Saturday, June 28, 2014

Did Jesus Christ Die for My Best Life Now?

I will give You thanks with all my heart;
I will sing praises to You before the gods.
I will bow down toward Your holy temple
And give thanks to Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth;
For You have magnified Your word according to all Your name.
On the day I called, You answered me;
You made me bold with strength in my soul. 
~ Psalm 138:1–3

It's been longer than usually for me to sit down and bang the keyboard of my blog.  I'm deeply thankful for five dear brothers who accepted my invitation to contribute here and they have done so very well. These brothers are dear to me for many reasons, none less than the great encouragement they provide me, which I in turn take and then attempt to provide stability for my family.  These guys know my life situation and they gird my family up through fervent prayer and an ever present love towards me that I don't think they understand the half of.  Yet, these men are only part of a large group of brothers and sisters near and far who love Jesus and love the brethren.  I am richly blessed to have a network of God-fearing, Christ exalting believers in my life.

So why the silence?  June has just been one of those months around Clan McDonnell.  It started off well enough, well actually the last few days of May, with an occasion as rare as Halley's Comet.  Yep, the entire family got out for an event "just for fun."  That, for my household, is a cause for celebration.  You see, if you don't know me, you're not aware of our family trial these last 11 years, specifically the last 5 3/4 years. But whose counting?  Oh, we also got out together a 2nd time because nothing was going to stop us all from attending our eldest son's entrance into the Los Angeles Fire Department. However, most every other day of the last 30 have been what we have learned to call "paying for it."  You see, our great trial is chronic pain for my wife and the mother of our children.  Severe chronic pain.  It has been constant.  It has been high.  It has had severe spikes that are nothing short of excruciating............and that's just my side of it.  I only feel it emotionally as I weep for my bride and plead with my God.

At this point you may be saying, "man Kevin, snap out of it, chill out', or 'what's up with you?  You're bummin' me out", or you're getting ready to drop Romans 8:28 on me.  No worries.  My intention here is to let you in a little closer as I disclose some of the struggle of these trials, these long, never ending trials.  But wait!  That's not all.  As the passage at the top of this page reveals.  Because, I have given thanks and am giving thanks and will always, by God's great, great mercy, and power working within me, continue to give thanks!

For there is none like the Lord.  He is great and great is His name in might. (Jeremiah 10:6)

Great is the Lord and worthy of praise!  Were I to do this as an unsaved man, as a man still enslaved to my sin, I would have failed long ago.  I would have given up.  I very likely would have crashed and burned.  But God!  As Martyn Lloyd-Jones once said, "the two greatest words in the bible."

I pause here and ask you, you who do not know Christ, you who have not bowed your knee to Him...why do you still seek to get through this life without Him?  He Himself told us clearly that "His yoke is easy and His burden is light" (Matt 11:30) and that those who come to Him He will surely not cast out. (John 6:37)  What?!  Here I am telling you how difficult our life has been these last 11 years and yet telling you that Christ makes our yoke easy and burden light.  If this makes no sense to you, then it is almost certain you do not know Christ as Lord and Savior.  At best, you do not understand Him and have potentially bought the lies of all those T.V. preachers who have taught from their own deceived minds, from a bible often left in the background of their charismatic personalities. Things like "Every Day A Friday" or, as the title of this post suggests, "Your Best Life Now."  Such preachers tell us "when you do your part, God will do His part."  But no, no, the Christianity on T.V. and flooding the landscape these days is too often portrayed as this happy go lucky life where God is our personal genie and gives us all the things we desire to make us happy while never giving us trials that force us to grow up and become holy.  But I digress.

When I entered this trial I was lock, stock and barrel on the Sovereignty of God.  I was, and still am, as dogmatic as dogmatic gets.  And that is not a bad thing because after all God's Word is truth (John 17:17) and we can bank on that with absolute certainty.  The problem I had 6 years ago was that, while true, my knowledge was settled in my head yet needed to trickle into my heart.  God indeed ordains everything.

         Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
         And in Your book were all written
         The days that were ordained for me,
         When as yet there was not one of them.
         ~ Psalm 139:16

         Man’s steps are ordained by the LORD,
         How then can man understand his way?
         ~ Proverbs 20:24.

         The steps of a man are established by the LORD,
         And He delights in his way.
         When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong,
         Because the LORD is the One who holds his hand.
         ~ Psalm 37:23–24

God has indeed ordained my days.  He's ordained my days, my wife's days, my children's days, yes, even your days.  And it's ok!  He's smarter than us and even better, His ways are perfect because He is perfectly holy!  I cannot fully understand them but I can trust Him fully because of His holy perfection in His creation and towards His children.  He has always held my hand and always will.  Like a loving father that holds the hand of his child as they walk, He holds ours.  Just as that loving father will never allow his precious daughter to take a header and faceplant on the sidewalk so our loving heavenly Father will not allow us to faceplant in life. Both will snatch up their child and protect them......with one big difference, God will never lose His grip and never fail to uphold us.

But back to my problem.  While I consistently preached sovereignty to my dear wife those first 5 years I neglected to understand compassion.  I failed to know understanding her sorrow.  I lived in a Book. God knew I needed to take that Book, grasp it in my head, allow it to seep into my heart, and saturate my entire being so that I could love my wife as Christ loves His church.  In other words, I had to live matter how painful and how difficult it would be and is.  This is why though the road can be long and dark my faith has found a resting place and that resting place is my Lord Jesus Christ.


         Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me;
         You will stretch forth Your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
         And Your right hand will save me.
         The LORD will accomplish what concerns me;
         Your lovingkindness, O LORD, is everlasting;
         ~ Psalm 138:7–8

Because that is who God is.  He is exalted yet He accomplishes, even in, yes purposely in, dark, deep travail, His purposes in me, in my wife, in my children, and He accomplishes His purposes in those whose lives I come into contact with.  This lowly kid, snatched from the fires of hell, plucked from the glory of self, He continues to ordain all things that I might be conformed to the image of His Son. Typing that I just say, WOW!

         For though the LORD is exalted,
         Yet He regards the lowly,
         ~ Psalm 138:6

so I can and

         will sing of the ways of the LORD,
         For great is the glory of the LORD.
         ~ Psalm 138:5

Yet in the midst I still cry out to my God in full trust

        Do not forsake the works of Your hands. ~ Psalm 138:8

As I close I realize I, like the Psalmist, cannot stay in pity or sorrow as I attempted to describe more of our plight.  I found that in writing this and fixing on my great and gracious Lord I can only extol Him.

To God be the glory, great things he has done!

He must increase,
~ Kevin

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Abortion: An Illogical and Unethical Conclusion

STOP! Before you read any further, please understand this post will be very different from most of my others. In fact, for being a Christian blog, you won't find any mention of Christ whatsoever. However, I felt this was important enough of a topic to be worth sharing. The following is a thesis paper I recently wrote for a college class. The reason for the lack of Scripture references is because I believe, as writers, we need to write to our target audience. Unfortunately, mine was a secular audience. Though you won't find direct biblical references, I'd also like you to understand that all logic comes from God. He is the one who has bestowed us with reasoning. Even more so, apart from God, there is no logic. As you read on, I challenge each and every one of you to see the Christian worldview lurking beneath the surface.

Abortion. It’s one of the few subjects that stir up controversy just by name alone. Rarely does a discussion on the matter end peacefully. Emotions run high and, before long, the discussion morphs into a debate which devolves into a heated argument. While unfortunate, it’s to be expected on some level. In fact, many refuse to entertain such discussions in an attempt to avoid the inevitable argument. Is this a reasonable solution? Should we just ignore the cases being presented and pretend nothing is wrong? Do we agree to disagree and let bygones be bygones? Is there really a way to settle a debate that has been going on for decades?

