From Love is My Gospel by Paul Ferrini
A Universal Teaching Open to All
The door to the sanctuary is always open. The arms of the Master open wide to all who would take refuge in his heart and in the heart of his teaching. And all of us -- Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist or Hindu, people of all faiths who believe in God and those who don’t -- all are welcome here.
The teachings of Jesus are universal teachings. They were given by Jesus to the Jewish people, but they were also given to others who had ears to hear them. The teaching could not by its nature be restricted by blood and birth and given only to a few. It had to be given to all people in all times.
Jews will have a natural affinity with the words of Jesus for they are pure Torah and they unfold directly from Jewish law. Christians will resonate with his words, for they are the essence of the gospels as they have come down to us. Others from different faiths will also be touched by his teaching, for Jesus is an eloquent, compelling teacher of universal truth. When people hear his words and feel his presence, they are called to God in a deep and profound way.
It is hard to find a teaching that is totally open: open to all men and women, regardless of who they are or what they have done, a teaching that invites everyone without exception into the circle of love. Yet this is such a teaching.
Much is misunderstood about the teachings of Jesus. The Jesus whom we know through the Gospels is but a glimpse of the real man, his teachings and his passion. So be it. Much is inevitably lost when those who write and retell his message do not have the same level of understanding as their teacher. Even more is lost in translation.
Some try to find insight into the man and his teachings through alternative Biblical sources. Yet the Gnostic Gospels and other scriptural fragments shed little additional light on the man or his teaching.
Regardless of how many Bibles or scriptures you have read, there comes a time when you must go beyond the words into a direct experience of the teacher and his teaching. Consider these words then but an invitation to go deeper and invite the teacher into your heart. And remember that the one who will speak to you is not the Jesus of Biblical times, but the Jesus of today.
As innovative as Jesus’ message was, it was still shaped by the religion and the culture of the era in which he lived. Jesus was a Jew speaking to Jews at a time when Roman values, culture and military strength dominated the world.
Now Jesus abides in the realms of Spirit. He is neither a Jew nor a Christian, but a living presence whose empowerment teaching goes beyond the limits of time, place or history. His message today is clear, direct, and completely resonant with the core teachings we find in the gospels. It lacks only the fear-based language and the millennium fever of that time.
I feel blessed to be a student of these teachings and to share them with you. Nevertheless, I encourage you not to accept anything I say, nor indeed, anything he says, without testing it to see if it is true and helpful to you.
For truth is always helpful, although it often helps people in different ways, but that which is untrue cannot help anyone, regardless of the promises it makes. So open your mind and listen with your heart. Put these teachings to work in your life and you will know if they serve you or not.
If they don’t, toss them away. You are responsible for the teachings you accept and you cannot accept a teaching that does not bring you greater insight and empower you to live a more loving life.
If, on the other hand, these teachings serve you, pass them along to others who can use them to open their hearts, awaken their minds, and step into the fullness of their creative power.
For the world we live in needs many compassionate leaders and witnesses to the truth. And now is the time for each one of us to stand up and do what we came here to do. May the light of Christ shine in your heart and in your eyes now and for all time.
Love and Blessings, Paul Ferrini
There are two teachings. One empowers. The other enslaves. Which, do you suppose, is the one he offers? If Jesus were in the world today, he would speak to us differently from the way he speaks to us in the gospels.
He would speak to us as brothers and sisters, as equals. He would not seek to manipulate or control us through fear or browbeat us with the image of a vengeful God who threatens to punish us for our mistakes.
He would address us in the language of love.
Jesus seeks to guide us, not to punish us. He seeks to bring us closer to God, not to push us away from Him.
The teachings of fear have no place in the gospel of love.
If Jesus of Nazareth was ever unclear on this point be sure that Jesus the Christ, the anointed one, knows and proclaims this truth now and for all time.
For we cannot have it both ways. Either this is a teaching of love or it is a teaching of fear.
Either God is loving and compassionate or He is not.
Put simply, we all have to make a choice about which God we want to worship. That choice will determine, for a large part, whether we follow the teaching of vicarious atonement or the teaching of empowerment.
Two Views of the World
If you believe in an angry God who will punish you for wrongdoing and you have done wrong, like most people, then you need a savior. You need someone to intervene with God on your behalf. This is the teaching of vicarious atonement.
If you believe in a loving and compassionate God and you make mistakes like the rest of us, you don’t need a savior. You can communicate with God directly and ask for forgiveness. This is the teaching of empowerment.
This teaching of vicarious atonement states: Jesus is the only Son of God. He died for our Sins. If we believe in him, we will be saved. If we don’t we will perish.
Like God, Jesus is all-powerful. He could have stopped the crucifixion but chose not to, because it was God’s will. By the same token, he could have stopped the Holocaust and other examples of human cruelty, but chose not to.
This teaching of empowerment states: Jesus is a Child of God and so is each one of us. Jesus was an advanced spiritual master who came here to help us learn to love God and each other. He was the greatest of all the Hebrew prophets and teachers. Jesus was a role model for us and, if we are willing to follow in his footsteps, we too can awaken spiritually and become teachers of love who inspire others and help to create a better, more just world.
The teaching of vicarious atonement says: the world can be saved only by God or Jesus.
The teaching of empowerment says: the world is redeemed – not from on high – but through the actions of wise, caring human beings who seek the common good.
