Jesus Times Two: “Jesus Beck” or “Jesus the Christ”

Jesus Thumbs Up
We are a culture that loves the name of Jesus.  Say the name, and it sells products.  Post the name, and it’s shared widely on Facebook.  “Praise the name of Jesus,” we sing.  “Blessed be the name!”  “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, sweetest name I know!”  When I sang these words as a child in the ‘60s, there was only one Jesus, and indeed the name was sweet.  My grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, and all my Christian acquaintances sang of one Jesus, and all the Christians I had encountered were a united spiritual family.

Today though we are confused by two Jesuses, and they don’t resemble each other at all.  One is the Jesus of our Christian subculture which includes many of our churches, and the other is the Jesus of the Gospels.  I fear that unless we find our way back to the Jesus of the Gospels, church as we know it is on its way to irrelevance, and then to oblivion.*  Christian friends, please hear me out.  We might be fighting for the wrong Jesus.

The first Jesus is a political entertainment figure. We could nickname him “Jesus Beck,” “Jesus O’Reilly,” or  “Jesus Limbaugh.”  This Jesus teaches his followers that all things Republican are of God, and his two main concerns are abortion and gay rights.  This Jesus came into prominence in the 1970s, the brainchild of Jerry Falwell and others who united with him to forge Christian America into a political army.

God, however, is neither Republican nor Democrat, nor even American, and, while abortion and gay rights are important issues worthy of our discourse, Jesus of the Gospels said nothing at all about them, at least to our knowledge, unless we count loving our neighbor and forgiveness.

Also by Kathy: Franklin Graham’s Religion is Not His Father’s

Then who is the other Jesus, the one we have left behind?  We could call this one “Jesus the Christ.” He too has his passions.  Love your neighbor.  Feed the hungry.  Welcome the immigrants.  Don’t confuse God and Caesar.  Care for the poor.  Stand up for the oppressed.  Reach out to the marginalized.  Show compassion.  These are his heart’s cries.  These are his passions.

Brave New Films

If we continue to listen to the media Jesus (via our chosen media sources or via church and denominational leaders who listen to these sources), we might never hear Jesus the Christ, for he is gentle and speaks in our quietness and our solitude.  We prefer to hear the Jesus that speaks in loud angry words.  We prefer to judge our neighbor and decide for ourselves whether he is worthy of any compassion.  We know who deserves to be helped better than Jesus does.  We understand food stamps, prisoners, and immigrants better than Jesus does.

How can we find Jesus again, the Jesus of the Gospels, if we want to?  The answer is simple, yet so very difficult because it probably means standing against church and religious culture.  We find him in the Gospels.  Not in the Church’s interpretation of the Gospels, not in cable news’ take on world events, but in reading the Gospels for ourselves, at home, alone, just like we read the newspaper, just like we read a best-selling novel.  And when we finish, we read them again from another translation, and then again from another.  Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, cover to cover, over and over.

It’s not our fault, Christians, but we have been led astray, tricked, used.  I’m going back.  I miss Jesus.

Kathy Vestal is a college educator in Salisbury, NC. She has a Master’s of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Master’s of Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. An avid writer, gifted teacher, and occasional public speaker/preacher, her passions include civil rights, social justice, church reform, and education. She has traveled to Mexico, Honduras, Argentina, Ecuador, and The Gambia, Africa, and enjoys reading, nature, and history.

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  • cathyfc1

    Amen! I miss Jesus too…

  • Kenton

    There’s a third Jesus you left out. We might call him “Jesus Walis.” He says things like “Tax, and it shall be given unto you.” “Petition the government to care for your neighbor (so most people won’t have to).”

    Oh, I’m sorry, do we only mock people on this blog if they’re politically toward the right?

    • Drew

      Kathy completely missed this ironic point, that while she calls on the Religious Right to stop conflating God and Caesar, her, this entire website, and most liberal Christians conflate God and Caesar constantly.

    • 22044

      Good ideas don’t need targets to mock or slander to stand up. Good points.

    • Frank

      The question for a red letter Christian is this: is mocking Christlike? That’s why this site has become a joke. Someone (Tony?) please take back control, have a higher level of accountability in who and what is allowed on this site and stick to the spirit of the red letters!

  • otrotierra

    Thank you Kathy Vestal! Putting Jesus first is terribly unpopular!

