Where did the Personal Jesus (TM) come from (and where is he leading)?

It should come as no surprise. These dots connect themselves. What concerns me however is the obliviousness to their own culpability demonstrated by the lamenting of the main stream evangelical leadership (MSEL).

Peter Jones, a teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church in America and Director of truthXchange writes, No “Next Big Thing”?—Bad Conclusion! How many “believers” will find their way into the suffocating arms of religionless Gospel-less Christianity?

Maybe someday the realization of what they have done will hit them like those, post Lister, who recalled walking with unwashed hands from one surgical patient to another, and the resulting carnage of infection that resulted. Hopefully that realization occurs before this spiritual sepsis is loosed upon the entire body. I’d say I fear it won’t, but I know it won’t. And I won’t fear despite, because it is clearly written as is the outcome.

Jones recounts assertions by a NYT commentator regarding his sensing of a revival of Christianity despite “relativism and rootlessness that has weakened the church”

The brilliant religion commentator for the New York Times, Ross Douthat, in Bad Religion (2012) concludes that while postmodernism has produced an exhausting “relativism and rootlessness that has weakened the church,” a revival of Christianity can be envisaged.

A reviewer recounts that Douthat came to his conclusion by elimination, having seen no next big thing poised to oppose Christianity, then Jones predictably veers off to lambast Christian liberalism and its assumed social justice movement so popular this five minutes.

I must differ from Douthat and with all who fail to see the power of the contemporary revival of apostate “Christian” liberalism, revitalized by a natural alliance with the progressive spiritual neo-paganism now dominating our culture.

The partial truth of that assertion, combined with the attractiveness of his preferred object of blame (liberal Christianity) causes him to ignore his, and the churches role in what is happening. He spends the rest of the article lambasting the predictions of an uber Universalist instead of seeing the finger prints of decades of BOTH liberalism and its niece, evangelical feminism, on the outcome which alarmingly she may be closer to the truth about than his blinders allow him to see.

Diana Butler Bass, in Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening (2012), triumphantly announces the advent of “the Fourth Great Awakening.” Emergent activist Shane Claibourne hails this as “new life budding from the compost of Christendom.” For Brian McLaren, Bass’s prophetic voice is “provocative, inspiring…a sage guidance for the future.” Does the term “Great Awakening” indicate a reclaiming of 18th century Gospel orthodoxy? Not a chance!

For Bass “religionless Christianity” is the elimination of creeds and dogmas, of authority structures and inhibiting moral codes, of a propositional, inerrant Bible. She hails a movement borne along on the breath of an undefined “Spirit” into an age of pure inner experience. This Awakening has nothing to do with historic Christianity.[emphasis mine]

Remember, it is relationship, not religion, and I am certain those words have passed Jones’ lips innumerable times. Those creeds and dogmas are pure religion. But what is relationship?

Such an “interfaith” One-ist view of the Spirit involves a radical redefinition of God that ditches “submitting to a transcendent—and often distant-God” in favor of “finding one’s self in God and find[ing] God in one’s self.” This involves praying to God as “our Mother”  and seeing the godhead “in less dualistic [Two-ist] terms,…less in terms of an absolutist, sin-hating, death-dealing ‘almighty Father in Heaven’ and more in terms of…the nourishing spirit of mother earth.[emphasis mine]

So close…it is literally written right there, heck, he wrote it, and he missed the obvious connection to a significant contributor to the slide into this kind of paganism. Must I spell it out?

I will, later.

Jones discards Bass’ views as pure pagan and says it “jettisons the transcendent God of the Bible and removes the need for a divine Savior”, yielding pagan Gnosticism.

In the biblical Gospels, Jesus’ question, “Whom do you say that I am?” gives rise to the heavenly revelation of his divine nature. For Bass, the question “plunges Jesus’ friends into …the self-query, ‘And who am I?

The Gospel of Thomas has Jesus telling Thomas not to call him Lord because they are equals. Read that again in context of the point I am making here. Hold that thought.

Knowledge of the self as divine is true salvation. Bass shows this by citing the Gnostic Book of Thomas the Contender:  “…he who has known himself has already understood the depth of all things.” [emphasis mine]

How deep IS the depth of all things? How deep am I? Let’s look at what I (collectively) can do once i plum the depth of me.

As Bass puts it, “Salvation is not…escaping some dreadful fate of judgment…at the hands of a wrathful God; rather, it is being saved to ourselves.” She leaves no place for the cross or the atonement. The “Spirit” now at work since the Sixties is “a romantic spirit…[with] an ethic of self-realization.” Such moralism is salvation by works for the creation of “a global common good.” This “Awakening is actually something we can do”—delivering people from the “fear of women, Islam, pluralism, environmentalism, and homosexuality.”

