Not Driscoll's Jesus, nor Jim West's, but the Bible's

Jim WestJim West offers a rather double-edged endorsement of Gentle Wisdom, to which I replied in a comment, which he has not (yet?) approved, starting with these words:

Thanks for the wonderful endorsement! But don’t make it too obvious that you are trying to revitalise a fading blog by getting link love from a rising star.

Jim writes about me:

He’s a bit too fluffy for me. I imagine his image of Jesus is something of a Jesus who carries a bunny, and a flower, and never says a cross word to anyone.

Well, Jim certainly has an active imagination. I have no idea where he gets this image from. True, I rejected what might be Mark Driscoll’s Jesus, because this is not at all the biblical picture. But on exactly the same basis I reject any image of “a Jesus who carries a bunny, and a flower, and never says a cross word to anyone”, because this clearly contradicts the biblical picture of our Saviour. As Jim correctly states as he continues,

the actual Jesus we know from the Gospels … called people hypocrites, was quite unfriendly to Temple businessmen, and regularly mocked the religious leaders of his day.

Indeed I could have used Jesus’ example to defend calling Driscoll a bully: Jesus called the scribes and Pharisees much worse things. This confrontational aspect of Jesus has been important to my faith since the 1970s, when I read John Stott’s book Christ the Controversialist, which helped me to see the inadequacy of the image from my childhood of Jesus who “never says a cross word to anyone”.

Mark Driscoll is right to regret that

increasingly, the least likely person to be found in church is a twenty-or-thirty-something single male.

Among the reasons for this may well be that the image of Jesus which Jim attributes to me is so widespread. So Driscoll is right to try to present a different image. But the image he should be presenting is not of someone who might advise: “ridicule those who disagree with you, despise people of other orientations, denigrate women, and above all be arrogant and rude!” Instead he should find and preach the true Jesus as presented in the gospels.

7 thoughts on “Not Driscoll's Jesus, nor Jim West's, but the Bible's

  1. The difference between your elderly Aunts kind baby in the manger Jesus, or the one that was whiped before his crucifiction. Some people can’t handle the gruesome truth.

  2. Hi Peter, first time responder here. I’ve been following the to and fro on Mark Driscoll’s facebook status and saw spotted something. This isn’t in any way a dig, but given the context of Mark’s unfortunate choice of words which for him is about creating a place where unchurched men feel comfortable and as a result wanting to do away with “effeminate anatomically male worship leaders”, I thought it was interesting that you made a similar point a couple of years ago when in a post about why men don’t go to church, you concluded that one major reason was a church led by

    “Men who are widely perceived as being weak wimps, and often in their pronouncements seem to do their best to perpetuate this stereotype. Men who like to wear brightly coloured dresses, at least in my own Anglican church. Men who are often rather camp, feminine in their behaviour, and perceived as very probably either gay or paedophiles while often being hypocritical in condemning such people. Men who seem happy to spend their time doing feminine style things, i.e. most church social events, with groups of mostly women. Men who gladly consume the typical church diet of quiche with weak milky tea, who are therefore not real men.”

    That reads a bit stronger than what Mark said, although I know you were talking about perceptions of Christian men and you weren’t asking for storied about them. The tone is similar though to those just skim reading.

  3. RotundScotsman, welcome to Gentle Wisdom! And thanks for being a careful reader. I accept that Driscoll has a good point about the way the church is perceived as being very feminine, and that I made a similar point in my 2009 post Why real men don’t go to church.

    I differ from Driscoll over this in two ways. First, to quote that previous post,

    I did not support the controversial assertion that A church should have a masculine ethos; rather I stated that

    the church should be balanced in these matters.

    Second, I avoid using potentially offensive words to stereotype people, or when I do I qualify them with “perceived as” etc. That, to me, is the difference between reasonable debate and rabble-rousing.

    And this means that I will very genuinely welcome properly reasoned contributions to this debate from Driscoll. I hope his new book and website will offer them.

  4. Peter, you have every reasonable right to say it the way you have,,, seeing is believing and far too many go into “the church” to hide their inner feminate desires like the husband of Michelle Bachman. In the older days, it was safer to be thought of as priestly than a raving homo, the women too.

    Any thoughts on the celibacy of the “church” and the avowed sins against one of the top ten commandments to “go forth and multiply”? This thought led me to think the entire catholic, and as the bad tree gives bad fruits, christianity in general have some not too good foundations behind them. Using “celibacy” rituals as cover for their lack of interest in women…

    The colourful gowns are a blast! [being very kind in the description] Tailor made suits that nobody but a pimp would wear in public, while their savior leader wore rags…

  5. Meatwad, I know nothing about Michelle Bachmann’s husband. But I agree with you in having serious issues with the teaching that priests must be celibate. Then I’m not Roman Catholic.

  6. Pingback: Who will fill his shoes? « The Good News

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