The Wrong Jesus

So, in successfully rejecting an insipid “hippie, diaper, halo Christ,” we may unintentionally protect and uphold the white supremacist Jesus, the colonial Jesus, the Eurocentric Jesus, the Republican or Democrat Jesus, the capitalist or communist Jesus, the slave-owning Jesus, the nuclear bomb–dropping America-first Jesus, the organ-music stained-glass nostalgic-sentimental Jesus, the antiscience know-nothing simpleton Jesus, the prosperity-gospel get-rich-quick Jesus, the institutional white-shirt-and-tie Jesus, the Native American–slaying genocidal Jesus, the cuddly omnipotent Christmas Jesus, the male-chauvinist Jesus, the homophobic “God-hates-fags” Jesus, the South African pro-apartheid Jesus, the Joe-Six-Pack Jesus, the anti-Semitic Nazi Jesus, the anti-Muslim Crusader Jesus, and so on. Those who think they stand had better take heed lest they fall, and those who think they know may have some more learning to do.

Excerpt From: Brian D. McLaren. “A New Kind of Christianity.” iBooks.

8 thoughts on “The Wrong Jesus

  1. I’m kind of partial to ‘Son of God’ and ‘Son of Man’, Emanuele, Just Judge, Righteous Ruler, Merciful Master, Great Shepherd of the sheep, Healer of the broken, binder of wounds, Prophesied Messiah, Soon Coming King… sending His angels, gathering His kingdom, separating wheat from chaff, sheep from goats, and – gulp – casting some into a furnace of fire. We don’t really talk about that last one much, do we? Should we? Can we? Are we afraid to say all that scripture says – that He said – He is? I mean, I don’t want to ‘think I stand’ on anyone’s toes, but I also don’t want to back down from what scripture purports Him to be, thus detracting from His due Majesty, Glory, Awe and Awesome-ness. To me that would be an even bigger infraction than underplay.

  2. I’m kind of partial to Son of God, Son of Man, Righteous Ruler, Just Judge, Prophesied Messiah, Soon Coming King, Emanuele, God – in flesh – with us, Separating wheat from chaff, sheep from goats, sitting on the BEMA seat, Saviour, Redeemer and Anchor of our souls, oh and also the One sending forth His angels, gathering His Kingdom and condemning some to a fiery furnace of torment for all eternity. Not because I particularly like that last part, but that appears to be what scripture says… but we generally don’t hear too much about that last part. Should we? Could we? Seems the greater sin to underplay than overplay, but any change at all dramatically detracts from His awe and awesomeness. Why do we have so many other versions of the Christ, than what scripture actually purports Him to be? Why do we do this?

    • Both of your comments give me plenty to respond to and I have no idea where to start. There are certain assumptions/beliefs/well-founded understandings/perspectives behind some of what you say.

      The “appears to be” is probably my first stop. But by the time I get my thoughts together to reply, I may end up addressing things that certainly precede that.

      Hell is almost as scary as hermeneutics.

      • Not sure what happened with the double posting… I wrote the first, but it didn’t seem to go through, made me sign in and when I refreshed it was gone. So, I tried to reconstruct the first from memory, but then saw two comments posted and couldn’t delete the first. Ugh. Technology. At any rate, remove one if you want, for continuity. And I shall look forward to your indubitably incendiary comments, forthwith & posthaste! 🙂

        Brian K. Alex +39 347 0009069

    • I wanted to respond sooner, but a few things:

      ––news of Robin Williams’ death really threw me for a loop. I haven’t been able to shake it so I’ve written something up for that and will be posting it tonight after one more editing pass (which will mean hours, of course).

      ––I realize that I’m not sure what you are responding to. McLaren’s comments here are basically warning against viewing Jesus as any of those examples. He felt that necessary because people really love to use Jesus to support their political views or whatever views, even if it means ignoring the cross. Based on what he wrote prior to this passage, he was very concerned that Driscoll’s comments about Jesus were antithetical to the Jesus who came to die and how in Revelation, he had not the blood of his enemies on his robe, but his own blood. And it seemed opposed to the Jesus who comes with a sword not in his hand but from his mouth. So without that context in the reading, it’s hard to know where McLaren is coming from. There is also some important political and social context in the NT that really illuminates some of these verses where Jesus appears to just want to kick ass instead of die for the world.

      (Was it Driscoll’s quoted comments that sparked your reply? Or were you replying to what McLaren is saying? Or maybe something else, and you just wanted to say it here, which is cool.)

      ––The other thing is that I’ve been wrestling with the doctrine of hell for quite some time now, having a mind to start from scratch, without the un-credible teaching of hell I grew up with. So when you mention hell with the assumption that the traditional doctrine of hell is supported fully by Scripture and is just something we don’t like to talk about, that makes me pause. So I have been revisiting this topic ever since you wrote this reply, and it has only strengthened my conviction that hell as I have been taught it in my Southern Baptist upbringing is not what Scripture teaches. So I’m stuck on that part. I won’t elaborate on that any further here, but I can send you two articles I’ve been pouring over lately. One is shorter and argues for an openness to John Stott’s and Earle Ellis’ position which we know of as annihilationism. (NT Wright is what I jokingly call an “annulhilationist” because he seems to believe that our true humanity is annulled if we do not go to heaven. Not sure about how that works.)

      SOOOOOO. I apologize for the long reply, but the topic of hell is a “hot” one, which is why I offered that catchy idea that Hell is almost as scary as hermeneutics.

      Let me know if you want me to send you links to these two articles I mentioned.

  3. A couple of my more morbidly rambling thinkings. I don’t know that McLaren, Driscoll or Jesus (for that matter) needs a defence. At least where I’m concerned, all are/were better thinkers and writers than me… or is it ‘I’? At any rate, being the first rate, or in my case perhaps second rate, not everyone who posts comments on this blog – myself being the first among evils, if you catch my meaning – are trying to build a legal case for or against something. A lot of the time, what is written on this blog provokes thought, and those thoughts are posted here (e.g. in the comment section… where they belong… in a peripheral peanut gallery, of sorts). Butt, as for the Ass-Kicking Jesus to Whom you referred, I think my soul ‘needs’ there to be a reckoning… and a Reckoner… whether I’m purposefully wired so, ‘born this way’, or the prodigal product of environment and circumstance, I know not… but, it is there. I look for it. I think many people look for this. Finding it or not. “You tell ’em I’m comin’… and Hell’s comin’ with me,” somehow resonates with the [read: my] human condition. Whether your solution is a nullification or justification seems to be where much of the theological battle ensues.

    • I don’t think the idea is to defend theologians or even to defend Jesus, but to explore their ideas and determine what we think is being said and whether or not it’s right or viable (in the case of Driscoll or McLaren). So I was just curious as to what you were replying to when you clicked “reply.”

      I’ve also wondered this about our want for a reckoning. I’ve wondered if our human drive for revenge is a part of it too. Not sure either, of course, but I’m becoming increasingly dubious of the turn-or-burn interpretations.

      Thanks for stirring the pot!

      • Nail, meet head, head meet nail. I think its interesting to note that the majority of calls to repentance within scripture… the NT especially… (outside of the book of Revelation) are issued sans ill-fated consequence, only a promise for the responsive/obedient. The book of Revelation, however, (along with several poignant instances in the OT) tends to take that nail and beat it from the other side. I think this subject deserves a podcast, set it up! 🙂

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