We have been sold a fiction that faith in Jesus has to be preceded by faith in the institutional church and faith in the Bible, or more accurately the church’s interpretation of that book. Minus the book and its sanctioned interpreters, humanity is doomed as far as God is concerned under this religious ideology. All of humanity lives and breathes under thumb of those who dispense salvation knowledge as they see fit.
Lost in this traditional but nonsensical mindset is the evident fact that a faith in Jesus which must be preceded by a faith in human agents and their divine text is not faith in Jesus at all. Jesus under this paradigm becomes a third stringer behind the preacher and the holy book. Believe the preacher and the Bible and then you can possibly believe in Jesus. The whole idea of the church’s mandate to evangelize is predicated on the assumption that mankind, on its own, cannot have faith in Jesus.
That assumption is then related to another one- that faith in Jesus, whatever that means, requires a knowledge of a limited set historical facts and the relationship of those historical facts to mankind’s purpose and ultimate destiny. A correct understanding of religious history is thus a precursor to the benefits associated with faith in Jesus.
This entire religious scheme destroys the very idea that faith in Jesus was designed as a universal benefit, directed to everyone equally. There is absolutely no element of equality of opportunity, much less of outcome, under this theological narrative. Church theology is anathema to any concept of a universal faith. If what we have been taught by Orthodox Christianity is true, it is impossible to have unadulterated faith in Jesus. Only a faith in Jesus which mirrors the faith of Jesus, based on the love and faithfulness of the Father, can actually set us free from misplaced faith.