24 December 2007

Christmas-eve question: Can the world "like Jesus"?

by Dan Phillips


DISCLAIMER: this is not about Dan Kimball (who believes and preaches things the world does not want to hear) nor his book, They Like Jesus but Not the Church. I haven't read it, and I make it a policy not to comment on things of which I know nothing. So it would be foolish to infer anything from this to that. This is about the phenomenon I've noticed since before I was saved, going back to the 60's and 70's, that virtually everyone — including unbelievers — wants to claim Jesus.


Jesus' brothers, who "were not believing in Him" (John 7:5), were trying to tell Him what to do. They had a program, an agenda, built on their own (unbelieving) bases, which they wanted to impose on Him. They knew what He "should" do, and told Him so (John 7:3-4).

Jesus' response is pretty frontal:
"My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil. 8 You go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come" (John 7:6-8)
Pluck out His words from the middle: "The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil" (v. 7). I notice two things: the world "cannot" hate Jesus' unbelieving brothers, but it does hate Jesus, because of what He says about it.

Let's turn that on its head, by asking two questions:

First, why does the world love Jesus' unbelieving brothers? Jesus says it hates Him because He bears witness of the evil nature of its works. From that, I infer that it loves His brothers because they do not. That is, His unbelieving brothers do not challenge the world's autonomous, God-hating, rebellious foundation. To the contrary, they affirm it by themselves resting on that same sandy base. They put their judgment over Jesus' judgment and, thus, over God's. The world sees in His brothers kindred spirits. "They're one of us — not like Him!"

Second, why does the world hate Jesus? Note, Jesus does use the strong word, "Hate." The world itself might not use that word. They might call Jesus "Good Teacher" (Mark 10:17), or flatter Him for His uncompromising stands (Matthew 22:16). But Jesus — perhaps doing the very thing for which the world hates Him — lays open their heart. Underneath all the unctuous language, the poses and the self-delusion, He finds not love nor admiration, but hatred.

And why? Because He rejects and exposes its view of itself. The world sees itself as better than God: smarter, wiser, morally and intellectually His superior. Jesus does not. The world sees itself as engaged in a fine and noble endeavor, headed towards a glorious future. Jesus sees it as a flowing sewer headed for irremediable disaster, treacherous and without excuse. The world sees itself as a great place to be, spiritually and in every other way. Jesus sees the only good thing about the world as being rescued from it (John 15:18-19) and kept from its influences while still physically (not spiritually) in it (John 17:14-16).

Jesus makes the world feel really bad about itself qua world, and He makes it look bad. And it hates Him for it.

So why does virtually every worldling speak so highly of Jesus? Jesus says they hate Him; the world says it loves Him.

Simple. They're lying. (Hel-lo? They're the world! Their whole foundation is a lie: "You shall be as God"! Buy into that lie, and everything else is easy.)

Now, worldlings don't think they're lying, and here's how they work that out. You could make it a recipe:
  1. Take one "Jesus"
  2. Subtract (or ignore) all the nasty bits that you hate
  3. Inject all the lovely notions you admire
  4. Shake periodically
  5. Serve with a sauce of deep (albeit groundless) assurance
In that recipe, the quotation-marks are essential. As with "God," the world simply uses "Jesus" as a verbal unit. They take the Humpty-Dumpty approach to etymology:
"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less"
So when the world says "Jesus" in admiring tones, perhaps with a fond tear in its eye, it means "Someone who makes me feel great about being me, just as I am, and empowers me to achieve my own goals."

It means "Jesus." Not the real, un-tame, dangerous, edgy Jesus of the whole Bible.

Before the Lord saved me, I was the same way. I was a cultist, and I liked "Jesus." I just knew that Christians had Him all wrong. He believed that God was in everyone without exception, and that I should have everything I wanted — just like I did! And so does just about every cult, ism, sect, and anti-Christian philosophy. Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Moslems, New Agers — they all like "Jesus." It's nice to have "Jesus" on your bandwagon, rooting for you and cheering for you. "Jesus" — who is (or is not) Lucifer's spirit-brother, the archangel Michael, a prophet of Allah, functional second-fiddle to other personages and rituals and institutions, an ascended mystic master.... "Jesus." They like that guy a lot.

