Is Christian teaching and preaching pointless?

On the Thread entitled Serious Question About Monasticism, Jodi, who I presume to be a Christian in good standing, made the following contradictory points. I would like to open this issue up for debate because I have had similar confusion in the past and do not know the answer.

Jodi pointed out that there are:


which doesn’t matter since:



Or in short: You should spread the word if you feel called to, but no one knows the word; no one is perfect in keeping the commandments, but only one who keeps the commandments is true.

Conclusion: it is pointless to teach the Gospel, and anyone who does is a liar.

You can take it upon yourself to conclude anything you want from anything I post, but I seriously doubt you will find anyone who gives a shit enough to attempt to argue with you. Heck, I posted it, and I’m not willing to bother to defend it. Your obtuseness, whether intentional or not, is so evident than it would be nothing more than a waste of my breath.

Anyone who is interested in what he’s talking about (which frankly I cannot imagine anyone would be) can read the thread in its entireity – not just the parts selectively cut and pasted – and draw their own conclusions. But if you imagine I am going to waste one more moment of my time on you, you are seriously deluded.

Have fun gazing at your navel; I won’t be back.

Alrighty then.

I only intend to lurk here and see what people have to say on this topic.

I hope someone finds this conundrum worthy of discussion. If this appearance of a conundrum is a result of my own obtuseness, I humbly await explanation of what I am missing.

A brain?

Seriously, if you’re so smart, why don’t you figure it out?
I for one will not help you in the slightest. I’ve read your threads, and you exist only to fan flames. Forget it. I’m just here for the snide remark.

Wow. The same people who have all the answers to everything to know that I am wrong about everything, suddenly have no answer for the exact same issue I have no answer for.

This is kind of spooky.

Does anyone who doesn’t make it their personal mission to flame any thread I start out of existence have any sleight hints of possible theories?

I hear on this board many times people expressing contempt for Christians that come and witness (if they must). Often the comments are in the line of, why don’t you try to understand us, before you condemn us. Or at least along those lines.

jmullaney it seems has taken the time to parse though Jodi’s post and cull out those statements that seem to be contradictory. I would assert that is not trying to understand someone’s beliefs, but is trying to discredit their belief.

I don’t know enough of jmullaney’s history to determine if that is ture or not, and although I feel a pull to DNFTT, I will address his assertion…

Christianity is based on redemption. Redemption is someone else paying a debt for you. Specifically, we are all sinners owing a debt, Jesus paid that debt for us, and he has an offer on the table to do the same for everyone else.

Accepting the payment, doesn’t suddenly make us perfect, or all knowing. We are still human, and prone to making mistakes. But I don’t think any of us that get a real good deal, would be remiss for trying to tell others about our good fortune.


When I was a Christian, I shared equally this confusion though. I think what I culled from Jodi’s posts fairly represented a puzzle I would not be allowed here to present myself, as I would simply be dismissed as a Christian basher and my curiousity about that faith held in absolute contempt.

But if someone was a Christian, and is not anymore, or was never a Christian at all, why would that make doing the same thing inherently evil? Wouldn’t those you taught even when and if you are a Christian merely dismiss you as wrong all the time, in your mere humanity, perhaps more so since you would just then be a religious nut in their eyes? So if they are just going to dismiss you no matter what you do, then what is the point? It would be remiss I guess, but it seems like it would be a waste of effort.

Huh?? sorry, I dropped sync… can you rephrase?

When I teach my Sunday School class, I often tell them to not take my word, but read the scriptures for themselves. (2 Tim 3:16; 1 Thess 5:21)

The point is to keep striving, to keep following.

I have found great satisfaction in the effort I have made, I’m sorry our exeperince wasn’t the same.

[Gaudere 32:12 “Yea, and for every “quote” there shalt be an “/quote”, else confusion and darkness shall reign in the minds of men, and there shall be great weeping and gnashing of teeth among those with low-resolution monitors. But if the “quote” and “/quote” abide in matched pairs as the IPU willed that it should ever be, the Moderators shall smile upon you and thine posts will be clear and readable for ever and ever.”]

