The Personal Jesus..an introduction to him

I use that term a lot, personal Jesus, to describe the relationship aspect of the faith claimed by evangelical feminists. This claim is certainly not limited to women, many men also find comfort in this.

Today reading Greg Laurie’s column on World Net Daily, I found some straight from the horses mouth verbiage that describes the personal Jesus gospel, from which all manner of problems arise. Even if there are aspects of truth in this, the problem is it is so easily corrupted by those who crave empathy above all else.

He says (emphasis mine):

But what does it really mean to be a follower of Jesus Christ? When Jesus said, “Follow Me,” it could be translated, “Follow with Me,” meaning companionship and friendship. Jesus was essentially saying to Matthew, “I want to be your friend, your companion. I want to be someone you can open your heart to, someone you can reveal your secrets to.”

Do you know God in that way – as a friend? A lot of people think that God is out to ruin their lives, to rain on their parade, to not let them have any fun, to just be mean. They think the Bible is a book filled with a bunch of rules and regulations to make their lives miserable. But nothing could be further from the truth.

God said, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you … thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV). God’s plans for you are better than any plans you have ever envisioned for yourself.

That was exactly the situation with Matthew. Jesus was saying to him, “Follow with me. Let me be your friend. Let me be your companion.”

From Jesus, the friend and the companion, has followed a Jesus who is willing to take her side into account, who will discuss things and find common accord, who is OK with reactions to His admonitions that begin with “Yes, but you don’t understand…….”

I fully understand what well intended pastors like this are attempting to say, and to do. However, as evidence of the unintended consequences see:

Reframing Christian marriage

and

Godly Unashamed Unwed Mothers

and pretty much anything else written on Dalrock’s site and in the comments there.

see also:

Christian Men’s Defense Network, both are linked in my blogroll

Read these sites front to back, with an open mind. If you are a man and have seen signs that your wife has taken on a personal Jesus, who she seems to align against you in all things relational, read and find succor. If you are a woman, read them and learn the harm that has fallen as a result of the new feel good personal Jesus.

ETA: Its no surprise to see that article. It is the frame from which most sermons are derived. The Jeremiah “plans for hope and a future” combined with Jesus as BFF make great recruitment tools. And, for the folks who still think Christians are fuddy duddies well, he goes and renounces the existence of rules. Who would NOT want to be a part of this? You get no rules, no fun spoilage, and you get the best BFF ever, Jesus Himself, as friend and companion.

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28 thoughts on “The Personal Jesus..an introduction to him

  1. Its no surprise to see that article. It is the frame from which most sermons are derived. The Jeremiah “plans for hope and a future” combined with Jesus as BFF make great recruitment tools. And, for the folks who still think Christians are fuddy duddies well, he goes and renounces the existence of rules. Who would NOT want to be a part of this? You get no rules, no fun spoilage, and you get the best BFF ever, Jesus Himself, as friend and companion.

    This was mentioned in my church 2 weeks ago, and I raised it with my wife on the way home. She was raised in church so, she is so very accustomed to hearing this that it had not ever been examined line by line, critically, by someone who was not raised in church. Well, thats me. So, I explained to her that regardless of the supposed MEANING, that being that rules are not the FOCUS…..the literal meaning when stated to a church visitor with zero Christian knowledge is to say join this God endorsed party, we are against some stuff you all know about, you know, gays and abortion, but if you are cool with that, the rest of life is a free for all, sex drugs and rock and roll (or rap) and Jesus along to hang with.

  2. This misinterpretation is what happens when man thinks he’s got a better plan than God. Usually part and parcel with tradition is man taking his own ways and then trying to justify them with misapplication of Scripture. Our God is a God of order, and therefore is very absolute and very absolutely perfect on what is meant. We need to test ourselves and others continually on what those meanings are, especially when it comes to the gospel, given the dire warnings that are given. All that preach a false gospel are accursed, that means a great many people that are in Churchianity today. In the vein of what is quoted, follow me is very crystal clear as to its intent. Those that heard Jesus say that didn’t need to ask for clarification of what He meant. They knew with 100% certainty what Jesus was asking of them.

  3. Me. Maybe I don’t have something set up right to indicate that over on the blog, but all of the posts (so far) there are mine.

  4. I enabled the authors widget over there. Would rather have it at the bottom of each post, but I’m not seeing that.

  5. I see where the confusion can come in (since I thought the blog would indicate the author, somehow). By all means, please do and thanks!

