One does not have to be a scholar in order to recognize the differences between the synoptic Gospels and the Gospel of John. Although all 4 Gospels are “biographical theologies,” the 4th Gospel is also mystical and transcendental.
When St. Paul began making disciples for Lord Jesus, John was an assistant to James and esteemed as one of the “pillars” of the Jerusalem church. (Gal. 2:9) This means that the theological word-concepts they used as tools for communicating the Gospel were primarily Hebraic.
In the epistles of St. Paul one can easily recognize the difficulty he had conveying the Gospel to the Gentiles. Because of this, he was often criticized by Greeks who were used to hearing the philosophical speakers of the day. (2 Cor. 10:10)
It is interesting to note that the “Gentiles” that St. Paul was starting churches with, were for the most part Gentile “hearers” that attended the Synagogue and were already acquainted with the theological word-concepts of the Jews. (Acts 13:46) The reason why Paul could start churches and leave them under the care of ordained “elders,” was because these new Christians were already acquainted with the synagogical way of being and managing an “assembly.”
By the time John wrote his Gospel and epistles, the Church had realized that in order to fulfill the global mission of Lord Jesus- that they needed to adopt the philosophical thought concepts that both the educated class and the masses were acquainted with. This is why the Gospel and epistles of John use the Greek philosophical term “Logos” for the Person we known as the Hebraic “Memre” or “Word” of God
In turn, the concept of a Personal God and the Resurrection experience of Christ gave substance to the spiritual conceptualizations and conclusions that many Greek Philosophers had come to.
The sects known as “Gnostic” became heretical because in the act of adopting a new range of religio-philosophical concepts, they did so without restraint, therefore creating artificial syncretisms between the teachings of the Greek philosphers and the disciplic teachings of Lord Jesus.
In other words, those who went beyond the Apostolic teachings via disciplic succession, did so due to their prideful zeal for the accepted fact (among Christians) that the Logos of God had also spoken through Greek thinkers, such as Socrates.
After the Great Schism of the Church, the Western Church adopted and adapted the theological word-concepts of scholasticism for the purpose of proving its claim to primacy over the whole Church.
There was a time when the whole of Christendom was “Greek,” until the Greeks of Constantinople began to claim the same legislative power as the Roman Church, especially after the move of the Roman Empire’s capital to modern-day Istambul. This sentiment was clearly expressed in the First Ecumenical Council of Constantinople (381).
Interestingly, it was in the year 382 AD that Pope Damasus I commissioned St. Jerome to make a new translation of the Bible into the Latin language, based on Hebrew texts of the Old Testament, rather than the traditional Septuagint LXX Greek Translation that the Apostles traditionally quoted in their epistles.
The highest point of scholasticism (and ironic achievment) was the Protestant Reformation, which to date has continued to splinter the Church into more than 40,000 denominations.
The fact is that the Christian Church as we know it is dying. It cannot live because it does not accurately teach and hand down the teachings of Lord Jesus. The Church will not be healed of its divisions until we stop trying to win our denominational battles for primacy and academic supremacy via the language and thought concepts of scholasticism.
Instead, what the Church should do is concentrate on re-learning the teachings of the Apostolic Fathers- while at the same time, researching the religio-philosophical terms that trend in today’s society and explain the Gospel’s philosophy through these word-concepts.
I have been on a quest for such a solution for many years, but it was through the Hare Krishnas that I learned new religio-philosophical word-concepts that best reconciles and conveys the Eastern mind of ancient Christianity to masses of people that are not acquainted with Apostolic thinking.
Whether the Western Church likes it or not- the religio-philosophical thought-concepts that today’s Westerners understand best are of Eastern origin, thanks to the influx of Eastern spirituality since the beginning of the 20th century.
I think its time to change our “God-language” so that we can actually make disciples of Lord Jesus. May all the denominations die off soon- and may a new “Jesus Movement” of discipleship rise!
Alleluia Alleluia Yeshua Alleluia. Yeshua, Yeshua, Alleluia, Alleluia!