Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Not A Girlie Jesus!


Dear Friends,

Look at these two images of Jesus. Which one best represents the “real” Jesus to you? Why do you think that is? Now, remembering everything you’ve learned about the culture and people of the New Testament, which image do you think would be the more accurate representation of your Lord? 

The image on the left is called the “Pantocrator” (God Almighty) and is the oldest known icon (image) of Christ from the 6th century. The image on the right is how Jesus is typically portrayed today. How on earth did Jesus Christ morph into a feminized, blue-eyed Jesus with Lady Clairol wavy blond hair?

Over the years, Roman Catholic artists have created the images of Jesus that we typically see today in our Children’s Bibles and on our Sunday School walls. In “The Changing Face of the Priesthood,” author Donald Cozzens writes from a perspective as president-rector of a Catholic seminary. In discussing pedophile priests, he notes that the “Catholic priesthood has become a gay profession” and quotes Catholic studies showing that 58% of priests are homosexually oriented and the percentage of gay young seminarians is significantly higher. That’s why in today’s Catholic church, the masculinity of Jesus is diminished. 

In many liberal Protestant churches, God has been neutered and in one Evangelical Lutheran denomination, (not ELCA) pastors are banned from referring to God as “He” or “Lord” in order to not offend women in the congregations. Methodist church pastors are encouraged to use gender-neutral terms when referring to God and Jesus and to use the pronoun “she” when referring to the Holy Spirit. These modern church movements have tamed the rebel Jesus. The dangerously righteous Man of God who sits on the throne in judgement of the world Rev 20:11-15 has been gentled and made nice and safe for us. The great God Almighty has now become our boyfriend or our buddy. Kari Jobe is a Dove Award winning Christian artist. Here are the lyrics to her popular worship song, “The More I Seek You.”

The more I seek you, the more I find you; 
The more I find you, the more I love you
I wanna sit at your feet, drink from the cup in your hand.
Lay back against you and breath, hear your heart beat
This love is so deep, it's more than I can stand.
I melt in your peace, it's overwhelming.

I truly love the Lord God with all my heart. I love Jesus. But as a man, I gotta say that this sexualized worship song would be just too creepy for me to sing. Image a wife finally convincing her strong, masculine husband to attend church with her and then expecting him to stand in a congregation of mostly women and sing this worship song to Jesus! 

And then we wonder why the majority of American men see church as a “women’s thing” in a category with aroma-therapy, chick flicks, and quilting. And that’s why the neutering of God and the feminization of Jesus should matter to us. Women make up over 60% of every American church congregation and the more that our churches have demasculinized the church to make it comfortable for women, the less appealing it has become to men. And when men do go to church, typically the only man who actively practices his faith is the pastor. The church needs to teach the reality of Jesus. The dangerous and rebellious firebrand that He actually was. Not the icon on the right, but the icon on the left. 

Jesus was killed by the church authorities not because He was a mild-mannered, Milquetoast kind of guy. He was crucified because He was an agitator. The Son of God was a subversive troublemaker. We need to picture Jesus not like a Hugh Grant but more like Clint Eastwood. Jesus was not a boyfriend or a buddy, He was a guerilla revolutionary who attacked the pharisees and religious leaders. This maverick scorned the elite uppercrust and partied with the disreputable deplorables. He was accused of being a gluttonous man and an alcoholic because He hung out with tax collectors and other assorted sinners Matthew 11:19 and let a public prostitute wash His feet. Luke 7:37-39 Jesus flaunted the religious regulations and He healed on the Sabbath. When it came to demons, J.C. was the Terminator! He showed a complete disregard for other people’s livestock by sending demons into a large herd of pigs and drowning them. Luke 8:26-33 This rabble-rouser displayed a mocking disrespect for wealth and material goods. In fact, He was the antithetical prosperity preacher! He got into the face of the rich young guy and told him to “Sell everything you have and give the money to the poor!” Matthew 19:21

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not a dreamy nursery tale, it’s “Superman.” Think of Peter and Paul and the “Sons of Thunder,”John and his brother James. These were action-hero, take charge kind of guys. They were blunt, honest men who loved God and they were the church leadership.  Jesus built a church on twelve men who rocked the world and changed it forever. In the book of Acts, we read that the ancient church attracted men. Today’s church repels men. We need to reverse this trend and get the guys back. I’m not advocating a male-dominated church but a church that is equally filled with spiritually mature men and women. If we want to see revival in our country today, we need to preach about the God-Man. The rebel Jesus Christ. Amen?

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The AMEN Corner is a weekly devotional for the family and friends of New Hope Family Church. It is intended for this devotional to be strengthening, encouraging or comforting and your comments too should be for the glory of God and reflect the intended purpose of these posts.

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