  6. To date man has created many false gospels justifying it by tradition or application. List of false gospels includes: Mormonism, Roman catholicism in its current form, Christian science, Jehovah’s witnesses etc. It is a very old problem and it dates back to the apostolic church. I think our current situation is no different.

  7. This is different, because in a sense this particular thing could work in all of those offshoots. Its not a separate or new gospel, its taking A Gospel, and lifting out the deity and making Him a BFF, or in the extreme making Him a her. This has no implications on tradition or corporate application, its 100% all about the individual.
    On another blog I read someone had posted some quotes by Pat Robertson, where he was saying we have made God way less awesome than He is. That’s it really, its not just the personal Jesus and how that impacts the feminine proclivities, its also the Jesus as buddy where we can wink wink nudge nudge with him.
    Funny, some of those false Gospels though, despite the fact that Jesus is central, do not lend themselves as readily to the personal Jesus, you do see LDS slipping fast though. I cannot fathom Jehovah Witness ever heading that way.
    In making Christ available to all, in “meeting people where they are”, we left off the part that says we meet them where they are, then we get them the hell outta there!

  8. What I find ironic is that if Laurie were to back up a couple of verses in Jeremiah it says, ” Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are in your midst deceive you, nor listen to your dreams which you cause to be dreamed. For they prophesy falsely fo you in My name; I have not sent them, says the LORD.” (v8-9). Could the same be said for some church leaders and preachers teaching falsely?

  9. the irony, empath, is that Jesus IS a personal God, it doesnt get any more intimate (IF that’s what he wants — he doesnt WANT to be close to most folks)

    simultaneously, he is cosmically powerful, the universal king, remote, as alone as the sun

    his earthly High Priest mirrors his nature: gentle, generous, forgiving, v much in love w/his critturs . . . yet concurrently distant . . . functionally in the world, while at the same time seated in heaven with the Father (Christ) and “always before the Throne” (his earthly High Priest)

    this stuff will become clearer soon, sounds a bit jumbled now, cant be helped

    the whole jesus as boyfriend meme — as you say, it’s jive, a combination of salesmanship and blasphemy

    it’s absolutely true that Jesus can be your friend, it’s up to you after all — but the modern urge to commonize him is goofy, and v dangerous

    when we hear the feminized churches/pastors bloviate about a mewling Jesus they know not, remember that this is the same being that called two bears out of the woods to shred 40+ adolescents who had merely mouthed-off to one of his servants (Elisha, a type of high-priest)

    want some of THAT God?

    how many of the Jesus-the-Pansy folks want to get personal now? :O)

  10. Imagine having to sing psalm 18:6-15
    Psalm 18 (New International Version)
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    Psalm 18

    New International Version (NIV)
    Psalm 18[a]
    For the director of music. Of David the servant of the Lord. He sang to the Lord the words of this song when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said:

    1 I love you, Lord, my strength.

    2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
    my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
    my shield[b] and the horn[c] of my salvation, my stronghold.

    3 I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
    and I have been saved from my enemies.
    4 The cords of death entangled me;
    the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
    5 The cords of the grave coiled around me;
    the snares of death confronted me.

    6 In my distress I called to the Lord;
    I cried to my God for help.
    From his temple he heard my voice;
    my cry came before him, into his ears.
    7 The earth trembled and quaked,
    and the foundations of the mountains shook;
    they trembled because he was angry.
    8 Smoke rose from his nostrils;
    consuming fire came from his mouth,
    burning coals blazed out of it.
    9 He parted the heavens and came down;
    dark clouds were under his feet.
    10 He mounted the cherubim and flew;
    he soared on the wings of the wind.
    11 He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him—
    the dark rain clouds of the sky.
    12 Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced,
    with hailstones and bolts of lightning.
    13 The Lord thundered from heaven;
    the voice of the Most High resounded.[d]
    14 He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy,
    with great bolts of lightning he routed them.
    15 The valleys of the sea were exposed
    and the foundations of the earth laid bare
    at your rebuke, Lord,
    at the blast of breath from your nostrils.

  11. I always saw this stuff as an avoidance of the real purposes that Jesus called out in Scripture. He says “follow me”, not “let me be your bff” or “have a personal relationship with me”. In “follow me”, he is saying to respect Him and the Father out of fear and take the chance to be discipled into something better. Men simply do not see that they are very pale in comparison to the Lord, and do not take their proper place in this light.