The teaching of vicarious atonement says: God loves and rewards those who obey his will and that of his Son. All others are punished and denied entrance to the kingdom.
The teaching of empowerment says: God loves all of us equally and unconditionally, now and for all time. God’s love is steady and all-inclusive. It is the very foundation of our existence. Once given, it cannot be taken away. If we don’t feel this love, it is not because God has stopped loving us. It is because we have cut ourselves off from the awareness of God’s love. This is not God’s predicament, but ours.
The teaching of vicarious atonement says: God and Jesus have an enemy whose name is Satan. Satan is an independent agent for Evil, a kind of God run amuck, the black sheep in the celestial family. Satan tempts us and leads us astray.
The teaching of empowerment says: God has no opposite or enemy. There is no devil who can become the scapegoat. No one else is to blame for the choices that we make.
The teaching of vicarious atonement says: It is okay to kill as long as God is on your side. God himself sacrificed his only begotten Son on the cross and asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac.
The teaching of empowerment says: there is never any justification for murder or abuse.
These are different world views. Each results in a certain set of values and beliefs.
The teaching of vicarious atonement says: human beings are sinners. Left to their own inclinations/devices, they will continue to sin. Their only hope is to be saved by Jesus.
The teaching of empowerment says: human beings are born innocent. If they are loved and respected, they will usually grow up to be loving, respectful human beings. In the end, love is the only answer to the problems of human suffering.
The teachings of vicarious atonement assign the responsibility for all the good and evil that happens outside of ourselves. Jesus saves us. The devil tempts us. We are but pawns in a struggle between good and evil.
The teachings of empowerment assign responsibility to us for the choices that we make. We are responsible for everything that we think, everything that we say, and everything that we do. There is no savior or tempter we can blame or hold responsible for the choices we make.
These are very different world views.
If you believe humans must be saved, your life becomes a quest to “save” others. You believe that you have the truth and know what’s best for others. So you preach, and shame, and cajole, not understanding that you are trespassing against others, not respecting their freedom to have their own beliefs and experiences.
On the other hand, if you understand that no one else can save you, and that you cannot save anyone else, you maintain appropriate boundaries. You respect the beliefs and experiences of others even when you don’t agree with them. You don’t try to make decisions for others or allow others to make decisions for you.
“No one can serve two masters.” (Matthew 6:24)
You cannot serve both of these teachings. You serve one or you serve the other. If you serve the teachings of vicarious atonement you accept the gospels as they have come down to us as the absolute word of God and you interpret them literally.
You don’t believe that the master’s teachings can be clarified or adapted to today’s needs through direct communion with him. You do not accept the authority of present-day revelation.
If you serve the teachings of empowerment, you find guidance and inspiration not only in the gospels, but in your direct communion with Jesus in your heart of hearts.
For you, revelation is an ongoing reality in which guidance and insight are received.
In the former case, the Book is closed. Everything has already been said. In the latter case, the Book is open and must remain open if the teaching of the master is to be renewed and received fully by people in each generation.
The teachings of vicarious atonement run hand in hand with religious fundamentalism. For fundamentalists, the Word is truth and every word is to be studied, dissected, and interpreted. Fundamentalists affirm an outer or external authority.
On the other hand, the teachings of empowerment run hand in hand with mystical experience. Mystics trust their direct experience of the divine as much, if not more, than the words of scripture. They affirm an inner or internal authority.
Ironically, Bibles and scriptures document the mystical experiences and revelations of the past. They are helpful in this respect. However, when they become a straight-jacket and cause people to doubt the validity of their own experience, they become dogmatic and counterproductive.
Faith requires an element of experience. It requires a dialog with the divine. For you cannot have faith in something that you have not experienced. Faith and mystical experience are inevitably intertwined. When you take away the experience of God, the belief in God becomes narrow, predictable and blind.
It was into such a time that Jesus was born. The Judaism of his time was pale, vapid, and musty. It lacked energy and life. It lacked the passion and conviction of experience.
Today, Christianity finds itself in the same boat. The time for a renewal of the faith has come. If you are reading these words, you understand that this is necessary for you and for many others.
People often say to me “I cannot accept the teachings of the Church, but I still love Jesus. I still feel that he is my teacher.” If this is you, take heart. Wipe away the preconceptions of the past and come to him with empty hands. He will teach you.
He will guide you. He simply awaits your invitation.
Paul Ferrini reading from The Gospel
In this wonderful selection from the Christ Mind Teachings (Love without Conditions, Silence of the Heart, Miracle of Love, and Return to the Garden), Paul Ferrini shares the message of Jesus as he received it over a seven-year period. Here at last is a gospel devoted solely to Jesus’ teachings of love, healing and forgiveness. The teacher we meet here is the compassionate, open-minded teacher we know in our hearts. He rejects the dogmatic, narrow-minded concepts of fundamentalist Christianity that reinforce our shame, intolerance and spiritual pride and instead empowers all of us to awaken the Christ potential within. He is both the gentle teacher who proclaims our essential innocence and the fiery teacher who supports us in healing our wounds and forgiving our trespasses so that we can claim our gifts and come into the fullness of our power and purpose in this life.
Listen to audio excerpts read by Paul Ferrini:
Embracing the Self
Freedom and Commitment
A Formula for Creation
click here to buy the CD Set for $24.95