changing lives faith

Response to Who is Jesus to you?

I received an email response to the post, Who is Jesus to you? from Adam, a Resurrection attender, and thought it was well worth sharing with you. With his permission:

Andrew, I think this is an interesting question, but so is your answer:

“Jesus is my Lord and Savior. He continues to teach me about what it is like to live as one of his followers in a kingdom that is not of this world, but is coming into the world.”

I think this is very similar to what most mainline Christians (including myself) and especially those who grew up in “the church” would declare. However, I would throw out these questions:

  1. What is a “Lord” in modern terms and vernacular? We don’t have Lords anymore.
  2. What is he a “Savior” from? A big ravine? Democrats? Republicans? Stupid people?

So in short, perhaps this needs to be modernized. So we say that he is our CEO and saves use from our sinful wrong lived lives???? Just a thought.

By Andrew Conard

Christian, husband, son, brother, homeowner

4 replies on “Response to Who is Jesus to you?”

Hmmmm… Nice comments Andrew!

CEO doesn’t have the same punch to me as Lord. CEO implies wealth and control but not ownership, and while some might balk at that idea to say that Jesus is Lord of my heart is very different from saying Jesus is CEO of my heart. It’s not just about control, but about “claiming”.

I’m not sure we really have a proper equivalent for Lord these days…wait…

Jesus is the Steve Jobs of my heart….


I agree – CEO is not an accurate description of our relationship to the sovereign ruler of the entire Cosmos. There are things that we can modernize. For example – music styles, liturgical styles, etc. However we are in danger of heretical revisionism if we begin to tinker with the key language reserved for God in our scriptures. This is also why the grammatically problematic refusal to use pronouns for God is so troubling to me. Jesus taught us to see God as our Lord, and our Savior (The from what is eternal punishment and the second death), and he has taught us to refer to him as our father bringing together the power of the transcendent with the intimacy of the immanence of our Lord, Savior, King, and Father. There is nothing quite as offensive to me as hearing God referred to in some ridiculous term like Godsself, or a silly sentence like God loves Gods people. This political correctness seeks to destroy one of the essential elements of our understanding of the Trinity – namely that God is a Person not a thing.

While you and I may agree on the term Lord, I must disagree respectfully with your contention that modifying language about God is heretical. Phrases like “God loves Gods’ people” sound awkward because they are a result of awkward construction, which is the task of the speaker not the pronoun.

I would suggest that “political correctness” enhances the nature of the trinity instead of diminishing it by elevating the personhood of God as unique. In this way God is more than he or she, more than rich or poor, English or Hispanic, young or old. The source of all that is and was and will be occupies a place in language that is reserved for nothing else.

Wow, major topic deviation! PC does both (destroys and enhances understanding God)…all language does. Peter Rollins does a good job helping us understand this.

LORD – We still use master, but usually with dogs. Am I God’s dog? Lord is still used in England…I wonder if they connect with it? Perhaps King is also a good word. While few of us have lived under a king, the concept is still alive.

This brings me to my real point: Some biblical metaphors are by their very nature foreign to us. We elect leaders. We serve ourselves. We have the “right” to do whatever we want. No one mandates what we do (aside from our wives…kidding).

A few weeks ago a friend brought up the idea of saying that the Biblical metaphor of weeds can be turned into a positive thing. Well, no, not if one wants to keep the integrity of Jesus’ points. Weeds are only bad, and they are only for pulling up and destroying.

Another example, Bible translators had to change the verse, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” when they were in a specific tribal area. In that culture, knocking was something done only by thieves. The metaphor absolutely failed to communicate, so a different metaphor had to be found.

Sometimes metaphors work in one culture (and only one culture): Thus the challenge is to find metaphors for our culture AND explain the metaphor of the other culture so that people can learn how to read scripture well. Preaching is always about the text, the people, and the Spirit. A good sermon miraculously connects all three, but a horrific sermon only connects two…as it will either be spiritless (sans Spirit), opinionated (sans text), or irrelevant (sans people).

There is great danger, though, in not adequately researching what the metaphor is communicating, and haphazardly changing words. Words are symbols, and symbols have great power. My aim is to connect people with the Biblical culture through their own, and in walking back and forth between cultures, we begin to see God’s truth come out through the text…it is beyond time, place, and people. Yet, it is relevant to all.

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