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Jesus disagreed with loved ones. He didn’t disown them.
So says one of the myriad commercials in the nine-figure He Gets Us campaign, one of which will air during this Sunday’s Super Bowl.
That’s all I have for an introduction. Let’s just pick this apart.
What does the Bible say?
Whenever a claim is made about Jesus or his earthly ministry, our immediate response should be to ask where in Scripture that claim could be made. The only primary source material we have about Jesus is Scripture, so any and all claims must be supported with Scripture.
So, was Jesus prepared to disown his family over a disagreement?
Mark 3:21 tells us that his family thought he had lost his mind, and when they went to get him, he retorts, “’Who are my mother and my brothers?’ And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.’” (Mark 3:33-35)
Jesus seems to be ready to disown his family for not doing the will of God, which would include believing in him, yes?
Additionally, I don’t think Jesus’ words from Matthew 10 even need comment.
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”Matthew 10:34-39
Time for some Pepto
The reason your stomach churns when you see these lame He Gets Us commercials is the same reason your stomach churns when you eat Taco Bell. They’re both full of artificial ingredients meant to mimic the real thing. Taco Bell’s horse meat is HGU’s’ watered down liberalism. And watered down liberalism is the technical term for seeker sensitivity.
While some may attack me for not being very charitable, I have historical backing on this. Nineteenth-century liberalism (And modern day liberalism, for that matter) attacked Bible-believing Christianity with the simplistic summary that man is very bad, and God is very mad about it, to which they turned around and said that man is not so bad and God isn’t mad about it. God is everyone’s Father, so they said, and the only real goal of the gospel is to make the world a better place. It was basically universalism with a Jesus fish car magnet.
Where seeker sensitivity has adopted liberalism is in both its anthropology and its theology proper. Regarding man, sins become “mistakes” or “brokenness,” while God is just yearning to have a relationship with you. Check yes, no, or maybe. And if you check the latter two, he won’t hold it against you. In fact, could you lead worship next Sunday for us?
Altar calls and judgment calls
All this misses the fact that the very first words Jesus uttered in his public ministry were, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matt. 4:17) He commanded that people change their minds, for Yahweh’s rule was breaking in. The results would be glorious for those who obeyed but bonecrushing to those found in rebellion (Joel 2:28-32).
And who talked about hell more than anyone else in the Bible? Jesus.
And who told people to eat his flesh and drink his blood, lest they be unworthy of him, in order to weed out the posers? Jesus.
Man, he gets us.
He gets that we are incapable of the slightest hint of obedience apart from the Spirit. He gets that apart from his atoning work, we’re God’s enemies (John 6:35-40, 63; Rom. 5:10).
But does the seeker sensitive crowd ever warn of a coming judgment or God’s wrath? Of course not. They do preach a sermon and cap it off with, “If you’d like to make Jesus your Lord and Savior,” before walking people through a “sinner’s prayer,” but what are they being saved from? From my oopsies and mistakes and times when I should have taken out the trash earlier? From being lonely? From feeling like I don’t belong?
“But,” they’ll say. “It’s God’s kindness that leads us to repentance.” That’s true enough from Romans 2:4, but how about we read that whole paragraph?
Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.Romans 2:1-5
Goodness, even their favorite verse disagrees with them. It’s almost like they want to be nicer than God.
The results are in
If we’re being honest, the results speak for themselves. The church growth “experts” like to tout numbers of this or that church growing exponentially over however many years, neglecting that the overwhelming majority of those numbers come from other churches that simply don’t have a fog machine in the budget.
But if their strategies actually worked, let’s look at them in the big picture, and the big picture says that church attendance has declined for decades, basically since the attractional model’s advent. Christianity has never made up a smaller percentage of the population in the Western world than it does now. By their own metrics, seeker sensitivity has been an abject failure.
The cure is simple. Preach the Gospel. All of it, including the parts that might get you canceled, the parts that would cause half your church to leave, and the parts that may get you on the local news because someone egged and TPed your church. Your people will not know how sweet the Gospel is until they know how sour their sin before a holy God is. Stop playing around with the message; it’s not yours to alter.
One thought on “He Gets Us?”
Reblogged this on M Graham Knox and commented:
He Gets Us continues to spread their message of…I don’t know exactly what. Here’s another take on this mushy messaging.