    • 22044

      How would you know? I never see you putting Jesus first.

      • Drew

        Frank and Otrotierra are only interested in propaganda and soundbytes, not dialogue.

        • Frank

          Now that’s not fair. I am nothing like Otro. She denies truth I do not.

    • Frank

      You are right puting Jesus first is terribly unpopular that’s why we have people who make up their own jesus, like this writer.

  • Drew

    Finally, someone on this website that promotes reading the Bible! Too bad you only promote reading the parts you like. You do realize that Jesus read and studied the Old Testament, and that the entire Bible is useful, correct?

    You have identified the major problem with Christianity today, Kathy. We do not let the Bible change us, but rather, look to the Bible to support we already believe. However, you missed one major point – you are doing that more than anyone, and liberals are at the forefront of redefining Christianity into man’s image.

    Jesus did not talk about abortion, but he did talk about murder, and the rest of the Bible confirms that birth begins at conception. Jesus did not talk about gay marriage, but he did use an example of marriage being between one man and one woman, and the rest of the Bible confirms that marriage is between one man and one woman. Murder and dishonoring marriage are important issues. (Divorce should be talked about more as well.)

    I agree with you on what Jesus primarily talked about, and I think it should emphasized, which is why I do visit this website. Ironically, though, you claim not confusing God and Caesar as a virtue, yet this entire website and most liberal Christians confuse God and Caesar constantly.

    Back to my point about you redefining Christianity into your desired image… Jesus was not always gentle. I find it ironic that liberals claim the Red Letters and then forget the Red Letters of Revelation, or the story of Jesus overturning the tables in the temple, or Jesus telling His disciples that if a town does not welcome them to dust off their sandals and leave and that town will have it worse than Sodom on judgement day. Not that we have a right to be angry, since as humans, our sin prevents our anger from being the same as the anger of a righteous God. However, to pretend Jesus was a 1960’s hippy is not Biblical.

    So, let’s throw away postmodernism and secular humanism and other false worldviews. Let’s adopt a Christian Worldview. Let’s read the ENTIRE Bible, not just the parts we like, and let the Bible change us, rather than us changing the Bible.

    • “Jesus did not talk about abortion, but he did talk about murder, and the rest of the Bible confirms that birth begins at conception.” I don’t care to get into this debate, but actually, the Biblical witness is not consistent about when life begins. Consider Exodus 21:22 – if a man strikes a pregnant woman and causes her to miscarry (according to some translations; others change it to “give birth prematurely,” which means we’d need to go to the original Hebrew for help), he will be fined. But the punishment for murder is death (Exodus 21:12). This would seem to suggest that life begins at birth, and no sooner. Now, I happen to believe that life begins well before birth, but we should note that the Biblical narrative is complicated – and we need to wrestle with texts we dislike, rather than ignoring them.

      All of that to pick on a point that isn’t even a major point of your post. You and I are in agreement on the major point, that every Christian needs to take the Bible much more seriously than we currently do. Far too many of us (and I am guilty as well) will cherry-pick verses to remake God in our image.

      • 22044

        I agree with your major points, just one small quibble.
        For Exodus 21:22 – I looked it up, and it looks like the crime described doesn’t rise to the level of murder (if the woman ends up miscarrying). In today’s language, we might call it involuntary manslaughter, I believe.

        • Fair point. And as I said (or tried to imply, at least), it’s not really an argument that I find convincing, so I’m not really the one to try to defend it.

      • Drew

        Did I really put “birth begins at conception?” Ha, maybe I should have proofread a little better.

        That is an interesting point, I’m not very familiar with that verse in Exodus. However, from some quick research, it looks like people debate if it is “miscarriage” or “premature birth.” I’m not going to pretend I know what the answer is since I have not studied that. However, I am familiar with verses such as Psalm 139:13, which seem to favor early life.

        • 😛 Yeah, you did. It was pretty clear what you meant, so I figured I would just ignore it. Or we could take it as a very interesting view of pregnancy as a nine-month long extended period of giving birth. That would be an interesting stance to defend. 😛

          I’d have to go in to the original Hebrew to see what it should be, and in spite of my arguments with Frank, I really don’t find myself on that side of the issue. I’m just a really big fan of maintaining the beautiful complexity of the Bible.

