Romancing The Personal Jesus

“Feeling unknown And you’re all alone
Flesh and bone By the telephone
Lift up the receiver I’ll make you a believer
I will deliver You know I’m a forgiver
Reach out and touch faith” — Depeche Mode

There’s someone out there. He wants to know all about you where everyone else doesn’t care about you. In fact, it goes beyond that. He loves you so much that he made a very grand gesture to show that love. He cares about how you feel. He’s on your side in everything – he’s the perfect friend. He never says no to what you want, no matter what it is. He’d never go run off drinking with the boys or look at porn. He’d even bring flowers and dry your tears when you’re sad, if he just wasn’t such a…spiritual person. If that marriage is going so hard, you can always just run away with Him. He’ll forgive you and doesn’t care about that or anything else you do. But He cares about you like no one else. All you need to do is pick up that receiver and he’ll make you a believer.

Of course, I’m talking about the Personal Jesus. This common false gospel has been spoken about numerous times, describing both it and its general effects on both the church and marriages.

Simply said, the Personal Jesus is the ideal perfect husband for the typical woman. She expects this to be modeled into her perfect marriage. Most notably, the advent of the Personal Jesus has brought the requirement that husbands not love their wives as Christ loved the Church, but that husbands make their wives feel loved. Furthermore, the marriage is to go as she wants it to go (as the Personal Jesus is really YOU), as she is to be swept off her feet continually, and she can not get less than she deserves. In other words, a husband is supposed to fully model her perfect Personal Jesus in her life. As a Bride of Christ, she deserves the world and everything in it, as dictated by her own Personal Jesus.

“Your own personal Jesus
Someone to hear your prayers Someone who cares
Your own personal Jesus
Someone to hear your prayers Someone who’s there” –Depeche Mode

That this view of romance has taken over what love is, as shown by the Father, isn’t a surprise. Men have taken the physical representation given of the spiritual reality (marriage) and warped it for their own aims. Naturally, the thing that it represents would be up for change in the same manner by both men and women acting in the false doctrine of bridal mysticism. You get women (and some men) crying about how they shouldn’t be judged over the things they do. If their Personal Jesus is just alright with what they are doing, what right do others have to pass judgment on them? After all, you see things like Jenny Erickson and the commenters at Matt Walsh’s blog, as well as Matt Walsh himself.

However, Scripture is abundantly clear regarding the proper Gospel, as well as the way that Jesus is to be approached. Jesus did not present Himself as a romancer, but as One who was sent from the Father to redeem those that would accept the gift out of love. The sacrifice on the cross was part of this gift, but Jesus loved us enough to not keep us in that squalid place. Jesus presented Himself as a Master, and bid us to come as disciples. But this has a cost:

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matthew 16:24-26)

It’s not too hard to catch on to other things in Scripture as they occur repeatedly. For instance:

Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. (2 John 9)
If ye love me, keep my commandments. (John 14:15)
Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. (John 15:14)
And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? (Luke 6:46; context is v46-50)

When you have women denying the clear sanctions of God against divorce, and men running interference for them in saying they got “pushed” into it, women and men both creating a justification for divorce out of whole cloth in saying that pornography use is adultery and being conspicuously silent about the women doing the same thing and other things, it becomes pretty clear that they are following a different Jesus besides the Jesus of Nazareth.

Naturally, there would be resistance when I bring out the real Jesus. The latest comment:

Having a personal relation with Jesus means that I have accepting what Jesus did on the cross for my sins and have asked him to come in my heart. The same thing concerning we are the body of Christ, not his physical body but his spiritual body. The relationship is spiritual in nature not physical. If you don’t have a personal relationship with him then according to the word, you are lost, and in need of Salvation. Whenever you see the words in the bible “in Christ” “in him” and similar expressions it is talking about relationship and spiritual intimacy. Think over this.

We see a number of the hallmarks of the Personal Jesus here. Advocates of the Personal Jesus will always make it in terms of “relationship”, and will say that they “asked him to come into their heart”, and speaks in terms of intimacy. While these phrases signal a romantic view of Jesus, they also are what was adopted by a number of the churches in marketing themselves against the Catholic and Orthodox churches. Instead of having “religion”, where rules are laid out the idea was replaced with “relationship”.

