating sometimes we get off track and forget what the original conversation was about. My goal is to avoid this so if I do not respond to something you say, that is why. Feel free to jump in if you'd like.

The first thing I noticed was that R.U. Serious said Jesus "never mentions anything about needing to profess a belief in him"

I'd first like to point out that if we are talking about what Jesus did or didn't say, the only way for us to do so is use verses from the Bible. There is no other record given that I know of for doing this. Therefor I submit some verses that I believe do actually show Jesus saying that profession of belief is important.

John 11:25
Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

John 6:47
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.

John 6:51 and John 6:53
I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.

Matthew 10:32-33
Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

I believe that Jesus did in fact say something about needing to profess a belief in him. What is your opinion after reading those verses?

Offline JohnE

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Re: Jesus never mentions anything about professing belief?
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2013, 05:52:34 pm »
IMO, only the last quote has to do with professing belief to others, and it's saying that you shouldn't lie about your belief, (i.e. denying Jesus to save yourself from persecution) but not necessarily that you need to profess to people who haven't asked.

Jesus also said:

And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and the street corners, that they may be seen by others. I say to you, they have recieved their reward.

But when you pray, go to your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who is in secret will reward you.


Matthew 6:5-6

Seems to me the lesson is to not deny your faith, but neither to make a show of it.

Offline davedan

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Re: Jesus never mentions anything about professing belief?
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2013, 06:04:40 pm »
Seems to me part of the big problem is we have four accepted versions of the same story where he is given to say different things at the same time.

Also his words are recorded when it is clear that no one is there to witness/record them. Fishy.

That's why the Jesus project went through 5 Gospels (extra one being Thomas) and came to a conclusion as to which of the gospel statements of Jesus were:
1. Commonly accepted as Jesus
2. Mostly likely to be Jesus
3. Mostly unlikely to be Jesus
4. Commonly accpeted as not Jesus.

You know which Gospel comes out worse? Unsurprisingly it is John.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2013, 06:11:13 pm by davedan »

Offline Rime

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Re: Jesus never mentions anything about professing belief?
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2013, 06:39:44 pm »
My opinion is that if you have to start by quoting Scripture, you're doing it wrong.  Of course, "good" Christians think that Jesus wants a bunch of lawyers, not a new mentality.
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Offline davedan

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Re: Jesus never mentions anything about professing belief?
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2013, 07:05:31 pm »
Well Jesus was a big fan of the Pharisees and their manipulation of scripture.

Offline JohnE

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Re: Jesus never mentions anything about professing belief?
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2013, 07:08:28 pm »
My opinion is that if you have to start by quoting Scripture, you're doing it wrong.
Except that the question at hand is about what scripture says.

Offline R. U. Sirius

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Re: Jesus never mentions anything about professing belief?
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2013, 07:17:37 pm »
JohnE took the words right out of my metaphorical mouth. (Never knew you could do that thing you did with your tongue, JohnE. ;) )

In any sort of literary or historical analysis, context is key. As JohnE said, only the last verse you quoted actually had anything to do with professing a belief to other people, and it reads more like an instruction not to lie about what you believe, rather than an instruction to make a public statement about it. Jesus telling people not to pray in public is also telling, since "prayer" can be used to describe almost any sort of religious statement.

Even Jesus' instruction to his disciples to "go out and make disciples of all the nations" falls apart as a profession of faith when examined in the light of Matthew 6:5-6. Have you ever heard the quote from St. Francis, "Preach the gospel, and if necessary, use words"?

Additionally, the Gospel of John includes many events that would have been too big for any educated person in the area to miss, events which would have instantly made converts of everyone in the area if they had happened. Just one example is entire cemetaries of the dead rising from their graves and walking into the city when Jesus died. Doesn't appear in any of the other Gospels, or indeed, any other records of that time and place. Do you really think that a Roman colony, with all of the educated men and scholars that came with being under Rome's aegis, would have missed writing something like that down?
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Offline Rime

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Re: Jesus never mentions anything about professing belief?
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2013, 07:22:23 pm »
My opinion is that if you have to start by quoting Scripture, you're doing it wrong.
Except that the question at hand is about what scripture says.

