Too many people think Jesus is a rabbit’s foot or a four leaf clover. They neglect Him often but pull Him out when they need something. Both the politician around election time and the agnostic with a sick family member personify this stereotype. I have heard preachers say that for many Americans, Jesus is viewed as Santa Clause waiting on our Christmas list or a genie that pops out a lamp and gives us three wishes whenever we choose. Unfortunately this is how many people view my Lord and Savior.
They are seriously mistaken.
This is not limited to individuals. Entire denominations claim to be Christian, yet adamantly deny foundational pillars of Christian belief. They left orthodox theology generations ago, yet still hold the elements of Jesus they like. These churches do great work in opening soup kitchens for the homeless and raising money for disabled veterans, at the same time attacking the authenticity of the Bible.
Acceptance, tolerance and diversity are cherished above all, while holiness and piety are maligned. I often wonder why they still call themselves Christian. I can only figure they are using Jesus’ name to accomplish their agenda and loosely clinging to Him in case He actually does exist. If God is real He mustn’t intervene or halt progress; so He is acknowledged in order to be kept at bay.
The common term for this is liberal theology. The central aspect of their gospel is bringing about social or political change. Paul Enns defines their basic beliefs as:
1. The Bible is not God-breathed or spoken by divine inspiration and contains errors.
2. There was no virgin birth.
3. There was no physical or bodily resurrection of Christ.
4. Jesus was a good moral teacher but did not perform miracles.
5. Hell isn’t real. All people go to heaven when they die (Universalism).
6. The Bible was written by different men than most people believe.
7. The most important commandment is “Love thy neighbor.”
8. There is no absolute truth.
Does “liberal theology” sound like an oxymoron to you, too? Perhaps I am old-fashioned and closed-minded, but I find much contradiction here. C.S. Lewis said that Jesus is a lunatic, a liar or Lord.
He can only be one. He claimed to be the Son of God, the Messiah in the flesh (John 8:58, John 14:9, John 20:28). Either he was crazy and thought He was God, lied about it, or truly was the Son of God. It can’t be all three. Also, the Bible isn’t a buffet line that you go through, picking out the stuff you like and omitting the parts that you don’t like. It’s either all true or all false; there is no in-between.
Christianity is all or nothing. Either Jesus is the Lord of your life or your worst enemy. There is no middle ground. You have either completely surrendered your heart and life to Him or you are directly opposed to Him in every fiber of your being. Jesus isn’t you’re good luck charm you pull out when you get in trouble or you need something.
He is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Alpha and Omega who gave His life on a cruel Roman cross for His people. As A.W. Tozer said, “He is either Lord of all or isn’t Lord at all.” He shall never be manipulated, fooled or abused. Jesus isn’t your good luck charm!
Andy Waits is associate pastor/worship & students at First Baptist Church Springville.