In other words, they threw out the whole standard of sin entirely! No “rule trips”, where there’s relationship. You can lie and steal. You can divorce. You can even be a homosexual. The Personal Jesus is okay with it! This is reflected in the rationale given: that things are spiritual and not physical. This is reflective of an older view (Gnosticism), wherein the flesh is considered evil and the goal is separation of the flesh. To wit:

However, generally speaking, Gnosticism taught that salvation is achieved through special knowledge (gnosis). This knowledge usually dealt with the individual’s relationship to the transcendent Being.

This leads to the claims that John dealt with in his epistle. But you can go beyond that about not using grace as a license to sin, among numerous other passages that address sin with the believers.

What “in Christ”, “in Him” and similar expressions means are clear with Scripture as well. As posted above (2 John 9), if you want to be those things, the only answer is to abide in Christ’s doctrine. There is no concept of romantic relationship or “spiritual intimacy” with Christ. Only a proper response to the grace extended you by what He has done by His love. He has set out this response as well. If you wish to claim Christ, He has bought you with His blood, which makes you His. Your only response if you wish to claim salvation in faith is to submit and obey. There is no other option that will avoid this:

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:21-23)

Lyrics: Personal Jesus by Depeche Mode

25 thoughts on “Romancing The Personal Jesus”

  1. Reblogged this on Patriactionary and commented:
    When women are taught, in evangelical churchianity, that they are ‘Daughters of the King’, that encourages antinomianism, the attitude that rules aren’t important, that they are special because of their ‘relationship’ with God, thus laying the groundwork for the Personal Jesus ballista74 describes…

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  2. Ballista, your blog is serving up 100 proof truth.

    What we are seeing today in the church (and western society) is the synthesis of the dialectic of trad-con/feminism and Christianity.

    “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” — Gal 5:9

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  3. Watching this play out in a close friend’s marriage. The husband is holding his wife accountable for her laziness and childish behavior. He loves her and knows that it is not good for this behavior to continue — not for her, for the marriage, or for their child. So, in rebellion against her husband she is fleeing the marriage with child in tow – claiming emotional abuse. The damage she is causing is extraordinary. Thus far, the church they attend is enabling her. Sad.

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  4. Indeed, one’s personal convictions towards God are the biggest red flag in regards to their eligibility in a proper Christian marriage. More often than not, I really don’t feel like praying or holding those who attempt to anger me on my commute to work on the road in love and grace. I don’t feel like getting up early in the morning and dragging my ass to work. I do these things and more, and no where near in proper response to the immense grace that God grants me everyday, regardless of my feelings or my inclinations. A covenant or contract is just that…something that stands as testament against our human sinful inclinations to properly model our lives around the covenant of grace tempered and guided by Holy Scriptural Law. When you say words like “till death do us part”…to me, I take it on face-value. Meaning if you want to depart from your spouse because you’re unhappy, then by the vows that you took before Holy God, you’re asking Him to strike you down, because the blood covenant of a holy marriage before God only allows release from the bonds of marriage through the death of one or both spouses. Words have power behind them, for “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17).

    Honestly, I just wish if someone is going to go thru life with a paradigm of Personal Jesus, that they would simply stop claiming themselves Christians and just officiate and call it something else. Conflating it with genuine Christian belief does more harm to the Body of Christ, than simply going out on your own telling people that you believe in your own personal religion. That’s why I have to give a small comical modicum of respect to quacks like L. Ron Hubbard, at least he didn’t attempt to co-opt his lunacy with the Christianity. A forgery or cheap imitation of the genuine article is not only a lie, but it is far more destructive of a lie than something that doesn’t even pretend to be the genuine article in the first place. What I mean in this regard is that if women aren’t going to adhere to STRICT and LITERAL translations of their duties as wives, then don’t bother getting married. Will you be in sin if you don’t get married..sure, but you’ll be in sin if your marriage is a total sham in which you defraud and defile the marital bed. For now, not only have you made yourself to be a liar when you said you’d “love, honor, and obey” him, but you also have made God out to be a liar in regards to His institution of Christian marriage. At least when you were shacking up, it was only willful disobedience and sin which went to discredit you before the world…when your marriage has very little “salt and grace” and looks almost exactly like secular poisonous and emotionally abusive gf/bf relationships then you’ve went one step further in discrediting God before the world.

