“I believe Jesus was a great moral teacher, but I don’t worship Him as God.”
Have you ever heard that? I have. A lot. A lot of people like to take this stance on Jesus because it allows them to retain the morality of Jesus, but keeps them off the hook in actually having to repent of their sins and trust in Him as their Savior. In their minds, Jesus is too big a deal to reject outright, but too small a deal to worship as the Savior and King. But is this honest? Does Jesus allow folks to take such a middle-of-the-road view of Himself?
The late Christopher Hitchens, an ardent atheist and critic of Christianity, writes more honestly than most when he confesses that one cannot say Jesus was a great moral teacher and yet deny His claims to deity.
Belief in the divinity of Jesus of Nazareth and belief in the virtue of his teachings are not at all the same thing. Writing to John Adams in 1813, having taken his razor blade to the books of the New Testament and removed all “the artificial vestments in which they have been muffled by priests,” Thomas Jefferson said the 46-page residue contained “the most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered to man.”
Ernest Renan, in his path-breaking “Life of Jesus” in 1863, also repudiated the idea that Jesus was the son of God while affirming the beauty of his teachings.
In rather striking contrast, C. S. Lewis maintained in his classic statement “Mere Christianity”:
“That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God; or else a madman or something worse.”
As an admirer of Jefferson and Renan and a strong non-admirer of Lewis, I am bound to say that Lewis is more honest here.
If He didn’t have a direct line to the Almighty and a conviction that the last days are upon us, how is it “moral” to teach people to abandon their families, give up on saving and farming and take to the stony roads?
How is it moral to claim a monopoly on access to heaven, or to threaten waverers with everlasting fire, let alone to condemn fig trees and persuade devils to infest the bodies of pigs?
Such a person if not divine would be a sorcerer and a fanatic…(Read full article here).
Given the facts about what we have about Jesus Christ of Nazareth, there is a choice that must be made, a side that needs to be chosen, and consequences to accept. Jesus is either the Son of God or He was a complete, immoral, self-absorbed charlatan. He was either right and should be listened to or wrong and should be entirely rejected. He is either good and deserving of worship as God or evil and deserving of hatred as a devil. He cannot be both.
What is your choice? Is Jesus an immoral liar who needs to be silenced? Or is He who He said He was and deserved to be worshiped and loved?