Tuesday, 4 May 2010

The "Jesus is Lord" Lie

"Divide the spoil of your enemies 
with your brothers"
Joshua 22:8

In his book, "Mere Discipleship: Radical Christianity in a Rebellious World,"  author Lee Camp asks, "Could it be that 'Jesus is Lord' has become one of the most widespread Christian lies? Have Christians claimed the lordship of Jesus yet systematically set aside the call to obedience to this Lord?" I think that the author may be on to something.

Where I've begun to see the reality of this is in the area of our concern (or should I say lack of concern) for our fellow man. This is just as true in the institutional church as it is in the world. Jesus said, Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me" (Matthew 25:45; ESV). Our claim that "Jesus is Lord" is PROVED / DISPROVED by the way we treat one another. John said it this way: "If anyone says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar" (1 John 4:20; ESV). There is no middle ground; if we don't love, then we hate. Likewise, if we don't hate, then we love. It's either one or the other. If we try and walk along the top of a fence, it won't be long before we land in one yard or the other. Another way to look at it is by looking at a pregnant woman; she is either pregnant or she is not pregnant, but she is never partly pregnant.

Love is a verb; love is an action. Love is not simply words. If the words "I love you" are not expressed by action, then they are proved false. Where do we get off simply saying "Jesus is Lord" and not PROVING its truth in our lives with action? We talk the talk, but have we failed to walk the walk?

What are the needs around us today? For the purpose of our discussion, let us simplify this question. For the moment, never mind the rest of the world. What are the needs in the church today? I'm not talking about a building, but rather about the true church, that is, the people.

Are there hungry children in the church? If so, then what are we doing about it? Are there homeless Christians within our communities? If so, then what are we doing about it? Are there Christian brothers or sisters that we know of who are jobless? If so, what are we doing about it? Are there those in the church who are cold, either because they haven't enough warm clothes or because they cannot afford the heating bills? If so, then what are we doing about it?

While I do not want to promote any particular worldly political system, for they all have their faults, but the father of modern communism (Karl Marx) has been quoted to have said, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." Again, there is no middle ground. There are only those who have the "ability," and those who have the "need." If we are amongst those who have the "ability" and only talk about the "need" of the less fortunate without doing anything about it, then I would argue that we can never truthfully say that we love God.

Isn't it almost ironic how "Christian" the above marxist quote sounds? Let me rephrase that. It doesn't sound at all like modern Christianity, rather it does sound like the form of Christianity we read about in the early church. The author of Acts 4: 32-35 explains it this way. "Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles feet, and it was distributed to each as he had need" (ESV).

Lets notice the three bolded sections and ask ourselves if these points are true or false about us in the church today. Do we hoard things for ourselves or do we share them with those in need? Do we really have everything in common, or is everything counted as being with the "haves" versus the "have nots?" Are there or are there not needy people amongst us? Is everything that is given to the church distributed to the needs of the people, or simply used to support some pastor's wage, mortgage, utilities etc?

True allegiance to God's kingdom must be an all-or-nothing proposition. Again, there can be no middle ground. It is either black or it is white. For Jesus to really be Lord of our lives, we must be concerned with the very things that our Lord is concerned about. What is Jesus concerned about? One thing that He is not concerned about is church buildings and rich pastors that prey on unsuspecting people. What He is concerned about is people, and especially "the least of these." Here is the question: Do we share His concern? If so, then let us prove it. If we don't prove it, then we can also never truthfully say, "Jesus is Lord." In such a case, anyone who does still say it only proves himself/herself to be a liar.

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons

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