Article of Faith: Jesus Is Not A Christian, By Femi Aribisala

Femi Aribisala, Ph.D
Femi Aribisala

If Jesus had come today instead of 2,000 years ago, Christian pastors and bishops would also have killed him. 

A man travelling from Jerusalem to Jericho was attacked by armed-robbers, stripped of his belongings and left lying on the road half-dead.  God’s providence ensured that first a priest, and then a Levite, passed by.  But instead of helping the dying man; both of them quickly moved to the other side and went away.  Finally, a Samaritan came along.  Unlike the priest and the Levite, he had compassion on the injured man, bound up his wounds, took him to the hospital and paid for his medical expenses.

The Good Samaritan

Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan is very deliberate.  It is incredible how, as Christians, we still fail to understand its full implications.  The first mistake we make is in the identity of the Good Samaritan.  When we situate the story in the contemporary setting (as we should with all scripture), we assume that the Good Samaritan is a Christian.  However, Jesus deliberately excludes that possibility by providing two characters clearly representative of the Christians of today.  The priest is easily identifiable as today’s pastor, while the Levite is easily today’s Christian layman.

Who then is the Good Samaritan?  Let me repeat this for emphasis: the Good Samaritan cannot be a Christian.  The Christian is already adequately represented.  The Good Samaritan is Jesus himself.  Jesus’ story eloquently sets forth the goodness and kindness of Christ our Saviour towards sinful, miserable and defenceless humanity.  The thief came to steal, kill and destroy, but Christ came to give life and to give it abundantly. (John 10:10).

But there is the rub.  If Jesus is the Good Samaritan then Jesus is not a Jew; for Samaritans were not accepted as Jews.  If Jesus is the Good Samaritan, then Jesus is a Samaritan.  If Jesus is not a Jew but a Samaritan, then Jesus cannot be a Christian, for it is the Jew who represents the Christian of today. 

Jesus killers

By the time some Jews observed Jesus, they assumed he was not a Jew.  In the first place, he refused to be a disciple of Moses but claimed instead to have come to fulfil the law.  He did not obey the letter of Jewish laws but claimed to comply with its spirit.  He insisted pharisaic religious tradition was old wine which could not be put into the new bottles he provided for the new wine of the New Testament. (Matthew 9:17).  He prefaced a lot of his sermons with the statement: “You have heard that it was said to those of old… but I say.” (Matthew 5:27-28).

Therefore, some Jews insisted Jesus was not Jewish.  As a matter of fact, their position was that he was a closet Samaritan: “Then the Jews answered and said to him, “Do we not say rightly that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?”  Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon; but I honour my Father, and you dishonour me.” (John 8:48-49).  Note that Jesus did not contest the charge that he was a Samaritan.  But he took great exception to the allegation that he had a demon.  

But if Jesus identified with the Samaritans and not with the Jews, then it becomes clear he would not identify with most of the Christians of today.  In fact, let me be so bold as to say that if Jesus were in the flesh today he would not be a Christian.  If Jesus had come today instead of 2,000 years ago, Christian pastors and bishops would also have killed him.  Like he did our forefathers, Jesus would also have exposed our ungodliness to public ridicule.

Religious irrelevancies

So if Jesus would not have been a Christian, what would he have been?  He would have simply been Jesus without any specific religious affiliation.  Today, Jesus has been replaced by theology, but the real Jesus was not religious.  Jesus established no religious institution when he was on earth.

Indeed, if Jesus were to show up physically on earth today, most Christians would not recognise him even as the Jews did not.  If he came as a woman, we would not recognise him.  If he smoked cigarettes, we would not recognise him.  If he drank whisky, we would not recognise him.  If he wore earrings and a nose ring, we would not recognise him.  If he spoke Pidgin English, we would not recognise him.  Since he did not wear trousers, we would be contemptuous of him.  We would disqualify him by religious irrelevancies instead of identifying him by his fruits.

When Jesus asked the lawyer to identify the neighbour of the man who fell among thieves, the man wisely did not say it was the Samaritan.  If he had said that, he would have been wrong.  Instead, he correctly defined him by his fruit.  He said: “He who showed mercy on him.”  He who showed mercy on him could be anybody, Christian or non-Christian, as long as he believed in Jesus and produced the fruits of his righteousness.