He was asking for opinion, so I gave it.  Whenever I see a slew of Scripture quotes, it just hits me that someone is missing the point about being a follower of Jesus.  Citing the Bible like some sort of law book I feel is one of the worst ways to make use of its wisdom.
And when we're done soul searching,
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Is misery made beautiful
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Offline BigChrisfilm

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Re: Jesus never mentions anything about professing belief?
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2013, 07:31:25 pm »
IMO, only the last quote has to do with professing belief to others, and it's saying that you shouldn't lie about your belief, (i.e. denying Jesus to save yourself from persecution) but not necessarily that you need to profess to people who haven't asked.

Jesus also said:

And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and the street corners, that they may be seen by others. I say to you, they have recieved their reward.

But when you pray, go to your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who is in secret will reward you.


Matthew 6:5-6

Seems to me the lesson is to not deny your faith, but neither to make a show of it.

I agree that verse isn't saying we need to go out and make sure everyone knows we are a Christian. However I'm interested to know your thoughts then on this verse and how to would reconcile between the two.

Matthew 28:19
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

I didn't see R.U. Serious post until after I posted this.

First let me post the verse for anyone that isn't familiar with it.

Matthew 6:5-6
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

I highlighted the part I want you to focus on. This verse is not about whether we should keep our faith a secret. It's about motives. The hypocrites pray in synagogues to be seen by men. In other words they are glory hogs, or they are doing it saying, "Look at me! Look how holy I am!" This is of course the wrong motive, and Jesus is saying they already have their reward. The admiration of man, which in comparison to the admiration of God is pointless. In that light, I don't think it really has the same effect you want it to because it's not saying we shouldn't be open with our faith. It's saying we shouldn't flaunt it to be praised by men. Some people though actually can be guilty of this. Some street preachers could be subjected to it. It's all about motive. As with everything in Christianity it's a fine line between doing the will of God and doing the will of man. As sinful people, sometimes we take the things that are Godly and try to put ourselves in it for the ultimate goal of giving ourselves praise and glory instead of God. Ultimately, that's what's being said here.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2013, 07:45:33 pm by BigChrisfilm »

Offline JohnE

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Re: Jesus never mentions anything about professing belief?
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2013, 07:58:33 pm »
I agree with you analysis of the passage. I think maybe the disagreement comes from a slightly different interpretation of the word "profess." If you take the phrase "professing belief" to mean being honest about your belief and not denying it, then I would say that the bible definitely supports Jesus saying you should do that. But if you take it to mean going out of your way to announce it to everone, the case is much weaker.

Offline BigChrisfilm

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Re: Jesus never mentions anything about professing belief?
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2013, 08:17:53 pm »
I agree with you analysis of the passage. I think maybe the disagreement comes from a slightly different interpretation of the word "profess." If you take the phrase "professing belief" to mean being honest about your belief and not denying it, then I would say that the bible definitely supports Jesus saying you should do that. But if you take it to mean going out of your way to announce it to everone, the case is much weaker.

I think I'd agree with you to an extent. I just don't know exactly what you mean. I would say first that while it doesn't say we should go around telling everyone we're a Christian, it doesn't say we shouldn't. That being said, I think that just going around telling everyone I'm a Christian could mean I'm just doing it to be seen by man. However it could also not be that. It's just all about motive to me.

Also, I would say even though I agree with you there is no reason to walk around telling everyone I know and don't I'm a Christian (and that it could actually even be sinful to do so), there is a commission to make disciples of all nations. So I do think it's ok to talk to people about your faith, even in open air preaching and witnessing.

