Imposing our agenda on Jesus

By John D. Pierce

The harsh reality is that many who profess to be Christian hold a higher allegiance than to Christ. It is to a social ideology based on a highly selective manipulation of the Bible that downplays or ignores the life and teachings of Jesus.

This so-called “biblical worldview” actually turns holy writ into a twisted excuse for advocating for causes of self-preservation that produce and excuse injustice and the demeaning of many who are created in the image of God.

Today, I was struck by the words (shared by a friend on Twitter) from John Dominic Crossan: “Christ does not read the Bible, the New Testament, or the Gospel. He is the norm of the Bible, the criterion of the New Testament, the incarnation of the Gospel. That is how we Christians decide between a violent and nonviolent God…”

Imposing one’s so-called “biblical” views on Jesus has the order completely reversed, and the result is most damaging to the causes of Christ.

Therefore, the church has no greater challenge today than to rediscover Jesus as both savior and lord — the priority for risky-loving, self-giving living that makes one humble and vulnerable.

The mistake many of us have made in seeking to counter this growing problem is to argue politics with politics or theology with theology. But the bigger issue is that Jesus is largely missing from American evangelicalism.

It is a matter of misplaced priorities that produce a false witness.

Often Jesus is received as savior of one’s soul but rejected as the lord of one’s life. Something has to be done about that.

It is staggering to imagine that “Christians” keep finding preferred priorities and ideologies to the Way of Christ. But then Jesus said his way was narrow and hard.

It’s much easier to regurgitate the ugly words and thoughtless ideas of some loudmouthed political pundit or self-serving preacher than to extend grace and mercy across well-guarded social lines — knowing that such behaviors can lead to a cross.

As a result, much of American Christianity today is simply the advancement of a vaguely “biblical” political agenda that seeks to preserve one’s social comforts and influence at the expense of Christ himself.

Christ needs to be resurrected again.

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