Friday, December 13, 2013
Being More Like Jesus
Mark Steyn’s and Michael Walsh’s posts below — gleefully and rightfully skewering the New York Times for its religious ignorance — remind me of a rather common liberal, secular critique of Christian conservatives. “If only you were more like Jesus,” they proclaim, “and less concerned with [fill in the hot-button social issue here], then you would reach more people.” I’ve mostly experienced this argument as a weapon wielded against young, idealistic Christians — often on college campuses — who are experiencing rejection and scorn for the first time in their lives.How often is it true, in any context that we see Christ as "simply the ideal man within our[sic] own frame of reference?" How often do we try to use Christ to validate ourselves rather than to change ourselves?
But here’s the catch: Those delivering the critique are as ignorant of Jesus as the New York Times. To the Biblically illiterate, Christ is simply the ideal man within their own frame of reference; it’s a short-hand way of saying “be more like a better version of me” or “be like the most compassionate person I can imagine” (however they define compassion).
On a theological level, this is why the doctrine of sin is so very important. Its absence is what reduces Christ to validator. On a practical level this is what so often prevents us from knowing a genuine relationship with Christ. Oh we try, we try so hard, but in the end we are looking for validation, not salvation and transformation.
I have been reflecting lately on what a truly odd duck I really am. Then I think about what a massively maladjusted individual I would be absent the grace of God. That is all the validation I need.