I recently had to make an extraordinarily difficult decision, and take a very painful stand, simply and solely because of what I believe the Bible to teach. An unbeliever took me to task for it, admonishing me that it wasn't acting like her image of Jesus, who was nice and affirming and accepting of everyone and everything.

Well, of course it wasn't. Her "Jesus" is made-up.

In fact (and here, at last, is my point) it should have really worried me if my decision did meet with her full approval, in this instance. What I did is not what she would have done. It did not blend well with her view of the universe. Therefore, it was not something that the Jesus she made up in her own image would have done.

She liked "Jesus," but not me.

Which is what I should have expected, though foolishly I did not. In fact, if it had happened as I anticipated, I should have been really worried about myself.

Because, insofar as I am true to my profession to be a Jesus-believer, a student (and subject) of Jesus', I will not be in-step with the world at a number of specific points. Indeed I will be totally out-of-step with it at its very foundation. I should not only consider it possible that it will dislike me and find my core beliefs absurd, I should expect it (John 15:18-19; 1 John 3:13). The world's way of looking at itself and God and things should be totally different than my way, if I am true to Jesus, whom (if He is to believed) it hates.

So there it is.
  1. The world likes "Jesus"
  2. The world hates Jesus
If I presented a "Jesus" whom the world did like — without its being drawn to Him in genuine repentance and reverent love — I would be deeply concerned that I was presenting "another Jesus." Because it certainly would be "another Jesus" than the Jesus who said, in so many words, that the world hates Him.

When we as Christians lose sight of this, we serve neither it nor Him.


AFTERWORD

With this, on behalf of my friends and brothers here at PyroManiacs, I wish you all a very Merry Nativity. God grant that we have opportunities to speak (and preach) of Him on this occasion, and grab those opportunities in His name. Soon, Lord willing, I will begin preparations for my annual Christmas-eve pizza, and we Phillipses will worship Him at our church's Christmas Eve service, and read and speak of our Lord's incarnation on Christmas Day.

Don't be dissuaded from worship and witness by arguments that Christmas is just another pagan holiday; it is not. You can celebrate a Calvinistic Christmas with a clear conscience.

Dan Phillips's signature

70 comments:

Ebenezer Erskine said...

Gentlemen,

I like what I see here and you may have an Ally in my blog. Please feel free to check it out.

Don Fields said...

Everyone loves baby Jesus, but so few love King Jesus, Lord Jesus, Jesus coming on a white horse with the sword of judgment coming out of His mouth.

DJP said...

Herod didn't love baby Jesus — but that's because he foresaw precisely what you highlight.

SolaMeanie said...

Good post.

I am not sure if this is a real quote or apocryphal, but one of the Wesleys supposedly asked preachers he had sent out two questions. One, did anyone come to saving faith? If the answer was no, he would ask, "Did anyone get mad at you?" If they answered no to that question, Wesley would then retort, "Then you weren't preaching the Gospel."

I always found that enlightening (despite Wesley's Arminianism).

Hayden said...

Dan,

Thanks for the great post.

This is SO different from what one of the local cable news networks is promoting with their Christmas Eve airing of a church service from a 'bestselling author and megapastor' where he says, "God made you to love you..." without any qualifications.

It has aired time and time again and has left me unsettled each time, not because I do not think that our God is love, but because it plays right in to what you so astutely pointed out in your article.

Also of note teh network had on another 'bestselling author' who has that great smile. He told everyone that 'you have to love yourself to progress in life'. What an opportunity to teach the Gospel. The interviewer was actually serving up softball questions, did he hit it outta the park? No :(

Dan, you have to write a bestseller so you can be on the talking heads shows so we can see a "Christian" leader stand up for "Christ", the real one you wrote about in this article. Merry Christmas to you and your family :)

DJP said...

When they say "God is love," they mean "God is unconditional approval."

donsands said...

Excellent teaching.

It helps if we do expect to be hated. The pain may still be heavy, but it's less intense when you know our Lord says, "The world hates Me, and it will hate you."

And knowing the Lord is pleased and loves us when we trust Him, and speak the truth in love helps as well.

Feliz Navidad!

Sharon said...

