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Thursday, April 26, 2018

Another Jesus

In Paul's second letter to the church at Corinth, Paul was concerned that they were too susceptible to error.
I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. (2 Cor 11:3-4)
Interesting. By what means might they be led astray (as the serpent led Eve astray)? Teachers. Not just teachers; false teachers. Not just false teachers; false teachers that teach "another Jesus" or "a different spirit" or "a different gospel".

Now, we know what Paul thought of "a different gospel" (Gal 1:6-10) -- there is no "different gospel". The same is true for Jesus. There is no "other Jesus". It is deception. Of these false teachers Paul says, "Such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light." (2 Cor 11:13-14) So, we have "another Jesus", "a different gospel", and we have false teachers that, well, look really impressive. Messengers of God serving "an angel of light" who is no such thing.

You don't have to look far today to find these. They disguise themselves as megachurch pastors preaching health and wealth or as Social Justice Warriors preaching "feed the poor" over against "preach the gospel". (That is, "feed the poor" isn't wrong; it's only wrong when it removes and replaces "preach the gospel".) They offer a "kinder, gentler" Jesus fathered (often "sort of") by a "kinder, gentler" God. None of that "wrath" and "hell" and junk. "He's not that kind of Jesus." This "other Jesus" isn't just, isn't righteous, and certainly isn't biblical. That is, this "Jesus" finds the God of the Bible offensive. "All that sacrifice and blood and killing and stuff? Bad, really bad. Not this Jesus." They offer a "new and improved" version of the gospel. It's much more friendlier. Discard exclusivity. Set aside hell. Certainly don't include God's Word as authoritative or definitive. And so on.

Paul is concerned about the willingness of the church at Corinth to embrace these kinds of opposing views. They are happy to include alternatives. Another Jesus, a different gospel, a different spirit -- it's all good. Let's not be narrow. Let's not be closed-minded. Let's include diversity of views and tolerance of ... false Christs and gospels and spirits. It isn't unclear that Paul is opposed to that. His argument? "I am an Apostle of Christ (2 Cor 11:6-33). Listen to me, not them." And how does that translate today? "You have God's Word; listen to that."

Or go with "another Jesus" or "a different gospel". At your own risk.


Bob said...

One day i thought i had it figured out..
I proposed that if two opposing doctrinal ideas are presented, the one that violates God's character is the one that should be discarded. however when i tried this with other Christians, i realized that the proposition fails because no one can agree upon the fundamental principles of God's character... although the proposition is sound, the flaw resides in the ignorance of the believer. The Gospel is good news because it is true and simple. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. however the Real Jesus is a person, with real character traits that must be understood. other wise you may be serving a lesser, different God. ex: Bob say's: Because God is sovereign; man's cannot have ultimate freewill. critic says: yea but God gives up his some of his sovereignty, so that man can be free to choose... just shoot me...

Marshal Art said...

Just clicked the imaginary "like" button.