Supreme Ambition Ministries

To Know Christ and to Make Him Known – Philippians 3:10


So…is Jesus a Christian? I have been a Christian for about fifty years; at least I think I have. Now before you diehard Calvinists start polishing up your scriptures on eternal security, don’t worry. I haven’t lost my salvation. And, oh yeah, you Armenians, please stop daydreaming about dragging me to the altar. I don’t think I’m backslidden. I just finished reading a novel called THE SHACK, and my thinking about God has had a little refreshing. I said, ‘refreshing’, didn’t I? Well, that is certainly true, but I must say, I did not come through the experience without having the wasteland of my soul scalded by a most unusual vision of God.

The events in this book were told to a man named Willie by his good friend, MACK. To say the events actually happened would lead this writing into a discussion of truth that I’m not sure either one of us is prepared to tackle. I only know that after having read it I am left with a soaring in my soul and my spirit keeps sending me veiled messages about ‘home’ and ‘fellowship’. A few years ago my wife and I began a journey to try to get to know Jesus all over again. This journey has involved some radical changes in our lives. The reading of THE SHACK has been a burning bush calling away. I am drawn away. I hope forever. I am drawn away from the status quo and the idea of God that may be the very thing which keeps us from truly knowing Him. Oh, don’t worry! My theology is still intact. The bathwater is being discarded but I’m still holding onto the baby. In fact, I think I’m more solid in my Biblical formation today than I’ve ever been. It’s just the skeleton of Christian religion that fogs up my life. The idea that sitting in a building and starring at the backs of people’s heads that I don’t know and calling it Church is becoming increasingly more difficult for me.

So…when I ask…Is Jesus a Christian? I really want to know, if the flesh and bones religion which has evolved in the last twenty centuries is what Jesus had in mind? When the veil was pulled from Peter’s eyes on a dusty road at the foot of Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights, and our Lord established His Church upon the revelation of the Big Fisherman, did Jesus then sit around and get all ‘moony-eyed’ over buildings, programs and live-streaming conferences? Well, who can say for sure? But I think I know one thing. When theologians proudly say that God only established two institutions: the home and the Church, I’m not so sure that God is all that pleased that we refer to these as institutions.

The essence of THE SHACK is the test of religion in the face of unspeakable pain. It attempts to answer the question of where God is when ‘the wind comes at you sideways’, or when your ‘cheese’ falls off the cracker’. It also compares religion to relationship and goes to great extremes to point out that God is all about relationships. In fact, we find in the Godhead the perfection of relationship: a mutual outpouring of love and a receiving of the same, a mutual respect and humility, and all of it well-founded on a Biblical foundation. Perhaps the central issue of the whole writing can be summed up in two statements. One, while MACK is in conversation with God about who God is and why he seems so far away at times, God says, I’m not like what you think’. Second, and perhaps most telling is when MACK lets his guard down a little and questions God as to whether he is a Christian or not. God responds most emphatically, ‘I’m not a Christian’! Reading those words I was reminded of the words of the Angel of the Lord, who appeared to Joshua the night before the siege of Jericho. Joshua was in prayer seeking the help of God, when suddenly this majestic soldier was standing in front of him. Joshua confronted him and said, “Are you for us or them”? The Angel of the Lord responded, “Nay, I am the Captain of the hosts of Jehovah.” Our Bible says the believers were first called Christians at Antioch. That’s great. But I’m not sure we should have been stuck with that name. Was Jesus a Christian? I doubt it. I can almost hear him say, “Nay, I just want to enjoy a walk with you in the cool of the day.”

July 31st, 2008 Posted by | Fellowship, The Shack | one comment