Leadership in Context with Keith Tucci
False Presuppositions, pt1
We are going to spend the next few weeks discussing an important debate going on in the Christian community.
Andy Stanley has some pretty strong statements about “unhitching” ourselves from the Old Testament and why he thinks that is important. His latest book, Irresistible, even goes beyond that. (I want to encourage you to click HERE and read the debate over this book featured in “Outreach Magazine” between Andy Stanly and JD Greear, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention.)
What we are seeing now is a codifying of a new doctrinal emphasis that is being talked about, sung about, emphasized—the belief that Christians are under grace and are not under any other kind of dictate, the belief that they can determine what is right and wrong for them and that their behavior is not codified whatsoever. Those are strong statements, and Stanley’s statements are even stronger than that (but I will address that later).
For now, I want to discuss three presuppositions that I believe are being bought into and why this kind of theology is growing in popularity.
These are my subjective, intuitive observations. I don’t believe that anyone has said these things in so many words. They are my take on what I believe is happening. I would encourage you to investigate these further.
Presupposition #1: Jesus was an accepted and beloved figure in His culture.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus was crucified by His culture. He was despised by His culture. And it wasn’t just the religious leaders. The religious people did lead the charge, but the crowd was full of other people who did not like Jesus interfering in their lives.
Jesus did have some great encounters with people, like the woman at the well. He crossed cultural barriers. He broke cultural norms. That does not mean that everyone He did that with accepted Him. When Jesus died, after 3 years of ministry, He had a very small group of people who were beloved to Him.
Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our wellbeing fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth.
This is the prophetic biography of Jesus written 700 years before His life. This tells us very clearly that despite Jesus’ unbelievable love and passion for people, He was not accepted and was rejected.
Because Jesus was so gentle and loving and kind, He affected the masses. And it is correct that we should be gentle and loving and kind to affect the masses. But to say that we are failing in our mission because everyone doesn’t like us, or as Stanley says that we “reject the very people that Jesus attracted”—I don’t buy that indictment. I do know that there are legalistic people, religious people, people who are in a box and they don’t know how to cross some of the cultural barriers that they need to in order to really allow the message to come to life. But I think it’s important that we understand that there are many, many people who rejected Jesus’ ministry. We do have some great success stories that are told in the Scripture so we can see that the message Jesus was preaching really does work. Christianity is not a popularity contest.We can be every bit as nice or kind or compassionate or concerned as Jesus and still be rejected by the majority.
Again, this is my discernment regarding one of the presuppositions that I believe is being propagated. Because that GPS is off, because that plumb line is off, there is an assumption that is made, and theological therapy is needed. Read through Isaiah 53 and the gospels to see how Jesus was really treated. He was rejected by the masses. There were towns that would not even let Jesus pass through. How have we forgotten this? We have painted a picture that projects a false Jesus. We need to get back to seeing the real Jesus so we are free, not only to love like He loved, but we are free to be rejected like He was rejected AND keep going, just like He did.
Next week, I’ll continue with the other presuppositions that are throwing gas on the fire of the wrong doctrine of rejecting the Old Testament.
Join us next week as Keith Tucci continues to put leadership truth in the context of the local church. And as always, please like, share, rate/review, and invite others to listen. See you next week!