As my pastor so aptly put it yesterday, you cannot comprehend Christmas without Easter. And Easter makes no sense without Christmas. In fact, he noted that there are more songs written about the birth of Jesus, but precious few about His Resurrection. And then he challenged us to do something about that. I guess we have our work cut out, eh?

Have a blessed Christmas, everyone. He came that we might be forgiven!

A Musician by Grace

agonizomai said...

I think many people think Jesus came to rescue us from the Father but don't understand that the Son and the Father are one - a perfect unity. On the one hand they completely miss the fact that the Son's love for the world was the same love as Father's. Conversely, they refuse to see that the Father's wrath upon sin is also the same wrath as the Son's - and that the Son will be present in the conscious torment of the wicked. (Rev 14:10)

You are absolutely spot on in nailing the self-invented "Jesus". Nailing the real Jesus is something that many will refuse to take responsibility for.

Remember Pink's words - " If the gospel were more faithfully preached fewer would profess to believe it." If the real Christ were more faithfully presented then fewer would get away with misrepresenting Him.

God is to be adored for all of His attributes in all of His Persons.

Stellar stuff, Dan.

Blessings

candyinsierras said...

A Merry Christmas to Phil, Dan, and Frank, and may God bless you and your families in the coming year. Thanks for all your hard work on the blog.

God bless
Candy

Johnny Dialectic said...

sola, thanks for the Wesley quote. Love it (and no prob with the theology!)

Also, the Pink quote from agonizomai (who in reality is the American crime fiction writer Elmore Leonard, or his less famous twin).

Phil Johnson said...

Sorry about the problems with the graphics and other links today. Apparently the servers at GTY are down. I'm told it's being worked on, but I can't collect my e-mail because of whatever the problem is, so I have no clue how serious it is or how long the problems might last.

But since it's a holiday, I'm going to try to ignore it for a few hours and hope it gets fixed before I interrupt someone else's holiday and tell them to fix it.

eastendjim said...

I used to love that "Jesus".
The problem was he didnt exist.

I was only loving an idol, created in my own heart and mind, one that would allow me to live in my sin.

I hated those Christians that presented the real Jesus because that would wake up my conscience to the truth of my spiritual bankruptcy.

Fortunately, the real Jesus brought me to that place of brokeness, repentance and faith that only He can do.


Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a most Blessed New Year.

centuri0n said...

booyah, I say, and again I say booyah.

That baby in a feeding trough sure causes a lot of trouble.

centuri0n said...

Phil -- can I come work for you, please?

Mike Riccardi said...

This is just one of those messages that I just want to force everyone in America to read and respond to, especially in the wake of Joel Osteen's latest.

We need to keep praying and trusting in our God to reveal Himself to the vessels of mercy.

There is no wisdom and no understanding And no counsel against the LORD. The horse is prepared for the day of battle, But victory belongs to the LORD. -- Proverbs 21:30-31

BugBlaster said...

Merry Nativity to you too, firebugs.

pastorbrianculver said...

I challenged a Christian radio station a couple of weeks ago. I was listening to the music and heard about 40% of the music was secular based (Rudolf and Frosty come to mind!). I told them I was not going to listen to them anymore due to their insistance of placating the non christian world. I had spoken with one of the reporters from there once before and got the feeling that they did not want to offend anyone so they just play "good" "christian" music. My letter to them challenged them to present the Law of God and the need to repent of sins coupled with the Good News. It was actually a pretty long letter pleading with them to do the right thing regardless of worrying about offending people by proclaiming the gospel to them. I really did not expect a reply but today I got an email from the station manager. His radio station is 50 miles away. He is going to drive to my home town and meet me at McDonalds. He said he really wants to talk to me personally about this. Please keep this in your prayers. It might be an opening to them changing their format. Merry Christmas to everyone!
Brian

SolaMeanie said...

Mike,

That Osteen interview was appalling, especially his answer on Mormonism. But it's also of a piece with his usual MO.

I imagine there are lots of ticklish ears out there.

jojo said...

Well when Jesus said the world hated him...who exactly was that?

Prostitutes and tax collectors?

No, it was the religious establishment that hated him.

That was his definition of the world if taken in context.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Game winning homerun.

Great post, great message. Totally biblical.

