I was both privileged and pleased to receive this most excellent treatise written by a dear and uncompromising brother in Christ, and feel it must be shared. Upon contacting Doron, he gave me permission to publish it, for which I am grateful and delighted. 🙂
A Treatise on the Biblical Jesus Christ
By Doron Gladden
This study does not endeavor to be all-encompassing. However, this study serves as an expose on the pseudo-Christ of Americanism. This study does not intend to infer that every church on American soil is guilty of serving a false Christ. However, the overall concept of American Christianity finds its comfort in the churches in our nation who have forsaken the Biblical way for the elusive American Dream. This indictment is to be served toward those who worship a god of their own imaginations. The one with an offended conscience is rightly offended.
We live in an age today where the Biblical Jesus Christ is unrecognized to those who occupy pews in the church or desire a personal relationship with God apart from His Son and scripture. While it is sad and unfortunate that the unbelieving world harbors a growing hatred toward Christ, it seems our Lord foresaw a time where those who claimed to be His bride would not recognize their Bridegroom. Before Jesus ascended to heaven to be seated at the Right Hand of the Father, He asked rhetorically would He find faith on earth. (Lk. 18:8). Jesus also warned that many would promote false christs. He warned that many would come in His name to deceive others (Mark 13:6; Matthew 24:5). It was Charles Spurgeon who said:
I never could believe in the Jesus Christ of some people, for the Christ in whom they believe is simply full of affectionateness and gentleness, whereas I believe there never was a more splendid specimen of manhood, even its sternness, than the Saviour; and the very lips which declared that He would not break a bruised reed uttered the most terrible anathemas (curses) upon the Pharisees.
Christ warned His disciples that the world would not only be offended at the message He preached. Jesus told them that the world would also hate the Object of the message and the deliverers of the message (Matt. 10:17; John 15:18). Christ plainly stated that those who rejected His words ultimately reject the Father and will be judged by the words Jesus spoke (John 12:48). In the time of Jesus’ ministry and life, many had expectations of Him as political Messiah, miracle-worker for the benefit of the people, and that Christ had come to glorify national Israel. In the gospel account of the feeding of 5000 people, the people wanted to crown Jesus as King. Christ wanted no part in this pseudo-coronation (John 6:9-16). He rebuked the people for viewing Him as a means to an abundance of temporal bread (John 6:27). Christ did then as He does today. He rebukes all who vainly use His name as a password to hoard the world’s riches or those who seek Him for therapeutic, political, or individualistic reasons.
Christ commands the sinner to submit to Him as Lord and flee from sin. The Lord continually shattered all expectations of Him which did not lead to the will of the Father for His life: His death by crucifixion (and eventual resurrection which testified to His claims of deity simultaneously reconciling believers to the Father). Many fell away as Jesus began to clarify the intent of His life and ministry. Jesus came to save sinners not geo-political Israel. This was His main objective. Those who wanted Him for any other reason were served a notice: Submit to Him on His terms or remain in their sins and face the eternal judgment.
Jesus vs. the false teachers and false ideologies
Jesus not only warned of ashamedness of His words or vain pursuits of His person, but He warned of false religion and false religious leaders who held an imagined “god” before men. The “god” of false religions, today and in Jesus’ day, bows before the interests of men. Jesus Christ invaded and interrupted all misconceptions of the True and Living God, His Father. Christ warned His hearers and His adversaries. The Scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees constituted the whole of religious life in Israel. They professed to be the gatekeepers of the only way to God. Jesus not only dismissed them, but He confronted them and confounded them many times in the Gospels. He eventually cursed them (Matt. 23).
The truth is, there is nothing more diabolical, wicked, unholy, satanic and evil than false religion and those who teach false ideologies.
The biblical Christ did not mince words when He encounteres these agents of Satan. MacArthur writes:
The Great Shepherd Himself was never far from open controversy with the most conspicuously religious inhabitants in all of Israel. Almost every chapter of the Gospels makes some reference to His running battle with the chief hypocrites of His day, and He made no effort whatsoever to be winsome in His encounters with them. He did not invite them to dialogue or engage in a friendly exchange of ideas.
The Biblical Christ had no interest in a friendly dialogue with false teachers. He did not want to find a common ground and network ideas with them. He rebuked them, warned His followers to guard against them, flee from them and if their followers continued following them, they would be condemned along with them.
The Biblical Christ is in fierce opposition with all who reject and oppose Him. If we follow the true Christ, we are at opposition with His rejecters as well. This was the case in His ministry and life and is still the case today.
In the life of Christ, as His reputation increased, the hatred toward Him increased. The Biblical Christ came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). This hatred toward Him was along many lines. Those who hated Him demonstrated the love of self, love of false teaching, love of sin, and fear of man. In essence, the Pharisees feared the Romans (which is one of the reasons they wanted to silence Christ). The people feared the Pharisees, which is why even some who believed His teachings were afraid to say so publicly.