[Edited by Gaudere on 09-13-2000 at 03:21 PM]

Well that was interesting…

If David or Gaudere want to fix my futzed up code, please do…

Although it is rather pretty…

jmullaney I’m not specifically Christian in my views but I have no wish to “bash” on either side. I just observe an interesting debate getting a little bit heated and thought I’d try to play the diplomat/peacekeeper…

I think some of the confusing (and seemingly contradictory) ideas that you perceive arise from the use of words/phrases like “the Word” and “truth”. These are metaphorical, not literal, expressions and sometimes one has to dig a little to extract their specific meaning – within the given context.

For instance: John the Evangelist is quite poetic in his gospel, and starts off by speaking of Jesus as “the Word”. But this metaphor does not hold for every single occurrence of that phrase throughout the NT.

Another thing to consider is that we are reading the gospels in translation; before we start picking the text apart for meanings and contradictions, we should be sure that we know what meaning was intended by the author in the original text. Which, as any historian will tell you, is not a simple thing to do.

I know this doesn’t answer your original question(s). I think the simplest explanation is that the NT gives an ideal to strive for. As with all ideals, the perfect condition is unattainable, but that doesn’t mean the faithful shouldn’t try. I mean, consider: what if Jesus had said, keep half the Commandments and you’ll do just fine…???

Is it wrong to point the way to Christ if you are not a Christian, and must you be pointing the wrong way?

But that sounds good, but my experience is that that leads to almost a kind of literary/moral relativism. If two people read the same scripture and walk away with opposite conclusions, that’s a dangerous thing – especially if souls are on the line.

Christianity shouldn’t be like Eastern religions – it should not take an entire lifetime (or multiples thereof) of study to understand what scripture says.

If the Holy Spirit is to be our guide, then Jesus himself isn’t particularly helpful. He says if you keep his teachings, you will have the Holy Spirit and it will teach you “all things.” But, you can’t know what his teachings mean to keep them in the first place without the Holy Spirit. Which you can’t get without following his teachings, etc.

Which means, at best, we are all equally screwed because potentially, everyone will conclude that they know what his teachings mean, thus they have the holy spirit, thus they could not possibly be wrong about what his teachings are (myself, if I were to repent, included) and yet actually all be completely wrong.

I guess our own souls should be our first concern, but how do we know what to do? I found it very disconcerting when I was a Christian to be told I was wrong all the time, especially by fellow Christians.

MJH2 – if the ideal is impossible, then keeping the teachings is impossble, then having the spirit is impossible, then knowing right from wrong is impossible, then the ideal is even more impossible than it was in the first place.

MJH2 says:

Its even more difficult when you consider that common idioms , phrases, and words in the English language have changed and have different meanings today even though they made perfect sense to the common man in the 19th century. Can we expect the same from the chicony Greek that the NT was written in or from the OT Aramic?

It is for this reason that I feel we must be very careful as we explore the scriptures to not fall into the trap of taking 1 or 2 verses totally out of context and thus distort the meaning. Although many will not agree, I do not find the bible to be contradictory at all, as some have expressed at times in other threads. If one particular passage seems to purport a major truth, there will be at least 3 or more supporting scriptures elsewhere. If those are not found, IMHO the context is probably being skewed.


I believe every Christian should be a witness as Christ explained in “The Great Commission”, but there are degrees of witnessing. Everyone is not “called” into the ministry. Everyone is not “called” to be a Sunday school teacher. I love the words of St. Francis when he said, "Preach the Gospel everywhere you go, and if necessary, use words. Jesus said that His followers should live their lives like a light that draws people to them, not to beat folks over the head with their bibles to drive in the Word of God and drive out the devil :slight_smile: .

