Friday, November 24, 2006

WWJD?

WWDD?

This started out as a well-meaning wristband, but quickly took on a life of its own. You have people who slap this slogan on the pet cause du jour, from stem cell research and global warming to vegan cuisine and abortion on demand. Many people who now mouth this slogan couldn’t name the four gospels.

Recently, some nullifidians have joined the bandwagon by quoting this slogan back to Christians.

It’s funny how so many unbelievers think they’re experts on Christian ethics. They constantly try to hold Christians to unscriptural standards, then scream “hypocrisy”! if we don’t live up to their pseudo-Christian criteria.

WWJD?

How would I answer that question? Simple. If I were Jesus, I could give you an answer, but since I’m not, I don’t know the answer.

To put my words in his mouth is a blasphemous exercise. So I’m not going to tell you what Jesus would do. And you’re in no position to tell me what Jesus would do.

WWJD? is not a Christian code of conduct. The question we need to ask ourselves isn’t, “What would Jesus do?” but, “What did Jesus do?” and “What will Jesus do?”

To speculate on what Jesus would do is, at best, mock piety, and, at worst, a pretext to forge his signature beneath our personal agenda.

Many people who toss this slogan around are far more interested in what Jesus would do—meaning, what they would do if they could play Jesus for a day, and Jesus was just like one of them—than they are in what he has actually done (as the Savior), and what he’s going to do in the future (as the Judge).

One thing I would do is to throw away the wristband and open the Bible.

17 comments:

  1. What's funny is that when you do in fact do something like Jesus did they call you "Un-Christ-like."

    It appears that for these apostates to be "Christ-like" is to actually condemn much of Jesus' actions.

    Odd tactic on their end indeed!

    It's like, did they have the edited version of the Bibel or soemthing? I remember Brain Godawa saying that if the Bible was made into a movie it would definately be R rated.

    Seriously guys, Jesus wasn't the white, blonde-haired and blue-eyed effeminate guy that you had up in your church's entrance.

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  2. Yea, Paul, Jesus must've acted more like you, right? ;-)

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  3. No John. Everything I've done is tainted with sin, not the case with Jesus.

    But, my point was that by your standards you would have been taking the moral highground on Jesus.

    My point is that when we do things, in a similar vein as Jesus, don't say we're be "un-Christ-like," for that makes you look ignorant.

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  4. I think pastor's across the world should stop preaching to people about living like Jesus. As Steve pointed out, we don't know how Jesus would live. I hope Steve leads the charge in getting these heretic pastors to stop exhorting their congregations to live like Jesus.

    Good work Steve!

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  5. This would be an excellent time to start selling "WWSHD?" bracelets as an added tie-in. After all, those commentaries don't pay for themselves.

    All I ask for my brilliant idea is a measly 25%

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  6. We must be careful when addrssing the whole what would Jesus do? business. I assume that this has its roots in the novel 'In His Steps,' in which a group of people are challenged to live their lives by that question. The result is that they face persecution as they live a truly god-ward life.

    But it is too easy for 'what would Jesus do' to become an excuse for pursuing one of two extremes, either justification by works, or the social gospel. Certainly, the social gospel claimed that its adherents were acting like Christ. The social good Jesus did on earth is far outweighed by the eternal consequences of his deeds and his death.

    Equally, before we ask the question, we must have a right idea of the person of Christ, and of to what extent we CAN imitate Him. We must get rid of the sentimental Christ of Victorian and later art, and back to the Christ of the Bible.

    I remember reading a conversation between Enoch Powell, a British Christian politician, and a BBC reporter at the time of the 1975 Referendum of the UK's continuing membership of the European Common Market. Powell, an anti-marketeer, was confronted with the statements of pro-market clergy who said that Jesus would have favoured the Common Market. Powell did what more politicians ought to do. A Greek Scholar, Powell replied, not that Jesus would have supported him, but that Jesus would have said 'my kingdom is not of this world.'

    John, Jesus did not hold back from criticisning those who deserved to be criticised. But those of us in the church must be humbled by the realisation that his biggest targets were not the publicans, but the so-called 'Righteous'. And I say that as a Christian and a lover of the Church. Jesus talked much about Hell and judgement. And why? because no man loved like he did. His life was so marked by love that he could preach on hell and judgement without coming across as an angry hypocrite.

    God grant us the grace to be thus Christ-like.

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  7. Anonymous said:
    I think pastor's across the world should stop preaching to people about living like Jesus. As Steve pointed out, we don't know how Jesus would live. I hope Steve leads the charge in getting these heretic pastors to stop exhorting their congregations to live like Jesus.

    Good work Steve!

    ******************

    Fails to draw the elementary distinction which I already drew.

    We don't know how Jesus *would* live, but we do know how Jesus *did* live. So, pastors can exhort Christians to live like Jesus *did* live.

    Even more to the point, we know what Jesus *did* teach about how we should live.

    And we also know what the rest of the Bible teaches.

    Good work anonymous!