It can be said today that false teachers do not fear the biblical Christ as the Bible commands. The apostate American “jesus” today is stripped of His biblical glory because men fear men. Men would rather speak falsely about Christ and propagate false christs because they care more for their possessions, reputations, “ministries,” and sin more than the glory of the Holy Lamb to whom they feign allegiance. We cannot be fooled. A wrong picture of Christ is satanic compromise, friendship with the world, and ashamedness. Whether this Christ is held before men as:
1) A moral teacher who was always nice and never offended anyone.
2) A “prosperity” good luck charm with His name as a password for all the temporal riches one can hoard in his or her lifetime.
3) A Jesus who bows before the methodology of men who care only to increase the numbers of their congregants but care nothing of feeding their souls with a steady diet of the preaching of the Biblical Christ and His truth.
4) One who accepts the “worship” of those who love their sin, remain in it, serve it, yet they attempt to bargain with God through their works. (Christ warned of such people).
5) The easy believist “Christ” who saves you when you sign a card, raise your hand, or walk up to an altar but has no power to save you from your sins, because the sinner remains in it.
6) The new age “Jesus” who is not the only way, truth, and life, but rather one path of many to God.
7) One who, in the name of pseudo-tolerance, niceness, and pseudo-unity embraces the sin of the culture, the complacency of those who water down his gospel because they are ashamed of his message in life and evangelism.
The Biblical Christ and His Lordship
The Biblical Christ is Sovereign Lord over all. He warned the masses of using Him for their sinful greedy purposes. Christ said that a man’s life does not consist in the things that He possesses (Luke 12:15). He warned His followers that glory did not exist apart from the cross. Both He and all of His future disciples were to take up their crosses. Christ bore His cross as a substitute for sinners. He commanded His followers to take up their cross and follow Him. It was the pastor and martyr Dietrich Bonheoffer who courageously challenged the satanic Nazi Third Reich who said, “When Christ calls a man, He bids Him come and die.”
The Biblical Christ did not call men to their “best lives now.” He did not call them to humanistic, materialistic comforts or individual piety. He did not call His followers to a life of so-called “lifestyle evangelism” where the sinner is not warned of God’s wrath by believers, but simply coddled by believers with treats and conversations about the latest baseball scores or fashion trends in name of “love” and “unity.” Masses of people gather into so-called churches whose agenda is to tickle itching ears and also not to offend congregants. Even if the message of the cross is offensive, they would rather usher congregants into the depths of hell by preaching messages of self-esteem or feigning allegiance to sound doctrine while obscuring or tiptoeing around the hard sayings of Christ. The Biblical Christ came with an offensive message. Christ and all but one of His apostles were martyred for this message. Not to mention countless others throughout church history who were extinguished because they dared to preach the foolish message of the cross to the world’s “wise” and “proud” citizens.
The American showman pseudo-Christ and the Biblical Christ
The Biblical Christ came not simply to heal people of physical ailments and sicknesses. Such miracles were a demonstration of His deity to people proving to them that He was the long-awaited Messiah. Christ proclaimed, through His miracles that He possessed the power of God and thus should be obeyed as One who did the deeds of His Father. His miracles were signs. Signs point toward something or in this case someone. Charismatic charlatans paint a picture of a “Jesus” who validates messengers and sinners because he or she has fallen over backward with a touch of the messenger’s hand.
The Biblical Jesus Christ has no part such man-centered spectacles. His healing demonstrations were to show man that Christ is Lord over all spheres of life, and that He could heal the terminal condition of man which separated man from the Creator. He came to heal men of sin. The charismatic pseudo-Christ is held before men as a magical genie who will grant men their wishes if man would rub the side of the genie bottle. Is it health you want? He will provide health. Is it money? He will fill up the bank account and somehow make it possible to serve God and money. This pseudo-Christ will come at your beck and call. This cosmic bellhop held before the deceived as “Christ” is far from the Biblical Christ. He healed sick sinners in His compassion. He commissioned His twelve to heal the sick, raise the dead, and cast out demons. However, He did so in order that men would behold such power, flee from sin and fall before their Messiah.
Christ is not revealed or glorified in the wild claims of many TV apostates. He is misrepresented and treated as a combination of Santa Claus, a benevolent Grandpa in the sky, or an intern and personal assistant who comes swiftly to us when we demand Him to come. This “American pseudo Christ” is subservient to faith. Faith is redefined as an independent force whereby the Triune God is obligated to bow before men as we conjure up His name. Faith is thus placed, not in the Lord and Savior who saves sinners, but in the ability to conjure up the magical worker who does what we tell Him to do.
