Neutral Jesus

On the 22nd of this month I tweeted, there is no neutrality with God. You either actively pursue Him or actively oppose Him. Though this statement would seem to be divisive, it’s true…but when truth is determined in degree’s and not absolutes, then this “all or nothing” statement becomes the source of religious oppression, war, and international division, according to a good friend of mine. He responded very passionately to this statement, which you can find  here if you scroll down to April 22.

The discourse between us got me thinking about his perspective on all or nothing statements being divisive, and there is no argument that they certainly do demand a choice…but that doesn’t make them particularly wrong, does it? In as many lights as Jesus has been cast today, a good teacher, prophet, guru…more than anything, we have tried to neutralize Him, and the church is most guilty of all.

A neutral Jesus is safe, inoffensive, palatable, and easy to digest. A neutral Jesus will allow us to invite people into our churches and allow them to not feel uncomfortable, challenged, or compelled to change. A neutral Jesus is the most acceptable Jesus in our post modern culture and limp wristed churches, because we can gather people without there being a call to commitment or obedience to the scriptures. But did Jesus leave us that?

“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters”(Luke 11:23)

“Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”(Luke 11:28)

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments”(John 14:15)

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”(Matthew 10:34-37)

These are Jesus’ own words. They are not neutral…they are certainly absolute…and clearly all or nothing, but they lead true followers of Jesus to love more, serve more, know their own frailty and share more of who Jesus is and His gospel of grace. And whatever other responses they elicit, war mongering, hate mongering, hate speech, oppression, we can be sure they are not from the heart of Jesus.

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3 comments

  1. Awesome Article! It’s a hard thing to swallow for a lot of people but it’s true. There is no neutrality in “Jesus said to him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) All or nothing, Hot or Cold… Being PASSIONATE about Jesus is the way to go!!!

  2. We must never forget that the issue of unity that we as Christians are called to is founded on and made possible by the exclusive, absolute (and,yes, even divisive) claim of Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life leaving no man with access to the Father except by him. Unity is the not the centerpiece of our life in Christ nor the goal of our sanctification but is beautiful by-product of our union with Christ. The biblical prohibitions against neutrality are strong in Peter, James, and Revelation just to name a few as are the historical examples of doctrinal compromise for the sake of unity. Too often, we throw out truth because of its perversion by or even connection to those we disagree with. Our call to fidelity to and manifestation of the Word of God and its proclaimed and incarnated Gosepl in Jesus Christ in our lives is absolute in its scope while underrealized in practice because of the tension between the Now and the Not-Yet, between our progressive sanctification from fallen to glorified at the return of Christ. It is this tension that is compounded by what we perceive as sharply divisive, absolutest claims that imperfectly separate us into either/or categories. However, it is this tension that brings us to realize our desperate need for each other as a diverse body to accomplish what Christ bids us to do as his people truly bringing unity, and our desperate need for the working of the Holy Spirit in our broken, imperfect lives so as to glorify God in Christ Jesus.

  3. What about “Let the dead bury their dead. He who looks back while pushing the plow is not worthy of the kingdom.” Is that divisive?

    What about “I came not to bring peace, but a sword. I come to put father against son. Mother against daughter…” Is that divisive?

    The book of Acts, the persecution of believers and the martyrdom of the saints are evidence that the truth is divisive. Being divisive isn’t always a bad thing. Division that leads to demonization and hatred of all who disagree is one thing. But division isn’t always bad.
    “what fellowship does light have with darkness?” That sounds like there is a point of division to me.

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