I am the king of England. Denials that I am the king of England are judgment calls and the Bible says not to judge. If you do not accept me as king of England, you are invalidating my existence. I am the king of England.
This is the sort of nonsense we encounter in society. Contemporary culture demands we have an accepting attitude. If you are a woman who wants to be a man, a man who wants to be a woman, or a child who wants to be a flying purple people eater, the rest of us are to go along with it. “Science says,” screams a particular breed of modern mystic who hides behind science even when science is silent.
The head of Union Theological Seminary has both declared herself a Christian and that she does not believe in a physical resurrection of Jesus. Is she a Christian? Scripture itself says she is not. There is a whole chapter on the necessity of the physical resurrection. Using reason and discernment are not judging. Also, please do not forget that Mr. “Thou Shalt Not Judge” is the exact same guy saying, “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”
Saying that a denial of the physical resurrection means you are not a Christian is not judgment. It is a statement of fact. It would not be judging to say a Muslim or an atheist is not a Christian even if one insisted he was.
Thus we arrive at last week’s column. It generated angry messages from people who say they celebrate pride and they are Christians because they believe in Jesus and accept Him as their Lord.
Excellent, I say! That is wonderful to hear. We are all sinners saved by grace through Christ’s love. Paul’s statement about calling on Christ as Lord, to quote St. Augustine, “is shallow enough for a child not to drown, yet deep enough for an elephant to swim.” Who is the Jesus you accept as Lord? Albert Schweitzer, one of the most famous men of the 20th century, wrote a book called “The Quest of the Historical Jesus.” He noted that those who go in search of the historical Jesus come away finding someone who looks exactly like themselves. Schweitzer did the exact same thing.
The Jesus of the New Testament is the man who told Christians not to judge just two sentences before he told them to discern who is not of the faith. The Jesus who said to love all is the Jesus who spoke more about hell than all others in the Bible combined. If you hang your hat on Romans 10, I have some Romans 1 for you to read. Then there is the Jesus who is the Word, the voice of God, who spoke to Moses in Leviticus. That is the Jesus you believe in, right? Jesus did not just speak in red letters.
When you align Jesus with contemporary cultural values, you may be affirming yourself as superior to others, but you do so against His admonition that the things of this world hate the things of God and warnings about itching ears. The Jesus of the New Testament is the unchanging God of the Old Testament. It is not judging to point this out. Unfortunately, we live in an increasingly relativistic world where two thousand years of orthodoxy have to be censored by the world just so I can claim to be the King of England and demand you affirm me.
Erick Erickson is host of Atlanta’s Evening News on WSB Radio.