How much of an agenda did the original Biblical authors have when they were writing their words? Were the differing parallel verses found in the Gospel text simple misinterpretations or remembrances or were they intentionally different because of the differing views of the authors. How much different did Matthew and Luke view Jesus’ messages.
Looking at the differing parallel verses of the Beatitudes found in Matthew and Luke some theologians feel that a large part of Matthew’s variance from Luke is attributed to Matthew not approving of asceticism as a way into heaven in and of itself. That is Luke believed we should try to live a more Godly life as Jesus instructed and Matthew didn’t. Hence Matthew changes what Luke has as ordinary physical deprivations into spiritual ones—by changing poor into poor in spirit, and hungry into hunger . . . after righteousness. These types of arguments tend to re-enforce the feelings of some that even the gospel writers had particular theological stand and agendas that may have actually been different than what others believe Jesus really taught. For those of us who treat the Bible as a historical document written by man trying to understand God’s nature and not one of literal and absolute truth this type of disagreement is not terribly troubling. But for those who treat the bible as if it were dropped from heaven this type of discussion is mortal indeed.
Obviously given the 35,000 Christian denominations that now exist theological stands and agendas flourish to an ugly extreme today. God seems to be doing nothing to set us straight on which of these views if any truly reflect his messages. Perhaps none of them do. Do we have to wait until the end times to find the true message. Some say just look in the bible for the “true” message. But that is what almost all Christians say they do today. Will these differences keep some of us out of heaven. If universal salvation is true then of course it won’t. But since it is clear, at least to most of us, that we will be judged it most have some kind of consequence.
As for me, I will stick to the action oriented Christ and not depend on words alone to please God.