Love the fact that you took a stand for the real Jesus instead of enabling a false Jesus for a woman who could not conceive of a Jesus that the world hates.

BrotherMichael said...

When Jesus asked His disciples who men were saying He was, the disciples reported that folks were speaking pretty highly of Him. However, the people were wrong about Him. He is not a great prophet, a good teacher, or a really nice guy. He is the Christ, the Son of the Loving God!

Merry Nativity to you, and thanks for your work for the Kingdom!

SolaMeanie said...

Nice try, Jojo, but I think you'd better look again.

Are you forgetting how quickly the crowd turned on the Lord after His trial? I am sure that crowd included the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker, not just the religious establishment.

wenxian said...

Hello Dan,

[Don't be dissuaded from worship and witness by arguments that Christmas is just another pagan holiday; it is not.]

The day on which we call christmas was meant to comemorate a pagan holiday. The origins of 'christ'mas was pagan and i give you 2 proofs from the bible directly, from which you can infer clearly that the season of winter was not the time of Christ's birth.

NIV
[Luke 2:1-3]
The Birth of Jesus

1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3And everyone went to his own town to register.

[Luke 2:8] 8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.

(v1-3) The romans were known to be one of the best administrators in the ancient world. A census in full winter? And during winter solstice where people ought to be celebration a pagan festival? By calling a census during that time, the romans would be risking

1) deaths of many due to forcing people to travel in full winter, rendering the census inaccurate.
2) a mass revolt due to when they deprive the people of a festival to celebrate due to the census.

Secondly, (v8)

Shepherds do not let their sheep out in winter. They keep them in a barn to feed on food stores. This is obvious.

While it is true that "You can celebrate a Calvinistic Christmas with a clear conscience.", [because the book of Romans tells us that some people treat certain days as sacred, that is a personnal decision, which we ought respect; and administratively, everyone all over the world have come to accept dec25 as a christian holiday] we must concede that dec25 is at best a poor representation of the true day of christ's birth.

This attitude is vital because the World is joyous at dec25. Now if Jesus is really as offensive to the world as you have mentioned in your post, wouldn't the world curse and swear at this day, the day where the Lord had came to condemn with finality the people who will rebel against him (i.e. the world) and save those who will be in Him?

we have to be consistent. Since the world creates a 'Jesus' that was born at Dec25(i.e. winter season), this 'Jesus' which was born at this season is a one that people can mock because biblically, it is not consistent. And this pleases them.

We should remain separate and testify to the truth. Why follow the world's definition of Jesus' birthday?

So to me, Christmas is but a normal day. Mayhaps a season to preach the gospel at best. A merry Xmas to you all.

Gilbert said...

To all:

Merry Christmas. And given how I am, and that Jesus still saved me...it brings tears to my eyes.

Merry indeed!

Gilbert said...

Oh, one more thing.

When you get a moment, sit back...and click on this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5el-SGM5q1I

ezekiel said...

Wenxian,

"Shepherds do not let their sheep out in winter. They keep them in a barn to feed on food stores. This is obvious.

A quick study of the climate in Israel...that is where the story comes from...may indicate a flaw in your analysis. The only reason to store hay (sheep food) is to use when you can't grow it.

Some grass varieties grow well in cooler temps. Wheat (hard red winter wheat) grows all winter and sheep are grazed on it all winter. Then if the sheep are pullled off in the spring, it will head out and can be harvested...

Karen (Rosesandtea) said...

Great post! Happy Christmas to all.

Karen (Rosesandtea) said...

Sheep in winter? They are out all year round, up in Scotland, northern (as well as southern) England, Wales - while it's mild down here, up in Scotland and on the mountains of Wales does get pretty rough and cold! Putting sheep in barns for any great length of time is a great way to have them all sick from respitory illness. God is such a wonderful Creator God, I marvel at our chameleon who has such a tiny brain yet is more graceful than any man-made robot, and can do more things than robots with his tiny tiny brain, and I marvel at creatures who live in all sorts of inhospitable places. What a great God we have! He made things for us to only watch and marvel at, and plenty of creatures we can use for our benefit no matter where we live. Amazing. Hallelujah! May we notice God's handiwork in this season - blessed Christmas, all.

