There’s nothing wrong with asking, “What would Jesus do?” That’s a fine question. For our purposes, we might ask, "What would Jesus do in response to the contemporary evangelical landscape."
How would He react to the post-evangelical goulash of opinions represented in Christian magazines, in the Emerging blogosphere,or in the trendy evangelical megachurches that have held the evangelical movement in thrall for the past few decades? Would He affirm the current mainstream of evangelical apathy toward truth and authentic biblical unity? Would He approve of those who, confronted with a plethora of contradictions and doctrinal novelties, simply celebrate their movement’s “diversity” while trying to avoid all controversy, embracing every theological renegade, and elevating orthopraxy over orthodoxy? Was Jesus’ meek-and-gentle mildness of that sort?
I’m convinced we can answer those questions with confidence if we first ask a slightly different question: What did Jesus do? How did He deal with the false teachers, religious hypocrites, and theological miscreants of His time? Did He favor the approach of friendly dialogue and collegial disagreement, or did He in fact adopt a militant stance against every form of false religion?
Anyone even superficially familiar with the gospel accounts ought to know the answer to that question, because there is no shortage of data on the matter. Jesus’ interaction with the Scribes, Pharisees, and hypocrites of His culture was full of conflict from the start of His earthly ministry to the end. Sometimes the Pharisees provoked the conflict; more often than not, Jesus did. Hostile is not too strong a word to describe His attitude toward the religious system they represented, and that was evident in all His dealings with them.
Jesus never suffered professional hypocrites or false teachers gladly. He never shied away from conflict. He never softened His message to please genteel tastes or priggish scruples. He never suppressed any truth in order to accommodate someone’s artificial notion of dignity. He never bowed to the intimidation of scholars or paid homage to their institutions.
And He never, never, never treated the vital distinction between truth and error as a merely academic question.
Excerpted from The Jesus You Can’t Ignore.
© 2009 by John MacArthur.
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