Jones sees the dystopian theological future clearly.

So in this time of emerging “new universalism,” when it is becoming illegal to teach from certain Bible texts, how many “believers” will find their way into the suffocating arms of religionless Gospel-less Christianity?

And, he generally states how to attempt to avert that future. However, in doing so he illustrates why that future (as we read in prophesy) will not be averted.

In light of this “next big thing” we do need a revival—of biblical Truth, but it will not be easy. Pray that the Lord will revive his church by courageous preaching of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, the only power of God unto salvation.

So, we have a faith, Christianity. Said faith has a clearly delineated history, a descriptive narrative full of compelling stories and claims of promise of eternal life, claims of, objectively, God, and his nature, and how we as His followers are to comport in our best effort to edify Him while our earthly life persists. Our faith, in practice, does require things from us, and in the past we grounded certain things, anchored them if you will, in ritual. We can all disagree on what degree of ritual is appropriate and what degree is idolatry and a host of other functional details, but we have truly thrown out the baby Jesus in the bathwater of ritual and requirements on us for which we will be accountable. After all, being held accountable is off putting.

Let me introduce you to the Personal Jesus (TM). He IS that into YOU. Those depths of you, he has plumed them, hence he knows you and most importantly…..he understands. he understands why you FEEL as you do, and why you do the things you do, he knows your heart in other words, and the heart IS you and he is IN you, in your heart and that’s the new alpha and omega of you.

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. The reason is, the proclivity of men is a necessary thing for the Personal Jesus to use (after you tell him your story sweety) to better understand you and empathize. He wants nothing from you, he wants only whats best for you, and that makes him (and therefore you) happy.

I often state that liberalism greases skids for feminism. This article by Jones COULD have illustrated that very handily with regard to the church. With code terms like common good used alongside references to mother god and nurture and nourish, as well as a laundry list of liberal causes, by raising evangelical feminism as part of the topic, common point of origin starts to fade into view like point perspective like two drawn parallel lines going into the distance.

But by omitting any causal reference to evangelical feminism he demonstrates the lengths to which the church will go to obfuscate and maintain the status quo gender wise or the ignorance with which they accept it, like the fish accepts wetness. In this he failed to connect dots that really do connect themselves.


[Edited to add, this writer at the same site scratches the surface of getting it, as seen in his last paragraph}


30 thoughts on “Where did the Personal Jesus (TM) come from (and where is he leading)?

  1. A lot to ponder here, empath. It is certainly thought-provoking. So much so that I think I’m gonna send you some traffic, LOL.

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  3. Thanks, I look fwd to discussing this because I didnt cover my feelings and thoughts about it adequately. By the time I completed the parsing of the article, I was so long I didnt want to ramble on and on.

  4. The problem isn’t that our worship isn’t about a relationship. It is. The problem is that the status of the relationship for everyone–male and female–is about how we “feel” about, or towards, God, and how we imagine He “feels” about us. I cannot recall one verse that says we even have to like God. We are called to love and obey Him…but I repeat myself.

  5. Hello! Here from Elspeth’s place!

    I guess in my first reading or so of this post and the link to the PCA fellow my first outright reaction would be, “Where did the theology of ‘man as wretch in need of a Saviour’ go?”

    It seems that this Personal Jesus ™ is almost worshipping us. He’s so into us that He’d die for us. And so on. Seems almost an inadvertent flip on who is supposed to be reverent there… not trying to argue, just discuss.

  6. I’m not sure I follow, can you help me understand so I respond to what you said and not me misreading it? Its probably my fault, but [lease help me out

  7. The personal Jesus is an outgrowth of the redefinition of faith due to feminism. In redefining the goal of God to be (worldly) liberation, the purpose of God became to assist people in the realization of liberation. Essentially God becomes a servant to the average religious feminist that is serving self, as opposed to the true gospel where one is supposed to STOP being a servant to self and turn one’s self over to Him and His ways and serve Him. This is so ingrained into most churches today that it’s accepted doctrine.

  8. If you were to use the word “relationship” as it defines to the correct historical Christian doctrine, it would only be applicable in a very narrowly defined way. While it does take “knowing God”, using such language only opens the door to the personal Jesus who serves the believer as opposed to the truth of the Objective Jesus. The language is admittedly very common, as well as it is calculated to deceive.