Johnny Dialectic said...

It's quite true that the early church selected the date of the pagan festival "sol invictus" as the "official" celebration of Christ's birth. I find that an absolutely inspired idea. To Christianize a pagan practice, to overcome darkness with light, to educate pagans by way of their own practices, is, for want of a better term, coolly triumphant.

True, the Puritans didn't see it that way (leading thus to the issue of "Calvinistic Christmas" or not. You may fight that out amongst yourselves). But they weren't exactly known for their celebratory bent anyway. Best leave them to their time and place.

The Message unfolds in the gospels by starting with the announcement of good news of great joy which will be for all people. It's really okay to pause and collectively celebrate that aspect once a year.

candyinsierras said...

But they weren't exactly known for their celebratory bent anyway. Best leave them to their time and place.

Oh, I don't know, I have heard some Puritans imbibed a bit of hard cider now and then. They get a bad rap when it comes to celebrations perhaps.

I could be wrong.

Daryl said...

Wexnian need a basic geography lesson to go along with his much needed history lesson methinks.

Excellent article Dan

Daryl said...

Incidentally,

Didn't anyone follow Dan's links about the history of Christmas before commenting on it???

Caleb Kolstad said...

Thanks!

DJP said...

DarylDidn't anyone follow Dan's links about the history of Christmas before commenting on it???

THANK YOU, Daryl, for saying what I so often wish someone other than I would say.

Drew said...

What about, "Good news, of great joy, for all people?"

Merry Christmas!

DJP said...

Ah yes, prelude to the angelic chorus, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!" (Luke 2:14)

DJP said...

JoJoNo, it was the religious establishment that hated him.

That was his definition of the world if taken in context.


I've been trying to make sense out of that, and haven't succeeded yet.

What religion were the soldiers who beat Him, spat on Him, and mocked Him? And Pilate — what church did he go to?

John often (not always) uses "the Jews" to indicate the religious readers, not "world." What exegetical tips make you tip "world" in that direction? And Jesus said He chose the disciples out of the world (John 15:19) — they were the religious establishment? Matthew, the tax collector? Yikes.

eastendjim said...

Jo Jo,

"Prostitutes and tax collectors?
No, it was the religious establishment that hated him."

Even assuming that your statement is correct, the question still reamains.
Did the religious establishment hate Jesus because they were the religious establishment or was it that they did not recognize their sinful hearts full of self-righteous pride?

Conversely, did the prostitutes and tax collectors love Jesus because they were prostitutes and tax collectors or because they fully understood the sinfulness of their sin and were humble in their hearts?

Loving or hating the real Jesus does not come from who we are but from the perception of our heart condition.

wenxian said...

Hello all,

Daryl, fortunately, i followed both links and found no evidence to the contrary to disprove the fact that the season and timing was wrong. They assumed that Jesus must die at the time of his contraception or birth.

All 3 references are actually just one reference. From that reference, if you assume contraception, then yeah you may be right. But if you assume birth, then Jesus should have died in december. This arguement is too loose.

Unfortuately, this WAS the crux of the arguement. Secondly, the earliest celebrations was 336AD (refer to the source). So what happened in the 300 years?

Surely if the day was by any means special, you should have a wealth of evidence from the early proving it! After all, there are loads of evidences of the Jews celebrating the Purim etc. This also means that the apostoles who lived after Jesus died did not likely celebrate the birth of Christ. The problem: not one single piece of evidence before that time; neither gospel nor elsewhere.

The silence is deafening.

However, there is absolutely nothing wrong with celebrating christmas at a personnal/family level, as alluded earlier. I am by no means saying that it is absolutely wrong to celebrate christmas. Please do not see it that way.

I am simply speaking a fact. Christ simply wasn't born that time. While it may be possible (and impossible) to put sheep out, the idea of a roman census in winter is quite foolhardy. And for good measure, it disrupts festivities.

The question is: is it right to christianize a previously pagan religion? Did God ask for it to be done? Was it done biblically? If yes, please tell me where and i will accept it (provided it makes sense).

If not, the regulative principle should apply because the celebration of holy days is a calling of people to worship on that day - such things cannot be taken lightly.

Thanks. One and all. It was stimulating.

wenxian said...