Before one can truly form an educated opinion on the topic, I believe a proper understanding of the history and background is essential. Regardless of personal belief or conviction, where there is a lack of understanding, foolishness is almost certain to ensue. This is the birthplace of ill-informed decisions and misconstrued opinions based on faulty knowledge. Out of respect for the issue, I would like to take a few moments to review some of the history. Though I wish we could journey through the intricacies of the past together, due to space restrictions, we’ll have to settle for a brief yet intriguing summary.

To begin, we first need to travel back in time to March 1970. There, we will meet a young woman who appears to be a relatively normal person upon first glace.  Nothing seems to be out of the ordinary. However, what we don’t know is that she is a single pregnant woman who is seeking to terminate her pregnancy in a state that has strict abortion laws. This “ordinary” woman, Norma McCorvey, is about to be known across the nation as Jane Roe (Rose, 2008, p. 93).

Roe had just filed a lawsuit against the District Attorney of Dallas County, Texas “on behalf of herself and all other women” claiming that her right to privacy was violated when held against the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution (Rose, 2008, p. 93) and that the existing abortion laws were preventing women from receiving adequate medical advice (Hitchcock, 2007, p.49). After an arduous three year battle, on January 22, 1973 (Davis, 2004, p. 141), the court ruled that, “For the stage prior to approximately the end of the first trimester, the abortion decision and its effectuation must be left to the medical judgment of the pregnant woman's attending physician.” and “For the stage subsequent to approximately the end of the first trimester, the State, in promoting its interest in the health of the mother, may, if it chooses, regulate the abortion procedure in ways that are reasonably related to maternal health.” (Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 163, 1973). Thus, abortion was now a private matter between the physician and the patient. Unless the patient was beyond the first trimester, there was little to nothing the state could do about it. Though the decision to terminate pregnancy ultimately rested within the hands of the physician, the power to choose was, for all intents and purposes, placed within the hands of the mother. Indeed, the future was about the change and, depending on your stance on abortion, it was either for the better or the worse.

So, here we stand today. It’s been forty-one years since the court’s decision and women have been free to obtain abortion-on-demand ever since. Likewise, the abortion debate has been waging equally as long, if not longer. As with all controversial topics, over the years, each opposing side has rallied with their peers to make their points, defend their positions, and stand their ground. In the beginning, I asked if this was a debate that could ever be solved. I dare say there is a plethora of ways to make the case that abortion is simply an illogical and inconsistent practice for anyone of sound mind. All we have to do is have the courage to peel back the curtain.

The reason it’s such a heated topic isn’t because of the nature of those discussing it. It’s because of the nature of the discussion itself. It’s more than trying to agree on fashion or debating which cereal tastes the best. Indeed, far more is at stake in this debate. We’re dealing with human life. Whether or not one wants to admit it, regardless of the outcome, the very basis of the discussion is the topic of human life and all that goes with it. Even further, it is a discussion on the sanctity of human life. The focus may drift from time to time but, in the end, it always comes back to this point. While I admit this may be a bold assertion, I also truly believe objective logic and reasoning will show it to be both the central and essential point of the debate. Interestingly enough, of all the “friendly” discussions I’ve had over the years, the topic of doctor/patient confidentiality has yet to come up. It seems privacy was just the force required to get the snowball rolling downhill. For the sake of moving forward, I feel it’s high time we review some of the arguments put forth by the pro-choice movement.

One common argument is that our country is already filled with neglected children and that we, as responsible adults, shouldn’t be contributing to the problem. Part of the support for this stance is the claim that children born of unwanted pregnancies are prone to social and interpersonal difficulties (Faúndes & Barzelatto, 2006, p. 39). This is just absurd when you really think about it. What do acceptance and ease have to do with life? Should we now be authorized to execute those whom we deem undesirable? Many have said it isn’t fair for a child to be brought into the world only to be rejected. Life isn’t fair but that doesn’t mean it ceases to be life. It is indeed a sad scenario when there is a young child who is neglected. We see countless stories of small children being taken away from their parents due to deplorable living conditions. Many of them even have disorders from years of psychological scarring. If one were to suggest we execute each one of these children as they’re discovered, he would be viewed as an even worse monster than the deadbeat parents. Why, then, do we see this as such an honorable option? How can one possibly suggest it’s nobler to destroy an unborn infant in an effort to prevent him from being born into an atrocious situation than it is to destroy a five year old who has been suffering in it for years? Why not end the misery of one and prevent the misery of the other? Where do we draw the line? Can it even be drawn clearly and distinctly? Of course, this may be a moot point if you aren’t of the persuasion that the fetus is a human life. Thankfully, this will be addressed shortly so I ask you to patiently read on.

