A couple of months ago I posted on a T-shirt that I had observed one morning with a picture of an individual who I suppose was to be Jesus and the caption, "Jesus is your homeboy".
I was troubled by this and posted accordingly. Some of you commented and were also trouble by it. I received another comment on that post just today. I am always surprised when I get notice of a comment on a post from several months back. Not that I mind, I just don't generally anticipate it. I know that there are people who come here for the first time and look around. Ocassionally they comment and I am glad they do.
The nature of the issue at hand has caused me to believe it was worth moving their comment and my response to the head of the list. This is not an unimportant issue. The view expressed by the one who left the comment is an increasingly prevailing opinion and one that I believe spells disaster for the lost!
I was hesitant to do this because most of you may have never went back and seen that exchange and that may be the way the commenter intended it to be. But......they commented anonymously and thus I figured no harm could be done since there was no name attached. They maintain their privacy and I have an opportunity to briefly address an important matter!
So......here is the comment and my response.
I would counter the original post. This is Christians trying to use pop culture to reach those who may otherwise be unreachable. Much of religion is semantics. Many committed Christians from different backgrounds are uncomfortable in other Christian churches due to unfamiliar word use, even though the visitor and church are both following Christ.
To a non-Christian, they have to start somewhere before they can be comfortable enough to listen to the harder stuff. "Homeboy" may come from a gang background, but it does mean "friend" in the most intimate sense. Isn't Jesus to be our intimate friend? If this image calls even one gang member to re-think the role of Jesus, isn't it worth you being a little uncomfortable with an unfamiliar word?
Some of us operate from the theory that you start with Jesus being accessible, then you work toward a full understanding of his Majesty and Power. I came to faith out of a childish understanding that "Jesus loves me, this I know" This shirt simply says, in unfamiliar language to us, "Jesus loves me". Sometimes you have to be a little bit wordly to reach those who walk in the world; then love them into the Lord, rather than judging them.
January 13, 2007 12:00 PM
Pastor McEntire said...
Thanks for commenting! I am glad you felt the liberty to do so. Of course, as I am sure you would anticipate I must respectfully disagree with your arguments and conclusions.
There is a language of the Bible and believers should acquaint themselves with the terminology and meaning. It was God that chose the terms and he did so with purpose.
As for the unbeliever where they need to start is with the law. The Bible says the law is our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. The law is especially designed to reveal to people their need of a Saviour. There is nothing in the culture that is designed to do that.
Men must first see Christ as their judge, judging them by his holy law. Then once they have repented and believed on him they can know fellowship with him. To tell a gang member that Christ is his friend is untrue and gives a false sense of security. Christ is his judge and unless he repents of his sin he will suffer the consequences. If he will humble himself and repent then he can know Christ as his friend. According to the bible it is not possible under any other circumstances.
It is the unrepentant sinner who should be uncomfortable. Who in their right mind would not be uncomfortable realizing they have lied, stolen, committed adultery (at least in their heart), dishonored their parents, taken God's name in vain. Then to think they will have to stand before God and give account for their sins. This is a very uncomfortable thought but it is the truth.
Does Jesus love the sinner? Of course he does! He died for sinners. But telling the sinner that Jesus loves them before they even realize that they have offended him in trangressing his law is offering them a cure for a sickness they don't realize they have. They must first be convinced they are sick! They must first be shown that they are undone sinners before a high and holy God. Then and only then will the statement that Jesus loves them have any real meaning.
It would be like if someone told me that President Bush loved me. I would think, "OK, that's nice. "But if they told me that I had committed a serious offence against the law and that when judged I would be found guilty and would have to pay a fine of $1,000,000 and spend 60 years in prison. You know what, I would be fearful and I would be uncomfortable. When they proceeded to tell me that President Bush loves me and he has intervened on your behalf and he has paid your debt and sent his son to prison in your stead to suffer your consequences then his love would mean something. Then I would accept that love.
Sometimes you have to be a little bit wordly to reach those who walk in the world; then love them into the Lord, rather than judging them.
These two statements are patently untrue and can be afforded no biblical support. The Bible never tells us to be worldly to reach those who walk in the world. We are called to be light and salt. We are called to "come out from among them".
We love people by telling them the truth. By explaining their perilous state, not by adopting the gospel to the culture. I do not judge them. God does and they are judged already. The Bible says that those who believe not are condemned already. What I am seeking to do is to warn them of this uncomfortable fact.
You want to take the gospel and make it comfortable to a degenerate society. The Bible's message is that we are to call them to repentance.
I hope you will reconsider your position on this very important matter. Souls are in the balance this very night and need someone to warn them of the wrath to come, not declare to them that Jesus is their homeboy!
January 13, 2007 8:09 PM