A separate comment. (an extrapolation, not exactly biblical)

It think it was deliberately left by the Lord to make it almost impossible to acertain the time of the birth of Christ. Maybe becos God wants us to worship Him every week and not just Christmas? (which i believe does not apply to any of you all here).

Just as the Lord came to the earth at a time unknown, the Lord will return again at a time unknown. I might be quite wrong about this. I guess we'll never know. [note i am NOT emergent, and i am not trying to employ an emergent tactic - i am saying that some things are not meant to be known for certain because they are not written in the bible in plain black and white]

Theophilus said...

Remember Pink's words - " If the gospel were more faithfully preached fewer would profess to believe it."

"Jesus sees it as a flowing sewer headed for irremediable disaster, treacherous and without excuse."

Two Great quotes.

I can only use another quote in response: (John 3:18-20)

Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.

The offence of the Cross.

Drew said...

So, DJP, "all people" is really "some people" because of the line that follows?

And wexian, what you says makes perfect sense, but if you have read the comments that followed the posts on the truth war, you should know that it will be rejected.

DJP said...

This is pretty characteristic of "dialogue" with you, isn't it, Drew? You like what you think one angel said, but not so much what the whole host says.

Benjamin Nitu said...


World's irony:
The less they know about Jesus, the more they love Him.
The more they know about Jesus, the more they hate Him."

Mike Riccardi said...

I hope this isn't feeding the trolls. If it is, tell me and I'll delete it; or you guys can just delete it.
--------------------------------------

Short version on "all people" in Luke 2:

The Jews were expecting a Messiah just for them.

Jesus would also be a 'light to the Gentiles'.

Taken in its historical context, "I bring you good news of great joy that will be for both Jews and Gentiles alike."

SolaMeanie said...

Dan,

I think you're coming to realize that "dialogue" with these people isn't really dialogue. It's more akin to the hamster running inside that little wheel in his cage.

I sometimes think I'd get more real, considered, reasoned discussion talking to myself while listening to the Moody Blues in a darkened room staring at a Peter Max poster under blacklight.

Magnus said...

I read somewhere that the animals in the field were kept out all year long because they were destined to be sacrificed at the temple. If I remember it somewhat it had something to do with the Jewish belief that the Messiah would be revealed by the watchtower of flocks, if I rmember the source I will post it and if anyone else here knows it then feel free to help me out.

Mike Riccardi said...

Sola,

You mean 'dialogue', right?

Drew said...

I like what the host says, too! I don't understand how it negates what the one says--I read them together.

SolaMeanie said...

Mike,

Yeah, that's it. And then afterward, I feel like this.

What's a boy to do?

Johnny Dialectic said...

sola, do you dress that way, too?

DJP said...

That's great, Drew, if true. Then we're back from your odd bypath to what the post and my comments said: the message of the whole inerrant Word.

Drew said...

So you think, then, that the birth of Christ is good news of great joy for all people?

Then why is Jesus so unlikable?

SolaMeanie said...

Drew,

I suggest you take a year's time out and read Scripture. Nothing else. Start with the Gospel of John, followed by the Book of Acts, Romans, and then the rest of the New Testament. Stay away from other books. Stay away from Emergent conventions. Don't post comments on blogs. Just read your Bible. Then come back next year and we'll see if you have the same questions and the same attitude.

Hint: Sometimes the scope of the word "all" is revealed in the context of the passage, harmonized with other passages.

SolaMeanie said...

Johnny,

Alas, no. I prefer basic black or battleship grey. It's such a zippy color. It goes well with my black Rickenbacker 4001 bass.

Did you know that Nehru jackets are coming back in style? I refuse to wear one, though. We've got enough Woodstock, lava lamps and hash brownies in the church today as it is.

donsands said...

"Then why is Jesus so unlikable?"

Here's one reason, if I might chime in.

" .. men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.
For everyone that does evil hates the light,"
"Jesus said, I am the light of the world"

"Why do you not understand My speech? because you cannot hear My Word."

DJP said...

Drew -- Then why is Jesus so unlikable?

That's a great question.

Or it would be, anyway, if I hadn't just written a post answering it.

Do you at least sometimes read the posts, or just go straight to the Comments section?

chicagolandmark said...

benjamin nitu nailed it.

