Friday, July 16, 2010

Jesus: Lunatic--Liar--or Lord? Crazy--Crafty--or Christ?

It would be foolish--and I aint no foo'--to think a person can either prove or disprove anything of essential importance in several paragraphs. My aim here is not to present an iron-clad case for what I believe about Jesus Christ. I'm briefly offering this for your consideration.

Jesus made many statements about himself that are ultimate deal-makers or breakers. For example, he made these exclusive claims:

". . .
I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)
I am the light of the world. . ." (John 8:12)
I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty." (John 6:35)
I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die." (John 11:25-6)

Even in my most glorious grandiose moments--even when my narcissism evokes a wave of grief when I have to pull myself away from the mirror--I have never made those kind of statements about myself. "Oh, by the way, did I mention that
I am. . . "

What do I do with what appear to be absolute truth claims Jesus makes in regard to himself? How am I to regard him? C.S. Lewis, author of The Chronicles of Narnia and many others) doesn't mince words regarding this issue. ( Overlook his tone; maybe he missed his morning tea. Think about what he says.)

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 one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of thing Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a 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.

I, too, believe we are not left with numerous options or responses to the claims Jesus made. Someone making those claims is either:
--delusional and needs to be admitted to the psychiatric ward and injected with gallons of Thorazine.
--a charlatan, someone who possesses knowledge or expertise that he does not have, a flamboyant deceiver, one who attracts customers with tricks, a quack.
--who he claims to be.

I have come to the conclusion that Jesus Christ was and is who he claimed to be. Do I wrestle with doubt? Do I struggle with my "why" questions? You bet. But I simply cannot discard his claims and the options of response at my disposal.

I submit this for your own consideration.

Grace and Peace

(p.s. Thanks for all the comments to my previous blog. I appreciated the various perspectives and responses. Keep on keepin' on.)


JeffK said...

...such a great book by Lewis. Maybe I will read it again...

I love this sentence. "But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher."

Steve said...

JeffK, I concur. If a mere great human teacher begins making the claims that Christ made about himself, that teacher goes from being admired to admitted. Jesus was either much, much less or so much more--but let's not attempt to squeeze our way out giving heed to his claims by relegating him to being one of many great teachers.

p.s. I believe the book JeffK is referring to is Mere Christianity.

Anonymous said...

I decided to comment on your posts. I want to do that.
This one I would rather not but here goes.
I find various beliefs interesting. I still can't figure out why anyone would be narcissistic enough to think that "their religion" is the right and only one. I can't stand that fundamentalists keep telling me that people won't go to heaven because they are not "saved". My mother in law died last night. She is a wonderful and kind person. Her and her attorney husband had a lot of money. They gave to one cause in Albany, NY. Feeding the homeless. But your God won't allow her into heaven. I don't believe it. AND, I believe Jesus was a great moral philosopher and teacher. Tim

Sherri R said...

I choose option # 4 : None of the above. And Tim makes sense, too. Thank you. --Sherri

Steve said...

Tim, regardless of my blog, my beliefs, your beliefs--I'm sorry your mother-in-law died. You will undoubtedly miss her; I hope for you two things: comfort as you learn to live without her and cherished memories of the time you spent with her.
There will be another time to discuss our differing beliefs. Peace

Steve said...

Sherri, at the risk of offending you, I don't believe option 4 exists. There is no option 4. Jesus was/is one, and only one, of those options--and those 3 options are the only ones at our disposal. He was/is either a liar/charlatan--a lunatic/delusional/--or who he claimed to be. To my knowledge, no one of academic credibility questions Christ's existence; as far as I know, no one of scholarship who has studied those primary-source documents believes that Jesus Christ was merely a myth perpetuated by a group of zealous believers. If true, I may not like those 3 options (and they do make me uncomfortable) but, nonetheless, I don't think I'm left with any other alternatives. I may choose to ignore or deny them, but they still stand as the only options. Please clarify if I have misunderstood or misrepresented you.
(p.s. I have warm memories of many years ago.)

Sherri R said...

Steve, you should know by now that you cannot offend me. Not possible, I do not take offense from anyone, don't want it, won't accept it. :-)
I understand that you believe in absolutes. I (for the most part) do not. I say for the most part, because if it was entire, it would be an absolute within itself. Unacceptable. And, probably my best way of declaring my current position on any belief, is a quote: "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." Hamlet Act 1, scene 5, 159–167. I leave myself open to the possibilities that we as humans have not--or cannot-- consider.
And leave others to make their own choices.
That's all I'm saying.
(ps. So do I :-))