Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Jesus Christ "Superstar".....?

We have a lot of "Jesus Movements" today.  I put the preceding term in quotations because I am a bit skeptical about how Jesusesy(?) they really are.  In my typical way I have done in depth scientific research into the types of movements that are currently out there in the landscape today.  This is not necessarily an exhaustive list, but hopefully a good starting point...

Kum Bay Yah Jesus Movement:

This is a real popular one today.  This Jesus Movement is marked by lots of Social Justice stuff.  The Jesus you find here has a few clear characteristics;  Kind, gentle, non-judgemental, tolerant, just wants everyone to get along.....  Passages about hell and sin are generally jettisoned, ignored, or wildly re-interpreted due to how they create a lot of contradiction with the characteristics that this Jesus is known for. 

Within the Kum Bay Yah Jesus Movement there appears to be a low view of Scripture.  But, you can't say that, because their claim is that by reinterpreting the Orthodox historical understanding of things like sin and hell they are actually the ones with the high view.  The ambiguous concept of "love" is the driving theological framework for interpreting scripture.  The irony of this(which I can leave for another post to unpack) is that this newly defined "high" view of scripture requires us to accept that for 2000 years no one was ever capable of reading the Bible correctly.  The whole time God must have been so frustrated with all our mistakes, but, lo, a miracle occurred.  Modern professors and "theologians" finally arrived to set the record straight for God.  He must be so relieved!  I feel so bad for those uninformed bigots from 200 years ago because they are going straight to hell(if this movement believed in that.....)

Health and Wealth/Name it Claim it Jesus Movement

At least this movement gets things about sin right.  What do they get wrong.....This Jesus is a great buddy to have around.  His main purpose in your life at this moment is to make everything "Awesome!!!!"  Are you dying, pray.  Are you sick, pray.  Did another tribe just genocide nearly your entire people group....um...pray.....  And, if things don't work out in just the right way, you aren't praying enough, or have enough faith, or, have unrepented sin...probably related to not giving enough......

Even though Jesus died horrifically, and, Paul had a miserable experience, and pretty much every apostle died in unmentionably cruel ways...while generally being broke....This Jesus clearly says you are better than those Patriarchs of the Faith, because everything will be awesome. 

Can God heal, and bless, and do miracles in your life?  Of course!!!  But, pretty sure Jesus didn't come to Earth so your legs are the same length again....

Legalist Jesus Movement

This is the easiest Jesus to understand, and the hardest to combat.  Legalist Jesus is all about you cleaning up your act to prove your righteousness.  Which is really appealing to us in so many ways.  We like to see the goals and the hoops we need to achieve and jump through.  One, because it gives us a sense of personal self-worth when we accomplish it, and, two, it allows us to compare ourselves to other people...mostly how we are better than them.

This movement reads the Bible as a "how to" book on Self-Righteousness.  They like to sprinkle in a bit about Grace, and salvation by Faith, but in practice, its all in how you act.  It is a difficult challenge to address because it is hard to argue with the Bible saying, "Thou Shall Not".  Clearly you don't want to advocate for actively sinning, but it is hard to address what Grace really means.

The John 12:20-36 Jesus Movement

So how do we combat all of these false movements?  By seeing what Jesus said He was all about.  Throughout his ministry we keep getting this interesting refrain about it not being time yet.  And, then, in this passage, He says, "The Hour has Come".  Everything He was doing was simply a precursor to what His purpose and ministry was all about.  They were simple foreshadowings of the ultimate work and goal of Christ.

To Die.

To suffer.

To submit Himself fully to the will of the Father. 

To be the vessel by which God's justice, wrath and righteousness would be poured out upon.

To be the answer to our hopelessness. 

And answer not found in social justice movements, or healthier lifestyles and bigger houses, or, better ability to be self-righteous.  But an answer found in His death and His death alone.

The entirety of His ministry was to point people to the work of the Cross.  Did he heal, bless, love, serve?  Yes. But those acts were rooted in the promise of the Gospel.  Not as themselves alone having stand alone value.  The promise of the Gospel, the finished work on the Cross, is that God's covenantal promise with His people is that ALL things will be made new. 

A movement of Christians should be shaped, not by outward activities, but, by the purpose of Christ;  To die because of sin, for our sake.  And that is what leads to behaviors that foreshadow and give the foretaste to a desperate world what the Gospel is all about. 

If our message is not Christ Crucified, then we have no message.  And if we forget why Christ was crucified, we also have no message. 

What movement will you be a part of?

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