"World's irony:
The less they know about Jesus, the more they love Him.
The more they know about Jesus, the more they hate Him."

The world is head over heels for "homeboy Jesus". The world can't get enough of "genie Jesus". They love the all-affirmation-all-the-time "Stuart Smalley type Jesus". And what worldling can resist the "lucky charm Jesus"? Every worldling sing, /I don't care if it rains or freezes/'Long as I got my plastic "Jesus"/Riding on the dashboard of my car/...

But the "Woe" Jesus, no thanks. The "brood of vipers" Jesus, they'll have no part of Him. They won't acknowledge the "Repent" Jesus. And, they live as though the "wailing and gnashing of teeth" Jesus doesn't exist. They don't understand, nor do they care too, the "You must be born again" Jesus.

In a nutshell, by the worlds calculus, the imaginary idol "Jesus" is cool, the King of kings and Lord of lords holy, holy, holy Jesus is not. That latter, true to life, historical, living Jesus is largely unknown to the world...and when the world does encounter Him, they find Him offensive and they deride Him.

None of this, of course, is surprising. Holiness is not a worldly pursuit, and one can't draw near to God and know Him without it. It is as true for the tares in the professing church, as it is for the the drunkard at the track, and all who are perishing. God has not sanctified them, nor do they sanctify Him in their hearts and manner of living.

Mike Riccardi said...

Here's a pertinent quote from A.W. Pink, flowing from Dan's post and, most recently, Mark's thoughts:

The ‘god’ which the vast majority of professing Christians ‘love,’ is looked upon very much like an indulgent old man, who himself has no relish for folly, but leniently winks at the ‘indiscretions’ of youth. But the Word says, ‘Thou hatest all workers of iniquity’ (Ps. 5:5). And again, ‘God is angry with the wicked every day” (Ps. 7:11). But men refuse to believe in this God, and gnash their teeth when His hatred of sin is faithfully pressed upon their attention. No, sinful man was no more likely to devise a holy God than to create the Lake of fire in which he will be tormented for ever and ever. -- A.W. Pink, The Attributes of God; the Holiness of God.

S.J. Walker said...

I'll be starting meetings for
"Blasphemers Anonymous" soon.

If you're an emergent, think you're an emergent, know someone who is, we encourage you to come and curse the name of God by saying He is incapable of inspiring His Word without mistake.

Admission (of guilt) is free. However, a True Repentance fee of either your life, or surrender to Christ's will be required for graduation.

Sign up today!
___________

Phil,

This is not on the topic of whether or not the world can "like" Christ or not. But, after reading through the post and the comments herein. It seems that no matter what the subject is that is being "discussed", inerrancy seems to be the common denominator for those who esteem "dialog" over Scriptural authority.

Happy New Year

Daryl said...

Wexnian,

You offered reasons why the guys calculating Jesus birth were wrong. I don't see anyone disputing that they were wrong, only that they came up with December 25 after a good faith attempt, given what they knew and what they believed.

Contrary to that, you simply state that they co-opted a pagan holiday offering no evidence for that other than "common knowledge".

You lose.

Dan,

I know you didn't intend this but, man, does this thread and comments by our favourite ECwe ever demonstrate how the EC will ignore the obvious in order to try and make their traditions sound legitimate.

Funny how "Because the world hates me, it will hate you" doesn't qualify a proof that the world hates Jesus and (if we are faithful) us as well.

Keep up the good work, high-lighting God's gracious work on behalf of his people.

A Simple Bloggtrotter said...

I wonder if blogger still hates me or if this will postthis time.

A Simple Bloggtrotter said...

sweet.

Strong Tower said...

"Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."

Doca en uyistoiv qew kai epi ghv eirhnh en anqrwpoiv eudokiav.

If we take all the superfluous English out of this we might render it:

God the Highest Glory in a man with whom He is well pleased on Earth.

Anthropos is not necessarily plural. Seeing that the name given Him is Emmanuel, God with us, and Jesus, God is Salvation, and it is with the glory of God's light that he is heralded, the focus of the angel's doxology is Christ and not mankind, perhaps?