If it were possible for everyone to perfectly understand the scriptures, then there would only be ONE church. There would not be several kinds of Catholic church, Baptist, Luthern, Pentecostals, etc. Paul tells us that on this earth we “see through a glass darkly” meaning we will not get the whole picture. If God were going to expect us to be “perfect”, then He would have provided ALL the answers up front. OK, so why didn’t He? Two reasons I think. First, if we had all the answers, then we would need no faith…and faith is an inherent part of Judeo-Christian heritage. The exercising of our faith is what helps us to grow stronger in following the Lord’s footsteps. Second, we were given the gift of the Holy Spirit to guide and direct our lives and actions. The same quiet little voice that even a non-Christian might call a conscience (msp?). I believe that it’s there in everyone if they take the time and trouble to be quiet themselves and listen. The problem a lot of Christians have is that the Holy Spirit is in fact personal. And a revelation that is timely and appropriate for me does not mean I have the license to insist that circumstance is relevent for someone else! For example, if I am convicted by the Holy Spirit that a certain action or attitude in my life needs to change, that does not give me the right to go someone else and proclaim that he/she is a woeful sinner if they don’t follow my “personal” conviction. It may not be their time. They may be trying to correct some fault of their own and the added burden I place cause them to become discouraged and fall away from faith.

Getting longwinded so will stop and lurk as well :smiley:

** Is Christian teaching and preaching pointless? **

I’m not sure as to the history of those involved in this debate, so I’ll answer ‘no, acquiring knowledge isn’t ever pointless.’ But, it seems like the discussion isn’t actually about your question.

So, I’m not going to get into the Triune God aspect of the Holy Spirit vs Christ when there is no ‘division’ of thought, only of timing in this discussion.

You said you ‘were’ a Christian. Inferring that now you’re not one. It isn’t an easy life is it? Just being called ‘children of God’ sometimes doesn’t take away the ‘childishness’ of people in general. I don’t know if you’ve been hurt by a particular ‘religion’, which is what happens so often, when people get disillusioned with what they’ve been taught, they forget it’s not the messenger they’ve come to love and follow, but that is who they SEE and usually DO look up to * until they fall in some way. *

As ** Navigator ** wisely pointed out, and I’ve taught my sons this, never be so taken with the teacher [even if it’s me!] as to lose sight of the mission YOU have to find out for yourself what the Scriptures have to say. Do they sometimes seem to contradict? Yes, they sometimes do, and I keep searching, using other translations, since that can be the answer to what the problem frequently has been.

And truthfully, teaching and preaching can pale to nothingness if our lives don’t reflect the love and kindness we are all commanded to show. But, as Jodi, already pointed out, we AREN’T perfect, we are all works in progress, some more obviously so, than others! :wink:

Humility, usually is the least mentioned of all attributes, and yet it’s the most attractive one of all.

I like it.

But, as the Catholic Church reinterated last week, there is in fact only one Truth, thus there can only be one church. Whether are not they are it or not isn’t the point – the point is all these diffent belief systems can’t all be correct.

And already I can see we are getting into trouble on the very issue I mean. You read this scripture by Paul to mean one thing – that we will never get the whole picture until we die, and I read it that he is saying, merely, that there is a learning curve. At one point we are children, then as adults we cast off what we learned incorrectly as children – and at one moment we see someone through a window dimly, but a little later see them fully face to face.

And not to but too fine a point on it because in this context it is not that important what this scripture really means and it is only Paul, but none-the-less we’ve read this same text and gotten two completely different meanings from it..

OK, but then if he did not expect us to be perfect, we did he sent his Son here to teach us how to be perfect? Why did his Son command his followers to spread his teachings to anyone they should meet? I know not all those who are touched with the spirit have the same skill set, but I think everyone has some minor degree of competance in carrying out God’s Plan.
I would guess, in addition to what you mentioned we do not have all the answers because of the Fall. God didn’t give us the answers, perhaps because he never thought there would be any questions.

But, by Jesus’s own words, he will not give you the Spirit unless you love him, and you do not love him unless you keep his teachings. But, if you can not know what he teachings are without the Spirit, this is a total catch 22.