          • Drew
          • 22044

            I like Piper, I’ll try to read that article when I have some more time.

          • Good response. Took a look in my Hebrew lexicon (always nice to double-check things), and sure enough, every word means what Piper says.

          • Jonathan

            Oh my Gawd!!! The only thing worse then people trying to deduce the beginning of life by using Exodus 21. Is Piper trying to tackle it in this article.

          • Drew

            Nice job using God’s name in vain. I know liberals are allergic to those in the Reformed movement, or much Biblical truth for that matter, so I am not surprised by your reaction.

          • Jonathan

            “or much Biblical truth for that matter” LOLOLOLOLOL – Why would you even say that?

          • Drew

            You truly wouldn’t mind if someone used God’s name in vain, would you?

          • jonathan

            Really dude.

          • Drew


          • Jonathan

            I’m not sure taking Gods name in vain is as trivial as you make it to be.

          • Drew

            ” It’s dealing with God and speaking of God in a way that empties him of his significance. This includes both throw-away words—like “God!” or “Jesus!”—as well as speaking about him in trifling and flippant ways.”

            This is exactly what you did.

          • Jonathan

            That is very studious of you to point that out.

            But you need to paste further. “Not just swear ways but cheap ways, low and insignificant ways that
            just treat him like a commodity. And when you hear them you sense that
            there is no weight to that sentence, no corresponding emotion to that
            statement. It seems to have just been gutted.”
            — Go back to my original statement. It isn’t empty. I actually elevated God. Not only is it crazy that people are trying to deduce the beginning of life through Exodus 21, it is even more far out that John Piper would entertain it.
            — I did not empty God by in my statement I elevated him. To not being petty. You guys are searching for something that isn’t there in Exodus. God is so much more.
            — You are taking him in vain by reducing him to your exegesis.
            — But you got caught up in semantics.

          • Drew

            This is why postmodernism is such a deadly disease. We can’t even agree on basics anymore, because postmoderns worship torch the Bible. I feel sorry for you, Jonathan.

          • Jonathan

            Exactly, each time I confronted on your interpretations. You could only respond with your patronizing accusations. Reducing me down to labels. I feel sorry for you.

          • akiva.

            As a Jew the first to us means to cause a miscarriage. This does not mean we condone abortions to be done for whatever reason possible. As a rule abortion is condoned if the womans life is at stake or if the pregnancy may cause severe emotional duress such as a woman who was raped or incest. For us life starts with the first breath a person takes this is based on the belief that Adam soul entered his body when G-d breathed into him the breath of life. As pointed out though there is no death penalty for one causing an miscarriage/abortion just a fine.

          • Thank you for that – though I have met people who disagree, my stance is that when it comes to Torah (and all of the Tanakh, but especially the Torah), Christians cannot ignore Jewish interpretation. Personal experience has taught me that, in general, y’all spend a lot of time wrestling with texts that we Christians avoid and ignore.

          • Akiva Janeway

            Your welcome. I learned late in life the beauty examing the text and looking at the different meanings of what the words mean. For us Jews the biblical text can have four meanings. The first and most basic is the simple meaning just what it says. Second is the implied meaning of the text that is to derive a deeper meaning. The third is the application of the text or sermon that can be given on the text. The fourth is secret meaning this is better understood using exmples like the number of the beast we know what the number is but we do not who it actually is. No meaning can contradict the other meaning it can only expound on it and it is not neccessary to have every type of meaning for each text.

          • …could you go into a bit more depth for the fourth, secret meaning? It sounds intriguing, but I’m afraid I’m not quite understanding yet, and I want to comprehend.

    • I also agree that the entire Bible is useful, but I think Kathy has hit the nail on the head when she says to read the gospels. Jesus is the revelation of God; according to John, the *truth* about God did not come until Jesus. Paul said that before Jesus people’s minds were made dull (literally “as senstive as rocks”) and their faces covered by the veil of the law. Like Moses, all they could see was God’s back or again literally – where God had been, and attempt to interpret him from that.

