“When Angelo paints even God the Father in human form, mark what robustness is there. And whatever they may reveal of the divine love in the Son, the soft, curled, hermaphroditical Italian pictures, in which his idea has been most successfully embodied; these pictures, so destitute as they are of all brawniness, hint nothing of any power, but the mere negative, feminine one of submission and endurance, which on all hands it is conceded, form the peculiar practical virtues of his teachings.”

—Herman Melville, Moby Dick

There are lots of people today who claim to be Christians, but when you sit down and evaluate what they believe about Jesus and the Bible, one has to wonder. These new-millennium Christians shaped and formed by tolerance and political correctness want a meek and mild Jesus, a Jesus who expounds platitudes on fluffy clouds of irrelevance. They want a Jesus who looks far into the distance but says nothing about the world in which we live today, unless it means expanding the power of the State, taxing and spending us into poverty, and adopting a live-and-let-live ethic that in the past has destroyed civilizations. Jesus has become a “Build-A-God”—a limp and formless outer shell that we get to fill with our own pious stuffing.

These “I’m-a-Christian-too” religionists will damn James Dobson because his Christianity is relevant for the here and now and praise T.D. Jakes, who has been dubbed “the black Billy Graham,” because it is perceived that Jakes, like Graham, is not taking sides in political debates[1] or that he leans Left on most social issues. Jakes is tolerated by the Left, even though he is against homosexual marriage, as long as he does not side with the Right. This shouldn’t surprise us since even Billy Graham has become acceptable to the Left because he no longer speaks dogmatically about hot-button moral issues like he once did about “atheistic Communism.” Consider this exchange with Larry King:

KING: But do you think—you don’t think homosexuality—or do you think it’s a choice?
GRAHAM: Well, that’s a big debate.
KING: But if it’s not a choice, it can’t be a sin. Right?
GRAHAM: Well, maybe. God will make that judgment, not me. I’m not deciding who’s a sinner and who is not.[2]
KING: How about abortion?
GRAHAM: Same thing.
KING: Against it totally?
GRAHAM: Yes. But I’m not getting involved in it.
KING: So you believe it’s the taking of a life?
GRAHAM: Yes, I do.
KING: But to protect the life of a mother you would permit it, right? I think you said that.
GRAHAM: Oh, yes.
KING: Yeah.
GRAHAM: Of course.
KING: What worries you the most?
GRAHAM: Poverty in the world.[3]

This is the way the world likes its Christians: Privately engaging but socially irrelevant. This is not the Jesus of the NT or the disciples who followed Him. Their message was clear enough that they were charged with turning the world upside down by claiming “there is another king, Jesus” (Acts 17:6–7)


[1] DeWayne Wickham, “A religious man—not right, not left,” USA Today (August 9, 2005), 11A.
[2] Jakes said this about homosexual marriage: “To date, I have not seen scriptural authority that allows me to stand on behalf of God and say I now pronounce you husband and husband, and wife and wife. This is an issue the government is undecided about. The Bible is not.”
[3] A portion of this interview with Billy Graham, along with an interview with Joel Osteen, can be found at Mark H. Creech, “Preaching a ‘Celebrity Gospel,’” Agape Press (July 5, 2005): http://headlines.agapepress.org/archive/7/52005mc.asp