Christianity Versus Christ’s Plan


by Richard Kieninger


The central theological theme of the Reformation was the new emphasis put on St. Paul’s assertion that, “By Grace are ye saved through faith.” The Biblical context of this statement refers to the state of sinfulness into which the world had sunk and our rescue through the gift of Christ’s intervention by which He deferred and cushioned karmic retribution. This temporary lifting of the sins of the world from mankind gave us new hope, a clean slate, and a real chance to elevate ourselves to a refined human condition. However, the proponents of the interpretation that mere belief in Christ as one’s personal Savior is sufficient for salvation from Hell and assures one a place in Paradise have put into motion a set of attitudes by which adherents have evolved a sense of separation between what they do (or fail to do) and getting to Heaven.


It is rather an accident that this obscure facet of St. Paul should have been paid any attention except that the Reformation became a cause célèbre of the Germanic princes to justify their nationalistic self-determinism and their refusal to pay further obeisance to the Pope. The mother Church had correctly held that good works were necessary in addition to one’s contrition in order to compensate for one’s errors. Unfortunately, this concept became corrupted by the clergy’s encouragement of payment of what amounted to fines to the Church to offset one’s sinful acts, and the Church really cashed in on this development. There were a number of other things in which the Church needed reforming, but the split between northern and southern Europe was really a political issue far more than a question of what constitutes salvation. The net result today, however, is that Protestants have a hard time recognizing their need to do real work in furtherance of Christ’s goals for mankind, and they vaguely regard themselves as powerless to join or hamper divine plans. Instead they settle for a doctrine that hearing the Word and accepting Christ is all one need do to guarantee an eternity of bliss. In this way they need not truly heed Christ’s admonitions to purify their thoughts, feed the poor, uplift the downtrodden, brace the infirm, love their neighbors, seek Truth that they might be free, and do works greater even than He did. Rather, they view the bitter conditions of the world as somehow being God’s intended plan; and although they are angry with His permitting wars, injustice, disease and our need to struggle to maintain a living, they accept God as the one reliably unchangeable force in the Universe and cling to this concept for security by making God the supreme symbol of permanence and invoking His authority to stabilize what is familiar to them. The saddest result fostered by this attitude is the feeling that one is victimized by life’s every turn, and this develops into an all-pervading frustration and sense of helplessness. Where the concept of predestination is also accepted by the victim, his hope for control over his life is sealed off. Yet Christ constantly assailed the power structures of His day, and He promised to divide father from son. He introduced radical ideas—like His bombshell that women had souls—and provoked change in philosophy and attitude wherever He spoke.


Christianity has somehow acquitted its believers from their own implication in the mess the world is in. Yet the world corresponds precisely to the attitudes of all those in it. One’s attitude is the product of one’s inner beliefs, and attitude is the precursor of one’s every action. Repudiation of responsibility for the condition of this sick world precludes its improvement Yet why would a man improve himself or his corner of the world if he believes that without making an effort an eternity of happiness is already assured him in heaven? To consider a Christian’s work only as the further evangelizing of the idea that eternal salvation is a function of mere belief can but serve to delay the arrival of a golden era. For if we don’t bring about that era, who will? And if not now, when? Few people perceive that the Nation of God on Earth must be built by men and will not be handed to us full-blown by divine fiat.


To change the world, a person must begin with himself; for, after all, there is no one else he can change. And yet we see everywhere in the world that when men are presented with a truth that is new to them, they will attack it and resist adopting it. Over and over we witness Man’s crying out for improvement in the conditions of the world, but if the real solution of his problem is not as he anticipated it, or does not conform to his personal prejudices, he will impugn its value and destroy its sponsors. Change threatens him.


More and more people are advancing themselves at an accelerated rate by using the truths long ago garnered by the scientist-philosophers of the ancient Brotherhoods. These truths are very frequently so self-evident that there is no opposition to them, but putting them into practice requires a great deal of self-discipline because they are new in one’s day-to-day experience. There are still other concepts taught by the Brotherhoods which demand an extensive restructuring of the student’s world view and an excision of the prejudices that were assiduously instilled by society and the authorities of our era so that the old status quo would be maintained. To overcome deeply ingrained concepts induces a literally painful and panic-engendering process akin to adolescence as one strives to sever old, comfortable philosophical anchors in order to reach upward and outward for higher concepts. This process is much like the mountain climber scaling a sheer cliff and who must unhook from the security of a piton driven into the wall in order to reach the piton he just drove in above him.


Faith in Christ’s Plan is essential for the inspiration to sustain the psychological stamina needed to undertake the rigors of rebuilding oneself. Christ called for major revisions in Man’s interrelationships and personal character, and He is the great Proponent of change which He forwards through the Brotherhoods He founded. Yet convention would have us affirm that God wants stability and permanence in our current, traditional religious and governmental affairs. Are God and Christ at cross purposes with each other? Certainly not! The error lies with what men who are in power have claimed God stands for. Obviously God is the quintessence of stability. It has been the inherently unstable social orders which men have sought to foist off on others which Christ would have us instead put on a firm foundation of justice and reality. The concepts of “salvation through faith alone” and “predestination” are catch words to discourage us from tampering with the Establishment and from consciously advancing ourselves toward sainthood. Nothing disturbs the Bishop so much as rumors of a saint in his parish.