But, isn’t that exactly what Jesus himself did?

If it is impossible to be perfect, then Jesus commanded his followers to do something which is impossible. That seems an unlikely and moribund conclusion.


They are right…and yet also wrong IMHO. Jesus is the Truth and the entire body of Christians, of every denomination and creed make up the “Body of Christ”, His bride…THE CHURCH. Regardless of what many will say refering to their own particular tidbit of idealogy as the only way to excape hell is nonsense! Remember John 3:16 - “Whosoever believeth…”? Keep in mind that the greek word that was translated as believe has other meanings: trusts in, clings to, and relies on. I say this because too many say, “yeah the devil believes in Him too, is he saved?”, LOL.

Jmullaney, it is common for two or more to read the scripture and walk away with a different meaning because that only proves the universality of God’s Word. I find it fascinating that I can read a passage that I have read 100 times before thru the years, and suddenly gain a new and meaningful (for me) understanding that I never saw before. That why it’s called God’s Word. It can and should speak new things as one grows and matures in their walk. If deeper understandings can happen within oneself over time, is it not reasonable to expect that different people would see different truths that may only be applicable to themselves.(Aside: even Paul and Peter disagreed to how the Gentiles would/wouldn’t be accepted. If they couldn’t get it straight…sigh…man is indeed human)

Jesus taught many things, but He said the most important were love (God first, then your fellow man) and faith. Obedience IS important, but to base throwing away an entire religion due to one passage being absolutely unobtainable is IMHO somewhat foolish. Remember throughout the bible God has called us His children. Ever wonder why? It’s like this - we tell our kids they must behave and obey our instructions because we know (hopefully) what is best for them. And for the most part children who love and respect their parents are usually fairly well behaved. But they WILL screw up! Just like God who has known man since Adam knows WE will screw up :slight_smile: I believe this passage has exactly the same context…if we love Jesus we will want keep His commandments. But if we had the ability to do that 100% of the time, why would there have been a reason for God to send His Son in the first place? Paul said there was no one perfect but Jesus. Paul wasn’t. Peter wasn’t. None of the apostles were. I certainly am not…but I strive for it. Lots of scripture I could throw in if you are interested. BTW the gift of God’s Spirit was given to Paul, a murderer.

Did you ever really notice how Jesus treated sinners? He was compassionate. The adultress and the sinful woman at the well were treated with the utmost respect. He did shower His wrath and displeasure on the Pharisees and the moneychangers. They were misleading and cheating the people and saying it was all part of God’s will. He was merely protecting His children, just as He has always done.

Final conclusion: IMHO you are taking this one verse (regarding perfection) and attaching some extra heavy baggage on it. I believe you totally lean on it and are ignoring an entire Book thats messsage is one of God’s grace and mercy. What you are in effect saying is that being a Christian is based on YOUR/MY efforts alone in being perfect. Frankly, it places more importance on personal works and thus greatly diminishes God’s gift. I wish you well, my friend.

When you were in school, you had many teachers. Some of them thought that teaching was a matter of giving you many facts, and requiring you to recite the facts to them as a test. You might have learned a few things from them. But you will recall one, or a very few, who used that precious time to show you a world of knowledge beyond what you had seen. And they gave you the tools to find your way into that world. Grades or tests were not the point.

Salvation is not a test, and you don’t have to study for it. You don’t teach other people how to be Christians, you show Christ that you want to live as a Christian. If someone sees it, that will be Christ showing them the way, not you. You play the part of the Saved Soul, not the Great Redeemer. It is a small part, with very few lines, in the great drama of life. Beyond life, it grows greater.

The Bible is the story of people who played that part, and learned to love the Lord. It is also the long tale of the coming of man into the world, and the great promise that man can pass beyond it. But the Bible is not the way to God. It is the story of some others that have journeyed along with us all to seek Him. You will find Him in your heart. And in your heart, He can live in the world again, for other to know. Keep it a place where He might wish to dwell. Fill it with love, then give all that love away.