Not to throw a wrench into the particular declaration that is indicated seeing that this is the same well pleased that we find in Philippians 2:13, that addresses a peculiar people marked out from the beginning to end for His glory (see Luke 10:21), but, this text in Luke is not focussed upon man, but upon the glory of God now appearing as man. It could well be then that the Angels are not anouncing blessing to mankind but are as the word doca indicates announcing the doxologos, the Word incarnate, who is according to the Gospels: “Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles...He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him”...and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased”...For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell...For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased”. It is the dokaylogos that he is well pleased with.

Personally, I like the particularity when it is rendered the traditional way, because it fits quite well with the particularity of John and elsewhere.

Dan has picked up a theme that is sorely lacking at Christmas. Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” The purpose of the incarnation, the reason for the birth, the coming in on this very night was to proclaim that judgement had come. This is why men hate the babe in Bethlehem so much that they redefine who he is.

In this one verse out of John, there is particularity that cannot be denied. Jesus coming into the world does not bring joy to all. To some he gives sight, to others he blinds. Particularly particular, I would say. And all do hate, being in sin, we all at one time had our conversation among men, hating God. Perhaps the greatest tradgedy of Christmas is that it makes Christ accessable, amenable, a "friend of the world" only and not a judge of friends whose wounds are faithful.

I may have mangled the syntax of the Greek, but not to do away with the meaning. I did so, because the the dokay is not about man. When the gift of John 3:16 is made to be toward man, and not toward God as propitiation of sin, the glory of God is robbed. So I mangled to restore His glory to its rightful place. For we see Christmas to be about mankind, and not about the Christ who we should behold, like the shepherds did, the babe, as fullness of the glory of God on Earth.

Mike said...

s.j. - I hope your BA meetings will include those who curse the name of God by saying He is incapable of preserving His inspired Word down the centuries through transcription and translation without mistake.

S.J. Walker said...

Mike,

We cover that on step #5.

Jon said...

a quote from Charles Spurgeon:

“We have no superstitious regard for times and seasons. Certainly we do not believe in the present ecclesiastical arrangement called Christmas: first, because we do not believe in the mass at all, but abhor it, whether it be said or sung in Latin or in English; and, secondly, because we find no Scriptural warrant whatever for observing any day as the birthday of the Saviour; and, consequently, its observance is a superstition, because not of divine authority.
Superstition has fixed most positively the day of our Saviour’s birth, although
there is no possibility of discovering when it occurred. Fabricius gives a catalogue of 136 different learned opinions upon the matter; and various divines
invent weighty arguments for advocating a date in every month in the year. It was not till the middle of the third century that any part of the church celebrated the nativity of our Lord; and it was not till very long after the
Western church had set the example, that the Eastern adopted it. Because the day is not known, therefore superstition has fixed it; while, since the day of the
death of our Saviour might be determined with much certainty, therefore superstition shifts the date of its observance every year. Where is the method in the madness of the superstitious? Probably the fact is that the holy days were arranged to fit in with heathen festivals. We venture to assert, that if there be any day in the year, of which we may be pretty sure that it was not the day on which the Saviour was born, it is the twenty-fifth of December.
Nevertheless since, the current of men’s thoughts is led this way just now, and I see no evil in the current itself, I shall launch the bark of our discourse upon that stream, and make use of the fact, which I shall neither justify nor
condemn, by endeavoring to lead your thoughts in the same direction. Since it is
lawful, and even laudable, to meditate upon the incarnation of the Lord upon any day in the year, it cannot be in the power of other men’s superstitions to render such a meditation improper for to-day. Regarding not the day, let us,
nevertheless, give God thanks for the gift of his dear son.”

I love Christmas and the true meaning of it.

DJP said...

MikeI hope your BA meetings will include those who curse the name of God by saying He is incapable of preserving His inspired Word down the centuries through transcription and translation without mistake.

How about those who say that God is "incapable" of making cookies, pies, ice cream, and pastries that can be made from the richest ingredients and eaten without limit and to the heart's content, without adding one ounce or inch?

Aren't there about the same number of people in each group?

Mark B. Hanson said...

This article reminds me of the title of a book someday want(ed) to write: "Betrayed With a Kiss: How the World Religions Want Jesus, But Not the One in the Bible".