I also agree the issue might be we (R.U. Serious and I) have different definitions of profession.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2013, 08:20:32 pm by BigChrisfilm »

Offline R. U. Sirius

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Re: Jesus never mentions anything about professing belief?
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2013, 08:21:58 pm »
I agree with you analysis of the passage. I think maybe the disagreement comes from a slightly different interpretation of the word "profess." If you take the phrase "professing belief" to mean being honest about your belief and not denying it, then I would say that the bible definitely supports Jesus saying you should do that. But if you take it to mean going out of your way to announce it to everone, the case is much weaker.

I think I'd agree with you to an extent. I just don't know exactly what you mean. I would say first that while it doesn't say we should go around telling everyone we're a Christian, it doesn't say we shouldn't. That being said, I think that just going around telling everyone I'm a Christian could mean I'm just doing it to be seen by man. However it could also not be that. It's just all about motive to me.

Also, I wouldn't say that since I agree with you there is no reason to walk around telling everyone I know and don't I'm a Christian (and that it could actually even be sinful to do so), there is a commission to make disciples of all nations. So I do think it's ok to talk to people about your faith, even in open air preaching and witnessing.

I also agree the issue might be we (R.U. Serious and I) have different definitions of profession.

But isn't approaching someone for the purpose of converting them going out of your way to tell people about your faith? I can understand if someone asks about your beliefs or why you act a certain way, but in the past you've come to this board specifically to evangelize, even to the point where it got obnoxious.
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Offline BigChrisfilm

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Re: Jesus never mentions anything about professing belief?
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2013, 08:37:43 pm »
I agree with you analysis of the passage. I think maybe the disagreement comes from a slightly different interpretation of the word "profess." If you take the phrase "professing belief" to mean being honest about your belief and not denying it, then I would say that the bible definitely supports Jesus saying you should do that. But if you take it to mean going out of your way to announce it to everone, the case is much weaker.

I think I'd agree with you to an extent. I just don't know exactly what you mean. I would say first that while it doesn't say we should go around telling everyone we're a Christian, it doesn't say we shouldn't. That being said, I think that just going around telling everyone I'm a Christian could mean I'm just doing it to be seen by man. However it could also not be that. It's just all about motive to me.

Also, I wouldn't say that since I agree with you there is no reason to walk around telling everyone I know and don't I'm a Christian (and that it could actually even be sinful to do so), there is a commission to make disciples of all nations. So I do think it's ok to talk to people about your faith, even in open air preaching and witnessing.

I also agree the issue might be we (R.U. Serious and I) have different definitions of profession.

But isn't approaching someone for the purpose of converting them going out of your way to tell people about your faith? I can understand if someone asks about your beliefs or why you act a certain way, but in the past you've come to this board specifically to evangelize, even to the point where it got obnoxious.

If you mean can it be sin? Certainly. It's all about motive. If someone truly believes everything that we believe, it'd be almost cruelty to not tell you about it. That's the way I look at it. I however can fall to the sin of pride just as others can. I think the easiest way of doing that is thinking that we can convert people. I don't try and convert, at least not anymore. I will tell you want I believe and what the Bible says. However I'm not going to try and beat you into the faith. Some people do, and some people sin doing it. I think the best thing to remember is we are all imperfect, and sometimes the best intentions can bring about the worst in us. I guess my point is Jesus did say we were to make disciples of all Nation. It's an interesting topic of discussion on how we're supposed to do it, but we (Christians) all have to concede that Jesus said to do it.

Offline R. U. Sirius

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Re: Jesus never mentions anything about professing belief?
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2013, 09:26:02 pm »
I refer again to St. Francis: "Preach the gospel, and when necessary, use words."
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Offline davedan

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Re: Jesus never mentions anything about professing belief?
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2013, 09:41:22 pm »
Actually I thought your example of the Samaritan is more apposite. After all Jesus praised the Samaritan and did not suggest that the Samaritan did not need to convert to Judaism to be good.

Edit: Sorry should make more sense now.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2013, 09:46:11 pm by davedan »