Subjective Christianity and "Jesus Worship"

by Victor Christensen

Somewhere in the distant past I read E J Bicknell's book "A Theological Introduction to the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England". Bicknell referred to what he called a false "Jesus worship" which he defined as a "sentimental devotion to our Lord" devoid of moral content. John Henry Newman also wrote something along the same lines in his attack on Protestantism when he transferred his allegiance to the Roman Catholic Church. He argued that Protestants seemed more interested in a Jesus of history and in dwelling on Christ's earthly torments than in making an attachment to Christ Himself. Newman complained that while many Protestants seemed to enjoy wallowing in manufactured human emotions that mimic the Christian experience they demonstrated little evidence of a rebirth in faith. Newman argued that there is a distinction between religiosity and Christianity and that popular Protestantism did not know the difference. Since he experienced rapid promotion in his conversion to Catholicism we must assume he did not suggest to the pope that a similar problem might exist in the Catholic Church.

In His message to the generation who present themselves as His followers just before His return, Jesus repeated both Bicknell's and Newman's complaint. He tells His people that in collective terms, "You say you are rich [spiritually] ... and do not need a thing. But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked." (Revelation 3:17)  What is significant about this message is that it is intended to be meaningful for the church right at a time when Christian worship is increasing in frenzy and exuberance in worship practice.

We have reached a place in history where popular Christian worship can be a cause of industrial deafness, where songs about Jesus are being produced with machine gun rapidity and where the sale of WWJD products has become a multi million-dollar business. And yet it is to this people that Jesus says: "I am about to spit you out of My mouth." (Revelation 3:16) When the church is practicing its "Jesus worship" with great fervor and singing His praises louder than at any time in world history how is it that the church gets a rejection slip?

For years I have been meaning to write an article on the differences between hero worship and spiritual worship. Hero worship is the emotional bonding that exists between an individual and his chosen hero in the area of entertainment, sport and other things. People literally worship rock stars, movie stars and people who can run faster and jump higher and further than they can. If you think that the term "worship" is too strong to describe the emotional bonding that takes place at these secular events then you have never been to a rock concert. At these events the worshipper is caught up in a powerful surge of emotion. Their hero causes them to feel erotic love and adoration and in different ways they take on their hero's real or perceived identity. They adopt their hero's hairstyle, mannerisms and excesses. At a deep level in the psychic their emotions cause them to surrender themselves in worship to a perception that exists only inside their head. Modern hero worship is a world of fantasy but it is more than that. Its essence is structured on the same pagan worship that the Bible condemns. And because "Jesus worship" is nothing more than hero worship it too amounts to pagan worship and should be repudiated.

Contemporary "Jesus" worship employs the emotions to override reason, and in religion nothing could be more dangerous. In "Jesus" worship the Word of God does not direct the traffic; it does not define the dogma nor prescribe what is forbidden. For the modern "Jesus" worshipper religious and secular decisions are regulated by emotions driven by personal preference and self-interest and not by what Paul called “the mind of Christ”. Their worship of Jesus, something they have modeled to suit their preferences, is merely another aspect of self-indulgence.

Many have abandoned biblically defined worship and adopted religious entertainment and called it worship. Christ put a label on this kind of thing and He refers to those who practice modern "Jesus" worship as "those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews but are not, but are liars." (Revelation 3:9) Such strong language from Jesus should give us something to think about. Jesus' words indicate that many have created a false christ. They are adrift from the biblical Jesus and they worship, not Him, but only what they wrongly imagine Him to be. And since they worship something manufactured by themselves, they are guilty before God of worshipping an idol reflecting their own image. All religion, even if it is called Christian, that is customized independent of Scripture represent a pagan practice.

The Laodicean message is ruthless in its denunciation of "Jesus" worship because in such worship Jesus Himself is absent. The message, however, is not without hope because it does not contain a final pronouncement. But it has been given to show that many professed Christians in the last days will have a self-understanding that is totally delusional. If you are willing to receive it the Spirit of God will explain the matter to you and direct you towards a path of enlightenment. The only thing that you need to understand is that the Spirit will only speak to you through the Word. If you accept the Bible as the Word of God and submit to it unconditionally you won't have a problem.

In much of Christianity today there has been a shift towards a new center, which may loosely be described as a shift from mind to emotion. The modern demand is for a religious experience that embodies a sensory encounter based on the symbols of Christianity but does not demand an adherence to a non-negotiable belief system. The requirement is no longer to understand truth but to experience an existential encounter with God regardless of how we understand Him. In this new dynamic the religious experience is customized to suit individual preference and the directive that shapes the experience is not the Word of God but voices that arise from within the individual themselves. The final authority in matters of faith and morals is no longer the Word of God but the inner workings of the human mind. In this neo Christianity the Bible is not God Himself speaking but merely a documentation of history that requires human intelligence to correct its errors.

In his article "Please Contemplate This" T.A. Mcmahon focuses on the dynamics of the neo Christian experience of the postmodern world.  If you are a Pastor read what he says and tell your people that last day delusions will not be as easy to avoid as many have imagined. We are soon to witness a temporary decimation of biblical Christianity by the spirit forces described in Revelation 16:13: "Then I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet." Soon all popular forms of religion, Christian and otherwise, will be fused into one manifestation of occult religion that will constitute a one-world religion under demonic control. Note the ones that call this Hollywood fiction, for they are the ones who have already been deceived.

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