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Ten Golden Words (1995)

Gerd Lüdemann


[The following essay was originally published as the Epilogue to Gerd Lüdemann, Heretics: The Other Side of Early Christianity (trans. John Bowden, Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1996), pp. 219-220.]

1. The view of the Bible as the Word of God or as Holy Scripture belongs to a past time. Today it hinders understanding. The Bible is the word of human beings.

2. The idea of the sinlessness of Jesus belongs to a past age. It hinders understanding of the human being Jesus. Jesus is either fully a human being or not a human being at all.

3. Jesus proclaims the unknown God and his rule. He understands, measures and lives out the tradition by love, which first allows us to live in a human way, open to the world and indeed reasonably, in the freedom of the children of God, and to remain true to God's creation.

4. As the first Christian, Jesus remains the criterion for what is Christian in the Bible, in history and in the present.

5. The church is the community of people who have been touched by Jesus, who celebrate his coming and seek the truth.

6. The heretics of the second century, men and women, are at least as close to Jesus as the orthodox, and must be welcomed back into the church.

7. In the conflict between the church and truthfulness, truthfulness has the priority.

8. In theology and the church there is a need to turn from phraseology to reality in order to survive.

9. Theologians must keep learning to say "I," and if need be to contradict the tradition.

10. A fragment of religion which has been experienced and recognized is worth more than an orthodoxy which is fully known. A tiny ray of the light of Jesus in my life is more important than any orthodoxy.

"Ten Golden Words" is copyright 1995 by Gerd Lüdemann. The english translation is copyright 1996 by John Bowden. All rights reserved. The electronic version is copyright 1998 by Internet Infidels, Inc. with the written permission of Gerd Lüdemann. All rights reserved.