This reflection was inspired by the short story Why Do the Heathen Rage by Flannery O’Connor. If you want to read more of my reflections on this incredible story, click below:
The Truth Will Make You… Odd?
Why Do the Heathen Rage is set in the deep south with characters who are deeply religious and entrenched in the racism of the age. One of the characters who simply goes by “Tilman’s wife” is fascinated with an allusion to Jesus’ Second Coming. This was a depiction of Jesus coming forth in a robe splashed in blood in order to destroy all of those who have rejected him. This begins to shatter her view of racism.
In other words, it’s not your typical meek and mild Jesus holding a lamb… He is wielding a sword and he’s ready for war!
This catches many people off guard.
Our view of Jesus has been radically distorted by our culture. Rather than viewing him as the fierce Lion of Judah ready to devour those who oppose him, we see him as a hippie with beautiful hair. We have transformed his ferocious roar into a peaceful purr… this is utter foolishness.
God created us in HIS image and we return the favor by re-creating God in our image. This is the epitome of idolatry.
You may not support racism but there are numerous ways we commit gross idolatry by forming God in our image…
1. Jesus is not a republican… democrat… or even an American!
I am absolutely sick of Christians trying to put the King of kings in a box by identifying him with a political party. Many conservative Christians view Jesus as if he hates universal healthcare, promotes small business, and loves to shoot guns.
On the other hand, many liberal Christians see Jesus as a distributor of wealth who is part of the LGBT movement and has no problem with abortion.
Jesus is not a republican, a democrat, an independent or even an american! Jesus transcends politics and nationality!
2. Jesus is not a Lutheran, Methodist, Catholic, Baptist, Non-denominational, etc!
Denominations are not a bad thing. Matter of fact, I believe they can be extremely helpful in unifying churches around common doctrinal positions. A denomination becomes toxic when it is seen as the only true vision of Christianity (this is also the sign of a cult!)
Christians are notorious for dividing themselves over small doctrinal issues and lobbying rocks at their brothers and sisters. Rather than debating transubstantiation and paedobaptism, let’s unite under the incredible message of the Gospel!
3. Jesus IS the King of kings and Lord of lords!
I constantly hear people throw around the statement, “Only God can judge me!” This usually comes from someone who has never read the Bible and has no idea what judgment from God looks like.
Hebrews 10:31 says, “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the Living God…”
Jesus is not parading for tolerance in the name of “love”. You cannot mold Jesus into the 21st century.
Jesus had to be brutally tortured and murdered at the hands of lawless men because you and I are sinners. If there is no such thing as sin, Jesus was an absolute fool for allowing himself to be crucified! He transcends all of your views and beliefs; HE will have the final word and many people will be terrified when He returns…
“Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.” – Revelation 19:11-16
I’m guessing that is not the Jesus you have heard about?
One thought on “YOUR View of Jesus is (probably) Wrong.”
“God created us in HIS image and we return the favor by re-creating God in our image. This is the epitome of idolatry.”
This is a good insight. The first sentence actually could be slightly rephrased and then would be the charge the atheists and new atheists make against Christians (and religion in general). But by noting this is idolatry, you show how we can listen appreciatively to that critique – it’s true, but the conclusion isn’t necessarily atheism. Rather is is a call to deeper listening to our own, often subversive, tradition.
Your good discussion of what God is not reminds me of a fine book by Merold Westphal (an RCA elder and emeritus professor of philosophy at Fordham), Suspicion and Faith: The Religious Uses of Modern Atheism. In the section on Marx, he speaks of the need to be on guard against “Third Commandment Idolatry,” which is the assigning of divine approval to our programs, etc. that may very well be quite far in many ways from what God desires.