There’s much talk going around, especially among the scholarly circles, of the search for the real Jesus. So much so that Lee Strobel thought is beneficial to do some interviewing and write his own book compiling his findings in The Case for the Real Jesus. I have noticed ,though, that it’s not just the “liberal” side who is in the business of reinventing Jesus. The other side may surprise you.
G.K. Chesterton spoke of revolution in his book, Orthodoxy, and said that “for the orthodox there can always be a revolution; for a revolution is a restoration…If you leave a thing alone you leave it to a torrent of change. If you leave a white post alone it will soon be a black post. If you particularly want it to be white you must always be painting it again; that is, you must always be having a revolution.” And this is what I intend to challenge the reader to do – repaint the post white. Revolution isn’t the introduction of novel ideas, it’s the overturning of the novel, a revolving things back to their original form. It’s a sort of turning things right side up again.
There is a group, comprised of God fearing men like Lee Strobel (people the church needs), who are working at repainting the post white. They are valiantly fighting the black grim and filth of liberal scholarship who would have us believe that Jesus was a charlatan, a homosexual, or insane – anything but The Christ, The Son of the living God. As I said, we need these men/women, but I believe they are only focusing on one side of the post. We must not forget to be painting the other side of the post white also for it is also in need of the same revolution. It is this other side that I would like to bring your attention to.
This group is the more (and sometimes the most) conservative side of Christianity. I’m not naming any particular denomination or movement as it’s the spirit of the group that defines them not a label. What they have done is, in the name of Jesus, created a Jesus that isn’t the real Jesus. They have superimposed their beliefs onto Him and, although most of the time well meaning, peddle their goods in His name.
Now there is an element of truth in what they say, but this is the case in every false teaching I know of, it starts right, but goes awry, which is why it’s false. This group takes things such as “don’t love the world” and they forget to let Jesus define what is worldly, or what way it is that we are not to love the world. They know that Jesus hated sin, but fail to ask Him what is sinful and what isn’t. More often than not, they call a thing sinful that they deem distasteful, and don’t blink an eye at many of the things Jesus actually condemned (such as not loving a brother, or forsaking the poor and fatherless, gluttony, arrogance, etc). They even occasionally throw in a side of dislocated Scripture verses in attempts to give it the aroma of authenticity.
Some may think I’m being too harsh, but I just called you to a revolution. Would you expect any less?but for the sake of clarity, I believe the majority of them mean well. I honestly think they don’t realize that the post is gray. They weren’t around when it was white and were introduced to the white post after it was in need of repainting. The never stopped to investigate if the color they were told was white was authentic, they just proceeded to tell the next generation that the gray post was white. So please understand that I don’t think the revolution requires an attack on these well meaning people, it requires us to repaint the post it’s original color (but we must remember that no matter how well meaning they are, gray is not white). This isn’t to say once the paint buckets come out that the mistaken group won’t put up a resistance – remember they truly believe gray is white. But we must continue the revolution if we are to show them what the white post really looks like.
I seek to enlist you all in this revolution, but it will involve risks. You will have to be willing to compare all your preconceived notions of white and only accept the one that matches the original. You will have to look at Jesus – the historical Jesus, the Jesus of Scripture, the Jesus handed down to us through the teachings of the apostles (not that there are three different Jesus’ but three ways of studying the One Jesus) and follow Him. There are times where He doesn’t act or speak like we expect Him to. It is precisely at these times we will be tempted to change the color a bit to suit our biases; but we should realize that it is precisely these times that expose the importance of revolution. It’s not just needed for the sake of the others, but for the sake of the revolutionaries themselves.
To look at black and call it white is a horrid thing, but so is to look at gray (or even almond) and proclaim it to be white. White is white, and all other colors are not white. It’s quite simple to understand, but quite difficult to implement. However, it is this difficult task that God calls us to as recorded in the book of Jude to contend for the faith that was once delivered to the saints. In other words – Paint the post!