My Jesus...” — Making God in the image of man

I recently ended a dialogue that I can only describe as...well...infuriating. It began with the person saying that we should stop writing “garbage” about eternal hell. I responded that we would be happy to stop publishing such “garbage” had Jesus Himself not taught it (Matthew 25:46; John 3:18; 3:36). The person responded with “it is very unlikely that Jesus ever said anything like that” and “the Jesus I follow would not have thought in such rigid terms.”

This person went on to inform me that scholarship has proven the extremely late authorship of John, and that therefore the “passages from John don’t help your case.” The authors of the Gospel of John, whoever they were, wanted to demonstrate how “Jesus had become God incarnate for that community,” how “he was a reflection of the god of love and compassion,” and how the references I gave “don’t sound like the historical Jesus.”

Excuse me for a moment as I vomit.

For this person, Jesus was a messenger of love, compassion, and inclusion. Anything that contradicted his understanding of Jesus is discarded and excused away. He gets to decide what Jesus did and did not say based on who he thinks Jesus is. Whether he uses liberal “scholarship” or a love+compassion filter as his excuse, this person has made himself the authority over the Word of God. He, not the authors of the New Testament, knows who Jesus was and what He taught. “The Jesus he worships” would not have said those things; therefore Jesus did not say those things.

The dialogue was so incredibly frustrating to me because I just can’t go there...and I cannot imagine how anyone else could have the audacity to claim authority over the Word of God. How can you accept anything the Bible says if you don’t accept everything the Bible says? There are things in the Bible I don’t particularly like. But, for me to pick and choose what God/Jesus did or did not say/do is absurd. Why trust anything in the Bible if you can so easily dismiss other parts of the Bible? I strive to have a healthy fear of the Lord (Proverbs 1:7), and I have no desire to earn the judgment pronounced in Revelation 22:18-19.

The historical Jesus is exactly and precisely the Jesus that the Gospels present (all four of them). Yes, Jesus, as God incarnate, displayed the amazing love and compassion of God. But, Jesus also displayed the wrath of God (Matthew 21:12-13; 23:13-36; John 2:14-17). The Jesus of Matthew 19:14 and the Jesus of Revelation 19:11-15 are the same Jesus.

If your Jesus is not the Jesus presented in the entirety of God's Word, your Jesus is simply a figment of your own imagination. If your God never disagrees with you, the god you are worshipping is yourself!

S. Michael Houdmann

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My Jesus...” — Making God in the image of man