What Would Jesus Do?

The newest addition to the literature website is Charles M. Sheldon’s In His Steps.  The book is by no means a great work of literature, but it is one of the best-selling books of all time, having sold more than thirty million copies since it was first published more than a century ago, and has been hugely influential.  In it, the author challenges the reader to make every decision by asking the question, “What would Jesus do?”  While following the example set by Christ certainly sounds like a good idea, the book arose from the Social Gospel movement of the late nineteenth century and promotes a form of Christianity that sees Jesus as an example of sacrificial living rather than as a Redeemer who came to save lost sinners.  According to the novel, a Christian utopia can be achieved by transforming the environment in which the poor live their lives, and thus preventing the evil into which they inevitably fall.  It contains nothing of the true Gospel message.

The book was not only influential in its day; it also sparked the fad among evangelical Christians in the 1990s of wearing WWJD bracelets, despite the fact that they didn’t really understand what the novel was teaching.  Sadly, it never answers the question of how one should ascertain what Jesus would do in any given situation; people essentially are encouraged to follow what they feel Jesus would do.  No suggestion is ever made that consulting Scripture would be a good idea for answering the question.  As a result, we have the travesty today of people condemning those who seek to uphold biblical standards of morality by insisting that Jesus surely would love and accept everyone, whatever his or her sexual practices and gender preferences might be.  Christians need to be aware of and evaluate from Scripture such teachings, which today constitute what many people think Christianity is (or should be).

Proof of the Truth

I’m going to be speaking at Proof of the Truth seminars in Rochester and Buffalo, New York on the weekend of April 28-29 along with Craig Blomberg from Denver Seminary.  The seminars deal with the reliability of the Scriptures and will address some of the material contained in Defending Your Sword.  The conference is sponsored by The 3rd Choice, an online outreach to people who have turned away from the Christian faith in which they have been raised or who just have questions about Christianity in general.  If you are in the area of Western New York State, I hope you can make it.

The Russians Are Coming!

I’ve just added the book that is credited by some for initiating the fall of the Soviet Union – Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.  A simple tale of the routine horrors of life in Stalin’s prison camps, the novel also challenges the reader to consider the necessity of faith in God to survive in the context of suffering.  This was a lesson learned by the protagonist only at the end of the story, but it was also one learned by the author, who, like his working-class Everyman, suffered unjustly in Stalin’s totalitarian state.

Curriculum Review Completed

After working on the project for more than a year and a half, the review, revision, and reformatting of the Faith Reformed Baptist Church Sunday School curriculum is completed.  My next project will be to add some new adult courses to the offerings available.