Second, many have taken the stance that abortion is an adequate, though controversial, solution to overpopulation in our society (McKinney & Schoch, 1998, p. 133). Some have even gone so far as to take this approach and claim, much like hunting is the answer to overpopulation of a given species in the wilderness, abortion is the answer to overpopulation in society. Are we now comparing ourselves to animal control? Are we once again choosing who needs to go? Are we now playing judge, jury, and executioner based solely off our own personal and private desires? The opinion of mankind changes with every breeze. Some may say gang wars should be a legal form of murder so long as no innocent bystanders get injured. Is it possible others may feel we should allow people older than a certain cutoff age to be murdered? After all, they’ve lived their prime and are of limited usefulness in most cases so far as a productive standpoint is concerned. Of course, I don’t actually believe either of these and am only using them to make the point that killing other human beings isn’t the answer. That being said, I’ve heard some claim support of the latter option and that, in my personal opinion, is no better than the pro-choice camp as both are suggesting a certain group is less deserving of life than another particular group of people. Even Margaret Sanger, who was instrumental in the founding of Planned Parenthood of America, believed birth control, a term she coined, was instrumental in controlling the birth rate of those whom she deemed inferior (Axelrod, 1999, p. 128). Is this where we stand today?

Third, and perhaps one of the most common arguments, we’ve undoubtedly all heard the claim that a woman has the right to do as she pleases with her own body. While this sounds like a very solid point, it’s full of many holes. First and foremost, it isn’t her body we’re discussing. It’s the body of the child inside her womb. Nobody is trying to tell her how she is to cut her hair. Nobody is trying to tell her she can’t get a tattoo, sleep with as many partners as she pleases, or reserve herself for only one person. No, all of these are her rights and nobody can strip her of them. The pro-life camp isn’t oppressing her in any of these ways. She isn’t limited in the slightest when it comes to her rights. Yet, despite all this, she continually claims she is being oppressed. I suppose this all depends on how one defines oppression. If you define it as someone limiting your free actions in any way whatsoever, I would agree in full. Police officers are oppressing her. Lawmakers are oppressing her. In this case, any removal of choice without consequence would be defined as oppression. However, most would agree this is a necessary oppression to prevent us, as a society, from slipping into chaos and anarchy. Because of this differentiation, we must limit the definition of oppression to simply the limiting of one’s rights. Does one have the right to take the life of another? Countless court verdicts shout a resounding no. How can a woman possibly imply her rights are being violated if the only limitation is her ability to destroy the unborn child within her womb? This is not a violation of rights. This is not oppression. If anything, each person is guaranteed the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in the Declaration of Independence (US 1776). A similar assertion can be found in the Bill of Rights (U.S. Const. amend. V). Notice the key word: life. Before continuing, it’s only fair to point out that developing fetuses are not currently protected under the aforementioned constitutional amendment simply because they are not deemed to be people until the point of viability. This is the direct result of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade (Sproul, 2010, p. 41). However, while the court may have ruled that the fetus isn’t protected, does this ruling mean it shouldn’t be? Rights are imbued to us all as human beings regardless of our age. As for the right to life, there is zero justification for taking it away without due process in a court of law. Since the infant has committed no crime, any charges against it should be instantly dismissed. There simply is no case. In the end, it isn’t about a woman’s ability to do as she pleases with her own body. It’s about a woman’s inability to do as she pleases to the body of another. Once she becomes pregnant, it’s no longer about her body. This is just one of many red herrings meant to draw the attention away from the actual issue. Though, under our current laws, she may have the right to an abortion, we must always ask ourselves if simply having a right is synonymous with doing what is right. Furthermore, do we have the moral right to do that which is morally wrong (Sproul, 2010, p. 115)?

