I remember coming across a very vocal (on the Christian forums) group, called “Christadelphians”, or brethren of Christ. They reject the divinity of Jesus and I remember being perplexed at their denial of the Trinity. And yet, there they are, even today. Same can be said about the Jehovah’s Witness, who also deny the Trinity, however, unlike the Christadelphians, they affirm a pre-existence of Jesus, albeit not in a divine form. And, curiously, both of these groups study the Bible and can find support for their respective views to the much chagrin of the Trinitarians.
And I find the gospel to be just as confusing. You can take a saying of Jesus, for example, and conclude that salvation does not even depend on faith (or what you believe).
Matt. 7: 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’
So, there will be surprises. People were believers (why else would they call Jesus…“Lord”?), and yet, they would be cast away (into Hell, presumably) by their Lord!
On the other hand…
Matt. 25: 34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38 And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’
So, a salvation by a surprise. Do the good works, and you’ll be saved.
I’m aware of people’s interpretations. I realize that any contradiction can be squared away if you come up with an elaborate explanation. Ultimately, I don’t see a reason to think that Christianity is somehow different from another religion. They all have their interpretations and ‘difficult’ texts they would rather not have in their Bibles.