So, to answer the OP, No, Christian preaching and teaching are not pointless, but the point is to offer comfort and guidance and celebration to those who ** already have faith ** in the Lord. To those who do not believe, we must offer His love. When they have come to know it, and to know Him, they will join in the celebration. Those who have already known Him, and are lost need our love as well. To them we must offer assurance that the Lord has not forsaken them, however sure they might feel that He has, and that we stand with them here, to assure them of it.


I don’t see how that is possible if there is one Truth. These denominations and creeds do not believe the same things or else they would be one church.

But if you believe Him, then obviously you would keep his teachings. But no one can know what they mean.

I admit a text can have more than one meaning, but it can not have opposite meanings.

But even Paul said Christ’s teachings were laid plain. But apparently that is not so.

But, when one is keeping his teachings and, thus loving Jesus, he will give the Holy Spirit. And at that time we would be perfect, except we can never know what his teachings are in the first place without the Spirit it would seem. Yes, you can fall from perfection. That does not mean you can not be perfect at any given time.

Yes, but he did not refrain from telling his followers what they needed to do to be saved, which is true compassion.

Well, it is the Sermon on the Mount.

It is also about God’s Justice. There is a fair shot of good old “hellfire and brimstone” in there, from Jesus’s own mouth.

The first word Jesus uttered to his fellow man after being baptised was “Repent.” If we do not repent, we can not be saved. But, how are we to know what to repent of?

Thanks, but I don’t know if I understand what “works” means really.

But, how do I know how to do that? I have no idea anymore what “live as a Christian” means.

:frowning: But, what must I do to be saved???

If man could find God in his heart he would not have needed to send Jesus to us, and Jesus would not have had to teach us anything. That is a nice sentiment, but a dubious one.

But where are such people? If I can not know what it is Christ taught, how am I to distinguish those who have faith from those who do not, so that I might not be misled?


Originally posted by jmullaney




You have a long path to walk, and have misled yourself very far already. It is not a mystery to solve, nor a secret to learn. The answer is simply to love each soul you meet here on the Earth. If you do not perceive God, then you cannot love Him. But I believe that He will offer His love to you. If I am wrong, than those who do so will have lived lives devoted to love for no reward.

The Bible is a great book, and if you seek to know the Love of God, it can be a powerful guide to your heart. But if you seek for right and wrong answers it will be nothing but another maze for you to wander.

I have no answer for you. For reasons I do not know you will not accept that love by itself is enough. I hope you can find a path in life that will comfort your soul. I have faith that God is in your heart, and does love you. I believe you could find Him, if you chose to look, but I cannot show Him to you. I am sorry.

How to decide who to believe among men? There you must decide who has what you lack, and want. There are some people who try very hard to give love at every chance. They are not so common as people who will tell you how to live, and how to believe. But they do exist. Look for them. Get to know them. Let them love you. Learning to love is very hard, and letting yourself be loved is a very important first step.

But you can be fooled, and hurt, and might well be exploited as a fool. That is a real and considerable risk. You might loose all you have, and get nothing in return. But I have faith that you will be more easily able to find the Lord if you try. I can offer no proof.


Our Heavenly Father loves us, he gives us the right of choosing whatever we want to do, free will, we can choose right from wrong,we are here to be happy, we know we pay for wrong, “here”, He will never ask us to follow something that is bad or harmfull for us or anyother spirit living a Human experience, He sent his son to show us the way, we did´t understand the mssg. so he died trying to show us that we can always take the right pad even if sometimes we don´t understand as long as we love him and love the people around us, every time we take the wrong way or we misled ourselves we have the opportunity of re-routing, He send us under a Human form to have the opportunity to grow and help eachother to grow as spirits that is why there is always good and bad in every human being, yes mercy will be part of the good, revenge of the other side. This might sound silly, but yes God is in our hearts, we know he is there, we know he can listen to each one of us but like in the net, we have to be connected. Talk to him in Jesus Christ name and listen to your heart.