Choosing the reproach of Christ

Like his parents, Moses would have to choose between his royal family and his Israelite brethren. Events would eventually culminate in a decision to identify with one or the other.

The Bible recalls “the Egyptians were in dread of the people of Israel,” and “made their lives bitter with hard service” and “ruthlessly made them work as slaves” (Exodus 1:12,13). The easy choice for Moses would have been to remain with his royal family. Instead he “refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:24,25). Continue reading “Choosing the reproach of Christ”

Gone to meddlin’

One of my elders used this familiar phrase Sunday – you know the one. “Preacher, you quit preachin’ and gone to meddlin’.” It’s a sad day when preaching meddles in our marriages, meddles in our work ethics, meddles in our use of money. Of course, that elder was kidding. But I like the phrase because it says something important. There is an idea out there, not quite said but believed nonetheless, that preaching isn’t supposed to actually demand lifestyle changes, commitment, or repentance.

It’s not supposed to suggest that some actions are morally wrong, or that if there are true teachings there must be false teachings, too. It’s not supposed to proclaim that there is a right way and a wrong way, or worse, that there is just one way, one truth, and one life (John 14:6).

That’s so exclusive! We need to include all kinds of lifestyles! Continue reading “Gone to meddlin’”

Hookers, crooks and the Great Physician

Rad JesusSeeking to co-opt Jesus’ moral influence to advance an agenda, a popular meme making the social media circuit asserts:

“Jesus hung around with lepers, hookers and crooks.”

No one hung around with lepers in the ancient world, they were isolated.

“the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with the sinners and publicans, said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? And when Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of a physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:16 ASV)

His critics said he was hanging around with sinners, Jesus said he was there as a physician. Not to party, but as a physician. Continue reading “Hookers, crooks and the Great Physician”

The politically useful Jesus vs. the Jesus of the Bible

Rad JesusJohn Fugalsang is one of the political types – recognizing the powerful moral influence of Jesus – seeking to make Jesus useful for his own social/political agenda. Fugalsang, in seeking power and legitimacy for his own views, recreates Jesus in his own image.

Fugalsang has a popular meme going around social media that spins Jesus into a more politically useful mold. This man-made Jesus has just enough of the ring of truth to carry some weight. But is it the truth?

Fugalsang begins claiming Jesus was a “radical, non-violent revolutionary.” Continue reading “The politically useful Jesus vs. the Jesus of the Bible”