Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Another angle on Jesus being 'hip'...

Check Touchstone Magazine's blog post titled, Jesus is Cool:
Another article from the Tucson Citizen you may find of some minor interest (I found it while looking for the link to the article Phillip Johnson recommended in the next item): Jesus is Cool. It includes the quote, given by a young Episcopal priest:
Richards wears a "Jesus surfs without a board" shirt from Urban Outfitters, where you can also find a Jesus action figure. "If Jesus is so reverent that we can't laugh about him, then Jesus isn't in our everyday lives," says Richards, 28.
One can just imagine the Apostles, whose successors an Episcopal minister claims to be, wearing such t-shirts around Jerusalem in the weeks after the Resurrection. One can imagine Perpetua and Felicity ordering one to wear in the arena. One can see crowds of Sudanese Christians standing before army firing squads in such t-shirts. One can . . . oh never mind. One cannot imagine the young Mr. Richards wearing a similar t-shirt with a comic message about Martin Luther King or any feminist whatsoever, no matter how obscure. —David Mills
What is it about our culture that causes us to consider the creator of the universe just another one of the gang? UPDATE: Joe @ Evangelical Outpost links to my post, among others, as he gives his excellent take on this issue. Note his response to my question above:
Good question. The cause, in my opinion, can be traced back to American Protestantism, particularly in the popular strands of evangelicalism. As a religious movement we have almost completely abandoned the concept of a transcendent creator in favor of a God who is our “best friend.” I remember as a young Baptist how we would gloss over the commands to “fear God” in favor of singing hymns about “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.”... The idea of Jesus as our “friend” is deeply rooted in our particular religious culture. Our lack of reverence expresses itself in everything from our worship to our evangelism. How many times, for instance, have we seen an earnest Christian approach someone (including us) and ask, “Do you know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?”
So true. Unfortunately, we all too often hear responses such as one left on his site,
I both understand and believe that Christ is our Master, King, Savior, and Lord, but he is also our friend. The Bible even declares that. There were many times when Jesus called His disciples both servants and friends also. And even in the passage that reads, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." Like anything, this all has to be taken into context. However, it becomes clear in much of scripture that God makes it clear to us the humanity of Jesus... I work with teenagers both Christian and non-Christian... It seems to me the problem here is not the shirts... Some of the young people in the youth group I lead, wear them too. And for them it is a true expression of them. Jesus is their homeboy. He has completely transformed their lives and they'll serve Him forever. It's a cultural expression. There is a cultural aspect about this I think people miss. The hip-hop generation can't be viewed through literal glasses. Everything is a metaphor.
I think we need to distinguish between adjusting the delivery of Christianity with regards to a particular culture vs. adjusting Christianity because of a particular culture. It may very well be that the hip-hop generation views everything as a metaphor... but Christ on the Cross is not a metaphor. It is part of the reality that forms the basis for Christianity. We need to make sure we understand the reality of who Christ is. As for Jesus being our best friend or whether we know him as our personal Saviour, it might be enlightening to check the book of Acts. Greg Koukl, from Stand to Reason, has an article titled, Preaching God's Love in Acts?, in which he outlines every instance of evangelism in the book of Acts. Thirteen accounts are listed. Koukl's conclusion?
The love of God is never mentioned a single time in the entire book of Acts.
Rather, the emphasis of the messages given had to do with "forgiveness of sin by Jesus the Messiah," or "Jesus the prophesied Messiah crucified and resurrected," or "the nature of God, and the reality of judgment."

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