      Contrary to often repeated belief, Jesus did explicitly disagree with the OT conclusions about God. Consider the sign of the virgin birth. Isaiah didn’t actually say “the virgin (bethulah) will be with child”, he said “the young unmarried girl (almah) will be with child”. Now the gospels say that Mary was a virgin, but that’s not the sign. The sign was not the miracle but the scandal. Why? Because the law of God given by Moses demanded that Joseph take Mary to the city gates and have her beaten to death with rocks. Joseph’s decision not to do that was made before any dreams or revelations from God; Joseph decided to directly disagree with Moses’ interpretation of God and that’s the sign – Immanuel could only come to us if the person with power of life and death directly rejected the OT teaching that justice = retribution. So when we get to Jesus giving his gospel, he says “you have heard that it was said ‘eye for eye and tooth for tooth’, but I say to you, love your enemy…” This is Jesus directly saying “Moses was wrong, this is the truth”.

      So yes, the entire Bible is useful, but only when read through the lense of God revealed in Jesus. Unfortunately, I continually encounter people dismissing Jesus’ teaching by quoting Moses or Paul. That is not reading the whole Bible or reading something in context, it is rejecting the God Jesus revealed. We desperately need to read the Gospels and reform our minds which have become so used to rejecting Jesus’ teaching.

      • Drew

        Philip, I do not hold to radically false and liberal theology, so we are going to disagree.

        • Neither do I, perhaps you could point out which bits are radically false and liberal and explain why.

  • 22044

    I like the point about reading the Gospels.
    At some point the rest of the NT and the whole OT should be read as well. The Gospels point to the OT as revealing God’s work in those times, and will help readers understand and apply the Gospels’ lessons better.
    Interestingly, the Bible even has a chapter that has applicable counsel for people who say “I follow Jesus only” – I Corinthians 3.

  • Jonathan

    I think a danger/error of revolting from the right/orthodox is in making the Sermon on the Mount and the redletters “the new law.”

    • 22044

      I agree.

      • Jonathan

        I don’t know how you could disagree every movement has it’s potential of becoming legalistic in it’s revelations of the red letters. We shouldn’t be blind, but acknowledge them and know them. In my original statement I’m paraphrasing NT Wright from a book he wrote called “The Lord and His Prayer.” But I found it to be true for myself making the red letters the new law I mean. When I began to atrophy in the Nonviolent movement, by judging everyone who wasn’t following the Sermon on the Mount. Example. The anabaptists who simplified there dress code because of their following Jesus’ model to be common and plain and the red letters. Then dress became their dividing wall.

        • Jonathan

          Another danger is falling in to a therapeutic Christianity.

  • Frank

    Jesus would stand up for the unborn and already stood up for Gods perfect plan for sexuality and marriage. Does anyone who posts on this blog beside Tony and Shane understand the red letters? Jeesh this site borders on being a joke at times.

    • 22044

      Kent Annan’s posts are usually pretty good.

      • Frank

        Ok I will check him out. Thanks!

  • SamHamilton

    There are many more types of Jesus than the two mentioned here. Why does it appear that the only things that distract us from the true Jesus of the Gospels are found on the religious right? Is there nothing in mainstream, secular pop-culture that distracts us from the true Jesus of the Gospels? Is there nothing on the religious left that distracts us from the true Jesus of the Gospels? Is there anything popular outside of cultural conservatism that distracts us from the Jesus of the Gospels?

    Why is there so much preaching to the choir and so little introspection? Let’s dig a little deeper and and challenge people. Are there any other targets out there other than the easy ones? Religious right=bad. We get it…

  • Who thinks homosexuality is NOT included under the sinful rubric of “sexual immorality” ( ) or “debauchery” ( )? And who thinks that Jesus does NOT speak His Truths through the epistles?

    And who thinks Jesus was NOT speaking in these Holy Words of Scripture:

    “Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.” (Romans 1: 24-27)

    And who TRULY thinks Jesus ever endorsed filicide; for Filicide is to Murder what Burglary is to Theft — one egregious type among a larger umbrella of several types.

    And who has ever heard Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh or Bill O’Reilly or Bill Maher or Rachel Maddow or Ed Schultz refer to themselves as Jesus, or encouraged others to think of themselves as Jesus, or suggested that they read and obey Jesus? Well OK, the former three have on occasion but NOT the latter three; in fact Billy Boy Maher has blasphemed Jesus on more than one occasion.

