Wednesday, June 29, 2022

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, 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 Protestant Sunday School walls. The feminization of Jesus continues today. Fr. Donald Cozzens is the president-rector of a Catholic seminary and in “The Changing Face of the Priesthood,” he writes that the problem of pedophile priests attracted to young boys is because the “Catholic priesthood has become a gay profession” and quotes Catholic studies showing that 58% of today's priests are homosexually oriented. He notes that the percentage of young seminarians who are gay is significantly higher. Their homilies tend to de-emphasize the masculinity of Jesus and present Him as gender-neutral. 

In nearly all liberal Protestant churches, God has been neutered and in one Evangelical Lutheran denomination, pastors are banned from referring to God as “He” or “Lord” in order to not offend women. Some in the ELCA Lutheran church are even preaching a "woke" Jesus who is transgender. The Episcopal church often refers to Him as “Mother God.” Methodist church pastors are instructed 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. 

Even in many Evangelical churches, 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 way too creepy for me to sing in church. Image a wife finally convincing her husband to attend church with her and then expecting him to stand in a congregation of mostly women and sing this love song to a man – 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 then when men are in 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.

Jesus was killed by the church authorities not because He was a mild-mannered, non-offensive kind of guy. He was crucified because He was an agitator. The Son of God was not a spiritual snowflake but 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 upper-crust 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 Son of God was not a spiritual snowflake 
but a subversive troublemaker.

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 physically and spiritually strong men who rocked the world and changed it forever. In the book of Acts, we read that the ancient church attracted mostly 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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