Merciless Christians

What then does the story of the Good Samaritan mean if, indeed, the priest and the Levite represent today’s Christians?  It means that, prophetically, it is the Christians of today who have no mercy.  We despise unbelievers, certain they are going to hell.  We speak disparagingly of them.  We condemn sinners on grounds they are ungodly.  We stone them because they are caught in adultery.  We fail to appreciate that they are hapless travellers on the road of life who have been attacked by spiritual armed-robbers and left for dead.  We conveniently forget that we used to be in the same position until we were rescued by the grace of God.

Therefore, “God is not a Christian,” declared Reverend Desmond Tutu.  “We are supposed to proclaim the God of love, but we have been guilty as Christians of sowing hatred and suspicion; we commend the one whom we call the Prince of Peace, and yet as Christians we have fought more wars than we care to remember.  We have claimed to be a fellowship of compassion and caring and sharing, but as Christians we often sanctify sociopolitical systems that belie this, where the rich grow ever richer and the poor grow ever poorer.”

One thing is certain.  Both the offending priest and the Levite must have had “compelling” reasons for not attending to the man dying on the roadside.  They probably could not stop because they were in a hurry to attend a bible study.   The priest decided that the best thing to do was to pray for the man when he got to church.  The Levite was hurrying to get to a meeting of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria and could not afford to be late.

Jesus’ parable “kills” the self-righteous believer who thinks he is justified by calling himself a Christian and by going regularly to church.  He alerts us to the danger of assuming we are heaven-bound because of our observance of certain religious rites.  True Christianity is not legalistic.  The love of our neighbour is the emblem of our being Christ’s disciples.

“Dear friends, let us practice loving each other, for love comes from God and those who are loving and kind show that they are the children of God.” (1 John 4:7).

Femi Aribisala is the fellowship coordinator of Healing Wings. Healing Wings is a pentecostal Christian fellowship which meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He blogs at Femi Aribisala . E-mail: faribisala@yahoo.com


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  • Emmanuel Abuh

    I dis agree with the part that says Jesus did not form a Church, He brought people together and taught them his word… He assembled the 12 disciples and made the the foundation of his Church. St. Peter was commisioned as the supreme Head of his Church on earth, Jesus is not a Christian yes, but he is the Christ and he is God… Christianity directs us towards knowing and serving God in the right way.

    • Ussy

      Did he call his gatherings by church,wia did d name come from?if u bliv he s nt a christian,y den do u call yaselves christians n serves him @ dsame tym.Jesus is not God if not he wudnt have said several tym in d bible dat he wil pray unto his God,or wen he was hanged he was quoted 2 have said”Oh God y have u 4saken me”seek 4 knowledge bro.

      • God’s Child

        Please leave Christians alone. Jesus is LORD. The Bible is not a note book like any other book. The day you can predict GOD or GOD makes sense to you, then He is no longer GOD.

        I don’t care what other people have written. As long as i read my Bible and i pray to GOD, i encounter HIm personally. If you want to know the truth, go to GOD in prayer.

        He didn’t call his gathering by church, but what other name would they have been called? Jesus gathered people and preached to them in the Bible. But now, there is a name for the gathering of Christians. That name is not GOD’s problem, but that the people are doing his will. So you can stay and give yourself headache as to whether Jesus mentioned church in the bible or not. Our purpose in life is to worship the one true GOD. Let him be the judge. To your tent O Israel. Every body should face his front.

        Jesus is GOD in human form because he was near perfection and no man can be perfect except GOD.

