Thursday, December 27, 2007

I'm a Follower of the Jesus of the Bible Interpreted Literally

On Christmas Eve I received the following e-mail from a friend of mine who lives in India. He was my Hindi tutor during our time there. Let’s call him “Ganesh,” which is a popular name in India. Can you figure out what religion he is a member of?
"God is beloved wherever whatever.......... Today God was born as Jesus in Bethlehem and all His life He loved God and His creatures. He taught us how to love God. Merry Christmas."
If you know anything about India, you probably know that it is the home of Hinduism. Based on our discussions, I know that Ganesh refers to himself as a Hindu, and in particular worships the monkey god Hanuman. Because Hinduism does not have strict boundaries and is not based on historic occurrences, it is open to accepting other religions as valid. This is one reason why some Westerners are attracted to Hinduism, which can easily morph into New Age theology.

The above note shows how insidious Hinduism can be. If you just take a cursory glance at what is written, it almost sounds nice (O.K., it has to be a very cursory glance.) Upon examination of what is really said here, what we have is pluralism.

Let’s look at what Ganesh has said. “God is beloved wherever whatever” is a clearly pluralistic statement. In other words, it matters not how you come to god. All approaches are valid. The conclusion must be that anyone can invent any means to get to god. All avenues to god are good as long as they are motivated by love.

Ganesh then recognizes Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem. However, he says “God was born as Jesus.” This sounds creepily like Modalism (declaring that there is only one person in the godhead who shows himself to us in three modes) to me. Christians know that Jesus was God even before his birth. John 1:1-5 makes this exceedingly clear. This statement is Ganesh’s attempt to admit that Jesus is god, while also keeping all of his Hindu gods.

Interestingly, the remainder of Ganesh’s statement, while maybe not exactly the way we would put it, is correct. He wrote, “all His life He loved God and His creatures. He taught us how to love God.”

This may seem like a harmless e-mail to some. Despite my love for Ganesh, I find his e-mail to be evil. Why? By saying what he does, he relegates Jesus to the status of just another god or just another appearance of god. The bible clearly teaches that Jesus is the one perfect sacrifice for sins. He is the way, the truth, and the life. Ganesh terribly insults the one God when he treats Jesus as just another member of the pantheon.

Since my friend is not saved, I should expect no less. How can an unregenerate person make clear statements about God? He cannot. Orthodox Christianity is foolishness to him.

His note concerns me because so many people within the church, who claim to be followers of Christ, probably wouldn’t see too much wrong with Ganesh’s e-mail. Many churched people these days deny the existence of absolute truth. They say it is intolerant to make Jesus the only way to heaven (as if we decide what the terms are).

I’m afraid that when a person calls himself a Christian these days, it means little. The term has lost much of its original meaning. We all know that about 80% of Americans claim to be Christians. Enough said of that.

What if someone claims to be a follower of Jesus? That term is a bit better, but Ganesh could even claim the same based on his note.

What if someone said he was a follower of the Jesus of the bible? That’s even better, but a problem still remains. With so many ways of interpreting scripture out there, people can use the bible to justify almost any view of Jesus they want.

I’ve come to a conclusion. Although it is a mouthful, maybe I need to refer to myself as “a follower of the Jesus of the bible when interpreted literally.” Hmmmmm. That is a bit of a mouthful. However, with so many unbiblical views of who Jesus is (including Ganesh’s), it might be necessary.


Alan said...

"Many will come to me and say 'Lord, lord'... and I will say to them 'away from me, I never knew you.'"
"Narrow is the path."
I think there are going to be many surprised people in heaven, even I will probably be surprised at how few actually are there. Good thoughts Eric and I agree with you, reformed theology is the theology of the Bible.

Eric said...


You are right about that. So many folks think they are saved, even if they are living far outside what God expects of them. The percentage of those claiming to be "Christian" who will probably go to heaven is most likely far below 50%. It is a sad thing.

As for Reformed theology, it's the true gospel. I think Spurgeon had something to say about that.


Brian said...

did you see my comment on the matrix? It is all mew age hindu philosophy - and everyone thought it was christian. ah well.

Eric said...

I'll take a look.