  12. It’s not different in situation, yes. But as empathologicalism described, it’s just a change of intent that can work in any of the denominations. Anytime you deviate the message at any point, it becomes a false gospel. This is a case where the person of Jesus is redefined into something He is not. Ultimately it’s an end-run around having to face up to the sin problem. It also has served feminism well, since it provides a satisfactory way to justify the feminist defining him or herself as he or she pleases and not as God defines him or her.

  13. You can be sure that flying at 30,000 feet using only those very famous scriptures, the coffee mug and doily scriptures, will yield the personal Jesus

    Ray, you and I have mixed it up on this topic before. We may be closer to agreement than disagreement, but you and I see the expression “its not religion its relationship” very differently. I dislike that expression -heres a key point though-EVEN if it had truth in it……its been bastardized and defined down, lowest common denominator.

    To suggest Jesus is my friend better send me rechecking what exactly I consider a friend, what traits does a friend exhibit?

  14. Empath, surely part of the problem is that people want an either /or rather than a both/and situation. Jesus is always the Great High Priest, the One Perfect Sacrifice for atonement with God the Father, but He is also willing to enter into a personal relationship with each one of us, as well as a relationship with the Church, corporately. what many also forget is that He is the only Person of the Trinity who will enter into such a relationship.

    I believe that we must join a local body of believers because the idea of an individual Christian ploughing his lonely furrow all on his own is totally contrary to Scripture. But we have the example of Paul, who did not go back to Corinth or Ephesus to found a new church because the old one had gone bad. He sorted out the old one. We need to be willing to put our heads above the parapet and call out heresy when we hear it preached.

    I come from a background of The Church of Scotland, where in one famous episode in the 17th century a woman called Jenny Geddes is reputed to have thrown her stool at the preacher in St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh for preaching that the Church of Scotland should adopt the Anglican prayer book and structure, so just maybe I am a little bit biased in favour of active listening to sermons. She did not want to start up a new Church of Scotland, but rather take the existing church back to its Scriptural roots.

  15. Interesting….and its been my main and only true advocacy aside from yakking at friends and acquaintances. I meet pastors, I email pastors, I email THEN meet pastors, I challenge them directly, with my real name of course included, not an anonymous dude online sending codified source messages.
    Its been very good….for me, Ive gained tremendous insight to the American non denom, even mega and seeker church MO. I still attend one even, and if i was prone to throw stools Id have torn a muscle by now its such a bad place as far as our common issues go.

  16. yeah empath the jesus as pal rap has to go

    i think some guys can run with it, and not get lost . . . but not the girls — as you note, they’ll often turn it into bf goofiness

    i hope my points made a bit of sense however

  17. You are fine ray, I get what you are saying. In fact, the notion that “its not religion its relationship” has sound backing, and useful application. I think women have made it more BFF and boyfriend-ish, and men and women have used it to make church the big happy therapy day-o-the-week, that expression was made for witnessing, and frankly I dislike it for that. It sets NO BAR, makes zero real expectations of following Christ other than looky here he will make you feel better and fix your stuff!

  18. I meet pastors, I email pastors, I email THEN meet pastors, I challenge them directly, with my real name of course included, not an anonymous dude online sending codified source messages.

    This is almost always revealing of the state of a situation. They put on a good front, but then when you challenge them the real person comes out. Case in point is the last pastor. Once that happened, he reacted violently that I dare question him or question the path his church is on. All I did was write simple questions to discern the spiritual state of the church. And his reaction was answer enough for all those questions. Such are things, I suppose. Needless to say, I won’t be having much more to do with him.

  19. The “it’s not religion its relationship” rap is problematic and really false teaching. While you could say that is accurate, it’s only accurate within a very narrow scope, which is the danger of many of these buzz phrases. Most wouldn’t call a “relationship” akin to a drill sergeant with his charges a “relationship”, but anything that doesn’t answer to this mold (Master/Disciple) becomes a false gospel. And the only expectation awaiting someone for such a mistake is the eternal punishment.

  20. Oh yeah, I found out today if cite the scriptures found in Reframing Marriage Pt.1 that you are an illogical lying misogynist, and uneducated and a Neanderthal.

  21. Pingback: The Objective Jesus (Part 1) | The Society of Phineas

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