To Change the World: A Reader’s Comment

I get emails —

I assume when you say “show me a Christian college that …”, you’re referring to CofC Christian colleges. There is no more cutting edge university in music than Belmont; Wheaton is pretty darn good in liberal arts and philosophy; Furman does cutting edge biology research; and even Pepperdine (CofC) has quite a movie making background. And Baylor is pretty good in all of the above, plus it has very fine grad programs. And don’t forget other pretty good schools, like St. Olaf, Calvin and Trinity.

But if you’re talking about CofC Christian colleges, I wholeheartedly agree – that with minor exceptions (e.g., Pepperdine and movies), “[w]e’re all about trade schools and not about the study of God’s creation.”

I think a bigger issue I’ve never heard you touch on in all the culture war stuff has to do with evangelical Christianity’s small Jesus. So small that we have to put him in a cage to “protect” him from the secularists. Isn’t this mostly what the so-called culture war is about?

Evangelicals too often have a  picture of a Jesus that they try to sell to people, so as to persuade them (whether by logic or emotion) to “invite Jesus into their hearts” or “accept Jesus.” But Jesus is already here, there and everywhere. He and His Kingdom are all around us. He said so.  What we have to do is acknowledge what is already happening all around us. When you were converted – whether in a moment or through a process – did you not sit back and realize what God already had been doing with and through you all along?

Jesus formed “all things,” is in “all things,” and will restore “all things” to the way they were meant to be before we messed them up.

So I think the problem is we make our Jesus too small. And that makes us defensive, feeling we have to protect him from those bad secularist people. When, in fact, Jesus is HUGE. He made all things. And we don’t have to protect him.

Peter learned that lesson when he tried to protect Jesus with his sword and cut off the soldier’s ear, and then Jesus told him to put the sword down and put the ear back. Jesus wanted Peter there with him, but didn’t need his help in his insufficient, human way.

The same lesson is in Jonah. When Jonah refused the call of God to preach to Ninevah, God used Jonah to reveal himself to the sailors on the boat. God’s message was not going to be stopped by some little guy in a boat.

We can’t stop God’s will even when we, like Jonah, try. God is much bigger than us.

So for me, the whole culture war issue is misplaced. We’re fighting a war God didn’t ask us to fight, and he doesn’t need us to fight. We’ve put Jesus in a cage to protect him when he doesn’t need our protection. Instead of putting him in a cage, we need to let him loose and realize that is where he really already is anyway. Lions don’t make good house cats. When we reduce a lion to a house cat, it is no wonder that our diluted version of Jesus does not impact the world and does not align with Jesus’s plan to make all things new.


(I guess I should mention that this is from my brother, David.)

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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2 Responses to To Change the World: A Reader’s Comment

  1. Adam Legler says:

    I am starting to realize more and more that our job is to plant the seed and learn to rely on the Holy Spirit to give the growth. It's not up to us. Like was mentioned, our Jesus is big enough to do this. It's not up to us nor do we need to worry excessively. We need to focus on how we plant the seed. The rest is in God's hands.

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