Fourth, there are those who simply do not believe the fetus to be a human life. Does this undo the pro-life stance? Is there any ground to stand on if the opposing side simply doesn’t believe the same? After all, we can’t force religion upon anybody. Is an atheist wrong if he doesn’t believe in God and, as a result, chooses to not implement certain practices into his life? This appears to be the case many within this mindset are making. Thankfully, it is just another hollow argument. The evidence is mounted against them as are their inconsistencies. I’ve heard the fetus compared to cancer. They say it’s nothing more than a clump of cells that are replicating into a mass. Since we have no problem removing these living cells during chemotherapy or surgery, it shouldn’t matter if one chooses to have an abortion early on while the cells are still developing and replicating. It doesn’t take much more than a glance to see the flaw in this logic. Cancer, while indeed growing, will always remain cancer. A surgeon will never remove cancerous cells only to find them crying on the surgical table and desiring to be comforted. Those particular cells, while being from a human, will never become a human. The same cannot be said of a fetus. By two weeks, the fetus has a discernable heartbeat. It has a unique blood type that is separate from the mother’s. By six weeks the child has fingers at the end of each delicate hand, brain waves pulsing through a mind that is full of potential, and movement within the womb. By nine weeks, gender can be distinguished, a unique set of fingerprints have been created, and the baby has a fully functioning set of kidneys (Bosgra, 1987, p. 7-8). A heartbeat and brainwaves alone demonstrate life within an adult. Why is there such hesitation to apply the same determination to a developing embryo? Would this not simply be prenatal life (Sproul, 2010, p. 55)? Every last adult on earth began as this cluster of replicating cells and look at what we’ve become! From this perspective, the fetus is only at another stage of development in its life. A fetus is not an infant. An infant is not a toddler. A toddler is not a teenager. A teenager is not a middle-aged adult. A middle-aged adult is not a senior citizen. However, just because a toddler is not a senior citizen does not mean the toddler is not a human life. The same can be said of the fetus. It’s a human being that is simply at an earlier stage of development in the life cycle. Despite this, many will say this isn’t enough to prove anything. This has only opened the door for early term abortions vs. late term abortions using terms such as “point of viability” to justify it. Because of this, we must resort to logic and consistency. While I may not be able to prove beyond all shadow of a doubt, though all signs point to the affirmative, that the fetus is a human life, the pro-choice crowd is also unable to prove otherwise. Therefore, it boils down to responsibility. At the risk of overusing an analogy, I’d like us to once again refer to the hunters mentioned earlier. Imagine two hunters in the woods that are hunting for deer. Hunter A sees movement behind a shrub but isn’t certain what’s behind it. He’s fairly certain it’s a deer and the law states that he’s able to shoot it. Hunter B says he thinks it’s another hunter but he can’t be sure either. It moves like a person and seems to be exhibiting human tendencies but, due to limited vision, neither one is absolutely certain. Now, imagine Hunter A says he doesn’t agree with Hunter B and wants to take the shot. Hunter B says he’s fairly certain it’s another person and that Hunter A shouldn’t do it. Does Hunter A have the right to take the shot? Absolutely! However, it may not be without severe consequences. If it does turn out to be a human, he is now facing murder charges as well as recklessness with a deadly weapon. Ignorance won’t be enough to overturn the guilty sentence. Furthermore, he wouldn’t even be able to claim ignorance as he was warned numerous times by Hunter B. Sure, there is always a chance the “Hunter B’s” of the world could be wrong wrong but is the gamble really worth it when it comes to human life? Would you be willing to take the shot if you weren’t absolutely certain whether or not it was a person you were taking out? Basic human responsibility should answer that one.

