Recently an acquaintance of mine posted this link on Facebook (it’s not her article, just a share), clearly in support of what it says; 10 Things You Can’t Do While Following Jesus. Please do read it. I do tend to like lists like this, as they make it easy to breakdown and talk about point by point. First things first; why did I feel the need to review and respond to this particular blog post? Because one of my main pet peeves is anyone who paints Jesus like a milksop weakling, and quite frankly I’m offended when someone calls God Himself a hippie (I think I have my next article right there).
Alright, lets move on to the 10 points;
10) Exclude people because they practice another religion. That depends on the context that we are talking about. We can surely mingle with people of other faiths, help people of other faiths, study other faiths, and respect people of other faiths, and have them as friends. On the flip side, Jesus made it clear that faith in anything or anyone other than Himself will have a negative eternal effect. Jesus is the only way to The Father, and no one can have a relationship with God except through Him. So, He also called us to make sure that people of other faiths know the requirement of eternal life; faith in Jesus Christ.
9) Exclude people for what they look like, how they were born or things beyond their control. I’m in complete agreement with the first part of this statement. But, “how they were born” or “things beyond their control” is a bit vague. What does that mean? Lets assume that this is a statement on something like homosexual acts. Well, I was born with a seemingly inborn tendency to lie. I confess it, and I’m a wonderful liar… but that’s a no-no, in other words being a liar is not what God wants from me. So, I turn to Him to help me not lie. Guess what? It works 90% of the time, and I’m working on the 10%. It has nothing to do with my salvation, but has a lot to do with my sanctification. In short, it is true that Jesus didn’t run from sinners, but to them. Also, look at the woman caught in adultery and who was brought to Jesus, that dialogue ended with “go and sin no more.” No exclusion, I agree. No calling good evil and evil good either.
As a side note, a lot of the “ism’s” of our culture are truly reprehensible, those are the things that every Christians should fight against, including sexism, ageism, and racism. Also the churches out there harming others instead of helping them should be ashamed. For example, if someone is a diagnosed Kleptomaniac, they are indeed a thief, but kicking them out of the church isn’t going to be doing them any good as they can’t currently control their actions. Community, therapy, monitoring, etc… can help the person curb that behavior, even if they have to fight it the rest of their lives.
8) Withhold healthcare from people. I had to read that twice to make sure that is what the author actually wrote. It was. He argues that Jesus was a fan of healthcare for all because He healed people. Um… there is a world of difference between healthcare and miraculous healing. Jesus was clear that He was healing people to show that He was indeed the Messiah, and He healed supernaturally. He used healing to show that He had the power to forgive sins. Healthcare from the government was never meant to be a “right” or something that was granted to us without us doing our jobs. I guess Obama really is the second coming with his “wonderful” program Obamacare. It is the church’s job to help those who can’t help themselves, esp. widows and orphans. Physical health in this life is not my right, and Jesus never promised me that, and it certainly isn’t the government’s job to “heal” me.
7) Exclude people. Let me quote this on in full, “Last time. Promise. Jesus was constantly including people. It’s a little concept called love. He was pretty big on it.” Ugh. He includes all people as sinners, and that all are invited to learn of Him, and faithe on Him. Yes, indeed all are welcome to the church, and the church’s job is to tell someone about Jesus and how to be saved. You are saved by turning to God, and faithing on Jesus. If you are faithing on man, Buddha, Krishna, the Islamic God Allah, the earth mother, etc… you are not going to be included in Heaven. On earth we should and can mingle with everyone, as long as we are clear that there are indeed two categories of humans; the saved and the unsaved, our job is to make sure the unsaved know how to be included in the saved category, that’s love. Jesus said He did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
6) Let people go hungry. Jesus let people go hungry, after He made the point with the loaves and the fishes. He fed ’em, then they started following simply to get another handout of food. He then explained that He is real food, the bread from Heaven. Crowds wanted their bellies filled again, and He said they were shortsighted, that faithing on Him was what would fill us, not physical food. Don’t get me wrong, if someone is in need, it is our duty to help them as they can; IF they are in need. If they are lazy and not working, I’m actually damaging them if I let them continue to take from others what they did not earn.
Side note; the author says that world hunger could be solved, “There is not a food shortage in the world — there is enough for everyone. There is not a problem with having a distribution system capable of handling it; I can eat lobster from Maine while looking over the Pacific ocean. The problem is that we aren’t very good at sharing.” That is not a true statement. We are actually very good at sharing it, but there are leaders intent on stealing it in foreign countries. They are starving their own people on purpose.
5) Make money more important than God (and the children of God). I agree with this simple statement, but not his following points. The love of money is indeed the root of all evil, but going to shop somewhere like WalMart isn’t a sin. When we serve money instead of it serving us (and by extension, God) that is when things sour. Further, it is not the Government’s job to do the job of the church. I don’t mind paying taxes for things that are the proper realm of the government, things like the roads and the military. I do mind paying taxes for things that are not biblical, and no business of the government.
4) Judge others. Yes and no. The context is never to judge another when it comes to salvation, and we are not allowed to make up sins to pick on. We are also no longer allowed, religiously, to judge another person as being righteous or unrighteous. We are to judge whether someone could harm us, or cause a brother or sister to stumble. If we do judge someone else as a stumblingblock, that isn’t a judgment on salvation. If you have a sheep biting and harming the other sheep, and that little flock is under your care as an under-shepherd, you don’t allow that sheep to hurt the rest. It’s still a sheep, but you provide some distance between him and the rest of the flock.
3)Be physically aggressive or violent. Again, yes and no. The author rightly tries to catch himself; Jesus did indeed become aggressive in a righteous way. That shows it is indeed possible. Jesus didn’t just drive the money changers out, He made the whip He used. Let me repeat; He made the whip. Also, it is true that later, He told Peter to put up his sword, but why? Because Jesus was allowing history to unfold as it had to. It wasn’t time for the apostles to fight, it was time for Jesus to be arrested.
Physical aggression and violence, for a Christian, should be extraordinarily limited. Self defense, or defense of the innocent. That can take the form of a just war if need be. Attacking Nazi soldiers to free the Jews, for example, was a righteous use of force.
2) Use the church to hurt people. The church is “merely” those people that are “out-called ones.” We are a group of people faithing on Jesus. Of course the church shouldn’t be hurting people, quite the opposite. We are taught to love God, each other, and even our enemies. But, this is where the author calls Jesus a hippie. Sorry, no. He is lamb and lion. To ignore that aspect of Jesus that we clearly see in Revelation is to preach a false Christ. The church is to spread the good news and to be a community of like-minded believers.
1) Hate. Not so fast. Hating another human is a no-no; however, hate in and of itself is not a sin. God hates. We are to hate what God hates. Do you love sin? Do you love the fallen world? Not if you are in tune with God.