    I do not worship God because He has somehow earned my worship…I worship Him because it is right, and that it is only thru Him can my life have meaning, purpose…in fact it is only thru Him that I can even have life. As such, I chose to give my life over to Him. For a church to be in submission to Him, she has to do so on her own free will and must do so UNCONDITIONALLY. Only then can it truly be under the headship of Christ. Does that mean that Christ is not the Head of the Church if the Church is in rebellion..absolutely NOT. Therefore, it is the exact same with husbands. When a woman saws her vows before Holy God, she does so on unconditional ground and thereby acknowledges, and acts out her belief in faith and self-agency that the man she has chosen to be her husband is now in command by the sheer title of husband that God grants Him through the making of such a covenant. NOTHING can take away the responsibility and authority that God grants him in marriage. Despite what the State and women (in general) have attempted to do in Marriage 2.0, in God’s eyes (which really should be the only perspective that actual CHRISTIANS should have about anything in life) the man is still the wife’s husband and therefore is granted authority…authority that may not amount to a rat’s ass in the eye’s of the State but our God is Sovereign and He will see Justice done…and Praise Him that we are not left to the wiles of the governance of earthly powers but for a season!

    I grow tired of the entire mantra of “How Can We Place Men as the Center of the Solution to all Problems in Marriage”. Time for the shoe to go on the other foot and time for the other “better half” to truly prove her worth by getting off her ass and bypassing her frail emotional proclivities and childish petulance to make good on the vows that she made with God. If your husband means so little, then what does that say of how you view God whom you made the vows before?

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  5. Given that churches (even Orthodox and Catholic) are agents of the state (through validating marriage ‘licenses’) why is any wonder other churches support the doctrine it entails?

    I used to wonder how the Catholic Church ever managed to get itself entangled in issuing ‘indulgences’ but after observing its modern version , nullifying marriages (which frankly is simply a modern version of indulgences) I don’t have to wonder any more.

    It’s funny, all of Christendom mockingly looks back at indulgences as a heinous perversion of the truth and yet the moderns are no different with divorce and personal Jesus. Truly there is nothing new under the sun.

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  6. Given that churches (even Orthodox and Catholic) are agents of the state (through validating marriage ‘licenses’) why is any wonder other churches support the doctrine it entails?

    This is a good point beyond just validating the State’s “right” to outlaw marriage (which is what a marriage license means). Most churches are literal agents of the State (at least in the US), so they can not preach against what is “public policy”. Hence, you won’t find anyone preaching against frivorce, parental alienation, promiscuity, false rape, and the like in the churches, and in fact bending doctrine to support these things.

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  7. Most mega churches keep preaching this “personal Jesus” lite gospel, because if they didn’t, most of the people attending (who are mainly women) would quit going to these churches. Therefore, their tithes and offerings would go down and they could not continue to meet in a fancy building with the pastors living lavish lifestyles. “After all, if drug dealers are rich, why not pastors and evangelists?” Christianity in the U.S. and most of the western world has become consumer led rather than Spirit led.

    When the soon coming great persecution hits the U.S. and the rest of the world that is not experiencing it right now, there will be a great cleansing of the church in the western world and the church will become what God intended it to be before Jesus comes back!

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  8. @Missionary To Mexico

    Great comment! I know it’s a struggle for me that I keep seeing this, especially since part of me would love to get into the whole pastoring, teaching, preaching thing in some capacity, including keeping this blog going more full time than it has been. Really seems no way to get off the treadmill at this point for those that commit into it though, especially since “making a living” is always involved, so always the difficulty in trying to avoid such snares that turn you into pleasing the people rather than pleasing God by revealing His truth.

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