The apostatized portrait of American “Jesus” is held before men as one who eliminates all that would cause temporal discomfort, unhappiness, and is to be “accepted” by men as if he is pitifully awaiting a Facebook friend request and must wait until one thinks it is necessary to accept his request. The American “Jesus” exists solely for your benefit they tell you. He is a shot of adrenaline to your self-esteem! Die to self, no way. In fact, this American “Jesus” must bow to you.
This American pseudo-Christ preached in many apostate American “churches” (TV screens and countries) is a tour guide, concierge and stockbroker who would never invade the closet of your secret sins. Rather than bowed before in contrition, great thankfulness of escaping God’s wrath and repentance of sin unto eternal life, as Lord of Glory, the Logos; This pseudo-Christ, created by ashamed and hostile minds of our generation is to blasphemously bow to our perception of the American dream and materialistic demands. And those who oppose this false image are deemed judgmental, unloving, lacking in graciousness for daring to say that Christ demands total surrender to His person or He will judge those who reject Him, sentencing them to eternal hell. The Biblical Christ has no part in this golden calf of men’s imaginations. The messengers of the pseudo-Christ tell those who do not stray from the biblical Christ that they are somehow missing out on the “blessings” or selfish pursuits of this personal chauffeur “Jesus.”
In the strongest of terms, the Biblical Christ rebukes those who hold up false images of Him and warned men not to follow after purveyors of that image. The American pseudo-Christ is preached by those who are full of compromise and niceness as it relates to glorifying themselves; because their idol is their reputations. The Biblical Christ is merciful to His flock in that He allows for the fruit of all men to reveal whom they really serve (Matt. 7:15-20).
But who do you say that I am?
John MacArthur writes “There are only two possible conclusions we can make with regard to Christ: He is either God incarnate, or He is a blasphemer and a fraud. There is no middle ground, and that is precisely the situation Jesus was aiming for.” He continues:
There are a lot of people even today who want to patronize Jesus by saying He was a good person, an outstanding religious leader, an important prophet, a profound ethicist, a paragon of integrity, kindness, and decency—a great man, but still merely a man—not God incarnate…He is either God or the ultimate blasphemer. He purposely erased every possible middle-way alternative.
It was C. S. Lewis who wrote:
I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.
Every belief system accounts for Christ. Drawing first from my experience as a false teacher in the Word of Faith movement, those men say that Jesus is simply a healer or a means to achieve unlimited temporal “blessings.” Jesus is a genie or Santa Claus figure to them. To those in the secular academic world, Jesus is simply a great moral teacher and example. He is a sorely misguided martyr. He is someone who we can learn from, but definitely not Lord or absolute truth.
The American pseudo Christ of secular academia bows before men and their relativism. To the youth, whom I often minister, Jesus is their friend. He is not the one who died to save them from their sins. Nor is He the Lord of glory. He is their pal, who would dare not intrude on their comfortable plans for their lives. Nor is He, to them, the one who commands total surrender and repentance from sin. To apostate Christianity, he is a product. He, stripped from His biblical glory and hard sayings, is offered to “consumers”, so that hirelings may keep their “ministries” afloat, while feigning allegiance to Him. The one who has nationalistic and ethnical interests for Christ deems Him as a Savior of their race and ethnicity and nothing more. To the misguided Islamists, He is simply a prophet. “Who do you say that I am?” (Mark 8:29). This is the most important question anyone will ever answer. The answer has eternal ramifications.
Jesus claimed to be the “I AM” (Exodus 3:14). The Biblical Christ must be understood in light of His own claims regarding His Person. In fact, Jesus made twenty-three “I AM” statements in the Gospels! His deistic claims appear within the framework of the following statements in the Gospel of John showing His saving relationship to the world:
“I AM the Bread of life” (6:35, 41, 48, 51)
“I AM the light of the world” (8:12)
“I AM the Door of the sheep” (10:7, 9)
“I AM the Good Shepherd” (10:11, 14)
“I AM the Resurrection and the Life” (11:25)
“I AM the way, the Truth, and the Life” (14:6)
“I AM the true vine” (15:1)
The Pharisees understood Christ’s claim that “before Abraham was, I AM.” (John 8:58). In fact, the Pharisees wanted to stone Him for what they understood as a blasphemous remark. In their eyes, this insignificant carpenter from Nazareth claimed to be the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The biblical Christ did not distance Himself from His claims. He did not attempt to salve their consciences. He did not say to the Pharisees, “I apologize, you have misunderstood me.” The biblical Christ continued to make “I AM” statements, even when it offended His hearers. It was on these terms that men were to receive Him. In fact, when Peter is asked the question, “Who do you say I am?” Peter repies (Matthew 16:16) “You are the Christ! The Son of the Living God!” Jesus did not rebuke Peter for this recognition; rather Christ commended Peter for God-given eyes of faith to see Him in truth.
The pseudo-American Christ bears no resemblance to the Great “I AM” of the Gospels.
Again….(Please no reposts without express permission from the author!)