    You’re looking here for an analogy that does NOT exist. This is not even a poor simile. It’s really not much more than an unabashed biased diatribe against modern day Theists and Deists who care more for and point people more often toward Jesus than any of the theorists and philosophers Progressivism derives from, which I hope I need not remind you derives from Godless Marxism.

    • Jonathan

      Marxists didn’t like those who advocated on behalf of the marginalized either.

  • OutsideLookingIn

    Alright I would just like to say, as an atheist, this was the first religious article I have read in a long while that I actually finished and really meditated on afterward. But after reading all the comments I can’t help but wonder how this religion ever spread this far and wide in the first place. It has certainly been in spite of the faithful, which I find rather fascinating. To the argumentative people commenting, I would posit that you may have missed the entire underlying argument of this article. “Leave to Caesar what is Caesar’s,” might suggest network news and petty political squabbles have little place in the life of a true Christian. Just my two cents.

    • Drew

      I assume you are liberal, and as a liberal, this article appeals to your liberal sensibilities. When someone writes an article saying that Christianity is essentially liberalism, and the only way to view Jesus is as a good guy liberal, I see how that would appeal to an atheist. However, what we “argumentative” types are saying, is that this is a limited picture of Jesus. In fact, it’s as limited as the Religious Right’s view of Jesus.

      • 21st C. Episcopalian

        Good point. Sadducees -vs- Pharisees, and they both completely missed the gospel as they both tried to co-opt the person and works of Jesus.

        Oh, how I tire of this website’s posts and the typically eisegetic American (individualistic liberal) hermeneutic that permeates it. Well, of course Jesus is cool with abortion and homosexual activity; he is just like us and so he’s cool with what we’re cool with! (sarcasm implied).

        • Drew

          Exactly. There is nothing wrong with pointing out that Jesus cared about other issues besides homosexuality and abortion. People who think Jesus only cared about or primarily cared about homosexuality and abortion are projecting their 21st Century American Republican Party views on the Bible.

          However, what Vestal does is replace it with a 21st Century American Democratic Party view of Jesus. Jesus only cares about social issues, and wants us to use the government to solve the issues, and Jesus wants us to only read the Gospels.

          I have an idea – let’s believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, as the Bible itself says it is, and read the entire counsel of the Bible, come up with an idea of what Jesus is based on the entire counsel of the Bible, and then live out our faith?

          • 21st C. Episcopalian

            Yes, Drew. I agree. “let’s believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, as the Bible itself says it is, and read the entire counsel of the Bible”

            That was just like Jesus himself did. On the road to Emmaus, he gave two unwitting walkers a master’s level Survey class on how the Old Testament, Law AND Prophets, both point to HIM. His words to them, his literal “red letters”, were an expounding of the Old Testament and were ALL about HIM. So I wholeheartedly agree; let’s not pick ‘n choose verses or even books. Let the Holy Spirit speak through the entire Word; OT that points towards fulfillment in Christ AND the NT that looks back at that fulfillment on the Cross plus points forward to the completion of the Kingdom in God’s perfect timing.

      • OutsideLookingIn

        Ah there is the angry, politically charged Christian I expected to see on this site. Thanks, I needed the reality check.

        • Drew

          First, I am not angry. I never swore, never used bad language, never used caps, never attacked. Do you think everyone who disagrees with you is “angry?”

          Second, I second “it’s as limited as the Religious Right’s view of Jesus.” You see, I’m probably the least politically charged person on this website. I dislike the Religious Left and Religious Right, and I let both be known. Vestal even admitted she doesn’t think the Religious Left exists, and the Religious Right is the root of all problems.

          • 21st C. Episcopalian

            Oh crap, I use CAPS. That must mean I’m angry and don’t even know it.

    • SamHamilton

      …I can’t help but wonder how this religion ever spread this far and wide in the first place. It has certainly been in spite of the faithful…

      As the Catholics say, there is only one way an institution as flawed as the Roman Catholic Church could survive for thousands of years, and that’s divine intervention.

      If you’re interested in more articles like this, continue reading here. They’re a dime a dozen!

