The Personal Jesus (Part 2)

In having looked at the importance of an absolute objective standard, and the fact that we are given one in the person of Christ as He has created His Church:

There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. (Ephesians 4:4-6)

It’s time to look at the divergence from this one standard and the consequences thereof. UKFred writes some good insight into the generation of alternative Jesuses on the denominational level (emphasis mine):

But all in all, I am coming to the conclusion that different churches and traditions simply condone different sins. The presbyterians (I was brought up presbyterian) are good on not committing adultery and not stealing, but much less good in loving their neighbour, the Catholics on having a double standard based on whether the man concerned is a clergyman or not, Anglicans get upset if you tell them that there is such a thing as sin, let alone condemn a sin. The major problem seems to be that all of us have parts of our bibles that we do not want to read.

Rather the problem is one of reading and then following, as many do read but neglect to put it into practice. So what is the case in the life of the Churchian who follows the Personal Jesus and doesn’t know who Jesus really is? God gives us the answers. It really doesn’t matter where the different Jesus comes from, just that it’s different from the real authentic Jesus. One sure sign of wickedness that is given is assigning our standards to God (Psalm 50:21 as placed in context):

But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? Seeing thou hatest instruction, and casteth my words behind thee. When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers. Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit. Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother’s son. These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes. (Psalm 50:16-21)

To put the bolded part in another way, “You thought I was just like you, but I’ll prove you different”. It’s implying that these people thought God approved of these things, and that He did these things just the same. Empathologicalism reinforces this idea in his description of a predominant quality of one of the Personal Jesuses in play today:

Its not religion (rules, accountability, ritual, creed, dogma). its relationship…between you, and well, YOU. That’s right, the Personal Jesus is YOU.

Men are wondering , if accountability has been tossed out, and this new personal mantra adopted, why are we not getting all spiritual and content and zen and stuff? That’s easy, we didn’t ask for the Personal Jesus (TM), in fact something about that makes most of us very uncomfortable because he is reflected in the outward aspects of churchianity. AND, accountability for men was never dropped.

It’s not about a Jesus that is and was perfect, who has His own expectations and desires for those that call upon Him, and calls us to be like Him and His Father (Matthew 5:48). It’s about a Jesus that those in leadership and otherwise can place their desires and demands upon, and can communicate demands on their people which befit them and do not reflect the authentic Jesus. If we stop looking towards the authentic Jesus and start seeing Him as we see ourselves, and using Him to fulfill our desires, then we have huge problems on hand. As Hosea speaks of the priests of the time:

Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood. (Hosea 4:1-2)

Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. (Proverbs 29:18)

When there is no truth, there is false witness. When there is no mercy, there is no concern for the fellow man and murders, stealing, and injustice happens. When there is no knowledge of God, there is no opportunity for conviction for sins, both public and private. We have Marriage 2.0, adulteries, frivolous divorce, and numerous other things, simply because the knowledge of God is not present and furthermore not respected. In not looking to the authentic Jesus and speaking of Him within groups that proclaim His Name, we have these things by their silence and encouragement. The amazing thing in today’s society is how available the word of God is today, yet how little it is known and even more so how little it is respected, even within those who profess the name of Jesus. People, including those in authority, are obstinate and will only grow more so as time goes by:

Yet let no man strive, nor reprove another: for thy people are as they that strive with the priest.
(Hosea 4:4)

It’s a hard and thankless task to even try to correct the hard-hearted man of God today (especially the ordained one), as it was the priest of the time. The priests of Old are replaced by those who are Christ followers (1 Peter 2:4-5), so this can apply to any of us. God goes on to tell us that the priests of Old rejected the knowledge of God. They either sought to not find out or sought to forget or reject it. God says this of the priests, whose job it was to convey the true knowledge of God:

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. (Hosea 4:6)

While there are many verses we can consult, relating to the false teacher, prophet, or priest, it all involves an outright rejection of the knowledge of God, coupled with a lack of knowledge of God that fosters over time. In looking over these verses, most of what happens falls into two categories:

As they were increased, so they sinned against me: therefore will I change their glory into shame. They eat up the sin of my people, and they set their heart on their iniquity. (Hosea 4:7-8)

The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money: yet will they lean upon the Lord, and say, Is not the Lord among us? none evil can come upon us. (Micah 3:11)

The first is that those who change God do it to profit for themselves, be it money or fame. This almost always seems to always happen in conjunction with such things. With Hosea, it is stated that the priests grew in number and had the desire to change teachings to profit (in the form of sin offerings – this is what is meant by the priests “eat up the sin of my people”).