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  8. Steve,

    I find this post truly bizarre.

    I'm looking at I Peter 2:21:
    For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps.

    WWJD is a reminder that Christ is an example in all we say and do, and that we should look to his example, the things he did, the attitudes he expressed, the way he loved, sacrificed, laughed and suffered, and emulate it as best we can.

    If there is a less controversial slogan in modern Christendom, the only one that comes to mind is "Jesus loves you", and even then it imparts a key truth, but only sets the table.

    WWJD is an encapsulation for a lifestyle that seeks to follow in His steps, from what I've seen.

    And this I wholly endorse. WWJD calls us to the Bible, for there it is that we find the record of what Jesus *did* do, the relating of Jesus' example for our lives.

    You said:

    To speculate on what Jesus would do is, at best, mock piety, and, at worst, a pretext to forge his signature beneath our personal agenda.


    If this means that you are averse to speculating on what Jesus would do, when questions and reactions loom in your life, I'd say that's quite a sad fact.

    What would be wrong with actually considering what values and actions are available that most closely emulate those we find Jesus' choosing in the Word? From your limits -- best case being mock piety -- it seems you don't see this as an option?

    -Touchstone

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  9. Touchstone,

    Calvinists would also find issue with the "Jesus loves you" message...there are MANY assumptions that can be implied with that statement that shouldn't be universally applied.

    Be careful.

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  10. Touchstone said:
    Steve,

    I find this post truly bizarre.

    *****************************

    It's only bizarre to you because you disregard my actual argumentation and go off on your own little tangent.

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  11. Steve,

    I read your post again, and don't see what I might have misunderstood. I'd be happy to understand that wondering what Jesus would do in this situation or that *is* a good thing, after all.

    I don't see much room for ambiguity, though. Is the "base case" for some one trying to determine what Jesus would do in their current situation really "mock piety"?

    Maybe you meant something else? What did I miss in the [best case -> mock piety] assertion, for example?

    Thanks,

    -Touchstone

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  12. Touchstone said...
    Steve,

    I read your post again, and don't see what I might have misunderstood. I'd be happy to understand that wondering what Jesus would do in this situation or that *is* a good thing, after all.

    I don't see much room for ambiguity, though. Is the "base case" for some one trying to determine what Jesus would do in their current situation really "mock piety"?

    Maybe you meant something else? What did I miss in the [best case -> mock piety] assertion, for example?

    **********

    As I explained in my original post, the slogan is used by people who don't begin with something Jesus actually said or did.

    Rather, they begin with some liberal fad like global warming or vegetarianism or the abolition of the death penalty or same-sex marriage, or the ordination of homosexuals, then they combine that with their Hallmark card Christology, then they tell us what position Jesus "would" take on their pet issue, which always happens to correspond with the political orthodoxy of the day.

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  13. I'd add that even among Christians, many sincere Christians lack a problem framework for ethical decision-making.

    The WWJD? too often projects their own feelings and intuitions into the mind of Christ, then, in circular fashion, appeals to the "spirit" of Christ to justify their choices.

    This is an exercise in mirror-reading. What makes it worse is that it lays claim to divine authorization.

    Frankly, it's a recipe for self-delusion.

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  14. Steve,

    You said, originally in this post:
    To speculate on what Jesus would do is, at best, mock piety, and, at worst, a pretext to forge his signature beneath our personal agenda.

    You've pointed out that people may speculate and come to poor conclusions, but that isn't what this sentence appears to say.

    Just so we're clear, would you now affirm that the best case outcome for those who speculate on what Jesus would do is "mock piety"?

    Or is it possible to speculate what Jesus would do, and end up with something better than "mock piety"?


    Thanks, maybe this will bring agreement!

    -Touchstone

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  15. I would definitely take Steve's advice over that of Charles Sheldon.

    I'm sure Steve has done much more good than Sheldon ever dreamed.

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  16. I think the key point, my dear Touchstone, is that, before we can try to live a life in the footsteps of Christ, we must know Him.

    If we are to love like Christ, we must understand His love, not pretend that our poor, our dying love, is in any way equal to His. We must understand that, for Christ, love meant warning people of judgement, as well as reaching out to the forsaken. We must be prepared to say, not only, 'neither do I condemn you', but also, 'go and sin no more.'

    We must understand that Christ's primary focus was not on this life, but the next. While on earth, he had very little to say about politics, for example. And what he did say must have been an astonishing anti-climax (e.g. pay taxes to Rome).

    The trouble, as Steve was pointing out, was that many of those who endorse the slogan, 'what would Jesus do?' end up really asking the question, 'if I were Jesus, what would I do? which is, as they say, a very different question.

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  17. The problem with WWJD as a stand-alone sola of ethics (as opposed to a gap-filler to help work out difficult line-ball situations) is that one of the most notable things Jesus did do, was forgive sins. Being God, he had authority to do that. Not being God, we can't.

    This puts a different spin on cases like The Woman Caught In Adultery.

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