    • Thank you for your kind and curious words. Like many atheists with Christians, Christians, too, have encountered angry atheists who are more interested in their own agendas than in listening to or trying to understand the religious point of view, and I would just like to say that it is encouraging to read comments like yours. I believe that it is a small reflection of part of how God is restoring a broken world, and it has to do with all people, regardless of their beliefs, taking responsibility to understand and befriend “the other” instead of fearing it and trying to extinguish it. You may not want to hear this, and I apologize if it offends you, but the attitude that I perceived in your comment is one that I think many Christians need to adopt with each other and with “the other.”

    • Traci

      Thank you for commenting here, and joining the conversation. Your two cents are very much appreciated.

  • Kindra

    Wow, Kathy so so good. Thank you.

  • Lot of Jesus fans out there. I’ve been reading a book by Kyle Idleman and it’s not a comfortable read. It’s titled “Not A Fan”. Jesus never advertised that he was looking for “fans or cheerleaders”, he was looking for followers and he made it very clear that it wasn’t gonna be easy. What he delivered was “Good News”. What too many today want is “feel good news”. Jesus offered a cross and not just a bunch of comfortable platitudes and squishy catch words. Our society has chosen to exchange a Jesus that fits our agenda than to follow The “Real” Jesus and align with His. While His message is one of comfort, it is not one that is always comforting.

  • bluecenterlight40

    After reading these posts, I think this article is right on point. If we spend a fraction of the time we spend arguing over what we should believe, and actually do the things we already know we should be doing, we might actually start looking like the church again. What ever you believe, I’m sure none of you would be as bold as to say that the church is anything close to ” glorious”. If we are going to be anything like the “bride without spot or wrinkle”, I think we all have to examine ourselves and what we believe. If we don’t live in a state of humility, God has a nack for humbling us. It’s usually easier to humble ourselves. Revival is always preceded by a time of repentance, I pray that we can recover from what politics has done to us. In our few decade excursion into the world of politics (before Roe V Wade politics were considered dirty, the church stayed away from it ) There is only one question to be asked, have we made politics more righteous? Or have we been corrupted by it? I think the answer is obvious. We have been called to change the world, one life at a time, not by voting for corrupt politicians who promise to change this country into a Christian utopia by passing laws. That is lazy Christianity. Let us join the fight, the real one. There is a hurting world, just outside our doors. Let us put aside petty worldly arguments, join hands and be Christ to them. We don’t have answers for all these issues, luckily we don’t have to. We just have to be about the fathers business.

    • Frank

      The Father business does not include abortion and gay marriage.

      • Drew

        Frank, being a troll is hurting your witness. You don’t even engage people any more, you just yell at that. Sad way to live your life.

  • Duke Dillard

    I’m a bit confused. Is it possible to be pro-life, think homosexuality is a sin, and still be compassionate and help the poor, and work for justice, and call out hypocrisy, and be repentant when convicted, i.e. to be filled with the Spirit live for the coming of the kingdom? My impression is that more conservative Christians (real Christians- not cultural ones) think Jesus called them to do those things, not the government. Is it wrong to have a good job, make money, and then personally give it to the church and other charities who work with poor/homeless/… Instead of wanting to let some beaurocrat decide where God’s money should go?

    • 22044

      Absolutely not! :)

    • Drew

      It’s possible, but it’s getting to be a pretty small club.

    • Kathy hasn’t said that abortion or homosexuality are ok or that giving is only up to the government. Asking for a government to use our money justly does not remove our role of love, but our love needs work if we ask for leaders that use our money to make us richer at the expense of the poor, all the while telling the world to ignore our own greed and focus on the gays.
      I am pro-life in that I believe unborn humans are still humans and deserving of our care. I also believe Jesus that our enemies should be loved and fed not shot and tortured, whereas it seems that most people calling themselves pro life ignore this central part of Jesus’ gospel. And while I understand the Bible to disagree with homosexual sex I also recognise that it is an area that is touched on extremely lightly in comparison for example to the call for leaders to care for their poor. I have a problem with the way the Religious Right has so demonised these people, particularly when the only effect of such Pharasaic behaviour is to further push people into defiant embracing of those things; people who if they met the real Jesus would come running. Paul said it was God’s kindness that leads us to repentance.

  • Eric

    Good words, Kathy. While it is true, as some of those posting howl, that there are false left-wing Jesuses around, the bigger problem is the one you named. All of us need our image of Jesus to be derived from and corrected by the Jesus presented in the Gospels. I seriously question whether this Jesus would even vote. But I am confident he would not throw his support to those with the most wealth and power but would consistently stand with the poor, outcast and broken, as you maintain.