That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us. (Isaiah 30:9-11)

They hate him that rebuketh in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly. (Amos 5:10)

The second is that those who change God do it to please others (Galatians 1:10; 2 Timothy 4:2-4) or out of lack of faith in the face of persecution. It can also be observed that this point can blend into the first. One might start out communicating the true nature of God and then be encouraged by men into doing the opposite and continue after the fact because they find adulation and profit from it.

In conclusion, the revelation of God has been made plain to us. There is no confusion or doubt laid up in the Scriptures or in Creation as to the nature of God and what He expects of us. All has been laid out. It is our choice to either accept Jesus as He is, or reject Him and go our own ways.

Edit: I don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner for this post. When I first started hearing the phrase “Personal Jesus”, I think of this song by Depeche Mode named “Personal Jesus”:

Ironically, looking at the lyrics, it’s a pretty good description of the Personal Jesus in Churchianity.

25 thoughts on “The Personal Jesus (Part 2)”

  1. The amazing thing in today’s society is how available the word of God is today, yet how little it is known and even more so how little it is respected, even within those who profess the name of Jesus.

    YES! It is so little respected! This was essentially the topic of my very first blog post – a woman who has been a Christian for quite some time but who continues in unrepentant sexual sin, as if the Lord will never deal with her transgressions

    To not respect God’s word is not much different than simply being an atheist.

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  2. I didn’t think of this until I was reminded by way of Empathologicalism of the example of Glenn Stanton. He gives us a great example of Psalm 50:16-21 in action. I wrote then:

    Divorce is encouraged and even celebrated. When you have the Focus On the Family representative Glenn Stanton crying in celebration about a 38% divorce rate among those that attend church regularly and saying “at least that’s not bad as the big bad world”, you still have problems.

    If Stanton thinks a 38% divorce rate is acceptable in the sight of Jesus, he is going to get a rude awakening. It’s a great illustration about how the church supports and celebrates the divorce culture.

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  3. I’ve been thinking about this Personal Jesus thing, and I think how this might have gotten started is that it was a way to entice young, lost people into the church – in other words, as an evangelism technique. It is important to evangelize, but the problem is that once people have gotten into the church, they need to progress from spiritual milk to meat, as Paul says, but they don’t. The responsibility for spiritual growth is placed on the individual but too many aren’t following through on their responsibility. For example, in my church the weekend services are “seeker” friendly; for example, we don’t do communion on the weekends but only Wednesdays when most people who attend are already believers. I guess being seeker-friendly is okay, and there are other resources, for example on-campus Bible studies, but it’s always the same people who go to those. A lot of the seekers who wander in hang around for the good show on the weekend, but never go any deeper. It’s a major flaw in the evangelical mega-church model, but I don’t know what the answer is exactly. How can a church be structured to draw in the lost but still require converts to grow spiritually? We really need to get on our knees before God and ask him to solve this problem because there does not seem to be a human solution.

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  4. The “personal Jesus” is nothing more than the image worship Paul warns against in Romans 1:18-32. Men, not wishing to humble themselves before God, made images in their own likenesses and the likenesses of brute beasts for worship. The “personal Jesus” is simply the latest iteration of this heresy. Mankind, in its pride, has discarded the Divine Christ and created a “personal Jesus” in our own sinful image to “worship”. The results are inevitable, as detailed by Paul in Romans 1. What prevents the return to worship of the Divine Christ? Pride. What do we call pride today? Self esteem. When is the last time you heard the self-esteem movement condemned from the pulpit of your church?

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  5. Now there is a problem despite the clearness of the message. How come people despite the clear message of scripture manage to rationalise away the truth into what fits their personal bias?

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