Finally, we can lay aside all the arguments and take a look at the emotional inconsistencies. There tend to be several categories of emotions. There are those who don’t believe it to be human life and don’t even feel the slightest tinge of guilt or remorse when they have an abortion performed. On the other side of the spectrum, there are those who do believe it to be human life and they feel extreme guilt and remorse post-abortion. These, I’m convinced, are the only two consistent categories. The inconsistent categories would be those who do not believe it to be human life yet deliberate based on emotion as well as those who do believe it to be human life yet feel nothing. With the latter, this is simply no different than any other murderers out there as their own consciences have been seared. They fully believe the fetus to be life yet have justified the removal of life (killing) for reasons unknown. In the end, there is no justification for such a person as he would openly admit to “legal” murder. As for the former group, why do they feel emotionally torn if it isn’t a human life? If they truly believe the fetus is just a clump of cells, there should be no remorse. There should be no deliberation. It should be a decision as simple as taking out the trash or mowing the lawn. Deciding whether or not to discard your beloved pair of pants should be more painstaking than whether or not to have an abortion. After all, you spent time breaking those pants in just right and you’ve had them for years. The fetus just got into your body recently. Either get rid of it and move on or decide to keep it, water it, and see what it grows into. Your emotions should only enter the picture after the baby is born for, prior to this, it’s not a life so there is no reason to be emotionally attached. To be honest, this emotional turmoil in the life of one who is pondering an abortion is a sign that she truly does believe the fetus to be a human life regardless what she may claim when asked in public. Her conscience has already betrayed her. At this point, we once again enter the realm of moral and ethical responsibility as made in the previous point.

So, where do we go from here? Do we continue to stand by idly as we hear of neglected children having no place in this world? Do we declare open season on those we deem inferior? Do we continue to allow the right to privacy to trample a child’s basic right to life? Is it time to hold people accountable for their irresponsible and reckless actions? Sadly, these are questions each of you must answer for yourself. As I stated in the beginning, abortion is a highly emotional topic. Perhaps you’ve gone through with an abortion of your own. If you felt no remorse, my hope is this commentary has given you something to chew on. However, if you felt even the smallest tinge of guilt, my hope is that you will be convinced, now more than ever, that a fetus is an intricately crafted human being that is fighting against all odds for survival. Let us be a voice for the voiceless and stand against abortion. Any other option just doesn’t make sense.

~ Travis W. Rogers

Axelrod, A. (1999). The Complete Idiot's Guide to 20th Century History. New York: Alpha Books. 

Bosgra, T. (1987). Abortion, the Bible, and the Church. Toronto: LifeCycle Books.

Davis, J. (2004). Evangelical Ethics: Issues Facing the Church Today. Phillipsburg, New Jersey: P&R Publishing.

Faúndes, A., & Barzelatto, J. J. (2006). The Human Drama of Abortion : A Global Search for Consensus. Nashville, Tenn: Vanderbilt University Press. 

Hitchcock, S. (2007). Roe V. Wade : Protecting a Woman's Right to Choose. New York: Chelsea House.

McKinney, M. L., & Schoch, R. M. (1998). Environmental Science : Systems and Solutions. Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett Publishers. 

Roe v. Wade. 410 U.S. 163 (1973).

Rose, M. (2008). Abortion : A Documentary and Reference Guide. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press. 

Sproul, R.C. (2010). Abortion: A Rational Look at an Emotional Issue. Orlando, Florida: Reformation Trust Publishing.

U.S. Const. amend. V.

U.S. Declaration of Independence, Paragraph 2 (1776).

Saturday, June 14, 2014

What You Do With Jesus Isn't As Important As What He will Do With You

Matthew 7:21-23
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

The question is often asked these days; “What will you do with Jesus?”

I am aware that this is an earnest question asked in a desire to compel the lost to come to a conclusion about who Christ was and what He claimed about Himself. It puts me in mind of Lewis’ trichotomy, Jesus was either a liar, a lunatic or He was Lord; but He could not be all of them. I freely confess that the claims that Christ made about Himself demand that we must come to a conclusion about who He is. Yet I am not convinced that the best question to ask is “What will you do with Jesus?”