        Jesus Christ ‘though he was in the form of God, did not count equality
        with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the
        form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in
        human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of
        death, even death on a cross.’ (Philippians 2:6-8)

        • God’s Child

          The problem with you people is you think that GOD is your mate. You have put the GOD in a box and believe this is the way it is supposed to be, if its not that way, then it can never be GOD. But listen Mr Man, you did not create GOD, it was GOD who created you.
          GOD did not create human beings as robots. There are laws that GOD has given us in the Bible but another way we can know GOD is by having a personal relationship with GOD. You confirm his words in the place of prayer. Christianity has existed for centuries ( that is people that worship the on true GOD). From Abraham to Isaac to Jacob to Samuel to Elijah to Elisha to Isaiah to Jeremiah and even to Paul it was the same testimony. Some of us have had personal encounters of those testimonies. The someone else comes and tells us that he heard differently and so his own is right? GOD confirms His word. Most of the old testament prophets predicted the coming of Jesus. The Spirit of GOD is one

  • Gfada

    JESUS IS THE HEAD OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH

    “…I will build my Church —Matthew 16:18”

    The two quotes I have reproduced below, present us with a window through which we can peer into the writer’s obvious confusion:

    “…while the Levite is easily today’s Christian layman.”

    “…for it is the Jew who represents the Christian of today.”

    We must then ask Femi Aribisala: In his fantasy world where he absurdly insists that historical figures must have present day equivalents, is it the Levite or the ordinary Jew that represents Christians today? He certainly needs to make up his mind. Could he kindly tell us which group today, represents the disciples of Jesus and all those who believed in him? -Since it is not Christianity, the Faith based on the life and teachings of Jesus and His disciples.

    I can also play this game and hazard a guess that Judas who betrayed Jesus and attempted to kill His ministry, is aptly represented by Femi Aribisala who keeps on attacking the Church of Jesus for which he died. Like Judas, he had once been a Christian, (even a pastor -gasp!), before becoming disillusioned and consequently embarking on his doomed crusade against the Church.

    While the parable of the good Samaritan may be applied to represent the saving work of Christ on the cross, that is NOT the intent of the parable. If read in context, it is meant to define a neighbor as anyone who loves and cares for his fellow man, irrespective of ethnic differences. This was a very apt message to a mostly prejudicial audience that derogatively classified foreigners as dogs. It also laid the pathway for the eventual integration of gentiles into the Christian fold like many of Jesus’ parables.

    Thus, the Christian today, who tells the unbeliever to repent from his sinful acts, does so out of love for that person not wishing they should perish. Just like Jesus said: ” but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” Love does not condone sin. The idea that Jesus would be smoking or drinking for any reason is as depraved as claiming He would be involved in sexual sin. While Jesus consorted with sinful people, He did not practice their sinful habits. Instead, He changed their lives.

    It is a LIE that Jesus did not identify with the Jews but with Samaritans. In John 4:22, Jesus clearly states: “You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.” In another place, he initially told a foreign woman that his healings were first to the Jews, but eventually healed her daughter when He saw her faith. Clearly, Jesus identified with His Jewish heritage so that whole premise, (like much of the article) is wrong.

    Christ established the Church: “…and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. If we claim we love Christ then we MUST love his Church, as imperfect as it is. We must weep and pray for the failings of our Christian brothers and not judge them like this writer, knowing that we ourselves are not yet perfect. We MUST believe the word of God through apostle Paul that: “The church will be presented to God as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” This echoes the word of Jesus: You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.” Remember that in this group that Jesus called “ALREADY CLEAN” were disciples who would eventually abandon him, and Peter who would deny Him thrice.

    There is no denying the tares and evil seeds in the Church today, but the instruction from Jesus is “let them grow together until the reaping day lest, we pull up the good seeds as well.” If we claim we love Jesus, then we should be listening to Him and not attempting to destabilize the fragile faith of new and tender believers, with incessant, godless attacks on Christianity. Unless of course, we are enemies of Christianity and it gives us perverse joy to see the Church of Jesus destroyed. Thankfully, that is IMPOSSIBLE for “the gates of Hades will not overcome it!!

    Have a blessed week.