    • Frank

      Jesus, if He voted, would never have voted for a party that celebrates the choice that leads to over 21,000 unborn innocent children mostly for reason of convenience and a party that abandoned His perfect design for sexuality and marriage.

      • Eric

        You’re right. And he would be terribly confused by your definition of children. You won’t win the argument by defining terms in a way that is recognized only by those in your circle.

        • Frank

          You won’t avoid the judgement that comes from you denying humanity and personhood to the unborn. God gives life. Who do you think you are to support taking it away?

    • Drew


      Kathy just posted that she believes false left-wing Jesuses are non-existent, so she would disagree with you on that point.

      I think most agree that our image of Jesus needs to be derived from Scripture. However, when Vestal says only the Gospels, she misses everyone in the NT that wrote about Christ plus Christ’s own words in the Book of Revelation. Furthermore, I would contend that how she described Jesus in this post does not begin to cover the wholeness of Jesus, just a few aspects. That’s the reason for our “howls.”

  • Jamin

    While I do agree with you on some issues, I do not think you have given the full picture of the biblical Jesus, as some others here have mentioned here.

    For example, Jesus was a man full of compassion, but He was also a man that took sin seriously. He did not tell the people to continue living their lives as they were, but to go and sin no more. What would have happened if the woman caught in adultery continued to live in her life of adultery? Would Jesus had been as compassionate towards her if she was not repentant herself? Just something to ponder over.

    As well, you said Jesus said nothing about gay rights and abortion. I have a few things to mention about this. One of my friends pointed out to me that in the Jewish culture there would have been no reason for Jesus to say: “Homosexuality is wrong” because the Jewish culture already believed this. There was no need to state it because everyone already agreed with it. Jesus never once said something that contradicted what was said in the rest of the Bible. He usually took it and expanded upon it. If Jesus had said anything different about homosexuality it would have been recorded because He would have been going against the culture at the time.

    The other thing I would like to mention about this is Jesus also said nothing about slavery in the Gospels. Does that mean William Wilberforce (who was a devout Christian) should not have spent his whole life trying to bring an end to the slave trade? Surely it was a waste of time for him because Jesus said nothing about slavery. Would it then be a waste of our time to fight to bring an end to human trafficking today? Jesus said nothing about that either, so maybe we should leave it alone.

    Using the excuse “Jesus said nothing about it” is not a reason for Christians to sit back and not do anything.John tells us that Jesus said many more things that if recorded, all the books in the world could not retain them. Since this is the case, Jesus probably said something about these issues, but it just was not recorded down.

    I agree that a Christian should not spend all their time fighting against gay rights and abortion. However, since these are huge issues in our world today, we as Christians need to know how to handle them. Slavery was a huge issue in the day of Wilberforce (and it is today as well). He stood up against it, and would not back down because of his beliefs as a Christian.

    Slavery, abortion and gay rights are three of the main social issues prevalent in this age. How we as Christians handle them will define the future. Jesus said nothing about any of these, but that does not mean the Church must ignore them.

    • Drew

      Thank you for posting. Great logic, and it got me to think.

    • Questioning

      “Jesus never once said something that contradicted what was said in the rest of the Bible. ” Sorry but I disagree. If this is true why was he always in hot water with the religious leaders of the day? He came to show us a better, higher way. That what mattered was, not so much what we do, but our hearts, our intentions, our motivations, and above all having a relationship with Him. He also said that we study the scriptures because we think we find eternal life there, when it is in Him and Him alone, that we truly find eternal life. I think we all often get it wrong, in our own peculiar, stubborn ways.

    • keith

      Good point….If we were fighting slavery they would be on board but HEY (as Si would say on Duck Dynasty) they want to pick the social issues they deem relevant Jack 😉 In fact slavery exists today as a black market trade but its out of sight so they never mention it. I belive kidnapping, beating, sexually abusing, drugging and killing are much worse than someone disagreeing with your lifestyle.

    • Tet

      About the woman who was caught in adultery:

      She was caught while commiting adultery, and gods law demanded her to be stoned to death. Yet Jesus basically ignored the law previously given by god, prevented her from getting stoned and made it clear that he himself did not accuse her of any sin. Only after all this he told her to sin no more.

