Saturday, February 5, 2011

Gospel assholes

The New Testament speaks a lot about suffering, and especially suffering for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Much of it is written by people who really did suffer quite badly, and it prepares christians to suffer alongside their Lord when necessary.
And yet sometimes it seems like some Christians can make suffering a bit of a fetish. As though every stubbed toe or criticism could be reduced to the fact that you are a preacher of the gospel. As though every detractor has secretly turned away from the truth (even if they profess the truth, they are simply showing their tricksy, heretic ways!). As though the New Testament shouldn't be read in it's historical context, but is actually a story about me and my experiences in christian ministry.

When I hear people speaking like this, I can't help think of the line of Erica Albright, Mark Zuckerburgs (ex)girlfriend in the film "The Social Network".

"You are probably going to be a very successful computer person. But you're going to go through life thinking that girls don't like you because you're a nerd. And I want you to know, from the bottom of my heart, that that won't be true. It'll be because you're an asshole."

Next time you are feeling persecuted and feeling a little righteous about it, wonder if the person in front of you is really feeling like Erica. They may have no problem with Jesus, it might just be you.

" You are probably going to be a very successful Bible teacher. But you are going to go through life thinking that people don't like you because of the gospel. And I want you to know, from the bottom of my heart, that that wont be true. It'll be because you are an asshole"


byron smith said...

So true.

(NB As your resident a-hole pedant, thought I'd let you know that you're using the American spelling.)

alison said...

This post made me laugh! I like it.

Dave Taylor said...

Thanks so much for this post mate! I've been complaining about this for so long now (in fact it's the reason I don't go to Katoomba Conventions anymore). A zeal for doctrinal purity so often seems like nothing more than a mask for narcissism.

Mike W said...

@ byron not a pedant at all. The movie is american though, so that's why I stuck with it. I personally prefer the longer a vowel.

@Dave. The hard part is, I quite like doctrinal purity. I like it when Jesus is preached. But sometimes I hear more talk about the necessity of preaching Christ against all opposition than actually preaching christ. What do you do with the person whose hobby horse is preaching sermons about not preaching on hobby horses? Who can find the command to preach the text in every text? I agree with them but disagree at the same time.

Dave Taylor said...

@Mike W: I'm quite into doctrinal purity too, which is why I don't hold to the doctrine of sola text.

Christopher Taylor said...


I love your work.

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