A recent report written by three New Evangelical leaders reveals a frightful fact: They don’t know the Christ of the Bible. The report entitled “Name-calling is rhetorical pornography” is by Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family, Russell More, dean of the School of Theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. The thesis is that Christians should never use “derogatory terms for other human beings” or “dismissive descriptions of those who do not share our faith” because Jesus allegedly did not do these things and because to do so is to “deny the innate humanity and dignity owed every individual” (“Name-calling,” CNN Belief Blog, April 26, 2012). The report says that Christ had “as much love in his heart for the homosexual activist, the Mexican national who is not a citizen and the atheist” as for the believer, which is true in the sense that God loves the whole world and Jesus died to make it possible for every sinner to be saved, but it does not mean that Jesus treated all people the same or that He never spoke in derogatory terms. He called the Jews of his day “a wicked and adulterous generation” (Mat. 16:4). He called the Jews evil (Lk. 11:13) and Herod “that fox” (Lk. 13:32) and the Pharisees blind guides, fools, hypocrites, whited sepulchres, serpents, and vipers (Mat. 23:16-33). He called Peter “Satan” (Mat. 16:23). He called some men “wolves in sheep’s clothing” and “ravening wolves” (Mat. 7:15). He labeled some people dogs and pigs (Mat. 7:6). He pronounced eternal curses on the citizens of Chorazin and Bethsaida and Capernaum (Mat. 11:20-24). He looked on the men in the synagogue of Capernaum with anger because of the hardness of their hearts (Mark 3:5). Where is THIS Christ in New Evangelicalism today? They believe, rather, in a christ they have fashioned from their own likeness, a self-esteem-pandering christ, a soft christ who does not reprove sinners plainly and does not cast unbelievers into hell. I can’t recall one influential New Evangelical that follows the example of Jesus from the previous texts. This Christ does not even exist in their minds. No wonder The Shack has resonated so deeply with this generation.
(Friday Church News Notes, May 4, 2012, www.wayoflife.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-295-4143)
Ad above does not necessarily imply endorsement