In all honesty I am not terribly concerned with what people will do with Jesus. I know this sounds a bit lax; and maybe it is; and I may need to repent of this later (Sorry that was my nod to Mark Driscoll), but I am just not terribly concerned with what the lost world does with Him. In fact, judging from what most of the professing Church does with Christ; my greater concerns are with them. Sadly we live in a day and age where all too many people who claim Christianity as their religion have done terrible things with Jesus. They have made Him their buddy; their homeboy; their BFF; their boyfriend; their husband; their personal genie; their excuser; and even in some cases their lover. 

Consider this scene from the book The Shack (I am paraphrasing the account for the sake of time.) The “protagonist” is walking along the shore of a lake with the author’s version of Christ and he begins to curse. He realizes after a moment that he is cursing in front of Jesus and looks at Him almost sheepishly. To His surprise Jesus is chuckling at his indiscretion and waves it off as no big deal because men’s curse words are of no consequence to God. I am pretty certain that there is no scenario that any godly person could ever imagine where they would even utter so much as “shoot” in the presence of Christ if for some reason He happened to be walking along side of them.

Consider Ann Voskamp’s overly sexualized familiarity with Christ in her book One Thousand Gifts; where she speaks in lascivious terms about Jesus; or the godhead in general. (I will not give the explicit examples here because having read them it makes me terribly uncomfortable to even mention them.) Consider the movement within evangelical Christianity that has single women buying wedding rings and wearing them and telling anyone willing to listen that Jesus is their husband. This may sound proper; but it isn’t. Furthermore it has its roots in Roman Catholicism where we see nuns wearing wedding rings because they are married to Jesus. Jesus is not the husband of individual believers. Jesus is the Groom of the Church. Individuals make up the Church and in unity with the Body of Christ we are united to Christ in that marriage. For anyone to claim that they are married to Christ individually is blasphemous, and bordering on grotesque when one considers the implications of what it means for a couple to be married. The communion between Christ and His Bride is no doubt intimate, more intimate than any physical relationship between a man and woman. Make no mistake; the woman or man even, who claims that they are individually married to Christ is failing to understand this well.

I do not argue against the theological reality that Jesus is the friend of sinners; but when we take him from the context of “He who lays down his life for his friends” and put Him into the context of being our BFF over-and-against being a mighty Savior and Lord; we cheapen what it is that He accomplished in laying His life down. Bear with me here; understand what it is I am saying; we have become all together all too familiar with Christ. This is not to say that we know Him too well. No believer will ever know too much of Christ. It is to say that we have come to treat Him as if He is one of us. We appear to read statements such as “he was like us in every way…” and stop there. We behave in such a way so as to appear as if He isn’t our Lord and that He does not have the right to command us or demand our obedience and submission. Can you imagine your best earthly friend looking at you and telling you to bow your knee to them? 

I will freely confess that as good of friends as I have in this world; not one of them is a better friend to me than my wife. She is the one who lives alongside me every day. She is the one who watches my struggles and my sins as they work up to the surface of my very being. She is as close to being a BFF as I will ever have. She calls me on my sins and encourages me when I am down and tells me when I am doing well. She however is not Christ, and if I walked into my house some night after being on duty all day and heard her say “Submit. Bow your knee.” I would laugh at her. Then I would probably gauge the level of seriousness she said it with and prepare the proper rebuke if need be. Yet if the Friend of Sinners came to me right now He would not need to tell me to bow my knee, I would fall on my face and worship; because He is worthy and my knees should bow. No BFF in the world is worthy of such a reaction. No person in this world is worthy of such a reaction or response. Only the Lamb of God deserves this response from those He has made His friends.

So no, I am not terribly concerned with what the world or what the broader Church will do with Jesus. Because I have already observed with my own eyes the shambles they have made of Him. Not that they have actually done anything with Him. No, instead they have built up a false Christ. They have taken Jesus, the Christ of the Bible, and so twisted and bent him that he no longer resembles what Scripture teaches of him. They have molded Him into their image instead of being shaped into His. 

