Jesus came on the liberal Christian scene this week as a modern gay man with "The Passion of Christ: A Gay Vision," a series of images that are also collected in a book that paints a false gospel.
Kittredge Cherry, who describes herself as a "lesbian Christian author and art historian" authored the book. She's upset because "conservative Christians" have "attacked" these paintings, along with the book she wrote about them, as "blasphemy."
"But we refuse to concede Jesus to those who act like they own the copyright on Christ, then use him as a weapon to dominate others," she writes in a Huffington Post article. Right-wing Christians denounced us as 'blasphemers' and condemned our book as an 'abomination,' 'disgusting' and 'an outrage to mock Christ in this manner' ... LGBT Christian visions are important now because conservatives are using religion to justify discrimination against queer people."
Presenting a False Christ
The deeper I got into this article, the more I wondered if this was an April Fool's joke. Then I noticed the publishing date. The article was written a couple of days ago and there's nothing funny about it.
Of course, there's also nothing funny about LGBT people who are harassed, persecuted or maligned. Like Cherry, it grieves me to think of victims of anti-LGBT hate crimes, the many LGBTs who have committed suicide, died with AIDS or have been executed in Islamic countries. This has to stop.
Like Cherry, I believe deeply that God loves all people and longs to fellowship with all of mankind. I also believe that remaking Jesus into what she calls a "queer Christ," as do these paintings, is indeed sacrilegious and offensive. This new "gay vision" of Jesus is not presenting a true Christ, but a perversion of His truth and therefore a false Christ. Listen to Cherry's false gospel:
"The queer Christ is intended to broaden, not limit, how Christ is perceived. Every image of Jesus is insufficient," she writes. "It is valuable to have images of the 'queer Christ' along with all the others to show that Christ is with all human beings in our full diversity."
A False Gospel
This is simply not true. This "gay Jesus" she is promoting may indeed welcome and understand LGBTs in the church but the real Jesus will not let them continue willfully practicing—and even glamorizing—homosexuality. Indeed, He wants to deliver sinners and cleanse us from all unrighteousness with His blood. But we have to be willing to lay aside the sin (see Heb. 12:1).
And let's be clear: Churches are not rejecting homosexuals. Churches are rejecting the sin of homosexuality. There is a big difference there. If you are wondering why conservative Christians are up in arms, listen to Cherry's next statement:
"Nobody knows for sure what the historical Jesus looked like or whether he was attracted to other men. Some progressive Bible scholars do argue that Jesus had a same-sex lover, but that is not the point of his life. What the gospels emphasize about Jesus is the wildly inclusive way that he loved."
Jesus' love is not at question here. Jesus' gospel is. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16). We've all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (See Rom.3:23). Jesus calls us to repent and believe the gospel (see Mark 1:15).
Repentance demands a change of heart about sin—to recognize how it separates us from God. We can't defend or justify our sins and repent and find forgiveness of our sins at the same time. We can't be intimate with sin and be intimate with Jesus at the same time.
Here's the bottom line: It doesn't matter how intelligent, compelling or compassionate the argument is. Depicting false images of Christ and preaching a false gospel may make people feel good, but it won't set them free. I'm glad Cherry and other LGBT people believe in Jesus. But believing in Jesus is not enough.
"Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, 'If you remain in My word, then you are truly My disciples. You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free" (John 8:31).
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Jennifer LeClaire is senior editor of Charisma. She is also director of Awakening House of Prayer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and author of several books, including The Next Great Move of God: An Appeal to Heaven for Spiritual Awakening, Mornings With the Holy Spirit, Listening Daily to the Still Small Voice of God, The Making of a Prophet and Satan's Deadly Trio: Defeating the Deceptions of Jezebel, Religion and Witchcraft. You can visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.
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