    (I’m reminded of this rather frequently as I read what I’m going through now, with the author’s repetition of how as a believer one needs a “personal and intimate love relationship with Jesus”. The language itself points towards a feminine appeal, as I’m pretty disgusted each time I read that for the tone of homoeroticism that phrase entails)

  9. Ahh… what I mean is that when we focus exclusively or almost exclusively on how Jesus loves US, we take away from the huge gift of grace He has given. We are not worthy. We are not everything to Him, or at least, we don’t DESERVE to be. Too often when I see so-called “seeker friendly” stuff, the love of God is emphasised to the detriment of the theological understanding of our unworthiness.

    Hope that made sense…

  10. .its relationship…between you, and well, YOU. That’s right, the Personal Jesus is YOU

    I thought you were just being sarcastic when I read this on Elspeth’s blog, but you really meant it. Well, why even bother with using Jesus as a middleman, just go worship yourself.

    On a side note, I do think that relationships with Jesus are important, after all, He is the one who told us to call Him Father, Shepherd, Lord. But a relationship without gospel or correct doctrine is a very dangerous place to be.

  11. What do you mean by narrow? A father has relationships with his children. A bridegroom has a relationship with his bride. These are explicit comparisons in the Bible of our relationships to the Father and Christ.

  12. Cane: This is the problem with language that the feminists and the personal Jesus are exploiting. By “narrow” I mean a very specific definition of the role which Jesus is willing to play in the lives of individuals. You gave examples of narrowing of roles in your post. A father doesn’t have the same relationship with his children than he has with his wife. It’s verboten. So the narrowing definitely matters.

    When the phrase “have a relationship with Jesus” gets used, it means what people want it to mean. Hence, since the word “relationship” is only used in the normal matter of course to mean something romantic, that’s how the word is taken as it relates to Jesus. The feminists realize this, coupled with the almost total Biblical illiteracy of the average evangelical population and created their personal Jesus as a result.

    In reality, with an eye put towards absolute truth of God’s Scripture, using the word “relationship” in attempting to relate the Gospel is sloppy at best and heretical at worst (since it serves to create a false gospel). After all, examples are given in Scripture in abundance. It would be better to follow after those anyway.

  13. How far from:
    My personal jesus knows I’m queer and accepts and encourages that..
    My personal jesus knows I enjoy sex out of wedlock with resultant child,accepts and encourages that —
    My personal jesus knows I’m homicidal and accepts and encourages that?
    All the above are transgressions of the law.(Which he came not to change one dot nor titel.)
    Kinda boils down to “personal jesus is what 7 out of the 9 voices in my head tell me to do..”

  14. I am so glad I came over here and read this, it explains a comment you left on another blog that confused me a bit.

    I’ve used the phrase about it’s a relationship, not a religion but perhaps didn’t realize how it could be taken so out of context or even hint to meaning something other than what was in my mind. How very sad that wording and meaning has been twisted so much that you can inadvertently give someone the wrong idea of what you really mean.

    What I am curious about is has the step been taken by most churches that they actually see themselves as superior to Jesus? It would seem that would be an obvious progression. Feminism clamored for equality but reached beyond that to wanting and believing women are superior to men. Since feminism is teaching that women do not need to submit to and be led by men, has the mainstream church gotten to the point that they do not feel they need to submit to or be led by Jesus? Is this what is being taught already in covert messages on Sunday morning? I may already have my answer but the optimist in me doesn’t want to believe that it is the case.

  15. I would gently say, be very careful with that expression, because I submit that even those who intend to mean it ….if that makes sense…..The ‘right’ way can fall under its seductive influence.
    But where it is especially bad is as a witnessing reflex, which is where I hear it most. The person says they don’t need all that rules and regs and rituals and things and the well intended Christian says oh no no no its not about religion, thats religion you are describing, this is about a personal and intimate relationship with the creator and savior.
    I have said it hundreds of times myself until I realized it was messing with my head when I was feeling insecure in my faith BECAUSE of it.
    I contend as a comment above does that it is not a relationship in any shade of a way that that suggests. It is an attempt to make something so awesome as to be incomprehensible (in fact) into something ‘manageable’….and able to be experienced more than anything else….emotionally. I was not getting the feelings of relationship, and I submit one cannot get those feelings unless one so stretches definitions and metaphors as to almost be dishonest with self.

    The only way to get that feeling is to put real dialog onto Jesus in response to you, and the only way that always feels good is to make it really yourself talking. Im not stating this with the nuance needed to express it, but will try to do so as I quietly think about it.