  • chris

    Wow…this is so profound…

  • Lanre

    Dr. Aribisala. I agree by and large that we need to situate the scriptures to contemporary times. I am also in agreement that Jesus was not called a Christian. His Church was established after the crucifixion and ascension. Having said that, there is a greater demon in the world today than the Christianity that does not follow Christ. It is a very dangerous theology that assumes Christians should be meek in the face of imminent, clear and present day danger. From religious extremism of dangerous criminal groups (purportedly acting in the name of Islam), to governments denying individuals the right to worship (Malaysia, Bangladesh and many countries in Asia and the Middle East). We see it even in Nigeria (Boko Haram, Ansaru). Agreed these are the enemies without but I believe they should be a primary focus. The “enemies” within I commend the saying of Jesus Christ Matt 22:39 “Love the Neighbor as thy self” and Matthew 7:1 “Judge not lest ye be judged.”
    Thank you for the Sunday Tonic.

  • Joseph Odi King

    MY OPINION ON THIS ARTICLE

    This Article of Deception is not only driven by Error but signifying the fast widening web of Antichrist’s. The Theme itself is a dislocation of thought.

    A Christian is defined by various Dictionaries as:

    (1) A religious person who believes Jesus is the Christ and who is a member of a Christian denomination (WORDWEB DICTIONARY). (2) A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. “Christian” derives from the Koine Greek word Christ, a translation of the Biblical Hebrew term “Messiah”; The Greek word Χριστιανός (Christianos)—meaning “Follower of Christ”—comes from Χριστός (Christos)—meaning “anointed one”—with an adjectival ending borrowed from Latin to denote adhering to, or even belonging to, as in slave ownership. In the Greek Septuagint, christos was used to translate the Hebrew מָשִׁיחַ (Mašíaḥ, messiah), meaning “[ONE WHO IS] ANOINTED” In other European languages, equivalent words to ‘Christian’ are likewise derived from the Greek, such as ‘Chrétien’ in French and ‘Cristiano’ in Spanish (WIKIPEDIA). (3) Professing belief in Jesus as Christ or following the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus; Manifesting the qualities or spirit of Jesus; Christlike; Showing a loving concern for others; humane; One who professes belief in Jesus as Christ or follows the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus; One who lives according to the teachings of Jesus (THE FREE DICTIOANRY).

    Should I say I am flabbergasted to know that Mr. Femi Aribisala is the fellowship coordinator of Healing Wings of the Pentecostal Christian Fellowship? Unfortunately, I am not because some of these Pentecostal bodies are apologists of the ‘illuminati’s’ and the ‘New World Order’ both by denominational symbol or misrepresentation and misinterpretation of Biblical references.

    In Luke 10:25-37 the parable of the Good Samaritan was introduced to give detailed explanation to the question asked by a ‘certain lawyer’. Jesus foresaw the wickedness of some people who profess to be His followers but are selfish. For this reason, Jesus used “Priest” & “Levi” as an example. As seen today, Priests no longer keep the Doctrine of Christ, they don’t seek the Kingdom of God any more, they prefer Ipads to Bible, they buy private Jets while their NEIGHBORS languish in penury and they build schools that their NEIGHBORS cannot afford the school fees; no wonder He said “Not EVERY ONE that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but HE (NOTE: not the Samaritan) that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven (Matthew 7:21)”. Whereas, the Good Samaritan gives scholarships, dole out gifts such as cars, motorcycles, clothes etc. I strongly disagree that the Good Samaritan is not a Christian. The Good Samaritan showed Christlike attitude that impressed Jesus Christ and caused Him to advise that Lawyer to emulate the character of the Good Samaritan.

    Christianity is not a selective or sectional religion; it is for anyone who believes in the canon of Christ. Jesus did not say Go ye into the world and preach the Gospel to the Samaritan, Greeks or Jews, He said in Mark 16:15-16 and I quote “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the WORLD, and preach the gospel to EVERY CREATURE. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”

    In Romans 1:16 Paul Said “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to EVERY ONE that BELIEVETH; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

    On the contrary, like the “Priest” many will claim to be Bishops, Pastors and Believers, yet they abide not by the Doctrine of Christ. Such people are not unfeigned Christians, they are simply antichrists.

    Finally, he that commits sin is of the devil, he that shows wickedness is of the devil, he that blasphemes Christ is of the devil and he that misinterprets the teachings of Christ to suit his aims is of the devil. But he that doeth good like the Good Samaritan is of Christ and thus a Christian by simple definition, he that shows mercy also is a Christian because Christ is merciful.