Sunday, February 18, 2007

"Spiritual Pez Dispenser"

"Listen, Jesus Christ isn't anybody's "spiritual Pez dispenser" that we can turn into whomever we choose by repackaging Him in order for Him and His message to relate to our lost world. He is not to be triffled with. He is God incarnate, beloved, and He must be reckoned with in His virgin birth, His sinless life, His gospel of sola fide, His once for all death, His bodily resurrection, His ascension, His reign as King and Mediator at the right hand of the throne of God. He is not asking you to accept Him, fall in love with Him, shower bouquets of flowers at His feet, bring Him candy, or date Him. He is not proposing to you or asking you to marry Him. He is commanding you to repent of your sins; submit to Him as Lord of your life; forsake all other loves and all other claims to eternal life; to come to the end of yourself; believe solely in Him; take up your cross and follow Him. You don't have the luxury or His permission to turn Him into a passive, effeminate Divine lover who can only beg, but cannot elect."

--Steve Camp, Removing the Offense of the Cross.

11 Comments:

Blogger DennisS said...

Truly, we dare not side-step the offense of the Cross. There are two statements which strike me a bit odd...

1. "He is not proposing to you or asking you to marry Him."

So, who is the bride who is to marry the Lamb? (Rev. 19:7, 21:9).

2. "He is commanding you to repent of your sins..."

Jesus commanded unclean spirits to come out. He commanded that certain ones to be quiet about the miracles. He commanded Peter to put the sword away. The disciples are to teach and obey everything Jesus commanded them.

Yes, followers of Christ are to repent. Yes, it is imperative. But to say that Jesus commanded repentance is a bit over-zealous. Whatever Jesus commands will be done. If a person doesn't repent, then that suggests that Jesus doesn't have the power to command repentance. Jesus absolutely has the power to command repentance - but doesn't take the stance of commanding repentance.

7:28 PM  
Anonymous Steve said...

Amen!

10:55 PM  
Blogger Phil Perkins said...

Denniss,
I think you're reading too much into both analogies in your first objection. The article was about individual response to the gospel. The bride of God is the entire assembly. The point of the article is that God is not beholden to you for accepting Him. He is sovereign and He demands obedience or it is hell for you. He is not asking. He's telling.

On the second issue, repentance, actually, Jesus had a two fold message. Repent and believe. Go to Matthew 4, and read "From that time Jesus began to preach and say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." In Matthew's view "repent" was the main theme of Jesus' message. That's pretty strong.

In Christ,
Phil Perkins.

1:42 AM  
Blogger DennisS said...

I thought I replied to Phil already, but I don't see it posted...

If I see this posted, then I'll know to write another reply.

11:25 AM  
Blogger DennisS said...

Thank you for the thoughtful reply. Truly it is important for a personal response to Christ.

Yet, in that personal response we become a member of the visible body of Christ - the Church. At that point we cannot easily distinguish between when we are an individual and when we are a member of the Church. If we cling too tightly to being an individual we tend toward unhealthy isolation. Going too far the other way, we lose our unique identity.

I get it that Jesus is not wooing us, or trying to impress us with some trinket. I also get it that Jesus is not commanding us - there is no net thrown over us, no command of legions of angels as to force our compliance. Instead, we have a decision - choose this day who you will follow.

3:13 PM  
Blogger DennisS said...

In regard to repentance - I note that in various forms of the root word it is only mentioned 6 times in the Gospel of Matthew.

Mention in Mt. 4 of "repent and believe" ties in with the message of John in Mt. 3, "repent and prepare the way". The message of Matthew, is more about the identity of the Messiah. The message of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew is mainly about faith.

Of course, faith and repentance are wrapped up in "discipleship", so basically we are on the same page if we are living the Great Commission to "make disciples".

3:27 PM  
Blogger Kennyo said...

Dennis,

You said: "I also get it that Jesus is not commanding us - ... no command of legions of angels as to force our compliance. Instead, we have a decision

Yo do bot have a choice. Everyone will bow and worship Jesus as Lord. It may be now or it may be later when God judges all mankind.

I choose NOW!

Phil. 2: 9-11

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,

that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

4:01 PM  
Blogger DennisS said...

Agreed. I love the Christ hymn in Philippians 2. The first book I ever led an adult Bible study on was Philippians. What a joy it was to study.

We will all know and recognize the lordship of Jesus.

7:03 PM  
Anonymous dpazos said...

Kenny, Dennis, and friends:
Philippians is a book I studied in High School years ago. Its second chapter also is a favorite for me. I understand it, but meditating on it can refresh me. Lately, in Baptist circles we use the phrase 'Lordship Salvation'. You should not only get fire insurance, but also live with Jesus as your Lord, seeking to do His will. The two go together for a whole Christian life. Maybe you find our phrase slightly tacky.
Remember it because Lordship and Salvation should go together for the believer. Of course, this is not convenient nor easy believism.
On the contrary, it is a challenge for us! This Website has some exciting debates.

2:57 PM  
Blogger DennisS said...

Fire Insurance? What do you mean by this term?

7:04 PM  
Anonymous dpazos said...

Dennis:
It is a slang phrase to mean Salvation. Often it is used in a sense like the person only has salvation, but lives like a pagan, or blends into the world.
Proponents of Lordship Salvation obviously mean it in a derogatory way.

8:39 AM  

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