    I realized this not only because of its impact on evangelical feminism and feminizing of church generally, but also frankly from sheer bordom after a couple of decades as a Christian listening to pop psychology wrapped in a single scripture weekly, and made to sort of speak a dialog to you of one who understands. Thats the issue, understands….what does that mean? Well, OF COURSE He understands, as in literally understanding all things, but the understands preached is empathy and sympathy to the point we convince ourselves it means he understands our point of view, can be swayed to see things our way, its then a cheap tool for rationalizing.
    I started thinking, where is the awe, power, majesty, even fear….in these lessons, and I was finding awe of a BFF sorely lacking in scope compared to the awe that should be there.

    The relationship teaching is that He is awesome because he understands us. How petty and underwhelming that is for me.

  16. As a very confessional PCA’er myself, I contend that the issue is not tossing out the “relationship” language completely, but rather recognizing its biblical definition.

    Jesus is identified as a king, a lord, a redeemer, a savior, our great high priest. There is a relationship with Christ (our confessions even speak of a “union” with him). But he is not our equal, our “homeboy,” and most definitely not our beta “emotional tampon.” And, while he is clearly identified as a bridegroom, that is his relationship to the church corporately, not to those belonging to the church individually.

    The “personal relationship” movement was an over-corrective response to hollow, legalistic structures that smothered the Gospel in empty ritual. Such over-corrections are pretty commonplace in church history, so one should be ready to address them. In this case, the solution isn’t “religion instead of relationship,” any more than the solution is “a religion-less personal relationship.” The solution is a properly-understood relationship, both in personal and corporate terms, mediated by God-honoring and God-ordained religion.

    The church in every generation exists alongside (and is influenced by) the larger culture. Unfortunately, ours is a heavily feminized one. As a result, there are assumption that are taken as “givens” both outside and within the church’s walls. It is going to take dedicated, Christian “red pill” men to boldly and relentlessly (perhaps even prophetically) speak out in order for the church to correct itself on this issue. And be prepared for it to be a very messy business. Course corrections lead to conflict, church splits and to denominational rifts. That, however, is a by-product of reformation.

  17. Yes I agree, the converse expression is not the corrective. I hadn’t gotten that fort yet in this long entry, but I’m going to try and tackle that, including some practical things anyone can do.

  18. In a sense we do have a personal relationship with Jesus, but the meaning is distorted. It has become a relationship without responsibility. In the Bible this relationship requires things of us. As Jesus says, “If you love me, you will obey me.” in the writings of C.S. Lewis he emphasizes how important the word friend is. It means someone you rely on completely, and someone who relies on you. In a modern context a friend is someone who makes you feel good and who you enjoy hanging out with.

    The biblical illiteracy troubles me too. How can the average person have any sense of who Jesus was and what his words were when they are spoon fed everything? What can be done about this? Are we going to have to be evangelized from Africa? Something very similar happened during the Dark Ages, from Ireland.

  19. As a very confessional PCA’er myself, I contend that the issue is not tossing out the “relationship” language completely, but rather recognizing its biblical definition.

    Rather the correct thing is to drive straight to the word that defines the narrow role, and forget the “relationship language” entirely. Scripture has numerous examples of the proper way to go about communicating the Gospel. Jesus is Master, and you are disciples. Easy enough, it’s just not done because it’s not popular and after all that’s what Churchianity is about these days, gaining worldly popularity.

  20. The idea of our union with Christ is a prominent one in the New Testament. As you stated, though, the emphasis is properly placed on him, not on “me” or even “us.”

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  23. This verse is most often used to imply that each human in relation to Jesus is to be his bride:
    Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten virgins, who took their lamps, and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise.
    Those who were foolish, when they took their lamps, took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. Now while the bridegroom delayed, they all slumbered and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, “Behold! The bridegroom is coming! Come out to meet him!” Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, “Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.” But the wise answered, saying, “What if there isn’t enough for us and you? You go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.” While they went away to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins also came, saying, “Lord, Lord, open to us.” But he answered, “Most certainly I tell you, I don’t know you.” Watch therefore, for you don’t know the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.

    Matthew 25:1-13,

  24. Thats not the implication I’ve ever gotten, had taught, or otherwise been exposed to regarding that verse. Yes, what you say is there indeed in the words but the teaching in this verse is clearly vigilance and preparation in light of the unknown time of coming, keeping ones self steeled and ready, not relaxing as if one has time to rush and get ready at the last minute

  25. Pingback: Stanton Part II (Epic Fail Part I) | Feminism is Empathological

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