This “New” Jesus
By Pastor Rasheed Z Baaith
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)
Recently I was speaking with one of my mentors, Pastor Sterling Clowers who possesses one of the finest hermeneutical minds ever seen, in addition to having an electrifying anointing about the Jesus so many are preaching about today. “This is a new Jesus,” Pastor Clowers said. And he’s right.
This Jesus so many are preaching today is a Jesus whose chief attribute and primary concern is not righteousness but love. He is a Jesus who is unconcerned with holiness or morality, a Jesus who while he does not con-done sin, he is accepting of it. A Jesus who comes to you and says stay just as you are, no transformation needed. This is a Jesus the Apostles would not recognize and we will not find in the Bible.
This new Jesus they are preaching does not want to interrupt your life-style, he does not mind you living to please you, he sees no need for a newness of your soul or for you to live a moral life, and he just wants you to come to church.
As A. W. Tozier wrote: “The new cross does not slay the sinner, it redirects him. It gears him into a cleaner and jollier way of living and saves his self-respect. To the self-assertive, it says, “Come and assert yourself in Christ.” To the egotist, it says, “Come and do your boasting in the Lord.” To the thrill seeker it says, “Come and enjoy the thrill of Christian fellowship.” The Christian message is slanted in the direction of the current vogue in order to make it acceptable to the public.”
Tozier is absolutely correct and “slanted” is the operative word. The church of today has become so consumed with making Christianity pleasing to the unsaved and the unchurched, it has made Jesus a God who says to His creations, “Let me make you happy, tell Me what you want to do and what you do not.” Creflow Dollar even preaches that God needs our permission to operate in the earth. That’s as blasphemous as it is stupid. God doesn’t need our permission to do anything, if He did, He would not be God.
Again Tozier, “The race of Adam is under a death sentence. There is no commutation and no escape. God cannot approve any of the fruits of sin, however innocent they may appear or beautiful to the eyes of man. God salvages the individual by liquidating him and then raising him again to newness of life,” and “The faith of Christ does not parallel the world; it intersects it. In coming to Christ we do not bring our old life up onto a higher place; we leave it at the Cross. The corn of wheat must fall into the ground and die.” Amen to that.
The genesis for this kind of thinking is because today’s church is not teaching Christian fundaments and essential doctrine. It is both fundamental and essential that we understand the Cross is a symbol of death and not just for the physical death of Christ.
It symbolizes the death of our old self, our old life, our former ways of how we once thought and once lived. Even more it symbolizes that out of death comes resurrection.
God indeed through Christ offers life but as a scholar said, “Not an improved old life.” That’s what so many want today and what so many churches are trying to give. It is not Biblical. We are to be transformed by the newness of our spirit and the renewing of our mind. Paul said it best: “…there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the Gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from Heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we preached to you, let him be accursed.” (Gal. 1:7b – 8)
Finally there is this, as Pastors, Preachers, Teachers of the Gospel and Evangelists, our call is not to make Jesus Christ pleasing to the media or to the world of professional athletes or to the world in general. While we are ambassadors to the world, we are ambassadors for Christ. And Him only.