Monday, August 23, 2010

It Makes Me Want to Scream, "Crucify Him"!

Yesterday (Aug. 22, 2010), I heard one of those sermons that indelibly marks one's soul. It was not necessarily the entire sermon, but it was two quotations that Pastor Alex Choi of Sovereign Grace Los Angeles used in his sermon. These quotations lined up with my own view of Christianity, and how it fulfills me.

One of the quotations were from W.H. Auden, a British poet. When asked why he became a Christian he replied, "God fulfills none of my dreams and He is in every way different than I would want Him to be". This quote is not something one hears from church-ianity today, especially from faith church-ianity, and pastors who continually talk about living your best life now. To these person, Christianity is a means to an end. The means being living a moral life, following principles and laws that will cause God to be pleased enough with your performance to bless your life with health and wealth.

These pastors and teachers tell people what they want to hear. These pastors and teachers are exactly who Paul warned Timothy about in 2 Timothy 4:3. The people do not want to hear about sin, holiness, or doctrine. They want to hear about God's love, goodness and grace. They want a God that fulfills their dreams no matter how banal or mundane. Therefore they are taught Moralistic Therapeutic Deism by pastors and teachers whose sole interests are cheeks in the pews and checks in the offering plate.

What is most interesting about Auden's quote is that he nailed 21st century evangelicalism to the wall. Instead of worshiping the God revealed in Scripture, most of evangelicalism is worshiping an idol. A sugar daddy that gives them whatever they demand, kind of like Veruca Salt's father in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Much of the justification for this sort of idolatry comes from stealing promises to Old Testament saints, rather than taking the promises that God gave the church. They want the Old Testament promises because promise prosperity to those saints. On the other hand, Jesus and the New Testament authors promise persecution, adversity and hardship to the New Testament saints. However, that is not all that is promised to the New Testament saints. The most important promise that Jesus Himself gave His followers is that He would be with them always (Matt. 28:20).

The second quote that Pastor Alex read from Auden, was Auden's response to the question that naturally follows from the first quote. That question is, "If you believe that God is so different than what you would imagine Him to be, why be a Christian?" Auden responded, "No other religion invokes in me a desire to scream, 'Crucify him!'."

This quote resonated more with me than the first. I have always taught people that Christianity is easy to believe, but hard to live. Juxtapose this with religion. Let me give you two examples: being raised a JW (Jehovah's Witness), I know what is expected of me. If I put in a certain amount of hours, give the appropriate comments at the various meetings, and say the right things to the right people I would pass for a JW. My wife also knows what to do when it comes to Catholicism. Religion does not aggravate me, because religion is my default setting. If I do this, then I get that.

Christianity tells me that I bring nothing to the cross, but my sin. Christianity tells me that unless God is wholly involved in my salvation, from justification to glorification I would be hopelessly lost. This is what makes me want to scream "Crucify him!" The fact that God is solely responsible and the only active member of salvation goes against my fallen nature which says that I deserve some part in God's plan of salvation. Biblical salvation wounds the pride of man. This is why so many Christians hold on to "free will" so tightly.

Christianity is so foreign to our fallen nature that we simply cannot see its truth. Christianity also tells us the truth about ourselves. We do not like to hear or see ourselves as we really are, and because of this, Christianity makes us want to crucify Jesus. This is why churches that proclaim the Christ of Scripture are so few and unpopular, and "churches" that proclaim the Christ of your dreams are so well attended. It all goes back to 2 Tim. 4:3. The fact that there are false teachers in the church is another demonstration that we are indeed in the last days.


  1. The fact that there are false teachers in the church is a demonstration that few know the truth as well as 'I' do !

  2. Anonymous, that statement would be true, if truth is relative to the person holding the truth. That even applies to your statement, so why should I even consider your statement?

  3. I found your post while searching for some background to the Auden quote - I heard it on a sermon podcast by Timothy Keller in NYC. The 'crucify him' call resonated with me as well for a slightly different reason. Basically Christ is saying 'follow me', make me most important. Deny yourself. So theology that teaches God will meet your dreams (when we are at the centre of our own life) - well that's incorrect, & Auden is quite correct. But the dreams and desires we have when God is the centre, when our life revolves around him, when he is Lord, well they are very different, and they are placed there by God. And they are certainly not about seeking our own benefit!!

  4. No hay contradicción alguna entre el libre albedrío y la gracia de Dios. Vivimos en este mundo en la debilidad de la carne y sólo en Cristo podemos percibir la divisoria en el campo de batalla de nuestro corazón entre la luz y las tinieblas. Tenemos que luchar en uno de los bandos, por eso somos libres; pero la victoria es de Dios, como el anillo lo lleva Frodo, el pobre de espíritu y el siervo sufriente al que las potestades humanas del poder y la magia deben ayudar en su designio. Y como Frodo no es Cristo, no se salva el mismo, le salva el Gollum al que salvó, arrebatándole el anillo. La libertad y la gracia viven en la eterna paradoja de la aventura humana. La cita de Auden habla del mal del hombre que es buscar un chivo expiatorio. Cristo es el Cordero del sacrificio por el que el mal que hay en nosotros clama: "crucifícalo".

  5. Hello Anonymous posting on 5/4. I do not speak Spanish so I had Google translate you comments for me. Your comments are translated below:

    There is no contradiction between free will and the grace of God. We live in this world in the weakness of the flesh and in Christ alone we can see the divide in the field of our heart between light and darkness. We must fight on one side, so we are free, but the victory belongs to God, as Frodo takes the ring, the poor and the suffering servant spirit that human powers and magic power should help in design. As Frodo is not Christ, not save it, it saves that saved Gollum, snatching the ring. Freedom and Grace live in the eternal paradox of the human adventure. Auden's quote speaks evil of the man who is looking for a scapegoat. Christ is the Lamb of sacrifice for the evil in us cries, "Crucify him."

  6. First, before we begin any discussion on the subject called free will, we must define our terms. So let's start with the "will". What is it? Secondly, what is it "free" from and "free" to?

    Let's start there, and then go forward with your comments.


  7. I have thought long and hard about free will. I have concluded that it must exist. God must have given us the ability to make decisions including bad ones. If, as God's creations, we have no ability to choose, then we "are" and we "do" what God has made us be and do. If we are being and doing what God has made us be and do, then there can be no "sin" as we are simply doing what God made us do. This is clearly wrong, so it must be us who decide to sin against God's laws. We do so by exercising our right to choose with our God given gift of free will. Salvation only comes from God, through Christ's sacrifice on the cross. But it has to be accepted by us, we are allowed to reject it and to be left in Hell. Even here God will help us believe and accept Him.

  8. If you have "thought long and hard about free will", then perhaps you can define the words "free" and "will". Without definitions, we are doomed to struggle.