      And Jesus did say things contradicting other parts in the bible, the most famous one being “eye for eye, tooth for tooth” in Deuteronomy.

      • Person

        That is not true! Jesus did not “ignore” the law. He had come to fulfill it. He is perfect and is God himself, so a command he gives is from God. Jesus told people to stop stoning, and so we know it is right that people no longer stone. Stop listening to Tony, he is wrong. Jesus never said “I give you a new commandment,” that is just something Tony said that was absolutely wrong. The commandment to love your neighbor can be found in Leviticus 19:18. Read it.

        • Traci

          34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

          John 13:34-35

  • This blog is about the identity of Jesus, and, no matter how we feel about it, the political construction is a right-wing issue. I have never seen a left-winger confuse his/her politics with God’s voice. What saddens me most about this issue is that those around us are mistaking our made-up Jesus for the Biblical one and rejecting him and the Church. Our blogs,our comments, our political rants . . . are our personal witness.

    • Frank

      The only made up Jesus I see comes out of “progressive” Christianity. A feel good Jesus that simply allows us to do whatever we think is right.

    • 22044

      Again with the false accusations. When will it stop?

  • Thankyou so much Kathy, I have often felt exactly the same way as if he has been taken away from me; but I know I let him go by just believing what I was told without question. We are infected with the same anti-Jesus in Australia and it is heartbreaking.

  • keith

    Jesus said nothing of abortion and gay rights….thats all I needed to discount your entire article. 😉

  • Larry

    Jesus DID say something that is PRO-MARRIAGE, as in marriage is for one man and one woman – Matthew 19:5 and Mark 10:7. Therefore, just because Jesus didn’t exactly say, word-for-word, that homosexuality was okay, or was a sin, it doesn’t mean He approved of it. He certainly supported and affirmed “traditional” marriage.

  • keith

    I find it more than a little humourous that you compared Glenn Beck to Jesus. Glenn has an initative in place to try and bring back ‘love’ and hope back into our lives. He doesnt do it through a particular religious avenue however he just throws biblical principles out there for people to embrace. Once again, Why do you have to demonise someone who is doing good for the country and teaching things you should approve of?? Until this site has some dissenting articles on here it will never be taken seriously.

  • Jesus O’Rielly, sounds half Mexican, half Irish. :)

  • bluecenterlight

    Before Jerry Falwell/ Francis Schaeffer, Christians for the most part viewed politics as dirty, and steered clear of it. I guess the question is, in the last few decades we have decided to delve into the political fray, have we made politics more righteous, or has it corrupted us. I think the answer is obvious. I think if we are honest with ourselves we have slowly exchanged our allegiance from the God revealed in Christ, with “natures god”. Natures god is very similar, if you are not paying attention, he is almost identical. He clothes himself in all the trappings of Christianity. He puffs himself up with his own righteousness and abhors those who do not live up to his standard. His compassion is reserved for those who are like him. The problem is he is the antithesis of Christ. Sadly, the majority of Christians in this country have exchanged the God of Christ for this god. He says the things we agree with, he hates the same people we hate, he loves what we love. Any harsh criticism he has is never directed at you, but at your enemies. We see the founding fathers preached from the pulpit as gospel. The American constitution will be the foundation of his heavenly kingdom.There is a battle coming, there has to, God will not allow His church to be corrupted. We will stand against them. We will take this back, and we will love the hell out of them in the process.

  • Traci

    Beautiful. Thank you.

  • I enjoyed reading your article and agree with much of what you say… the Jesus of yesterday has been replaced by the Jesus of politics and prosperity (at least in the minds of the media… not the body of Christ). Having said that there was a couple of statements we will have to disagree on.

    First “welcome the immigrants” . Kathy, I can’t find anything in the NT that Jesus or any of his disciples said about immigration at least as how it is defined in today’s world. Even the kingdom of God has borders……

    On the issue of compassion, you seem to be confused on this as well. The argument of how our government spends our money (food stamps/welfare) is not a “Jesus” issue. It is a political one and should be limited to a discussion on politics. As far as giving directly to the poor and/or to a charity, that cares for the needy and taking the needy into YOUR home goes, it is an argument that could and should be made from a religious stance. We spend far too much on buying things and too little time really helping those in need.

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