Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Swami Jesus

I wasn't originally planning to comment on the Nashville statement. I wasn't planning to sign it. I wasn't planning not to sign it. I had no particular inclinations one way or the other.

In fact, I had no particular urge to even read it. At first I was wondering, what's special about this statement? For some time now, evangelical pundits have been saying the same thing. And you have to be a theological junkie to even know what the CBMW is. 

But then I started seeing hostile reactions pour in. The reaction to the statement justified the existence of the statement.

I signed it for the same reason Pamela Geller lampoons Islam: because I can. If you're afraid to exercise a right, you already lost it. The very fact that so many people are incensed by a bland reaffirmation of biblical norms on sex and gender is reason enough to support it. 

It's like when a Republican president makes a judicial nomination. My initial impression of the nominee is formed, not by supporters, but opponents. Does he have the right enemies? If the nomination is denounced by Planned Parenthood, the Southern Poverty Law Center et al., then he sounds like my kind of nominee. That gives me a favorable first impression of the nominee. 

The Nashville statement has succeeded in smoking out Oreo evangelicals who are evangelical on the outside but oh-so progressive on the inside.

There are roughly two strategies for attacking the Christian faith. One is a direct, frontal assault. That's more honest.

The other way is more insidious. Unbelievers attempt to co-opt the very definition of Christianity. In an age of biblical illiteracy, many unbelievers derive their view of Christianity from atheist caricatures or "progressive Christians." If they know any professing Christians at all, it's "progressive Christians" who echo the political views of the secular progressives. 

When people that ignorant hear a statement of orthodox Christian theology and ethics, they think that's a misrepresentation of Christianity. When they hear a statement that's simply a repetition of the consensus position of historic Christianity, they think that's a white, reactionary, patriarchal innovation! They're incensed by people who simply expound what Christianity actually represents. They think the real Jesus is Swami Jesus, a hippie guru who loves everybody except "fundamentalists". John Spong's Jesus. 

That's why we need to set the record straight. We need to correct the malicious caricatures and the secularized revisionism. 

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