Monday, January 16, 2012
Yes, but . . .
I honestly don't quite know what to do with this ongoing story/saga.
A young "spoken word artist" (is that another euphemism for rap or hip-hop?) has released a video called "I Hate Religion, Love Jesus. Many young "hip" evangelicals no doubt driven by Mark Driscoll's type of young hip evangelical love it, while others—especially non-believers or non-orthodox believers—have used it to bash the church at large.
To his credit, the video's creator, Jefferson Bethke of Tacoma, Washington (and a congregant of Mark Driscoll), came out strongly in a warning for people not to use this video to bash the church. That wasn't his intent . . .
If you are using my video to bash ‘the church’ be careful. I was in no way intending to do that...The Church is Jesus' bride so be careful how you speak of His wife. If a normal dude has right to get p****d when you bash His wife, it makes me tremble to think how great the weight is when we do it to Jesus' wife. The church is His vehicle to reach a lost word. A hospital for sinners. Saying you love Jesus but hate the Church, is like a fiancé saying he loves his future bride, but hates her kids. We are all under grace. Look to Him.
I can agree with Mr. Bethke here, and I can say a hearty amen to many things in his video. But there are aspects of this whole thing that do make me very uncomfortable.
I don't think I need to rehash my position on Christians having potty mouths. We disobey the Lord (and His revealed Word in Scripture) when we cuss like sailors. To this day, Mark Driscoll has the reputation among some for being the "cussing pastor." And even if one isn't technically "cussing," there is an element of crudity and vulgarity that Christians are expected to eschew. "Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks."
Some are concerned because of Bethke's criticism using the word "religion," which some define as man's way of dealing with the subject of Deity. The way Bethke and most evangelicals define religion, it is man's efforts to gain God's approval through his own efforts, rather than trusting in the means God has provided to deal with our sin—the death, burial and resurrection of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus died on the cross for our sins, and rose again from the dead for our justification. That's the simple, life-changing Gospel as defined by 1 Corinthians 15. There's a lot to unpack in there as to how the Gospel is lived out day-to-day, but the Gospel itself is so simple "even a child can understand it."
I think our chief worry (at least mine is) that people will approach this issue in a postmodern mindset and want to quibble about words, meanings, etc, when the plain meaning is as obvious as the nose on one's face.
Another concern expressed by others that I share regarding Bethke's video is the (perhaps unintended) notion that one can go on living their sinful old life unchanged—the Lord's forgiven you and accepted you as you are, so don't worry about it. You aren't expected to live up to anything. If that WAS his intent to express, I couldn't disagree more with him. That's antinomianism, and is heretical. We still have to obey Christ's commands as Christians. Obedience to His commands does not save us, but it proves we are His disciples. It proves we love Him and love one another. If I say I love the Lord, yet proceed to live an unchanged life like an unbeliever, how is that expressing and showing love for the One who said, "If you love Me, keep my commandments."
That includes watching your mouth.
Sola's note: Take a peek at this updated article the Christian Post. Seems like the guy's heart is in the right place, and he accepted correction very well.