02 April 2015

The World likes "Jesus"

by Dan Phillips

From 2006 to 2012, PyroManiacs turned out almost-daily updates from the Post-Evangelical wasteland -- usually to the fear and loathing of more-polite and more-irenic bloggers and readers. The results lurk in the archives of this blog in spite of the hope of many that Google will "accidentally" swallow these words and pictures whole.

This feature enters the murky depths of the archives to fish out the classic hits from the golden age of internet drubbings.

The following excerpt was written by Dan back in December 2007. Dan reminded us that the world can't like (much less love) the real Jesus.

As usual, the comments are closed.
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.

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.