Friday, January 26, 2007

Fad Jesus

"We'll never tell [our fans] to do drugs, burn people's houses down, kill people, or worship Satan. I'm really into Jesus Christ, God, all that. I really am a big believer. I'm a Christian. I just happen to have a foul mouth, and I try to make kids laugh. But that's just me. I'm as God made me." Tom DeLonge former Blink 182 guitar/singer.

Our issue is not with Tom DeLonge, our issue is with the mindset that gives birth to DeLonge's statement and the mindset of many other's like him. "I'm into Jesus--but I live my life how I want". Sadly, many are deceived into thinking they have "Jesus" when really it is only "Fad Jesus" that they know. I wonder when DeLonge says he is "really into Jesus Christ" what does he mean by that? Is it the biblical Jesus (that equates obedience with love) or Fad Jesus?

On January 24th we began our mini-series on "Fad Jesus". In case you did not know a fad is defined as a "a temporary fashion, notion, manner of conduct, etc., esp. one followed enthusiastically by a group." Our contention is that in our culture seeds of deception have been planted whereas many are following a Fad Jesus rather than the biblical Jesus.

Last week we dealt with "Superhero Jesus" and "Cool Jesus". Next week we will be dealing with "South Park Jesus" and "Homeboy Jesus". But who are these different "Fad Jesus'" and how do they compare to the biblical Jesus?

Who is "Superhero Jesus"? Superhero Jesus does miracles to please people, to have fun, and to show off his coolness. He probably stems from a misunderstanding of God's omnipotence (all-powerfulness). Since God can do anything and because He is all powerful then certainly He is amazing at football. I bet he an do some pretty great tricks on the skateboard...certainly he would be an amazing dancer...he is sure to have big muscles...and contrary to popular belief he could indeed kick the tar out of Chuck Norris.

But the problem with "Superhero Jesus"? Why is he so dangerous? First of all it is dangerous, because God is all-powerful. Jesus really could have been an amazing football player, or dancer, or skateboarder, or ping-pong player, or he could come down and beat up Chuck Norris. He really could do all those things. But that was not the reason He came. He came to glorify God through redeeming His lost sheep, He came to call sinners, He came to preach the Word and usher in the Kingdom of God. If his goal would have been to set up an earthly kingdom and show off his muscles He would have done that. The problem with "Superhero Jesus" is that he rips us off, it is a shallow excuse and a temporary Jesus. "Superhero Jesus" allows us to settle on a miracle-worker that shows us cool tricks but that we have no part in, He’s a football player that we watch, rather than the person that we love and enjoy. He is the superhero that we like rather than the God whom we worship.

Summary: Superhero Jesus does miracles to please people, have fun, and show off his coolness while the biblical Jesus' miracles are always driven by a purpose (to display that He is indeed who He says He is) as well as compassion.

Who is "Cool Jesus"? "Cool Jesus" is driven by popular culture and the need to be liked. He would have been "Disco Jesus" in the 70's, "Punk Hair Jesus" in the 80's, "Teenage Mutant Ninja Jesus" in the 90's, and (at the suggestion of some our young ladies) "Justin TimberJesus" of the 00's. Whatever is cool at the time that's "Cool Jesus".

Sadly, cool Jesus is probably a product of the church. We have bent over backwards to show that Jesus is cool (or the term now is relevant). However, as Os Guiness says, "By our uncritical pursuit of relevance we have actually courted irrelevance; by our breathless chase after relevance without a matching commitment to faithfulness, we have become not only unfaithful but irrelevant; by our determined efforts to redefine ourselves in ways that are more compelling to the modern world than are faithful to Christ, we have lost not only our identity but our authority and our relevance. Our crying need is to be faithful as well as relevant."

And that is the problem with "Cool Jesus". He is only "cool" for a certain period of time. Nobody likes the 50 year old that cruises broadway. Nobody likes Uncle Rico whose living too much in '82. Disco Jesus isn't cool anymore. After time he loses his relevance. "Cool Jesus" eventually loses his relevance and then has to change with the times. But the truth of the gospel is that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He does not change, He will not change. He was powerful to save before the foundation of the world, He was powerful to save in the Old Testament, He was powerful to save when He lived and bled and died on the Cross, when he rose from the grave, He was powerful to save in 1492 when Columbus sailed the ocean blue, He was powerful to save in 1776 when America was established, and He was powerful to save in on 9/11 when our country was bombed. He was powerful to save when you were born, and He is powerful to save today. He is eternal life and He always will be eternal life. Cool Jesus can’t offer that!

There is much more to be said about "Cool Jesus" but for now let us summarize and note that you can find the complete text of this message at the following link.

Summary: Cool Jesus is driven by popular culture and the need to be liked; while biblical Jesus refuses empty worship, will not take a back seat to our other affections, and even though he is the only source of eternal life he is often rejected.

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