So the Jesus believed in today by so many is not the real Christ and what is done with him is done with no fear of retribution. Yet the true Christ, the Christ of Scripture, is not the powerless creation of those polluted juvenile minds with pornographic visions filling pulpits in your local mega-church. He is not the limp-wristed milquetoast effeminate man that the pantywaisted liberal churches have made Him out to be. He is not this gentle “unoffendable” God who makes no demands and accepts you just as you are; and then leaves you comfortable in your culturally acceptable sins. Christ is not some purpose driven marketing exec bent on helping you fulfill your dreams. Christ is not some social justice communitarian community organizer come to change the world with his message of equality for all, contrary to wretched films such as Son of God. Not at all; not in the least. 

The true Christ of Scripture is a noble man. He is the God-man with all the power of heaven and the authority of the King of creation. He speaks and things happen. He says be still and the raging waves of the sea stop. He cries out to the oceans and they devour the evil and the land they live on. He commands legions of angels; and unlike his first advent when He willingly chose to not call on the angels to rescue Him; when He returns again this time He will come with a sword and with fire and legions of warrior angels to slaughter His enemies. He is coming to execute the vengeance of God and to bring such horrific retribution against His unrepentant enemies that when He is done the battlefield will be filled with the bodies of His enemies and the blood will flow freely (Revelation 19). This is the Jesus we are talking about.
This is the same Jesus who came and lived peacefully with the publicans and sinners and drove the religious and culturally elite from out of the temple with a whip made of leather and rocks and bits of broken pottery. Not once, but twice. This is the same Jesus who was silent before His accusers and yet cried out for their very forgiveness upon the cross that they had hung Him on.

So forgive me if I don’t seem terribly interested in what you, I or anyone else is going to do with Jesus. Here is another aspect of this thought; Jesus never asks His followers or the crowds this question either. The closest He comes is when He asks the disciples “Who do people say that I am?” The answers vary from a prophet to the resurrected John. So even back then, with Christ walking and talking with them, most people still missed it and got it twisted. Yet when Jesus asks the disciples “Ah, but who do you say that I am?” Peter replies with the only viable answer “Truly you are the Christ.” 

What more can any of us say? He is truly the Christ, The Anointed One, and the Son of the Living God! It just doesn’t matter what any of us do with Him. Make no mistake everyone will give an account for what they say about Him and what they believe about Him. But we ultimately cannot do anything with Christ. He is not ours to command or to give direction to. The better question; the question that we should be asking of others and of ourselves is this “What is Jesus going to do with you?”

For those who have bowed their knees in repentance and faith Jesus will be their Savior and their friend and He will be their rewarder. To those who have spent their lives in rebellion and war against Him; Jesus will be their judge and executioner. He will do with them as He wills. This means these rebels will suffer eternal hellfire suffering under the unmitigated unabated wrath of the Father.

This is the reality of what we have to deal with. This is the question that we should be asking everyone that we share the Gospel with. What will Jesus do with you? Any answer that we are given in reply to this question will lead us to ask “Why do you believe that? What makes you think that?” See the point is that getting the answer to the question “What will Jesus do with you?” wrong is tragic. At the end of Matthew 7 we see what this looks like. 

Jesus describes a horrible and terrifying scene for us. He tells us that at the appointed time many, not a few, not a handful, but many, will come to Him and cry out to Him “Lord Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, cast out demons in your name, heal the sick in your name? Didn’t we do all sorts of great things in your name?” They come to Him making stupendous claims about what they did with Him. Yet that is not what matters. What matters is that He doesn’t know them; He never did. He casts them away from His presence into eternal judgment crying out to them “Get away from me, I never knew you; you workers of lawlessness.”

These are startling and staggering words and they come about due to a misapprehension of the Gospel. They are a result of asking the wrong things and making the wrong inferences. We have to get this right. It is imperative that we ask the right question. Literally to hell with the man-centered appeal to humanity’s personal desires. Instead we should be calling on humanity, our co-workers, our neighbors, our siblings, our parents, and even our spouses to answer the right question rightly. “What is it that Jesus will do with you?” Because in the end, what they have done with Him, reflects what they believe about Him and is indicative of what He will do with them in turn…

Soli Deo Gloria!